Goodbye BCS: 10 Things We Will Actually Miss About the BCS
Sometimes when a relationship just doesn’t seem right—regardless of how long it lasted or how many good memories it produced—saying goodbye is easy.
This is the likely the case between diehard college football fans and the BCS scheme, a liaison that marks its 16th and final year in 2013.
Before hooking up with the BCS, college football had a brief affair with the Bowl Coalition from 1992 to 1994 and then courted the Bowl Alliance 1995 to 1997.
These short-term relationships led to college football saying “I do” to the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, a decision that has put the game in a logic vacuum ever since.
Though it would be easy to list 100 components of the BCS that won’t be missed, considering potential downsides is more compelling.
Yes, the BCS had its flaws, but what of the good it brought the game?
And before you pooh-pooh the concept that there is anything to lose, consider this: According to Matt Hayes of the Sporting News, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said of the BCS era, “When we look back at it…we’re going to see that it probably wasn’t all that bad.”
The Notre Dame Rule
Notre Dame was the only independent in the BCS era to garner a super-special relationship with the scheme.
The “Notre Dame Rule” legislated the Irish’s inclusion in the BCS festivities if the program finished among the top eight teams in the final BCS standings.
This meant that while other No. 8-ranked teams in the nation could be left out due to either the two-team per-conference limit, non-AQ status or for just not being attractive enough for an at-large bid, Notre Dame was in the BCS postseason picture, no matter what.
To illustrate: In 2012, the No. 8 team in the final BCS standings was LSU. The Tigers were left out of the BCS because of the two-team per-conference limit and wound up losing to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
In 2011, the No. 8 team was Boise State. It was left out because there wasn’t a spot “left over” for an at-large bid, even though the Broncos outranked BCS bowl participants No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 13 Michigan, No. 11 Virginia Tech, No. 23 West Virginia and No. 15 Clemson.
In both cases, Notre Dame would have been in the BCS mix regardless of the specific circumstances.
Moving forward, the Irish—who will have loose ties with the ACC beginning in 2014—will have to rank in the top four just like everyone else to make the College Football Playoff.
Why will we miss this? Well, without it, will we see Notre Dame in the BCS again anytime soon?
There are two ways to look at the unprecedented hullabaloo the BCS system has sparked since 1998.
Let’s look back at the polarizing 2011 season when an 11-1 Alabama team, which didn’t even win its division, trumped 11-1 Big 12 champ Oklahoma State in the final BCS standings.
All hell broke loose when the Crimson Tide’s loss to No. 1 LSU (9-6 in overtime) got extra credit over the Cowboys’ loss to unranked Iowa State (37-31 in double overtime) in the final tabulations.
Suddenly, in a scenario that hadn’t previously been explored, it was the SEC champ LSU Tigers taking on division foe Alabama in the BCS title game.
The Crimson Tide winning the national championship that year still doesn’t make any sense.
On one hand, it was the most illogical, ridiculous turn of events in the modern era of college football. On the flip side, it was the biggest media circus in recent history.
Yes, it was ludicrous, but everybody was talking about it and it made college football front-page news. It generated more attention than if LSU had squared off with Oklahoma State for all the marbles.
That pretty much sums up the BCS—ridiculous, but oh so delicious.
The BCS' departure is like a much-maligned in-law leaving the family. What in the world will we talk about once it is gone?
With the selection committee taking over the decision of which teams ascend to the playoff bracket, running up the score for the sake of important "style points" may become a thing of the past.
However, will a panel of coaches be impressed that a top-10 team can score 64 points against UTEP?
The argument under the BCS regime was that the margin of victory mattered in the computer models., so the bigger, the better.
When the hard drives stop whirring, will running up the score on an overmatched opponent do anything more than bring sportsmanship into question?
No. 1 vs. No. 2 Without Considering No. 3 and No. 4
How much muddier will the NCAA football championship waters become by including the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the equation?
Was it simpler, cleaner and, at the end of the day, more effective to pit No. 1 versus No. 2? Or is it better to conduct extra games when everyone is already clear on who are the best two teams?
Is it fair to have No. 1 play No. 4 and No. 2 play No. 3 when they have already established themselves as the best teams?
