Jan 2, 2007

the BCS is just fine, thanks

With the Boise State Broncos beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, you can be sure that pundits and fans nationwide are immediately going to begin calling for the head of the BCS on a pike, with maybe some mango salsa on the side.

Everybody hates the Bowl Championship Series. They hate that it’s based on polls, and worse, a computer algorithm, a mysterious formula cooked up in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab somewhere, with “strength of schedule” and “quality win” components that eventually determine the national championship.

It’s biased, unfair to smaller schools and conferences, they claim. It cheapens the bowl system.

They’re wrong. All of them.

The BCS is just great. Look at this year’s greatest matchup—perhaps one of the greatest games in the past century—Boise State versus Oklahoma. The Broncos proved that they deserved to be there by employing a muscular offense, trickery, and three crucial interceptions, eventually defeating a powerful rival in overtime. (Going for two points on the last play of the game, when a tie was right there for the taking, showed incomparable guts and class.)

But they beat Oklahoma, not Michigan or USC or Florida or Ohio State. They might’ve beaten any of the big boys—or, like their brethren in the WAC, Nevada—they might’ve gotten stomped by a 6-6 Miami squad, which, if it isn’t under FBI investigation, probably should be.

The BCS set up the match, and it was an instant classic. The BCS succeeded in creating a quality contest with all the drama of a championship, and all the hype worthy of Elvis’s second coming.

The BCS is efficient, eminently debatable, and American to the core. We love lists, we love rankings, we love techno-wizardry, and the BCS respects that. We don’t need a time-wasting, energy-consuming tournament to find out who’s really number one—because even a tournament won’t prove that. We need the BCS.

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