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The Most Ingenious Way to Fix College Football

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College football is broken. Everyone knows it and almost everyone wants to fix it. Unfortunately, because the bowl games are so profitable, we continue to live with the BCS instead of having a playoff system in place to settle the score on the field. Everyone knows that playoffs are the solution, and yet it won’t happen because there’s very little incentive to change the system. Advertisers, bowl sponsors and fans continue to spend billions of dollars every year to keep the NCAA rich and fat. So, how do you give the NCAA incentive to change their system? You need to cheat it!

What we need to fix Division I College Football is an old-fashioned, dirty conspiracy that calls the entire BCS system into question. By taking the legs out from under the BCS, the system will topple and the NCAA will have to enact serious, widespread change to keep from losing the big-time money maker of all time where they make billions of dollars off of athletes who aren’t allowed to be compensated in monetary form.

What kind of conspiracy would cause the NCAA to do away with the BCS?

I thought of this as I was watching Illinois upset Ohio State when the Illini were unranked and the Buckeyes were number 1 in the country. It is a great win for Illinois and their program, but it was just bad for the Big 10. In fact the entire season was difficult for the Big 10. They had Michigan embarrass themselves horribly despite having some of the gaudiest on-field talent in the country. They had Wisconsin, who played inconsistently all year despite being touted as one of the possible national contenders during the pre-season. They had Penn State, who might have been good enough to beat a top contender from any other conference on a given day. They had Illinois, who had one of the most dangerously talented quarterbacks. Finally they had Ohio State who rose from the lower part of the polls to reach the top, only to get knocked down by the Illini.

My point is that all these teams were pretty good. The Big Ten could have been well served in the BCS by more than one of them. Because they ended up beating the snot out of each other all season long, only to see none of them really in contention for the National Championship game. The solution? The Big Ten would have been better served to serve up an undefeated team from their ranks. The Big Ten stood to make a ton of money off of Ohio State had they not lost to Illinois and been in the National Championship game. Now, they just get the Rose Bowl, when before they would have had that AND the National Championship game. As a league, the Big Ten has incentive under this current system to cheat, make sure one team each year is undefeated and is hopefully among only one other team in the top two in the BCS rankings.

So that’s what I want the Big 10 to do. I want them to cheat. If we could go back in time, I would have Illinois lay down in that game in Columbus. In 2005, instead of having Penn State go 11-1 with a loss to Michigan, Michigan lays down and lets Penn State go 12-0. Michigan was 7-5 that year and had little to gain, while Penn State and the Big 10 had everything to lose. On down the line. The Big Ten should just fix their seasons over and over again.

Then, on someone’s death bed, they have to out the whole league to the country. The media will be in a frenzy that the world hasn’t seen since Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction. The congressional hearings on steroids in baseball will seem like a complete joke. The Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA won’t even register on the same Richter scale. And you know what? The NCAA will be forced to look at the system they created based on subjective rankings of people who don’t watch all the college football games and the computer statistics that run some teams up and some teams out in a ridiculous fashion every week.

And hopefully the only conclusion that they can possibly come up with is a playoff system. Although, who knows, maybe they wouldn’t get it right. I think it is worth the risk anyway.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • nicolas

    i like this conspiracy.

    except for the fact that conspiring one particular conference team to an undefeated record doesn’t benefit the conference. i don’t know if it’s the entire sum, but definitely a very very large percentage of any bowl revenue goes to the school, not the conference.

    conspire to push Ohio State into the national title game instead of the Rose Bowl, and all you’re doing is increasing the chunk of money that they’ll re-invest in their athletic department (on top of the $108 million they already spend).

    that would only serve to re-establish the gap between the haves (Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, USC) and the have nots.

    Leave the system where it is, with all of the Big 12, Pac 10, SEC, Big 10, and ACC teams kicking the crap out of each other so that there is rarely a clear winner and the teams are so exhausted by the end of the regular season that it affects their performance in the bowl games. Then we can continue the push for a playoff system, I say.

  • It does benefit the conference because they get two really high profile bowls instead of just one. If Ohio State beats Illinois then they go to the National Championship bowl and some OTHER big ten team still gets to go to the Rose Bowl.

  • Rob Stephens

    My understanding is that each Big 10 conference school going to a bowl game actually does split the bowl game earnings with the conference office and the other schools. The bowl game participant does get a large share of the money to account for their expenses for traveling to and from the game, but after consideration for such expenses, my understanding is the bowl pot is split equitably.

    Still, I wouldn’t support purposely losing games, but the NCAA does need to change. A playoff is definitely needed with at least 4 teams, but more ideally at least 8. You can still have bowl games and a playoff. With a system of dispersed conferences and decentralized scheduling, it is difficult to pick just 2 teams deserving of competing for a national title in most years.

  • Mike

    Why not try something a little more in line with using a back door to begin creation of a playoff system. We currently have the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 with championship games, while the Big East, Big 10 and Pac 10 don’t. Get each of these conferences to 12 teams and create conference championship games. It puts us one step closer to a true champion.

    The second step woudl be easy, the 6 conference champions plus 2 at large teams could play a playoff. That should allow for all the teams that would have a realistic chance at winning a nationsl championship to play for it. Bowls could be continued as they are now, just rotate the lower tier bowls for the playoffs and the current BCS bowls rotate the final games in the series.

    Is it perfect, no. But I think if even the first step, 6 conference championship games, would take us a long way toward a true national champion.