|The Proposed Marriage of the BCS and a Playoff Format|
By Alex Giles
Date: November 19, 2002
Naturally, when people talk about revamping the BCS, the leading alternative is some sort of playoff format since College Football is the only major sport that does not employ a bracket type finish to its season. While there have been several proposals that would accomplish such a Playoff format, all appear to completely discard the current BCS system. In doing so, proponents of these playoff alternatives lack the diplomacy necessary to sell the idea as they fail to factor in the legacy and importance of the major bowls, which ultimately ends up being the death nail of any such proposal. Therefore, any modification to the BCS to incorporate a playoff system has be exactly that - a modification, and not an outright dismantling of the current system.
For all of the real and/or perceived deficiencies of the BCS, it really isn't a bad system. For the most part, the BCS does an exceptional job in utilizing the AP and Coaches polls, the computer polls, a team's strength of schedule, deductions for quality wins, and so on, to identify the best 15 teams in the country. In fact, I am not aware of any BCS-bashers that would honestly disagree with this conclusion...most likely because they have never been asked to comment on that particular issue. When you consider the effectiveness of the BCS, however, no one currently judges the BCS on its ability to identify the top 15 teams, rather the BCS is judged on its ability to identify the top 2 teams at season's end. Unfortunately, that's where the BCS' problems lie.
The 2000 and 2001 seasons are prime examples. In 2000, the BCS ranked Oklahoma #1 and Florida State #2 at season's end, despite the fact that Miami was ranked #2 in both the AP and the Coaches poll and had beaten the Seminoles during the regular season. Likewise, in 2001, the BCS ranked Miami #1 and Nebraska #2 at season's end, despite the fact that Oregon was ranked #2 in both polls. This year, once again, it is conceivable that College Football and the BCS will face the possibility that there is no clear-cut, undefeated #1 and #2 team at the end of the season, and will be forced to select among a handful of teams with one loss that can all make convincing arguments why they should be deemed one of the top two teams in the country and be invited to play in the National Championship game... More