On College Football Problems

No doubt about it, college football is a great game. Yet, whether scheduling of out-of-conference games (OOC), bias in the polls, or no legitimate national champion, the game has its share of issues. Let us keep in mind that dollars are at the center of many debates. With this post, I’m taking an honest stand that will be unpopular with many fans – then again, that’s what I expect.

Let’s start is the ACC, Big 12, and SEC. These are the 12-team BCS conferences whose fans will be excited this weekend with their conference championship game. Wait a minute – why is there a conference championship game? Sure some fans will say because they have 2 divisions. I say what a bunch of crap! This extra game is all about revenue: revenue for the conference, revenue for the host city, revenue for the network, and possibly revenue for the participating schools. Why not play everyone and only 1 OOC game? Why have a conference if all teams don’t play each other? Oh, that’s right – revenue!

So how about the Big Can’t Count, most commonly known as the Big 10? Here’s a group of power elitists who not only forego a conference championship game by passing on a 12th team, each team doesn’t play 2 conference teams. Why not? Oh, that’s right. Playing more conference games would mean less home games – yep, less revenue.

Let us not forget about the BCS ugly stepsister, also known as the Big East. Given a 12-game schedule and an 8-team league, at least these schools play everyone in a season, but 5 OOC games is too many. Sure it is easy to say “expand by 2 teams” (and I wish they would), but pickings are slim (Temple, Army, and Navy) unless there was a major conference reshuffling – but that won’t happen because a conference would lose it’s title game.

So that leaves the PAC-10 – a 10-team conference without a conference title game, but where all teams face each other while playing 3 OOC games. (Interestingly, as a conference, they play the best OOC schedule). In my opinion, at least they serve as a model of what should be.

After next weekend’s games, the committees will announce pairings for all the bowls – and I can guarantee these things:

  • Elitist fans will demean the existence of the nonBCS schools, and the Big East representative.
  • Many fans will complain about the BCS format and call for a playoff.
  • Fans will forget that the conference title game is one of the extra games working against a playoff.

I can also guarantee that money is the root of the entire situation – including the money made by the conference title game. Bowl committees pick (or don’t pick) teams based on a business decision. The BCS lock-in system exists as a business decision. Meanwhile, as the upper division of college football continues to be the only major sport enterprise without a true champion, my hope of a playoff format continues to be nowhere in sight.

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