I have always been very careful in my usage of the word hate. When I use the word (and mean it) what I am saying is that I think something is so awful, egregious, horrible, etc. that society has a whole would be better off without it. With that understanding let me whisper to you four little words:
I HATE THE BCS.
Those who know me, know that I have long been in opposition of the Bowl Championship Series rankings. While every other level of NCAA successfully implements a postseason playoff (ranging from 20-32 teams), Division I FBS schools have not been able to manage a 4-8 team playoff that would satisfy most fans. Instead of having a playoff, the NCAA and BCS have decided to use systematic demarcation to determine it’s national champion. Why in the country where democracy and meritocracy were born would our nation’s most beloved sport defer to institutionalized discrimination to determine a champion? For the same reason our country has ever allowed any form of systematic discrimination to be put in place – to make a profit.
The BCS is all about commercialism and money. It cares nothing for the sport or who the best team in the country is but instead it cares about the bottom line and what teams will give them the best television ratings. In a country where all are supposed to be equal, the BCS mercilessly stomps on the dogma of Horatio Alger and reminds young athletes that the “American dream” and “rags to riches” are nothing more than a pipe dream that can never be realized if you don’t belong to the right class (in this case, the six AQ conferences – specifically the SEC).
The BCS not only encourages the Floridas, LSUs, Alabamas, Ohio States, USCs, Oklahomas, and UTs to push the Houstons, Boise States, and TCUs to the back of the bus – it enforces it.
It has created system of computerized expectation that takes away the magic and unpredictability of sport. When teams from football’s lower class do make a strong case that cannot be ignored (such as TCU and Boise State back in 2009) the BCS puts them in their own “separate but equal” bowl so that they too can be a winner, just not THE winner. These computers have taken away the excitement of the postseason.
If NCAA Basketball used the BCS System we would’ve never heard of Butler, VCU, George Mason, Gonzaga, or UNI.
If the NFL employed this system – Cowher would steal be searching for his title, Eli would’ve never had a shot to prevent Brady’s perfection, Warner would’ve never gotten a 3rd shot at a ring, and Vince Lombardi Trophy Winner would not be listed on Aaron Rodger’s resume.
If the NBA used the BCS teams like Orlando and Dallas would’ve never made the NBA Finals.
If Major League Baseball employed the BCS, Texas would be without any World Series appearances and San Francisco and St. Louis would not have been celebrating these past two years.
Sports history would be dramatically different (and rather uninspired) if computerized expectations were used to determine championship match-ups. Yet the NCAA insists on forcing this system upon the fans.
It’s a story as old as time itself, the haves versus the have-nots. Tonight the BCS will decide that Alabama, a team that spent yesterday sitting on the couch watching college football (Hey! I did that too! Can I have a BCS title shot?) is worthy of a national championship appearance. Not because they played better teams or won their conference (Oklahoma State beat the same number of ranked teams as Alabama and 1 more bowl-eligible team than Alabama in route to winning the Big 12 Championship outright) but because they belong to a certain class that is worthy of an appearance in this game. It’s about elitism and pedigree over results and resume. It won’t make sense to us that the #1 team in the country had to win a game yesterday to qualify and the #2 team did not but the BCS does not care about fairness or what makes sense. The BCS is not as much concerned with who they crown champion, they are more concerned about making sure certain schools do not have a chance to be crowned. For these reasons, the BCS will most likely select Alabama over Oklahoma State.
And when this happens, we will be reminded that in this country we have a system of institutionalized discrimination driven by the search for larger profit margins of which the Southeastern United States is the primary beneficiary. Sound familiar?
Now to be fair and make myself perfectly clear – when it is announced that the title game will be Alabama vs. LSU, the athletic governing body of our institutions of higher learning will not be asking the birthplace of democracy to accept systematic discrimination.
They will be asking us to embrace it.