The BCS didn't get it right or wrong

By: Mark Van Paasschen
By: Mark Van Paasschen
Below this blog, you'll find 2 postings taking opposing sides in the debate about which team should represent the Big XII South in the conference championship game.  I don't fall in either camp.

I think the BCS is neither right nor wrong.  Three teams all have equal claim to the Big XII South Division Championship.  Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all have just 1 loss, and all lost to each other.  You can't get more equal than that.  Of the 3 teams, none has any more of a legitimate claim to the top spot than the other.  Sure, there is minutia that can be broken down that will indicate that one is better than the other, but the bottom line is that they all have one loss, and they all lost to each other.  Nothing else matters.

The Big XII Conference is obviously embarrassed by this development.  From the commissioner on down, nobody and no school is proud of how this has all unfolded.  You can even see it in Bob Stoops' interviews after the BCS standings came out Sunday.  He didn't feel totally at ease with the fact that his team apparently had the "better"  7-1 divisional record.  He didn't come out and say that clearly his team deserved to go, and the other 2 didn't.

The reality is that there is no possibly way to fairly determine 1 team over the other 2 under the current system.

The fact that a divisional winner could possibly be determined by national opinion just isn't right.  The ACC and SEC's systems seem unfair as well because the 3rd ranked team is just arbitrarily eliminated.  The points-scored, or point-spread differentials are terrible because that encourages teams to run up the score on lesser opponents.  Nobody likes to see a 77-0 score... ever.

All that having been said, I think the best solution is one that will, by its nature, create some domino effects that will improve college football on the whole.  Here's my proposal for changes that should be made for next year:

1) All BCS conferences should either have, or not have a conference championship game.  Right now, half do and half don't.  Teams should neither be penalized nor rewarded for playing in, or not playing in a conference championship.  They should all be on the same page.

2) All the tiebreaker rules should be the same for all BCS conferences.  The SEC should not be using 1 formula to break ties and the Big XII using another.  To that end, all the BCS conferences should be set up the same way.  Meaning they should all either have divisions or not have divisions.

3) The non-conference schedule should be used to break a multi-team tie (such as we have this year).  Here's how I would set it up:
    -First, if any school played a Division I-AA opponent (such as UT-Chattanooga that OU played this year) they are eliminated.  This will keep powerhouse schools from padding their records by playing inferior opponents.  There are 120 Division I-A schools, play one of them.  If you can't find one of those to fill a spot in your schedule, tough, play one less game.

    -Second, total up the number of ranked opponents at the time the game was played.  The team with the fewer ranked opponents is eliminated.
    -If neither of those break the tie, total up the records of the combined non-conference opponents.  The team whose non-conference opponents have the worst combined record is eliminated.

There is no good way to break a tie like we have this year, but I think this would make the process a little easier to accept.

Mark Van Paasschen
KXII Sports
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