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Fixing the BCS

I received a comment a couple of days ago asking where Oregon might wind up in the annual mass confusion that is our current bowl system. The poster already spewed a little venom at Notre Dame, as he is undoubtedly bracing for his Ducks to be overlooked despite a 10-1 record. If Oregon does not receive a BCS bid, it will be an injustice. Let's be clear about that. But Notre Dame is not the proper target for DuckNation to unleash some angry quacking.

No, the fault lies with the conference commissioners, who have created a system that rewards potential mediocrity. Florida State (7-4) and Colorado (7-4) are still alive for automatic BCS bids, while UCLA and Oregon can both finish with just one loss and be shut out. Why must a conference champion be guaranteed a BCS bid? Winning a conference is a tremendous accomplishment, one that should be capable of standing on its own. If Colorado defeats Texas on Saturday, does anyone really believe the Buffs had a better season than the Longhorns? Isn't it accolade enough to be crowned the Big XII champion without being given the additional honor of being murdered in the Fiesta Bowl?

BCS selection should be entirely at-large. To avoid undue controversy (for instance in selecting two 9-2 teams like Notre Dame and Ohio State over a one-loss team like Oregon), there should be air-tight selection criteria. Starting next year, there will be five BCS bowls. So why not send the top two teams to the championship game and 3-10 to the other four games? If you win your conference and finish outside the top ten in the BCS, you're likely to be murdered in a BCS game, anyway.

Here's what the BCS might look like this year under my suggested format.

(Note: This projection assumes that all favorites win this weekend's games. I am using the current BCS selection order of Orange-Fiesta-Sugar. Where possible, I have selected teams with traditional tie-ins to the bowl in question. I have avoided scheduling rematches.)

Rose Bowl
#1 Southern California (12-0) vs. #2 Texas (12-0)

Orange Bowl
#8 Notre Dame (9-2) vs. #5 Virginia Tech (11-1)

Fiesta Bowl
#3 Penn State (10-1) vs. #7 Oregon (10-1)

Sugar Bowl
#4 LSU (11-1) vs. #6 Ohio State (9-2)

This scenario would obviously upset Big East champion West Virginia. However, in this situation I think this would be a good thing. For any program or conference that feels slighted by my BCS system, there is only one solution: schedule tougher out-of-conference games to impress the voters and computers. Ohio State clearly is being rewarded for its close loss to Texas. Despite its opponents' combined record, Notre Dame always is rewarded for filling its schedule with names like Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Michigan and Southern Cal. Any system that forces more schools to surrender their record-padding ways in favor of scheduling great matchups is a good system in my book.

Comments

Hey man, that's what I'm talking about. You sound like a #1 fan!

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