The BCS Doesn't Make Sense (or Cents)!

SchmolikCorrespondent IIMay 25, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  The BCS National Championship trophy which was won by the Alabama Crimson Tide after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game over the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Hello, college football fans!

Like most college football fans, I have no love for the BCS. I want a playoff.

On the other hand, I realize that money gets in the way of doing the right thing. If schools, conferences, and bowls make more money in doing so, I can't blame them for sticking with an unfair system that will give them more money.

If BCS bowls would rather invite SEC or Big 10 teams or Texas than the Boise States or Utahs, can you really blame them? If you were in charge, would you rather do the right thing, or do the right thing for your wallet? If you were the BCS bowls, why give the MWC and/or WAC automatic bids when you can instead have the option to take second teams from cash conferences?

And if you were the BCS conferences, why split the money 8 ways when you can split it 6?

That logic however falls apart for the simple reason that the ACC and Big East have hurt the BCS financially, as Andy Staples of and Matt Hinton of both point out.

The last four Orange Bowl games did not contain any non-AQ teams and the TV ratings for the games were 6.98 (Louisville/Wake Forest), 7.40 (Kansas/Virginia Tech), 5.40 (Virginia Tech/Cincinnati), and 6.80 (Iowa/Georgia Tech). In three of those four years, the Orange Bowl was outdrawn in the ratings by a bowl containing a non-AQ teams (including the 2010 Fiesta Bowl which had two).

According to those same ratings, the highest rating for any bowl having at least one non AQ was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl (8.40). It's clear that the non AQ's tend to cause the TV ratings to drop but so do the ACC and Big East (and the all time worst game involved both the ACC and Big East).

The Orange Bowl has been stuck with the ACC, and has had the worst rated BCS game in three of the four seasons (and the 2008 game at 7.40 was hardly a ratings bonanza). If you want to say the WAC and MWC are "bad for business", you do have an argument. But the ACC and Big East (at least over the last four seasons) are just as bad and in many cases worse.

And don't think the bowls don't know that. In 2009, the Big East (or at least Cincinnati) was so unwanted that, according to Staples, the Sugar Bowl chose a non AQ team (Utah) over Cincinnati.

If you're one of the other four conferences in the BCS, I can understand why you wouldn't want to give the MWC and WAC a big piece of the revenue pie. But why would you want to give the ACC or Big East a big piece either?

You can bet all four of them would love to cut four big pieces for themselves and divide the crumbs among all the other conferences as opposed to the current system. And the bowls would love it better if they only have to give four auto bids instead of six (maybe make it two non AQs are guaranteed at large rather than one non AQ as it is now). Denying the MWC and WAC automatic BCS bids (and large BCS shares) but allowing the ACC and Big East automatic bids isn't only favoritist (East Coast bias anyone?), it's financially stupid.

A better idea? No automatic bids for any conference, guarantee the top 5 teams in the BCS ratings automatic bids. Keep the maximum of 2 bids per conference (for now). Then take the main BCS pot (after giving some to each school) and give 1/10 to the conference of each team in the BCS. The SEC doesn't need an auto bid to get a team into the BCS. Neither does the Big 10.

If Cincinnati or Boise State gets in the top 5, they get in anyway. But this prevents the BCS or any of its bowls from having to take an ACC or Big East champ outside of the Top 5.

Outside of the BCS title game and the Rose Bowl, the remaining games have been generally uninteresting to me, and the ratings have proven that most people agree. With the exception of the Rose Bowl, you have to look up a TV schedule to figure out when the game is (is it the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd? ... or even worse, 4th or 5th?)

The bowls have been fighting with each other for years as to who gets what teams and what bowl gets stuck with the unwanted team(s). The Rose Bowl has been the highest non championship BCS game the last eight bowl seasons. We always know when they are on and they usually get teams from the Big 10 and Pac 10 without getting stuck with any non AQ's, Big East, or ACC teams.

Do you think it's a coincidence that the Rose Bowl now has a rule requiring it to take a non AQ the first time they lose a team to the title game? It was probably proposed by the other BCS bowls. I think the whole concept of bowls that are in fact competing with each other in some sort of "alliance" is a paradox.

Of course I'd like college football to have a fair playoff like college basketball. But if college football and the BCS/bowls are greedy and want to keep more money to themselves, I can understand their motives. But a system that isn't fair or profitable? Hate it. I can tolerate greed.

But I can't tolerate stupidity. And you wonder why I prefer college basketball over college football. Other than the fact that I went to the University of Illinois, of course.