It’s a scientific fact* - the only people who like football’s BCS system are the people who are getting rich off of it. The suits who run the BCS conferences and athletic programs, the corporations who sponsor college football games and broadcasts, the sham “non-profit” organizations whose “revenue in excess of expenses” overfloweth - these are the people who love the BCS, and unfortunately it’s their opinions that count when it comes to any potential reorganization of college football.
(Small conference football doesn’t matter, right?)
The non-BCS conferences have been complaining about this for years. Programs like Boise State have proved that teams from smaller conferences can compete and win at the highest levels of competition. The Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences and people like Sen. Orrin Hatch have been yelling loud and clear that the system is broken. But when given an opportunity to take a stand and strike a serious blow to the BCS’ legitimacy, what did the MWC and WAC do? They signed an agreement to keep the current system in place. So much for social justice.
The MWC and WAC were the last of the Division I conferences to hold out against the new 4-year deal with ESPN to keep the BCS system in place for another four years, but both “reluctantly” signed on to the deal yesterday despite having spent much time and money decrying it. The DENVER POST attempted to explain why:
If the leagues had not signed the agreement by the Thursday afternoon deadline, their teams would not have been allowed to participate in the five BCS bowl games and would not be eligible to receiver a cut of the $125 million annually that ESPN will pay to televise bowl games after the 2010 regular season.
The new BCS deal extends through the 2014 bowl season.
“If a conference wishes to compete at the highest levels of college football, and the only postseason system in place for that is the BCS, no one conference can afford to drop out and penalize its football program,” the Mountain West said in a statement.
The conferences, predictably, missed the point. If teams from their conferences had pulled another undefeated season, like 2008 Utah or 2007 Boise State, outside the BCS system, it would have posed huge challenges to the system’s legitimacy. Such a scenario might have been the best chance for the small conferences to effect real change in the structure of college football. By keeping it the same, they lost that chance. Sure, they attached a strongly-worded letter, but my grandmother has been writing strongly-worded letters for decades and still hasn’t received a refund for that one time Old Country Buffet didn’t give her a senior discount.
*that I made up