I have been doing a lot of thinking about the BCS recently. In an effort to see how ridiculous this is, I posed the question, "What if the NFL used the BCS?"
The top two NFL teams squaring off without a series of games? Well, for starters we wouldn't have the New England Patriots winning a Super Bowl. That would be bad, right? Sure – five teams had better records regular season records but what about settling it between the hashes? Maybe consistency isn't worth as much as a well-timed "tuck" or a hot streak? In my opinion, the best team did not win but the NFL has tradition and parity sells tickets (except in Jacksonville).
What about the age-old argument of March Madness? Everyone loves March. Sixty-four teams, one month, one winner. Which five seed will bail out early? And we know the pretenders will be weeded out. The difference in basketball and football is that even at the end of the season 10 (or more) teams would seem like legitimate champions if they win the tournament. You're naming 10 in your head right now.
That isn't the case in football. In my opinion, Florida State (9-4) does not deserve a shot at the title. Neither do non-conference winners: Kansas State, USC and someone in the Big Ten. Nor do teams with two losses (more than this year's Fiesta loser): Washington State and Oklahoma. I guess that leaves four legitimate teams for a tourney. That might work.
Right now contending teams know that you not only need to win your conference, you need to beat at least a couple of quality non-conference opponents for strength of schedule rating. If it's just tourney qualifying, expect to see more Oklahoma-UTEP. Why play Alabama?
One last thing, NFL teams sometimes sit players once a playoff spot is wrapped up. Hypothetically, if a major conference team was undefeated and lost the conference title to a 9-4 team, both teams would make the tournament and the conference would be twelve million dollars richer because a 9-4 team would bring BCS dollars to the table: a revenue-shared cool mil to the loser just for resting players; a public relations nightmare to be sure. But revenue sharing of this magnitude and tournament selection do not mix.
While you still disagree with me, I just thought you might want to hear some of the reasons that make the BCS the best option if you want regular season games to matter.
Let's end with some eight-team tournament world headlines:
- Krenzel throws fourth down touchdown pass against Purdue. Why? Just kick it – you're in the tourney.
- Miami comes back in fourth quarter on Rutgers. Who cares? 11-1 gets you there.
- Georgia laughs off Florida loss, "What drama? This isn't the tournament!"
- OSU beats OU Again! No big deal, OU in tournament third straight year.