College Football Kicks Off Season with BCS vs. Playoffs Debate

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Amid what Ted Lewis of the Times-Picayune called “the most tumultuous offseason in the sport’s 142-year history,” the new college football season has offered critics of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) a new opportunity to advocate for a playoff system.

Radical Football, a company formed by Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban with the goal of getting the NCAA to start a postseason tournament, submitted NCAA proposal 2011-87 calling for a four-team post-season invitational. Athletic directors of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences proposed in an Aug. meeting to seed the top four teams and have them play semifinals in two BCS bowls. Proposals to change the BCS system could be enacted when the BCS TV contract ends in Jan. 2014.

Defenders of the BCS system argue that it keeps the season shorter for student athletes, stimulates local economies, and usually results in the best two teams playing for the national title. Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the BCS, has called the BCS “the best format ever devised to match up the nation’s top two teams in a bowl game.

Hancock argued against a playoff system in an Aug. 31, 2011 radio interview, “We have the best regular season in sports in large part because there’s no playoff at the end. We have three months of frenzy rather than three weeks of frenzy at the end of the season. Our folks feel strongly that’s in the best interest of the game.”

President Obama weighed in on the issue in 2008, calling a playoff system “the right thing to do” in a 60 Minutes interview. Pete Carroll, Head Coach of the USC football team from 2001 to 2009, said in a Nov. 5, 2008 meeting, “I think it [the BCS] stinks. I don’t think it’s the way it should be… We should end our season with a championship game and a big party afterward…”

Sources:

Bud Withers, “Pac-12, Big Ten Favor Limited Playoff Format That Could Alter BCS,” Seattle Times, Aug. 14, 2011

Eric Schmoldt, “Bill Hancock Delivers Annual August Reminder About Why BCS System Is Best Solution for College Football,” www.sportsradiointerviews.com, Aug. 31, 2011

Jon Wilner, “Jon Wilner’s College Football Preview: BCS Earns a Tip of the Helmet,” Mercury News, Aug. 29, 2011

Ted Lewis, “College Football Begins Tonight Facing Several Issues,” www.nola.com, Sep. 1, 2011

Tracee Hamilton, “College Football Scandals Do Little to Diminish Its Popularity,” Washington Post, Sep. 2, 2011

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