Ask any sports fan what the month of March means, and they’ll answer with two words: March Madness (if they’re a fan of Dick Vitale, they may add the word “Ba-BY!”)
The NCAA college basketball tournament is the most exciting playoff tournament in all of sports. 68 teams battle it out to determine the best team in college basketball. Which #1 seeds will make it to the Final Four? Which David will upset the Goliaths? Will your office bracket hold up? So many things go hand in hand to keep NCAA basketball on everybody’s mind for an entire month!
Why won’t college football follow suit?
Look around in March and notice how many people are filling out brackets, talking about upsets, and immersing themselves in the tournament (a controversial study estimates that over 8.4 million work hours will be lost during the three weeks of the NCAA Basketball Tournament). Listen as a co-worker talks about how his team advanced on a buzzer beater. Laugh when you see a girl make fun of her boyfriend for having a better bracket though she picked teams solely on uniform colors (this has actually happened to me). A tournament in football could surely garner the same kind of energy and buzz.
The business of college athletics (no matter what schools try to tell you, college athletics IS a business) is to keep fans interested. That’s where they get their revenue (more interest in the school means more TV time, means more ad revenue, means $$). How many fans lose interest in college football in the month between the season ending and the Bowl games beginning? This guy sure does.
But what about the players in all this?
The BCS makes every game the equivalent of a playoff game. If a team loses a single one, their chances of going to the National Championship Game are all but washed away. Football is a hard-hitting game. People get hurt. Should potentially the best team in college football lose their chance at a national title because a player may have gotten hurt, costing their team a game?
Some BCS supporters argue that a bowl game can be a moral victory of sorts. They didn’t win it all, but at least they won something. These are adults, and they’re athletes who have been competing their entire lives. They know how it feels to lose, and that’s what makes winning so sweet. A victory in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl is the equivalent of a “Participation Award” ribbon. Boise State (ranked #7 in the country) isn’t going to feel good about beating 6-6 Arizona State when they would have been in the national championship discussion had a single field goal not been wide right.
The BCS is a broken system. It keeps championship caliber teams from even having a chance to play for it. There’s no discernible reason that Oklahoma State doesn’t get a shot at the title this year (other than they finished .008 points behind Alabama in some computer algorithm). The BCS is a dream crusher, and it needs to be stopped.