If you’re wondering what the upside is to the 2012 college football season being over, how about the fact that the 2013 season is the final stanza for the current BCS scheme?
Yes, in a mere 12 months we’ll finally bid farewell to the BCS that came into power in 1998 and welcome the era of the BCS playoff.
Sure, the new mini-playoff plan isn’t exactly “Eureka!”-worthy but surely it’s a step in the right direction in terms of how to determine a true national champion.
As a public service intended to keep everybody on the same page the following slideshow presents 10 games from the 2012 college football season that remind us why we won’t miss the BCS in its present form.
This collection of contests come from different points in the season and from across the nation but they all share a common bond: given the same outcome they would have had a different impact on the campaign without the BCS system.
Even though the Seminoles suffered a second defeat this season to rival Florida in the finale, their loss to NC State on Oct. 6 effectively ended FSU’s quest for a BCS title.
Due to the weakness of the ‘Noles 2012 slate, the single loss ultimately put them, and the entire ACC, out of the title hunt.
But this is a scenario that would have played out differently given a legitimate playoff scheme.
Though the current BCS system definitely makes every game (and loss) count and keeps the regular season interesting all the way to the final whistle, it also prematurely ends the title hopes of teams that could have a shot of making amends for an early loss in a playoff.
What if Florida State really was one of the best teams in the country in 2012?
In considering this question don’t forget that the ‘Noles were, statistically speaking, one of the most balanced teams this season.
To illustrate, Florida State finished the year ranked No. 10 nationally in offensive scoring and No. 6 in scoring defense. Breaking it down further, the Seminoles were No. 40 nationally in passing yards and No. 24 rushing yards meaning that they were far from one dimensional.
The reality is that given the current BCS system we’ll never know how good Florida State was in 2012 and if they were worthy of a shot at a national title.
If you think this all sounds like a bit of reach, consider the fact that if K-State or Oregon would have gone undefeated in 2012 then one of the two would have likely moved on and faced Notre Dame in the BCS championship.
Instead of Alabama.
Of course this all seems pretty silly now that we are all 100 percent sure that Crimson Tide are the best team in college football, even with one loss.
Like Florida State’s loss to NC State, the effect of the Sooners' early loss to K-State is somewhat subdued by a second loss later in the season (in the case of Oklahoma that “other” defeat came to top-ranked Notre Dame).
Again very similarly, the Sooners' defeat at home vs. the Wildcats completely took them out of the hunt for a BCS title and the second loss unexpectedly cost them a deserved spot in the actual BCS celebrations.
The Sooners' loss to K-State reminds us that we won’t miss the current BCS scheme in precisely the same way that Florida State’s loss to NC State does.
Good team loses early game and is no longer considered title-worthy.
But, the huge exception in the case of Oklahoma vs. that of Florida State is that the Sooners lost an early game not to an unranked team but to a then-No. 15 Kansas State team that finished the season ranked No. 5 in the final BCS standings.
So basically, this “quality” loss (if there is such a thing) and then a defeat at the hands of then No. 5-ranked Notre Dame team somehow cost Oklahoma a shot at a BCS bowl.
No matter how far Northern Illinois climbed the charts, it makes no sense that the Big 12’s No. 2, 10-win Sooners would be left out of the big dance in deference for the MAC champ.
The upside of Stanford’s win over Oregon on Nov. 17 was that it led to the Cardinal’s first Pac-12 title since 1999 and their first Rose Bowl win since 1972.
The downside is that not only did it knock the Ducks out of the conference championship race, it also cost the Pac-12 a shot at a national title.
Oregon’s loss meant that the league wouldn’t be represented in the BCS title game (unless it remained unscathed and every other team in the hunt finished with one loss), a scenario that could have been avoided with a playoff.
Indeed, given the way the BCS standings actually finished, a mini-playoff would have had Oregon facing Notre Dame for one spot in the title game while Alabama and Florida squared off for the second spot.
In the real world, Oregon’s loss to Stanford meant that they were relegated to playing a good K-State team in a great Fiesta Bowl matchup that basically meant nothing.
The Ducks are another squad that left you wondering this year: was their offense good enough to win a national championship in 2012?
Well, we’ll never know the answer to that question and it’s all due to a loss to a scrappy Stanford team.
One of the key elements of the current BCS scheme that surely won’t be missed by the college football nation that does not have a horse in the Big East race is that the Big East won’t have an AQ bid.
Yes, almost every year we wonder how the low-ranked Big East champ (often decided by a three-way tiebreaker) can claim a bid to the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl while quality teams, ranked higher, from power conferences play in the Capital One or Cotton Bowls.
And since the 2012 meeting between Louisville and Rutgers basically decided which Big East team would go to the BCS, we’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s just the type of game that reminds us why we won’t miss the BCS in its current form.
While you absolutely have to give Louisville credit for punching its ticket to the Sugar Bowl and then shocking No. 3 Florida 33-23, this is still the team that lost to unranked Syracuse and UConn (in triple overtime) before beating Rutgers to go to the BCS.
And let’s add fuel to the fire by pointing out that 10-2 Louisville (remember the losses) went to the BCS instead of 10-2 Georgia, 10-2 LSU, 10-2 Texas A&M, 10-2 South Carolina, 10-2 Oklahoma and 10-2 Clemson.
Which leads us to say we also won’t miss the BCS rule that limits conferences to a maximum of two BCS representatives—that is if it really goes away.
Another aspect of today’s BCS that won’t be missed is the way that teams are penalized for earning their way to conference title games and then losing.
And 2012 is no exception to this rule.
To illustrate, Georgia lost to Alabama in the final seconds of this season’s SEC title game and instead of earning a spot in the BCS Sugar Bowl the Bulldogs were relegated to the Capital One Bowl to face No. 16 Nebraska.
