Like It or Not, the BCS Era Was Good for College Football
The era of college football commonly known as the "Reign of the Lannisters," or the BCS era, is winding down to a close.
Just one more season is left of the system that most college football fans prefer to use as a curse word than as a legitimate post-season option.
Most folks prefer to hammer the BCS for it's foibles rather than discuss the positives that the system has brought to the college football universe. Just Google "BCS hater," The results are endless.
But rather than dwell on Notre Dame's contract with the BCS, a laundry list of BCS "snubs" and computers holding the fate of the world in their hands, let's take a look at the positive side of the BCS.
No really, there are some good things that came out of the BCS system other than weekend after weekend of Lou Holtz and Mark May as analysts.
7. Movement Toward Something Resembling Equality
Non BCS teams are obviously on a different level from those that face BCS level competition week after week during the college football regular season.
Northern Illinois' struggles against Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl are testament to that, as the Seminoles crushed the Huskies, 31-10.
But with the changes in the BCS landscape, since Utah made it to the Fiesta Bowl back in the 2004 season, there has only been one year in which at least a single team from a non AQ conference did not make a BCS game.
There is still some way to go and many arguments to be had both for and against the involvement of non AQ conferences in the playoff system, but the now routine appearance of teams such as Boise State and TCU (before the move to the Big 12) shows that things are starting to balance out a little bit.
This has been one of the best aspects of the BCS system—the need for perfection, or near it, to obtain a place in the system.
In every other sport, including the NFL, losing one game means nothing but a single loss.
In college football under the BCS system, it means a chance at the BCS title game is all but lost, and a team's chances of making a BCS game are slim.
The regular season has so much more meaning, as teams must win every week to remain in the national title hunt.
While a playoff will not absolutely devalue the regular season, it will cheapen it, as one loss, or even two, will not mean the end of national title hopes.
The heightened value of each game every week is a product of the BCS system and one of the few things about the system that will be missed when it is gone.
Like it or not, change is coming, and the BCS has been the driving force behind all the conference realignment taking place.
Money talks, and BCS conferences make more money, whether it is fair or not, leading to teams such as TCU making the jump up to the BCS ranks, and all kinds of inter BCS conference moves as teams jockey for position in whichever conference they deem to be the most lucrative.
For football purists and fans of tradition, this is a travesty, as traditional rivalries will sometimes go by the wayside, and the shape of college football is changing.
However, it takes change to grow, and the change being brought about as a result of the BCS will eventually result in a legitimate playoff system, as well as a "selection committee" to help pick the playoff teams, rather than a bunch of computers.
Embrace the change, it's going to happen, and it will be better to be prepared for that change and look for the positive rather than fight it forever.
4. Increase in Bowl Games
There are seemingly two opinions about the inflated college football postseason.
Rarely can one find any in-between ground upon which to stand.
So let's address this.
No, watching a 7-5 team take on another 7-5 team does not sound great on paper.
However, the very first game of the 2012 bowl season, the New Mexico Bowl, was such a matchup between Arizona and Nevada and resulted in a game that was down to the wire.
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott threw two touchdown passes in the final :46 to win the game for the Wildcats in what was one of the best bowl games of the season.
It was definitely a far more entertaining game than the Orange Bowl or the BCS title game, which featured a total of four teams with double-digit wins.
Since the beginning of the BCS era, there have been 16 new bowl games added, if one counts the BCS national championship game.
Who isn't all for more college football?
3. SEC Dominance
For the rest of the country, this is not necessarily a "good" thing, but for SEC fans, the BCS has been a gold mine.
The conference is 17-8 in BCS games, second only to the MWC (3-1).
That includes seven consecutive BCS title wins—by far the most of any conference during the BCS era—and a plethora of players heading to the NFL.
There is no arguing that the best football in the country is played in the SEC, a conference that has had it's dominance highlighted by the BCS system.
There is only one conference that has played more BCS games, the Big East, at 26, and it is obvious that no conference has benefited as much from the increased national exposure the BCS brought to the college football postseason than the SEC.
If you are not a fan of the SEC, this is not a "good" thing, but the BCS has given the conference a huge chance to highlight its dominance.
2. BCS Busters
Without the BCS, we would have never had the original "BCS buster," the 2004 Utah Utes.
Since then, in every season except for 2012 at least one team from a non BCS conference has played in a BCS game.
Utah knocked off Alabama in a major upset in the 2009 Sugar Bowl to cap off their second undefeated season in five years.
Boise State and TCU have each appeared multiple times in a bowl game, while Northern Illinois became the most recent team from outside the inner circle to find its way into the BCS last season.
Without the BCS, we would have never seen Wisconsin vs. TCU in the 2011 Rose Bowl, a game that saw the Horned Frogs dominate and pull out a solid 21-19 victory.
And who can forget the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, the game in which Boise State upset the Oklahoma Sooners with style.
1. Playoffs Are Happening, Isn't That Progress?
The BCS was a step in the right direction, you proponents of postseason playoffs.
The faults exhibited by the BCS, as well as the pull of a playoff system have led us to the point where a four-team playoff is actually happening, beginning next season.
While the four-team system is not ideal, simply less imperfect than the BCS, it's progress for the college football postseason and has room to grow into a full-fledged, legitimate playoff system.
Give the BCS some credit, with all its faults and foibles, for helping this happen.