If you thought the banter about “mythical national champions” was bad during this heyday of BCS controversy, just wait — the 2012 and 2013 season will see BCS snark unmatched in past years. And in the process, unfortunately, it’s likely to cast a pall on the next two BCS national champions.
Though Wednesday’s announcement from the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director didn’t nail the coffin shut on the BCS, baring some shocking decision from the 12-member Presidential Oversight Committee, the way we crown a champion in college football is about to change, and drastically.
While not everything fans wanted, it’s a step in the right direction. It’s good, but not great. But there are unwitting victims in all of this — the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Year in and year out college football’s regular season is praised and its postseason bemoaned. The regular season stays relevant despite a less than pleasing postseason. But with the specter of the BCS being ruled completely unsavory by its forthcoming banishment, there’s reason more than ever for fans to completely disregard a champion crowned by the BCS.
This is no 64-to-65-to-68 change in the men’s basketball tournament. This is no Bowl Alliance-to-Bowl Coalition-to-Bowl Championship Series shift. This isn’t even the one-to-two Wild Card change in Major League Baseball. This is ideological overhaul, and there will be serious short-term repercussions.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible we’ll have the type of seasons where a Texas-USC BCS title game clears the air of any sort of controversy. But if recent years are any indication, we’re going to have a team or two on the outside looking in on the title game — wishing only that they had waited two years for their shot at a playoff.
If a 2011 Oklahoma State or a 2004 Auburn should arise, expect anger unmatched in earlier BCS seasons.
By no means will the two seasons be wastes — this is still college football, one of the greatest sporting traditions we’ve got, bad title structure or not — but the possibility that an acknowledged horrid system is still crowning “champions” will truly undercut the two seasons.
There’s no reason these two seasons shouldn’t be every bit as exciting as the last couple have been. Renaissances in the Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12 seem ready to take the SEC head on for national dominance and teams get more athletic every year. We should be able to celebrate that.
It’s too bad that we’re looking down the barrel of a loaded gun that we can’t move for two years. And here’s the worst part — we’re already making the gun bigger.
Say what you will about the constant media scrutiny allowable by the current media landscape, be it social media or 24-hour sports networks, but everyone’s voice is heard. The unfortunate part about it, though, is that it magnifies the bad.
At BCS Know How, we’ve aimed to predict how the BCS system would act in response to outcomes on the field, and after being proven wrong or right, we set out to explain exactly what did happen. Not a glamorous self-assignment, but one that’s enjoyable. Even in the somewhat objective exercise, the microscope provided by the likes of Twitter and ESPN is clear.
With little filter, an easy outlet and a sport that engenders real passion, it gets ugly out there.
Who knows how much worse it might have been had fans of Oklahoma State known that had it been a different year, say 2014 or 2015 instead of 2011, they might have gotten the shot they so desperately wanted.
When that final BCS champion walks out of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Jan. 6, 2013, having won the final BCS championship — and yes, the name “BCS” isn’t long for this world, either — how will the nation react? Will it celebrate it? Or will it see it as what it likely is — the last champions of a generation of controversy?