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Friday, January 2, 2009

Did the IRS Design the BCS?

Maybe the rule should be: Don't count on any organization which goes by its initials to be simple. The IRS has a tax code that is over 66,000 pages long. No one really knows it all. It has to be the worst system that can be designed. Every attempt to simplify it has resulted in more confusion.

So, we also have the BCS. It stands for Bowl Championship Series . . . I think. It begins with a ranking system which is voted on, a win-lose system and a computer. How is it any better than what we had before? Every year we wonder if the best teams are in the championship game. Other teams have legitimate claims to be there.

I heard the sportscasters claim they wanted a championship game plus one. In other words, the four best teams would play for the championship. I suppose you have to limit the number of teams at some level but this will leave a Utah or any team from what is considered an inferior conference out of the mix every time. This, too, is not legitimate for a championship. It also makes every other bowl so much less important. Who will go to the non-championship games?

How many bowls are there? I don't know but I believe it is in the neighborhood of thirty. If we were to take every conference winner and add at-large teams chosen by the coaches that numbered thirty-two teams, we would have thirty-one bowl games.

The first level would be conference champions against at-large teams. The bowls closest to that conference would be chosen for that level. That would take sixteen bowls. The next level of bowls would be located strategically in eight regions of the country. They would be determined before the season began. The next level would be four bowl games. Again, these should be strategically located across the country. The major bowls could bid for the next two levels. The Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Rose Bowls would each have a shot at becoming the championship game. If they bid less they would fall into a lower level. The lowest bidder would be in the level below the semi or final game.

These bowls and where they would be could be done each year before the season begins. This way teams would know where they want to go before they begin play. It also allows teams to play some difficult opponents early in their schedule so they can prepare for the playoffs.

The system we have now makes schools have weak opponents early so they can climb in the rankings. (However, this plan didn't work so well for Michigan last year.) The only team that loses two games and still goes to the championship is LSU if this doesn't change. In other words, unless you are LSU and you lose a game, you don't lose hope for winning the championship.

No one would say that a team ranked below thirty-two would have a reason to claim they should be allowed in the championship playoffs. Besides, if a team that is ranked thirty-two gets to the championship game our rankings meant nothing in the first place. Cinderella is a fairy tale, not a real story.

Choosing thirty-two teams allows us to get beyond those who claim their team is best. It is like the doctor cutting way beyond the tumor to make sure he/she has gotten all the cancer. We will eliminate the arguments of who is best if we go way beyond those we believe are the best.

Every bowl would mean something. Ticket sales will soar. Sponsorships should also soar. People will watch each of the games because they know their team will possibly have to play one of these teams if they keep winning.

This system is simple. Conference champions automatically go. At-large teams are voted on by the coaches. Rankings are already in place. Choosing the teams would take very little coordination. Fighting over which bowls get which games would be the only difficult part.

In the end we would have an untainted champion. Isn't that what we all want?

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