Anybody that knows anything about college football has heard this argument before. College football needs a playoff. For an idea that seemingly so many people agree on, it’s baffling why there is no legitimate talk about instituting a playoff system.
But you know what, I’m not gonna go there, everyone goes there. I understand why the BCS is there. I understand how much money it brings in for these schools. I understand that someone will always be “left out” no matter what way a champion is decided. But there’s one thing I don’t understand.
Why is it that only two schools from a given conference are eligible for the BCS?
Under the “At-Large Eligibility” section of BCS qualification guidelines, it states: “No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections…”
Who came up with that nugget? I just don’t understand how that makes any kind of sense whatsoever. If Notre Dame is ranked in the top 8 in the BCS they automatically qualify for a BCS bowl, yet if a third team from a major conference finishes in the top 8 they, by rule, do not qualify for a BCS bowl. Are you kidding me?
This is an arbitrary rule to make room for lesser teams that happen to win a conference championship, and there is absolutely no better example than what is taking place this season.
In the Big Ten, there are three teams that are currently in the top 8 in the latest BCS standings:
5. Wisconsin (11-1)
6. Ohio State (11-1)
8. Michigan State (11-1)
Under the current system, Michigan State will not be a part of a BCS bowl because they are the lowest ranked of the Big Ten schools eligible for the BCS.
Meanwhile, whoever wins the Big East championship will be at best 9-3 and not even close to the top 8 in the BCS rankings. In fact, guess how many Big East schools are in the top 25 of the BCS? One! West Virginia is 23rd and they likely won’t even win the conference. Currently Connecticut, who is 7-4, controls their own destiny, and will represent the Big East in the BCS if they win this Saturday. An 8-4 school from one of the worst conferences in America will be going to the BCS and Michigan State, at 11-1 will be relegated to the Capital One Bowl.
Not to belabor the point, but any other 8-4 team that is not a conference champion would not even be eligible for a BCS berth. The first two rules under the same at-large guidelines state to be eligible for a BCS bowl a team must fall under the following:
A. Has won at least nine regular-season games, and B. Is among the top 14 teams in the final BCS Standings.
Yeah, Connecticut won’t be close to either of those… but they won the big bad Big East… congratulations.
Bottom line, the BCS is here to stay. The money is just too much to overcome at this point, and until a proposal is offered that will match the revenue made under the current BCS system, a playoff is nothing more than a pipe dream. But if it’s here to stay, let’s make it relevant. Let’s refine some of these rules that don’t put the best teams in the BCS year in and year out. Rewarding independent schools because their name is Notre Dame, or rewarding an 8-4 team because they win a mediocre conference championship is wrong. Reward the teams that do it all year long.