In addition, what is a champion in any sport? Is it a team that has won a four-seed playoff, one that was voted the best in the nation by sportswriters, a club that won a seven-game series, a school that won from a field of 64 or an underdog that went 9-7, slipped into the playoffs and won the Super Bowl?
Goodbye BCS and thanks for cutting straight to the chase.
Simple One-Destination Travel
Attention, fans who want to be there when their school wins the big enchilada. After the BCS leaves, you’ll need to save up more money.
Yes, that’s right. Want to see your beloved program win it all? First, show up at the pricey playoff game and then pack your bags, and your bank account, for the national championship.
And in case you’re thinking you’ll skip the playoff game and hold onto your cash until the title game, you should hope your team doesn’t pull a Florida. Yes, if your team gets upset by Louisville in the semifinals, you’ll be stuck on eBay, trying to hawk your game tickets and your non-refundable hotel room.
Though college football doesn’t have a true preseason like the NFL, many BCS-level teams get the season started with cupcake games that make winning almost automatic.
Yes, while some programs schedule a game with Oregon, Virginia Tech, Auburn or even Oklahoma State, others prefer blasting away at FCS Nichols State or Georgia Southern.
The all-human, all-the-time, College Football Playoff committee may change early-season scheduling practices by favoring teams which have a quality non-conference game, as opposed to the customary cakewalk.
With the computers no longer making the decision, what will a panel of "football experts" do when the final playoff slot comes down to two teams from major conferences with an equal record?
The first option is an 11-1 Big 12 team that played early-season games against Georgia, New Mexico and Nevada. The second choice is an 11-1 Big Ten team which squared off with Toledo, Central Michigan and FAU.
Could the one game against a non-conference BCS team make the difference, and if so, how does this transform scheduling practices?
Fun and Meaningless Major Bowl Games
Is it possible that one day the college football fan will yearn for the era of the meaningless Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl?
On one hand, it seems senseless to play major bowl games with no real meaning. On the other hand, isn’t it easier to live in a world where big football contests can’t hurt?
Think about it this way, was Clemson’s devastating loss to West Virginia in the 2012 BCS Orange Bowl easier to swallow because it had no real impact?
Yes, how much worse would Clemson fans have felt and how much more sleep would they have lost if the 70-33 blowout loss would have meant the difference between a trip to the national championship and a ticket home?
It’s simple, there is less potential heartache with no high stakes on the game. That’s the silver lining to a bowl scheme which marketed itself as the “showcase” of college football.
When No. 5 Was Still a Good Number
What did USC in 2008, Florida in 2009, Wisconsin in 2010, Oregon in 2011 and Georgia in 2012 all have in common?
Well, those are the last five teams to finish No. 5 in the final BCS rankings.
Moving forward, this becomes a significant number because No. 5 will be the team left out of the four-team playoff.
Yes, as brown once became the new black in fashion, No. 5—once a respectable finish—will now become the new No. 3.
No Selection Committee
While the entire nation celebrates the BCS computers being thrown out the windows at the end of the 2013 season, perhaps it would be prudent to think things through before tossing confetti in the streets.
Indeed, what is being sacrificed at the altar of the College Football Playoff?
While the BCS computer rankings—a lethal cocktail of six separate calculations—drew the ire of just about everyone outside of the computer lab, ask yourself this: What’s worse than rankings spit out by a hard drive?
How about a selection committee staffed by a group of stuffy, overpaid athletic directors, former coaches and administrators?
It’s like a better-dressed version of the Coaches Poll, complete with all the inherent bias, but as a bonus, it won’t just be a component of the decision, it will be the decision.
Family Time on New Year’s Day
When the College Football Playoff kicks off in 2014, New Year’s Day will suddenly reappear on the sports calendar as a holiday worth celebrating.
New Year’s Day 2015 will include the Rose Bowl hosting the first-ever College Football Playoff game in the afternoon followed by the Sugar Bowl hosting the second game in the evening.
This generous serving of meaningful college football on the first day of the year will change everything—from shopping lists to guest lists.
Beyond that, will the consumption of adult beverages on New Year’s Eve drop as fans protect themselves against a hangover that could ruin a double-stacked game day with championship implications?