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Bigger isn't better

Expanded BCS doesn't solve college football's problem

Posted: Thursday April 28, 2005 4:03PM; Updated: Thursday April 28, 2005 4:04PM
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Bowl Championship Series coordinator Kevin Weiberg met with officials from the 11 major college football conferences and Notre Dame in Phoenix this week to discuss how to improve the BCS. Want to guess what word never came up during the meetings? Here's a hint. Even mentioning the word would no doubt elicit a Jim Mora-like response from everyone in attendance.

"Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Are you kidding me? Playoffs?!"

For BCS official to have a meeting and not even broach the "P" word is like a couple going into a marriage-counseling session and refusing to admit there is a problem. But then again, why should they? The BCS doesn't need to be overhauled, right? Like a broken-down Impala on Pimp My Ride, all it needs is a little touch-up.

After all, does anyone really care that an undefeated Auburn team (loaded with three players selected in the top nine of the NFL Draft) had no chance to play for a national championship last season? Or that USC, the No. 1 team in the major polls after the 2003 regular season, couldn't play in the BCS national championship game? Or that a Nebraska team that allowed 62 points in its 2001 regular-season finale and didn't qualify for the Big 12 title game got to play for the national championship at the Rose Bowl? I could go on, but really, who cares?

Certainly not the powers-that-be at the BCS.

MAILBAG
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To them, the model works. In their eyes, the BCS -- despite having more loopholes than Major League Baseball's steroid policy -- is the best way to decide college football's national champion. So what changes did they make? Was it the addition of a "plus-one" game, one that would have enabled Auburn to play for the national championship last season? Was it a provision that would exclude teams that failed to win their own conference titles from playing in the national championship game, as Oklahoma and Nebraska have done? That would make too much sense.

No, instead of getting better, the BCS got bigger. Starting with the 2007 season, the BCS will open its automatic bids to all Division I-A conferences and it will add a fifth game so that 10 teams qualify for BCS bids. Neither plan fixes the problems that have plagued the BCS in the past. Instead of improving the image of the tarnished BCS, a bid has become less rewarding.

The BCS improved in the eyes of one school.Under the new agreement, Notre Dame will earn an automatic berth with a top-eight ranking in the final BCS standings and will be guaranteed BCS money every season, even when it doesn't play in a game. Even if Notre Dame loses every game, the school still will receive guaranteed money at the end of the season.

Doesn't make sense, you say? Welcome to the BCS.

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