Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughts on the BCS

One of the biggest criticisms of the BCS system is that a championship should be decided on the field and not in the polls and computer rankings. In a recent column writer Ivan Maisell makes the point the college football champion is decided on the field. In response to an email complaining that Florida and USC are currently playing better than anyone and it is unfair they will not have an opportunity to play for the National Championship Maisell responses:

"I happen to agree with this reader that the Gators and the Trojans are playing better than just about anybody else right now. The reader suggested Florida and USC ought to be able to decide it -- all together now -- on the field."

"Back up a minute. Why aren't Florida and USC at the top right now? Each of them lost a game. Where did they lose it? In the polls? The computers? No, both of them lost on the field. Florida lost at home to an Ole Miss team that is 5-4. USC lost on the road to an Oregon State team that is 5-3. Didn't that prove something?"

In these two paragraphs Maisell makes a very good point. Polls and computers are not the reason that Florida and USC or Texas and Oklahoma face huge hurdles if they are going to play for the title. The reason Penn State, Alabama, and Texas Tech sit on top of the rankings is because those teams have taken care of business on the field. Texas has no one but itself to blame for losing to Texas Tech. Ditto for USC at Oregon State and Oklahoma against Texas. The BCS is far from a perfect system but to claim the national title is subjective and not decided on the field is wrong.

There is no doubt the BCS is flawed. Some teams play more difficult schedules than others and some conferences do not have championship games. Only a fan with blind loyalty would not admit the Big XII and SEC are loaded while the PAC 10, Big X, ACC, and Big East are weak. But that doesn't take away from the fact that when the season starts each team controls its own destiny. Win games and be in a position to play for the title.

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