USC Not Biggest Victim of BCS BS

I know I am not the first to say this. I know I will not be the last to say this, either. The BCS system is a joke.


The way in which college football decides its national champion has been argued against since it was implemented in 1998. The Bowl Championship Series was designed to determine the best two college football teams in the country for a given year and have them play for the championship. But how exactly are you to decide who the best two teams are without having them play againstdeserving opponents at the end of the season? How do you take into consideration strength of schedule when figuring out who the best two teams actually are? More often than not, the BCS has picked the wrong two teams at the end of the season – therefore a playoff should be designed to have the best teams play until only one is left standing – the true national champion.

My biggest problem with the system is that the only way a non-BCS conference school can get to play for the national title is if no team IN a BCS-conference is ranked higher at the end of the year. A non-BCS conference team can go undefeated and still be lower in the BCSstandings than teams with one or even two losses simply because of conference affiliation. Curious how teams are ranked in the BCS standings? Teams arbcslogoe ranked according to two polls, the AP poll and coaches’ poll, as well as a computer system. This is what it looks like

  • AP Poll: A team’s AP Poll number is the percentage of the possible points it could receive in the poll. As an example, in the final regular-season poll of 2003, LSU received a total of 1,580 out of a possible 1,625 points from the voters, giving them an AP Poll percentage of 97.2.
  • Coaches’ Poll: This is calculated in the same manner as the AP Poll number. For LSU, their final regular-season number in this poll would have been 99.4 (1,516 out of 1,525 possible points).
  • Computer Average: The BCSused six ranking systems, with the New York Times opting not to participate. In the calculation, the highest and lowest ranking for each team are dropped. Then, it will give a team 25 points for a Number 1 ranking in an individual system, 24 points for Number 2, and so on down to 1 point. Each team’s set of numbers is then added, conveniently making the number compatible with the percentages from the two polls. To address concerns about loss of the schedule strength factor, the description of the computer rankings explicitly included schedule strength as a consideration.
  • Confused? You should be. Outraged? You should be, if you’re a true college football fan. Why should a computer be used to determine if a team is better than another on a football field? It shouldn’t. Why shouldn’t college football design a bracket-like system similar to college basketball’s NCAA tournament? It should.

    Year after year, great teams do not get the respect they deserve because of the BCSsystem. I’m not saying that every team is national champion caliber, but why shouldn’t they have a chance to prove that they are? Some say that a playoff system would make the regular season performance of a team less important, but no one complains when the best college basketball teams get higher seeds in their tournament. The magic that surrounds the NCAA college basketball tournament is the potential of an unknown team making a run. Who doesn’t love watching that? It makes the sport fun and exicting; the upsets, the OT thrillers, the last minute shots, the Cinderellas. There is no magic in the BCS. It’s time for it to go.

    This article will highlight the top five college football teams that have the biggest arguments against the BCS system. However, I have little sympathy for the University of Southern California. If the Trojans win their conference they get to play in the Rose Bowl, which might as well be a home game. Pasadena, California is a mere 11 miles from the USC campus. If you want to make a bigger argument for their unrespected dominance, try having them play in a bowl game at a neutral site. This year Penn St. had to travel over 2,500 miles to play against USCand the effects of traveling across the country showed in their less-than-stellar performance.

    That being said, the last two years USC has been regarded as one of the best, if not the best, college football programs in the country but have not gotten to play for the championship. Blowing out their last two Rose Bowl opponents by a combined score of 87-41 only helps my argument that a playoff system is needed to properly crown a true champion. However, USC has less to cry about than other schools.

    5.) The 2007-2008 Hawaii Warriors


    This Hawaii team, led by unstoppable quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan, finished their regular season undefeated, the only college football team to do so that year. The Warriors averaged over 500 yards of offense per game behind Brennan, who finished his senior season with over 4,300 passing yards and a total of 46 touchdowns (38 passing). Brennan broke the all-time major college record for touchdown passes that season. Unfortunately,  Hawaii finished 10th in the BCS rankings, surely because they play in a non-BCS conference. They finished behind seven 2-loss teams, causing suspicion that a non-BCSconference team will never get the opportunity to play for the national title under the BCS system. The Warriors went on to play #5 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and were blown out 41-10.

