Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Merits of the BCS

Why is college football revered in so many parts of the country and college basketball not? Yea, college basketball has it's little month in the sun where the whole country gets up and acts like they were paying attention the whole time. It's funny, and I love to take part in it.

I'm not going to lie, I honestly could give two shits less about college basketball. All the good athletes went to the NBA, and now that there are good ones in college, it's basically one giant one-on-one matchup. "It'll be good to have these kids attend college and play in the NCAA for a year." Really? Better for whom? For guys like Andrew Bynum and Robert Swift, definitely. For guys like Michael Beasley and OJ Mayo and Eric Gordon who have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS playing college basketball...not so much.

Great, I get to watch Eric Gordon score 40 points per game because he's just better than everyone else.

I'm diverting. Listen, the tournament is fucking fantastic. I love it. I love the brackets and I love the drama. But, it's completely manufactured. What is the point of the regular season if pretty much every major school is going to get in? Why do we waste hours debating whether or not Southern Illinois should have been invited. It's pointless. I don't care about Valdosta State getting in only to be waxed by North Carolina in the first round. "But there could be an upset!!" Awesome. Actively watching for the sole reason that some team might lose, a team you could give two shits less about.

If gambling wasn't involved, the tournament wouldn't be a spectacle. But my point isn't to ridicule college hoops, it's to highlight why the BCS is better than a playoff.

Why waste everyone's time? Just cut to the chase. Sure, in some instances, playoffs are great, but only when the playing field is relatively level and the teams that are in deserve to be there. That's why the NBA playoffs blow during the first round. That's why hockey's playoffs are the best around (even though nobody watches) because a low-seeded team can gel and make a huge run against teams with a lot better talent. It'd be like if the Warriors had kept winning last year during the NBA playoffs.

The BCS gets rid of all that bullshit. Yea, in some cases a 3rd team has a legit beef about being excluded from the National Championship game, but usually, it boils down to that team not taking care of business. The most obvious example is 2004's Auburn team which went undefeated and was left out. They got it wrong, but the idea was right. CUT THE BULLSHIT, GET TO THE MEAT.

This year is a great example. The popular thing to say is that this year is the reason we need a playoff. I disagree, this year exemplifies why the BCS is better than a playoff. All these teams are bitching about being left out or how they're more deserving than either LSU or OSU. Hey, if you're so worthy, don't lose to Stanford or South Carolina, did that thought ever occur to you? It's not a fucking popularity contest. You want to get in, beat the teams on your schedule.

Then, of course, you get the assholes who like to say that strength of schedule is skewed between certain conferences. Well, who's fault is that? Just because all these NFL-starved Southern states only have one hole to fuck they should be given preferential treatment? Give me a fucking break. These SEC schools have their heads so far up their asses, if you hear them talk, it sounds like their brand of football is completely better than anywhere else's, where their speed and power is unmatched and every other school trembles in the wake of their footsteps.

Last time I checked, great teams don't lose to Kentucky...and no, that is not a signal of how deep your conference is, it's a sign of how shitty you actually are. Great teams don't lose to Vanderbilt. Great teams don't lose to an Arkansas team that didn't know the forward pass existed. It's a copout.

The BCS disregards such bullshit, such homeristic crap that people can't see beyond. It gets rid of all the crap like, "oh, but our team beat so and so which beat your team so our team must be better." It lays down the law and says, "you didn't take care of your shit, so you don't deserve to go."

Would a college football playoff be awesome? FUCK YES. Who wouldn't want to see a 3 or 4 week stretch where the best teams in the country play each other? Wait, they pretty much do anyways? It's called bowl games. Would you sacrifice 64 different teams matching up against each other, stretched out over a month for 16 teams (which would be there pretty much every year) play a few games over the same month?

By the end of the college basketball tournament, nobody could give a shit about the final game, other than the two schools involved. It's because people are just plain sick of it, plus their teams are probably already gone and their brackets fucked. Without looking it up, can you name the last 7 NCAA basketball champions? Conversely, the last 7 champions in NCAA football roll of the tongue like hotcakes.

There are certain teams that just don't deserve it this year in football. Sorry VT, a team doesn't lose 48-7 and get a chance to play for the National Championship. Sorry Georgia, you didn't win your conference, which means at least one team is better than you. Sorry Oklahoma, but beating Missouri twice and Texas isn't really impressive. Sorry Hawaii, but when Boise State is laughing at your schedule, youre SOL.

Most years there are 2 demonstrably dominant teams, or at least teams that manage to take care of their business enough that it leaves room for no debate. Sure there are years like 2004 where the system fucks up, but those years are easily overwhelmed by the number of years when we get a USC vs. Texas or an OSU vs. Miami. Hell, even a Tennessee vs. Florida State. Why risk the possibility of one of these top teams getting beaten or injured when you can pit the two top teams at full strength against each other while having a fucking full month of football appetizers?

Plus, there is always going to be the debate over who's left out. ALWAYS. A playoff wouldn't solve that, if anything, it would ruin the debate's intensity, ruin the argument. When the stakes are already this high, then the debate heats up, there is a definite vigor and hate towards other places and an inflated sense of school pride. There isn't a gray area, the BCS gives us 2 black schools and 115 white schools. It's as clear as it can be.

This year isn't muddled. If anything, this year forces us to acknowledge the system got it right. The two most deserving schools are going to face off for the National Championship game. Would a playoff be more exciting? Who knows? But why should Georgia and VT get a third chance when they blew their second chances? Why should Oklahoma be allowed a third chance when they got absolutely smoked when they got their second chance?

This isn't basketball where a team can get hot and ride it out. Football is about physical dominance and strategy. Would Boise State have had such an awesome game plan given only a week to prepare? Would injuries derail superior teams? Why even risk it?

The BCS has it's problems, and to be honest, yea a playoff would be sweet but at what expense? A playoff would ruin the bowl system. We'd lose out on great games between teams we normally don't get to see. Is that worth seeing the same 16 powerhouses battle it out every year? Is it worth making the regular season essentially pointless? The thing that's great about college football as opposed to the NFL is the fact that there is something on the line every game. If the season didn't fuck itself like it did, OSU wouldn't be in the NC game only because they lost to Illinois. LSU wouldn't be in because they lost to Kentucky and Arkansas. You can't sleep through a season like you can in the NFL (2005-06 Steelers).

The BCS has a few flaws, but it's better than a tournament. It's better than the manufactured drama that exists in the NCAA basketball tourney. Last year, all the top seeds one, there was little drama, everything happened like they said it would. The final rounds were awesome, but the first rounds were BORRRRIIIINNNGGGG. In football, there wouldn't be the upsets. The better teams would realize where they're at and rise to the occasion. The thing that makes the NCAA football regular season so great is when the good teams DO sleepwalk and get beat by a Stanford (I won't say App. State because the better team won in that instance) or a Pitt.

It's a cliche, but the regular season is the playoffs. Some teams have easier roads than others, but that's what makes it great. The BCS just gets rid of the bullshit and creates a 30+ game appetizer of pure football goodness. The BCS gets rid of all the obnoxious underdogs and replaces them with teams that can actually play the game at a high level, where gimmicks don't work. To say the NCAA tournament is the greatest tournament in sports is a joke. It's the biggest, but it's far from the best. Upsets are fun, but do you really want to see a shitty team advance in lieu of a much better team? So instead of the first round being boring, the boredom carries over to the second round.

This has gone on too long, I'm debating myself. I'm done with this shit.

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