FanPost

The BCS - Why Do You Hate It? (Other Than the Obvious)

The BCS has to be the most hated institution in major sports, but I'm curious as to the specific reason.  I've listed as many different reasons as I remember hearing and I want to know the general consensus for the most egregious.  If you have an objection not listed, let me know in the comments and I'll add it.  

1 Name

The "Bowl Championship Series" is a stupid name.  The "Championship" has nothing to do with the "Series" and only one of the locations is the actual Rose "Bowl".

My Take: It is a stupid name.  

 

Selection Process: Computers: Existence

Computers have no place in determining anything.  They have difficulty capturing whether a game was easily or narrowly won and how a team "looked".  

My Take: Of the current methods for selection, computers have several inherent advantages over polls: can see/analyze every game, do not have institutional bias towards name programs/conferences, and are not affected by the previous year's results (except Billingsley).  

 

Selection Process: Computers: Methods

Some of the computer rankings (e.g. Billingsley) have stupid ways of ranking the teams.  They should be removed.  

My Take: 100% agree.  

 

Selection Process: Computers: Restrictions

Currently, the computers are only allowed to use results (who beat who).  The BCS does not allow them to use other stats, such as margin of victory, yards/play, turnovers, or successful challenge percentage.  

My Take: I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand, allowing more information can make the algorithms better predictors.  On the other, "You play to win the game" not "You play to win the game by as many points as possible but if you can't at least make it close".  

 

Selection Process: Computers: Openess

Currently, most of the computer rankings do not publish how they rank the teams.  They should be required to release their methodology (so that it can be examined and independently verified) if they wish to be included.  

My Take: 100% agree

 

Selection Process: Polls: Existence

People (who can't possibly watch every game) should not have a vote in the rankings.  

My Take: I could go either way here.  Experienced people who watch all or nearly all of the games should be able to produce a decent ranking.  However, no one can watch every game and it's difficult to be certain no inherent biases creep into their choices.  

 

Selection Process: Polls: Coaches

The coaches almost by definition watch almost no games (just their own and future opponents) and have an unavoidable bias towards their own teams and conferences.  They shouldn't have a vote in determining the rankings

My Take: In theory they should know the most about football and identification of quality teams, but in practice they simply can't watch many games and have been shown to overvalue their team and conference.  

 

Selection Process: Polls: Media Bias

Media polls have an unavoidable bias due to covering certain teams, graduating from certain schools, or living in certain regions of the country.

My Take: If you have a poll, you want the pollsters to a, watch as much football as possible and b, have as large a group as possible so that individual bias get drowned out.  To that end, the Harris poll is probably as good as any, though I'm personally partial to the BlogPoll.

 

9 Selection Process: Polls: Other Poll-Type Setups

The polls used in the BCS should have a much larger or smaller number of voters.  Larger would hopefully drown out biases, while smaller would be allow for greater accountability and a more committee-like setup.

 

10 Selection Process: Computers vs Polls Weight

Both polls and computers should have a role in determining the rankings, but the weight should be different than now (2/3 polls, 1/3 computers).

My Take: I would probably weight the computers a little more strongly.  

 

11 Financial: The BCS Splits the Money Unfairly

Currently, the BCS pays out a full share (about $20 million) to AQ conferences and to a non-AQ team who is the top 12.  At-large teams receive about $4.5 million.

My Take: This issue is too complex to discuss here.  

 

12 Structural: Too Many/Too Few BCS Bowls

There are currently 4 non-championship BCS bowls.  More bowls would allow more at-large teams in, at the potential cost of diluting the field.  

My Take: The BCS bowl count seems about right.  Perhaps one more would be reasonable.  

 

13 Structural: Break With Tradition

Before the BCS, certain bowls always hosted teams from certain conferences.  For example the Rose Bowl always pitted the Big Ten Champion vs the Pac-10 Champion.

My Take: I am too young to remember this tradition.  

 

14 Selection Process: Automatic Bids

More/Fewer conferences should have automatic bids, or there should be restrictions on those bids (e.g. champion must be ranked).  

My Take: Whatever it takes to stop an unranked Big East champ in a BCS game.  

 

15 Selection Process: Notre Dame Rule

Notre Dame currently receives an automatic bid if they finish in the top 8.

My Take: This point is completely overblown.  There's a list of about 10-12 programs who would definitely get a spot if they were in the top 8.  I cannot imagine Florida, Texas, or Ohio State being #8 and not getting an at-large berth.  

 

16 Selection Process: At-Large Team Requirements

Currently, at-large teams have to be in the top 14.  That should be changed, probably downward to match as many of the highest-ranked teams as possible.

 

17 Scheduling: Location

The location of these games are Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, and California.  This setup effectively provides an unfair home field advantage to teams from those areas.

My Take: No one, not even an Ohioan, wants to be in Ohio in January.  

 

18 Scheduling: Dates

These games are scheduled at least a month after the regular season concludes.  This makes them not a true test of the quality of the teams.  

 

19 Prestige Effect

Dividing conferences into BCS and non-BCS creates an unfair prestige gap, especially since a few of the non-BCS conference members (e.g. BYU) have greater tradition and history than many of the BCS schools (e.g. Northwestern).  

My Take: There was a conference prestige gap long before the BCS.  

 

Note: I've left off "Not a Playoff" as a poll choice, because I want to see what other objections fans have to the setup.  If your only objection to the BCS is that it isn't a playoff, there's a choice for that.  In full disclosure, I like the Mandel Plan for a four team playoff restricted to conference champions.  The only problem is that most of these issues don't go away at that point (people will be outraged about random team X being completely screwed while another team less deserving team is only mostly screwed in a hypothetical scenario a month before the season ends).  Larger than that isn't happening in the foreseeable future and leads to other issues.  

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