Nightmare Scenario: NFL Implements BCS System in 2008 Playoffs

Nightmare Scenario: NFL Implements BCS System in 2008 Playoffs
By David A. Lane

Can you imagine? We already know how the system works among the college ranks but what would life be like if the NFL adopted the exact same system? To make the Super Bowl a team would have to win the BCS rankings outright or place second otherwise teams would play in a series of non-important consolation ‘bowl’ games. I’m already seeing the headline, ‘Uproar in Philly Due to Eagles Bowl Game Snub’.

Since the other 10 teams that don’t make the Super Bowl qualify for bowl games, there would be a lot of good teams still trying to get into the post season. The New York Giants (11-1) would be top ranked by virtue of Tennessee Titans (11-1) recent loss to the New York Jets (8-4). The Titans would definitely be ranked second and would have the edge at this time to play the Giants in the Super Bowl. Three teams tied at 9-3 who still have a decent shot at making the ‘big game’ would be ranked three through five- the (4) Tampa Bay Bucs, (3) Carolina Panthers, and (2) Pittsburg Steelers- would be close behind them in the rankings with the Steelers having played the toughest schedule and being the highest ranked.


Five more teams would make up rankings six through ten in this order all with 8-4 records: (6) Baltimore Ravens, (7) Atlanta Falcons (8) Dallas Cowboys (9) Indianapolis Colts, and the (10) Jets. Although all would still be in the title hunt at this point they’d pretty much have to run the table the rest of the way to get there. Any losses would be disastrous for these teams who could also still also easily fall out of the bowl picture completely.

Four more teams tied at 7-5- the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, and Arizona Cardinals- and one team at 6-5-1- the Eagles- would be trying to fill out the final two spots available. The Broncos and Cardinals strength of schedule hurts them and brings them down in the rankings because these teams have feasted on bad teams and play in what are perceived as weak divisions. The Redskins therefore, would qualify at number 11 leaving two teams- the Vikings and Eagles- to fill out the final spot.

Because the BCS computer almost has these two ranked equally- the Eagles played a tougher schedule and beat winning teams such as the Steelers, Falcons, and Cardinals, but were brought down big time thanks to their tie with the lowly Cincinnati Bengals (1-10-1). The Minnesota Vikings did beat the Panthers but otherwise lost to other winning teams they played and beat teams they should have along the way. Since the BCS computer sees the Vikings as being more consistent and partially because they haven’t lost a game late in the season, they take them as the number 12 ranked team and the Eagles lose their bowl game. Philadelphia is in commotion and there is a public outcry for a ‘real playoff system’.

How much would television ratings come into the decision of who would play the title game or which teams would appear in the bowl games? Would the New York Jets qualify for the Super Bowl because they beat the Tennessee Titans last week? How far would the same Jets fall after their dismal showing in last weekend’s loss against the Denver Broncos? We all know that the Titans and New York Giants would be 1-2 going into this week, and, if the playoffs ended today it would give us a Super Bowl that already seems like a foregone conclusion, however, speculation abounds.

Now let’s presume that the Jets ended up tied with the Titans at the end of the season, both of them tied for second with 12-4 records behind the Giants at 13-3. Most think that the Jets who played the tougher schedule and beat the Titans straight up should end up in the title game yet for some reason the computer gives the nod to Tennessee thanks to style points. The out cry would not only be incredible but the injustice would be enormous. Thanks to the chaos that ensues, Brett Favre decides to retire.

If you happen to be a Texas Longhorn fan, you already know the pain I speak of unfortunately. There is no reasonable explanation that could ever make sense to you because your Longhorns beat the team that ultimately plays for the Big 12 Title and very likely plays for the national championship game where it counts- on the field and not on paper- but it just didn’t matter. Like the Jets in this scenario, the BCS will be leaving out the best team if they do in fact choose Oklahoma over the ‘Horns’ for the championship game making the whole process of choosing who is truly number one merely a popularity contest. Thanks to the NFL for choosing what is a way better playoff system for its teams whose players leave everything on the field almost every week of the season and whose loyal fans deserve a final conclusion that’s fitting enough to name a unanimous champion at seasons end.