Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bee See Mess

Contra Steve Benen, there may be a plausible case that the BCS system violates anti-trust law. After all, it's essentially a conspiracy by which the BCS conferences hoard the lion's share of bowl game TV revenue, freezing out lesser conferences from a chance at a greater share of the pie. Indeed, the Fiesta Bowl is considering matching up Boise State against Utah, which would prevent the BCS conferences from suffering another embarrassing defeat, giving conspiracy theorists further fodder.

In addition, as Steve notes, the BCS is just a terrible way to pick a national champion. Each year seems to bring a new way in which the third-place team is screwed; this year, we have the Big 12 tiebreaker freezing out Texas, despite the fact that they beat Oklahoma in a head-to-head matchup. I like the irreverent Texas Tech coach's suggestion: use the football team's graduation rate to break the tie. Mid-Majors are effectively barred from winning the national title (query if this ever happened prior to the BCS). The system stinks, and given how many people care an awful lot about college football, it would have broad impact on a lot of Americans if we moved to a sensible playoff.

3 comments:

Neil Sinhababu said...

Personally, I wouldn't mind a 4-team playoff. I think four is the minimal number where you include everybody with a legitimate claim to being #1, and whoever wins gets recognized as the actual best team of the year, just because they beat those two other teams.

You get less Cinderella action, but there's no reason that we have to get so

Neil Sinhababu said...

...March Madness about it.

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

I think 4 is still 2 small ... 8 seems to me to be the right number, especially if they eliminate the requirement that you pick from the BCS conferences. At 4 it's going to be next to impossible for a mid-major to make the playoff. Based on current BCS standings, that would give you a playoff of Bama, OU, UF, UT, USC, Utah, TTU, and either Penn State or Boise State, which feels about right to me.