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Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series Hardcover – October 14, 2010
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About the Author
Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan write for Yahoo! Sports, the most read sports site on the Web. Wetzel has coauthored four books, including the New York Times bestseller Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph with Alonzo Mourning, and lives in Michigan. Peter is an award-winning investigative journalist who has earned national attention for his reporting on the Bowl Championship Series. In 2005, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a series on race and high school football in the South. He lives in Los Angeles. Passan has won multiple Associated Press sports editors awards and lives in Kansas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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First, I must comment that I don't like books to persuade your opinion which start with blatant statements of how stupid the other side is. A good debate requires some level of understanding how and why the other side could be right rather than a political debate that has total disdain for the other side. However, once the authors begin the theory I have to admit that my thoughts were changed somewhat. Why do I not think a playoff is a panacea? Well, being on the athletic board of a Conference USA team with a mediocre football team, how could we ever compete for athletes when BCS schools with massive football factories can sell the ability to play for the big prize? You really can't. But you also can't compete with the money that the bad BCS schools have. And that's somewhat what the book attacks. Its main strength is the logic that bad bowls provide graft for local bowl directors (think $600,000 salaries of once a year games) and an avenue to help the lower tier BCS teams. The book spends substantial time showing the absurdity of these games and builds a compelling case that the few profitable bowls pay for these unprofitable bowls. I remember Stanford going to the Rose Bowl and the President saying they would lose money on that trip. Is that possible? Well, evidently so.
So we are governed by a system not controlled by the NCAA which feeds local bowl committees well and doesn't maximize revenue by 200%? Well, maybe they're right and the system should be changed. His most compelling arguments show the BCS commissioners hiring a public relations firm after every statement they make. Unfortunately the correctness of the current system being the best in these statements is always being shot down. The BCS arguments really do begin to look ludicrous like they are hiding something. They're not. They just control the money and want to continue to control the money.
This is not typically the type books I like as sports is discussed entirely too much. But their arguments here are strong and have managed to sway my opinion. I recommend this short, fast read to provide good information for which you may not be aware.
Everyone knows the current system is a bad joke. Year after year, college football's fans are treated to a debatable "national champion" with one or two legitimate contenders consistently excluded. This year, it is entirely possible that one of two extremely legitimate and undefeated candidates (TCU or Boise State) may not even be invited to a BCS bowl. Absurd!!!
One by one, the authors blow up the myths perpetuated by the BCS to explain why a playoff is not practical....be it a plus one, a sixteen team playoff or something in between. Most enlightening was the extensive discussion of the current bowl system including its minimal impact on most local economies, its embarrassingly low level of charitable giving and the often high costs to participating schools. The absurdities of the human and computer rankings are also well explored.
The book does have some flaws. First, I was disappointed that the authors did not spend more time explaining exactly how the BCS is structured and why it has such traction. Similarly, I would have liked to have seen a discussion of the relationship between the BCS and the NCAA and why, if the money in a playoff system is so much greater, we don't already have one. We all know that both the NCAA and the BCS are really about the money.
Another shortfall to me was that I felt like the authors were shouting at me throughout the book. I also had the feeling that, while they are generally right, they play a little loose with some of their financial calculations. I am not sure that even Big Ten fans will sell out their stadiums at $150 per ticket when their teams play the Sun Belt champ in the freezing rain.... Finally, I fail to see the magic of the Rose Bowl and why the authors feel it should become the Omaha of college football. I would vote for the Superdome (or Jerry World), but that is just me.
In the end, this is a very informative book that every college fan and every college president should read. It provides a real framework for a solution to a crazy system that seems to serve primarily the Big Ten.
In Chapter 1 is the line: "Only in one sport does the NCAA not crown an official champion: Division 1-A football."
This book outlines in great (and in infuriating detail for college FB fans such as myself) as to why.
Some reviewers here and elsewhere have described this book as giving them "hope."
It does. And here is a sentence in chapter 13, in which the authors lay out the huge impact of the Internet:
"Each year, another group of young fans demanding modernization of the sport is born while a group that still believes in the value of backslaps and cherishes memories of the Bluebonnet Bowl fades away. The demographics will eventually topple the system."
Buy this book. Pass it along.
There is absolutely no sane reason whatsoever why there shouldn't be a playoff in major college football, and this book eviscerates any and all arguments for the nonsensical, insane "system" that college FB fans are forced to endure.
It's only a matter of time before there is a playoff, and this book is the beginning of the end of idiocy, and power-hungry A-holes.
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