College Football Needs a Playoff System

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College football is one of the most popular sports in the nation. However, every year, many fans get to bowl season and have a bad feeling because they don't think the right teams are playing for the championship. The BCS currently uses a confusing system to choose the teams that play in the championship. The problem is that it seems that just about every year there are a few teams that are completely left out of the postseason race and never given an opportunity to compete for the national championship because of their schedule, their conference, or some other factor generated by the BCS computer rankings. The result is often controversy and arguments about whether the champion really deserves the title, and complaints from the teams claiming that they were "snubbed" by the BCS system in favor of teams that are from larger conferences. A true head-to-head playoff would solve all of these issues and it would really show which teams deserve to be in that final game.

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If you have been waiting for the BCS to switch to a playoff format, you are in luck; it looks like a college football playoff just might be coming soon. The BCS leaders are meeting April 24-26 to discuss this topic. They are reportedly considering several options including a "four team plus" system that would expand to a six-team playoff, and also a "plus one" system. These are both great options, but what about a good old-fashioned playoff bracket played over the course of December and early January? Now, that would be fun!

I think the BCS system is a very confusing and unfair way to pick a champion. Many years it does not even feel like the BCS championship is being played between the best two teams. In BCS history, 13 teams (the most recent was TCU in 2010) have gone undefeated without playing in the championship game. Undefeated and not given a shot at proving themselves. Those teams could not have done anything better or different, as they beat every team they were allowed to play, but they were told that they were not eligible to be national champion due to some rating or ranking system which those teams had neither control nor input. The BCS is not rewarding teams who win their conferences or go undefeated. Teams from smaller conferences are being excluded. This just isn't a fair scenario. Under the current system, it is impossible for there to be a "Cinderella Story" in the BCS, because the current system cuts the smaller conference teams out of the postseason race for national champion. Who knows if the 2010 TCU team was really was as good as its record? The problem is just that: nobody will ever know because they didn't get a chance to compete for a spot in the championship game. Finding a true and undisputed Champion would be possible with a bracket-style playoff championship, and that is why the NCAA needs to change the way they pick their champion!

No system is perfect. There are some problems with a college football playoff. Many university presidents are worried that the playoff system would take away from academics and cause the students to focus more on college football playoffs than studying for finals. Also, there could be some issues with game attendance. The BCS is looking at having the playoff games played at neutral sites or even in bowls. With only one week between playoff games to make travel plans, and without a true home team, would the stadiums get filled for all of these games? Some people are worried about what would happen to the traditional bowl games also. Unfortunately, money also comes into play, because the current bowl system is very profitable for the local bowls, conferences, and the NCAA. These are all things that need to be considered, but if there is any legitimacy in college sports, then making sure the best team is in the championship game should be valued as more important than any of these non-sports factors. There has to be a way to make this work for the good of the game.

In my opinion, the playoffs need to come to the NCAA this season. It is such a controversy and such a sore subject that in 2009, Utah senator Orrin Hatch urged President Obama to investigate the BCS to see if it violates anti-trust laws. President Obama is also a big critic of the current BCS system. If this system is so controversial that it has senators and presidents getting involved, clearly, it is time to make some changes. I am ready, and I am hoping that we get some good news from the BCS next week. Bring on the college football brackets!