Don’t let ESPN convince you the BCS is at fault

FootballAfter last night’s games, ESPN was quick to stir up angst towards the BCS system.

The SportsCenter and GameDay hosts kept asking “How terrible of a system do we have when, on the very last night of the CFB season, we don’t know who will be playing for the title?”

Listen up, my allergic-to-critical-thinking-ESPN-boneheads: It has nothing to do with the system. It has everything to do with nos. 1 and 2 going down in back-to-back weeks. Again:

The fact that the teams ranked 1 and 2 lost two weeks in a row is not the BCS’s fault.

If college football had a playoff, and the top two seeds went down, would you hear people complaining that the playoff system “needed to be fixed?” Of course not. So why is it the BCS’s fault when LSU, Kansas, Missouri, and West Virginia all lose within a span of eight days?

The truth? ESPN is pushing animosity towards the BCS because they can’t make more money off of it. Fox has the game, and the best ESPN can do is the Tostitos Pontiac Tampax BCS Selection Show sponsored in part by Joe Bob’s Tire and Lube (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: ESPN has become the MTV of the sports world. Programming, talking points, agenda items, etc. are all driven by (1) what makes the most money, and (2) the perception of what’s popular. The network’s once thoughtful commentary and analysis have turned into oft-repeated talking points and punditry.

Here’s an SAT analogy to make my point:

    ______ is to ESPN as Britney Spears is to MTV.

    A. SEC Speed
    B. Jeff Gordon
    C. Tom Brady
    D. Nelson Mandela
    E. Three of the above
    F. None of the above

Get it?

Take another example: Earlier this week, when Les Miles said that his team was ‘technically undefeated, because LSU’s losses were in overtime,’ all halfway-intelligent people on the planet collectively rolled their eyes and said, “oh, BROTHER.” Right? We all agreed that such a statement required a, oh, shall we say, a certain disconnection from reality.

Yet ESPN thought that argument sounded just witty enough that most mouth breathing brain dead fans might admire it, and decided to parrot it for a nationwide audience on SportsCenter. They actually showed and discussed a screen graphic that had LSU’s season itemized in the following manner:

    LSU Tigers
    Wins: 11
    Losses: 0
    Losses in OT: 2

Are you kidding me? They’ll insinuate that the Tigers had zero losses, just to get the SEC back in the title game? Pathetic.

But back to the BCS. Almost exactly one year ago, we published our “Wait to hate on the BCS” post:

“To me, all the BCS hatred seems a bit premature. I think fans should let the games play themselves out. Consider the following: What if Florida beats OSU? What if USC wins the Rose? What if UM wins the Rose, but needs a miracle (or just looks sloppy)? Any of the three outcomes would retroactively validate the BCS selections.”

In short, even though ESPN never admitted it, the BCS worked perfectly in 2006. It worked in 2005, too, when Vince Young beat the “best in hi$tory zomg !eleventy!11” USC Trojans.

In fact, in the decade of BCS selections, there has only been one season where the system clearly broke down: in 2004, when the system kept a deserving Auburn team out of the game.

But since then, the pollsters have taken it upon themselves to make sure that never happens again. They did it last year, by recognizing that Florida deserved a title shot & leapfrogging them over everyone else to #2. They’ll do the same thing this year, and once again choose a deserving team to match up against the Buckeyes.


  1. LSU is undefeated in regulation, but Oklahoma is undefeated in games in which they outscored the opponent. Technically, Oklahoma is undefeated and therefore Oklahoma should be in the NCG. Les Miles logic to the rescue!

  2. So, you’re saying the current BCS system is working? Curious..

  3. Arkansas Buckeye says

    ITs not that the BCS is “working” but it is better than any alternative yet. What system would work in this bizarre season? And it keeps it interesting.

    Agree completely on “the whirled wide leader in sports”. I’m actually enjoying watching programming on the BTN and hope the SEC and Big 12 follow if it means I’ll actually get to see sports. I’ve seem some pretty decent volleyball so far. Lets get some hockey on.

