Is the BCS Conquering the College Bowl System?

April 27, 2012 | Thyrl Nelson

At the risk of going down the road that Ozzie Guillen recently trekked by acknowledging admiration for someone that most find to be despicable, I have to say that I have a lot of admiration suddenly for the BCS, and the process by which they have infiltrated and taken over college football.


For years we’ve argued about the process by which college football decides its national champion, and how to fix it. And for years we’ve come away disappointed, ultimately submitting to the realization that the money making juggernauts that are the current college bowls were simply too powerful and too influential to supplant. Then along came the BCS…


Instead of simply conceding that the broken system that controlled college football would always trump cries for a truer process, the BCS instead infiltrated that corrupt system, capitalized on the greed that defined it, and ultimately used that greed to create a niche for themselves and to entrench themselves in firm control of the process.


First, the BCS did away with the formulary approach to matching bowl participants strictly by conference affiliation, and separated the haves and have-nots. The Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta Bowls were deemed the most important, and by way of the new process they were given the power to decide the “true” national champ and to host the game in their respective bowls once every four seasons.


What happened next was the smartest and I suppose most ironic part of the whole equation. Given the money that they were making in hosting the national championship on a rotating basis while also still running their own prestigious bowls during the in-between years selling the big four on a 5th BCS game was probably much easier than it should have been. Now the bowls could still rotate the title game year-by-year and continue to host their regular bowl games too, essentially double dipping every fourth season. What the “bowl gangsters” likely failed to realize at the time, is that in accepting the extra game format they essentially gave full control of the national title game to the BCS and totally compromised their position of power as a result.


At the end of last season, the BCS announced their intentions to consider taking their show on the road, and entertain locations other than the big four bowl sites. It didn’t get a lot of attention at the time, but maybe it should have. As reports indicate that the BCS is now in the process of creating their own 4-team tournament to decide the title, the bowl commissioners are likely on the brink of panic, and possibly the brink of irrelevance too…and all I can say is that it serves them right and they had probablt better play nice with the BCS. They’ve relinquished the driver’s seat.


A couple of interesting side-conspiracies come to light as well. First is that shortly after “Jerry World” was built in Dallas, the Fiesta Bowl came under heavy scrutiny for bad financial business. Some would suggest that it’s more than a coincidence that one of the big four would come under fire at a time when the Cotton Bowl would look awfully appealing to everyone. Wherever the controversy actually came from, it has only served to remind everyone of just how corrupt and flagrant the bowl system is and has been. It also seems to be only a matter of time before a BCS title game is played in that magnificent building.