Bust the BCS, it’s a load of bowl

lindsayfairchild

The Bowl Championship System has been plagued with problems since its inception in 1998. There have always been arguments for different ways of ranking teams and for which teams should be included in the nationally-showcased bowl games. My main qualm with the system is that it only looks at the outcome and the point difference, not the location of the game, which can play a huge role in determining the game’s outcome.

As a University of Texas fan I am very aware of how often this factor is ignored. Last year the second-ranked Longhorns were surpassed by the Oklahoma Sooners after a loss by six points to forth-ranked Texas Tech, even though the Longhorns had previously beaten the rival Sooners 45-35 at a neutral site: the Cotton Bowl.

This year it seems to be déjà vu all over again for. Alabama, the current number-two team in the nation, struggled to beat an unranked Tennessee team by two points at home, only because of a last minute field goal block. Texas beat a then-ranked Oklahoma team by three points at a neutral site. However, the rankings did not change.

This last example also highlights another issue with the system: Preferential treatment of the Southeastern Conference. The conference is lauded as being the most competitive in the nation, so Florida and Alabama’s wins are seen as more legitimate than Texas’ in the Big 12. True, the Big 12 North (Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri), is generally less stacked with talent than the Southeastern Conference, but the Big 12 South (Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Baylor) is perennially a competitive division flush with talent comparable to that of the mighty Southeastern Conference. If Texas has to play powerhouse teams like Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, why then does the system seem to favor Alabama and Florida, who play bottom-of-the-barrel  teams such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi State?

This season also poses a new problem for the Bowl Championship System: The Texas Christian University Horned Frogs and the Boise State Broncos are unbeaten and are ranked in the top ten. This guarantees them places in one of the five bowl games: a scenario which could leave qualified  Bowl Championship System conference teams out in the cold come January.

The system  guarantees a place in a bowl game to the conference champions of the six conferences (Pac-10, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, Big East and ACC) as well as champions from non-Bowl Championship System conferences who are ranked in the BCS top 10. However, since Texas Christian University and Boise State are unbeaten and ranked sixth and seventh in the Bowl Championship System standings, respectively, they are still considered contenders to play in the national championship.

Many people are questioning how competitive a bowl game would be if one of those teams were to get into the championship game against a major opponent like Florida, Alabama or Texas. But judging from past games between non-Bowl Championship System conference teams and these conference teams: like Boise State’s win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, which featured 21 points in the last two minutes of regulation and a successful statue of liberty play to end the game: games have the potential to be competitive and exciting. Thus, games like this suggest that the Bowl Championship system is most effective when it fails.