Four-team Playoff Should Uitilize the BCS
By Matthew Osborne
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Although the BCS is incapable of quantifying the importance of a team's 3-4 defense, it is also incapable to succumbing to the errors of human emotion.
The two hot button offseason topics this year have undoubtedly been conference realignment and the potential structuring of a four-team playoff.
The aspects of these stories which continue to make them so compelling and intriguing is their seemingly endless storylines and plot twists. Just when you think you have a solid grasp on the direction things are heading, a new angle of the issue must be examined, torn apart and debated.
As far as a future college football playoff is concerned, it appears to be an almost forgone conclusion that the NCAA will implement a four-team structure with the four best teams, regardless of conference affiliation, being given automatic bids. While this outcome is not yet a certainty, it surely appears that this is the general direction in which Mike Slive and the remainder of the BCS conference commissioners are headed.
With the four best teams being chosen for a four-team playoff seemingly being assured to come to fruition, the question now becomes how the powers at hand go about determining the manner in which the best four team will be selected.
Some of the suggested solutions to selecting the nation’s four best teams have included creating a panel of former coaches to vote on the participants, allowing select members of the media to choose the field and maintaining the current BCS format.
While the prevailing consensus amongst college football fans appears to be that the formation of some sort of selection committee would be the appropriate means of action, this raises concerns about the integrity of such a system, because it brings human bias and emotion into the equation.
Supporters of a college football selection committee for a four-team playoff format would undoubtedly be quick to point to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for proof that a selection committee would work on the gridiron.
The aspect of that argument likely to get left out of the discussion, however, is the fact that the so-called “bubble” teams in the NCAA basketball tournament rarely, if ever, have a meaningful impact on the determining of the ultimate champion, and never has a basketball “bubble” team gone on to win the championship in the modern era.
The point being made here is that the NCAA basketball committee ultimately serves a futile purpose, as the teams with a legitimate shot at winning the championship will have already made their way into the field by their own merit.
For all of the controversy surrounding the BCS since its introduction in 1998, the fact of the matter is that the system has worked. While there have been certain instances where the BCS has been shed in a negative light, the system has been revamped and tweaked on numerous occasions to improve its overall accuracy. Looking back at the some of the most recent seasons, it would be difficult to argue that BCS has not pitted the best two teams against one another in the National Championship Game.
The knowledge that a former coach or distinguished member of the media would bring to the table should not be underestimated, but the harsh reality of the matter is that whenever humans are involved in making a decision, emotions come into play. Even if a person has no direct ties to a particular school, outside influences, such as fan bases or the national media, could have a subconscious effect on their decision making.
Although the BCS is incapable of quantifying the importance of a team’s 3-4 defense or how a particular injury might affect the outcome of a future contest, it is also incapable of succumbing to the errors of human emotion. Therefore, the BCS should be kept in place to help college football determine its playoff participants.
Changes and alterations will still need to be made to the BCS as time wears on, but this provides us with the most accurate means of determining the rightful participants in a college football playoff.