The answer: Auburn.
The question: Who is the most recent victim of the mess known as the BCS?
Hey Auburn, we know how you feel.
Last year, when USC was left out of the BCS title game, the city of Los Angeles (minus a small contingent in Westwood) let out a collective groan. OU, LSU and USC all had the same 1-loss record, but only two could tango so USC was banished to the Rose Bowl.
Here we are, one year later and once again the BCS will leave a deserving team on the outside looking in at the title game. The difference: Auburn was not on top of both human polls like USC in 2003. Another difference is that this year both USC and Oklahoma, the two team who will meet in the BCS title game in Miami, won their conference. Last year, the Kansas State won the Big 12, beating OU in the conference's title game, but the BCS still allowed OU to play for the national championship. While Auburn also won its conference, it was simply farther behind in the polls.
Any way you look at it, the system is flawed. USC went undefeated in a top conference (Pac-10) and got a bid to the Orange Bowl. Oklahoma went undefeated in a top conference (Big 12) and got a bid to the Orange Bowl. Auburn went undefeated in a top conference (the SEC, arguably the traditionally strongest conference in college football) and can play for third. That's horseshit!
Last year, USC could complain about flaws and how the system failed: They topped both human polls, and a team that didn't win its conference was in the title game. BIG FAILURES! People could easily say the 2003 BCS didn't work.
This year, the human polls and the BCS agree. Both teams are conference champs. But what about Auburn? I'm not saying I'd rather see them in the title game instead of the Trojans, but how can a team in a major conference go undefeated and still not be able to at least play for the national title? That's just wrong.
This system isn't working. A playoff is clearly necessary. There is no other way to do it.
Here's my solution:
The top 6 teams in country go into a playoff tree formatted just like the NFL's conference playoffs. That allows the BCS to expand to five games, which it's looking to do.
The top two teams would have a bye.
The third-seed would play the sixth, and the fourth would play the fifth.
The first and second ranked teams would play the winners of those games in the national semifinals.
The winners would advance to the title game - the fifth game in this playoff.
While critics would ask, "What about the seventh-ranked team?" the line between the top teams in the country is evident moreso after the top six than the top two. With six computers and two human polls, there would be much, much less controversy over the sixth-seed than for one of two spots in the title game under the current format.
Now explain to me how that doesn't solve the problem?