Blog Entry

Mid-Majors & The BCS - A Solution

Posted on: November 26, 2008 12:42 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2008 12:43 pm

If you're looking to weigh in on the debate that rages on about BCS superiority vs the worthiness of Non-BCS teams, you needn't look too hard on the cbssportsline message board.  You'll find passionate people voicing their opinions on both sides of the argument and, both sides make some valid points. 

Supporters of the "Majors" like to point to Georgia's rout of Hawaii in last year's Sugar Bowl to justify their superiority argument.  Those supporting the "Mids" enjoy reminding folks of Boise State's thrilling win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple of years ago.  My own view is this.  There are very strong Major programs that produce excellent teams year in and year out.  There are also Majors who are weak year after year.  Then there are a large chunk of teams in the middle that have great seasons every so often but more often than not, wind up in the middle of the pack.  The same can usually be said of the Mid-Major conferences.

Where people error is in lumping ALL Majors or ALL Mids together in their respective arguments.  It's true the top Major teams run roughshod over most of the Mids.  It is also true that the top Mid programs would be very competitve in any of the Major conferences.  When Ohio State plays Ohio U and beats them soundly, it is hardly a referendum on Mid-Major programs as a whole.  What it says is that Ohio State is better than Ohio.  It doesn't say anything as to how Ohio State might fare against Boise State, Ball State or Utah.  Conversely, for Ball State to thrash a generally weak Indiana team does not give them a free pass to say "we can beat anyone".  As much as the fiercest proponents from both groups like think otherwise, it cuts both ways.

Which brings me to the whole BCS Bowl situation.  The current BCS Bowl set up screams to be changed.  It is wrong on so many fronts and not just because of the impact it has on mid-major teams.  Teams participating in the National Championship Game are "selected" by a combination of computers and people.  It's the only sport I can think of where teams don't EARN their way to the championship game.  It's outrageous and ultimately, the only people who end up agreeing on the decision are the teams selected and the fans of those teams.  I saw a post recently from a USC fan decrying how the BCS process was "unfair".  If ever there was a team that has benefited from the BCS Rules over the years, it's been USC - yet this year, it's unfair. 

If anyone has a beef, it's those teams who did what they were supposed to do.  Win all their games on their schedules.  Yet we will likely have two teams this year that will do just that but will not receive a BCS Bowl invitation.  Opponents of those teams (Boise State and Ball State) will point to their weak schedules and conference they play in.  They will argue that the last time we let a mid-major in a BCS Bowl, it was a huge mismatch (insert Hawaii).  Understand what I am NOT saying here.  I am not proposing that Boise State and Ball State are deserving of a BCS Bowl bid based on the rules that are set up today.  What I am saying is, the rules need to be changed.  The BCS process needs to be scrapped and a better solution that would reward a team for success should be put in its place.

So what do we do with Boise State and Ball State this season?  Well, if no one intervenes, they will be off to their respective obscure bowl games.  The latest CBSsportsline bowl projection has a 12-0 Boise State going up against a possible 7-5 Wake Forest while possbily 13-0 Ball State will head off to play 7-5 Minnesota.  Is that the best we can do?  Even if they don't qualify for a BCS Bowl, don't these teams deserve better than this?  Is this how we reward excellence?  There are 120 teams in Division 1A college football and as of today, 116 of them have at least one loss.  Shouldn't there be something special in store for the 4 teams that don't?

So what is the solution?  There are two in my mind.  One will take time and involves a playoff scenerio.  I won't try to tackle this one in this blog.  The other one can happen immediately, if the right people get involved now and begin a dialogue.  The answer to this one is so simple and cries out to be heard.  Boise State and Ball State should be let out of the conference tie-in committment to the Humanitarian and Motor City Bowls and be allowed to play each other in one of the Bowl Games.  If we're not ready to include these two in a BCS Bowl game, at least let them battle it out on the field together and determine who is the best of the Mids - BCS Bowl Lite, if you will. 

I know what you're saying.... "that's not what is ordinarily done regarding the bowl games".  I would argue this is not an "ordinary" season.  It is rare we have 4 undefeated teams at this stage of the season.  Two of them - Alabama and Utah - will be richly rewarded with a BCS Bowl invitation.  The other two deserve something special of their own - if not a BCS game.  Sending them off to play teams that were .500 or worse in their conference is an insult.  They deserve better than that.  What they deserve is each other.

So I'm on record.  Pit the Cardinals against the Broncos in the "One Hell Of A Game Bowl", put it on ESPN2 and watch the viewership go through the roof.  It's a win - win for everyone involved.  You'd have no shortage of sponsers clamoring for air time for that one, football fans from all over the country would be glued to their sets ready to watch maybe the most entertaining of all the bowl games, the schools involved could get a decent payout and, most important, the student atheletes that have worked their butts off all year long to get to this point would get a just reward.  It's the right thing to do.  Now we need the right people to start the dialogue now and make it happen.   

