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MATT’S MONDAY MORNING MUSINGS: IS THE BCS OUR LAST HOPE?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023



I remember 2004 for two reasons. 


First, it was the year that Nicholas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer teamed up to give us the hit action film National Treasure. If you have no idea what I just referenced, stop reading this and go watch it on Disney+ real quick.


Secondly, that was the year Auburn was denied a chance to play in the BCS National Championship game, despite going undefeated and winning the SEC. The computers favored undefeated Oklahoma and USC for all the marbles all year instead, despite Auburn having four wins in the top 15 AP poll, 3 against top 10 opponents. That’s one more than USC and Oklahoma had combined in the top 15. I get that USC had a stud running back in 2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush, but Auburn had first-round NFL talents such as Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, and Carlos Rogers. USC and Oklahoma had 2 apiece, which tied Auburn’s 4.


It was a frustrating experience that season. On one hand, it was magical to go on an undefeated run. On the other hand, Either myself, or my dad was checking the newspaper, radio, or Fairview Public Library computers for news that either the Trojans or the Sooners had fallen. 


'Twas not meant to be. The BCS computer continued to favor Oklahoma and USC to the bitter end, resulting in USC clobbering the Sooners 55-19, while Auburn was once again left on the outside looking in from the Sugar Bowl, where they beat VaTech for a perfect 13-0 season (I say “once again” because eleven years prior in 1993, Auburn went 11-0 but was banned from playing in a bowl game, despite multiple media outlets recognizing them as the national champion).


I despised the BCS after that. Even after USC had the title stripped from them, and Auburn was left alone at the top of the polls, media outlets again recognized the undefeated Tigers as the ‘04 national champions, but without playing in the BCS what was the point, I thought. Granted, the BCS and I made up six years later when it put Auburn against Oregon in 2010 (in turn, leaving the undefeated TCU out in the number 3 slot). 


But still, it was flawed for the reasons I listed above. Many a team, coach, fan, and player called for a new system, especially when LSU and Alabama faced off in the 2011 edition of the game. 


Now we have the College Football Playoff. The top four teams will face off for the last time this year, then we move on to a 12-team field. The only reason we move to 12 is because once again, the SEC got two teams into the title game. Twice. 


So once again the rules change, the decision favors some teams, while many more are about to be screwed into the #13 spot, even though they beat a ranked so-and-so here and there. Since we got rid of the BCS system, the controversy has continued, even though the four-team field was supposed to settle most of the debates once and for all. Ask yourself, is moving to 12 going to fix anything? Was moving to ANY number going to fix anything? I just recounted my experience with the BCS above and now I ask you this, dear reader. 


Does the secret to fielding the best teams in college football lie with the BCS after all? Think about it. Just remember what happened on December 2nd of this year.


Perhaps it’s time that an updated, refreshed, and reintegrated old friend of college football comes back. 


When I went to bed on December 2nd, 2023, I was keeping one eye open for the final notification on my phone that I had been waiting for. I had seen Alabama end the Georgia winning streak and hopes for a three-peat hours earlier, and Texas had demolished Oklahoma State for the Big 12 title. Michigan was up by 20 on a moribund Iowa team, and Washington had secured their playoff spot in the last Pac-12 title game in a classic, so all that was left was an undefeated Seminoles team to win the ACC and lock it in for the fourth spot… A spot that they were already ranked in, and a spot that rested on an insanely good defense and a third-string quarterback named Brock Glenn to secure. 


Finally, my phone dinged. 


“Florida State outlasts Louisville in ACC Championship, await committee's decision.”


That was all I needed to see. I went to bed thinking the obvious like everyone else. The final four-team playoff would be 


  1. Michigan

  2. Washington

  3. Texas

  4. Florida State


No way the committee would leave an undefeated Power Five conference champion out of the playoff, right? Jordan Travis was, unfortunately, out for the season with a snapped leg, but Tate Rodemaker proved he was a more-than-capable backup with his win over rival Florida. 510 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions was a small sample size but proved that FSU could indeed compete at the highest level with him at the helm. An unfortunate concussion kept him from the ACC title game, but that’s an injury that will sideline you for two weeks tops. For crying out loud, he was suited up for the game and warming up if he needed to take snaps. 


TCU lost to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, but they got the nod for being an undefeated and “deserving” team. Cincinnati went undefeated and won the AAC conference and still got a shot at all the marbles the year prior, so surely Florida State had nothing to worry about, right?


Wrong. Just like the committee’s decision. 


The outcry has been justified. All the lawmakers and governors in Florida have done everything they can to intimidate the Playoff Committee into reversing course and putting the Seminoles into the Playoff for all their accomplishments but to no avail. Alabama once again squeaked into the Playoff, and not because of the whole “SEC Champions” thing. 


And don’t give me the “injured quarterback” crap, I remember what 3rd-string Buckeyes backup Cardale Jones did to Alabama in 2014. Don’t give me the “strength of schedule” crap either, because Alabama needed a miracle to beat a 6-6 Auburn team and barely beat a bad Arkansas team, and struggled against the South Florida Bulls. Florida State meanwhile beat who they were supposed to by double digits, didn’t fold against better opponents (including the manhandling of LSU and current Heisman winner Jayden Daniels), and beat a top-15 Louisville with their 3rd string QB. 


Shoot, if you’re going to lean into the injury argument, at least acknowledge how sharp Tate Rodemaker looked against a stiff Florida defense (250+ yards, 3 TDS) before the concussion. There was still no reason for FSU to be left out except for one thing- 


Money. 


While the Seminoles have a strong fan base across the south, the Alabama redneck hivemind is all over the country. With rumors of Saban’s retirement at the end of the season, there are bound to be more viewers this year than ever before to watch the GOAT’s final games.


While FSU has had a spectacular season, Alabama is in the SEC, which has followers of its own (for some reason) and that also would attract more viewers than whatever's left of the ACC fanbase. 


ESPN has TV time slots to sell, and so there’s your real reason why. Nick Saban gets another crack at a national title because the millions of dollars of TV revenue Alabama would generate say so. 


That, and because the Playoff Committee probably didn’t want another Georgia vs TCU scenario, but that defense in Tallahassee is lightyears ahead of whatever sorry group TCU trotted out there in 2022. If the offense struggled without Jordan Travis, then surely Jared Vearse and company could keep them alive long enough for Tate to find a rhythm. 


Unfortunately, all the arguments in the world and pending lawsuits can’t overturn the decision. When we expand to 12, the madness will continue. Just wait for teams 13-15 to all be screwed out of the playoff, despite having a better resume than team #11, or a Heisman winner at QB. If the matchup doesn’t look profitable, then forget it. 


Which is why I ask again… Why not let the BCS take control?


Of all the things it got wrong the BCS computer at least didn’t take money or politics into account. Heck, go look at the 2007 rankings and tell me that the Committee would have made the same decisions. The BCS could look into roster talent, strength of schedule, and all of the other things that the Committee claims to take into account, but one thing a machine cannot be is bought. The BCS cares not for your commercial slots, Jimmy Pitaro, it wants to truly watch the best teams compete for a championship. 


Am I saying that the controversy would end by marrying the two ideas? I’m certain it wouldn’t, but I do believe the controversies would be few and far between. Instead of worrying about injury disclosures and the opponent’s strength of schedule, college football can go back to the simplest way to reach the top. 


Just win and win a lot.


Just like Florida State did.



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