Crow slams BCS, proposes eight-team playoff system

Last Thursday, ASU President Michael Crow publicly criticized the Bowl Championship Series and announced his support for an eight-team playoff system to be managed by the NCAA.

Crow is one of the first presidents of a major university to publicly condemn the BCS. He also revealed that the Pac-12 conference supports his distaste.

“In the Pac-12, we are not strong supporters of the present model,” Crow said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. “The reason for this new model is the model we have right now is not conducive to the long-term success of college football.”

The BCS, a system that uses computers to compile rankings and selections for its five bowl games, has come under fire by  many critics in recent years.

The pinnacle of this criticism came when two SEC foes, LSU and Alabama, faced each other in the national championship game.

The controversy began when the BCS announced Alabama, who already had one loss and previously lost to the Tigers, was selected to play in the national championship over fellow one-loss team Oklahoma State.

Backers of other undefeated teams not selected to play for the title game in years past, such as Boise State and Utah, also have a bone to pick with the BCS.

If the BCS truly selects the best teams in the nation to compete in its five marquee matchups, why can’t these schools have a shot at winning it all?

I understand the computer system ranks “quality wins” and “strength of schedule,” but why is the school punished for its conference affiliation?

It is clear to many, including NCAA President Mark Emmert and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, that the BCS is flawed.

Both have said they would support a playoff system, though Crow’s eight-team system differs from their four-team proposals.

Crow didn’t reveal many details of his plan, including how seeding would work or where games would be played.

However, a public denouncement from such a notable source could be the catalyst for what would be one of the largest changes to college football since the onset of the BCS in the 1998-99 season.

From an ASU standpoint, the timing could not have been more appropriate either.

The Sun Devils’ football program is currently in the midst of an identity change.

Prior to the 2010 season, ASU unveiled its rebranding under the “It’s Time” campaign. The Sun Devils were one of the most hyped teams in the entire nation, led by explosive junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict and promising junior quarterback Brock Osweiler.

Despite the team’s hot start, things did not go well for the Sun Devils in 2011.

Dennis Erickson, the team’s coach for the last five years, was fired after a disappointing 6-7 season ended with a blowout loss to Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

Even Athletic Director Lisa Love came under scrutiny after the program meandered through a coaching search. Love failed to produce a viable option as head coach until surprise candidate Todd Graham from Pittsburgh accepted the position.

Graham breathed new life in the struggling program in his introduction to the team and its fan base. I’m not sure if it’s possible to win a press conference, but if it were, Graham is already 1-0 at ASU.

Couple the solid recruiting class put together by Graham and Crow’s playoff system proposal, and ASU could once again prove to be one of the most talked about teams in the nation.

If Crow’s plan gains popularity with the other 11 BCS conferences and the BCS is scrapped, Graham could be the coach to lead ASU to its first-ever national title.

 

Reach the columnist at tpaxton@asu.edu


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