    4.) The 2007-2008 Kansas Jayhawks


    This Kansas team had the most unstoppable offense in the entire country, blowing out their first four opponents by a combined score of 214-23. On November 3rd, 2007 Kansas took on longtime rival Nebraska and whooped them up and down the field to a final score of 76-39. This marked only the second Kansas victory over Nebraska in their previous 39 meetings, with their first half point toal of 48 becoming the most points given up by the Cornhuskers in the first half in their history. Kansas reached their highest national ranking ever at #2 when their 11-0 team was matched up against the #4 ranked Missouri Tigers led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Chase Daniel. The Jayhawks fell 36-28 to the Tigers, who were moved up to the #1 ranking following their victory. The Jayhawks fell to #8 in the rankings and played #5 Virginia Tech in the 2008 Orange Bowl, beating the Hokies 24-21.

    This team was the most exciting and most explosive football team all year but because they fell to a powerful Missouri team they were not in contention for the national championship. There were six 2-loss teams who finished ahead of the Jayhawks in the final rankings, including Missouri who lost their next game after squeaking by Kansas. 

    3.). The 2006-2007 Boise St. Broncos


    This Bronco team was one of only two college football teams that finished the season averaging more than 200 yards rushing and passing yards per game for the season. Boise St. started the season unranked and virtually unknown to the nation before climbing steadily into the rankings, peaking at #8 at the end of the year. The Broncos finished undefeated but was ranked 8th in the BCS standings because they play in the WAC, a non-BCS conference. There were two 2-loss teams ranked ahead of Boise St. The only other undefeated team in Div-1 college football was Ohio State, who was killed by one-loss Florida in the championship game 41-14.

    The Broncos defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl that season, which has since become one of the greatest football games of all time. Boise St. executed the one of the most difficult football plays ever designed – The Statue of Liberty – to win the game in overtime.

    2.) The 2008-2009 Utah Utes


     This Utes team was not flashy. However, they were a very efficient all-around football team that finished its season undefeated. They held teams to just over 17 points per game while scoring over 36 themselves. Opponents were held to less than 100 rushing yards per game against them and the Utes only gave up 10 rushing touchdowns all season. What made this team so unstoppable was their red-zone offense. Utah had 56 possessions in the red-zone scoring on all but 5 of them, 40 of which went for touchdowns.

    Although they finished their season undefeated, they were never ranked higher than #6. The fact that they played in non-BCS Mountain West Conference is a weak argument this time because their conference finished the regular season with three teams in the top 20. The MWC went 6-1 against the high and mighty Pac-10 this season as well, USC fans.

    The Utah Utes went to the Sugar Bowl to play against the Alabama Crimson Tide, who were ranked #1 five straight weeks in the BCS standings until falling to #2 Florida at the end of the season. The Crimson Tide were regarded as the best defensive team and best all-around team for much of the year, but the Utes poured 21 points on them in the first quarter and never looked back. Utah won the Sugar Bowl 31-17, cementing the suspicion that a non-BCS conference team will never play for a national title under the BCS, even if it is a more deserving program

    1.) The 2004-2005 Auburn Tigers


    In 2004 five teams finished their regular seasons undefeated. Sorry, Utah and Boise St. fans. Your undefeated teams this year were good, but playing in the Mountain West Conference or the Western Athletic Conference gives you little argument for a BCSChampionship berth. Despite the unfair way in which Boise St. and Utah were forced to end their incredible season, what was to do about the three schools that DID finish undefeated in BCS conferences? USC of the Pac-10, Oklahoma of the Big-12, and Auburn of the SEC, all deserved to play for the national championship. These teams had been ranked 1, 2, 3, respectfully, since mid-October in the BCS standings without any change in their order.

    This Tigers team was one of the best teams ever assembled in college football history. Three starters were drafted in the top 10 of the 2005 NFL Draft: RB Ronnie Brown, RB Carnell Williams, and DB Carlos Rodgers, with QB Jason Campbell being selected 25th overall. Auburn’s dual running back attack was the best ever seen with Ronnie Brown amounting 913 yards and 8 touchdowns and Carnell Williams running for 1165 yards and 12 scores.

    At the end of the regular season, Auburn was still ranked third, trailing number one USC by less than .04 in “BCS Average”. That .04 cost the Auburn Tigers a chance to play for the championship.


    There are countless other teams that have a legitimate gripe against the BCS system. If and when a playoff tournament is designed and implemented, this trophy may actually mean something.


    A. Martin


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