08 December 2005

New Bowl System

SAWB made a comment on the 5th BCS game next year. I've heard people mention it in passing but haven't heard much detail yet. I decided to look this up myself. I found an AP article on cnnsi's website about it but it's dated back in June so some of this might have changed since then.

The first thing to note is that while this new system has a national title game played one week after the other 4 BCS games at one of the 4 current BCS bowls (alternating yearly), it will not be the 4+1 system where 2 winners from the 4 BCS Bowls will go on to play the 5th BCS Bowl. The 5th BCS Bowl will be two teams not playing in the other 4 games.

According to the article there was "'adamant opposition' among [university] presidents for moving the BCS in that [4+1] direction." They're still opposed to a playoff but the #1 reason university presidents trot out against playoffs is that it will expand the season too far. They just chucked that reasoning right out the window and exposed it for the lousy excuse that it is. Somebody is playing on Jan. 8th. A 4+1 would give us the same results.

How long do you think those university presidents can hold out against a 4+1 system now that it would only be a trivial change to the bowl system to implement? How long do you think it will be until there are more than two big name unbeatens or there are no undefeateds but plenty of 1-loss teams? The next year that happens, they may very well be forced kicking and screaming into a 4+1.

Playoff possibilities aside, here's the most interesting quote I found in the article: "By expanding, the BCS is starting to give schools from smaller conferences greater access to the big payout games."

Contrast that with this statement: "The Rose Bowl has been especially concerned with how its involvement with the BCS affects its long-standing relationship with the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences. The Rose Bowl is the only BCS game with ties to two conferences."

This reminds me of newer large airplanes. Airplane designers like Boeing or MD show you these pictures of super-sized jumbo jets with lounges and bars and roomy seats to get people to think that these new airplanes will provide them with an experience a cut above current flying experience. Really what happens though is that an airline like Delta or United buys the new mammoth plane and packs it wall-to-wall with seats like every other plane they ever bought. Likewise, it looks to me like the BCS is enticing non-BCS conferences with the idea that they will have easier access to BCS bowl but when push comes to shove, a lot of #2s (and Notre Dame of course) in BCS conferences will end up the at-large bids over #1s in non-BCS conferences.

I certainly have mixed feelings about this new system. It will push the BCS a bit harder towards a 4+1 model, especially if we can get a few years of confusion as to who is #1 and #2. However, it looks as if the BCS Bowls will end up tying in a bit too hard to BCS conferences to show us unique yearly games in this scenario. I really don't want to see the same conferences playing the same conferences in certain bowl games every year. I really liked that the current system knocked the Rose Bowl out of that habit.

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