BCS: Sugar Bowl Inclusion of Michigan and Virginia Tech Prove System Is Flawed

Matt FaulconerFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2011

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 26:  Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies holds the Commonwealth Cup after the Hokies game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

The Sugar Bowl's decision to include Virginia Tech and Michigan in a BCS game over teams such as Boise State, Baylor and Kansas State is unforgivable.

Most of the country is debating whether Alabama or Oklahoma State should be facing LSU for the BCS Championship, but the fact of the matter is that the right decision was made. Just because Alabama lost to LSU doesn't prove they aren't the second-best team in the country. Oklahoma State's loss to Iowa State was embarrassing, and they blew their shot at facing LSU.

The country should be focusing on the Sugar Bowl's decision to include Virginia Tech and Michigan in the BCS while Kansas State, Boise State and Baylor are left on the outside looking in.

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 5:  Members of the Oklahoma State Cowboys sing the school song after the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 5, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma State defeated Kansas State 52-45.  (
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Anyone can make a case that both Michigan and Virginia Tech are better than Boise State, Baylor and Kansas State, but the rankings say otherwise. Boise State ended the season as the No. 7 team in the country, while Kansas State and Baylor finished No. 8 and No. 12 respectively.

This isn't even mentioning the SEC teams who had no shot at advancing. Both Arkansas and South Carolina were ineligible since Alabama received the at-large bid from the SEC. Both of those teams finished in the top 10 of the BCS.

The BCS is a joke.

The BCS bowls have turned into a popularity contest. Some might argue that the Crimson Tide are more popular than Oklahoma State, and that's the reason the Cowboys were sent to the Fiesta Bowl. That might be the case, but there's no question that the Wolverines and Hokies are being sent to New Orleans because of their popularity. Both teams have large fan bases that travel well, as well as fan bases that span the country, creating a national audience for the game.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Broncos and Wildcats earned their shot to compete for the Sugar Bowl by finishing higher in the final BCS standings. 

They say money makes the world go round, and you don't have to look further than the BCS bowls to see proof of that. 

You can argue that March Madness is all about money as well, but at least you come out of the NCAA Tournament knowing that the winner deserved to lift that trophy and earned the right to call themselves national champions.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Michael Ford #42 of the LSU Tigers scores a touchdown in overtime that was called back after Ford stepped out of bounds against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (P
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NCAA bought into this system, but it's finally time to sell. The BCS is flawed and everyone knows it. It does nothing but determine BCS eligible teams, which gives the BCS bowls too much leverage in deciding which teams they select for their respective bowls. It allows them to focus on whichever game will be the bigger cash crop, which simply is not fair.

It's time for a new system.

The bowl games we have now should all stay in place. Yes, we have too many, but it gives the little guys a shot at glory in front of a national audience during the bowl season, and it's good for the sport.

However, a new system should be established to determine eligibility for major bowls and to determine the national champion. The first order of business would be to set up a playoff system. 

There should be no doubt that a four-team playoff system is the way to go. 

This might not appeal to the masses that want a six- or eight-team playoff, but it would be an easy change for the NCAA to make and would only require one additional game on the schedule.

The NCAA would start the playoff on the first Saturday of January and hold the National Championship Game the following weekend, thus not dragging out the college football season and still allowing plenty of time to complete a majority of the bowls before the first playoff game is played.

The so-called BCS bowl games should remain intact. Any winner from a BCS conference that's not in the championship playoff should be given an automatic bid to one of the BCS games. From there, the BCS bowls should be required to select the highest ranked at-large team to fill out the rest of those bowls.

The Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl could both keep their traditional formats if allowed. The Rose Bowl would be able to select a Pac-12 team, but only if they are eligible. If the Pac-12 champion reaches the playoffs and there is no Pac-12 at-large team eligible, they would be forced to go elsewhere.

For example, this is how the playoff and major bowls would look for 2011:

Bowl Championship Playoff: 

No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Stanford
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State

The winners of those games would then face off in the National Championship Game. The losers would be placed into a consolation game, so they still have something to play for despite their loss.

BCS Bowls:

Rose Bowl: No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 10 Wisconsin
Orange Bowl: No. 15 Clemson vs. No. 23 West Virginia
Fiesta Bowl: No. 6 Arkansas vs. No. 7 Boise State
Sugar Bowl: No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 9 South Carolina

Under this system, Virginia Tech and Michigan would both be on the outside looking in. Kansas State vs. South Carolina might not be an appealing matchup to many, but both teams have quietly had quality seasons. They both finished as one of the top-10 teams in the country, thus deserving their spot in a premier bowl game.

It's time for the NCAA to get it right. This is how you do it.