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Student Gazette

College football is desperately in need of a playoff system
Friday, May 14, 2010

Cody Shepard is a senior at Schenectady High School

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The Bowl Championship Series finally had it right … at least initially.

The first BCS standings were released Oct. 18 and the standings, which are hotly debated from the time they are unveiled to the time the last standings are released, were finally right. The top five teams in the first standings were Florida, Alabama, Texas, Boise State and Cincinnati. With a new week, the standings changed — the top five were Florida, Alabama, Texas, Iowa and USC.

How do they determine the BCS standings? There are two polls and six computer rankings. Each of them take strength of schedule into account rank teams from 1-25.

The Harris and Coaches’ polls take the number of votes the team receives and divide that by the allotted votes in each poll to give each team a percentage. The remaining six computer rankings give each team a number from 1-25 based on their ranking. For example, Florida, which ranks No. 1 in the Anderson & Hester poll, received 25 points toward their BCS ranking. Confused yet?

Boise State, of all the teams, was subject to the most debate this season with the release of the first BCS standings. I feel they deserved their initial No. 4 ranking, but they dropped to No. 7. Many of the previous top-five teams lost this season. So what is there to expect? The surrounding teams, including Boise State, will move up while the teams that lose will move down.

The BCS may have gotten it right for now, but surely they won’t be right by the end of the season. The system has proved to have many flaws since it was first instituted in 1998.

A notable flaw in the system occurred in 2004 when the USC Trojans finished the regular season No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls but didn’t get to play in the championship game. By the end of the bowls, USC was still No. 1 in the AP Poll and ended up sharing a title with LSU, who won the national championship game.

So I beg the question: Why isn’t there a playoff in college football, like every other major sport in America?

Every other college sport has a playoff. College basketball has March Madness. College baseball and softball have the College World Series. Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, they all have playoffs too. So why is it that college football is years behind every other sport? If President Barack Obama is in favor of a playoff system, you know there’s something wrong with the way the current BCS system operates.

Do what the fans want. Do what the sportswriters want. And do what almost all the coaches want. Institute a playoff system. Use the BCS formula up until the end of the regular season and then put the top eight teams in a playoff to determine who the best team really is.

Don’t let a system determine who the top two teams are. Let them play each other so we know who the real champion is.



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