The beginning of the end of the BCS is upon us. August—a month with actual college football—is here, which means the doomsday clock on the final season of the Bowl Championship Series is ticking. Lead college football writer Adam Kramer has penned a letter to the game’s peculiar postseason system, trying to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones as we say farewell.
We’ve never actually met, although meeting in real life would be difficult because you technically don’t exist. That’s not to say you aren’t real, because you are. Well, you’ll be real for about six months longer, at least.
My goodness, this is already awkward.
Let’s get this out of the way: I’ve never been a fan of yours, and you’re probably not too fond of my kind, either. That’s understandable, and I don’t blame you. There’s no mending this relationship, and, frankly, it requires no mending. Your fate has already been sealed.
After this season—which is rapidly closing in—you will be sent to the Land of Misfit Playoff Systems, a retirement island where you’ll be able to live out your life in silence, playing bingo with other public failures. Be sure to save room for Major League Baseball’s extra wild-card spot, which will be joining you soon.
Meanwhile, your creators will be paid—and handsomely so—to drive the shiny new “College Football Playoff,” a postseason they spent the past decade denying. Their salaries will be robust, their expense reports will remain wildly extravagant, and they will live on, business as usual, except with an upgraded suit wardrobe.
Although you and I have had our differences, that just ain't right.
You, yes, even you, deserved better. Or perhaps others deserved worse. Regardless, this will undoubtedly surface in your group therapy sessions, so be prepared.
Before you willingly open up these old wounds, however, you’re not done yet. The criticism you’ve endured will continue until the final seconds tick off the scoreboard in your final title game. It doesn’t matter if you pick these two final teams brilliantly, as you have done in most seasons. You will still be blamed. Some of this animosity is unfair—some of it is warranted.
After all, you actually use the USA Today football coaches poll and Harris poll to help execute your “formula.” (Whoever thought up this harebrained idea should join you on the island.)
One poll is established a month before a game is ever played—therefore impacting the further evaluation of these teams—and the other allows voters who are fast asleep before the West Coast games even begin to impact your standings.
I’d like to say that I’ve been numbed by the stupidity, but it still hurts. My goodness, this is why we will never be friends.
I never intended to rant in this letter, but you make it difficult sometimes. And, truthfully, all of the dreadful things we say about you stems from one undeniable truth, something we would much rather forget.
We made you.
We made you. The “BCS” is simply a three-letter bull's-eye, a seamless and brilliant deflection. Your flaws and inability to adjust—and I could fill up an encyclopedia here with your inadequacies—are a product of your creators.
Do you remember the scene from Good Will Hunting? You know, the one when a bearded (and pretty jacked, I might add) Robin Williams tells Matt Damon “It’s not your fault,” and the two share a touching, emotional hug?
Of course, you don’t, because you’re just a defective football ranking with insufficient emotion programming (again, blame your creators), but I suppose this is the part where we would embrace each other just like that.
It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault.
OK, it’s kind of your fault, but it's not all of your fault.
There’s another side to this negativity, too, one many will gladly ignore because it weakens their soapbox rant. Under your guidance, the game has thrived.
Television contracts are exponentially increasing, networks for teams and conferences are only getting bigger, absurd sums of money are tossed around leisurely—not going to the players, but this isn’t your fault—and college football’s popularity is booming.
Will You Miss the BCS?
Many will say that this surge is in spite of your presence, and they’re not wrong. In fact, you probably slowed us down. Despite offering up a playoff system that continually punched itself in the groin, however, college football is on an unstoppable upward path.
You have made a lot of rich people slightly richer, and a popular game has become much more popular. It has its issues, but those who refuse to acknowledge the positive of your era are unable to break away from the role of "BCS HATER 99." That's also their message-board handle, though, so it sort of makes sense.
As this group lines up to celebrate your grand funeral tour over the next six months, they will turn to an undecided room of college football “experts” for their four-team college football playoff of the future. And if you think it’s easy for a mob to become enraged with three little letters of the alphabet, just wait until living, blamable, bias-filled personalities get involved.
It’s going to make your tenure look like a cozy day at the beach. Speaking of, you’ll probably be sipping Mai Tais poolside when the first brick smashes through a selection committee member’s window.
Enjoy the view.
I suppose a normal letter would end with a "thank you” or “we’ll miss you” or “get well soon,” but you won’t be getting it here. You don’t deserve it. But even with all of your blatant flaws, idiotic rules and overcomplication of the simplest things, perhaps you deserved just a bit better from us.
We’ll know if that’s the case a few years from now, when you’ve been replaced by another one of our creations, and that’s the closest to a “thank you” you’ll be getting from me.