Today marks the second week of the 2003 Bowl Championship Series rankings. The BCS has taken a load of criticism over the years, and while some is deserved, the much maligned system is not all bad.
Yes, it would be nice to see a playoff added to Division 1-A football, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The BCS conferences have all the power and like the bowl system and its financial benefits the way it is.Each team in last year’s Orange, Rose, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls made $14.3 million. The most any non-BCS conference school saw was the $1.37 million Liberty Bowl payout.
The BCS was created for one reason – to see the best two teams in the nation play for the national championship. It has accomplished just that.
Last year’s Ohio State – Miami contest would have been impossible without the BCS in place because as Big Ten champions, Ohio State would have been obligated to play Washington State in the Rose Bowl.The Buckeyes and Hurricanes could have both easily remained undefeated and split the national championship.
However, split championships are un-American. Not having a playoff and letting a computer pick title contenders is also un-American but not as reprehensible as a split title.
I will not pretend the BCS hasn’t produced some laughable results like Nebraska’s entry into the 2001 title game against Miami, but everyone ahead of Nebraska in the polls lost late in the season.
The bottom line is this – win all of your games and you will play for the national championship . unless you play in a non-BCS conference.That is inherently unfair, and the smaller schools have taken the battle to Congress and the courts.
The conference shuffleboard that started with Miami, Virginia Tech, and now Boston College leaving the Big East and more recently saw Utah State and New Mexico State leave the Sun Belt for the Western Athletic Conference could end up leveling the competitive landscape.
As the major conferences consolidate, teams will need to look outside of the BCS to schedule opponents. There are only so many Sun Belt teams to play, so the stronger mid-major conferences like the Mid-American Conference and Conference-USA will get more chances at the big powerhouse teams that were able to avoid them before.
I suspect we will be seeing a lot more teams perform the way Northern Illinois has in the near future.
Hakimu Davidson, 23, is a graduate business student from Washington, D.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.