In the meantime, No. 3 Florida, a team which sat home on the Saturday of the SEC title game because it didn’t win the SEC East, ascended to the BCS by not playing in the championship game.
Sure, the Bulldogs could have gone to the national title game if they would have won, but how in the world does the second-best team in the SEC (by virtue of winning their division and losing the title game), become deemed the third-best team in the conference by a flawed BCS system?
This scenario, which has played itself out numerous times over the history of the current BCS, is a huge reason why we won’t miss the BCS.
If we ever really had a comprehensive playoff system in college football, one that ousted the BCS and truly did honor conference champions, the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl would never happen.
First and foremost, this year’s Las Vegas Bowl was one of the better games to watch and featured two quality opponents in Boise State and Washington, but that’s not the whole story when we’re talking BCS.
Yes, if the current BCS really went away, then when Boise State wins the Mountain West (with no losses or a couple) then it earns a spot in the BCS playoff and then, and only then, can we finally see if it really can compete for a national title.
They can play their way there, not be ranked by a computer or voted on by a coach.
Anything short of this is selling college football and teams like Boise State short.
Though you have to give Northern Illinois credit for its 12-1 streak through the regular season and its totally unprecedented No. 15 ranking in the final BCS rankings, the Huskies' Orange Bowl berth was fraught.
Did Northern Illinois deserve to go to the big BCS dance?
Technically speaking, yes, they did, but from a bigger picture perspective the Huskies' ascendency to college football’s exclusive postseason club oozes with reasons not to miss the current BCS scheme.
First, you’ve got the Oklahoma approach, which questions a 12-1 team from the MAC trumping the candidacy of a 10-2 squad from the Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten or ACC.
Next, what does it really mean when the Huskies go to the BCS dance?
Indeed, what has Northern Illinois earned rather than a piece of the money pie for itself and its conference, and then a shot to play giant killer and win a meaningless title?
Of course the flip side of this is that for Florida State, a squad that also earned its way to the top of the postseason, they now have to win big or look horrible.
For the Seminoles, the 2012-13 Orange Bowl was not about validating a season well played with a win over another college football giant; it was about trying to survive without embarrassing themselves on national TV.
Where is the glory in either of those scenarios?
If we really want to see if the MAC can compete at the top level of college football, give them something to actually compete for.
Seriously, throwing the occasional invitation down from the BCS throne in the direction of the MAC, C-USA, WAC, MWC or Sun Belt is in reality a bit of a slap in the face, not a favor.
If college football was truly equitable the MAC champ would be let in the BCS to compete its way into the national championship, not for a futile trophy and a “you should just be happy to be here” title.
The 2012-13 Fiesta Bowl was jam packed with spectators and the game itself was compelling and worth watching.
But, and to be somewhat repetitive, what did it really mean that Oregon beat a very good K-State team in the Fiesta Bowl?
This game, and in reality all the other BCS bowls, made us realize that we won’t miss the current system because it is meaningless.
Given the mini-playoff due in 2014, this year’s field would have left K-State out at No. 5 in the final BCS standings but Oregon would have been in it to win it and playing No. 2 Notre for a chance to advance to the final.
But think about it: the Ducks didn’t even win their division this season, yet they’re playing in the BCS in 2012. And had the year been 2014 they’d be squaring off for a national title.
This entire line of thought and the new system that was advertised as “honoring conference champions” makes us realize that as much as we’ll not miss the current BCS scam, what’s coming next is far from the complete fix.
At this point it’s difficult not to be at least somewhat repetitive as each of the arguments for each of these games making us not miss the BCS build upon one another.
What’s unique regarding the 2012-13 Sugar Bowl which featured Florida vs. Louisville is that it captures about as many reasons as one game could.
It’s a bit of an “ultimate package” scenario in terms of reasons why we’re ready for the BCS as we know it to be no more.
First, you’ve got the runner-up from the SEC East division, which oddly has a No. 3 ranking, facing the Big East co-champion, which is ranked No. 2,1 after barely beating Rutgers and dropping games to Syracuse and UConn (which won two league games this season).
Next, you’ve got that fact that Louisville’s huge victory, which was huge, means absolutely nothing other than the palpable momentum it has built going into 2013 and then into the ACC in 2014.
So, it’s two teams that arguably shouldn’t be competing at the highest level competing for nothing.
Though the Irish were duly exposed by Alabama in this season’s not-so-compelling national title game, the BCS was equally uncovered in the championship.
Indeed, we know now that the Crimson Tide can whip up on Notre Dame, but still it leaves us wondering how good are the other one- or even two-loss teams in the country?
Think about this: if Oregon or K-State had managed to go undefeated this season, then suddenly Alabama sits out of the title game (and perhaps Notre Dame does as well).
Now, not only are the Tide not best team in the nation, they don’t even get a chance to prove it because they’re in the Sugar Bowl playing Louisville.
Furthermore, if we are honoring conference champions in the BCS perhaps it's Stanford, Florida State, K-State, Wisconsin, Louisville or even Tulsa, Boise State, Northern Illinois, Arkansas State or Utah State that should have had a shot.
Without a playoff the BCS championship, a matchup decided by a magical combination of computer matriculations and human votes, is inherently flawed.
Indeed, the 2012-13 BCS title game makes us sure we won’t miss the current BCS because pretending like there is any validity to plucking a mere two teams from a field of 124 to solely wear the label “championship caliber” is ludicrous.
We will not miss the BCS.
We will not miss it in the fall,
We will not miss it in the mall.
We will not miss it on TV,
We will not miss it with Chablis,
We will not miss the BCS,
We will not miss it CBS.