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December 15, 2010

Disgracing the Name of Kramer

What is the most common belief among males ages 8 to 88? Is it that girls are preferred, that fast cars equal happiness, or that small pizza's are a punishment? No, the one thing men most readily agree on is that the BCS sucks.

Big time.

Yes, we all hate the BCS. We hate that it doesn't give a true national champion, that it keeps college football's revenue all in one place, that it protects the Goliath's from the David's. Yet beyond all that there are two relatively unknown reasons why you should hate the BCS even more.

Stunning Idiotic Move by the BCS #1

The year was 1999 and three teams were vying to make the national championship game. Two of the three teams were undefeated, while the other had lost one game. Due to the insane calculations of the BCS -- a system that relied on lunar cycles in evaluating teams -- the squad with one loss was projected to end up in the title game, while one of the undefeated teams would be left out. BCS father Roy Kramer (no relation whatsoever to Cosmo), knowing that his creation would be criticized if a one-loss team made it to the championship game over an undefeated counterpart, decided to tweak the BCS computer formula. During the middle of the season he downgraded the strength of schedule element to ensure that the team with one loss wouldn't advance over either of the two undefeated teams to the title game.

Now, the way the season ended is irrelevant. The fact that needs water to be swallowed is Roy Kramer altered the process by which two teams are picked for the national championship, and most importantly, he did it during the middle of the season (Note: this is the first time I've underlined anything I've ever posted).

Imagine you're playing a game of poker. You're dealt crap cards, but are desperate for a victory. What are your options? Well, if you're Roy Kramer, you simply change the rules mid-game. You inform your playing mates that the cards you were just dealt now constitute a royal flush. Why not? The BCS founder changed the rules to suit his purposes, why can't you?

Of course you couldn't get away with this strategy if it was in your basement, with some old friends, with a measly 10 bucks on the line. So how did Kramer get away with it on a national stage, with over 13 million dollars on the line?  Probably the same way the BCS managed to screw over BYU.

Stunning Idiotic Move by the BCS #2

In 2001, BYU's football squad was ranked sixth in the country and was 12-0 with one game left to be played. An undefeated season looked likely, and with it a potential shot at a prestigious BCS bowl game. However, the Monday before their final game, BYU received an important letter from the BCS cartel.

Dear BYU Football Team:

Hey, we know you're only one of two teams that hasn't lost this year, and we know that games are still being played and things could change and all that but hey we still don't think you're good enough to play in one of our premier bowl games. Sorry, even if you win this week and end the season as the only undefeated team you aren't good enough for us. Better luck next year.

Actually, we take that back. Bad luck to you next year. We don't want to have to send this letter again.



That was the message the BCS delivered BYU before they had even finished their season. To the BCS it didn't matter what happened in BYU's last game - win, lose, they were out either way. And that is precisely why the BCS deserves our very best hate. After all is said and done, the BCS doesn't even give teams a chance to lose, let alone win. This year it's TCU who is on the receiving end of a BCS-sponsored kick in the balls. Undefeated through twelve games and unacknowledged through the same number. Why doesn't TCU get a shot at the national title? Because some C++ algorithm tells us they aren't as good as the Ducks or the Tigers? Because TCU's undefeated season is somehow not as spotless as Oregon or Auburn's perfect record? The solution to this year and every year's problem is the same as it's always been: college football needs a playoff. Every other sport sponsored by the NCAA has one. The four major American sports have one. Even the presidential election progresses through a semi-finals to final match-up.

In order to get to the holy land of playoff football, where a champion can be decided on the field instead of on the hard drive, the BCS needs to be destroyed. Dashed into bits. Killed. Buried. And I hope I'm the one who gets to decorate its tombstone, because I'm not going to write 'rest in peace'.

But I would enjoy writing 'rest in pieces'.

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