NCAA Football: Why Power-Six Will Lose Dominance in BCS
Currently in college football, every top conference is guaranteed a spot in the BCS as a conference champion. The traditional power-six conferences are changing, making life in college football as we know it completely different by 2014.
Conferences will have little geographic meaning in the coming years, questioning whether power conferences will even exist. The Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, ACC, Big East, and Big 12 all currently receive automatic bids.
College football bowl games pride themselves on presenting the best matchups, yet all I see now is an attempt by conferences to preserve traditional rivalries. The Rose Bowl picks between Pac-12 and Big Ten, the Orange Bowl selects an ACC and Big East team while the Sugar Bowl of SEC and Next Best Team.
With teams like Northern Illinois, TCU, Boise State and Utah crashing the BCS party with success over the last few seasons, why not continue this tradition? When BCS games allow for non-big-six teams to compete, competitive balance can truly be achieved by judging what programs, and not pedigrees, are best in the nation.
Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida are prime candidates to take the remaining BCS spots. Oregon and Florida are top-five teams, but one might get robbed of a BCS berth by the current flawed system.
The case can be made that the SEC, with six straight national champions, is quite deserving of multiple BCS bids. The strength of this conference stands in its elite programs that register six out of the top-10 teams in the nation.
Alabama vs. Georgia is a national semi-final this season in a tightly contested SEC race. Florida, Texas A&M, South Carolina and LSU all stand as top-10 teams. With superior coaches and intense fan bases, the SEC epitomizes college excellence.
Outside of SEC powerhouses, the rest of the nation is no guarantee to produce multiple BCS quality teams. Why should college football grant guaranteed games for conferences with so many flaws, that only allows for two teams from each conference and automatic bids from the power six?
The Big 12 Conference gets away with horrendous non-league schedules. The top team in the Big 12, Kansas State, faced an overrated Miami squad, North Texas and Missouri State. Texas played Wyoming, New Mexico and Ole Miss. West Virginia battled James Madison and Marshall. Let’s not forget Oklahoma State squaring with powerhouse Savannah State.
Oklahoma arguably had the toughest nonconference schedule with UTEP and Notre Dame. The list goes on but the point remains that the Big 12 does not take the risks of playing legitimate opponents outside of their conference.
The Big Ten has experienced its fair share of struggle in the big games. This conference has lost six straight BCS games versus SEC teams and are still considered a less athletic conference than most of the big six conferences. Ohio State and Penn State, who are ineligible for bowl play, are the strongest teams in the conference. Ohio State is undefeated but has struggled to dominate any quality team this season. Penn State played much better than expected under head coach Dave O’Brien.
Michigan is vastly overrated under Brady Hoke. Let’s not forget this team needed a last-minute goal line stand to defeat Air Force. Michigan may have the greatest championship pedigree in the conference but they are miles away from returning to Rose Bowl glory. Nebraska has been a tremendous addition to this conference, but has struggled to win the big game under coach Bo Pelini. Coming up short in this year’s Big Ten Championship Game will allow room for doubters to surface.
The Pac-12 Conference has been best known for producing high quality basketball talent, not winning BCS Championships. Oregon, Stanford and USC are strong national powers but this conference struggles with depth on a consistent basis.
Oregon State and UCLA have improved recently, but if this conference wants to be viewed with the elite, they must not fall into a lull of resting on their laurels. Watch out for Utah to regain their status as a top-25 program.
The Pac-12's traditional spot in the Rose Bowl is much deserved due to its location and 100-plus year history. No other BCS game compares in history to "The Granddaddy of Them All," making it the one game that must remain with the same matchup.
Instead of granting guaranteed berths, the new-look BCS, which will begin next season, should look to reward only the best teams based upon their résumé and not their history. The new-look Big East will be the biggest joke of a top-six conference in college football history. SMU, San Diego State, Boise State and Memphis are prime examples of non-geographical additions to the Big East.
The University of Connecticut is looking to leave what’s left of the befuddled Big East, which features only one team from 2000, Temple. The new look Big East has become a mid-major conference while the Big Ten, with 14 teams in 2014, becomes a loaded conference.
At this point the idea of conference alignment and parity is completely lost. With a four-team playoff set to begin in the 2014 season, the question becomes who will be eligible for the remaining BCS bowl games?
The power-six conferences will fight for the three remaining bowl games. For the sake of competitive balance and to get the best matchups possible, the NCAA must abolish automatic bids for certain conferences and rules that only two teams from each conference can play in BCS Games.
The Bowl Selection Committee should take the time to evaluate what is becoming of college football conferences. BCS games should be focused on getting the best games and not on restoring conference tradition.