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BCS should follow Big Ten’s lead

Frank F. Pellegrino

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Isn’t it weird that there are 10 teams in the Big 12 and 12 teams in the Big Ten? I’ll answer that question if you’re scrambling for an answer.

Yes, it’s very odd.

Well the truth is that the Big Ten has been pretty wishy-washy about their name since the conference’s inception. They just can’t ever seem to get it right.

The original seven members formed the “Western Conference,” which they went by from 1896-1899. What a crappy name, huh?

Since then, they’ve gone back and forth between referring to themselves as the Big Nine and Big Ten, sticking with the latter since 1950. The funny thing is that they were a seven-school, eight-school, nine-school and 10-school Big Nine. Likewise, they’ve been a nine-school, 10-school, 11-school and now 12-school Big Ten.

Now, as comical as their Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs – Diddy – Swag – P. Diddy – Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs – Puff – Puffy – Puff Daddy – like name changes have gone, it shows  the conference is willing to evolve as times change, even if means going back on a stance they had already taken.

This point became evident again this week when leaders of the Big Ten met and decided they would support a four-team playoff to decide the national champion, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

All of the Big Ten’s athletic directors are comfortable with the idea, according to the report, and Ohio State’s Gene Smith was quoted as saying, “We need to do something different.”

What the Big 10 is suggesting would be a four-team playoff where the top two seeds would host the semi-final games. After that, the national championship game would then be hosted at a neutral site between the winners.

This, of course, is amusing because the Southeastern Conference proposed basically the same thing in 2008. The problem was that the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East and Big 12 all shot it down.

Luckily for college football fans everywhere, the Big Ten conference continued their wishy-washy ways and changed their mind.

The proposal comes on the heels of an all-time boring national championship game between two SEC schools. The game was a rematch of a low-scoring affair from earlier in the year and resulted in the lowest rated BCS title game in their 14-year existence, according to a USA Today report.

I’m glad the Big Ten figured out what any fan could have told them: fans are bored of the current setup.

It’s not just that we don’t think it’s fair, it’s that we’ve gotten sick of seeing the class of the SEC versus whoever the next best school is.

The problem is, it’s gotten stale and I think even SEC fans would agree the same storyline every year has become a yawn-a-thon.

It’s unfortunate just how much bowl money has gotten in the way of a playoff. Everyone gets a mega-payday with the current setup. Schools, conferences and the bowls themselves all make hefty sums of cash.

I think the biggest reason,the fear of losing money, is unfortunate because I don’t really understand how it would be true. The top four teams would make the ‘playoffs’ and all of the rest of the teams would still go to bowls.

I actually see the potential for even more TV money with the addition of the two high profile semi-final games.

Several athletic directors seemed worried about the potential for this proposal to leave bowls that historically have had conference ties — like the Rose Bowl with the Big Ten — falling by the wayside. I don’t really see why this would have to be the case either.

If the semi-finals were held soon after each conference title game, the losers would and should still be eligible for bowls. With more than a month between the end of the season and national championship, I think we have time to squeeze in the semi-finals well ahead of any of the top bowls.

I truly do not see a negative to this proposal. All of the money would still be on the table, and potentially even more could be with the addition of two more high profile games. Likewise, the historical aspect of certain bowls would still be there.

And, most importantly, it would give the fans what they want. Something that is fresh and something that is fair.

Although fans have been begging for any form of a playoff for years, this is the first time I’ve thought it would receive legitimate consideration. All 11 of the Bowl Championship Series conferences have already met to discuss the potential for changes starting in 2014.

This proposal would provide drastic improvements while making only minor changes.

I hope the BCS can take a page from the Big Ten’s book and evolve with the times, even if it means going back on a stance they had already taken. As the saying goes, better late than never.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
BCS should follow Big Ten’s lead