The BCS: A Performance Review

Playoff PACContributor INovember 16, 2009

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 13: Isaiah Pead #23 of the Cincinnati Bearcats is grabbed by J.T. Thomas #30 of the West Virginia Mountaineers in the fourth quarter of the game at Nippert Stadium on November 13, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Every legitimate business in this country is subject to some form of periodic performance review.

At the end of the month, your dry cleaner prints out a QuickBooks report, which elicits either profanity or a justly proud smirk. Every year, Apple sits down with its shareholders to explain how many magical I-devices it sold.

In both businesses, when the numbers come in low, heads roll.

Somehow, college football evades any such review. This evasion is prudent self-preservation, as even the tamest performance review would be damning. A review would show a sport where the end of the season resolves nothing; a sport where inter-conference competition is suppressed.

College football’s afflictions bedevil Playoff PAC. We spend fitful nights enveloped in nightmares starring BCS computers that take over the world, all the while refusing to explain their incomprehensible rationales.

During our morning shave, we ponder life’s unanswerables: Did Tony Soprano get it that night in the restaurant? Could the ‘04 Tigers have taken down the ‘04 Trojans? Is the world finite? What even happened in ‘01, when Oregon got served by the bizarre BCS polling game?

Being haunted by the ghosts of BCS past is not fun, trust us.

When asked questions about these inanities, BCS officials explain: “Our system is better than things used to be, so there.” Meanwhile, even less plausibly, the BCS rejects a playoff because it would “interfere with academics.”

Playoff PAC exists for the purpose of debunking these and other party lines.

How exactly does comparing yourself to the old world justify your present existence? Is this how the heinous Jim Crow justified itself, too? The BCS’s propaganda regarding its putative comparative superiority is analogous to a moderate Luddite’s argument that because his VHS is an improvement over his slide projector, he has no need for Blu-Ray.

Second, Mr. BCS official, please stop bringing up academics as an excuse for rejecting reform. It is impossible to say that a small number of teams playing a handful of additional games between semesters would jeopardize anyone’s ability to graduate or earn decent grades.

Any other business with such obvious, tragic flaws would have met Darwin long ago. However, neither competition nor the market runs this game. Instead, it’s left to the undoubtedly clean hands of backroom brokers, entrenched interests, and indifferent academics.

The BCS holds the soul of the game hostage: The system allows nameless voters to determine the fate of our beloved modern gladiators. Playoff PAC would prefer to leave the postseason fates of teams to the vicious God of Chance rather than their present corrupt masters.

If college football had true shareholders, rather than simple impotent fans, such shareholders, long ago, would have risen up to individually crucify each director overseeing the yearly end-of-season BCS-sponsored miscarriage of justice.

BCS inefficiencies are obvious to both casual and crazy fans; however, at present, such inefficiencies appear entrenched. Why? It’s simple: Many in the incestuous football world profit from those inefficiencies and work like hell to protect them.

Nonetheless, despite long odds and numerous good ol’ boys standing in the way, Playoff PAC now calls for a performance review and arms itself for a conflict of ideas. Some might call it a reckoning; whatever it is, it’s time for the BCS to reap the whirlwind.

Playoff PAC humbly and politely raises the following concerns:

* The BCS voting regime does not allow matters to be settled on the field. Teams like Texas, USC, Penn State, Utah, and Boise State are left to watch Florida and Oklahoma play in the 2009 BCS title game, even though they possess virtually indistinguishable résumés. To understand the depravity of this situation, compare end-of-season college football to the shining moments of March Madness.

* Even accepting the BCS as a flawed mechanism in an imperfect world, the BCS fails to accomplish its stated mission. Nearly every year of its accursed existence, the BCS failed to match the two “best” teams.

The BCS claims that it preserves what is great about college football: the regular season. However, in practice, the BCS ruins the regular season by eliminating marquee interconference matchups. Savvy teams refuse to play top-flight non-conference teams, for fear of risking their precious perfect record. See Penn State's 2009 non-conference schedule (Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois).

* The BCS propagates its own special legacy program, rewarding teams for prior performance and reputation rather than present accomplishments.

* The BCS money distribution is farcical: Certain conferences receive all of the money by predetermined fiat. Even when the Boise States and the Utahs rise up to punk the Oklahomas and the Alabamas, it’s the Syracuses and the Vanderbilts who run home with more cash.

Playoff PAC recognizes the truth of its father’s sage advice: Life isn’t fair. We do not quibble with that unchangeable. Teams that fill stadiums and drive TV revenues should profit proportionally.

But please, Mr. BCS official, do not track Enron and write such revenue in stone before it even accrues. Hire an actuary and an economist and institute a formula that will allocate money based upon what actually happens on the field, in the ratings, and in the stands. Please, stop creating a caste system by giving all the money to the automatic qualifying conferences, no matter what.

Frankly, the list of BCS wrongs would find its conclusion only at the end of patience or time. Playoff PAC will expand on each of these points in the coming weeks and months. If you’re reading this, you undoubtedly have your own specific beef. Please sign up with us and air your grievances at .