Race To The BCS
By: Cora LeClair
February 14, 2011
Legal & Ethical Issues in Sports Administration
Every September, when colleges and universities open their doors and athletic facilities, the buzz about football season is all around. Whether it is on campus, in the newspapers or in the media, it’s all about football. For big time colleges and universities however, football season isn’t just another season, it’s the start of creating a new champion. Every game they play is like a playoff game for the national championships; you lose one game, you’re basically out of the running to become football champs that year. “The consequence is that the top teams face virtual knock out games every week of the season, from September to December” (Whalen). The championship for these schools is known as the Bowl Championship Series, or the BCS. However, since the BCS took over the Bowl Alliance in 1998, many have different views on how the BCS is setup; most believing that it is unfair and rigged.
The BCS is the most recent attempt to create a national championship without having an actual playoff. “The BCS is administered by the conference commissioners and the Notre Dame Athletic Director” (BCS FAQs). They have created a rating system to determine who should and will play in the National Championship, at the end of the season. The top two teams in the ratings at the end of the regular season will meet in the title game.
There are four bowls within the BCS, the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. All in which have name brand sponsors for spectators and consumers to follow brand recognition. Since 2006, a fifth BCS game was added to be the championship game, because of the addition, 10 teams play in BCS rather than eight. This gives two more schools the opportunity to play for the BCS championship. Currently, there are six conferences that are a part of the BCS, including the Big Ten, Pac-10, ACC, Big East, Big 12 and SEC.
How the teams are picked is one of the most controversial issues within the BCS system. Today, the system is made up of two polls and a six computer ranking system after throwing out the best and the worst rankings for each team. “Because the polls reward teams with impressive records more than ones with impressive resumes, it discourages scheduling an earl-season, out-of-conference challenge” (Wetzel, p.93). In the two polls, a team's score is its point total divided by the best possible point total for that poll. “In 2008, there are 114 Harris voters and 61 coaches voting, which means that the best possible score for the Harris poll is 2850 (114 voters x 25 points for a first place vote) and in the coaches' poll, the best possible score is 1525” (BCS FAQs).
The six computer ranking system is complicated and a lot of teams don’t like the outcomes. However, a school like Ohio State University always ranks and they like the system because of this. If the system were to change, they probably would have a harder time being rank than such as undefeated Boise State or Texas Christian University. For each team, they will be considered as voters in a mini-poll. This being said, the team ranked number one in the computer rankings will get 25 points. The number two ranked team will receive 24, and so on, and so on, down to the number 25 team in the computer system getting one point. “Each team's four computer scores (after tossing the best and worst) will be added and divided by 100 (the best possible score) to give the computer average” (Zane). Then, the three numbers will be averaged for the total BCS score; the higher your score is, the better chance you have at going all the way to the national championship.
Since the 1900s, college football has been the most widely recognized sport; even the NFL couldn’t top the ratings that college football brought it. As of 2009, there was over “120 Division I football programs in the nation, making...
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