Friday, January 4, 2008

BCS, shmee-C-S...

The BCS is a mess. Kansas beat Virginia Tech in lastnight's Orange Bowl; West Virginia upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl the day before. Neither is eligible for the national title, even though both title-game participants lost to lower-ranked teams in the regular season.

To alleviate these (and other) difficulties, the Wimple hereby endorses a modest playoff. A 16-team marathon isn't necessary; a field of eight will do. Conference champions only, please-- Notre Dame can play if it has one or no losses, and is ranked higher than four other conferences' champions (which is a silly stipulation, considering how adoringly the press slobbers whenever the Domers are over .500). One more tweak-- keep the BCS rankings, but return strength-of-schedule to them. This would remove the incentive to go Buckeye, and schedule a bevy of 2-A teams before hitting one's conference schedule. An increase in LSU-Virginia Tech style matchups in September would be awesome.

Even though Kansas and Missouri wouldn't have made it into this proposed playoff, the argument against their inclusion is strong: they didn't win their conference! West Virginia would have made the cut.

In a world with this kind of playoff (which is, admittedly, a fantasy of the highest order) the BCS/non-BCS distinction would lose most of its meaning, because in most years two of the five non-BCS conferences would suddenly have a guaranteed place at the table. This would re-incentivise geographically-defined conferences, because all conferences would be created (nearly) equal in the post-season. Thus the entrance fee for top-tier post-season bowls would be a tough schedule and a conference championship.

And in a year like this one, where upsets never end, we would have at least a rational basis on which to proclaim one national champion: head-to-head results.

1 comment:

Thwarthwimple said...

The president of the University of Georgia is pushing for a very similar plan:

Unsurprisingly, he wouldn't exclude teams from the playoff who didn't win their conference. This year, Georgia didn't win the SEC East!