Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Playoff System and the NCAA

As if this topic hasn't been beaten to death already.

If you can't tell, or have been under a rock for the last decade and a half, I'm talking about the NCAA's Division I FBS system (Football Bowl Subdivision). In the last two decades, the wealth of the major DI-FBS programs in college football has grown to enormous proprtions. Ohio State leads the pack with an athletic budget of $105 million, while schools like Texas, Florida, Michigan and USC are right behind with $80-$95 million in their sports' treasuries. These numbers are absolutly mind-boggling on the spread sheets. However, only about two-dozen college athletic departments actually make a profit on their sports programs in Division I. All others operate on losses, and some operate in ghastly amounts of red-ink.

In these same two decades, the money being made by corporations, the NCAA and the major college football programs who get invited to the big bowl games as grown equally obese. In recent history the BCS bowl payouts have been sickeningly wild. The Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Citi BCS National Championship each pay out $17 million! Countless others pay out several million dollars. What is shocking is that the $17 million pay out for one of the BCS bowls is more than the whole athletic budget of some MAC or SunBelt Conference schools. The economic disparity in the FBS is alrarming.

Furthermore, not all schools who play in Division I FBS even have the RIGHT to play for the BCS national championship. Schools in the MAC and Sunbelt conferences are not "BCS" conferences according to the NCAA. With this logic, if Central Michigan in the MAC, or North Texas in the Sunbelt went completely undefeated, they would still be doomed to their little bowl game, and probably not even ranked in the top 5 in any poll. This is one of the most mind-boggling aspects to me. If you can not play for the national championship, then what are you playing for!? A conference championship??

This brings me to my point. All level of football except DI-FBS have a true playoff to decide the real national champion; the NFL, NCAA DI-AA (FCS), DII, DIII, NAIA, and high school. Even NCAA DI basketball has a true playoff system which is extremely profitable and allows cindarella's like George Mason to have a true shot at the title!

As it stands tonight, there are six undefeated teams in the top ten spots in the BCS standings. No surprise that the top two are Florida and Alabama, perrenial SEC powerhouses. Behind them at #3 is Texas. After that is where we get into the meat of the arguement. We have TCU @ #4, Cincinnatti @ #5, and Boise State @#6...all unbleamished. Save for Boise State for the past several years, the other two horses are new-comers to this part of the poll. The reality is that several undefeated's are going to be left out of the BCS national championship with an arguement and an army behind them as to their worthiness. TCU, BSU and Cincy are being held back from the very top by a system so biased, even it's creators readily admit such. This fact alone, in my eyes, should be grounds for storming the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis with pitchforks and torches.

The whole system is run by super-wealthy organizations who are making way too much money in the current system to want to see a change. Change to them means lost profits. Their symapthizers have a multitude of excuses:

1. It wouldn't work - Crap, it works wonderfully for everyone else.

2. It would cause student athletes to miss too much class - Like you've ever cared about that before. It works fine in all other NCAA football levels, the NCAA basketball tourney and in high school, it just requires a balance in life!

3. It would render the regular season meaningless - Well then I guess that means that every regular season game played in DI-FCS, DII, DIII and the NFL is meaningless.

See a pattern? If not, you're one of the millions of minions who devour the crap on a daily basis in the veiled belief that this is the best college football.

The truth is that with a playoff system, say a 24 team field like in DII and DI-FCS, small programs would have a legitimate shot at the crown. the MAC and SunBelt could send their conference champions, etc. Have a four-region setup, and the top 6 programs in each regions get a bid based ONLY on being conference champion or mathmatical strength of schedule. The days of the good ole' boys club behind closed doors deciding who gets what scraps should be ripped apart as fast as possible.

Further truth? The BCS National Championship doesn't crown a TRUE national champion. They do not have to play the other top teams as they would in a playoff, nor do they allow several conferences a shot to play in the game. This exclusion alone rips the veil off this paper tiger. The sham it is inside can be made clear for all, and DI-FBS, in my eyes at least, will never have a real national champion until a true playoff is implemented.

Unfortunatly, there's far too much money being shared between only a few of the richest programs, the NCAA and the sponsors for it to be implemented in the forseeable future.

If you wanted to know how it lays out, there are the facts. I dare you to argue with them.

God Speed and GO LAKERS!!!!

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