2011 BCS: How the Alabama/LSU Rematch Is Not Its Only Travesty
For most of the college football nation, the biggest flop of the BCS this season is the rematch between LSU and Alabama. Many say this matchup should not happen because Alabama already had their shot and did not play in a conference championship game.
But this article is not here to discuss a topic that is being beaten into the ground. It is more to focus on what can be considered two more travesties within the BCS: 1) How good non-AQ teams got bumped out of a BCS game and 2) Teams in conferences with two teams already in the BCS got by-passed.
So, the first topic I shall address is the non-AQ teams.
Deserving Non-AQ Teams Get Looked over for Lesser AQ Teams
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Problem: Teams that currently play in non-AQ conferences get overlooked by the four major BCS bowl games.
Over the past couple of years, we have had at least one non-AQ team make it into a BCS game. Boise State has been the front-runner of this. But let's not forget TCU last year or Utah a couple of years before. Boise State shocked the nation by beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007 using a couple of ingenious trick plays. Then, in 2009, Utah surprised everyone by beating Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. Then, in 2011, TCU shocked Big Ten Champion Wisconsin, 21-19. Teams that have made it to the BCS within the non-AQ conferences have put on a show.
But what happens when these teams lose one game in the regular season? In three words: out of luck. Teams within non-AQ conferences must more-or-less finish with a perfect season to be considered for a bowl game. TCU, Utah, and Boise State were all undefeated when they made it to their BCS games. But this year has not been a kind year for the non-AQ teams.
Boise State loses one game to TCU by one point, and though they are in the Top 10 of the BCS, no game for them. Houston stays undefeated until its championship game and then falls to Southern Miss. And with that loss, Houston will have to settle for a lesser bowl game.
Solution: Get rid of the AQ and non-AQ stipulations and let teams earn their shots during the regular season.
Some may argue that the reason non-AQ teams have a hard time making it to the BCS is due to fan support and the revenue they would bring in or ratings for the games. But who is truly excited about seeing Michigan and Virginia Tech play in the Sugar Bowl?
If we wanted the BCS to be fair and equal to all teams in the FCS divison, then remove the whole "AQ" status for the conferences. The sad part about the whole AQ/non-AQ status is that teams are joining the bigger AQ conferences and leaving the smaller conferences struggling to find members.
Let teams earn their shot into the BCS during the regular season. How can a one-loss Houston team not be as good as a two- or three-loss team that did qualify for the BCS?
Deserving Teams Get Overlooked Due to Limit on Bowl Games for One Conference
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Problem: Conferences are allowed a maximum of two teams into the BCS Bowls.
This is one rule that is understandable but also a bit limiting. According to the current rules of the BCS, a conference may have no more than two teams in one of the five BCS games. This is understandable in that it limits the ability of one conference to have an influence in every BCS game. But many times we don't see a conference having three or four teams that are as dominant as we have seen this year.
The current conferences that are in one of the five BCS bowl games and how many teams they are sending are listed below:
- SEC: 2
- Big XII: 1
- PAC-12: 2
- Big East: 1
- ACC: 2
- Big Ten: 2
Out of those conferences, the SEC has two more teams in the Top 10, the Big XII has one in the Top 10 and two more in the No. 11-15 spots. The lowest ranked team in the BCS is West Virginia, who is ranked at No. 23 but gets the Big East AQ bid.
The SEC has been hurt the most by this rule. Arkansas is a 10-2 team and have lost to the top two teams in the nation. South Carolina is also 10-2 and its two losses have come to Auburn and Arkansas, whom at one point was ranked No. 3 in the nation.
The Big XII has also been hurt. Kansas State was a 10-2 team, losing only to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the two teams who played in the supposed Big XII Championship game.
Solution: Increase the number of teams allowed by a conference to three or do not count a team if it is playing in the National Championship game.
The SEC has both benefited and been hurt by the BCS. While two of its teams will play in the first ever same-conference Championship game, this means no other SEC team may play in a BCS game. The Big XII had one extra bid to the BCS, but the powers-that-be felt that Michigan and Virginia Tech were both more deserving.
Increasing the number of allowed teams would enable a team that has proven itself a chance to play in spite of two teams from the same conference already playing. Or if you do not count the team that qualifies for the Championship game, it allows the two conferences who make it to the Championship a chance to send two more deserving teams.