In case you were not already aware, I am a college football fanatic. It is my favorite sport to watch. Every fall weekend I am excited to watch college football. I love virtually everything about college football. There is one little problem with college football however, and that is the Bowl Championship Series or the BCS. Fans from across the country argue every year over the BCS and what teams deserve to be in the BCS bowl games. I agree that the BCS is not perfect, so I was very interested to read what these sports writers from Yahoo had to say. What makes the BCS so bad and what playoff system would solve the problem so many fans have with the college football postseason? I was hoping that this book would have all the answers.
Well, unfortunately this book does not have all the answers. In fact, as far as I’m concerned it only brought up more questions. I believe that the writers could have done a much better job making a case against the BCS and I found the tone of the book off-putting. I guess I should have expected as much with the title, but it was clearly evident that the writers were angry; furious even at the BCS. I got the clear impression that the BCS is one of the worst institutions in the world. Worse and more corrupt even than the United Nations. I understand the frustration, but I believe it hurt the credibility and effectiveness of the argument against the BCS.
I really wanted to love this book. That’s the sad thing. These writers were preaching to the crowd. I wanted to support the destruction of the BCS and a move toward a playoff. There are several things in this book that I found I was in agreement with the writers. 1) The BCS clearly discriminates against smaller schools. It is virtually impossible for a school from a smaller conference to win the National Title and it is extremely difficult to even make it to one of the BCS Bowl games. Teams from smaller schools have to go undefeated to even have a chance to play in a BCS bowl game. 2) I learned that most schools actually lose money when they go to a bowl game. This is unacceptable. Making it to a bowl game should be a reward, not a penalty. Also, schools should not be required to sell a certain number of tickets to these bowl games or be forced to pay the tickets they are unable to sell. This practice is ludicrous. 3) The authors endorse a 16 team playoff. I like the idea, but believe it is highly unlikely. I would be happy with an 8 team playoff, but I tend to agree that 16 would be the best solution. I just have a feeling it won’t ever happen. 4) The writers made some fairly effective arguments to some of the common defenses that people in favor of the BCS use to justify not having a playoff. Most of those who defend the current system have very weak positions that I’m not even sure they truly believe. 5) If it is truly just about the money, the writers make a fairly good argument that a playoff would bring in more money and arguably much more money. Seems like a playoff is an obvious solution right?
I did find a couple of inconsistencies throughout the book. I also was confused at times. The writers were railing against bowl games in general and often used the absolute worst bowl games to defend their position. Ok. That has nothing to do with the BCS. I thought they were really making a case against all bowls, but then in their proposal they suggested keeping the bowls in addition to the 16 team playoff. So wait, let me get this straight. You guys just finished telling me how awful the bowls are and that most of the bowls actually lose money, then you turn around and say that you support bowls in addition to the playoffs? This contradiction I found very hard to look past. It left me feeling like the writers did not fully think through their plan and that they were just so unhappy with the way things are now that they didn’t care if their plan contradicted much of what they just said was wrong. I love the bowl games personally. I might be one of the few, but I really enjoy seeing some of the smaller bowl games. I do think that they have added too many bowls, but I enjoy the games. I’d be happy to have bowl games in addition to a playoff, but it just seemed like a huge contradiction when the writers suggested this after basically ripping apart the bowl system.
I read this book as a college football fan. I don’t care about the financial implications. I don’t care about the bowl executives and who gets rich. I don't care so much about TV contracts. I don’t care so much about the politics in college football. I know that all this goes on behind the scenes and is what is truly running the decisions surrounding college football, but I don’ t care about all that. I am a fan of college football. I enjoy watching the game on the field. I want a system that is fair to all FBS schools and gives all schools a chance at a National Title. If not all schools are eligible, then why are they even playing at the FBS level? I am a Ball State University alum and I follow the Ball State football team very closely. 99 out of 100 years Ball State will not have a team capable of beating the best teams in college football. However, there is the possibility that a senior dominated team could shock the world and go on an amazing run. This kind of Cinderella story where a team like Ball State could make the playoffs and make a run at the National Championship is missing in college football. It would make for a much more exciting ending to the college football season and it would be a much more fair system for all schools. It wouldn’t diminish the regular season and actually would probably make the regular season more interesting. I support the 16 team playoff as a fan of college football. Although I don’t necessarily like the approach of these writers and question the effectiveness of their arguments, we are in agreement that the BCS is not the best system. College football fans deserve a better ending to the college football season. I am hopeful that one day there will be a playoff in college football. Until then, I will enjoy watching college football and argue with anyone who is willing to listen over who I think deserves to play in the National Championship and other BCS games every year. I will continue to follow my Ball State Cardinals even though I know going into the season that our best hope is that we go to the Godaddy.com Bowl. God bless College Football.