The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics
Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

College football needs own playoff

Guest Column by Billy Littlejohn

Every sport you watch on TV concludes in some sort of playoff system. Whether it’s the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS or most NCAA sports, there is ultimately a playoff at the end of the season, which helps choose a deserving champion. The exception to this is NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which instead uses the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system.

In essence, the BCS system makes the regular season an actual playoff. If you don’t go undefeated or have just one loss, your team is presumably out of the running for a spot in the BCS national championship game.

FBS football needs to adopt a playoff format for its national championship. This would make its ultimate champion more deserving and help prevent criticism of polls from being biased and shortsighted at bay.

Story continues below advertisement

Some might say the BCS system is on par with the other playoff systems in other leagues and sports in choosing a deserving champion. I do not think this argument holds a lot of value.

It makes the eventual champion succeed mostly based on a skill to win games in the regular season and the strength of their schedule.

Other leagues such as the NFL make their champions win enough games to make it to postseason. Afterwards, teams must beat the best teams in the league who were also able to make the postseason to become champions.

For example, let’s look at what happened in this year’s NFL playoff so far. The Green Bay Packers lost only one game during the regular season, but ended up completely fizzling out and didn’t even win a playoff game, losing to the New York Giants.

Instead, we find the Giants playing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. This type of scenario could never happen in FBS with its current system.

The NFL scenario with basically the same rules as the BCS would have had the Packers playing one of the three teams in the NFL with a 13-3 regular season record.

That isn’t what happened though. Why? It’s because the NFL has a playoff system. The NFL’s Super Bowl has a team with the second best record in the league playing a team with a record barely good enough to get into the playoffs. This is why NCAA Division I FBS needs a playoff system, to give teams a chance to be champions.

Today, the BCS national championship game is about having a perfect regular season. It’s about having a big collegiate football program that has multi-million dollar TV contracts with media companies. It’s about having a big football program that can gain positive bias in the preseason poll rankings and hope to run the table and be given a seat to play for the national championship.

This bias in preseason rankings hurt schools in smaller athletic conferences, like it did to Boise State University the year they accomplished the now famous “Statue of Liberty play.” This is one of the reasons Boise State is now moving from the smaller Mountain West Conference to the larger Big East Conference.

If we expect fairness in choosing a college football champion, then smaller schools and conferences need an equal chance without the bias granted to big-school college football programs such as Alabama and USC in the preseason.

Eliminating the bias in the polls would fix the problem. There seems only one way to fix the bias: through a playoff system.

If FBS had a playoff system like the NFL did, we would have much more excitement for fans and a champion who would be deserving of that title.

A team like Oregon could have made a run in a NCAA playoff system and had another chance at beating LSU like Alabama did.

Unless FBS gets a playoff system, there will always be debates about the flaws of the current BCS system. It is time to learn from the other sport leagues and initiate a playoff system.

More to Discover