College Football: BCS turns 10
Published 12:00 am Friday, August 8, 2008
The Bowl Championship Series turns 10 this season. Boy, time sure flies when you’re exasperating everyone involved with college football.
No, the 10th anniversary of the BCS will not celebrated by most fans, or coaches … or players. The system hasn’t consistently produced an undisputed national champ, and now the conference commissioners have all but guaranteed there will be no major changes to the postseason for at least the next six seasons. So put the playoff talk on hold, please.
Still, there’s plenty to discuss heading into the 2008 season, such as Tim Tebow’s Heisman follow-up, Georgia’s best team in decades, Ohio State at USC, a new Michigan man and all those quarterbacks making the Big 12 look like the old WAC.
In the end, two teams will play for the BCS title in Miami on Jan. 8, even if they wouldn’t be everyone’s top choices.
It’s almost hard to believe the system survived this long. For 10 years it has been ridiculed, reviled and revamped. But instead of crumbling under the weight of all the criticism, it’s grown stronger.
“We feel like it’s never been healthier,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said back in March, when the BCS rejected a proposal to change to a plus-one format that would have created a four-team playoff.
The BCS has spent most of its existence as a work in progress, with officials responding to each of the many controversial matchups by tweaking one element or another. Rarely has a national champion been crowned in the past nine seasons without some doubt over whether the right team received the crystal football.
Last year was more of the same. In one of the strangest seasons ever, LSU became the first team with two losses to play in the national title game. The Tigers beat Ohio State, which came in with one loss.
Georgia fans felt jobbed. The Bulldogs were jumped by LSU in the final BCS standings and bumped from the title game.
The Tigers’ title followed Florida’s in 2006. Maybe 2008 will be the Bulldogs’ season and the SEC can pull of a first in major college football. Three different teams from the same conference have never been crowned national champion by The Associated Press in consecutive seasons.
Coach Mark Richt has built one of the country’s best programs in his seven seasons with Georgia, but without a national title, Florida and LSU have overshadowed the Bulldogs.
With quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno, Richt has never had a better team.
The problem is a brutal schedule that includes LSU and Florida, along with Arizona State, Tennessee and Auburn. That will make it awfully difficult for Georgia to win its first national title since Herschel Walker carried the Bulldogs to a championship in 1980.