- NCF/PREVIEW00 - ESPN experts: Debating the BCS

College Football Preview 2000
College Football
Weekly lineup
 Tuesday, August 15
ESPN experts: Is the BCS a good thing?
 Special to

If you want to start a lively college football debate, just mention the Bowl Championship Series.

Proponents say the BCS is the most effective way to determine a national champion while retaining the current bowl system and avoiding a drawn-out playoff format. Meanwhile, opponents allude to the BCS' heavy reliance on rankings and statistically based rating systems.

So, is the BCS good or bad for college football? We posed that question to ESPN's experts, and here's what they said:

Lee Corso
I'm all for the BCS. The only thing the BCS ever promised was a matchup between the No. 1 and the No. 2 teams, and it has delivered for two straight years. With the new television contract, you can take "playoff" out of the dictionary. You won't see a playoff for a long, long time, if ever. John Swofford has taken the place of Roy Kramer as the BCS commissioner. Kramer did a great job, but he is also the SEC commissioner, and people thought the SEC, as a dominant conference, was perhaps receiving preferential treatment. Swofford, who is also the ACC commissioner, will help the BCS's national perception.

Kirk Herbstreit
The BCS really hasn't been tested yet. People think the system is working, but if the old bowl coalition or any other system were in place, the end result probably would have been the same. For the average college football fan, the crazy computer system can be maddening to try and follow throughout an entire season. Those of us who are privy to more information courtesy of our research department have the advantage of breaking the system down easier. As a traditionalist, I like to see bowl games and disagree with the common sentiment that the only bowl game that matters is the championship game each year. Non-conference games can be fantastic, and conference games are often nothing more than a powerhouse playing a cupcake to remain undefeated. The SEC-Big Ten or Pac 10-Big 12 matchups get lots of attention and have the TV ratings and the attendence to prove it. A playoff is probably inevitable, but for now I'm still willing to give the BCS a chance.

Bill Curry
Like the New York subway, with a few obvious defects, the BCS gets us from point A to point B with the fewest casualties of any format yet suggested. If it isn't a pure tournament (and it certainly is not), at least it doesn't force physically depleted squads to play 15-16 games while attempting to navigate final exams and major religious holidays. If the BCS doesn't generate maximum cash, at least it keeps the bowl system in some reasonable facsimile of itself. And that is a system that has been wonderful for college football for almost a century. If it creates controversy, at least it does so in a fashion that keeps innumerable radio "personalities" in work for months on end. Finally, Roy Kramer (the BCS' architect and its first commissioner) can't walk through a room without people stopping to discuss some pressing issue with him, and they're not talking about the Southeastern Conference.

Rodney Gilmore
I'm in favor of the BCS because, for now, it keeps college football out of a playoff system. A playoff format would mean added games, equaling added injuries. And the time away from school would be too high a price for the players to pay. A 16-game season is too taxing for players at the college level; look at the difficulty NFL rookies have making the emotional and physical adjustment. The NCAA has shown no willingness to share the current profit it makes off the student-athletes with the student-athletes. They and individual conferences would make millions off a playoff system. But what would the kids playing the games, risking the injuries and spending the time away from the classroom get? Another warm-up suit? Tell the NCAA they can keep the warm-up suit. To that end, they should keep the BCS.

BCS not perfect, but it is two for two

BCS 101: Understanding how it works