Death to the BCS: The Need for a 16-Team College Football Playoff

Bradley LordContributor IMarch 1, 2011

It's time to start earning this prize the right way.
It's time to start earning this prize the right way.Handout/Getty Images

For those that haven't read "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series" it's about time to hop on the ball.

Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan go into all aspects of this corrupt, crock of a system, and provide solutions that would make NCAA football as great as we all think it is.

None of their premonitions are more on-target than that of the need for college football to provide a 16-team playoff to decide its champion.

Why is it that Division I college football—or "FBS" for the pretentious—is the only sport that the NCAA fails to recognize a championship for? A better question: why do we allow this injustice to happen?

College football is the greatest sport in the world, and yet we continue to accept a mediocre process to crown its champion.

Soccer, tennis, bowling, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, and even inferior Division I-AA through Divison III football are all sports that decide their champions through some sort of elimination-style tournament. Is anybody going to concede that these sports are more worthy of a fair post-season than our beloved college football is?

So what's the answer?

Maybe we should do a plus-one system where the bowl games are played, and then the No. 1 and No. 2 teams—post-bowls—are awarded another shot. Or maybe we should start slow and give the top 8-teams a chance at the playoffs.

If we want to do this thing right, though, why settle for such a mediocre way to finish such an exciting season?

The only way to do this fair is to include all 11 Conference Champions—even from the mid-majors!—and allow the five best at-large teams to participate. In 2009, that bracket would have looked like this. In 2010, it would have looked like this.

Now tell me, is there anyone that would not watch—nay, prefer—that 16 team playoff over the four games and one championship game the BCS bores you with now?

"But what about the students? How would they get their studying done?"

Well, that's simple. This process would start the week after finals and end at the same time (and in some cases, before) the BCS Championship is currently played. The timeline would be the same as the current bowl season, so there are no more effects on student academics than there are currently.

"Oh yeah, Hot Shot? How could you possibly play the games at neutral sites? People can't book plane tickets on a whim like that!"

The answer to that is also very simple. You don't play at neutral sites—you play at your campus based on rankings. That guarantees stadiums are filled, and the passion of college football stays alive through the playoffs.

"But if there's a playoff, won't the highly ranked teams just give up at the end of the season like The Colts did in 2009 when they locked in their #1 seed and home field advantage?"

In a word, no.

The Colts had locked up their spot by their 14th of 16th game, so they threw the game to prevent injuries.

The difference is that the Colts of the NFL are fighting 15 conference foes on a 16-game schedule for a No. 1 seed. The top team in NCAA football is in a constant battle with 119 other teams on a 12-game schedule.

In order for that top team to feel the need to throw their last game and prevent injuries, they would need to be undefeated and the No. 2 team—along with all below them—would need to have at least two losses.

Otherwise, the top team is in jeopardy of losing both its No. 1 seed and home-field advantage to a plethora of one-loss teams behind them.

As the book points out, this has never happened in the history of the NCAA.

Not to mention, even if you're undefeated going into your final game, would you really throw it? That game is generally a rivalry game. Would Ohio State just give up to Michigan? Do you see USC throwing their season finale to UCLA on purpose?

"But a playoff would ruin the integrity of the regular season!"

And the BCS hasn't? The BCS now rewards teams for total victories, not taking the strength of opponent or margin of victory into account. This means that if you want to go to the BCS title game, your non-conference schedule had better be riddled with weak opponents.

Auburn—the BCS Champion—played such non-conference powerhouses as Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Chattanooga and a Clemson team that finished 6-7.

Meanwhile, teams like Ohio State are looked down upon because what would be a one-loss season turns into two losses since they schedule a team like USC as a non-conference opponent.

They could continue to schedule Akron, Toledo and Jacksonville State every year, but they don't because they believe in fighting for their victories.

Meanwhile, the rest of college football believes in playing the broken system in hopes of getting a bowl game.

"Fine. Fine. But what happens to the rest of the bowl games? They are historic and need to be preserved."

That's another great thing about this system: the bowls will be preserved. The important ones, anyway.

The prestigious bowls that the BCS has taken control of will still have their pick of the litter. The litter will just include the second level of great teams in each conference.

The only downside is all the other bowls—like the Bowl or the New Mexico Bowl—would probably not make the cut. As long as you can handle keeping just the prestigious bowls, nothing will change. There will still be great matchups and a 16-team playoff to boot.

The system is broken, and it needs desperately to be repaired. There are so many more disgusting and horrible things that the BCS does, but I won't go into that here. Let's just say former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was literally just dethroned for doing the kinds of things the BCS gets away with on an annual basis.

The only thing the BCS answers to is money. So long as we keep watching their fraud "National Championship" game, they will never go away.

What we need to do instead is promote these alternative ideas. Mark Cuban seems to have a good idea that directly competes with the BCS. Watching his playoff system as opposed to the BCS bowls would certainly help in destroying this cartel-like regime.

Another thing we can do is utilize the internet to its fullest. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, E-mails and hundreds of other outlets can get this message across. Flood the BCS with calls and e-mails concerning how you feel.

Likewise, let the NCAA know that it's time to finally step in and start recognizing the greatest sport in the world.

The book mentioned above—"Death to the BCS"—makes all these arguments and more in a greater amount of detail. If you are interested in seeing the kinds of scumbaggery the BCS is involved in, I suggest you read it.

College football is our passion, and a playoff is our goal. Let's work together and get this done.

We can make the dreams of millions come true, but it's going to take action.

Death to the BCS! It's time to take college football back!

Bradley Lord is a contributor to and writes whenever he gets that urge. Thanks to all the authors of "Death to the BCS" for making such a compelling argument. You can contact Bradley Lord by signing up on and sending him a message or by commenting below.


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