BCS National Championship 2012: Terrible Ratings Show BCS Got It Wrong

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BCS National Championship 2012: Terrible Ratings Show BCS Got It Wrong
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Let's make one thing clear right off the bat—in my opinion, the two best teams in the country played for the BCS Championship last night.

And that's problem No. 1 with the BCS—it relies far too heavily on opinions.

It's time for the plus-one format in college football (if only because I can't imagine the the lobbyists for the conferences and major bowl games allowing a full-blown playoff right off the bat).

So for a second, let's look at how a plus-one might have played out.

Here's what we know: Oklahoma State beat Stanford, and Alabama beat LSU last night far more handily than LSU beat Alabama in November.

Here's what we don't know: What would happen if LSU played Stanford and, more importantly, what would happen if Alabama played Oklahoma State?

Now after last night's performance, it is hard for me to believe that Oklahoma State could beat Alabama. Then again, Alabama had already played LSU once, had a chance to make adjustments from one game to the next and had revenge on their mind.

And that's problem No. 2 with the BCS: It doesn't give enough teams the opportunity to prove on the field whether or not they are the top team in the nation.

This isn't to say Oklahoma State never had a fair shake to play for the BCS Championship this year. They did, and they blew it when they lost to Iowa State. That loss took their destiny out of their own hands and put it into the hands of the voters, who felt that Alabama was the better team.

But let's put such decisions back on the field. Please. I know this is a tired, cliched, "Oh man, not this again" argument, but college football fans don't like this system. We are done with a non-playoff format, and the ratings reflected that last evening.

That 13.8 number makes this year's BCS Championship the 16th-best rating in BCS historywhich includes non-championship games!—and is the lowest-ranked championship game since the BCS added a fifth bowl, the championship game, in 2006-07.

Ouch.

I have no doubt that an LSU versus Oklahoma State game would have done better ratings for ESPN last night. And that's what sucks about putting everything into one game—when there aren't two undefeated teams at the top of the rankings, do voters choose the team they think is better, or the team that "deserves a shot" and might make for a more exciting matchup?

When the 11 conference commissioners meet today to discuss the future of college football, they'll have to consider a plus-one format or, god forbid, perhaps they'll even discuss an eight- or 16-team playoff.

With a plus-one, voters would still have to make decisions about which teams deserve to be ranked in the top four.

But once they picked the top four teams, we could finally, at long last, see more of our debates about which team is better than another settled on the field.

 

Hit me up on the Twitter—it's the best way to spend the last year of existence.

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