Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For the BCS, it's all about the money, and nothing but.

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Tampa, Florida. I am there to watch the ACC title game at Raymond James Stadium. It’s late in the fourth quarter, and Georgia Tech, down one point to Clemson, is driving down the field. During a television timeout, I look over at one of the flat screen TV sets in one of the suites behind me. They’re showing the Nebraska-Texas game. It is also a close game. Nebraska, the heavy underdog, just kicked a go-ahead field goal with only a minute left in the game. Texas, the team many predicted would ease into the title game, needed to drive down the field and kick a field goal to win the game. With one-second left, they did just that. They kicked a field goal. Texas wins, and they are headed to the title game. Nebraska loses, and so do all the undefeated non-BCS teams that could’ve played in the national title game instead of Texas. ‘damn it!’, I yelled. ‘TCU was that close to busting up the BCS monopoly’. I turned back from the television set, and apparently Georgia Tech won the Also-ran championship. Oops!

With the best-case scenario – TCU playing the winner of the SEC title game (Alabama) – out the window, I figured TCU, the team many think has the best chance of beating a top-tier BCS team, would get to prove their worth in one of the four BCS bowl games. I figured a Florida-TCU matchup, or an Ohio State-TCU matchup, would make for interesting game. After all, the biggest knock on these mid-major type teams and their undefeated records is that ‘they never play anybody good’. This was their opportunity to play 'somebody good'. Surely the BCS bowl committee would factor that into consideration, right?

Well on Sunday night, the BCS committee made their selections for the five bowl games. The national title game, as predicted, pitted Alabama against Texas. Then TCU’s opponent was named. And what do you know, it was not Florida, and it was not Ohio State or Oregon. It wasn’t even Georgia Tech (sorry, Tyler). The BCS selection committee decided to have TCU play Boise State. Boise State! Boise State? Yeah, Boise fucking State.

The one other non-BCS team. The worst case scenario for TCU and Boise State came into being. They get to play an inconsequential game, and the BCS proponents can continue to spew their idiotic 'who have they played to earn a spot at the top' talking point.

After I went through my usual college-football-is-a-fucking-joke diatribe to one of my friends, I recalled what a taxi driver told me in Tampa. It’s all about the money. It’s all about what match-up in what venue can generate the most money for the respective teams. Who is deserving to play against the top opponents is secondary. And I don’t care how much I love football, that is the absolute worst system in the history of any sport, at least when it comes to crowning a champion. To not be even remotely interested in finding just who are the best teams in the country, boggles the mind. At least my mind. What the fuck is the point? It's like the NFL going off SI's pre-season prediction to determine who plays in February.

I don’t have a problem with college football using a bowl system in lieu of a playoff system. I have a problem with college football, which does not pay its talent their market value, favoring a bowl system that only exists to manufacture hype and generate revenue.

If the objective of the BCS bowl system is to reward teams with winning records to showcase their football program during the holiday break, then I'm fine with it. If it's designed to determine who the best team in the country is, then it fails miserably.


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