Playoff, bowls and BCS

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

I like bowl games, but there are too many of them. And just like virtually every college sports fan, “like” would turn to “fanatic” if we got to watch a playoff bracket play out.

Is Southern Cal the best team in the country right now? Could Utah or Boise State win three or four in a row against the “big boys”? What if East Carolina won a fairytale against Texas?

When March rolls around, America’s version of the soccer world’s World Cup makes me question college football’s honchos more than I do in December.

Email newsletter signup

There is a solution which incorporates the 16-team Division 1-A playoff into the current bowl system, thereby keeping all the people who make money off the bowls happy, while also limiting the number of tenth-place ACC teams which make bowl games only because 6-6 makes N.C. State “bowl eligible.”

For the five fans who think the BCS works just fine, I’m not even leaving you out. There’s a perfect role for the BCS rankings.

First, the 11 conference champions qualify. The five remaining spots are filled by the BCS rankings. This season, that’s No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Alabama, No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 10 Ohio St. and No. 11 Texas Christian. The BCS with a little geography determines the seedings.

In this season’s case, no team ranked higher than No. 12 in the BCS or the two major polls (because Big East champ Cincinnati is No. 12) is left out of the chance to play for the title. Virtually every season, there are legitimate arguments if your team is third and coulda, shoulda, woulda been second. If your team is 13th and feels hosed, too bad. Oklahoma St. had its chances to beat Texas Tech, Oklahoma or Texas.

It’s fun each March to argue if Temple, VCU or Nevada deserves the last bubble spot, but does anyone say if Dayton somehow gets spot No. 65, it means UNC, Memphis, Kansas and UCLA are frauds for making the Final Four?

Back to football. The highest bidding bowls get the games each year. As far as I’m concerned, if the Meineke Car Care Bowl bids more than the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls, good for Charlotte for getting the national title game.

With 34 bowl games lined up between Dec. 20 and Jan. 8, 15 games designated for the FOX/FedEx/Tostitos/Humanitarian Tournament, or whatever, leaves 19 “regular” bowl games which could serve the exact same purpose they do now, as exhibition games.

Missouri vs. Northwestern might be relegated from the Alamo Bowl to the Motor City Bowl. Other than determining an undeniable national champion, the second major plus of the playoff/bowl system would be Missouri and Northwestern in the Motor City Bowl, an interesting contest, instead of 6-6 Florida Atlantic and 8-4 Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. You can’t even fool the in-laws about needing to see that game.

This Saturday should be the first round of what would conquer March Madness twice over.