An Ingeniously Simple Plot

Ryan FliederContributor INovember 7, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 06:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators waits to hear a ruling on a challenged call from referee Steve Shaw against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October , 2007 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU defeated Florida 28-24.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Let's say you have two teams in your conference highly praised in the preseason. Getting into a bowl game, specifically the BCS Championship, means about $15 million dollars from the bowl system, and countless more from merchandising, TV contracts, and future wealth to be accumulated by getting into the BCS Championship.

If you're in a conference like the Pac-10 or Big-10, you have to play every other team, but if you were in a conference that has two divisions, you could fix the games so that your conference championship was between two undefeated teams.

You wouldn't even have to work that hard. Pick the best team from each division, and simply pay the refs to make sure that team wins.

If you guarantee that your conference championship is between two undefeated teams, you can guarantee that you will have at least one team in the BCS Championship, giving your conference $15 million dollars in BCS money and a large additional sum from merchandising and TV contract revenue.

But let's take this one step further... what if you could get two teams into the BCS Championship?

See, in recent years many one loss-teams and even some two-loss teams have gotten into the BCS Championship. All you would have to do is pay media networks (by giving them lucrative TV contracts) to constantly talk up your conference and look down on the others. This would give the appearance that your conference is obviously superior to all the others, and give the top teams from your conference an extra level of prestige and a sort of "benefit of the doubt" in the rankings.

Then you simply play the waiting game... if other undefeated teams lose and your conference has the only two undefeated teams, you're already set. If another conference has an undefeated team, you can pay off their officials to ensure that the other conference's undefeated team has an embarrassing loss.

So now you're going into your conference championship, and you have the only two respected undefeated teams in the country, ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

If you were to fix the conference championship, simply tell these two teams to fight a very good but very close game, and let the No. 2 team win by less than a field goal, you would probably manage to simply swap the No. 1 and No. 2 teams, both in your conference. The teams would comply as one, it's good for the conference to get two teams into the BCS Championship, and two, the two teams would get a rematch and would be able to play the "real" game on a bigger stage.

What this means is that your conference would not simply get the $15 million for getting one team into the BCS Championship, but you would get DOUBLE that because BOTH of the championship teams are from your conference! Additionally, schools from your conference would get ALL of the merchandising and all of the TV revenue!

And you would FOREVER get to tout that you were the only conference to send two teams to the BCS Championship.

There are a few risks though. The refereeing could get bad if it were getting obvious the games were fixed. In that case, you'd have to come out and publicly denounce some referees and then most likely suspend them to make everyone else think you really care, and then tighten down and threaten to grossly fine or suspend any coaches who speak up about bad refereeing.

You would also need to make sure you have the appearance of moral and ethical unquestionability. For that you would need a player or coach that is one, a VERY devout christian and two, a loved public figure, because if your conference had someone who was that loved and that "pure" then there'd be no way people would assume them to be involved with any dubiousness.

If you could manage to pull that off though, you'd simply need to condescend to anyone who questions what's going on and say everyone else is just a sore loser, or is just whining, or whatever demeaning and condescending remarks completely ignore the issue but attack whoever's pointing out your plan.

You would also need to make sure that nobody institutes a college playoff system. If you were forced to play quality teams from other conferences, you simply would not be able to buy the referees without getting caught. This is all reliant on an exploitable BCS system.

If you were able to pull all this off, you would be guaranteeing your conference about $30 million dollars from the BCS system and all of the merchandising and TV revenue. In a 12 team conference, that's a bare minimum of $2.5 million dollars per school. Hell, even if you spent $6 million dollars to pay off all those referees and make sure nobody makes your plot public, it's still $2 million per school, plus all the additional revenue.



Ya know... it actually sounds kinda do-able.