The time has finally come, this is the last season of the highly-loathed BCS. Starting next season, there will be a four team playoff for the national championship of college football. While most people will be happy to see the system left behind, there will be a few people who argue that it has made college football better.
The BCS is a system of matching the top two teams together to create an undisputed national champion. The teams are selected by a process that roughly weighs two-thirds on human polls, and one-third on a computer generated ranking system. The system was created in 1998, and 15 BCS championship games have been played.
While the BCS was a definite improvement from the chaos that came before it, it was not without its faults. There was no shortage of outrage for many of the championship matchups generated by the BCS, some of the headline disasters were:
- In 2001, the Oregon Ducks were ranked number 2 in the polls but were left out in favor of a Nebraska team which had failed to win its own division or conference, and had just been slammed by Oklahoma in a 62-36 beatdown.
- In 2003, Oklahoma lost to Kansas State in their conference championship, but still went on to the title game despite USC being the top-ranked team in the A.P. Poll.
- In 2004, 3 of the 5 teams with undefeated records were passed over for the title game: Auburn, Utah, and Boise State. Oklahoma got crushed by USC 55-19, while Auburn beat No. 9 Virginia Tech and Utah thumped No. 21 Pittsburgh 35-7.
While these are just a few of the controversies, pretty much every year ended in some degree of dissent. From disputes amongst conference champs, to BCS-busters, to teams that were simply bitter and looking in from the outside, critics of the BCS have not been hard to find. The issue became so heated that U.S. Senators began to officially weigh-in on the topic and lobby for changes.
While most people will be happy about the playoff format, the system is still set up for controversial decisions. The fifth team, the team left out of these four-team playoffs, is sure to moan and stamp their feet about not being included. Even if they were to double the teams allowed into the playoffs, then double it again, there will always be people upset that their team wasn’t invited. That is just human nature. Still, this playoff system should be a major step forward in determining a true national champion.
So what does the future hold for postseason play in college football? Nobody knows for sure, but we are all excited.
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