BCS Bowl Games 2011: The Never-Ending Playoff Debate

Stephen DContributor IIDecember 6, 2010

Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers will Play the Oregon Ducks in the BCS National championship game
Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers will Play the Oregon Ducks in the BCS National championship gameKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The College Football season has ended, and it’s now official that Auburn and Oregon will play in the BCS National Championship Game.  

One argument that will not go away: When will Division 1-A of college football finally get a playoff system to decide its national champion?

Years before the BCS system, the polls would vote for the national champion after the Bowl games were played, instead of having the No. 1 and No. 2 teams duel it out in a designated game.

The NCAA’s other football divisions from 1-AA, II, and III have their own playoff formats to decide a champion. Even all of the NCAA sports use playoffs to decide champions.

Then the BCS was installed which made the No. 1 and No. 2 teams play in the the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta or Orange Bowl.

But it had its price: The complicated system included computers to determine the rankings.

The BCS system has gone through several changes: dropping some factors including strength of schedule and wins against top 10 teams; and adding a new BCS bowl called “The BCS National Championship Game,” so that a deserving team wouldn't be left out of the national championship game.

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While I support a playoff system for college football’s top division, the more I think about it, the more I keep asking: If Division 1-A got a playoff system to decide it’s national champion, what would happen to Bowl games such as the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange?

I’m not sure if anyone has brought up what to do with the most prestigious bowl games in Division 1-A. It’s certain that the mid-tier bowl games would remain for teams with a winning record and who deserve to play another game. 

But if we had 16 teams in the “BCS tournament,” we’d possibly have 86 teams in the bowl games. That would mean more bowl games for weaker teams, spelling less competitive games.

To avoid weakening the pool further among eligible bowl teams, they'd have to contract a handful of bowls so there wouldn’t be so many inferior games.

The trickiest part? What to do with the BCS bowl games (excluding the National championship)?

One solution is to put the four bowls as part of the BCS tournament, but I'm not sure that would work.

If the playoff format featured only 16 teams, after the first round, we’d have the four major bowl games in the quarter-final of the tournament.

Currently, the BCS format states that the SEC champion must play in the Sugar Bowl, the Big 12 champion must play in the Fiesta, and so forth.

If the format was the No. 1 v. No. 16, No. 2 v. No. 15 etc., regional loyalty may be lost for these bowls.

Which ranked teams would get to play in them?

And why give such a big reward for winning teams in only the quarter-final when there are two more rounds to go?

That’s when we really have really have to consider dropping these bowl games out of the tournament.

They could be "stand alone" bowl games, but they would just lack prominence. 

But, would anyone would want to see the Rose Bowl between a third ranked Pac-10 team and fourth ranked Big 10 team, or the Orange Bowl between No. 4 from the ACC versus the No. 4 team from the SEC? 

Another option would be to get rid of those bowl games all together...Negative reviews, begin.

There have been crazy ideas of what to do with college football’s BCS system. But can you imagine the craziness if the BCS officially dropped its five Bowl games, to convert it into a four round, 16-team tournament, for the National Championship?


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