Tuesday, January 01, 2008

College Football: Rankings, Bowls and BCS

I like college football. I'm not a fan, but I like it. I like bowl games in general, but don't watch much of the regular season because most of it takes place before the World Series is over. My loyalties are simple; I attended the University of California, Berkeley. In NCAA terms, they are known as "California" and "Cal" and are officially the "Golden Bears" but mostly known as the "Bears." So, I hate Stanford, our bitter rival. We are the ones that lateraled a kickoff five times through their marching band in the greatest football play ever.

I don't like the current BCS bowl system. But I have some problems with the traditional rankings system, too. I don't mind rankings, but question the method the polls use in moving teams up and down during the season. A team's record seems to have more bearing on their ranking than whether they are a better team. For example, let's say sometime during the season there are six teams that are undefeated and ranked one through six, and number one plays number two. If number one wins by one point, it is likely that number two will fall below all other teams below them, and maybe even below some one-loss teams who they are now in competition with. But if number one and number two play, number one should win, but not by much. So if number two loses to number one by one point, which they should, they should still be the number two team because they gave no evidence that they are suddenly inferior to other teams below them. Those other teams never played the number one team.

Many argue that a playoff system is best. I happen to like the pre-BCS traditional bowl system and debate over number one. Does the division 1-A (or whatever they are these days) need a playoff system and a national champion? There are over a thousand college football teams, so it's more complex than the NFL. In any case, the BCS seems to combine the worst of the old system with the worst of a playoff system. I would prefer either the old system or a playoff system to the BCS.


  1. I don't even care if there is a natonal champ. Isn't it more fun to argue the relative merits of teams and conferences without having the whole shebang organized into a playoff system?

  2. I don't like the National Championship in college football. It is a beauty contest. Who looks the best by having the easiest schedule so you don't lose any games will win you a National Championship. If the NFL did it like college football NE would be SB champs. Championships needs to be decided on the field not by a vote.

    One reason I feel this way is the year U OF Michigan was the national champs it was said before the Rose Bowl was played in all the news papers, "All Michigan need to do is win the Rose Bowl and they will have the National Championship in the bag!" They won but barely and looked bad doing it, while Nebraska was kicking butt in another bowl game. Guess what we ended up with a co-championship year. Its a beauty contest.