Why Alabama Shouldn’t Play For The BCS Title (or Stanford either)

If the season ended today Alabama would play LSU for the national championship.  But Alabama doesn’t deserve to be in the BCS title game.  Sorry Stanford, neither do you.  How do I know that before the last game has even been played?  It’s not their record, it’s not computers, it’s not head-to-head matchups, it’s one simple fact:  those teams didn’t win their conference.  In fact, none of them are even going to play in their conference championship game.

Unlike college basketball, the NFL or the NBA college football isn’t decided by playoffs but rather is a 12 or 13 round single-elimination tournament leading to the national championship.  If the Green Bay Packers failed to win the NFC championship game would you say they should be in the Super Bowl?  Better yet, if they failed to even reach the conference title game would you say that, based on regular season record, they should be skipped right into the Super Bowl?

Twice before teams who failed to win their conference were placed in the BCS title game and twice they lost.   In 2002 Nebraska didn’t even make the Big 12 title game but were put into the Rose Bowl against Miami and promptly thumped 37-14 in one of the least entertaining title games of the BCS era.  Just two years later Oklahoma came into BCS title game ranked number 1 despite being drilled 35-6 by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship and fell to Miami LSU 21-14 in the championship game.

If you think conferences are ridiculous then get rid of them.  If you like them for tradition then give a reason for more than one to exist by making their titles important.  If the conference title has no bearing on the national championship then all you’re doing is penalizing conferences that play more conference game (for example the PAC 12 plays 9, the SEC only 8 which is why Alabama had a hot date with Georgia Southern last week) and rewarding conferences with no championship game.

In a playoff scenario there is nothing wrong with bringing in multiple teams from one conference and letting them battle it out for the title.  But as long as the national championship is determined by pollsters and computers every game leading up to the BCS title game needs to be treated like part of a 13-game tournament.  When a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament loses in the Elite Eight no one ever advocates skipping them to the championship game to insure the best matchup and the BCS shouldn’t either.

The BCS is broken.  Everyone agrees it’s broken and until on-field competition and revenue are considered more important than old boy networks and traditional bowls it’s going to remain broken.  The least the BCS can do is at least try to bring some consistency and requiring a team to win their conference to be BCS title game eligible would be a solid first step.