Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Death to the BCS

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Death to the BCS

Article excerpt

Three sportswriters call for sacking the Bowl Championship Series and replacing it with a true playoff.

The college football season ends tonight as undefeated teams from

Auburn and Oregon tangle in the BCS Championship Game (or Bowl

Championship Series Championship Game, if you like redundancy).

This may come as news to millions of people on the street who

continue to think the season ends on New Year's Day. The BCS

remains not only a source of confusion, but of controversy,

especially for hard-core fans and media members who cry out for a

true championship playoff rather than an arranged postseason based on

subjective rankings, computer-generated polls, and a complex formula.

The views of this disgruntled camp are perhaps best summarized by

three sportswriters who've devoted a whole book to their arguments:

Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship

Series. Their thesis is that the BCS format, which tries to maintain

traditional bowl games while grafting a championship game on to the

process, has been a disaster since initiated in the 1990s, and should

be replaced by a 16-team national playoff.

The authors - Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan, who write

for the Yahoo! Sports website - point out that Barack Obama and

John McCain agreed on little during the 2008 presidential race other

than their dislike of the BCS. The US Justice Department has even

announced it might open an investigation into the legality of the

BCS, which the authors contend is not a formal organization so much

as a faceless cartel knitted together by a series of contracts.

The BCS website, in fact, states that the BCS is not an entity but

an event managed by the 11 athletic conferences and the University of

Notre Dame. The confusion only begins there.

What really sticks in the craw of the authors is that the National

Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing body of college

sports, holds 88 championships in different sports and for different

divisions. …

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