Doug Robinson: BCS has given us a bowl system full of flaws

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 7 2010 11:02 p.m. MST

Every year the BCS — now in its 13th season of holding college football hostage — likes to defend its goofy postseason format by claiming it is the best way to preserve the bowl system.

"The fact is what we have right now works," BCS executive director Bill Hancock likes to say.

Wrong.

Have you seen this year's list of bowl games?

By law, of course, columnists are required to make fun of the bowl lineup and its flaws every December and will continue to do so until the BCS relinquishes its stranglehold on the college game or until hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

It's an easy job, but someone's got to do it. Away we go ...

If the BCS system works, why does the BCS ignore its own rankings and rely on conference tie-ins to determine opponents in its bowl games? This is one of the biggest flaws in their logic.

On the one hand, BCS officials tell us their computerized rankings are the best method. Then they ignore them in determining their bowl matchups.

To wit: Stanford, 11-1 and ranked No. 4, is set to play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Va. Tech is 11-3 and ranked 13th. They were chosen because they won the overrated Atlantic Coast Conference, which is a BCS conference. They ignored several more deserving teams in the process.

Let's see Hancock spin that.

Meanwhile, the Fiesta Bowl will consist of No. 7-ranked, 11-2 Oklahoma and — what's this?! — Connecticut??? You mean they play football? Well, it turns out the Huskies are 8-4 and you won't find them anywhere in the final regular-season BCS rankings. They are UNRANKED. They got the Fiesta Bowl berth by winning the (Not So) Big East Conference, a vastly overrated league that also is given an automatic berth and regularly gets smeared in bowl games.

In taking Connecticut, they skipped right over Boise State (11-1), Michigan State (11-1), LSU, Missouri (10-2), Oklahoma State (10-2), Nevada (12-1), Alabama (9-3) and others.

Yo, Bill, still think this thing works?

The BCS no doubt is congratulating itself because it managed to match the top two teams in the rankings, as if this requires some sort of magic act, like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The BCS championship game will pit No. 1 Auburn against No. 2 Oregon. Most agree those are the top two teams, but how do we know?

TCU is unbeaten. Stanford is on a roll. So is Nevada. This is why they play the games — but in this case, they don't play the games. We are forced to rely on computer rankings that are no better than human rankings.

According to research published last month by the New York Times, during the past four years the lower-ranked team has won 12 of 20 BCS bowl games (these are the BCS's own rankings). The lower-ranked team has won six of the last eight title games, as well.

So how do we know that TCU or Nevada couldn't beat either of those teams?

Answer that one, Billy Boy.

On Tuesday, it was reported that one of the BCS computer rankings (Colley's) forgot to include Appalachian State's 42-14 win over Western Illinois. When the results of that game were factored, the BCS had to "correct" its final regular-season rankings, moving Boise State from 10th to 11th and LSU from 11th to 10th. Somehow, through some domino effect, the Appalachian State-Western Illinois game affected Boise State and LSU.

How messed up is that, Bill? Or this:

The current bowl system that Hancock praises for working so well has produced a glut of boring games with silly names. Imagine that you're a football player who has dreamed of playing in a bowl game and lifted weights and run miles of wind sprints for years hoping one day to realize that dream. Then comes the big payoff: For the rest of his life, he can tell his children and grandchildren that he played in ...

The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Or: The Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Or: The Chick-fil-A Bowl. The TicketCity Bowl. The GoDaddy.com Bowl. The BBVA Compass Bowl (whatever that stands for). The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

There are now 35 bowl games. That means 70 of college football's 120 Division 1A football teams will play in a bowl game — or 58 percent. It's difficult NOT to go to a bowl game. You've got to be really b-a-d to stay home in December.

This year's bowl lineup includes 13 teams with 6-6 records — BYU, UTEP, Louisville, Florida International, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, Illinois, Tennessee, Washington, Clemson, Georgia, Middle Tennessee and Kentucky.

Or you could look at it this way: 32 of the 70 bowl teams won just six or seven games this season. Eleven of the 35 bowls will pit two of those teams against each other in the same game, the worst of the worst being 6-6 BYU vs. 6-6 UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.

Do you really think this is working, Bill Hancock?

e-mail: drob@desnews.com

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