- Associated Press - Sunday, November 20, 2011

Those who try to pass off the BCS as the best thing for college football will use the latest wild and riveting weekend of upsets and dramatic finishes as an example of why a playoff is a bad thing.

“Every game counts,” is the slogan BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock likes to work into the Bowl Championship Series press releases.

If there was a playoff, he and his followers argue, the tension-filled games that resulted in Oklahoma State, Oregon and Oklahoma getting kicked to the back of the queue in the national championship race wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.

Don’t believe them.

More than anything, this season is proving that the regular season is by no means a playoff _ Alabama wasn’t eliminated by losing to LSU, and Oklahoma State wasn’t eliminated by falling at Iowa State _ and having a real one would only increase the fun.

There are arguments to be made against the BCS beyond the fact that it’s an unsatisfying way to crown a champion.

But we’ll leave the not-at-all-small matter of whether the Bowl Championship Series is a legal and ethical way for major college football to conduct its multibillion dollar business for another time. There are intriguing arguments on both sides and at some point antitrust attorneys might have to make those in a courtroom.

We’ll concentrate on the competition.

Heading into the final two weeks of the season there are eight teams with either zero or one loss in major college football. Of those teams, it’s safe to say that six _ LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Stanford, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech _ have a shot to reach the BCS national championship game Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

Sorry, Boise State and Houston, have no real shot, and that alone should be enough to make you want a playoff.

During the final two weeks of the season, the only games with national championship implications involve those six teams _ sort of. In reality, as long as LSU and Alabama take care of business, the rest are moot, too.

The Big Ten might as well not even exist (SEC fans’ dream). Same goes for the Big East (yes, the Big East still exists). How much more interesting would the scramble for the Big East crown be if there was a long-shot chance to make a national championship run _ or at least to pull a playoff upset _ waiting for the winner?

The argument against a playoff is that it would lessen the importance of games such as Iowa State’s 37-31 double OT upset over Oklahoma State, which was two victories away from playing for the BCS title before stumbling in Ames.

Maybe it would, but wouldn’t that be more than made up by the fact that additional teams would be alive in the national championship chase as the season winds down?

Iowa State-Oklahoma State loses some drama, but Penn State-Ohio State, Wisconsin-Illinois and, now, Penn State-Wisconsin gain a lot.

Story Continues →