Saturday, December 03, 2011

Ok, maybe we do need a playoff system...

Few things excite me less than the annual whining about the BCS.
I was glad to see Houston go down today so we avoided another round of lamentations on the plight of mid-major conference schools in the BCS system. 

Sill as we march toward a championship rematch of the LSU-Alabama snoozefest / defensive classic that no one a day's drive from the Gulf Coast wants to see, it might be worth considering if there's a better way.

One thought is that the BCS is chained to the grim logic of the 1-2 match up.  It's difficult to argue that any team is superior to LSU and Alabama.  LSU played a hellacious schedule ans emerged with college football's sole undefeated record.  Alabama's only loss was in overtime to LSU.  (though it may be worth considering if we'd be in a better place if that game was allowed to end in a tie)   The BCS's whole reason for existence is to produce a 1 vs. 2 match up, and that's LSU-Bama.

This begs for the human element. Bama had its shot at LSU and didn't come through.  Why should they get a shot and not, say, Oklahoma St., whose sole loss was on the road in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy in their athletic department.   The situation begs for the human element, for someone to have the authority to say, "Yes, Alabama objectively seems to be the 2nd best team, but they missed their shot and didn't win their conference. So we're giving another team a shot.

What about the old bowl system?  That had the human element -- each bowl tried to put on an entertaining game.  Seems like that would get us something better.

Except that while the BCS must serve.its master of objectivity, the old bowl system had to serve its conference commitments.  LSU, as SEC champion, would play in the Sugar Bowl.  Big 12 champ Oklahoma St. would play in the Orange Bowl, perhaps against Alabama.  It's not clear who LSU's opponent would be.  Virginia Tech, fresh from being clobbered by Clemson? Stanford, who also couldn't win its conference? This doesn't seem to be an improvement.

Seems like we need a system free from the grim logic of the BCS and the commitments of the old bowl system. Maybe this is possible without a playoff, but I don't see it.

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