The Bowl Championship Series used to be the bane of my existence.
The rankings weren’t fair; the bowls were boring, and everyone was clamoring for a playoff system.
I used to follow the herd blindly on the playoff idea, but the more I think about it, the BCS has it mostly right.
While the rankings are still questionable – a two-loss Ohio State is ranked No. 12 by the BCS, but No. 13 in the AP and USA Today polls and TCU, with just one loss, is ranked No. 12 in the AP and USA Today polls, but No. 13 in the BCS – the committee can’t really help that the bowls have been blowouts lately.
Its job is to pick the best teams and put them on the same field. It isn’t its fault that one team just doesn’t show up.
As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20-20. If the bowl committee knew Louisiana State University would have totally decimated “the” Ohio State in last year’s national championship game, they might have given Ohio State’s spot to the University of Southern California or West Virginia, but at the time that game looked like it was going to be a great one.
And if this year’s national title game features the University of Texas and the University of Alabama, it will look like a great game on paper, but if the Longhorns destroy the Crimson Tide, everyone will argue once again that Penn State or USC should have been there.
That leads us to the idea of the playoff system.
The playoffs work great for everything else, but I am slowly becoming a believer in the one-game-to-win-it-all mentality.
Our current system of determining a national champion makes every game in the regular season so much more immensely important.
If Alabama loses one game from here on out, it can kiss the crystal football goodbye. USC might have already done so with its loss on the road at Oregon State.
This system is part of the reason we have so many great regular season games.
The Texas versus Oklahoma game a couple of weeks ago was a great regular season game, mostly because the winner of that game would be the No. 1 team in the nation the next week and have total control of its national title destiny.
But imagine that same game with a playoff system.
These two teams know ahead of time that even if they lose this game, they have a great shot of making an eight-team playoff and these two teams would possibly play again in the second round.
That thought alone might take away some of the intensity of that game.
I would give up a playoff format that will give you seven meaningful games, if it is an eight-team playoff, for every team playing 12 meaningful games over the course of four months. That would lead to the two best teams playing in one more meaningful game to decide it all at the end of the season.