Killgore on Sports Business 

High Atop the Trojan Horse...For Three Weeks Anyway

Note: Absurdity of BCS Caused One Fan to Switch Allegiances (Temporarily)

It was a momentous New Years for me as I found myself uttering a phrase unlikely to ever cross my lips again during football season - GO TROJANS!!!!!

As a proud University of Washington alum from the early 1990's, nothing other than our annual trouncing of in-state rival Washington State gave me more pleasure than sticking it to USC on the football field. The team, the school, the fans with their Verizon "V for Victory" fingers in the air, the one-hit wonder that is the USC band playing that one freaking tune that sends 99 % of the college football world into a murderous rage, and the cheerleaders with those ridiculously tight sweaters - OK, maybe those aren't so bad, but there were still plenty of reasons to root against our neighbors to the south.

But on January 1, there was no bigger USC fan than yours truly. I had the purple and gold that typically flows through my veins temporarily replaced with the whatever and whatever the Trojans don every fall weekend. I wanted them to crush Michigan in the Rose Bowl and stake their claim to a National Championship. Why? Had I seen the light and all the wonderful things that USC has done for our society? Heck no! I wanted the BCS to get screwed beyond all recognition. I was rooting passionately for a split national title to once and for all expose this sham of a system and bring a long overdue playoff format to college football.

Ranked number one in both the Associated Press and Coaches' Top-25 polls entering the Bowl season, USC was left out of the national title hunt December 7th, when the BCS rankings appeared saying Oklahoma and LSU were the top two teams in the nation and would meet January 4th in the Sugar Bowl. The Coaches' Poll is required to vote the Sugar Bowl winner as its National Champion, so USC had no chance of displacing either team, regardless of their Rose Bowl performance. The AP poll however, is under no such obligation. USC's impressive 28-14 victory over the Wolverines resulted in the Trojans retaining their top-ranked AP position, splitting the National Championship with LSU after the Tigers 21-14 win over Oklahoma. Such a scenario severely tarnished the BCS's already shaky claim of being the best way to crown a college football champion, because it was designed to prevent this very outcome - two teams laying claim to the title. The growing legions of fans demanding a playoff system have reason to grow even louder, the media now has ample material to fuel this already hot controversy and the BCS Bowls themselves may have reason to reconsider the enormous amounts of money they've invested if the system can no longer guarantee the Championship Game they're paying for.

The arguments against a playoff are well chronicled:
1. It hurts the sanctity of the Bowl games - Guess what? The sanctity is already long gone. Except for whatever Bowl is hosting the championship game, the BCS system has rendered every other Bowl game meaningless. Every fan knows that except for the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar, the Bowl game coming to their town will determine nothing more than whose fight song is more catchy; attendance has suffered as a result. Besides, anyone concerned with the sanctity of the Bowls would never have allowed the wave of sponsorship that has resulted in the "Capital One Bowl," and "Continental Tire Bowl" to name a few - to appear on the schedule. A playoff system could easily incorporate the Bowls and make every one, from Boise to New Orleans, a huge game - sponsored or not.

2. A playoff system would ruin the tradition of the Bowl games - Yeah, and January 4th has a long history in college football. Playing on New Years Day used to be something every college football player dreamed of. Now the date is nothing more than a warm-up act that teams consider a consolation prize to playing three days later. Five Bowl games were played after New Years Day in 2004. It appears tradition only matters if ABC can't put it in primetime. Don't be surprised when the BCS Bowl games are pushed back to February sweeps.

3. A playoff would make the season too long - Probably the most valid point. Playing two or three extra games a season is taxing on the student-athletes, who are exposed to potential injuries with every additional play. However, it is interesting how this only seems to be a concern for Division I football. Grand Valley State won the Division II title last month, finishing the season with a 14-1 record. Delaware defeated Colgate on December 19 for the Division I-AA Championship - the 15th game for both schools. With Pre-season 'Classics' and Conference Championship games, the Division I season is already longer than ever. Oklahoma and LSU played 14 games this season and Kansas State 15. An 11-game regular season with potentially three playoff games would result in no more football than is already being played.

4. A playoff system would keep student-athletes away from the classroom for longer periods of time - College football players miss fewer classes than most any other collegiate sport. With few exceptions, games are played on Saturdays, meaning teams can leave on Friday afternoon for most away games. A playoff format would take place in December when the majority of schools are already on Christmas break. College baseball and basketball teams can be away for a week at a time - longer during their post-season tournaments. No one seems to worry about those sports.

In the absence of a playoff, the BCS has done what it's supposed to. It has matched the two teams that best match its criteria for earning a shot at the National Title. The media gets a say, the coaches get a say and the computers have their say. But what about the players? Where's their voice? Every other collegiate athlete has the champion of their sport determined on the field. Why must football be so different? To placate traditionalists and a television network at the expense of all the effort these young men put into their craft is an insult to them all. There is simply too much passion devoted to college football in the United States to allow third parties to determine who is the best. The media will not catch a game-winning touchdown as time expires. A computer will not kick a fifty-five-yard field goal to win the Sugar Bowl. Players leave their heart and soul on the gridiron every Saturday afternoon in the fall. What happens there, and there alone, should be the ultimate factor in deciding which school is number one.

Please don't make me ever root for USC again; bring a playoff to college football.

Brian Killgore

  1 - 1 of 1 articles  

On This Site

  • About this site
  • Main Page
  • Most Recent Comments
  • Complete Article List
  • Sponsors

Search This Site

Syndicate this blog site

Powered by BlogEasy

Free Blog Hosting