    Go Buckeyes. Crush the SEC.

  4. I don’t get your comment about jumping Florida over people last year because they deserved a title shot. They were #4 in BCS in weeks 6 and 7 behind Michigan and USC. Michigan and USC both lost and Florida just moved up those 2 places. I don’t see any concerted effort by the pollsters required to create that outcome.

    I certainly agree with you about ESPN, I haven’t heard such a load of nonsensical rubbish in a long time.

    I hope the Buckeyes play LSU, I think they are dramatically overrated, they could easily have lost yesterday to Tenn. But I think jumping them over 3 teams this week to make it happen would be the big crime and symbolic of the BCS being broken.

  5. Agenda?

    Fox owns half of the big ten cupcake network and they and you don’t have an agenda for big 5 teams. Lsu pimped slapped tech. Just continue backing into your games and getting smacked by the real nc champs the sec.

    Big 5 is to nc as richard simmons is to a queer. Big 5 not man enough to have a conferance champ game. Juice was would run all over you again.

    How sad is it that you knew juice was running and buckeyes were either not good enough to stop or to dumb to figure out he was going to run it.

    Fox and big 5 ruining the nc and proving the sec is the best.

  6. Baby Jesus says

    Espn has turned into fox news. Their pandering to writers to sell Lsu last night was laughable. How many times can a team lose before people realize their not as good as people make them out to seem? I kid you not within 5 minute span of Mizzou losing I heard Jesse Palmer, Herbstreit, May, Holtz, Van Pelt, and a whole host of espn talking heads say that Lsu clearly deserves the slot not taking into consideration that Oklahoma dismantled Mizzou or Usc because essentially they wanna keep the best matchups for themselves…You guys hit it on the head and espn is just awful

  7. Ok, I can buy LSU in the championship game
    1) They won their conference (reject: Georgia, Kansis)
    2) They lost 2 games close, in OT
    3) They beat the snot out of Virginia Tech (reject: Virginia Tech)

    If you then drop Mizzou and WVU behind LSU (which the pollsters did), then you have your case for LSU being in.

    However, the *major* problem is that Kansas, who didn’t play, *dropped!* 3 places in the polls. Seriously? How can you not play and suddenly get worse? That has to be one of the single worst things I’ve seen happen to a team.

    Let’s also add to that the fact that Hawaii has a legitimate claim. They’re undefeated. Granted they won close ugly games to Washington and Louisiana Tech, they still won out, and should get rewarded for it.

    All I can say is, Death to the Preseason polls.

  8. Eric
    Michigan and USC both lost and Florida just moved up those 2 places.

    When UM lost, they did not drop below Florida. They did not drop below Florida until USC lost, and voters needed to avoid the OSU/UM rematch. In fact, the AP still kept UM at #2 after their loss to OSU.

    sec rules
    Lsu pimped slapped tech. Just continue backing into your games

    LSU lost to KY, a team that itself struggled with Kent State. OSU destroyed Kent St. We’ll see which LSU team shows up. As for “backing into your games,” it looks like LSU is the one backing into the title game this year.

  9. The reason their is no playoffs is because the big 10 and pac 10 commishs are scared their teams won’t make a big bowl game due to their teams in their conf. and how hard their ooc schedule. Big 10 and pac 10 are holding up the playoff.

  10. Monkey

    Answer my question. How come you did not print fox owns a part of the big ten network and has a part in influencing games.

    Lsu beat the vols who beat the hottest team the dawgs.

    Thank you for posting my comment, most college team blogs won’t if you bad mouth their teams.

  11. Jason:
    So, you’re saying the current BCS system is working? Curious..

    I’m saying that numbers 1 and 2 losing for two weeks in a row has nothing to do with the BCS at all.

    Had this been the middle of the season, the pollsters would have a new number one and two up the next day, and nobody would have thought twice about it. But just because this is the last vote of the season, it’s an example of “BCS chaos.” It doesn’t make sense to me.

