I Attempt To Solve Every Problem With The BCS and The Bowl Season In One Fell Swoop

The vast expanses of empty seats in these college bowl games really demonstrate how the process is becoming watered down. There are now 35 bowl games, yet ESPN ran a story about how a 7-5 Western Kentucky team got robbed. With their two marquee wins coming against Florida International and Louisiana-Lafayette, can we please refrain from complaining about this mediocre team being left out? I understand that a bowl game would have meant the world to that program, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t have gotten UCLA’s bowl bid, but when did we decide that every team that earns a winning record (or in the case of 6-7 UCLA, a barely losing record) deserves a bowl game? I thought that was just the bare minimum. Some of these lower tier bowl games are the equivalent of matching up 15 and 16 seeded teams in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and trying to convince us that we should tune in (and I do).

As the NCAA continues to add more bowls to the schedule, the bowl season is slowly creeping deeper and deeper into January. Clemson, playing in the Orange Bowl on a Wednesday night, is having a hard time selling their allotment of 17,500 tickets. Their opponent West Virginia is having even more trouble. Both South Carolina and West Virginia public schools will be back in session by the time January 4th rolls around, making it hard for families to take the week off for a trip to Miami. I’m betting it would boost average attendance, if the NCAA brought some of the prestige back to earning a bowl bid and cut some of the superfluous bowls (GoDaddy.com Bowl anyone?). Additionally, that may allow planners a little more flexibility to slot the bowl games on days where more families can make the trip.

Clemson will play in their 34th bowl game this year, a pretty impressive record. For comparison, Notre Dame has played in 30 bowl games. Unfortunately, it’s being washed out by every halfway decent team making a bowl game for each of the last 10 or so years. Even South Carolina plays in bowl games these days (they’ll play Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl for a chance at their fifth all-time bowl victory).

On top of the bevy of bland bowls, this is one of the few seasons when the BCS got it wrong. They gave it to an Alabama team that had a clearly inferior resume to that of the #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys. It has gotten everyone squawking and demanding a four or even eight team playoff system, but I think I’ve found a simpler solution.

First let’s stop adding bowl games and instead let the BBVA Compass Bowls of the world expire, getting us back to a more reasonable amount of bowl games and bowl teams. Then let’s exclude the National Championship from the bowl schedule. Moving the two highest ranked teams from the National Championship game to the traditional bowl schedule would knock out two more average teams and make the bowl season that much more enjoyable and important. By taking those two steps we’ve restored the prestige and interest to the bowl season.

Then, after every bowl game is played, and we’ve seen all those non-conference matchups, the BCS can come out with its most important rankings–the one that will determine the BCS National Championship game. Using this season as our example we wouldn’t have VT or Michigan in the BCS. Instead we’d see a little more clarity as Alabama and Oklahoma State would play in their BCS Bowls (potentially against each other) before a National Championship Game need be decided. This would turn the BCS bowls in a defacto playoff, add prestige to the bowl games rather than ruining them as a standard playoff bracket would do, and keep college football the best brand of football in the world.

Are you on board?

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10 thoughts on “I Attempt To Solve Every Problem With The BCS and The Bowl Season In One Fell Swoop

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    • I think the “season will be too long argument” is totally valid, however if we slashed a week off the bowl season by eliminating a few bowls and not including the Nat’l Championship game then it would give us room to play the National Title a week after all the other bowls are complete. We play it about a week after the last traditional BCS bowl game as it stands. I’ll check out your blog and comment.

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  3. Such an interesting topic with so many ideas and possible solutions. Let me start my response by talking about the smaller bowl games. When more and more of them came into existence, I initially thought the same thing, that it was not really worth having them for mediocre teams. But I’ve changed my tune over time. Why? Because those bowl games are not meant for you or me. They are meant for the kids that play in them. And even though I don’t care about many of them, I think it is great that the kids get to play one more game. If we don’t want to see the games, then we can change the channel. So I say keep them. However, I think most bowl games should be completed by Dec 30th. There should be no bowl games after Dec 30th except for the major bowl games (BCS + other usual New Years games like Cotton, Gator, etc). And I totally agree with you about the timing they now have for the BCS Bowls. Clemson is one of the best traveling schools when it comes to games, but they can only do so much with poor timing. So I think all major bowls should be completed by Jan 2nd and the BCS Championship game should be the 1st Saturday in Jan that occurs after Jan 2nd and the location should be bid on just like the Super Bowl and the NCAA BBall championship game. If you are going to use BCS bowls as play-in games, then they need to happen on the last Saturday in December and then the other 2 BCS bowl games can both be played on New Years’, where they belong and then the BCS Champ game the 1st Saturday in Jan. (I really don’t like the Monday night champ game, and who can attend that one either).

    Outside of that, I like your idea. The problem is who to match up. I’d be happy with a 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. But even this year it would have had controversy as Pac 12 Champ Oregon would have been behind Pac 12 Stanford. And I am not a fan of the rematch. There are too many schools to end up with a rematch. Maybe Alabama really is the 2nd or best team in the nation, but they had their shot at #1 and blew it. Okla St deserved their chance. So I’m thinking something like this. Four teams will play-in to the Championship game. The four team will be the top four BCS ranked conference champions (from any conference) that are ranked in the top 8. If there are not 4 conf champs in the top 8, then start back at the top and take the highest ranked teams until all slots are full. This year would have put (1)LSU vs (5)Oregon (not happy about the rematch, but at least it is out of conference) and then (3)Oklahoma State vs. (2)Alabama.

    Last year would have been (1)Auburn vs (5)Wisconsin and (2)Oregon vs (3)TCU.

    Before that would have been (1)Alabama vs (4)TCU and (2)Texas vs (3)Cincinnati.

    And outside of the play-in possibilities, the other thing I don’t like is the lack of conference champions match ups. The Big East is a floater and will generally get to play another conf champ. You have Pac 12 playing Big 10. But with the current tie-ins with other conferences, we will never get (outside the BCS Champ game) Big 12 champs vs SEC champs or SEC vs ACC or Big 12 vs ACC or any of them against Pac 12 or Big 10. I want more conf champs playing other conf champs in the major bowl games.

    Oh, and I also think every bowl game should be required to have a non-company name as part of the title. I don’t care if you have to include the sponsor’s name, but there should never again be a galleryfurniture.com bowl. The Chik-fil-a Bowl needs to go back to being the Chik-fil-a Peach Bowl. That way sponsors can be changed out but everyone will still know what and where the bowl game is.

    Wow, I’ve really spent too much time thinking about this. They just need to do something to get at least a 4 team playoff.

  4. You make a good point about the lower bowl games, but you can’t force the schools to lose money. WVU is hoping to avoid losing more than $1,000,000 on the bowl game. The conference will help them because they get a share of the 17mil in BCS money, but if they don’t sell their allotment they have to pay the bowl for it.

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  6. Pingback: BCS Pondering Details of Four Team Playoff, Swofford Supports Position That Will Hurt ACC | Home Runs, Apple Pie, and Rock 'n Roll

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