The BCS Has Run Its Course: College Football Needs a Playoff Format

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2010

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Brandon Spikes #51 of the Florida Gators celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Gators won the game by a score of 24-14.  (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

The night before his election, President Barack Obama lobbied for college football to adopt a playoff format to crown a national champion. He felt that under the current system there is no clear-cut winner.

The BCS committee’s response to the President's suggestion was laughter.

The people running the BCS are very comfortable with the current format and believe that the majority of college football fans feel the same in determining a national champion.

They could not be more wrong.

It’s been over a year since the President made his feelings known and the BCS is still missing the boat by not capitalizing on the excitement that could be generated from a playoff format. You would have the top teams deciding the national championship on the field rather than having a popularity contest combined with a computer program that spits out the “so-called” top two teams in the country.

By allowing eight teams to play three rounds in order to determine a national champion, college football would at least curtail the controversy that comes when deserving schools are left out of the championship. A playoff system is working just fine in all other levels of college football, and by adding this format, they will generate more money with an already successful product.

Those in favor of the BCS format rest their argument on the tradition of bowl games, some of which have been around for nearly 100 years. They hope to emphasize the importance of each game on the schedule, which will create a playoff atmosphere all throughout the regular season.

Where the current system fails is that a team can go undefeated and still not play for a national championship (see Boise State and TCU before the 2010 Fiesta Bowl).

The BCS system is inherently flawed because you cannot subjectively choose two teams out of 100-plus schools. The same cast of characters is chosen year in and year out in the preseason polls, and you can mark it down that two schools from the SEC and Big 12, or USC or Ohio State, will play in the BCS National Championship game before the leaves have changed colors.

For the rest of the schools, you will receive nice parting gifts for playing our game, as you had as much chance as a third-party candidate winning the presidency. The current system is looking for marquee name-value institutions rather than awarding a deserving school a once in a lifetime chance simply based on their strength of schedule and quality wins.

Division I-A football is the lone collegiate sport that doesn’t conclude its season with a playoff to crown their champion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the rules will be changing in the near future.

But I know one’s time for a change.