Imperfect BCS leaves some happy, prompts questions about its future
Dec. 2, 2007
By Adam Caparell
Adam is CSTV.com's football editor and national football writer.
So did the BCS get it right this time around?
All the craziness that was the 2007 regular season - the most exciting or maddening season we've ever seen, depending on how you look at it - certainly hasn't stemmed the call for a revamped BCS system, a plus-1 model or the ever-elusive playoff.
"It's not so much the system as it is the year," BCS Coordinator Mike Slive said.
But there are definite problems with the system and Slive would be the first one to tell you it could definitely use some tweaks. And there are a few teams would like those tweaks to happen overnight.
For starters, you have a
And secondly, you have a Missouri team, the No. 1 team in the nation a little over 24 hours ago, that was told it's not welcome to the BCS party after losing in the Big 12 Championship game. And to add insult to injury, they had to watch two teams they beat during the regular season, Kansas and Illinois, earn BCS berths despite the fact the Tigers were ranked ahead of both in the BCS.
So did the BCS get it right this time around? Depends on your prospective.
Nowhere in the BCS rules does it state that you have to have played in a conference championship or have won your conference to play in the national title game and that was
The BCS itself does not butt into the voters business, does not outline any specific requirements that they should take into consideration. They just assume they know what they're doing.
"We've really kept a wall so to speak, we've kept our distance from the voters," Slive said. "We don't really communicate with them."
But maybe that will change. Come April, Slive will take some recommendations with him to BCS meetings on possibly setting an outline for principles and values voters should take into consideration when they cast their ballots.
"But they're free to make their decisions any way they deem appropriate because otherwise they're not a voter," Slive said.
Also free to make their own decisions are the BCS bowls who get to pick whatever teams they want to play in their bowls. That was the case with the
"What it shows is that in a system agreed to by all, once you introduce a pool of at-large teams, then the bowl has its own decision to make and makes the selection for its own reasons," Slive said.
The Orange Bowl took a number of things into consideration, but it seems like more than anything they were swayed by the lasting impressing
"Perhaps a loss diminishes some of the things you evaluate," Eric Poms, the Orange Bowl Chief Executive, said.
In retrospect, the loss didn't diminish
A crazy year like this, where there was so much movement in the rankings and with several teams playing their best football of the season as the year wound down, has yet again lent credence to the idea of a plus-1 system, which would get more deserving teams into the championship mix.
"Is this year an anomaly or is this year a precursor to what we might see in the future?" Slive said. "Trying to analyze that question leads us to the discussions of whether or not this format needs an adjustment. And therefore it's a segue into my continuing interest in continuing to look into this format for the plus-1."
Every year it seems like Slive is more and more open to the idea of having a plus-1 system. This is his last year as the BCS Coordinator, but being the SEC Commissioner means he still holds a considerable amount of clout and influence in the BCS discussions. Will we see the plus-1 anytime soon? Not for at least two more years, until the Fox TV contract with the BCS runs out.
But the plus-1 certainly isn't the perfect answer, either. And there could easily be some years where the plus-1 isn't necessary.
"If you go to the plus-1 you're going to have years when it's very appropriate and years maybe like this one when its isn't all that appropriate," Slive said. "The only way to solve that is to have a flexible format and just make sure we look at the standings and decide how to finish the year."
Slive was kidding, of course, about the flexible format. He joked that basketball has its Final Four and football could have its Flexible Format where as the season winds down and if it looks like there are four worthy teams with legitimate calls for a title shot, they could scrap the current BCS format.
Just a little wishful thinking. But the bottom line is that a change could be on the horizon. Momentum continues to gain for it. Slive's behind it.
"Whether or not this year is good or bad for a so-called plus-1, I'm still interested in exploring it in great detail," Slive said.
And you'd have to think