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mike bishop
Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 10:06 am:   

My son Jamie posted this item at his own journal site, Memory 39. I thought some of you football fans might be interested in what he has to say, and he'd appreciate feedback:

Jamie Bishop: [ Last weekend I watched the Auburn/Tennesse football game and was not at all surprised to see the Tigers, ranked #3 nationally, wallop the Vols (#15) 38 to 28 in the Southeast Conference Championship game. With that win, Auburn completed its season 12 and "oh", going undefeated -- also beating a number of top ten teams (Georgia among them, sadly) while doing so.

[So what do the War Eagles get for such an impressive accomplishment?

[Basically, a whole lot of nothin': They get to play 9th ranked Virginia Tech (10-2) in the Nokia Sugar Bowl -- virtually nothing more than a nice opening act for the next day's National Championship between USC and Oklahoma. If the Tigers win, they'll move up to the #2 slot and could have a remote chance of being ranked as the oh-so-worthy-of-respect "co-national champion." (I'd bet the last few remaining supporters of the BCS ranking system are right now, as I type, trying to engineer an Auburn loss on January 3.)

[I (and millions of others) don't understand the BCS or its ranking system, but it doesn't take an idiot - particularly this season (with 4 undefeated teams in the top 10) - to see that the Bowl Championship Series has screwed up another exciting college football season. Auburn (and perhaps even Utah) deserves the chance to play for the National Championshop on the field -- not just in a menage-a-six computer simulation.

[I did some thinking and after a mere 15 minutes came up with a system that (to me, at least) makes a lot more sense than the present car wreck:

[1. Shorten the regular season to a total of 10 games, so that you can:

[2. Go to a (get this!) PLAYOFF system.

[3. Only the top 6 ranked teams get to play in the National Championship tournament. (You can even keep the BCS for these rankings if you want.) The number 1 and 2 teams both get BYEs in the first round while the number 3 team plays number 6 and 4 plays 5 in the first round. The remaining games, obviously, lead up to the final game.

[4. Keep the old Bowl system for the rest of the pack. There'll still be an Outback Bowl, a Michelin Tire Bowl, an Ar Bowl, a Toilet Bowl, etc., etc. They'll continue to mean as much as they do now -- not a thing.

[5. TOP SIX teams are exempt from Regional Championships. (This might be the most controversial element of my "system.") If, for example, Auburn ends up getting a berth in the National Championship tournament, they wouldn't play Tennessee in the SEC Championsip game -- their spot goes to the next best team in the Conference (perhaps even the team with the next best record overall rather than in the same division. So Georgia would have played Tennessee this year.)

[This should make Strength of Schedule a priority for teams serious about contending for the National Title. No more West Lafayette Polytechnicals on the docket for Homecoming games. Colleges will start pushing to get one or two teams from last year's top 25 into open slots in their schedules.

[Would this work? Who knows? While it certainly is feasible that a 7th ranked team could make legitimate complaints about not being invited to the big dance (look at Utah this year, for instance) I seriously doubt that such an instance would be nearly as controversial as this year's Auburn or last year's USC.The fact is, the current system clearly isn't working.

[Oh, and all of the above aside, as a slightly disgruntled Georgia fan I'd still trade Auburn for its 12-0 record, SEC Championship, the chance to play Virginia Tech, and the garment that will inevitably read, "We went to and won the Nokia Sugar Bowl and all we got was this stupid T-shirt."]

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Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 10:12 am:   

Oh, yes, Jamie titled this entry "Barely Comprehensible System."
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Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 10:29 am:   

Oh, that'll never work. Makes too much sense.


Thanks for posting that, Mike.

(I note that this year my team, Pittsburgh, is a beneficiary of the dumb BCS system...the school will get a pile of money, the team may get their collective clock cleaned, and the Big East Coach of the Year could be fired...sigh...why do I still love college football?)

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Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 - 10:32 am:   

Yup. The kid makes sense. But any system beats the BCS, even the old one.

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