The BCS selection process was supposed to help more clearly define who deserved to be playing for the national championship each year. Some say it is the best process we have found so far, others disagree and are advocates of a "play off" system. Whether one chooses one viewpoint or the other, there is one thing under the current system that seems innately unfair to me and that is the lack of governance in regard to how BCS conference champions are determined. Some play a straight conference schedule, while others are required to play their division teams and then play cross over games with another division and then conduct a conference championship. Conferences that conduct conference championship games find that one good team might suffer a loss that might move them out of the BCS rankings. This seems unfair when other conferences do not conduct championship games and play one game less than those who do.
The BCS does not address this issue and their criteria for participating in a BCS Bowl is as follows:
1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings shall play in the National Championship Game.
2. The Champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10 and SEC Conferences will have automatic berths in one of the participating bowls after the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons.
3. The Champions of Conference USA, the Mid American, Mountain West, Sunbelt and WAC Conferences will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if they are ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or if they are ranked in the top 16 and are ranked higher than a conference champion from the conferences listed in item #2 above. In no case will more than one team from these conferences receive an automatic berth. If two or more teams from these conferences do satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, the team with the highest finish in the standings will receive the automatic berth and the remaining team will go into the pool for selection as an "at large" team.
4. Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS rankings.
Well, this explanation of who gets in and who doesn't, goes on and on and reads like a contract to purchase Trump Towers. Personally, I am for bringing balance, equity and more simplicity to the process.
The first problem with all of this is that some conferences have conference championship games and others do not because of their size or conference rules. In all fairness, all conferences should be required to have conference championship games. The rules should be the same for all involved. Either all of the conferences should have a championship game or none of them should have a championship game. The conference championships are sources of additional revenues for the conferences as a whole and based on that, one would think that every conference would want to play that extra game. This is apparently not the case.
I believe that the first step towards some sort of parity calls for a realignment of conferences. The realignment I have in mind would boost the size of some existing conferences and essentially eliminate others so that every conference had a minimum of 14 teams. In this way, every conference would be large enough to conduct a rotation of play between divisions and this would also present the opportunity for every conference to conduct a conference championship game. Though this is not a final solution, it is food for thought and I believe it would not only work, but that an NCAA realignment would benefit all conferences and teams involved in terms of revenue sharing.
Here is my realignment:
BIG 10-They would no longer have just eleven teams. Iowa State would move from the Big 12 to the Big 10. Notre Dame would have their "most favored" status pulled by the NCAA and they would be required to join the Big 10 to be BCS Bowl eligible. Pittsburgh would move over from the Big East to the Big 10 and this would give the "Big 11" fourteen members. No excuse to not have divisional play and a conference championship game.
MAC-The MAC already has 13 members and by moving Cincinatti in from the Big East this takes them to the 14 teams they need and they would also be required to engage in divisional play and conduct a conference championship game.
SEC-The SEC is already in good shape but by moving the Louisville in from the Big East and moving Georgia Tech in from the ACC it expands the conference to 14 teams and retains its regional integrity.
BIG 12-The Big 12 would have to replace Iowa State but in order to expand the conference and continue to maintain its regional structure, TCU, Colorado State and Air Force would all move in from the Mountain West. TCU in the south and Air Force and Colorado State in the North.
PAC 10-The Pac 10 would remain unchanged except to absorb Hawaii and Fresno State from the WAC and BYU and San Diego State from the Mountain West. This gives them 14 teams and the requirement for divisional play and a conference championship game for BCS eligibility.
ACC-The ACC would have to replace the loss of Georgia Tech to the SEC but they expand to 16 teams adding S. Florida, Rutgers, West Virginia, Connecticut and Syracuse.
MTN West/Sunbelt-These two conferences would join one another in two divisions of 9 teams each. Arkansas State, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, New Mexico and Western Kentucky in one division and UNLV, Utah, Wyoming, Boise State, Idaho, Nevada, San Jose State, Utah State and New Mexico State in the other.
C-USA-Conference USA would expand to two eight team divisions of 16 teams absorbing LA Tech, Florida Atlantic, Army and Navy.
This would eliminate any "independents", the Big East and the WAC Conferences as well.
This is not to say that this is the only solution, let alone the "right" solution. What it does do is add teams to each conference and provides for divisional play and conference championships in every conference. This could potentially increase each schools share of conference revenues unless the teams that are added have less than the current average revenue that is generated by existing teams.
I believe every conference should be required to conduct a conference championship game and under this proposed format, that could be accomplished. If a conference does not have a conference championship game, I believe that they should have to play a "BCS Qualifying Game" against a conference of similar strength that also does not have a CCG. This too, might lend more parity. Still, I believe the combining of conferences as I suggested above would help everyone have more confidence in the system we have right now. At the very least, it would put everyone on more level ground.
But that is just my view........from outside the boundaries.