The BCS was more fair than current system
Six years ago, as a junior in college, I took a public speaking class. The twice-a-week course allowed us to brainstorm ideas for a speech on Tuesday, then deliver it on Thursday.
One week, though, the assignment was amped up. For a de facto final exam, we had to write and present two persuasive arguments in the same week. Some of my classmates were dreading this part.
I couldn’t wait to offer my opinions on a pair of topics I was, and still am, passionate about.
My speeches were on why college kids should subscribe to a newspaper and why the Bowl Championship Series is an ideal format for college football.
Neither were all that well-received by the room of 45 students. Even my instructor was awfully dumbfounded.
Some of the feedback from my peers on my speeches included, “I don’t need a newspaper because I get all my news online” and “I think college football needs a playoff system because the BCS is flawed.”
The former is, unfortunately, a strong argument in 2016.
As for the latter, college football fans did get a playoff system.
Though the four-team playoff is much more flawed than the BCS.
I liked the BCS because I felt it was the best way to crown one true champion. Most of the time, the game pitted two undefeated teams against each other.
Thanks to the BCS computer formula, based on three components: USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings, the top two teams were computed. Each component was counted as one-third of a team’s overall BCS score in the BCS Standings.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was fairly accurate.
Most theories against the BCS argued that the only way a definite champion in college football could be determined was with a playoff system. That way, pundits argued, a true champion would be crowned on the field.
Here we are with that system, and the debate continues to rage on.
Choosing the teams for the playoff remains the biggest battle.
With the BCS average scrapped and a committee put in place, the human element is the only thing deciding who plays for a national title.
With the BCS, there were always one or two teams on the outside looking in.
With the College Football Playoff, there are four or five teams on the outside looking in.
With the College Football Playoff, the controversy is more heated than ever.
There are more teams besides Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington who deserve to be the best. However, an eight-team playoff seems out of the question, at least for now.
My biggest concern with the playoff system wasn’t just about deciding who becomes a champion, it was about the 60-some other teams who still get to play another game.
People just don’t seem to care about the games that are not part of the three that are in the playoff.
What makes college football unique has always been the importance of the regular season and the fun aspect of the postseason bowls. With the BCS, there was the national championship game, as well as four other high-profile games that carried a lot of weight nationally.
The Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl have always been legendary and meaningful.
The College Football Playoff still has those bowls, but the meaning behind it just seems different.
Because it is.
Since 2014, the College Football Playoff has been part of the newly dubbed “New Years Six” bowl games. It kept the Fiesta, Sugar, Orange and Rose, while adding the Cotton Bowl and Peach Bowl.
This year, Alabama and Washington will play for the Peach Bowl, while Clemson and Ohio State will play for the Fiesta Bowl. Nobody will claim those as big wins, though, because all that matters this season is who wins the national championship game.
It takes away the meaning of the four other bowl games that are not a part of the playoff.
With the BCS, this wasn’t the case.
Going to a BCS bowl, and the national championship game, meant that a team was a conference champion, or a highly-regarded wild card squad. With the new College Football Playoff, a team doesn’t have to be a conference champion to play for a national title.
See Ohio State.
This has been the second-consecutive season that a Big 12 team was left out of the four playoff spots. As the only conference without a championship game, the Big 12 has established one for the future to its odds of qualifying for the field of four.
But the Buckeyes proved that doesn’t need to be a qualification.
According to a simulation done by Twitter account, @BCSKnowHow, the top four teams were Alabama, Clemson Ohio State and Washington.
Same as the current system.
However, the top two teams by BCS standards were Clemson and Alabama. Meaning, Ohio State wouldn’t have a chance to play for a title, like the Buckeyes do now.
Ohio State has made the playoffs in two of the three years of the current system. Michigan State was the Big Ten representative last season after beating Iowa in the conference’s championship game.
Still, with the Power 5 conferences and only four spots in the playoff, some worthy team from a top conference is going to be left out.
It doesn’t make sense.
What does makes sense, is subscribing to a local newspaper to read these thoughts and rants.
Those college kids should have listed to me six years ago.
(Peaslee is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @HSDTsports)