While many college football fans have called for an end to the Bowl Championship Series in favor of a playoff system, including President-elect Barack Obama, it's the BCS that may actually be the only thing that can finally put an end to the sport's mythical national championship.
The BCS was supposed to end the annual debates about which college football team is the best in the land by providing a matchup of the nation's two best teams. Problem is, that matchup is still decided mostly by poll results. Every year we still debate about whether the two best teams are playing in the title game, and this year is no exception with Texas and USC making nearly as strong an argument to be in the title game as the two teams who made it there, Oklahoma and Florida. Even Texas' 10-point victory over Oklahoma at a neutral site wasn't enough to earn them a spot in the championship game. It would have been like the Democratic Party selecting Hilary Clinton over Obama as that party's nominee for president because party leaders believed Clinton was a better candidate despite the primary election's outcome; a position passionately argued by some Clinton supporters prior to the Democratic Party Convention.
And the results of the previous 10 BCS championship games raise further doubts about the way the system operates. While four of the national championship games have been decided by a touchdown or less, five games have been decided by two touchdowns or more--including the last two title games. Ohio State's 41-14 and 38-24 defeats the past two years should provide ample evidence that the major failure of the BCS is that you don't have to beat anybody to get into the championship game. The Buckeyes earned berths into those title games by claiming the Big Ten Conference title and the top spot in the polls. Problem is, Ohio State wasn't the nation's best team in either season and college football fans shouldn't have had to wait until the final gun in the championship game to learn that fact.
With all that being said, the BCS is actually the only way out of this mess. It seems clear that the true intentions of the BCS are to make a ton of money and to keep those dollars in the hands of the entities accustomed to the highest profits and publicity of the college football post-season: the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. Quite simply, the Bowl Championship Series is an alliance of these four prestigious bowl games to host and profit from the national championship game. And, quite frankly, I don't think most college football fans really care about that. We just want to know who the hell is the nation's best team each year. So here's a way for the bowl games to keep their money (and make a little more) while the rest of us get a chance to see the very best two teams in the title game.
Instead of using the BCS standings to pick the top two teams for the national time game, the BCS standings should be used to select the top eight teams who would compete in the four BCS bowls (Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar) on Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 each year. The winners of those four bowl games would then compete in a pair of national championship semifinal games a week later. The winners of those semifinal games would then compete in the national championship game the following week. This scenario would extend the season by just a week, add just two additional games and preserve the importance of the college football regular season. A team's position in the polls would still matter greatly, but the system would have a little more wiggle room to weed out good teams that appear to be elite until they actually meet an elite team. And who could argue with a team's claim to the national championship after that team beat three of the nation's top teams in consecutive weeks. Most importantly, everybody gets what they want: the BCS bowls could host the semifinal and championship games and share the billion-dollar TV revenue deals---that's "mo' money, mo' money, mo' money" for the BCS bowls, as the Wayans brothers might say, and a satisfying end to the college football season for the rest of us.