College Football Needs Playoff Format for National Championship

Matt Klein, Staff Writer

As I watched the final seconds of this year’s National Championship Game between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide tick away, I couldn’t help but think about what a boring evening it had been. All night I had watched a defensive standstill that resulted in just one touchdown. This seemed a hardly suitable finish to an explosive college football season that had featured several exciting, high scoring, and close matchups. I attribute this anticlimactic ending not to the strength of the two defenses that were featured in the title game, but to the college football postseason format itself.

The college football Bowl Championship Series, the BCS, is one of the most watched sporting events in our nation. College football teams from all over the country battle against each other to gain entry into this prestigious five bowl game series, pitting the top teams at the end of the year against each other in exciting and often close match ups –as we saw in this years Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Although this format does create some post-season excitement, it also has flaws. The first of these flaws is that often times, the “best” teams are not selected to play in the national title game. This is because 1/3 of the rankings are done by a coaches’ poll. This assumes that coaches have time to watch all of the other teams play while still preparing their team for that week’s opponent. This has been cited as a major reason why, in 2008, the University of Utah was left out of the national title game.

Another flaw in the BCS system is the fact that if a team loses one game, they are more than likely out of the National Title hunt for good. If a team loses two games, then they are most likely out of the BCS completely. However, this goes against the BCS’s slogan that “Every game counts.” If a team loses early in the season, the rest of its games are deprived of excitement because they are no longer playing for a chance to go to an important bowl game. Their fate has already been sealed.

In order to reach the national championship, a lot of teams have recently resorted to “padding” their schedules, meaning they arrange to play against easier teams in hopes of remaining undefeated. This would guarantee them a shot at the national championship.

Although the BCS appears to be a profitable, entertaining post-season format for college football, it is hindered by these flaws. Therefore, the BCS should move to an eight-team playoff.

This would eliminate the controversy that surrounds the BCS system today, and add more excitement to the post-season. Instead of having one final matchup at the end of the year between two teams for the National Championship, you would have eight high caliber teams all with a shot at the title.

Also, this playoff system would eliminate the controversy surrounding the polls and how the teams are rated. Because the playoff bracket would allow room for 8 teams, there would be less arguing over which teams are given a shot to play for the National Championship.

In all, I am a strong believer that the BCS needs to be changed to a playoff system. The switch would add excitement to the college football postseason, and undoubtedly make it one of the top watched sporting events in the world.