Column: BCS gives nothing but headaches

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Dec. 13, 2003
At one point, did college football become more confounding and annoying than doing your taxes?
Oh yeah, that's right It happened when "the powers that be" (which would make an excellent name for a rock band) decided a computer was a much better fit to choose a champion than … oh we don't know … say, a playoff.
But it didn't stop at just a computer, oh no, instead it's multiple computers with two human-chosen polls just for the fun of it all.
That's right, all those folks growing up playing Tecmo Superbowl on their Nintendo have decided that's the way to go to choose a champion let the computers do it.
Okay, so that's unfair. The people who put in this computer system to choose the NCAA football champion are too old to have played Tecmo in their wayward youth. But you get the point.
Instead, these non-generation-X folks who only had pong and maybe the first few Atari games decided to make their own little computer game called the Bowl Championship Series. Also known as the BCS for short, and "Boy Computers Stink," for those folks residing in Southern California.
After all the dust cleared at the end of the college season, the BCS spit out Oklahoma and LSU playing in the Nokia Sugar Bowl, which is the designated bowl for the National Championship.
Even more disturbing, No. 2 LSU taking on No. 3 Oklahoma, as ranked by the final AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, playing for the right to be No. 1 is that people are actually trying to defend this turn of events.
Let's try this one more time No. 2 is playing No. 3 to be No. 1. Technically, the math is correct. When you subtract 2 from 3 it does equal 1.
But what a minute, if the Tigers are the second best team in the country and the Sooners are third on the list, where is No. 1?
Why that's USC of course taking on No. 4 Michigan for the right to be, well maybe co-champions.
This is what happens when you allow Microsoft to choose your title game, it just doesn't make sense.
The main reason the latest BCS mess came about is because of the simplistic, utterly confusing "strength of schedule" factor that is pumped into the computers. Which makes so much sense, considering how many quarterbacks were sacked by Macs this season.
The strength of schedule formula is based mostly on opponents' winning percentage. Which makes a win over say 8-4 Florida the same as a victory over 8-4 New Mexico.
So when the final numbers were crunched, USC fell from the championship game because Notre Dame lost to Syracuse and Hawaii was unable to upset Boise State.
If Notre Dame or Hawaii had won, LSU would have been left out of the Sugar Bowl, and the BCS would have dodged a bullet that should have been fixed a long time ago.
This year's computer offering is actually worse than the Miami vs. Nebraska debacle of two years ago, and that is because the BCS had a chance to change its system then to avoid the current mess it has created.
Nebraska limped into the championship game against Miami, after not even playing in it conference championship game.
At that point, the BCS should have stepped in and said if a team doesn't win its conference championship, it doesn't get to play for the national championship. Also, it should have been mandated that all BCS conferences have to have a conference championship game on the final Saturday of the year. Kind of sounds like a playoff doesn't it, what a novel idea?
But alas the rules were never changed, and the BCS has created more harm than good, yet again, in the world of college football.
But we are talking about a system that has 56 of 117 teams playing in bowl games offering such great programs like the 6-6 Kansas Jayhawks the chance to take on 7-5 North Carolina State. While, Northern Illinois (10-2), which was ranked as high a 12th in the nation, has no bowl game to go to.
What a great system college football has.