Columns » End Zone

Let's have a perfect world

End Zone



One of these years, America will decide that the Bowl Championship Series must go away. One of these years, the people — obviously not the establishment — will get their way, and we'll have a playoff tournament each year to determine college football's true national champion.

It could be a single game after the bowls or an eight-team bracket, perhaps 16. It could make the most of the bowl system, giving each of the marquee-level traditional events a game that matters, helping to decide the best team in the land.

Then, and only then, will everyone be happy. Because we certainly aren't now, unless you happen to be a fan of Alabama or Texas.

Sure, the Crimson Tide and Longhorns are 13-0 after wrapping up the Southeastern and Big 12 conference titles. Granted, both can make good arguments for being in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7 at Pasadena, Calif.

But what about Texas Christian University, with its 12-0 record including so many eye-popping victories in and out of the Mountain West Conference? (Memo to the MWC: Make sure to play games on the first weekend of December, because voters forget. TCU should play somebody with a name, such as Air Force, to end every season, and Brigham Young-Utah should be as late as possible.)

What about Cincinnati, with a spotless run through the Big East and its own 12-0 mark? And what about Boise State, 13-0 including a win over Oregon?

Instead of having a chance for the national championship, as they would in any other sport — and any other level of college football — they're cheated.

Yes, we've done exercises such as this in other years, but we can't let up or give up. We have to continue being righteously indignant, December after December. We always must point out how much better the alternative would be, or the battle will be lost.

For example, let's look at the most-mentioned options to replace the bowls:

• One more game, usually considered the BCS plus-1. It would avoid matching the top two teams in the first round of bowls, but instead of official semifinals, some kind of formula would figure the top two teams for one post-bowl game. If, say, a team such as Texas barely won, a TCU or Cincinnati could move up.

• Eight teams, using the top bowls. Imagine these quarterfinal pairings on Dec. 19: Alabama vs. Boise State, Texas vs. Oregon, TCU vs. Ohio State, Cincinnati vs. Georgia Tech. You could argue for Florida, but most would prefer to include only conference champions if at all possible. Semifinals could be Alabama vs. TCU, Texas vs. Cincinnati.

• Many fans want a 16-team bracket, giving chances to more teams and using more bowls, unless first-round games might be hosted by better-seeded teams. One possible bracket order, seeds in parentheses: Alabama (1) vs. Oregon State (16), Ohio State (8) vs. Georgia Tech (9), Boise State (5) vs. Penn State (12), Cincinnati (4) vs. Brigham Young (13), Texas (2) vs. Pittsburgh (15), Florida (7) vs. Iowa (10), Oregon (6) vs. Virginia Tech (11), TCU (3) vs. Louisiana State (14).

Please don't quibble for those bottom three or four seeds. If you prefer Nebraska, Miami (Fla.), West Virginia, Arizona or someone else, make your own substitutions. No matter what the cutoff, there would be debate over who should be in or out. But much better to have that conversation about teams with three or four losses, instead of the present method, in which teams that are 13-0 have no shot.

Also, spare me the whining about the lesser bowls. They could survive, and do well, outside a 16-team playoff tournament. Just have the playoff games on the weekends, with the other bowls during the week. So you still could have an Air Force vs. Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, still on ESPN, but with one other nice benefit: The bowl payouts to participating teams could go down, because the TV contract for the playoffs would be so huge, every conference could share in the windfall, divided among member schools, with a bonus for teams that make it into the tournament.

That's my idea. But at this point, the BCS opponents would settle for anything.

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast