Written by Joe Kleinsasser Thursday, 27 December 2007 04:40
The college bowl season may give Excedrin headaches to many pundits, but not for my agent I.M. Slick.
It’s not that Slick believes the Bowl Championship Series, aka BCS, is a great method for determining a national champion in football, but he believes there’s nothing that contributes more to college football staying in the news than the BCS.
Joe: Another year of college football; another year of controversy.
Slick: Yeah. This is about as good as it gets. It’s in the news all the time.
Joe: I figured that you’d prefer a playoff system to determine a national champion.
Slick: Nope. The messier, the more political and confusing it is, the better it is for college football. Besides, never has there been this much parity. You used to be able to count on the same eight to 10 teams to be in the national championship hunt year after year, but not anymore.
Joe: The two teams playing in the so-called championship game, LSU and Ohio State, hardly support your theory of parity. They are always among the top teams.
Slick: Consider that LSU has lost two games and Ohio State has played a relatively weak schedule and still lost one game. You don’t hear anyone claiming that either is the greatest college football team of all time, and neither might be the best in college football this year. Don’t forget, this is the year that the top teams were getting knocked off on a regular basis. Remember when Appalachian State beat Michigan on their home turf?
Joe: I will agree that there was more unpredictability than usual. But how does the BCS mess support your argument that it’s good for college football? After all, Kansas jumps over Missouri to play in the Orange Bowl even though KU lost to Missouri, and Missouri’s only two losses were to OU. Meanwhile, Hawaii goes unbeaten, but they don’t get as much as a sniff for consideration in the championship game.
Slick: Thanks for making my point. The BCS pairings have always been controversial and will always be controversial.
Joe: Not only that, but there’s no way you can claim the system produces a clear national champion.
Slick: Right again, but you’re also wrong. The BCS is not a system designed to choose a final victor. It is designed to maximize revenue and exposure for the major conferences.
Joe: But don’t you think a playoff system would be fairer?
Slick: Let me ask you a question? Do you think college football would be in the news any more if there were a playoff? What makes you think the colleges dislike the controversy? They’re laughing all the way to the bank already. Under the present bowl system, as many as two or three teams can lay claim to the crown. Unlike the NFL, which ends its season with one huge game and one big victory, the bowl system spreads the feel-good story around to a number of teams, and it allows a large number of teams to end the season with a final victory.
Joe: Sounds a lot like socialism.
Slick: Indeed it is. The NFL has thrived because it shares the wealth and limits how much teams can spend. College football thrives because the big paychecks from the bowl games are shared equally among teams in the major conferences. Hence, everyone’s budget benefits whether or not they play in a bowl game.
Joe: So are you saying the system is perfect?
Slick: Hardly. I think the BCS should expand and offer another set of bowl games that fans would pay to see. I figure a Nebraska and Notre Dame game would draw big ratings.
Joe: Are you crazy? Nebraska’s defense was nearly invisible and Notre Dame had a 3-9 record, losing to Navy and the Air Force, among others. Exactly how does that game fit in the BCS picture?
Slick: Oh, did I forget to say that it would be a different BCS? The game would be part of the Bowl Chump Series.