The question was raised even before the final piece of confetti floated from the ceiling of the University of Phoenix Stadium. Had the BCS gotten it right?
Auburn was crowned the national champion on Jan. 10, but somewhere off in the night, TCU and its fans wondered, "What if?"
For BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, speaking to the Football Writers Association of America earlier that day, his message was loud and clear. The BCS got it right.
I agree, Hancock is right. The BCS does work ... but it needs to be tweaked.
Now before you toss your paper/computer/mobile device into the fire, hear me out.
I agree with some of Hancock's points about the BCS. Eliminating the bowl system would cost student-athletes the opportunities to see new places and experience new things. Players visited Orlando, Hawaii, Memphis and so on and were treated to great experiences at local attractions.
For some of these student-athletes, the travel experience was a first, many never having traveled beyond their home state's borders.
Yes, there can be only one. However, for every Auburn there are handfuls of teams that had the best season their school has ever had and they deserve a championship moment.
I saw this with my own eyes when moments after N.C. State defeated West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wolfpack players were high-fiving fans in the stands and celebrating the win on the field. The euphoria wasn't dampened by the fact that their trophy wasn't crystal.
In a playoff system, many teams that deserve that bowl championship moment are robbed. In a playoff system, they're losers.
On many levels, the bowl system works.
However, here are my points of contention. I believe the bowl season is too long.
The national championship game was played on Jan. 10, 37 days after Auburn took its last snap. Yes, there are hardcore fans but attention spans are short and in the days of are you even still reading this column, more than a month is an eternity. It's too long for fans to wait and it's too long for players to sit cold.
The rustiness by both teams was evident during the first quarter of the game. Oh, and by the way, these are schools and second-semester had already started for both.
Remember when it actually meant something to play bowl games on New Year's Day?
Second, there are just far too many bowl games. Thirty-five to be exact. C'mon, do we really need the BBVA Compass and the Kraft Fight Hunger bowls?
It cheapens the championship moment I was referring to when teams that are barely .500 are sent to bowl games because the game demands opponents. With so many bowl games, it spreads the dollars thin and many teams are losing money.
It may not be a perfect system but it's the best one we have.
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of viewers who watched the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 10. Auburn's 22-19 win over Oregon was the most-watched program in cable television history. However the game, which was the first BCS Championship broadcast on ESPN, was down 11 percent from last year's Alabama-Texas matchup. That game drew 30.8 million viewers and was carried on ABC.
ON THE MENU
Fueling the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry: Ohio State president E. Godron Gee has been trying to keep a low profile when it comes to college football as of late. Gee's infamous, "Little Sisters of the Poor" comments concerning Boise State and TCU's toughness of schedule for the BCS got him in some hot water. So, it was surprising to see him speak up about Michigan's hiring of Brady Hoke on Wednesday. Gee told the Detroit News that Buckeyes fans should be worried about the Wolverines' new coach.
"They've hired a fine new coach. This guy's a builder. He's going to do great," Gee said. "If you're an Ohio State fan, you fear him."
Right. By the way, let's not forget that Ohio State has won nine of the last 10 meetings in this series.
Cleaning his closet for a good cause: Former Michigan coach Rich Rodrguez donated 432 Wolverines items ranging from caps, shirts, and jackets that he's accumulated over the past three seasons in Ann Arbor to the Salvation Army, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Salvation Army auctioned off 161 pieces that earned $12,930.No word yet if Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor stopped by to sell some of his stuff as well.
NCAA, Westwood One reach deal: Westwood One and the NCAA reached an agreement on a new multiyear deal that allows Westwood One to remain the exclusive radio network of NCAA Championships. The radio network will continue to broadcast the men's and women's NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Final Fours as well as other sports on its more than 450 radio stations as well as the exclusive online and mobile provider.
Oregon opens new digs: Oregon unveiled the Matthew Knight Arena Thursday night with a rousing 68-62 win over USC but the bigger show was the facilities. Costing close to $200 million to build, the arena has a state-of-the-art scoreboard and a unique brown-and-tan court that represents a skyward look through a fir forest but it received mixed reactions from fans, players and media alike. USC coach Kevin O'Neill put it best after the game. "It's a nice arena. Two hundred million dollars gets you a nice arena."
Tough crowd: Memphis suspended Wesley Witherspoon indefinitely Thursday. According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the junior forward was punished for mocking an assistant coach on the team bus following the Tigers' 64-58 loss to SMU on Wednesday. Apparently Witherspoon took the bus' loudspeaker and mimicked the coach, who had been upset with the team following the loss. The Atlanta native has had his struggles recently, losing his starting spot on the team in recent weeks. He is the team's second-leading scorer with 11.5 points per game. It's the second player that second-year coach Josh Painter has suspended this season. In November, he suspended Jelan Kendrick for threatening a teammate.