Breaking the BCS

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

This weekend a most wonderful thing could happen to the Bowl Championship Series – or more precisely, to the powerful, money-hungry major-conference commissioners who designed it.

Texas A&M could beat Texas.

Not that we have anything against the Longhorns, who are in the process of getting screwed by the BCS in an entirely different controversy.

But that result, coupled with Boise State extending its win streak to a nation's best 22 games on Saturday, could blow up this entire, corrupt championship system and hit it right where it hurts – in the wallet.

Here's the deal: In an effort to stave off exclusionary lawsuits by so-called mid-major football programs, the BCS put in a clause that if a team outside of the six BCS conferences somehow, someway makes the top six of the BCS standings, it automatically receives a bid to one of the four big, $14 million bowl games.

No one thought any team would ever do it.

And now we are two games away from two making it.

Undefeated Utah of the Mountain West Conference is ranked sixth and looks assured of a big payday in the Fiesta Bowl.

But take a look at the BCS standings released Monday. Boise State (10-0) has moved up to No. 7. If No. 5 Texas (9-1) loses to its arch-rival in Austin on Friday and the Broncos win at Nevada, Boise State might have enough strength to replace Texas in the top six.

Which would mean $28 million, or a quarter of the BCS money, would go to the MWC and the WAC rather than the big conferences. It is the major conferences that want you to believe great teams can only come from conferences that either were good 40 years ago or have political connections.

Case in point: the absurdity of Boston College, No. 21 in the BCS standings, being deemed a BCS team (over No. 5 Texas) for no reason except its league, the Big East, used to have Miami and Virginia Tech in it.

If you want to see the BCS go away and a much fairer, much more exciting playoff to replace it, then the current system needs to crumble under its own weight.

It makes situational anarchists out of us. We like five undefeated teams creating ill will. We like outrage over politics. And we really like Utah and Boise State stealing the money.

The team that would get jobbed here is No. 4 Cal, which even if it beats Southern Miss to finish 10-1 would wind up in the lowly Holiday Bowl, not the Rose, because it, ironically, is not guaranteed a BCS slot. A Cal loss to Southern Miss on Dec. 4 also, possibly, could propel Boise State into the BCS.

Are the Broncos one of the top six teams in the nation? Are they better than a 10-1 Cal team? Probably not.

But the commissioners of the six BCS conferences – ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10 and SEC – are loath to have you find out. Which is why they designed a system they thought made it all but impossible for one non-BCS team to make the top six, let alone two.

"No way, no how would anyone have dreamed of that one," Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen told the Los Angeles Times.

Beautiful, isn't it?

The best solution for I-A football is to follow the same 16-team playoff system Divisions I-AA, II and III use. The reason they don't is money. The reason they cite is academics, the most laughable continuing sports excuse this side of Barry Bonds and BALCO.

Unless you really believe that the SEC cares more about its players' academic progress than the I-AA Patriot League.

The commissioners will tell you the university presidents won't go for a playoff because of missed class time. But the hypocrisy is that the same group is pushing for the permanent creation of a 12th regular-season game.

The playoff system would add a net of seven games to the season; the 12th game would add at least 57.

School presidents care only about revenue. BCS commissioners have convinced them that having complete control of a mid-sized pie is better than ceding control to the gigantic one that a playoff would bring.

But the plan no longer works if Boise State and Utah are taking slices of your pie.

Which would be one sweet and just dessert.

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