The BCS fix

In college football on August 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

FedEx BCS National Championship Game - Oklahoma v Florida

After much thought, I’ve come up with three suggestions that would improve the overall FBS college football experience and give non-BCS teams a much better shot at playing for a national championship. I do not support the idea of a national playoff tournament. The basic premise of my new system would essentially be the nuts and bolts of the existing BCS system, but with a few twists. Here are the suggestions:

1. College football teams are no longer allowed to schedule games outside of their subdivision. Yes, this means no more FCS vs. FBS match-ups. According to my research, 86 of the 120 FBS teams will play at least one game against an FCS opponent in 2009. Six of those 86 will play two FCS teams this year. That’ a total of 92 games between subdivisions and that’s just not acceptable. I do understand that for FCS teams, playing FBS teams means big money (as much as a $1 million a game) and losing the ability to play these games would hinder their bottom lines, but enough is enough. FCS teams need to stop watering down major college football and stay in their own sandboxes. They should be content with the fact that they all have a legitimate shot at a national championship . . . in their own subdivision. Besides, I don’t want to see Appalachian State receiving any more votes in the FBS polls. If Michigan had defeated ASU in that fateful game, would the Wolverines have received votes in the FCS poll? Yeah right.

2. Non-conference games must be played between BCS and non-BCS teams. No more USC versus Ohio State or Arizona State versus Georgia. Those games can be played during the bowl season—if we’re so lucky. At the other end of the spectrum, nobody really cares about Troy playing Bowling Green or Nevada going up against Colorado State. This rule change would admittedly create a fair share of David versus Goliath match ups, but we’d also see a lot more BYU’s versus Oklahoma’s and TCU’s versus Virgina’s. Overall it should balance out the college football world. There would only be two exceptions to the rule: 1. Games between traditional rivals are allowed to continue (Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, etc.). Most teams would need just one game, but the service academies (and a couple others), would require two, and 2. Independents will of course be allowed to schedule whomever they want within the FBS.

3. Eliminate automatic BCS bowl berths. Use the current BCS polling system and just simply pick the top ten teams in the final BCS standings to play in the five BCS bowl games. Number one and two would still play for the national championship, while numbers three through ten fill the rest of the BCS bowl lineup. My previous two suggestions would increase the likelihood of non-BCS teams actually being voted as the numbers one or two teams, allowing them to play for a BCS National Championship. Who cares if four of the top ten teams come from the same conference or if two of the top ten come from the Mountain West and WAC? If they end up being perceived as part of the best ten teams in the nation through a combination of human and computer polls, so be it. They will play in a BCS bowl.

Why this makes sense:

1. Most BCS teams have no problem scheduling FCS or even non-BCS FBS teams. They approach it like a pre-season game to help work out the kinks. It does not hurt their strength of schedule because their conference games make up for it. Teams like Liberty, Florida A&M, and Jacksonville State, could be replaced by the likes of Wyoming, Idaho and Tulane—programs that are still perceived to be “scrimmage worthy”, but at least come from within the same subdivision.

2. Non-BCS teams have been no different, scheduling FCS teams to help pad the win column. This however does not help the “fight for equality” cause. Playing Vanderbilt, Washington State or Iowa State would appear to be a step-up in competition compared to Nicholls State, Central Arkansas or Stephen F. Austin.

3. My proposed rules would allow for much more balance between BCS team and non-BCS team schedules. As BCS teams play perceived weaker non-conference schedules and as non-BCS teams play perceived tougher non-conference schedules, the college football world should start to see fairer match ups in BCS bowl games as poll voters and computers recognize head-t0-head, on-field achievement. The pretenders will be exposed and the contenders elevated.

4. Boise State is again being touted as the most likely to bust the BCS this year, according to various media outlets. Let’s take a look at their 2009 schedule. If they get past Oregon in the first game, it’s a very real possibility the Broncos would go undefeated the rest of the way and be ranked high enough to receive a BCS bowl berth. Would they be worthy of a national title shot? Not with their existing schedule. The WAC is already perceived to be weak and with the addition of non-conference opponents Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green, UC Davis, and Tulsa, there’s no way. If we follow my proposed rule changes by eliminating all non-BCS teams and FCS teams from their non-conference schedule, and select BCS teams available on those dates, Boise’s schedule could look like this (amendments in parenthesis):

9/12—(North Carolina)
9/18—at Fresno State
9/26—at (South Florida)
10/14—at (Mississippi) In reality, this would be tricky to reschedule because of the Wednesday date.
10/24—at Hawaii
10/31—San Jose State
11/6—at Louisiana Tech
11/20—at Utah State
12/5—New Mexico St

If Boise went undefeated with the above schedule, do you think they would be playing for a national championship? It would be very difficult to keep them out. On the other hand, if Boise ended up going 9 and 4 with losses to Ole Miss, North Carolina and Oklahoma, we could say they have a solid team, but are still not on equal ground with the big boys. There would be no question where they or any other team stands because the arguments would be settled on the field. At the end of the season the true contenders would rise to the top.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: