Saturday, November 25, 2006

The BCS Mess: A Retro Solution

Today's a big day for the BCS. Will USC beat Notre Dame, and thus slip past Michigan? Does Florida have a shot at moving up with a couple big wins? Whatever happens, no doubt many people will be unhappy with the result, and we'll be reading about their unhappiness through the end of January.

The most common proposal offered to deal with the problems will be a playoff of some type. Everyone will agree that this is the only way and will heap criticism on the NCAA for blocking this obvious solution.

I agree that the BCS sucks, but I have a very different take. I'm going to go on record here with an alternative proposal: Let's go back to the old Bowl system. Here are my arguments for it:

  • Under the old system, January 1 was one of the best sports days of the year. There were five excellent college football games, and sometimes 3 or 4 of them would have implications for who would be national champion. Now, by contrast, there is only game that matters, and January 1 is fairly dull. And if the BCS championship game is a blowout, there are no good games at all.
  • The Bowls have character. It is something different from any other sport.
  • Do we have to take sports so seriously that we need to have a definitive champion?
  • The arguments over which team should be crowned national champion were actually quite fun.
It's rare that I argue things were better when I was growing up, but here's one instance where I think "progress" has not been kind to us, and more "progress" would be even worse.

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