BCS: The Best Available Format

Critics have been bashing the Bowl Championship Series for 12 years, or, since its inception. Then, and now, only six conferences receive automatic bids: The Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, Big Twelve and Pac-10. The BCS then awards one automatic berth to a top-rated team from one of the five middle-level conferences—the Mountain West, Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference, Mid-American Conference, and the Sun Belt. This year two teams from these conferences landed in the BCS line-up for the first time: TCU and Boise State. They will be playing each other in the Fiesta Bowl. Two ‘At-Large’ teams complete the BCS field: Florida and Iowa.

The bulk of the $150 million in revenue among the BCS games goes to those six conferences and their 65 schools. The six conferences are expected to pull in a collective $116 million. About $34 million is projected for the five lower profile Football Bowl Subdivision conferences.

You can argue with this system but until there is an actual playoff, this format works. With five major undefeated teams, the potential match-ups are endless but without the playoff system, it becomes a moot point. While the imbalance is apparent, the irony is that there is more revenue generated for all the bowl games than ever before in the history of the sport. Each of the 34 bowl games that runs this year from December 19th to January 7th has a corporate sponsor and the total amount of payouts is double what it was 15 years ago. And that means a payday for 68 colleges.