Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on the Bowl system

Stewart Mandel over on CNNSI wrote a good editorial on the current state of the football BCS chicanery. Of course, the BCS officially stands for the Bowl Championship Series. I tend to refer to it in a more derogatory acronym involving the words System, a crude term for manure, and a Bull which spell out BCS and my thoughts about it nicely.  

About ten years ago, College Football stuck us with inaugurated this BCS madness in their quest to make more money crown the true football champion without having a true March Madness style playoff which would probably make less money. They somehow managed to get the Madness part, but not the playoff.

I find the idea of a limited playoff system of not more than 4 to 8 teams to be palatable. I do not like the idea of a full blown playoff system, however.  People ballyhoo the argument that a playoff system would devalue the regular season, but I know for a fact that that is indeed the case. When I was at Carson Newman, a Div. II school where there is a bona fide playoff, attendance would double for playoff games. I can't tell you how many students I've had conversations with who would only attend the playoff games because "that's when it counted." 

And as Mandel points out in his editorial, I hate the idea of the traditional in-state rivalry games which are usually the last games of the regular season being played by the scrub teams because the starters are being rested for the playoffs. From my time at a Division II school, I know for a fact this is also accurate if the team(s) already has the playoff spot locked up. 

I also do not think that once the Pandora's box of Playoffs gets started, even if it starts with a seemingly innocuous 4 team mini-playoff, it will balloon to a full blown March Madness style bracket in short order because the NCAA will soon realize that the other traditional bowls of has-beens will stop raking in the dough. To recoup that, they will have to massively expand the playoff pool. 

That having been said, I do not really care all that much for the BCS system either, as it was a half-hearted attempt to create a playoff-less playoff in the hopes of staving off a split national championship like Michigan/Nebraska in '97 (the last year before the BCS was instituted). 

I've never cared for this blood thirsty "We have to have a winner and a loser" winner-take-all mentality that seems to permeate football, and all sports for that matter, these days. I have always detested the unlimited overtime rule. To me, that seems to completely defeat the purpose of a regular game clock. I was perfectly happy with the old fashioned tie. If time runs out and it's tied, then so be it. Deal with it. It is just a game. 

I say this about overtimes primarily for safety reasons. I think eventually they will put a cap on the number of overtimes, because when it gets over about 2 or 3 overtimes, the game becomes so dangerous because fatigue sets in. Some kid is going to die of heat stroke or something after a 4+ overtime game at some point. Unfortunately, I think it will take some kid's death to change the rule. 

People don't like ambiguity, and I think it would be good for them to have some. I believe its this "Two men enter, One man leave" MadMax Thunderdome mentality that fuels unsportsmanlike conduct, dancing around on the field, trashtaking sports culture that seems to have arisen. 

Since the BCS can't seem to pick the No. 1 and No. 2 without major controvery, I would just as soon go back to the old traditional bowl system. At least you get a good, established conference rivalry game every year. I remember the good old Sugar Bowl was the major treat for the SEC champion (Especially the year back in the '80s when Tennessee romped over a much heralded No. 1 Miami). Now, unless the Sugar Bowl is hosting the National Championship game and the SEC champ is going to play for the National Title, the Sugar Bowl gets the SEC No. 2 has been.  The Sugar Bowl just isn't as interesting as it used to be. The same is true of the Rosebowl, although this year, the Rose bowl might luck out with the PAC-10 and Big Ten conference champs squaring off, like of old. 

Just my two cents...

1 comment:

Susie/NuevaCantora said...

yes! Let's just go back to the old system. I also worry about increasing injury potential by extending the season with 3 or 4 or 6 games so that everyone else can have "a real winner." Get over people - even the NFL allows ties!