The NCAA is a flawed organization, and the fruits of its spineless labor were on full display Saturday afternoon as TCU, the powerhouse of the seemingly powerless Mountain West Conference, embarrassed Baylor, the doormat of the Big 12, beating them 45-10 in a game that was never close.
With the victory, TCU is rolling. Quarterback Andy Dalton set a school record for passing efficiency, going 21-23 for 267 yards, and running back Ed Wesley gained 165 yards on only a handful of carries. The Frogs look ready to run the table for the second year in a row. But even an undefeated season and a Mountain West Championship won’t guarantee a berth in a BCS bowl game for the Frogs.
But as bad as Baylor looked Saturday, miracles can happen and seasons do turn around, so depending on how the chips fall, the Bears could lose up to three more games and still have a chance to win the Big 12 Championship, which would earn them an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game.
This is the unjust college football world we live in. NCAA Division I football is the most popular and most profitable college sport, yet it is the only sport to not crown a champion with a playoff system.
Yes, the NCAA sits in Indianapolis and promotes the values of scholarship and character and sportsmanship. It champions the betterment of student-athletes and places an emphasis on protecting their amateur status, but in the end, when it comes to crowning the champion of the one sport that brings in more money and exposure than any other, the NCAA holds no power and takes no action.
Determining the national champion has always been in the hands of voters. Somewhere along the line, the crazy notion of actually playing it out on the field in a playoff setup never came up.
The system of using a poll to crown a champion eventually evolved into the Bowl Championship Series, where two teams 8212; decided by voters of course 8212; play each other in a “championship” game. This system has been better than nothing, but the only problem is that it’s an elitist setup. Only teams from six conferences 8212; the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac 10 and Big East 8212; are eligible to gain an automatic bid to one of the BCS bowl games, and only the teams from those six conferences are given a legitimate shot at making the BCS National Championship game. Teams outside those six conferences have to go undefeated and catch a break to have a chance to make either of those games.
The Horned Frogs field-wiping victory over Baylor, a BCS conference school, only further proved the mindlessness of the NCAA’s stand-and-watch methods of operation. When the Southwest Conference disbanded in the mid-1990s, TCU could have very easily been the team selected to join the Big 12 instead of Baylor. But because of sheer politics, the fates of two football programs were set, Baylor was immediately grouped with the elite, while TCU fell into the category of lower-tier, non-BCS programs.
Over a decade later, Baylor still hasn’t been to a bowl game, TCU continues to win and the NCAA has yet to implement a playoff system. But if Saturday’s game did anything, it proved to the rest of the country and to the high-ups of the NCAA that the decision to let Baylor in and leave TCU out of the BCS elite was dead wrong.
Ryan Osborne is a freshman journalism major from Lawton, Okla.