Category: NCAAF

Since: Aug 22, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2008 8:05 pm

Mid-Majors & The BCS - A Solution

Flame - you raise a very intelligent and interesting outlook to what could be a dissappointing season for some great mid-major teams. I would personally love to see these two duke it out. This is an important stage for the world of college football, especially upcoming with a president who seems willing to make some drastic changes to how FBS is done. I can't really add anything to what you have already put. Well done!

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2008 3:41 pm

Mid-Majors & The BCS - A Solution

This year, Ball St. is having a great run.  Utah and Boise, however, have been good for quite some time now.  Boise is working on its 3rd undefeated reg. season in 5 years.  Utah already has a BCS Bowl win under its belt, maybe another this year.  But this fact doesn't seem to phase posters who say "until you CONSISTENTLY prove yourselves...."  Holy cripe, Boise has the best winning record in ALL of d-1 football this century, what more do they have to prove?  Still, the poo-pahs are as loud as ever.

This being said, we Bronco fans are not blind and stupid.  We get that a $12 million dollar budget (double what we had before the Fiesta Bowl) can't compete with a $60 million budget year in and year out.  We get that the WAC schools have 1, 2, or 3 star recruits and 30,000 seat stadiums.  We get that some of our total football budgets wouldn't pay the pretty boy coach's salary at an elite school.  What needs to happen is to level the playing field when it comes to money.

I grant that those schools with 100,000 seat stadiums, 4 and 5 star recruits, and rich boosters from here to Gaazee will always have more loot, but it irks me that the BCS payouts are rigged to keep the disparity alive, and yes, make it even greater.  You see, if a mid major moves heaven & earth and gets a BCS bid, it must share revenue with all five nonBCS conferences.  BCS teams only share with their own conference, and if a conference gets two teams in, that conference gets a double dip.  Thus Boise got less for winning than Oklahoma got for losing!  These payouts are sometimes as high as 6 million per team, including teams that haven't seen a bowl since the Nixon administration.

Let's redo the payouts so that nonBCS schools get the same payout as BCS schools and so that Utah will get the same as Florida.  That won't eliminate the disparity, but it will at least keep the gap from widening more.

Since: Oct 16, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2008 3:11 pm

Mid-Majors & The BCS - A Solution

I do honestly believe we may eventually arrive at a position to re-organize the current system into something more equitable but until more Mid-Major teams like Utah, Boise St. and Ball St. consistently prove themselves worthy, that day may not arrive.

That statement pretty well sums it up. In the good ole days (25 yrs.?...kiddo. lol) a team was ranked pretty much by their win/loss record. Utah, Boise St., and Ball St. would be ranked right up there with Alabama. Then along came the standard polls and the BCS. All of a sudden the fact that you were undefeated didn't mean diddley unless you had defeated any of the 'Big Boys'. It stopped rewarding accomplishment and started rewarding the programs that could bring in the biggest (see 'Big Boys') bucks.

I'm sure some sort of play-off would help bring some parity but where do you draw the line? 4, 8, 16,...etc.? See what I mean? Until someone comes up with a more viable solution we just have to make the best out of what we've got.


Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2008 2:45 pm

Mid-Majors & The BCS - A Solution

Flame -

You raise some very interesting issues/problems with college football as we have it today. As a college football purist (I have watched college football for over 25 years now) I understand whole heartedly the problems you are facing as a fan of a university that plays on the Mid-Major level.

I too would like to see the Boise St. / Ball St. matchup. I feel these teams are pretty evenly matched and it would certainly give a lot of credence to college football as opposed to having an undefeated Ball St. play the 7th ranked Big Ten team. I feel that the Bowl committee should have built in more flexibility into the system instead of locking teams into certain bowls. Their original intentions were good but they failed to forecast a season as spectacular for the Mid-Major teams as one like this. Even the BCS bowls prove that with by allowing only one non-BCS conference team in if they are ranked above 12<sup>th</sup> place. It’s kind of like the mini mafia running around. The current system however, did build in insurance for a conference, like the MAC for example, to ensure they would not be left out of the bowl system if they are having a down year. This year however, the Motor City bowl seems a little less meaningful for Ball St. given their current record.

I do honestly believe we may eventually arrive at a position to re-organize the current system into something more equitable but until more Mid-Major teams like Utah, Boise St. and Ball St. consistently prove themselves worthy, that day may not arrive.

Every once in a while a team comes along and has a special year such as Ball St or Boise St and they get left out of the BCS party because of the current bowl system. It sucks for the fans of those teams and again for college football purists like me to see them get relegated to a meaningless bowl game against a team that went 8-4 while having to watch the other undefeated or 11-1 teams get all the enjoyment.

A playoff system however will not make it better for teams like Ball St., in fact that is the opposite of what you want, it works great for NCAA basketball, but if you think a team like Ball St. could run through 3 BCS Conf teams then good luck.

I certainly love your second option, let’s have a NCG lite, which is better off overall and could make the bowl system more money in the long run, which is what it is really all about anyway. I agree it’s a win-win for everyone.


CFB Bowl committee are you listening? We want Ball St vs. Boise St.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or