Saturday, December 14, 2013

Assessing the BCS

It is important to remember, in this last year of the Bowl Championship Series, that it is not now and never was "a series". It was a championship game, and then a few other well-paying games that were somehow portrayed as being somehow more meaningful than any of the other non-championship bowl games that were being played, but which ultimately had precisely zero outcome on the "championship" part of the thing's title. If you weren't in the big game, you might as well have been playing in the Humanitarian Bowl (or whatever they're calling that these days) on the SmurfTurf up at Boise, for all the impact it would have on the selection of the final "champion". Next year's move to a 4-team playoff, while explicitly a cash grab designed to forcibly separate schools like Boise State from even the remotest possibility of sniffing some of the big money, is actually more of a "series" in that it involves more than one game. Of course, the SEC is going to demand 3 of the 4 spots by virtue of being the SEC, but right now that's not important.

What is important is that we remember all the things that the BCS in its current form has given us over the years. Things like meathead commentators railing against "the computer polls" - which are programmed by humans and largely take into account the rankings in the human polls, which are largely filled out by sleep-deprived assistant coaches or distracted sportswriters who haven't seen 2/3 of the teams they're voting on - for taking the "human factor" out of the rankings. Things like the cheerful demolition of long-running bowl matchups and the devaluing of any game that wasn't the championship. 

Things like the even further hyper-extension of the bowl season schedule-wise, once again kicking the notion that a playoff would be impossible because it would be too much for the athletes right in the fallacies. (There are lots of reasons to object to what college sports do to athletes, but this one's just stupid.) Things like the acceleration of the college football silly season, where seemingly half the schools playing are doing so under interim coaches because the coaches who got them to bowl games have been plucked by larger programs in the interminable delay between season's end and kickoff at the Belk Bowl. Things like the transparent corruption of attempts to keep teams from outside the power conferences from getting a slice of the big money pie, and transcendently awful bowl match ups because of the way the participating games got to select their programming. 

But hey, on the bright side, at least an SEC team made it to the championship game this year again, right? And that's all that matters.
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