The BCS Standings Are More Reliable Than a Playoff Committee

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Now that the BCS is officially dead, a confession: I actually like the BCS standings.

Maybe this is Stockholm Syndrome, but I’m more nervous about what a playoff committee is going to do than I am what the BCS was going to do. 

The BCS was flawed, but predictable. (Kind of like most of our relationships). 

I mean, can anyone on earth justify the coaches actually voting for who the best teams in the country are? Have you seen their ballots, it’s like “Mean Girls,” brought to life and placed squarely on a football field. And who are most of the Harris Poll voters — aside from my man Blaine Bishop — I don’t know any of them.

These computer geeks who have been selected to include their rankings in the formula?

Yeah, I have no idea how that works either.  

But between the seven computers and the 167 human voters, you got a decently representative cross-section of opinions about the best teams in college football. The biases canceled out and there wasn’t a lingering sense that the BCS ever got it wrong. In fact, after 15 years of the BCS era, can you really point to any team other than 2004 Auburn that truly got screwed by the BCS?

I can’t.

And, remember, in 2004 either USC, Oklahoma, or Auburn had to get screwed by the process. When you have a title game and three undefeated major conference teams, someone getting left out is inevitable.  

That wasn’t really the BCS’s fault, it was just a flaw in the system. 

In fact, the last ten years the BCS and the AP poll have been in agreement over which two teams should play for the title.  

Now we’ve replaced 167 divergent voices and seven computer polls — which are really just seven more pollsters since a human designs the computer poll — with a 13 person college football playoff committee. 

Do we have any idea which four teams they’d pick this year? In past years?

Of course not. 

I’m more nervous about a 13 member committee coming out and blowing their selections than I am the BCS, especially since we now have a 15 year predictive trail of BCS results. 

Wonder who would have played for the title if we’d used the BCS to seed a four-team playoff?

Here’s every year since 1998.

This year’s playoff if we used the BCS standings would be: 1. Florida State vs. 4. Michigan State and 2. Auburn vs. 3. Alabama

Would the playoff commitee agree with these rankings?

Or would the playoff committee select Stanford or Baylor over Michigan State? Could Alabama even get left out of the mix?

We don’t have any idea. 

And maybe that’s why I like the BCS standings the most. 

There was a nice predictability to the BCS process — every Sunday night we saw the standings released. 

That meant we knew exactly what our team needed to do to qualify for the BCS title game. 

Is that kind of predictability going to exist with the playoff committee?

I don’t think so.

Essentially what we’ve done is replace a 167 person poll and seven computers with a poll featuring 13 people.

For all of its manifold flaws, in the end, the BCS pretty much worked.

It got us the two best teams playing for the title.

Will the playoff committee get us the four best teams?

I have my doubts.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but why not let the BCS standings seed the playoff too? 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.