On fairness in the BCS

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

On Saturday night, ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit took a torch to the Northern Illinois Huskies and everything he didn’t like about the Bowl Championship Series.

Allowing them to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl is a joke. They’re a nobody. They’ve beaten nobody. They lost to Iowa!


Never mind that NIU actually finished their season ranked in the top-15 of a BCS system that we use as the bible of college football, when other BCS qualifiers Wisconsin and Louisville will enter their BCS bowl games with a lower ranking or unranked. Let’s just hate on the Huskies because they’re small and there’s nothing they can do about it.

(MORE: See my updated top 25)

It’s unfair that they’ll have to hear this for an entire month before they get to take their shot at FSU, and in all honesty, I’m not sure why it’s so unfair (and I’m not sure why we have to give them lots of ammo to get fired up and beat my Seminoles). At the time the matchups were announced, NIU opened up as only a 14-point underdog to the Seminoles (Note: I previously mentioned the line was at FSU -7, but I was corrected and the line is actually twice as high, favoring FSU). Sure, their only loss of the season was to a bad Iowa team, but they’re not the only team in the BCS with a bad loss this season. They’re not even the only team in the Orange Bowl to have a shameful loss, considering FSU’s loss to NC State.

The BCS made rules for teams like NIU to get into the BCS if their ranking is No. 16 or higher because they wanted to give the little guy a chance to play in a major bowl game if they’re good enough. We’ll find out if they’re good enough on Jan. 1, but until then, lay off the Huskies. They followed the rules, and now they’re reaping the benefits.

Meanwhile, Saturday night’s ire from SEC fans — Georgia fans in particular — was quite ironic. Suddenly, the system that has enabled their conference so much is a crummy tool because Florida got the nod in the Sugar Bowl over the Bulldogs. Never mind that UGA fans should have been grateful to even have the chance to play their way into the national title game when a team from the ACC or Big Ten with an identical schedule probably wouldn’t even break the top-5 at all. Let’s hate the system for the fact that we only beat one ranked team all season!

I’ll stop there, because I don’t care to have the hate mail fill up my inbox or the comments below. I’ll end this post of rambling thoughts with a theory.

In my opinion, we’re getting so many lousy bowl matchups these days because of the desire to give everyone a trophy, figuratively speaking. When 70 teams get to play in a bowl and there are conference affiliations with most bowl games, you can get some ugly mismatches. So if I could propose a change that needs to happen before any others, I’d compress the bowl season to 13 games or so. That would mean 26 teams get to play in the postseason, forcing teams to win approximately nine games to get into a bowl instead of the six victories we have now as a minimum. You’d get really good football then.

Are you really going to watch Ball State play UCF anyway?

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