The BCS presents itself as bastion protecting the integrity of college football’s regular season, adopting the mantra “every game counts.” The trouble is, not every game counts under the BCS. In fact, as college football heads into its penultimate weekend, only two games (LSU vs. Arkansas and Alabama vs. Auburn) have a bearing on the championship. If those results go as expected, LSU and Alabama will be in the title game. None of the Championship Week games would be relevant.
For shits and giggles, we wanted to compare this to how many games this weekend would matter if a playoff existed. For format, we’re using a 16-team playoff. Each conference receives an automatic bid. There are five at-large bids. Teams are selected and ranked, based on a formula. For this hypothetical, we’ll use the Simple Rating System as the formula. It’s objective. It’s simple, transparent, accounts for both strength of schedule and margin of victory.
Here’s what a possible playoff would look like.
LSU – SEC (1) vs. Arkansas State – Sun (16)
Alabama – AL (2) vs. Louisiana Tech – WAC (15)
Oklahoma State – B12 (3) vs. West Virginia – BE (14)
Oregon – P12 (4) vs. Northern Illinois – MAC (13)
Stanford – AL (5) vs. Virginia Tech – ACC (12)
Wisconsin –B1G (6) vs. TCU – MWC (11)
Boise State – AL (7) vs. Houston – CUSA (10)
Oklahoma – AL (8) vs. Michigan – AL (9)
Here are all the games, from this weekend alone, that would be significant under a 16-team playoff.
LSU vs. Arkansas – BCS Title, SEC Title
Alabama vs. Auburn – SEC Title, At Large Place
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech – ACC Title
Penn State vs. Wisconsin – B1G Title
Louisville vs. South Florida – Big East Title
Rutgers vs. Connecticut – Big East Title
Cincinnati vs. Syracuse – Big East Title
West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh – Big East Title
Houston vs. Tulsa – C-USA Title
Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan – MAC Title
Toledo vs. Ball State – MAC Title
Boise State vs. Wyoming – At Large Place
Oregon vs. Oregon State – Pac 12 Title
USC vs. UCLA – Pac 12 Title
Arizona State vs. Cal – Pac 12 Title
Utah vs. Colorado – Pac 12 Title
Stanford vs. Notre Dame – At Large Place
Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico State – WAC Title
Nevada vs. Utah State – WAC Title
Michigan vs. Ohio State – At Large Place
Texas vs. Texas A&M – At Large Place
Michigan State vs. Northwestern – At Large Place
Kansas State vs. Iowa State – At Large Place
Texas Tech vs. Baylor – At Large Place
For those keeping score, that’s two games that count (LSU – 12-point favorite, Alabama – 21-point favorite) vs. 24 games that count. That’s not counting all the conference title games the following weekend. Every game doesn’t count under a playoff, but far more of them count than under the BCS.
[Photo via Getty]