By Bonta Hill
For sports fans, the holidays bring great joy. How can you go wrong with the start of the basketball season, the stretch drive in the National Football League and the college football bowl season?
Oh, but don’t get me wrong — there’s always a grinch. You know, the guy who is always bitter and tries to steal Christmas? That grinch happened to be the Bowl Championship Series. This year’s debacle left the University of Florida as the national champion after their 24-14 victory over Oklahoma University in the Orange Bowl Jan. 8, 2009. Florida had only one loss, as well as USC, and Texas University, with the latter beating Oklahoma on a neutral field. Wait, I didn’t mean to leave out the undefeated Utah Utes, who finished 13-0, and beat Alabama convincingly in the Sugar Bowl.
Point is: get a playoff system already!
The BCS determines who plays in the national championship. It selects six teams who won their respective conferences with two at-large bids. The six major conferences have an automatic bid — Big-Ten, Pac-10, Big East, ACC, SEC, and Big 12. It also pays out $15-18 million to the conferences participating in the BCS. So if Notre Dame finishes in the top 12, they get one of the automatic bids because they are independent.
For the last three seasons, the selection process for the national championship has gotten plenty of criticism. When Florida won it all in 2006, a the result was a heavy debate on whether they deserved the invite to the title game. Florida would go on to destroy Ohio State 41-14, which presents the question, “does Ohio State play too many softies during conference?”
This year was an absolute joke. Oklahoma played a cupcake schedule in the pre-season, and in their conference, the Big 12, was even a bigger joke. The Big 12 is only about who can score 50 points first. Literally, it’s a pass-happy league with a bunch of soft defenses.
Being from the West Coast, and knowing there is an East Coast bias when it comes to sports, the West Coast gets the “soft” label. The Pac-10 is disrespected for being an offensive, pass-happy league. That’s fine, because the “soft” Pac-10 just went 5-0 during the Bowl season. And it included USC, which allowed 12 points during a game. After their lone loss to Oregon State during the third game of the season, USC gave up only 95 points the rest of the way. To top it off, USC embarrassed Penn State in the Rose Bowl. In everyones’ eyes they looked like the best team in the nation.
Since University of Utah played a tough schedule and didn’t lose a game and Texas beat the national runner-up on a neutral field by 11 points the debate could go on forever. The best way to settle the BS, err, the BCS, is to get a playoff.
The BCS generates a lot of money, but imagine if there was a playoff with teams meeting at neutral sites. Take a cue from March Madness, which provides sports fans with the most exciting, scintillating three weeks of the year.
The holiday egg nog and Hennessey will taste much better that way. Come on college football, it’s time to get this thing right, and get rid of the BS.