College Football Needs A Playoff Now

March 8, 2011
The corrupt and controversial Bowl Championship Series, otherwise known as the BCS, has been used in Division I-A College Football since 1998. It puts the top two ranked teams against one another for the national championship and has four other BCS bowl games in which eight other top teams play. There are some that believe in the BCS system. Many argue that the BCS brings in large revenue, it is in the best interest of the players because they need to focus on their studies, and it puts the two “best” teams against one another for the national championship. Even though these are reasonable arguments, major college football needs to institute a playoff system for a number of reasons. Fans and many coaches support a playoff not only because of the excitement and increase in the number of games, but also for the large increase in revenue. The trustworthy and dependable NCAA would determine the teams that compete like all other college sports, rather than unreliable computer and human polls. It also gives teams that may deserve a shot at a national championship a chance to prove their worth, unlike many past years. The BCS is a flawed system and a playoff in major College Football would greatly benefit all of those involved in the sport and make it a more interesting and exciting sport than it is now.
First of all, a playoff system is supported by a very large number of fans and many important coaches and people in the US. 43% of fans say football is their favorite sport (more than 3 times any other sport) and a record number of people are attending games each year. In a 2007 Gallup poll, numbers showed that 85% of fans supported the idea of some kind of playoff system in the Division I-A football. Past and present coaches of major Division I-A teams also support the thought of a playoff. Coaches such as Pete Carroll (former coach at USC), Tommy Tuberville (coaches at Texas Tech, former coach of Auburn), Joe Paterno (hall of fame coach of Penn State), and many other coaches have been supporting the idea of a playoff. Even politicians such as US representative Joe Barton and President Barack Obama fend for a playoff system. It is also estimated that a playoff would generate 3 to 4 times the revenue of the current BCS system. That means that all Division I-A conferences would receive $700-$800 million dollars each. With the increase in popularity of the sport, the many fans and important people that back up the idea of a playoff, and the drastic increase in income, there is very little reason not to establish a playoff system in major College Football rather than the BCS.

Secondly, the BCS is determined by the opinions of subjective people and computers that create polls to determine who plays in the national championship. Every other college sport has a NCAA controlled national championship in which there is some sort of playoff system. The NCAA crowns 23 champions in 88 different college sports. The only champion that it doesn’t name is in Division I-A football, which determines what teams play in the national championship by delegating the task to a series of “mathematically unsound computer formulas and often confused and ill-informed poll voters.” Division I-AA football teams play in a 16-team playoff and it works very well. The only reason the BCS still controls postseason is because the system has become well-known and established. If all other college sports and even professional sports have a playoff system that works exceptionally well, why should Division I-A football have a system that relies on bias and unreliable human and computer polls to say who deserves to be national champion?
The last and most important aspect of what a playoff system can bring is a fair chance for teams that deserve an opportunity to have a shot at a national title. Since the BCS has been established in 1998, there have been multiple cases in which a team that deserved to be in the national championship or deserved to have a chance to compete for the national title did not get that opportunity. In 2001, Oregon destroyed Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl after being left out of the national championship for a one loss Nebraska team that lost to that same Colorado. Nebraska was routed in the national title by Miami 37-14. In 2003, LSU, Oklahoma, and USC were all deserving to go to the national championship. LSU defeated Oklahoma 21-14 for the title and USC won the Rose Bowl against Michigan 28-14. LSU and USC shared the national title that year. In 2004, undefeated Auburn was left out of the national championship for Oklahoma who was throttled by USC 55-19 in the title game. Undefeated Utah and Boise State were also left out of BCS and national championship contention. In 2006, undefeated Boise State and one-loss teams Michigan, Louisville, and Wisconsin, were all left out of the national championship for Ohio State and two-loss Florida. Florida ended up winning the game 41-14. In 2008, undefeated underdog Utah defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 31-17. Texas and Texas Tech were in a three-way tie for the Big 12 title with Oklahoma. All three were left out of the national championship for Oklahoma and Florida, in which Florida won 24-14. In 2009, undefeated Boise State and TCU played each other in the Fiesta Bowl (Boise State won 17-10) rather than competing for a national championship with Alabama and Texas, in which Alabama won 37-21. In this most recent year, 2010, TCU was yet another undefeated team that beat Big Ten champion Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl and was left out of the national championship for Oregon and Auburn. Auburn won 22-19. In almost every single year, a team has been left out of the national championship or a BCS bowl due to the current corrupt BCS system. Imagine deserving to do something great, but not having the opportunity to live out your potential. This is like every single one of these teams that has been left out. A playoff would definitely fix this major problem in major College Football. Why in the world has it not been implemented yet?
There are a few arguments that support the BCS, rather than a playoff system. They are sound arguments, but not necessarily correct. One main argument is that the BCS puts the two “best” teams against one another for the national championship. This is not accurate because the BCS puts the two top ranked teams in the BCS standings against one another for the national title, but not particularly the two “best” teams. Many teams that may have been the best teams have not gotten the opportunity to go to the national title, something that a playoff would solve. Another argument is that the BCS brings in large income already. Even though the BCS does bring in a decent amount of income, a playoff would bring in an estimated four times the profit of the BCS and would bring a lot of support and publicity for local areas and programs involved in the playoff. The last main argument is that the playoff system would interfere with the student athletes’ studies. This is also incorrect because in the month leading up to the bowl game, the players still practice as if they would have a game that week. The playoff would only add one extra month, if not less than that and it would keep them focused on their studies. Also, football is a sport that is played throughout the year and it does not intervene with the athletes’ studies then either. There are other arguments for the BCS, but not nearly as many for a playoff system. The BCS has some minor positive aspects, but a playoff definitely has more clear positive effects than the BCS.

As you can see, a playoff system is much needed in Division I-A football today. The BCS is a corrupt system that is needed to be replaced or innovated in the near future. A playoff is the perfect idea to replace the BCS and it has many tremendous upsides. Not only will it impact revenue and popularity, but it will also attract more attention, gain more respect, and give deserving teams a shot at glory that past teams did not have. A playoff is a concept that has been looming over major College Football for many years now and it is about time that it be instituted for the sake of the money, fans, coaches, and most importantly the players. College football, we are all ready for a fair and logical playoff system to be implemented right now.


Murphy, Austin, and Dan Wetzel. "What A Concept Playoff: How and Why the BCS Is Blocking What College Football Needs." Sports Illustrated 15 Nov. 2011: 42-48. Print.

"Should College Football Replace the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)." College Football - ProCon, Feb. 2011. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. <>.

"NCAA College Football Scores, College Football Scores, NCAA Football Scoreboard and Results - ESPN." ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports. ESPN, 2003. Web. 02 Mar. 2011. <>.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback