I am ecstatic that Texas Tech will not be playing in the Bowl Championship Series. The reason is that, contrary to popular belief, the BCS is not a reflection of the best teams in college football. As Groucho Marx once famously observed, “I don’t care to be part of a club that accepts people like me as members.”
The BCS is instead nothing more than a convoluted system that allows the top two teams to play for the national championship while guaranteeing that certain stake-holder conferences get their chance to feed at the television trough.
The BCS is comprised of 5 bowls: The Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl and BCS National Championship Game, which can only accommodate 10 teams.
Of these ten teams, 2 team play for the national championship, while 4 teams are guaranteed to play in the BCS as champions of their respective conferences.
The champions of certain conferences which are guaranteed participation, regardless of BCS ranking, include the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC.
The four remaining selections are euphemistically described as ‘at-large’ (the word ‘large’ clearly stretching the definition to absurd subjective extremes).
As it currently stands the likely BCS match ups stand as follows (I’ve assigned rankings on current polls or reasonable approximations of rankings based on yesterday’s games):
BCS Rankings and Bowls
1. Oklahoma - BCS National Championship (Automatic Bid)
2. Florida - BCS National Champtionship (Automatic Bid)
3. Texas - Fiesta Bowl (Big 12 representative guaranteed)
4. Alabama - Sugar Bowl (SEC representative guaranteed)
5. USC - Rose Bowl (Pac 10 representative guaranteed)
6. Utah - Sugar Bowl (At Large)
7. Texas Tech - No BCS
8. Penn State - Rose Bowl (Pac 10 representative guaranteed)
9. Boise State - No BCS
10. Ohio State - Fiesta Bowl (At Large)
12. Cincinnati - Orange Bowl
19. Virginia Tech - Orange Bowl (ACC Representative guaranteed)
Guess which two teams seem out of place in these so-called Championship games.
By virtue of the BCS rankings Texas Tech (No. 7) and Boise State (No. 9) are excluded to make room for the juggernauts that would be the (No. 12) Bearcats of the mighty Big East and (No. 19) Hokies of Virginia Tech.
Texas Tech is particularly discriminated against due to a technicality that for some inexplicable reason restricts BCS participation to two teams per conference. This rule unduly punishes teams for doing nothing more than playing in a high caliber conference. Therefore, we are not able to participate in the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.
Furthermore, the BCS does not allow two teams from the same conference to play again in a bowl game which does not decide the national championship. So despite our BCS ranking, Tech loses its chance to play in the Fiesta Bowl in any case and a 10th ranked two-loss team from Ohio State goes instead.
Boise State is excluded because only one team from a non-BCS conference is allowed to be represented in any given year. These conferences include Conference USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt and the WAC. So Utah goes bowling while Boise State stays home despite both teams being undefeated and top 10 members of the BCS.
The next most attractive bowl for Texas Tech is of course the Cotton Bowl, where we have a decided advantage with a huge fan base and opportunity to showcase the team to new recruits in the area. However, I would be disappointed if our opponent winds up being the lowly (unranked) Ole Miss Rebels. I would much rather see a match-up that pits us against fellow also rans (No. 9) Boise State. However, because the Cotton Bowl is also tied to the lecherous conference tie in system, we instead would be obligated to play - as it stands - the fourth best team in the SEC instead of (No 15) Georgia who instead will seek victory in the Capital One Bowl against a mediocre (No. 18) Michigan State team to prove - well absolutely nothing.
The solution to this dilemma in my view is not a play-off. I think the regular season has proven to be a challenging enough process that ultimately reveals who the best teams are. At this point in the season, I don’t need to see (No. 1) OU and (No. 8) Penn State to understand who the better team is. No matter what process you define whether it be the top eight teams, 16 teams or 32 teams there will be some degree of subjectivity – just as there is in the NCAA basketball selection process. Somebody always gets left out.
The regular season is good enough provided that we remove the ridiculous guarantees to the so-called power conferences and the pointless restrictions as I have described above and allow the Top 10 finalists to play in the BCS. At the end of a long season, I think football fans across the country would rather see the 1 versus 2, 3 versus 4, 5 versus 6 and so on. If three of these teams are from the top conference in the country so be it. If two of these teams are from non-BCS conferences so be it. If the possible participation of two or more non-BCS teams proves to be too extreme a suggestion for the BCS powers, then modify the weightings to place more emphasis on victories over BCS conference teams (a measure I think would also force the BCS teams to play better non-conference opponents – ie a loss to a BCS conference team is worth more than a victory over a non-BCS team ranked outside of the BCS top 25).
Does the Orange Bowl really believe it is going to have a ratings bonanza on its hands this year? Give me a break. Let’s not be too disappointed that we won’t be attending a BCS game. With only eight of the top ten teams participating, the current BCS, hardly lives up to it billing. There are two changes which could be made to ensure that 10 of the top 10 teams make the BCS. It’s pretty clear to me what those ought to be.
Perhaps, we can start by changing the BCS to its more simplified initials BS which would be the best and most accurate description of what the process really reflects.
Go Red Raiders.