Posted: 10:29 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
By Jeremy Mauss
Everyone hates the BCS, but even its flaws the system gave some nice exposure to the non-power leagues.
The 2014 BCS title game where Florida State topped Auburn in one of the more exciting finishes in a BCS title game, but now it is time to slam the door on the flawed and biased system that was the BCS.
It was pretty unanimous across the board that the BCS was hates; unless one happened to be BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock or a major conference commissioner. Even with how exclusionary that the BCS was -- remember at the beginning a non-automatic qualifying team had to be in the top-six -- the system did help the Mountain West, and other mid-majors.
The boom from the mid-majors came when the qualifications loosened and that allowed a flood gate of deserving and not so deserving teams -- looking at you 2007 Hawaii on the latter.
The BCS helped bring in extra money to these have-not leagues and helped the Mountain West at times to be considered bette than the Big East and even on par with the ACC for a year or two during the BCS era.
There was good that came from the BCS to those on the outside, and the biggest winners were Utah and TCU who went to multiple BCS games and parlayed that success to major conferences, respectively. Utah probably was the biggest winner since the Pac-12 rolled back the money truck when they got invited, and TCU is a close second as they reunited to their former SWC brethren as part of the Big 12.
Before that the Mountain West made noise when Utah topped Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl during the 2004 season, but the Utes were supposed to do that. The real credit -- unless you ask Nick Saban or a lot of Alabama fans who said they didn't want to be in the Sugar Bowl -- is when Utah just boat raced Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl and ended up No. 2 in the nation.
After that game the outsiders took the Mountain West more seriously, and it just took a beat down of the best team all year who was expected to win the national title to do so.
In between Utah came Boise State who had a great game against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl which ended in one of the best finishes ever in the BCS era. Just take a few to look back at how that game ended.
Boise State also went to the Fiesta Bowl when they were in the WAC to go up against fellow mid-major and Mountain West quasi-rival TCU, and won that game. The BCS helped Boise State get some great exposure and money during the flawed system, but again it was flawed.
Boise State being in the WAC was held out of the BCS despite having undefeated regular seasons in 2004 and 2008, and while their bowl games were not bad one's going up against Louisville and TCU, both loses.
As one can tell the BCS had its good moments with the mid-majors and not so good moments which included Boise State and TCU matching up in a BCS game.
Even with the debacle that was Hawaii against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, and to a lesser extent Northern Illinois who played Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
One thing that the BCS did was to put more focus on the Mountain West and other mid-major teams once the rules loosened up to allow a team ranked in the top-12 or top-16 and ahead of a major conference, because had it stayed at the top-six requirement there would have been far fewer non-automatic teams. That change was threatened by a lawsuit, but it worked.
The change allowed everyone to see the classic 2007 Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma. However, it also allowed Hawaii and Northern Illinois to get into a BCS game. In the grand scheme of the BCS there were only a pair of teams that earned their way in via the rule changes that resulted in a blowout questioning the rule change; however, the voters placed them in the game and it was only Northern Illinois who earned their way in by way of being ranked ahead of a major conference champion and not being in the top-12.
At the end of the day the Mountain West really did benefit the Mountain West during the BCS era with a 4-1 record between Utah and TCU, and if we included Boise State and Hawaii that makes the record 5-2.
The BCS also allowed teams to get some notice down the stretch even if they did not make a bowl game. In the BCS show on ESPN there was always notice paid to these schools who were getting close to the magic ranking. Those talks were not always positive because of the strength of schedule or athlete remarks, but as they say any publicity is good publicity.
The BCS system is over and yes it was flawed but it did do some good by allowing some great matchups to occur, and the money that came with it was also a good thing. Even with the playoff upcoming that does not mean the arguing will stop if a team gets in the discussion for a playoff spot, or even the one access bowl spot for the best Group of Five teams.