Calling out the college grid game

By Bryan Burwell
Updated: November 11, 2010

ST. LOUIS — This is the way the story always goes every fall for those white-collar bandits who run the BCS and swear (with a straight face no less) that the regular season is college football’s wonderfully democratic playoff system:

Our crazy little system of pretending to crown a so-called national champion is fine, just fine. Maybe a little flawed, but hey, it’s the best we can do.

And this is the way it goes for all of us with brains who wish we could take a sledgehammer to the BCS’ bogus alibis and scandalous thievery:

Stop lying to us.

Or better yet. Here’s what Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson has to say about it: “The single most frustrating notion is, ‘We understand it’s not perfect, but it’s the best we can do,’” Thompson said in the critically acclaimed book “Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series” (co-authored by Yahoo Sports.com columnists Dan Westzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan).

This is an intolerable cartel whose sole design is to keep the billions flowing into the hands of the cartel, not to determine the best team in college football.

In case you didn’t know, the cartel is that tight-knit group of BCS-automatic qualifier conferences — the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Big East and Pac-10 — who gobble up 82.3 percent of the annual take of money paid out annually by the BCS’ mega television deals.

I bring this up now at the perfect time, with Sports Illustrated this week calling for a college football playoff system, thanks in large part to the theories set forth in “Death to the BCS.”

And if you needed any more proof of how completely rigged this bogus BCS system really is, look no further than what has transpired over the course of the past few weeks.

This was supposed to be the season when the non-BCS schools had a fighting chance to break the glass ceiling and force their way into the big-payoff BCS championship game.

This was supposed to be the year that the likes of Boise State or Texas Christian took advantage of the system that has been excluding them for years and made it work for them.

With only three weeks left in the college football regular season, TCU and Boise have clearly established that they are two of the top four teams in the country.

But it’s all a big tease, because no matter what they do, barring the collapse of Oregon or Auburn, neither TCU nor Boise State can do anything to crack into the Top Two and get a ticket to the championship game.

The BCS apologists say the regular season shakes out to give everyone a fair shot at the “championship” game. Of course it’s a big lie.

But we can see clearly how TCU and Boise never had a chance, and here’s how I know this to be true. A few weeks ago, Auburn (then ranked fourth in the BCS) played LSU (then the No. 6 team in the rankings) and it was considered a monster game because it involved two top 10 teams.

And when Auburn beat LSU, it boosted the Tigers up and over unbeaten Oregon and Boise State and into the No. 1 position in the BCS rankings. And of course, Boise, which logically should have moved up into the No. 2 slot behind Oregon after top-ranked Oklahoma lost, somehow was passed over.

And if you don’t understand why this is so bogus, then just observe what happened with this week’s rankings. Again, remember what a big win did for Auburn’s status in the BCS ranking.

Now shouldn’t we assume that TCU, which was ranked No. 3 in last week’s BCS ratings system, should have gotten a major boost up after walloping then-fifth-ranked Utah 47-7?

And shouldn’t Boise, which ranked fourth last week, have gotten some sort of extra boost as well for playing — and thumping — the No. 1-ranked offensive team in the country, Hawaii, by a 42-7 margin?

And shouldn’t they both have benefited from dominating a much tougher opponent than Auburn had last week? But it didn’t happen.

So you explain to me why Auburn could play a weak Division I-AA Chattanooga, which was coming off a 49-35 loss to mighty Elon, smoke the Mocs 62-24, and see its BCS rating improve by 12 points, while Boise could drop by 158 points, and TCU did not benefit at all from its decidedly superior victory over Utah?

How? Why? And while we’re at it, are you bleepin’ kidding me?

We know the answer, of course. The whole thing continues to be the biggest rigged scam in the history of the big business of college sports, and somehow they keep getting away with it.

Come on, who are we kidding?

The big myth of college football is being exposed this year, even if the BCS computers, and to a certain extent the college football public, won’t universally acknowledge it.

It’s a myth that there is one conference that is somehow head and shoulders superior to the rest of college football, and I’m not convinced that there is one team that is a legitimate super team.

Everyone has shown flaws. Auburn had a hard time beating Clemson of the ACC, but no one seems to hold that against them. But Boise beats another ACC team, Virginia Tech, and it has to apologize for it? Go figure.

Don’t tell me that TCU couldn’t dominate the Big East, ACC or Big Ten. Don’t tell me for one minute that Boise State couldn’t come into the Big 12 North and handle Nebraska, Missouri or Kansas State. Name me one team in the suddenly soft Big 12 South that you think would be favored over Boise State or TCU?

In “Death to the BCS,” authors Wetzel, Peter and Passan outline beautifully every con this scandalous cartel has perpetrated. It outlines perfectly how the only thing that matters to the cartel and its henchmen is keeping as much of the money to themselves as possible and systematically excluding anyone who is not a card-carrying member of the power six conferences.

But the best thing they do in both the book and this week’s SI is show how easy it would be to have a 16-team playoff that would earn more money and spread the wealth to all Division I schools, bust up the cartel and not affect the silly bowl system, all the while proving it can be done without hurting the academic climate for the student-athletes.