It is the most controversial system in sports.
It has had plenty of criticism, anti-trust lawsuits, and allegations. It has its own show, its own analysis, and brings in $150 million every year.
What to make of it all?
This week in College Football, we saw the biggest reason why the BCS should stand for the Bizarre Chaotic
Scam. We saw this when Oklahoma and Wisconsin both saw their National Championship hopes go up in flames.
On Saturday night, the bullish, punishing Wisconsin Badgers took on the improving, explosive Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. Wisconsin started out looking like Wisconsin on both sides of the ball, and jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. After a safety, a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, 2 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns, Michigan state took a 23-14 halftime lead. Wisconsin started charging back into the game with a few touchdowns by quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball. With 29 seconds left in the game, and the clock moving, and Wisconsin on defense, badger coach Bret Bilema called a timeout. This let Michigan State march downfield and with no time left, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw up a prayer.
His prayer was answered.
After the ball was tipped by many Wisconsin and Michigan State players, it ended up in the waiting arms of receiver Keith Nichol. After about 5 seconds of endless clamoring and shoving between Nichol and Wisconsin linebacker Mike Taylor, the referees called Nichol down at the 1 yard line. It was time for video review. After the referees reviewed the play, it was determined that the ball crossed the goal line by 2-3 inches.
Here is all of that chaos:
Michigan State had won the game. They had one by just a few inches. Wisconsin was now unofficially eliminated from an opportunity to go to the BCS National Championship game.
They missed it by that much.
Soon after that, in Norman, Oklahoma, the powerful and BCS-favored Oklahoma Sooners were playing the unnoticed and disregarded Texas Tech Red Raiders. Oklahoma was favored by 25.5 points, the game was simply disregarded as another Oklahoma blowout.
Texas Tech jumped out to an early 21-7 lead, and left the fans in Oklahoma shocked, yet they still knew that the Sooners would pull it out in the end. Then, things really got out of hand; Texas Tech extended their lead on the Sooners, and it seemed as if the Oklahoma defense just couldn’t keep up with the high-octane offense of Texas Tech. Thanks to some offensive firepower from quarterback Landy Jones and some defensive stops,
the Red Raider lead was cut to just 7. Quarterback Seth Doege and the rest of the Texas Tech football team just would not give up, though. They extended the lead to 41-24, and in the process, emptied half of the seats in the stadium. Just when all hope was gone for Oklahoma, it came back with a 55 yard completion from Landry Jones to Jazz Reynolds. After a defensive stop, the score was 41-31 Texas Tech, but Oklahoma had the ball.
After a drive of 24 yards, Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt set up for a 28 yard field goal with 2:52 left. If he made this it would have been a one-possesion game.
The kick was off, and it drifted, it drifted, and bam! The ball had barely hit the right goalpost and bounced off. Hunnicutt had missed the field goal by inches.
He missed it by inches.
After a defensive stop, the Oklahoma offense had to march 61 yards down the field to make it a 3 point game. A few 20 yard passes later, Oklahoma had its touchdown on a pass from Jones to James Hanna. The score was now 41-38 Texas Tech. Oklahoma failed to recover the onside kick, and the Red Raiders went on to shock the Sooners, 41-38. No one saw this coming. People could maybe see Oklahoma losing to Oklahoma State, but Texas Tech? And at home? This was unheard of. If Hunnicutt’s field goal went in, the score would have been 41-41, leaving Oklahoma with a chance to put Texas Tech away in overtime.
They missed it by inches. And so did Wisconsin.
Mike Taylor was inches away from keeping Keith Nichol out of the end zone to win the game for Michigan State. Wisconsin was inches away from preserving their perfect season.
Michael Hunnicutt was inches away from making a field goal that could have given Oklahoma a victory. Oklahoma was inches away from keeping Texas Tech away from a win and preserving their perfect season.
Both of these teams were just inches away from keeping their perfect seasons alive and having a chance at making the BCS National Championship Game.
This is exactly why the BCS is an unjust and ridiculous system in sports. There is no other sport where you have to go undefeated or at least lose no more than a game to make the championship game. There is no other sport where you have to win all of your games impressively to make the title game. There is no other sport that one lost game on an otherwise perfect season can ruin a season.
Most of all, there is no other sport where inches can define seasons.
Wisconsin and Oklahoma will not make it to the ultimate stage this year, and no one but the BCS is to blame. In any other sport, a team with one loss would surely have an unprecedented shot at the title game.
It’s just a shame that the BCS is still alive.
Instead, there should be a playoff, where each of the top 32 teams has a shot at winning it all. Here is that proposal: The BCS system and standings are completely disregarded. Then, the top 32 teams in the AP poll make it into the playoff. There are 4 different brackets, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Each
bracket has 8 teams: Four 1 seeds, four 2 seeds, four 3 seeds, and so on until the 8th seeds. Each team plays once every 4 days, so the tournament lasts a total of one month (31 days, to be exact). There is a first round and a second round which would reduce the field to 8 teams, 2 in each bracket. The 2 teams left in each bracket would play each other in the regional championships. Then, similar to the Basketball tournament, there would be a Final Four, and a National Championship game.
Notice how each of the 32 teams in the playoff have an equal chance at making the title game. This means that teams like Boise State would have the same chance at going to the championship as Alabama or LSU would have. Wisconsin and Oklahoma would still have a good chance at going to the title game. Even teams like Washington or Illinois could turn Cinderella on everyone and make it.
This proposal would be more inciting, manageable, sensible, and fair than the BCS, and just makes more sense. The NCAA should surely use this format, or a modification of this format. (I am going to send this proposal to the NCAA’s front offices).
Wisconsin and Oklahoma are just 2 examples of what harm the BCS can do to a great football program.
How can a few simple inches ruin a team’s season completely?
The BCS, that’s how.
By Sam Brief
The Sports Blog Movement