The BCS: Getting It Wrong 20 Percent of the Time Since 1998

JT RayContributor INovember 11, 2008

Bronco Nation, it is the time once again when our beloved Broncos make a run for the BCS. It happened in 2004, 2006, and somewhat in 2007. For the fourth time in five years, the good old boys are beginning their protest.

Continuing the tradition, they voice their reasons why teams like Boise State, Utah, and Ball State are undeserving of a chance to play a BCS game. This group will say, "Look at their opponents—the talent isn’t at the same level, the team that will play a BCS team that will be unmotivated to play hard." As recently as last week, noted Hall of Fame coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz shared his take on the Boise State win over Utah State, “Boise State needs to rip up that blue turf.” When asked why, his answer was “because I can’t see the players.”

Yep in the 49-10 win, the only insight that Holtz could provide was the blue turf made it hard from him to see what type of defense BSU was lining up in. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Bronco Nation fans, and other non-BCS fans alike, are used to hearing these reasons and shrug them off as par for the course. According to the current standings, if Utah, BSU and Ball State win their remaining games, only one of the three will be invited to a BCS game with the opportunity to still be criticized after the game is played. The reason for this entire racket is simple money.

Yes, as with most things, it all comes down to money. You see, the BSC was theoretically created by the six conferences on the platform it would help decide a true national champion of college football. On a side note, to this day the BCS has not been formally recognized by the NCAA as a collegiate championship. However, the real reason the BCS was formed was the revenue the games would generate for the six conferences.

In 2003 that the BCS created a fifth game that made it easier for non-BCS teams to qualify. Of course, this was only after Congress called for hearings when a coalition of presidents at non-BCS schools threatened to sue the BCS schools. The essential rule of thumb is if a non-BCS team finishes 12th in the final BCS rankings, they receive an automatic bid effective in 2006. If this decision had been made in the beginning as it should have been, TCU would have qualified at least twice while Miami (OH) would have once.

The BCS in its purest form is discriminatory. The six BCS conferences are so anxious to keep the money in their coffers, they've developed a system that virtually assured them that opportunity. It was not until the government stepped in and exposed the system for what it was, discriminatory.

For the past few years it would seem the BCS teams have found one way to prevent teams like Boise State from getting to a BCS bowl. It is simply to avoid playing them at all or force them to travel a great distance to play.

After all, playing and losing to a non-BCS team diminishes a BCS team’s credibility. One such example is Michigan attempting to recover from the nightmare of losing to Appalachian State in 2007. Another is that every time a Bob Stoops-coached team loses a BCS game, the media replays the 2007 Fiesta Bowl as a reminder that losing to a non-BCS team is simply unacceptable.

The good old boys continue to discredit teams like Boise State, with comments that non-BCS players are inferior to BCS players. On a certain level, the BCS teams clearly have an advantage in the talent department; however, non-BCS teams have talent enough to make BCS teams worry.

Going 2-1 in three attempts is pretty good. I wonder, if non-BCS teams just don’t belong, why are their coaches so coveted by BCS schools? I am sure Boise State and Utah fans are well aware of what I am speaking of.

Additionally, after Boise State beat Oregon this year it has became clear that fans of Boise State might never make another trip to Eugene. Finally, the original Bowl Coalition, from which the BCS has evolved, by design was intended to prevent non-BCS teams like the 1984 BYU team from ever again winning a National Championship (and I wonder if a non-BCS team ever will?).

In the end, the Bowl Championship Series design was intended to give the top two teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision an opportunity to compete in a “national championship game.” I think many can agree clearly the BCS is falls short in getting a championship ending. Some would argue the claim that the BCS gets it right 80 percent of the time. However, most college football fans agree that getting wrong 20 percent is unacceptable.