BCS Worked?

 Has the BCS worked?

Click here for article from the Sporting News Matt Hayes 
Those who keep college football close to their hearts know that each conclusion for the first two years was not as rosy as some people have suggested.   

In 1998, Tennessee was the only undefeated team and a good team but, in our opinion, not one of the best two in the country.  Although FSU and Tennessee did play in the Fiesta Bowl, all of the other bowls were displayed as nothing more than a political arena. 

The matchups in the other major bowls should have been:

(the number of losses for each team before the bowls are shown in parenthesis)

  Ohio State (1)  vs.  Kansas State (1)

  Florida (2)  vs.  Arizona (1)

For unknown reasons, Kansas State and Arizona were left out of the BCS bowls.  This essentially negated the importance of the bowl games of the above (4) teams where: Florida was strong with losses only to the two teams in the Fiesta Bowl; Arizona and Kansas State both had perhaps the best regular seasons in their school’s history; and possibly the best team in 1998, Ohio State,  was without a chance at the National Championship because they faltered late in the season as opposed to Florida State’s early season loss.  With further analysis, the above proposed bowl configuration reveals dramatic results!  Understanding that the Rose Bowl had two teams both with only one loss (Wisconsin and UCLA); and that the Fiesta Bowl sponsored FSU, which had one loss, and Tennessee with, of course, no losses.


If FSU had beaten Tennessee (and if Arizona would have beaten Florida), there would have been total mayhem!  There would have been (5) teams with only one loss and each with a strong argument for the championship crown:

1.  Florida State

2.  winner of Ohio State vs. Kansas State

3.  Arizona 

4.  winner of UCLA vs. Wisconsin

5.       Tennessee


Whomever or whatever was at fault is now irrelevant.  The point is:  that there were not two teams that stood above the crowd and simple probability states that there rarely ever will be; and that the best teams were not matched in the major bowls. 

Simply stated, the 1998 postseason was one of the most flawed and manipulated in history and clearly did not work as was intended.


As for the 1999 season, Florida State definitely did look like the best team in the country - on paper.  But go no further than to ask Nebraska with their running game and devastating defense (whose only loss was to a Texas team they later beat handily in the Big 12 Championship game), or Kansas State whose only loss was to Nebraska, or Wisconsin - if any one of them felt worthy and capable enough to play the likes of FSU.  Also, the 1999 postseason displayed the continuation of an ugly pattern of manipulation that started one year earlier.  Like that selfish kid in the neighborhood who owned the Monopoly game and insisted always on being the banker and consequently changed the rules during the middle of the game, the BCS reared it’s head late in the season to change the rules in Virginia Tech’s favor.  With the Big 12 Championship game only days away, there was a tight race in the BCS standings between Nebraska, with one loss, and Virginia Tech, with no losses, for the no.2 slot and a chance to play FSU in the title game.  At this very inappropriate time, the rules were then changed.  No longer would the BCS take into account any Division I-AA playoff games to determine schedule strength points.  This was relevant in that Virginia Tech had played James Madison, a Div. I-AA school, earlier in the season.  Now that James Madison’s - and James Madison’s opponents - won/loss record would not be utilized in further games, the margin that would have narrowed in Nebraska’s favor was suddenly such that Nebraska did not have a chance to be in the title game, regardless of the outcome of their final game.  So, to continue the analogy, we all know what happens to that selfish kid in the neighborhood - eventually, no one plays his game anymore.



Research shows that 58% of players believe that an early season loss makes the rest of the season less meaningful, where fans of the sport feel similarly.  Only 35% of fans understand the BCS system, where too much time is spent on interpretation and justification.  Instead of "we’re number 1", now with the BCS system, players chant "we’re in the top quartile (of a maximum adjusted deviation ...)!" 


Everything told, the BCS preserves everything that college fans have complained about for years.  One early loss kills a team’s chance to win a title.  Teams still try to blow out opponents by five or six touchdowns.  And at the end of the year, we’ll still have no confidence that the best teams even made it to the championship game.



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