    Remember, the BCS was only designed to make sure #s 1 and 2 could get out of contractual bowl obligations to play each other. That’s all. Seeing as how the system is allowing #1 OSU to get out of its contractual obligation to the Rose is proof that the BCS is “working” exactly as it was designed to.

    If someone wants to make an argument that the POLLS “aren’t working,” then I totally agree.

    The poll system is the root of the problem, not the BCS.

  12. sec rules –
    Sorry, I didn’t see a question there. Not sure what you’re point is, but you won’t find me saying anything positive about the BTN. I dislike it immensely.

    As for LSU, I think if you look at the matchup itself, and ignore the Big10/SEC drama, you’ll see that the teams match up pretty well. Personally, I was more nervous about OSU playing WVA or USC than LSU.

  13. Yeah, I’m with SM here. I vastly prefer to play LSU over WVA. WVA, with a healthy Pat White, scares the holy hell out of me. Ryan Perrilloux is a poor man’s Juice Williams. LSU plays a much more conventional offense (read: a pro-style non-spread offense), which OSU matches up much better against than a true spread. LSU’s defense will probably give the Bucks fits, but if it’s a low scoring game then I think we’ve got a reasonable shot at winning.

    As for backing into the game, LSU looked shoddy week after week, lost a game, then eeked out a win against a bad Tennessee team. Ohio State lost a single game to a team that will be playing in a BCS game, then came out the next week and pitched the most dominant defensive performance by any team this season in 1A football. Who’s backing into the game now?

  14. How sad is it that you knew juice was running and buckeyes were either not good enough to stop or to dumb to figure out he was going to run it.


    Sort of the way that LSU played defense against McFadden, eh?

  15. I have changed my mind about the BCS vs. a playoff. The BCS system is the way to go. The reason this system was so incredibly exciting was because of the BCS system. If you’re only playing the regular season to make the top 8 (or top 16), you don’t live or die with each game. A playoff also does not result in the best team (remember Villanova in the NCAAs in 1985? Didn’t think so).

  16. “The reason this system” – correction – “The reason this season”

  17. How about no polls until the fourth or fifth week of the season when most teams have completed their out of conference games and everyone can truly assess the top teams and grade them strictly on strength of schedule and margin of points up to that point. That way anyone who wants to get a jump in the BCS poll will be less likely to schedule every cupcake they can find. Not perfect maybe but could eliminate the pre-season hype that seldom pans out.

  18. Who says we don’t have a play off. That is what I like about this system, every game is a play off. You lose and you’re out. So this year, a number of teams lost. You mean to tell me that a play off is going to correct this situation? Upsets happen, play off or no play off.

    You’re comments about ESPN and MTV are right on target. Perception of popularity drives the commentary as can be seen by the SEC and their annual publicity drive. You would think that they should just have a spot in the BCS Championship reserved for them.

    And if Ohio State beat anybody else in the BCS Championship, the title would be held up across the country with a big question mark next to it.

    And what a great situation ESPN and the SEC has created — if the top SEC team loses, it is because the division is soooo difficult. It has nothing to do with the fact that they had nine stupid penalties or just played like crap.

    I like an Ohio State/LSU game. Tressel will use the controversy as a motivator in the same way he did against Miami. It is what they need to get through the break.

    Bring it on and GO BUCKEYES!!

  19. so here we go, OSU vs LSU. I want some damn redemption. I am sick of getting ridiculed by my friends, the media and who ever else feels like poking fun of the Big Ten and especially at Ohio State for last year. I TO THIS DAY, AM STILL GETTING CRAP. I want redemption, i want satisfaction, I want a spell checker on this post comment cause i am sure there are tons of spelling mistakes. I want a lot of things, but I WANT OSU to kick the crap out of LSU.

  20. to zach:


  21. If the Big Ten is so great why isn’t the NFL drafting them like crazy? Oh wait…

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