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Kyle Gets Contrary: The BCS Is Better Than a College Football Playoff

I count myself a Matt Hinton fan, despite my disapproval of a Southern Miss fan rooting against Brett Favre. (I admit, however, that I am biased against the Saints, since I grew up near the hometown of the Falcons, who number New Orleans among their rivals, largely because both teams have been lousy for most of the last 45 years. Also, I continue to hold it against Drew Brees that Mr. Birthmark was named MVP of the 2000 Outback Bowl, a game in which Purdue lost to Georgia. Seeing as how the Boilermakers lost, I think it’s fair to say that the Bulldogs had 85 scholarship athletes who were more valuable than Brees, who, to repeat, lost. Even ten years later, it still chaps me. Darn you, Drew Brees.)

Anyway, I’m a Matt Hinton fan, but there is nothing about which we disagree more than playoffs. He favors a Division I-A college football playoff and I don’t. Accordingly, Dr. Saturday’s latest posting pounding the playoff drum has inspired another round of "Kyle Gets Contrary," as I provide you with a handful of reasons why you should support the BCS.

Yes, I would prefer a return to the old bowl arrangements of the 1980s, but that isn’t happening. Hinton’s and Favre’s fellow Mississippian, William Faulkner, wrote that, when faced with the choice between grief and nothing, he would take grief. Likewise, when forced to choose between the Bowl Championship Series and a Division I-A college football playoff, I will opt for the BCS as the lesser of two evils. Here is why:

1. The BCS gives us the best of both worlds . . . a full New Year’s Day slate, plus an extended college football postseason. I absolutely love January 1. A new year dawns, full of limitless possibility; you get the day off from work without the responsibility that accompanies Thanksgiving and Christmas; and you get wall-to-wall college football. Granted, it isn’t like it was in the old days, when every big game was played on New Year’s Day, but a playoff would gut January 1 and render it meaningless. If the first didn’t fall on a Saturday, there might not be New Year’s Day college football at all under a playoff system; think about how arid and depressing the initial day of the new year would be without football. It would set the wrong tone for the entire twelve months. With the BCS, we have a full day’s worth of games to ring in the new year, followed by several straight weeknights of college gridiron action leading up to the culmination of the whole campaign. The BCS offers us a happy---nay, joyous---medium.

2. If Congress is busy holding pointless hearings, the national government will have less time to mess with us. During the Whitewater probe and the ensuing impeachment proceedings, many commentators complained of the wasteful expense of the investigation. For reasons having nothing to do with the political views of the respective sides, I favored the perpetuation of the battle between the branches. The investigation cost $50 million? Fine, but, as a result, for a couple of years, Congress and the president were too occupied with each other to pester the American people. I’d call that a bargain; I say charge $75 million and tell the Supreme Court to shut up, too. Likewise, meaningless grandstanding and political posturing about college football by frivolous members of the national legislature keep our elected officials from messing up anything of actual importance. If nonsense like the extraordinarily silly College Football Playoff Act of 2009 keeps Congress out of my hair, it’s worth it. Ditching the BCS might force the politicians to address actual issues, and no one wants that.

3. The Bulldogs might make it back to the Rose Bowl. It couldn’t happen under the old arrangement annually pitting the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions and it wouldn’t happen under a postseason format that, at best, used Pasadena as a playoff site but likely would eschew sending East Coast competitors to the Golden State. The only scenario that gives Georgia any shot at a return trip to the Rose Bowl, site of an immortal Red and Black triumph led by Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi on New Year’s Day 1943, would occur under the auspices of the BCS.

4. College football is big business and the BCS brings home the bacon. No, not literally, although I would strongly support giving BCS bowl status to the Chick-fil-A With Bacon Bowl. I mean that figuratively. All the playoff advocates bandying about pie-in-the-sky dollar figures while speculating about the money a postseason college football tournament would make sound like Dr. Evil making a ransom demand; they’re making up numbers that may or may not exist. Meanwhile, college football is more popular and profitable than ever, and the rising tide is lifting all boats. (Since I essentially defended the impeachment of Bill Clinton a couple of paragraphs ago, I figured I’d better even out the political allusions by quoting John F. Kennedy.) Business is booming under the BCS. Maybe that’s in spite of, rather than because of, college football’s current postseason format, but there’s a good chance the folks pushing a playoff are, however unwittingly, metaphorically advocating changing the formula for Coca-Cola. We know the BCS is laying the golden egg, but, with a playoff, college football’s goose might be cooked.

There are more reasons for favoring the BCS over a playoff, but, gosh, shouldn’t those be enough? I’m sure you’ll let me know whether you think so in the comments below.

Go ‘Dawgs!