Remember when the NCAA, BCS and the bowl games wanted to preserve the tradition of the bowl system for all those years while they were fighting against a playoff format to determine the national champion? Yes, well, it appears that tradition may now include teams with a losing record.
On Thursday the NCAA's Board of Directors approved a new selection process for bowl games that could allow 5-7 teams to qualify for postseason play.
Under this new process, if there are not enough bowl eligible teams to fill every open spot -- there are currently 35 bowls and 70 spots -- or if a conference doesn't have enough teams to meet its bowl affiliations, the NCAA has a new six-tiered tiebreaker to do just that.
A tiebreaker that could put a losing team in a bowl game.
Here's how the tiebreakers work.
- A 6-6 team with a victory against an FCS school.
- A 6-6 team with two wins against FCS schools.
- A 6-7 team that loses its conference championship game (hello, 2011 UCLA).
- A 6-7 team that played a 13-game schedule such as Hawaii and any school that travels to Hawaii to play a game.
- FCS teams making the move to FBS if they finish with a record of at least 6-6.
- A 5-7 team if that team finishes with a top-five APR score.
Seriously, there's a lot of things that have to go a 5-7 teams way to get to a bowl game, and teams that finish 5-7 generally don't have a lot of things go their way. Still, the fact that it's a possibility at all bothers me a bit.
I'm not a fan of rewarding mediocrity and allowing 6-6 teams into bowl games, let alone teams that can't even win the majority of their games. Unfortunately this is the situation we're stuck with as college football looks to maintain the tradition and history of bowl games by adding new bowl games all the time.
I do look forward to telling my grandchildren about the pageantry of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl one day.
As for the tie-breakers themselves, while I'm against their existence in general, if we're going to have to deal with them I must take exception to them.
I'm not sure why a team that finishes 6-7 but loses its conference championship game should be third choice behind the team that finished 6-6 but won two games against Northwest South Dakota Tech and Maine A&M. I mean, that team did qualify for its conference championship game. It shouldn't be punished for doing so.
If you're so worried about the appearance of a 6-7 team playing in a bowl game, then why the hell are you willing to let 5-7 teams in?