Inequities and Solutions
By Elliot Schwartz (Guest
Every now and then in the
world of sports, something happens which compels me to write articles. Thank goodness, Adam was kind enough to
allow me to place my thoughts here at the WIS Insider.
This weekend, we bore
witness to sheer chaos in the world of Division 1A college football. During the week leading up to the games
this past weekend, the so-called experts were asked what would happen if USC
were to lose to UCLA. They all said
pretty much the same things. “USC will never lose to UCLA. Pete Carroll is 20-0 in November
(forgetting that the game was played in December); USC has scored 20+ points in
63 straight games. UCLA is a
marginal team at best, and Pete Carroll will have the Trojans ready for
UCLA. But if they do lose, it will
be a free for all!!” Well…. Florida was the recipient of the free ticket
to the BCS Championship game to play the Ohio State Buckeyes. Everyone who watches or takes an
interest in college football is almost uniformly in agreement that the BCS does
not work. Well, it works… sometimes. My analogy is that it works like a
broken clock. It will be right when
the situations surrounding it allow it to be right. Then and only then will it be
right. So, a broken clock will be
right for 2 minutes of a 1440 minute day, and the BCS will be right when there
are exactly, and I mean EXACTLY two unbeaten teams from
major conferences or when there are EXACTLY two 1 loss teams from major
conferences. Other than that…. Welcome controversy.
Let’s look into the history
of the BCS, shall we? The BCS was
brought into existence after the 1997 season. In January 1998, Michigan & Nebraska
were both undefeated with Michigan holding the
#1 spot in the polls over Nebraska. Michigan squeaked past Washington State in the Rose Bowl, while Nebraska crushed Tennessee 42-17 in the Orange Bowl. The coaches (in a seeming tip of the cap
to retiring Tom Osborne) voted Nebraska #1 in
the coaches’ poll, while the writers maintained Michigan atop the AP poll. After that turn of events, you can
understand why everyone was in favor of the BCS. In theory, at least. The BCS was supposed to clarify
and define the champion of NCAA Football.
But in this, the 9th season of the BCS, there have been more
split decisions than unanimous ones.
In the first BCS championship game, undefeated Tennessee played and beat Florida State 23-16. However, there were three other 1-loss
teams who could have staked claim to play in the national championship game:
Kansas State, UCLA & Ohio State. The #4 Buckeyes beat up on #6 Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl, while UCLA & Cade
McNown lost to #9 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. #3 Kansas State
was not even invited to a BCS game, while #15 Syracuse lost in the Orange Bowl to Florida. Not such a great start, but
believe me… it gets worse. Two years later, Oklahoma completed a perfect season, beating Florida State 13-2 in the National Championship
game. Again, there was more than
one 1-loss team to face mighty OU.
In fact one of the 1 loss teams (Miami)
actually BEAT Florida State. But somehow, the BCS ignored that fact
and allowed Florida State into the National Championship
Game. So what happened to the other
two 1-loss teams that season, you ask?
Miami ripped Florida 37-20, and Washington beat up Purdue 34-24 in the Sugar
and Rose Bowl respectively. Want
more? Here we
The next year, Miami was the dominant
team. They went into the
Championship game undefeated. They
went up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Nebraska came into the game sort of on a
low. I mean they were clobbered by
the Big 12 Championship game.
was another 1 loss team who thought they should have a chance to play “The
U”. But Colorado with TWO LOSSES incredibly was ranked ahead of
Oregon as well
in the BCS. So, Nebraska lost by 23 to Miami, while Oregon rolled
in the Fiesta Bowl. Jump ahead two
seasons… USC finishes the regular
season ranked #1 in both the Coaches and AP polls. However, they are not included in the
BCS National Championship game.
classic. LSU plays Oklahoma, and beats them 21-14, while USC beats Michigan 28-14 in the
Rose Bowl and is anointed National Champion. No one (except for some players and
family at LSU) even remembers that USC did not win the BCS National Championship
that season. The next season,
through the entire SEC schedule unblemished. BUT…. They were ranked third behind two other
undefeated teams in USC & Oklahoma.
