Bowl season starts this weekend and, as an adamant supporter of the BCS in the past, I must say, a four-team playoff can’t come soon enough.
This has nothing to do with the BCS being “unfair” or giving more than two teams a shot at the title. Those are petty disturbances to an otherwise superior championship system. However, the death of the BCS, in my mind, has come about, not from championship game debacles or non-AQ court cases, but from simply bad bowls. This year’s crop of BCS bowls is down right appalling. If a system churns out this slate as its magnum opus, something is terribly wrong.
Before we get to the games themselves, a quick look at what the BCS delivers, both good and bad:
- *Gives us the very best regular season in all of American sports
- *Gives us a title game matchup that always contains two of the best teams, something that none of the professional sports nor college basketball can offer
- *Gives us the winners of the six BCS conferences, whether we want them or not
- *Gives us a winner of a non-AQ conference just because one of the BCS conference winners happened to be bad this year…which seems odd
- *Bans the best team from a conference from bowling but still rewards the crappier teams in that conference with a BCS bowl bid
- *Gives us just two teams from the best conference in the nation, when six of the top 10 teams in the country reside there
Since the BCS is on its way out anyways, there is no reason to quibble with its rules. The BCS did two things really, really well (points one and two) but the rest of the garbage caught up with it this year. Some folks think last year’s rematch was a disaster. I am not one of these folk. This season should actually be looked at as the worst-case scenario of what the BCS could offer: a ho-hum, no controversy Championship flanked by a cluster of bad BCS bowls.
The dirty, little secret that NCAA head honchos may not want you to know is that none of these bowl games matter anyways. Other than the National Championship, the rest of the games are strictly entertainment, which is why this year’s games are so disheartening. None of the other BCS matchups interest me in the least. Couldn’t Oregon be playing Florida? Couldn’t Georgia have gotten a BCS berth since they are clearly one of the top five teams in the nation? Couldn’t the entire Big 10 have been banned from bowl season, instead of just Ohio State and Penn State? Can’t Northern Illinois go away?
I am an admitted football snob. I want the best teams playing each other and I want everyone else to be excluded. The BCS used to deliver this. Since constant tweaking to the system has actually ruined it, I’m glad it’s on its way out. In the mean time, I don’t really care about this year’s BCS bowls; the two best bowl games to watch (outside of the title game) are as follows.
Monday, December 31; 7:30 PM
One of the very best defensive teams in the country will face off against a high-powered, explosive offense. LSU’s defense had three All-SEC first team performers this year; Clemson’s offense had a peerless six All-ACC first teamers. Pitting strength against strength, this game should be one of the better of bowl season.
Friday, January 4; 8:00 PM
Newly minted Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel leads Texas A&M into the Cotton Bowl against veteran signal caller Landry Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners. Two offenses who both averaged over 500 yards and over 40 points per contest facing each other should give us one of the more exciting bowl games. Throw in Oklahoma’s anger about missing out on a BCS bowl because of Northern Illinois’ finish and this should be fun.
Both games, not surprisingly, contain SEC teams, just as the BCS should and the four-team playoff certainly will in coming years.