Southern Cal football coach Pete Carroll will sit in his office this offseason most likely pleased.
LSU head man Nick Saban, who turned down a coaching offer from the Chicago Bears Saturday to remain in Baton Rouge, is both happy and rich, the recipient of a new contract worth roughly three million annually.
But amidst their riches and new hardware, both undoubtedly feel cheated and unfinished, waiting on an LSU-USC contest that will surely remain unplayed.
In 1998, the Bowl Championship Series was created to end the days of split national champions, in the process putting the two best teams together for one final game. Only five years later, neither goal has been accomplished.
In July the BCS committee was looking for possible changes to the current system, but ruled out any possibility of a playoff. After last season's debacle, it's time to think again.
The Division I-AA level has run a successful football playoff for 25 years, with a single champion crowned each year.
There is a way to implement a major college football playoff without interrupting final exam schedules, bowl revenue sharing or even eliminating the BCS rankings.
Due to the narrow eye of the BCS, 54 of the 117 Division I-A football teams are virtually eliminated from BCS bowl contention merely due to conference affiliation.
A 16-team playoff including every Division I-A conference champion would end the desperate pleas of a 13-1 Miami of Ohio team from the MAC, or the undefeated 1998 Tulane team that completed its season with a rather unspectacular bid to the Independence Bowl.
Your 2003 conference champions consist of Florida State (ACC), LSU (SEC), Miami (Big East), Kansas State (Big 12), Michigan (Big Ten), Southern Cal (Pac-10), Miami of Ohio (MAC), Southern Miss (Conference USA), Utah (Mountain West), Boise State (WAC) and North Texas (Sun Belt).
That leaves five remaining spots for at-large bids. Both Division I-AA and the NCAA Basketball Tournament use subjective selection committees to fill the remainder of their brackets. The new major college football playoff would leave no such room for subjectivity, using the BCS rankings alone to fill the open spots.
In order of pre-bowl BCS rankings, the 2003 at-large bids would have gone to Oklahoma, Ohio State, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia.
So, yes, this system does have its faults, as the Volunteers certainly proved themselves undeserving of an at-large selection (see Peach Bowl).
As far as seeding is concerned, the BCS rankings would be used for this as well, with Oklahoma as the top seed, LSU second and so on down to North Texas at No. 16.
The first-round matchups alone would give enough glamour to cover an entire season's worth of bowls. A regional rivalry as LSU faces off against Southern Miss. The best young coach in America (Urban Meyer at Utah) against the best coach in America (Carroll and USC).
Tennessee would face a rematch against the Hurricanes of Miami, a team they beat in November. Two of the top gun-slingers (Miami of Ohio's Ben Roethlisberger and Texas's Vince Young) would torch it up and down the field.
North Texas would be a hero, not unlike Valparaiso or Hampton in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, if they could unseat Bob Stoops and the Sooners.
But what about bowl games? The bowl system has been a staple in college football for the better part of a century, and the NCAA would be unwilling to part with such tradition.
Simple solution - play the playoff games at the bowl sites, keep the bowl names and keep the conference revenue sharing. Merely rotate the championship round among the four BCS bowls.
But with only 15 playoff games and 28 current bowl games, 13 would get the ax. That would merely eliminate the throng of mediocrity infiltrating the bowl system. And let's be honest, does anyone really watch the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl anyway?
Shorten the regular season to 10 games, and you have a month-long March Madness, just four months earlier.
Wouldn't Carroll and Saban like to settle the score?
It's time the BCS takes responsibility for its inadequacy.
- Scott Simmons is a junior in finance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Playoff time: BCS results in disaster
Published: Mon Jan 12, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:40 p.m.