And they watched USC dismantle Oklahoma 55-19. Now, we have Gator-gate.
My father always told me not
to complain about something, and bring up a problem unless you have a
solution. So, here is my
solution. We have a playoff system
instituted (I know… original). But this system is a little different,
and would allow for many things that most other proposed systems would not allow
I think we should keep the
BCS ranking system. It will give us
the foundation for the seedings in the playoff system. We take the top 10 teams in the BCS
rankings, and the two highest ranked teams in the coaches’ poll who are not in
the top 10 of the BCS as wildcards to fill out brackets. So, the top 10 of the BCS rankings this
season are: Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, LSU,
USC, Louisville, Wisconsin, Boise State, Auburn & Oklahoma. The two teams most highly ranked by the
coaches poll who are not in the top 10 of the BCS standings are Notre Dame &
West Virginia. Those would be the
12 teams in the BCS National Championship playoffs. The only controversy might be that
Arkansas was the #12 BCS team and West Virginia #13 BCS team, and we got West Virginia into the
playoff based on the coaches’ wildcard.
Hardly a controversy at all.
The top 4 teams (Ohio
State, Florida, Michigan
& LSU) get byes into the second weekend. Teams 5-12 face off in 4 games. There will be 11 total playoff games
over 23 days. The playoff games
would be actual bowl games, so the bowls as we know them stay in
The first weekend’s games
would be the (All former bowl names in parenthesis): Champs Sports Bowl (Tangerine Bowl),
Liberty Bowl, Alamo Bowl & Chick-Fil-A Bowl (Peach Bowl). They are played 2 on December
9th and 2 on December 10th. These bowls rotate which matchup they
host. In year 1 the Liberty Bowl
would host the 5-12 matchup, then 6-11, then 7-10, then 8-9 and so on. So this year, West Virginia would play
USC in the Champs Sports Bowl, Notre Dame would face Louisville in the Liberty
Bowl, Oklahoma & Wisconsin face off in the Alamo Bowl, while Auburn &
Boise State tangle in the Peach Bowl (I cant call it that other silly
name). I will call the winners
(since it is my column, I can do that.)
USC 33 West Virginia 16, Notre Dame 29 Louisville 24, Oklahoma 20
Wisconsin 10, Auburn 38
State 20. So, with those results now in, #5 USC,
#9 Auburn, #10 Oklahoma & #11 Notre Dame advanced to the
The next weekend’s games
would be the Capital One Bowl (Citrus Bowl), Cotton Bowl, Gator Bowl &
Fiesta Bowl. The games take place 2
on December 16th and 2 on December 17th. The matchups rotate like in the previous
round’s games. #1 Ohio State takes
on #11 Notre Dame in the Capital One Bowl, #2 Florida takes on #10 Oklahoma in
the Cotton Bowl, #3 Michigan takes on #9 Auburn in the Gator Bowl, and #4 LSU
takes on #5 USC in the Fiesta Bowl.
State’s 38-13 drubbing of
Notre Dame, they advance.
Florida makes all kinds of mistakes, but
on a bad officiating call (sorry OU fans…
had to do that) 21-20.
Michigan & Auburn fight to the death, but Michigan comes out with a
hard fought 20-17 win. USC beats
The next weekend’s games
would be the Orange Bowl & the Sugar Bowl. The games take place one each on
December 23rd and 24th. Ohio State
would play USC in the Orange Bowl, while Florida and Michigan tangled in the Sugar Bowl in
Nawlins. Ohio State beats USC 34-19 to get to the
Championship game, while……
I’ll let you guys decide whether Florida
should get to the Championship game.
Just know that the
Championship game will always be the grand daddy of them all. It will always be the Rose Bowl. And it will always be on New Years
Day. And it will always be for all
the marbles. I know that playoff
systems are thought of for college football all the time, but this system allows
for the continuation of the BCS to mean something, and allows the bowls to still
rake in all the money, and we still finish ON TIME. I cannot see a loser here. Oh yeah…. Controversy. It loses. Completely.