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Published:December 16th, 2006 14:00 EST
The BCS Fails Again

The BCS Fails Again

By Lonny Stewart

Before anything else is said, it’s important to stress that the true function of the BCS is to determine, scientifically, who the two best teams are in the nation. In it’s perfect form, the BCS would calculate a first and second place team from its formula and there would be no dispute. The truth, however, is that a computer system is not a fair basis for determining which team deserves the right to play in the championship round. And if Sunday’s results showed anything, it proved that the BCS is a colossal failure and a new system needs to be in place for determining college football’s championship rounds.

On Sunday, December 3rd, the BCS system selected Ohio State and Florida to play in the National Championship game in Arizona. It snubbed Michigan, who, like Florida, had only one loss to its name for the entire season. To be fair, Florida did have the single most difficult schedule in college football. But Michigan had the third most difficult. Florida’s only loss came to an Auburn team that had already lost a game before. Florida lost by 10 points to them. Michigan, however, lost only one game, to the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes by three points. From a logical standpoint, it would appear that Michigan’s only loss is considerably less embarrassing than Florida’s.

The BCS updates its rankings on a weekly basis for determining what the order is going to be. Teams that stay “idle,” meaning they don’t play a game that week, often times will be leap-frogged by a team below them who did play a game – regardless of who they played. Therefore, since Michigan ended its season against Ohio State two weeks ago, it no longer had the advantage of holding its place by defeating more teams. Florida played one more game than Michigan, thereby giving itself a boost in the BCS formula.

This is not the first time the BCS system has failed. Ever since it was introduced in 1998, there have been many years where teams who deserved to play in the championship game were left out due to the faulty formula used to compute opponents.  The BCS system has only worked to perfection in one situation, which was last year’s national championship game between USC and Texas. Every year before that had seen it’s share of problems, including 2004 when three teams finished the year undefeated but only two were selected for the championship game. Those teams were USC, Oklahoma, and Auburn. Auburn was left out of the championship round totally, and ended up finishing it’s season undefeated. This is a perfect example of where a playoff system would have been a fair judge to determine who really were the best teams.

The BCS system must be scrapped. There has long been talk about implementing a playoff-tournament type system in college football, but the NCAA has often shot it down. Now is the time for the NCAA to sit down and take a long, hard look on creating a playoff system for it’s best teams to compete. Each of the four major venues for the BCS rounds (Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl) could be used as sites to play out the playoffs so that each venue can benefit financially from the increased amounts of games and ticket sales. Each year, the final championship game could be played at one of the four stadiums, which would rotate on a yearly basis, similar to what we have now. But the lack of support from NCAA officials has stopped this from becoming a reality.

Only time will tell if the NCAA will respond to the pleas of thousands of its loyal fans that yearn to see a fairer system used. Until then, the BCS must continued to criticized and viewed with an eye of skepticism, because there are too many good teams who aren’t getting a shot to prove that they can compete with the rest of the national college football powerhouses.