“I remember the good times baby now, and the bad times too/These last few weeks of holding on/The days are dull, the nights are long/Guess it’s better to say/Goodbye to you.”
-Patty Smyth, “Goodbye to You”
One week ago today, we officially said “goodbye” to one of the strangest formulas embedded into not only college football, but athletics in general; something that rivals Cricket scoring (if you don’t know how that game works, and I don’t). The Bowl Championship Series was so powerful and deemed the future that it reshaped conferences in other college sports and analysts would even refer to basketball teams as “BCS” schools. The future is here, and another chapter begins.
Florida State defeated Auburn and ended the SEC’s stranglehold on BCS national championships, halting the 7-year win streak the conference maintained. The Seminoles were a team of domination, but the Tigers were a team destined to finish second and prove to everyone that good luck runs dry and dreams don’t always come true.
However, the relationship between the BCS and the public ended on good terms; we gained closure with an instant classic. It featured a young Heisman winner struggling early, a surprising 18-point lead Auburn was destined to lose, a fake punt that changed momentum, and then great halftime speeches (probably, I wasn’t there).
The second half provided a thrilling conclusion to the game featuring 3 lead changes in 4 minutes: a kickoff return by seemingly the fastest person in the game, a powerful 37-yard scamper by seemingly the most-balanced person in the game, and a 7-play, 75-yard drive with just over a minute by the seemingly most-composed 20-year-old in the game. Jameis Winston proved to people why he won the Heisman trophy by having the worst game of his life turn into the best game of his life.
The relationship ended with one great last bang (wait, what are we talking about here?). It’s been a rollercoaster of controversy throughout the course of the BCS. Everyone didn’t agree when their team was not given a chance, but computers don’t lie; on the contrary, computers shouldn’t be included in a game that’s physically played on the field. If horse racing wagers take weather and track conditions into consideration, why couldn’t the BCS “computers”? There are other factors than numbers, that’s all I’m saying even though it doesn’t really make sense.
The BCS isn’t entirely going away though; kind of like a normal break-up at the beginning of a broken heart. It will still be the formula that decides which teams compete in a four-team playoff.
That’s right, playoffs! The BCS has finally grasped onto the future by accepting what’s already in place and has been for years; everyone else does it, even other divisions in the same sport; and to stop your sarcastic question, yes the BCS would jump off a bridge if everyone else was doing it.
So here we go. Six bowls games (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Chik-fil-A, and Cotton) will be rotating locations for two semifinal matches each year, and the championship will be held at whichever city ponies up the most money. The conferences guaranteed a spot in the six main bowl games are the champions of the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC. The last spot will be awarded to the highest-ranked champion from the American, Mountain West (Go Lobos!), Mid-American, Sun Belt, and Conference USA (Barnhart, 2014). This sounds wonderful, but only four of those six teams will have a chance to compete for the national championship, so you can just pretty much take that “other conference” representative out of the running right now.
It doesn’t make much sense at the moment, but feel free to check the Barnhart reference link at the end of the post. However, before we move forward into common sense, let’s take a look back at the craziness.
1998: Tennessee 23 Florida State 16- You probably thought Peyton Manning won this game, but he didn’t. It was Tee Martin leading the Volunteers to victory (Who the hell is Tee Martin and what the hell kind of name is “Volunteers”?).
1999: Florida State 46 Virginia Tech 29- Michael Vick began adopting dogs to cope with the loss.
2000: Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2- Quite possibly the most boring game of all time (I can’t vouch for that because I don’t remember watching it, but just look at the score).
2001: Miami 37 Nebraska 14- The day tradition died at the Rose Bowl. I could have said, “The day the flowers stopped blooming,” but it was too late.
2002: Ohio State 31 Miami 24 (2OT)- The most thrilling of games and upsets surrounded by a gruesome injury and some controversy; finally some drama in the midst of the boredom, but I’m not complaining. Go Buckeyes (I have the DVD of the game)!
2003: LSU 21 Oklahoma 14- A boring defensive struggle by teams that probably shouldn’t have been playing each other. Sorry, USC.
2004: USC 55 Oklahoma 19- The championship was eventually vacated, but don’t worry, Matt Leinart’s hair was still intact after the game.
2005: Texas 41 USC 38- Most likely the best BCS championship game ever, and then Vince Young decided to fail as a person.
2006: Florida 41 Ohio State 14- Oh, how a pulled hamstring can change the dynamics of a game.
2007: LSU 38 Ohio State 24- And no one believed in the Buckeyes after that.
2008: Florida 24 Oklahoma 14- When Tim Tebow was great and his love for God wasn’t ridiculed.
2009: Alabama 37 Texas 21- This is when it was cool that Alabama was good; now they’re just annoying.
2010: Auburn 22 Oregon 19- The Ducks seemed to be distracted by their own uniforms that night.
2011: Alabama 21 LSU 0- Perhaps the stupidest attempt to put a conference on a pedestal.
2012: Alabama 42 Notre Dame 14- Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend left during the 3rd quarter out of disappointment.
2013: Florida State 34 Auburn 31- I’m sorry; it’s not you, it’s me. Just kidding, it’s you.
The memories of a love-hate relationship between the nation and a formula will never disappear. Oh, BCS, I will always remember the good times and the bad, the excitement and disappointment, and chances that were given and the dreams that were shattered between the numbers. As the Von Trapp Family Singers would say, “Goodbye, farewell, auf wierdersehen, adieu.”
Associated Press (2014). Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2014/01/07/beats-to-win-bcs-championship-game/ on January 10th, 2014.
Barnhart, T (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/tony-barnhart/24400200/before-bcs-ends-the-whens-wheres-and-whys-of-college-football-playoff on January 10th, 2014.
BCS (2013). Retrieved from http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4809942 on January 10th, 2014.