BCS Changes: What Could Actually Be Done?
by Paul Grossinger
Last week, I proposed the BCS add a rule where the top 5 teams would play one another (or at least a sample of one another) during the season. This proposal joined a number of highly unlikely changes that many of us-writers, commentators, fans-would like to see made to the failing BCS system. Indeed, even the President waded into the debate in favor of a playoff and was directly rebuffed; Norway may respect Obama’s speeches enough to reward him with the Nobel peace Prize but the BCS barely gave him a hearing.
Nonetheless, there are some changes that the BCS might endorse because they would fix some of the issues that plague the rankings system without restructuring it entirely. One of these, and the subject of this piece, is the idea of eliminating mandatory BCS bowl berths for particular conferences and, additionally, eliminating limits on how many teams in a conference may appear.
How would this be helpful? Well, when one looks at some of the issues the rankings faced last season, it is easy to notice how some of them would be rectified by these changes. For instance, because of the mandatory bowl requirements, the rankers were required to send the champions of both the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference to the Orange Bowl. Looking at the December 2008 pre-bowl rankings, one notices that Cincinnati was ranked #12 and Virginia Tech, with its four losses, was barely in the poll at #21. Clearly, this was highly unfair to undefeated (12-0) #9 Boise State and 11-1 Texas Tech who both failed to make BCS bowl games. If both of my suggestions had been in place before, however, these problems would not have been present because the two champions would not have had mandatory BCS bids and would have been left out in favor of more deserving teams.
Importantly, while that example is last season’s news, the same sort issues are looking as though they might plague the BCS this year. The SEC, which already has three teams in the top 10 (and had three of the top four two weeks ago), looks to have this years’ version of Texas Tech in LSU if neither Florida nor Alabama falters. Furthermore, both TCU and Boise State look to have undefeated seasons barring a major flop and, as with last year, one of them will be left out if the current rules remain in place. It is obvious to viewers that changes need to be made, but it remains to be seen if the BCS will ultimately agree.