Dan Wetzel hates the BCS. I mean, hates the BCS. He’s been pushing a 16-team playoff in his book about hating the BCS and he’s unveiled the field that would exist under his version of a D-1 postseason.
Me – I kinda said bugger that after I saw 6-6 Florida International was granted a shot at winning a national title, but Dan explains how that’s a feature:
… While no one would argue that the Sun Belt champ is one of the top 16 teams in the country, its presence is paramount to maintaining the integrity and relevancy of the regular season. Teams that put together exceptional season deserve to be rewarded. If you just take the top eight or 16 teams and match them up on a neutral field then there is no advantage to being No. 1 rather than No. 16.
The way to reward the best teams is two-fold. First is providing home-field advantage to the higher-seeded team until the title game (more on this later).
The second is by giving an easier first-round opponent – in this case No. 1 seed Auburn would play No. 16 Florida International. Earning a top two or three seed most years would present a school a de facto bye into the second round. FIU isn’t in the tournament to win the title – they won’t – but to make the regular season matter more. [Emphasis added.]
I have an idea. Why don’t we let the #1 team in the country play Akron (currently #209 in Sagarin’s rankings, the lowest rated team in D-1) in the first round of a tourney? That would really make the regular season matter, wouldn’t it?
FIU started out the season playing four BCS-conference schools. It lost to all four, including a horrid Rutgers team which it faced at home. I have news for Wetzel – any playoff format that has room for a team which boasts as its best win a 17-point victory over Troy is making a joke out of the regular season. Setting up a 12-team format that gives Auburn an actual bye makes more friggin’ sense than that.
Back to the drawing board, son.
And while I’m on the subject of stupid pundit vocabulary tricks and the BCS, I can’t let this pearl of wisdom from Pete Fiutak slide by:
No, the BCS didn’t “work.” To be more accurate, the BCS wasn’t necessary. For it to “work,” it would’ve actually had to do something useful.
My sister thinks Auburn is the shade of Nice ‘n Easy she used five tries ago in a yet another failed attempt to look 25, and even she could’ve figured out that the two unbeaten BCS teams should play for the national title. You don’t need a cockamamie BCS system, some bizarre computer formulas (which, by the way, had a few major inconsistencies), and a bunch of money-grubbing bowl executives to figure out that there’s no real argument against the Ducks vs. the Tigers in the BCS Championship.
No, the BCS “works” when there are several worthy teams to choose from and two have to be plucked from the lot…
Twenty years ago, Oregon would have played in the Rose Bowl. Auburn would have appeared in the Sugar Bowl. And Fiutak would be bitching about how the system failed miserably in producing a national title game. Maybe I’m missing something here, but to me, this year’s title game would fall under the definition of “works”.
I get that the BCS has its flaws. Is it too much to ask of its critics that they not insult our intelligence when they complain about it?
UPDATE: Michael Elkon schools Wetzel on what “relevancy of the regular season” means.
… Right now, the regular season matters because one loss is often fatal (ask the three Big Ten co-champions about that) and two losses are almost invariably fatal. If you replace the existing system with a 16-team playoff, then teams are no longer playing for survival every week. Instead, they are playing for homefield advantage, which anyone with skin in the game will tell you is worth about a field goal, and the right to play marginally easier opponents as the playoffs progress…