Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This is my big research paper I wrote for my Summer English class. It's over whether Division one college football should have a playoff system put in place or keep the BCS alive. In this essay I am pro-playoff system. But in the assignment before this essay I was pro-bcs, I'll post that essay later. I have a works cited page, and I used credible sources, just ask my teacher. Also, I think this is a badass essay. Not gonna lie. :)

Just like Everyone Else

Football is king in Texas, right? Every Texan would agree but many Americans would also contend that the sport is king in our nation from August until February. Whether it is high school, college, or professional; football is on the minds of many Americans in the fall. Currently in Football Bowl Subdivision (formally Division IA) College Football a National Champion is determined through polls culminating with a game pitting the top two seeds. Only 62 out of 117 schools go to a bowl game. This leaves out 55 schools and their programs (Dunnavant). Many fans believe that there needs to be a playoff, and their view is supported by some members of Congress. Representative Edolphus Towns from New York said a playoff system is ideal because, “you have to look at the small schools who go undefeated.” These school are forgotten about; but with a playoff system they would not be (Perez). The BCS needs to be ousted in the Football Bowl Championship Division and replaced with a playoff system.
With the current BCS system the conference games and even pre-season games matter a great deal to the teams rankings. An eight-team playoff system is a common proposal. Some ideas of this proposal include the following: Give the champions of each of the six major conferences that currently get automatic bids to the BCS—the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Big East, Pac-10, and SEC— each an automatic bid to the playoff. Let the conferences pick their champions any way they choose. If the Big 12 and SEC want to schedule conference-championship games, fine. If the Big Ten doesn't, that's fine too. Then add two at-large teams to the mix. The twist: These two teams cannot come from any of the six major conferences (Sullentrop). This sounds great because you get the major conferences involved but also two at-large teams come into play so schools like Notre Dome or someone from smaller conferences like the Mountain West could play. If a team can not win its conference why should they be National Champions? National Champions should be the best and if they can not win their conference they obviously are not the best. With an eight-team playoff every conference has a shot at the National Championship along with two other independent or teams without ties to a bigger conference. It would be a really simple formula to finding a National Champion.
The rankings used for the BCS are computer generated, based on four polls and as one study said “the BCS places restrictions on the inputs that can be used to develop team ratings” (West 1). Computers do not see how hard teams play and how much effort is put forth because a loss by one point is the same in some cases as a loss that is a difference of 20 or 30 points. How can a computer say that a team which is undefeated, such as Utah in the 2008 season, can not have a chance at contending for the National Championship? After its undefeated 2008 season the head coach for Utah, Kyle Whittingham said that when it came time to vote for the BCS rankings he was “voting [Utah] number one. End of story. I don’t know why we wouldn't deserve consideration. Somebody explain to me why we wouldn’t?” (Taylor). Utah ended up beating Alabama, a school which was constantly in the top 10 in the BCS for the 2008 season. How does a coach tell a team which is undefeated that it was not even close to a National Championship? The team which ended up winning the National Championship, the Florida Gators, even had one loss. Utah had ZERO. If there was a playoff system in place Utah could have had the chance to prove itself and maybe won a National Championship! We will ever know, because there is not a playoff system in place.
Money rules our world in almost every way imaginable. Creating a playoff system would generate many more dollars for schools and conferences involved than most think. The University of Texas has spent $150 million to remodel its football stadium. People say football is just a sport? Clearly it also is a business. Bill Byrne has been quoted numerous times saying that Texas A&M University makes on average $3 million dollars for each home game (Cessna). When a football team does well so does the school and its academics. In a study by the Journal of Economics and Sociology the researchers found that, “Donations, applications, and the academic quality of the student body are some of the mission outcomes thought to rise with the fortunes of the football team” (Smith 553). With a playoff system in place some studies estimate that as much as $400 million dollars could be generated for the schools involved in the playoff system (Dunnavant, “PigSkin”). Each conference would get a cut of the revenue from the playoffs which means every school would benefit from the monetary gain of a playoff system. This would create a better atmosphere for all involved because every sport would benefit. We see a playoff system in many other NCAA Collegiate Sports. Baseball, Softball, and Soccer all have playoffs. Most people would agree that a football team brings in more revenue than most other sports, and in the end creating a playoff system would help out the other sports as well. If the football team is doing well a fan could be more inclined to go to another sporting event because they feel good about the school. The whole well-being of a college could be improved if a football team does well in football season. When a school does well alumni are more likely to give back, which in turn helps the whole school, not just the athletic department. Right now the economy is in the slumps but in the last football season bowl attendance and TV ratings were up or steady from previous years (Brady). If attendance is not down, that means that revenue is not down, meaning everyone is still making some money. Adding a playoff system to the mix would, in some cases, create more money because the teams would be involved for longer than just one extra game. Some schools in some scenarios would play an extra seven games, meaning there would be seven more opportunities to make money, in turn helping everyone. A playoff system is economically beneficial as well as just plain smart.
The Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division IIA) football has a playoff but the Football Bowl Subdivision does not? That does not seem right. Smaller schools can prove themselves by playing in a playoff system to win a National Championship but a school like Utah can not? An undefeated team did not even get to prove that they were National Championship material because there was not a playoff system in place. It does not seem fair. The top 16 teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, which are figured out by a coach’s poll, are put in a playoff system. The tournament would feature four rounds with teams seeded one through 16. Just like the wildly popular and profitable NCAA men's basketball tournament, champions of all the conferences (all 11 of them) earn an automatic bid to the field. This would mean that every one has a shot at contending because if you can win your conference than you should be good enough to be in the playoffs to compete (Wetzel). There would then be five at-large bids for schools who deserve to compete but may not have won their conference therefore help level the playing field. Then just like in the NCAA Division 1A Basketball playoff, a one seed would probably play a team seeded as a 16. The playoff would continue like that. Ultimately in the end the team which could survive if the Football Championship Subdivision (Division II) can do a playoff, the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division 1) should be able to too.
Replacing the BCS and implementing a playoff system like the majority of the other collegiate sports have is much more beneficial. More money is generated, as well as more interest overall because a team could be playing longer than just one extra game at the end of the season. Also, it would provide a true National Championship because a team would have to play extra games to really prove themselves as well as win their conference to even be considered to play for the National Championship. More money would be involved, helping to create a better economy. Football has major impacts in the country in many aspects. Creating a playoff system would be a great benefit for athletes, fans, coaches, and America. All in all, inaugurating a playoff system for the Football Bowl Subdivision College Football would be much more beneficial to everyone involved than the BCS is now.

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