11 March 2010
Why the Bowl Championship Series should be Modified
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was created in 1998 to simplify the process for selecting teams to compete against each other for a national championship game. While, the BCS has been successful in recent years in avoiding controversy, it continues to leave one or teams on the outside-looking-in at the other ten teams in the BCS. The selection process has been criticized as vulnerable to bias from the human element of its complicated algorithm that is actually responsible for the selection. However, the question the remains is whether or not members of the general public (who have championed a playoff system almost since the inception of the BCS) and the university Presidents, Deans, and Chancellors can come to an agreement on the way the playoff is conducted. The BCS should be modified, both parties can agree on that. The major argument that occurs is how change will be conducive to both the University and the common fan.
The BCS was created in 1998 by former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer (Billingsley)almost as soon as the BCS was created it came under fire for involving too much computer processing that couldn't readily assess human dynamics such as strength of schedule or if a team played poorly against a lowly opponent. The computer makes it basis on win and losses and other quantifiable data. The problem occurred when teams had a legitimate argument that even though two teams had similar records, one of the teams would have played a stronger schedule. The problem then stems from lack of a governing body to determine whether a perceived weaker team's 12-0 record is better than a stronger team's 11-1 record (Zhu). This problem which in the early years happened 3 out of the 5 years it was in place, it's the chief argument for its modification.
Another problem that lawmakers have with the BCS is that it possibly violates anti-trust laws (Clay). Anti-trust laws were established to create opportunity in a specific market, and also, to prevent monopolies from forming. The question is if the NCAA and BCS have created a system that doesn't allow for another system to compete with the BCS. Recently President Obama has been very critical of the BCS and has even went so far as to say he would "throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do" (Ward).While Obama has put pressure on the BCS to investigate whether or not they can implement some sort of the playoff system, the BCS has been very staunch on its position within the NCAA. John Swofford, president of the BCS and commissioner of the ACC, has stated that the BCS is in perfect working order. His stance is that since the Universities accepted the BCS that it doesn't need altered to fit what the general public views of what the BCS has become (Ward). Proponents of the BCS and casual sports fans believe that, in the current state of our country the President should not be meddling in the affairs of a sport that generates hundreds of millions of dollars. That instead he should be worried instead, on things that are more pertinent to our country at the current time.
The chief reason for a playoff system to be implemented is fairness. With a playoff system in place, champions of a playoff suggest that this increasing fairness infinitely. They say that it is a lot harder to leave a team worthy of a national championship game, out of an eight team playoff. The BCS which plays on a two-team, one-game format is the complete opposite of this. After the BCS games are played, a final poll (which includes the Harris and Coaches polls, and the BCS algorithm) is released that showed the final rankings for the year. A playoff system, would give a definitive answer to who the best team was in that certain year. The Associated Press has always been critical of how the BCS operates; they always pushed for some sort of playoff system. They believe, and with good reason that the two human polls are filled with bias. They believe that the coach's vote according to conference affiliations and that the Harris poll, which is conducted by a panel of, sports writers, shows