College football fans across the country are going to be disappointed again this season for the 14th year in a row. For those of you not counting, that is exactly the number of seasons that the Bowl Championship Series has been in existence.
Yet again, a handful of late-season losses by the top programs in the nation have turned the BCS on its head and left the sport in disarray. As a result, the next few weeks will be spent debating computer formulas and controversial bowl placements instead of crowning a legitimate champion.
Fans deserve closure when a season ends, and that is why the BCS needs to go. The inevitable chaos that ensues each season undoubtedly provides pundits with endless amounts of ammunition that results in spirited debate and good TV, but it isn't good for the sport.
Only in college football are the folks who pay the ticket prices and make the donations that keep the programs afloat left to wonder if the best team wins out every season.
A playoff system is by no means perfect—were the Cardinals the best team in the MLB this year, and were Butler and VCU two of the top four teams in college basketball a year ago?—but at the very least it leads to the appearance of a true champion.
More importantly, it provides a sport and its fans with some certainty and stability.
Take, for example, Boise State. Year in and year out, the Broncos enter the season ranked in the Top 10 with a talented roster that is all but guaranteed to win more than 90 percent of its games. In every other sport, that is reason for excitement. In college football, it is reason for heartache and stress.
Boise State knows that if they don’t win 100 percent of their games, they have no shot at a championship. What’s worse is that, if they do go undefeated, the Broncos are still unlikely to get even a chance at finishing on top because of a pre-determined bias against the conference they call home.
The current system makes success unattainable for a number of teams, while rewarding others for the logo on their helmet or the conference patch on their jersey.
SEC powerhouses LSU and Alabama will probably meet in this year’s BCS Championship Game, and they are probably the two best teams in the nation. But how will we ever know for sure? The Tide, for instance, probably won’t even win their conference this season.
Players, coaches, fans and the rest of the sporting community deserve better. The BCS is broken, and it’s a stain on an otherwise great sport.
Until it’s replaced with a playoff system, a plus-one or some form of competition that sets every team on equal footing, college football’s image will continue to suffer while chaos reigns supreme.