The beauty pageant will be in full swing shortly. I refer to the BCS polling to determine the pecking order for the Bowl season and the selection of the next National Champion. I admit being at a disadvantage in understanding most of the ranking format. This is primarily due to the fact that I attended and more closely follow a Divison I Playoff school (fromerly known as Division IAA).
Let's face it. Despite all the computer generated data and actual human input, the BCS system still is nothing more than a football beauty pageant. Even the final winner can be, and often has been, someone other than the general consensus of the viewing public. I need not cite examples because even that would arouse biased comments justifying the end result. About the only positive thing I can say about the current evaluation and seeding process is that it comes close to approximating an actual playoff scenario, which is the only way to determine the best team among the big fellows in Division I. It has worked at the old Division IAA level for nearly three decades.
Do we need a BCS playoff to determine the best in the nation? I feel this is an unqualified yes. Will it ever happen. I feel it's unlikely, but you never can say never. The NCAA needs to grow a pair and give the public a fair process.
What would have to happen for the above to become a reality. Here's some suggestions that are very much open to refinement and heated rebuttal.
1. Reassess the conferences currently Bowl eligible. Come on. If your entire conference has historically had trouble beating Playoff level opponents, you don't belong in the BCS picture. If you play two or more Playoff level opponents for your sixth or seventh home game, the same applies. I know strength of schedule is a citeria in the BCS, but a true National Champion shouldn't need to tune-up on Division IAA schools. By my count, the BCS competition pool can be whittled down to 8-10 major conferences--Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, SEC, SWC, ACC, Big East, Conf USA, .......
2. Continue to use the complicated BCS ranking system. However, diminish it's importance in the selection process for playoff teams.
The rankings would become the major instrument for selecting at-large berths to a 16 team playoff field where the conference champions from the major conferences recieve automatic berths.
3. Cut one game from the schedule of BCS hopefuls and do away with the bye week. Who needs 12 games, of which at least one is usually a home game against an inferior opponent. One week would go towards thinning the field of 16 down to the 8 teams who would move to the Bowl Season. Real BCS teams should make a commitment to foregoing finacial gain from the extra home game. Also, BCS team should have no problems with the possibility of a 15-game season with a National Championship as the reward.
4. Restructure the Bowl Schedule. The first round of the playoffs would be played at the home of the higher seed. Here's their chance to get that extra money. Ask yourself, would you rather see Ohio State v Yougstown State or OSU v Nebraska? The surviving eight teams would be scheduled to play the remaining three rounds on three consectutive weeks at the existing BCS venues. Seven BCS venues should be rotated annually over the three week period to ensure each has sole TV time for the Championship Game on week three. Heck, their already getting closer to February each year as it is.
Let's admit the the current system is flawed. If the main purpose is to stir debate and create controversy, then obivously, it is working. If the object is to crown a true National Champion only a playoff would leave no doubt.