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Colin Kaepernick: How the BCS System Almost Kept Him out of the NFL

Colin Kaepernick: How did we miss this guy?
Colin Kaepernick: How did we miss this guy?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Michael PatmasCorrespondent IIIJanuary 23, 2013

The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away and by now, everyone knows who Colin Kaepernick is. The meteoric rise of the San Francisco 49er QB has caught experts and fans alike by surprise. At the start of the season, few would have imagined Kaepernick would take over the starting role, beat Brees, Brady and Rodgers (setting records in the process) and lead San Francisco into the Super Bowl.

In fact, only two years ago, it wasn't even clear he would be drafted. Most draft experts had him going in the late rounds, if at all. Despite a record-setting career at Nevada as the most prolific dual-threat QB in NCAA history, Kaepernick was largely ignored. It really wasn't until late in his senior year when he led the Wolf Pack over Boise State in a stunning come-from-behind win that he started to get serious national attention

How is it that astonishing talent escaped detection for so long? How did the "experts" miss him? The answer, I believe, is the seriously flawed BCS system. 

As configured, the BCS system results in much more media exposure for AQ (automatic qualifying) conferences. Small media-market programs from non-AQ conferences, such as the Western Athletic Conference, simply don't get the same degree of exposure or prime-time television coverage. As a result, amazing stars such as Colin Kaepernick can go largely unnoticed.

If it wasn't for his terrific win over Boise State on November 26, 2010 and his Senior Bowl and Combine showings, it's not entirely clear he would even have been drafted. As astonishing as it seems now, it is conceivable that NFL fans could have been deprived of a player this spectacular.

Many have argued that the BCS system needs to be replaced by a national playoff system akin to the NCAA basketball tournament. Certainly, the often overlooked Boise State Broncos made the case that the BCS system is inherently biased by beating many AQ teams in their own record-setting decade of domination.

There are a myriad of reasons to dump the BCS system, but none better than this: extraordinary talent is too easily missed as a result of the media market size bias. For all we know, there may be other equally gifted athletes flying under the radar right now. We had a close call and nearly missed out on Colin Kaepernick. Let's not make that mistake again.

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