The BCS: The Destroyer of Sportsmanship

Justin ThomasContributor INovember 20, 2008

In the 10 years of the BCS, we all have come to see many things. We've seen deserving teams left out of the BCS, undeserving teams admitted to the games, or coaches lobbying for poll position towards the end of November.

Many things are certain in college football. One team may beat another, and one team may be the best in the nation. But the BCS has the power to keep that team in or out by computer numbers (as well as other human poll factors).

The thing that is becoming more and more common is a team, trying to make ground in the polls, running up the score on its opponent. 

For example, this year's Florida team has been absolutely dominating teams, and the reward has been a six-spot jump since the initial BCS polls came out. This team may not need lobbying to get play in the BCS title game, but it could never hurt. 

Also, USC has struggled at times but shows no mercy when everything clicks (see victories against Washington and Washington State). Yes, I know these teams share one win between them (against Portland State...who?), but it's sad they couldn't score even a field goal.

Show No Mercy!

Oklahoma has tried as well to make up ground by pouring on the points (averaging 64 in two past two games). They put up 62 against a decent Nebraska team in three quarters and then put up 66 against a Texas A&M team in three quarters as well. 

This may be more an argument of dominance though, since Bob Stoops has enough class to not put up scores in the fourth quarter of an ugly game. Or maybe his second team just can't put those points up.

For a huge argument against the BCS, just look at Boise State, the hailed Cinderella of all BCS games. 

In all but one of Boise State's wins, the margin of victory has been more than 17 points. That game was against Oregon early in the season. It is a shame that a team that has been proven in the recent years still has to blaze over teams in such a fashion to get a chance at an at-large bid.

Of course, I know Boise State is a non-BCS school, but where is the fairness in that?

These are just four teams that may have to run up the score (whether because of flat-out talent or for making a point) and kill all that was once known to college football just to get in the BCS. 

Obviously, some teams in rivalries like to run the score up a bit if last year's loss was painful (see Georgia/Florida this year). 

Whatever happened to sportsmanship though?

Through the 10 years of the BCS, more people are recognizing completely unneeded blowouts. Teams and coaches are becoming bitter. Miami is a great example—Randy Shannon complained that Florida was trying to run up the score with a late field goal. Absurd? Yes.

This thought of running up the score is very much linked to Steve Spurrier, who was the mastermind of running the score up in Florida during the 1990s. 

So where did it go, my friends? What happened?

I think the BCS has completely taken away a main part of college football. The focus now is on the BCS and how a team can move up the rankings, or how a team can be ranked third in the AP poll and ranked fifth in the BCS?

Hopefully my claims to this era of declining sportsmanship are correct. Honestly, in my eyes, this system seems to be a catalyst for unsportsmanlike games and play calling.  The blowouts are becoming more frequent and by bigger margins.

How can we get away from this system?

I don't think anyone knows the answer to this question. There are many opinions that say a playoff is the way to solve it. However, the playoff gets complicated because it could cut into traditional rivalry games by slimming down the regular season. Also, you'd have a debate on how many teams should be in a playoff.

As for myself, I do not have the answer. I just think the BCS has created an atmosphere that is killing all sportsmanship because of the jockeying to regain title position or solidify title position. For non-BCS schools, they must try to get in by blowing out opponents.

All I know is that I miss my early and middle teen years style of football, where people would kneel down instead of take the scoreboard to the limits. I want those days back. I want a system of fairness and the rebuilding of sportsmanship across college football.

What do you think?