Friday, November 14, 2008

Between the Hashes: BCS Mess or BCS Yes?

BCS MESS — legitimate criticism or hyperbole?

Any criticism of the BCS system the past few days has been completely out of bounds – for one Saturday in November at least. Just because the BCS is college football’s favorite punching bag, let’s not lump it in with the John McCain campaign, capri pants for men or the designated hitter.

The BCS has made the bowl system – imagine undefeated Texas Tech playing in the Orange Bowl and undefeated Alabama playing in the Sugar Bowl – less broken. It did not create the chaos. If anything, the BCS brings relevancy!

Did your palms get a little sweaty flipping between Penn St.-Iowa and Alabama-LSU on Saturday? Did your heart race a little faster when Iowa kicker Daniel Murphy’s field goal attempt sailed through the uprights in Kinnick Stadium and Alabama’s Leigh Tiffin’s didn’t in Tiger Stadium?

You can thank the BCS.

If a spot in the BCS champion-ship game wasn’t on the line, would you really have spent a good portion of your Saturday afternoon watching undefeated Penn St. play a four-loss Iowa team? Not in a playoff world.

Penn St. still controls its destiny in the Big Ten and will win it if they take care of Indiana and Michigan St. at home. In terms of a Big Ten Title, not much was on the line in Iowa City. However, because of the BCS, everything was on the line when the Nittany Lions made the trip to the Hawkeye State.

The same can be said about Nick Saban’s return to Cajun Country. Sure, all of Acadiana would have been up in arms regardless, but would the college football nation have tuned in without the BCS? Was it the fact the SEC West title was on the line that sucked you in? Didn’t think so.

How about this week’s game between Florida and South Carolina? It’s a pretty big one – on CBS and is CFI’s game of the week – because of the BCS. The Gators are going to play Alabama in the SEC Cham-pionship game regardless of what they do this Saturday against the Gamecocks or when they visit Tallahassee to take on the Florida St. Seminoles in two weeks.

These games provide the potential for drama and what else can one say? Will Tim Tebow pull off his first career fourth quarter comeback? Will he have his 2008 Heisman moment to match Graham Harrell’s? Or will South Carolina’s Eric Norwood step up and make a game-changing play to knockoff the No. 3 Florida Gators?

Isn’t this why we watch sports?

In a playoff system, the Gators and the Crimson Tide would be slotted into a playoff-play-in game on December 6, making the next three weeks almost irrelevant.

There is nothing worse in sports than knowing the outcome before you see the event take place. It’s why you do everything in your power to not know the score of game you’ve recorded on your TIVO. Sports are about possibilities.

Think of all those fun NFL games in weeks 16 and 17 when teams cannot help their playoff chances. How much would Tim Tebow and John Parker Wilson play this Saturday? Or next? Headmen Saban and Urban Meyer would at least have to think about resting their quarterbacks, as well as other key players. Wouldn’t they?

Please let’s not compare it to college basketball, which has evolved into a three-week sport – how many American sports fans even know who the players are until the NCAA Tournament begins? While we’re at it, college hoops has a tournament – not a playoff – with men getting together in a room to decide the participants, seed teams and create match-ups. That…is not a playoff as we know it.

President Elect Barack Obama said if he could change anything in the sports world, it would be to replace the BCS with an eight-team playoff. With all due respect Mr. Obama, you have a bigger mess ahead of you – there’s no need for a clean up in aisle BCS.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media