The BCS Should Be an Even Playing Field

Denny MillerContributor IMay 30, 2009

In the interest of fair play, shouldn't all 120 FBS universities start their football season with the same opportunity and attainable goal, that being The National Championship? Currently, 51 universities begin their season without this possibility, defeated, if you will, before they even start.

It is a fact that the NCAA sanctions 88 national championships in both men's and women's athletics. Each of these undisputed national champions are crowned on the field of play rather than by computers and pollsters. Why is it that the mostly widely watched and participated college sport is decided otherwise?

It is so inherently wrong that now the US Congress has even formed a Sub-Committee to investigate the reasons why there is currently not a legitimate championship play off. The May 1st congressional hearing was revealing, in that the congressmen charged the current system as being "fraudulent" and all about "money" and "who gets it". Change is inevitable, wisdom is required to bring about positive change.

Many a debate focuses on "what the fans want" and "what type of fan are you" when in reality, the amateur student athlete should be the center of the attention. The Congressmen clearly identified the real issue of the current BCS format as "making money" or as the BCS Commissioner, Mr. Swofford preferred calling it, "marketplace". His terminology of marketplace is a nice way of saying "follow the money". Fortunately, we live in a capitalistic society and money or marketplace is without a doubt what fuels college football in the first place.

Author Poll

Do you support a BCS Play Off?

  • Like it the way that it is
  • Needs a "and one" game
  • Should include all members of the FBS
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A New BCS proposal can be found at This proposal promotes a common ground that maintains and utilizes the established BCS Committee, the current Bowl arrangement, tradition where possible, but creates a new bracketology that implements a completely "open" National Championship.

A close study of this proposal provides that every FBS university has the opportunity to win the National Championship every year. The student athlete is rewarded fairly for his team's performance on the field. Correspondingly, 48 universities are invited to the tournament each year. The 48 are "tiered" into three groups of 16. The top 16 receive a first round bye, while the second tier of 16 host (at their home field) the third tier of 16 (please see 2008 Mock-Up Bracket at the above mentioned site).

The second and all subsequent rounds take place at established bowl locations, leading to the National Championship. Again, following the money, these bowls maintain or increase their "status" and can continue their individual bowl pageantry. The Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta Bowls continue to rotate the National Championship in exactly the same fashion as they do now. The tournament begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and continues to the recently accepted first week of January, thus not extending the season in terms of calendar days.

The research conducted to create this proposal includes the Nielsen Ratings and the Viewership totals of each bowl in 2008/09. The "minor" bowls averaged a 1.87 Nielsen Rating. The financial opportunity is evident in that CBS's March Madness airings earned them a 5.8 Nielsen Rating during the first 8 days of the Men's Basketball Tournament. Assuming that football is a significantly larger draw than basketball, a similar football tournament would increase the first and second round Nielsen Ratings by a minimum of 300%, which would equate to a substantial increase in the NCAA revenue stream.

Consider how large of a viewership that a 3-hour bracketology program would command?