One letter short of a championship
College football continually gets more and more frustrating for me as a fan with each passing year. As a proponent of a true playoff system, I am now equally concerned about the inadequacies of the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS as it has become known, and conference realignment.
I mean really, who the heck knows what teams are in the six BCS qualifying conferences anymore?
Here is the latest, and by the way, what time is it now, because more changes could happen any moment.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are now in the ACC; The Big 12 loses Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC, but picks up TCU from the Mountain West and West Virginia from the Big East; The Big 10 (er, 12, but that name was taken by a league with 10 teams in it — really?) stays put after adding Nebraska this past season; The PAC-12 stays the same after stealing Colorado (Big 12) and Utah (MWC) this past year; and the SEC adds the aforementioned Missouri and Texas A&M.
Two big time independents are out there in BYU and Notre Dame, ripe for conference-affiliation plucking.
That brings us to the ever-expanding Big East, formerly known as the Big Least, with very little national championship noise ever coming out of the conference. They now should probably be called the Big Nation. San Diego State and Boise State move out of the Mountain West, SMU and Houston leave Conference USA and Navy will join in 2013. And, trust me, it is not over. More teams will move from one conference to another in the continued shifting power struggle in college football.
The result: At one point this season, the top three teams In the BCS standings were not only from the same conference, but from the same division. LSU (13-0), Alabama (11-1) and Arkansas (10-2) were ranked 1-2-3 in mid-November. The BCS title game will be between SEC West foes LSU and Alabama, leaving out Oklahoma State (11-1) and Stanford (11-1), who will meet in the Fiesta Bowl.
At this point, every other conference is trying to be the SEC and the SEC is just trying to stay the SEC and not lose any teams to other conferences.
You need a super-powered 4G iPad just to keep up.
There is no real college football championship. This year, as in most years, there will be a lot to argue about after the games are through being played on the field. Even if LSU wins and is the only college football team with a perfect record, the winner of the Stanford-Oklahoma State game will be saying that they should have had a shot at the Bayou Bengals instead of Alabama, who LSU has already beaten in the regular season. And that doesn’t even include those who would expand the conversation, noting that one-loss teams such as Houston and Boise State didn’t even have a shot at a national title because they play in non-BCS conferences.
I say remove the Championship from the name and call it what it really is: BS.
Several years ago the argument against a playoff in college football was that it would hurt the student-athlete by extending the season past the New Years Day games. Now, the BS game is on Jan. 9 and the talk from those who favor a playoff is to add a game beyond that, basically creating a four-team playoff using the bowl system and then a game between the two semifinal winners.
The Mountain West and Conference USA are the big losers in the new college football landscape. Six teams (San Diego State, BYU, Utah, Boise State and TCU) will be lost over two years by the MWC. The Western Athletic Conference might not exist in a couple of years as the MWC fills holes created by the raiding of bigger conferences. Already Fresno State and Nevada join the MWC in 2012.
Conference USA loses Houston and SMU with Tulsa and Memphis being attractive additions for other conferences. East Carolina is already a consideration for the Big East.
It might just be that the whole thing will sort itself out and we will have a de-facto playoff in place.
If the six BS conferences expand and create conference playoffs, then that is 12 teams involved in a “playoff.” We already have 10 teams selected to BS bowls. Suppose you made it eight, with the BS Game the following week. It is already running the season to that point in January anyway. If the proponents of the “plus-one” theory would have their way, another week would be added to the system anyway.
You could have semifinals the week that the BS game is played now, and a true national championship in the week the “plus-one” game would be played. The college bowl tradition is preserved, two extra games of what would obviously be extreme exposure and revenue would be created, and a team would win the title on the field, not in a computer or a poll.
Let us have a true national champion and end the BS.