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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Final BCS Champion Will Be Legitimate, Like Always

Illustration for article titled The Final BCS Champion Will Be Legitimate, Like Always

Rumors of the BCS's humiliation were greatly exaggerated. While many in the college football playoff camp would have liked nothing more than to see a BCS Armageddon with undefeated Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State teams, last week's results prove once again that the current system is not the boogeyman its detractors make it out to be.


Barring an unlikely collapse, the national title game will probably pit some combination of Alabama, FSU, Ohio State, and Baylor against each other. As long as at least two of those teams remain unbeaten for the rest of the season—no small feat, mind you—most in the college football world will be in agreement on who to send to Pasadena in January.

This is bad news for the BCS haters who would have liked nothing more than a final computer-determined championship game riddled with controversy. For them, a split national champion, the event the BCS system was expressly created to prevent, would have been even better than the playoff they clamor for so desperately. This is the scenario that could have played out if Oregon would have gone undefeated along with FSU and Alabama, three teams all deserving a spot in the Rose Bowl.

But that didn't happen for the same reason it hasn't really happened in the past, and the same reason why the BCS wasn't actually as flawed as purported. It's really fucking hard to win all your games. Even allowing for a one-loss team making it into the title game, it's still nigh impossible to put together a full season of major-conference football and come out relatively unscathed. So we shouldn't be surprised when only two teams every year reach that level.

And anyways, who says that winning one more game crowns a more deserving champion? You say adding more games adds more certainty, I say it adds more randomness. If the grinder that is the regular season can lead to a very good team losing to equal or lesser opposition, are we really to expect that those last two games will be somehow more determinative of superiority? Who was "better" in 2011, LSU when they beat Alabama in November or Alabama when they reversed the result a couple months later?

What all of this boils down to is a fundamental disagreement on what the national championship should stand for. Currently, the crystal ball is fought for by the teams with the best overall seasons. The playoff people want to crown the best team. But using a four-team—and probably expanding—playoff as the method of determining bestness is no more justifiable than saying the best team reveals itself over an entire season.

But this opinion is the minority one, and the excitement-agitators have been victorious in getting their playoff. Let it be remembered though that the BCS, even in its last days, did its job—a respectable, misunderstood job—well.