Guest Writer: Emilio Gladstone
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Now that the college football season is over, and the fervor has died down just over a week after the championship game was played in New Orleans, I figured I should throw my two cents in on the Bowl Championship Series system. My chappage this month lies not with the system, but with the critics of it. What is everyone complaining about?
Take a look at the BCS games this year. Besides the debacle that was the Orange Bowl (and yes, I did cry myself to sleep that night as a Clemson grad), the games were great. The Rose Bowl came down to the final minutes with Oregon triumphing over Wisconsin 45 to 38 as the Badgers couldn’t spike the ball to try one last heave for the end zone to tie it. The Fiesta Bowl went into overtime as Oklahoma State beat Stanford by a field goal. The same is true of the Sugar Bowl with Michigan knocking off Virginia Tech in overtime by 3. The BCS Championship was a phenomenal game if you like old-school defensive football. And the critics who said it was boring also said the same of the Orange Bowl that was a West Virginia offensive explosion. Blowout? Most definitely but there was scoring aplenty (which is what I thought those same critics wanted).
While the games themselves were good, the BCS could use some tweaking to decide who plays in receive these coveted bowl bids. Conference affiliations should be eliminated. With all of the realignment that has taken place over the past few years, the old system of PAC-12 vs. Big 10 in the Rose and ACC vs. Big East in the Orange have no relevance any more today. Many traditional rivalries have been lost so why not these as well? The Big East is adding teams from Texas for crying out loud. It’s a new era in college football.
Automatic bids should be done away with as well. Neither participant in the Orange Bowl deserved to be there. Clemson lost to NC State, Georgia Tech, and South Carolina in 3 of its last 4 games. West Virginia was in a three-way tie for the Big East title and only got to go because it was ranked highest in the final BCS rankings. Same for the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech lost to Clemson (twice) and Michigan was borderline as a selection. Get rid of preseason polls. All the top-ranked teams have to do is not lose. Don’t rank anyone until further into the season and look at the body of work they have done so far. Don’t release a poll, ANY POLL, until week 6 or 7. As for the Championship game, the overwhelming cry I heard was that people didn’t want a rematch. Personally, I didn’t care. LSU and Alabama were clearly the two best teams in the country. Oklahoma State did not deserve to be there. They lost to Iowa State, a 6-7 team overall. Even with the extenuating circumstances regarding the tragedy at their school, there is no excuse. The two best teams played the game.
It’s not the fault of the BCS that the SEC schools dominate college football through their deep talent pools, a passion (and arrogance) that dwarfs most other programs and conferences, and generally lower academic standards. Hey, Notre Dame, you have the easiest road to a BCS game. If you want to compete, get off of your high horse and let some slightly less intelligent, more athletic kids into your hallowed halls. Let’s be serious and acknowledge now that “student-athlete” is a mislabeling of these young men. They are there to play football first and foremost.
The BCS is flawed but not entirely broken. It panders to stronger conferences like the SEC. It is unfair in offering bids. I would rather see a playoff system, but that is highly unlikely with the money involved for these bowl games. The BCS got it right this year in the Championship game, and, though some more deserving teams should have been in the lesser BCS bowls, that is no fault of the system. That blame lies with those bowl committees that have to take some automatic qualifying teams or can pick whoever will sell the most tickets. But the complainers should re-watch those bowl games and shut up. Those match-ups provided some of the most exciting football I saw all season. But Bill Hancock is still a douchebag…