Monday, December 03, 2007

What About Hawaii?

The BCS has announced it's championship game for 2007- it's going to be LSU and Ohio State.

The lonely libertarian has never been a big fan of college football, and the reasons why can be explained rather succinctly. While it is stupid that Division 1-A college football does not have a playoff system, there's nothing to say college football has to work the same way college basketball works. What really just irks the hell of me about Division 1-A college football is the way the BCS is set up and the way in which about half the teams playing Division 1-A college football are essentially ineligible to win a national championship.

The BCS represents the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and the PAC-10, but just put yourselves in the shoes of a college football player competing in Conference USA, the Mountain West, the Sun Belt, the WAC, or the MAC. There are, by the way, 51 schools in those conferences. And just imagine if when you started your season you were told that no matter how many games you won, no matter how well you played, you would not have a chance to play for a national championship.

This season, Hawaii won the WAC, and finished it's season at 12-0. In the rest of the nation there were only two one-loss teams- Ohio State and Kansas, both at 11-1. Yet because the WAC is not a BCS conference- and because the teams in non-BCS conferences are considered lesser teams, Hawaii is not allowed to even compete for a shot at a national title. If the level of play in these conferences is that inferior, then why are these conferences part of Division 1-A in the first place? Further division of college football would be perfectly acceptable, but it should be natural that every team has the chance to compete for some sort of national championship outside of their conferences.

And it's not as though the situation with Hawaii is unusual. It has happened before in recent years. Even after bowl games, Boise State of the WAC went 13-0 in 2006 and in 2004, Utah of the Mountain West went 12-0.

For all the talk of the need for a playoff system in college football, any system that is created needs to include undefeated teams from the minor conferences- There is no need to put all minor conference winners into a playoff system. For instance, this year Troy won the Sunbelt conference with an overall record of 8-4. They haven't done anything to deserve the right to compete for a national championship. But Hawaii at 12-0 deserves a shot. In my perfect world, you would have a field of 8 in a 3-week playoff. This year, Hawaii would join Ohio State (11-1), Kansas (11-1), LSU (11-2), West Virginia (10-2), Virginia Tech (11-2), USC (10-2), and Missouri (11-2). Remember, the fun of a playoff system is the fun in arguing who just makes the cut and who just misses it. In such a short season, losing just one or two games means- and always has meant- that you may lose a shot to compete for a national championship. But it's just insane to have a system where a team, from day one, has no hope of winning a national championship.


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