BCS system incites mixed reviews

Every year around this time, there’s a mixture of glee and outrage in the world of college football.

Big-time programs Texas and Alabama are gearing up for the National Championship Game they’ve been all but guaranteed, while small programs such as Cincinnati, Texas Christian and Boise State shake their heads as they are denied yet another chance at a title, despite finishing the season with an undefeated record.  

Some among the painted-face fans of college football are grumbling for a better system to crown a champ than the Bowl Championship Series or BCS.

“The system is not fair,” said Fairmont math teacher Jeffrey Snider. “It is based upon who people thought were good in the past, so those teams started on top and the smaller schools have never had a chance to climb. Even the media poll is biased. Of course, the press in Los Angeles is going to vote for USC and the poll in Columbus is going to vote for Ohio State, regardless of how good the small schools are.”

BCS system is a bit complicated

A team’s BCS ranking is an average of three polls. All the coaches are polled to form the Coaches’ Poll, a computer analysis of every team results in the Computer Poll, and the major news outlets rank the teams they feel are the best to create the Media Poll. The three polls are averaged and the top two teams get to play for the BCS championship.

In addition, there are four other BCS bowls (Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl) that are a big draw of sponsors and money. The winners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big-12, Pac-10 and SEC are guaranteed spots in one of these bowls. In addition, Notre Dame is guaranteed a spot if they finish in the top eight in BCS rankings.

Another factor that must be considered is the financial aspect of the BCS. “Sponsors pay a lot of money to attach their brand to those games, so of course they want to put the teams with the biggest fan base in the biggest bowls. For instance, Notre Dame is always given an easier road to a BCS bowl, because they have fans everywhere and they will pay to see their team,” said Snider.

Most people who don’t like the BCS point to the fact that is built on perception. “Any time you allow the human element in, you have to understand there will be bias,” said sophomore Wade Hodell. “By allowing a playoff of eight or so teams, you could let the play on the field determine who is the champ. This would be better than picking two teams and saying these are the only two who get a chance.”

Some favor current BCS system

While some beg for another way, there is an equally large group that wouldn’t change a thing if they could. Senior Paul Helmers is among those.

“I really like the system that’s in place,” Helmers said.  “The bowls are just part of the tradition and they should not take that away. The current system builds great rivalries, and that’s what most fans love about the game. The system now makes every game suspenseful, and the whole season has a playoff feel.”

When arguing whether there should be a playoff or not, Snider reminds everyone of the most important thing.

“It’s crucial to remember these are student athletes, and student is the key word. So it’s important to make sure, that whatever the system is, it’s the best system for them and their education.”