Fall means one thing: thousands of students live for college football on Saturday afternoons. If the school you attend has a powerhouse team, it’s that much better to watch. But after 2001, one thing is strikingly clear: the champion in college football is determined by a system full of flaws: the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.
In college basketball, teams are ranked, and then the rankings change by wins or losses. Unlike the system in college football, the ranking system in college basketball is undisputed by fans because it is the top 64 teams in the nation at the end of the season that are all given a fair shot to prove themselves as the national champion by competing in the 64-team tournament. How logical. In college football, the season ends with bowl game match-ups, and then the teams are finally ranked, depending on the outcomes.
The BCS system is compiled with an average of other polls, rankings of the schedules, losses and quality wins. Here’s an idea, how about the best team is No. 1, and not what a computer says, or the amount of “quality wins” a given team had. Would it really be that hard to make an eight- or 16-team playoff for college football? Not at all, it would actually be easier then sending teams to pointless bowl games that they spend a whole month preparing for. If you’re not in one of the BCS Bowls, then you’re really just playing for pride, which is great, but teams compete in sports for a title.
In this year’s national championship game, Nebraska was chosen to play the No. 1 ranked Miami Hurricanes, who were undefeated. So yes, Miami should have been there, but the team picked to play Miami was selected by a computer, and another factor was probably the amount of people who would watch this match-up. Nebraska was not worthy of playing in the national championship. The team was embarrassed in the game, losing 37-14. Nebraska’s quarterback, Eric Crouch, the winner of the coveted Heisman Trophy, let his team get worked on national television in the most anticipated game of the season.
I like the Oregon Ducks. I’m from Oregon, my brother is an UO graduate and I almost attended the university myself. Sure I’m a little biased in favor of the Ducks, but Oregon deserved to be in the Rose Bowl. Oregon was left without a chance to compete in the national championship because of none other then the BCS system. With Heisman candidate Joey Harrington leading the way, and only one loss out of a difficult Pac-10 schedule, the Ducks seemingly would have been the ideal match-up for the Hurricanes. After shellacking Colorado, 38-16, which was ranked third (higher than Oregon, which was fourth) going into the Fiesta Bowl, there’s really no doubt now.
The Ducks simply did not get the respect they deserved from the ranking system, and that is just one reason why it needs to change for the future of college football. The season has come to an end, but unfortunately we may never know who should or could have been the real national champion of college football in 2001.