Making the rounds right now is a pretty fervent anti-BCS rant from James Carville on ESPN. The man knows how to work an audience.
One thing he’s pissed off about is the Rose Bowl matchup between USC and Illinois:
… The reason we get stuck with the Rose Bowl and Southern Cal vs. Illinois, a game nobody wants to see, instead of Southern Cal vs.Georgia, a game everybody wants to see, is because the Rose Bowl has to do this Big Ten thing because that’s the only way the Big Ten can make money, nobody wants to watch their stinkin’ teams after their champion …
Well! Take that, Mr. Delany!
Only one problem: that doesn’t really seem to be the case. If you go here, you can see the TV ratings for the BCS for the ’02-’03, the ’03-’04, the ’04-’05 and the ’05-’06 seasons. The Rose Bowl was never worse than second in viewing audience in any of those periods. In those years, the only game that had more viewers than the Rose Bowl was the BCS title game, wherever it was hosted.
That’s played out in the list of all time BCS TV ratings (1998-2006) at the bottom of that page. The top six are title games; thereafter the Rose Bowl dominates the listings. There are Rose Bowl games that have outdrawn title games. All of which means that somebody is watching the damned thing year after year.
So it would appear that Mr. Carville is a better polemicist than historian. (Either that, or maybe those ratings are something else that’s the fault of the vast right-wing conspiracy.)
It’s fine to debate how to address the perceived flaws of the BCS as it stands now. But if you’re going to start ripping things up on the way to establishing a new world order, at least get the facts straight before you pull out your knife.