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Pro-BCS: Giving College Football Players Something to Play For

2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions – UConn, lost 30% of their games entering the post season and finished tied for 9th place in their own conference. 2011 NCAA Football Champion – Auburn, on the other hand, went undefeated. As in, ZERO losses.

Which sounds a champion to you?

Which sport sounds like the regular season mattered?

I like the BCS (Bowl Championship Series). I know I’m in the minority, but I do. Is it perfect? Of course not, especially with Oklahoma State being the most recent winner of the “we got screwed” award. But college football is special. To be the NCAA BCS Champion means you were an elite team from start to finish. Not “pretty good” or “got hot at the right time,” but ELITE. No other sport can say that. March Madness, as great as it is, dominates college basketball interest, relegates the regular season to second-tier status, and makes the sport nationally relevant for only about 3 weeks.

Conversely, college football is life and death for 4 months. Every. Single. Game. It has the last great regular season, which harkens back to the old days of sports where the only the two best teams over the course of a season were given the honor to play for the championship.

Rose Bowl

I was psyched when my Illini made it to the Rose Bowl with a 9-3 record!

Over time, other sports added more playoff games to create more excitement, and so more teams (read: markets) had meaningful games to play late in the season. But college football is not those other sports; it is already a thrill ride. The regular season IS the playoffs. But the best part is that not only the national champion contenders still have something to play for. A few years ago, the stars aligned and my Illinois Fighting Illini (who most likely will never contend for a championship) shocked everyone and made it to the Rose Bowl with a 9-3 record. I was beyond excited. I couldn’t care less that it wasn’t for the championship. Making the Rose Bowl (Or the other BCS bowls – Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar) is a BIG deal. It comes with prestige, the national spotlight, a recruiting advantage, and millions of dollars for the team and conference. If this was college basketball, they would have been a ho-hum 4 or 5 seed. They don’t put “2007 4-Seed” on T-shirts, but you better believe they make them for the Rose Bowl. I have mine.

So let’s say a tournament is added. Does it really solve the problem of who got screwed? Not really. With a 4 team tournament, the 5th team is complaining. With an 8-team version, the 9th is complaining, and so on. Then every team you add further dilutes the importance of the regular season by making it easier to get in. I just don’t see a perfect solution.

So I ask you, why should we do any harm to the most compelling regular season in existence for just a new round of problems? What’s your stance on the Bowl Championship Series?

Stay tuned later this afternoon when Alex takes on the opposing viewpoint: Anti-BCS.

 Image credit to jblackburn.


Jeff Porretto

Recently dethroned as the shortest member of the blogsquad, Jeff considers himself to be an artist in all facets of life. Be it playing or building guitars, writing blogs with scathing dry wit, or simply finding new ways to be productive, creativity is a central focus of his day. More than anything, Jeff likes to spend time at home with his wife and 2 dogs quietly enjoying their time together. As with many other members of the blog squad, Jeff is fascinated by the latest and greatest technologies. He is also a self-professed Air Jordan addict and is willing to talk about shoes at any time. You can connect with Jeff on Google+.

Comments

  1. amy

    Do I get points for watching that Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State game in November??? My dad is an alum of ISU and therefore was ecstatic at the results LOL.

    A great post, Jeff! As someone who never really thought about this before, I can’t wait to hear Alex’s post and make a well-informed opinion.

    • JPorretto

      Points awarded! That single game is what kept Oklahoma State out of the championship game. I felt bad for them though because they played that on the same day their Women’s basketball coaches died in a plane crash. So who knows what effect that had on them?

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    YAY SPORTS.

    …that’s seriously just about all I got out of this.

    • Cybernetic SAM

      I am with Mandy on this one, not really sure what to say I will take your word for it. Good post though! :)

      • JPorretto

        Well if you’re just going to take my word for it…. I’m 100% right and the smartest man alive!!! =]

  3. Doc

    I couldn’t agree more, Jeff. But we are definitely in the minority on this issue. Two examples of why college football has it right:

    1). The LSU-Alabama game played in early November was the most watched regular season college game in years. 20 MILLION PEOPLE watched that game. There has never been a college basketball game to get that kind of rating outside of March Madness. This is because the regular season is SO important to college football and every game draws that kind of interest.

    2).With high ratings, comes tons of advertising money. For over a year, we’ve been witnessing schools sell themselves out to get a large payday from a major conference. This conference re-alignment has been driven solely on the football programs each school has to offer. WHY? Because football has all the advertising money from the major networks. Basketball is an afterthought when it comes to TV money from networks. This is because 20 million people stayed home on a Saturday night to watch a regular season college football game. Ratings = $$$$ and money is what drives college sports (even if the NCAA tries to tell us otherwise).

    Great post, Jeff!!!

    • JPorretto

      Thanks! I know it’s not perfect. I don’t like the exclusivity of the BCS, or the extreme favoritism towards major conferences, but it’s soooo much better than yet another boring season. Where even the “big” games mean relatively little.

  4. Anti-BCS: College Football Playoff Payoff

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  5. Brian

    Well Jeff I gotta agree with you on this one. As you know, college football seasons are considerably short. Most teams only play between 12-13 games a season. This places a heavy emphasis on each game, which I believe makes football our most popular sport. Unlike in the NFL, where teams can finish 10-6 and make the Super Bowl (i.e. 2010 Packers!!), there is a heavy emphasis on perfection throughout the NCAA regular season. LSU finished 13-0 and were the only undefeated team in the nation, beating many good schools including Alabama and Oregon.

  6. Jenna Markowski

    SPORTS.

    I know close to nothing about professional sports, let alone college-level, and I can barely tell the difference between the Rose Bowl and a bowling ball, but nevertheless you make a compelling argument!

    I do think that it’s good that outside of the championship the other teams are given the opportunity to compete for some sort of title, that way a whole year of playing isn’t deemed completely pointless for all but one team. Then again, if these guys are essentially playing in order to be recruited to the NFL, shouldn’t the season be played the same way as the NFL? As far as I know there’s only one winner there. Maybe college guys should brace themselves for the real world? But who am I to judge — like I said, I know nothing about sports so feel free to dismiss my opinion, hah.

  7. Jen

    OMG Jeff!!! This is the best post I’ve ever read!!! GREAT JOB!!!! I love college sports!!!!

  8. david k waltz

    Jeff,

    I am one of the minority as well. I like the college bowl system and do not want to see it replaced.

    Part of this is personal experience. My wife and I went to the Citrus Bowl one year to see my team play. It was the first time that I had seen them since moving to Chicago. It was a great time, hearing the band play the fight song, the pre-game and post-game activities, and a couple of days in Orlando to boot – Disney, Universal, minature golf, etc.

    Would we have gone if it was the quarter-finals? No. Would I have felt as good about the season if they had won and gone on to lose the semi’s? No.

    The bowl system allows 50% of the fans to go home on a winning note, as opposed to the NCAA, where 63 teams’ fans go home on a losing note. In this way it is a lot more democratic. Life is way to complex to assign undisputed superiority to any team, no matter the sport. Injuries, weather, travel, domestic situations all impinge on the game.

    Would Ohio State have won the championship against Miami if McGahee had not been injured in the first half? We will never know, but winning the championship does not necessarily mean you were the best team.

    • JPorretto

      I’m starting to think we may not be the minority after all. I think the minority just might be really vocal! How great is it to have a positive end to the season and a reason to be excited?!

      I remember that McGahee injury. Gruesome. Injuries are just an unfortunate part of EVERY game that alter everything. Whether its in a bowl game or the NCAA tournament, a key injury can ruin your season like nothing else.

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