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Death to the BCS

Three sportswriters call for sacking the Bowl Championship Series and replacing it with a true playoff.

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Death to the BCS:
The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series
By Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, Jeff Passan
Penguin
208 pp.

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The college football season ends tonight as undefeated teams from Auburn and Oregon tangle in the BCS Championship Game (or Bowl Championship Series Championship Game, if you like redundancy).

This may come as news to millions of people on the street who continue to think the season ends on New Year’s Day. The BCS remains not only a source of confusion, but of controversy, especially for hard-core fans and media members who cry out for a true championship playoff rather than an arranged postseason based on subjective rankings, computer-generated polls, and a complex formula.

The views of this disgruntled camp are perhaps best summarized by three sportswriters who’ve devoted a whole book to their arguments: Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series. Their thesis is that the BCS format, which tries to maintain traditional bowl games while grafting a championship game on to the process, has been a disaster since initiated in the 1990s, and should be replaced by a 16-team national playoff.

The authors – Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan, who write for the Yahoo! Sports website – point out that Barack Obama and John McCain agreed on little during the 2008 presidential race other than their dislike of the BCS. The US Justice Department has even announced it might open an investigation into the legality of the BCS, which the authors contend is not a formal organization so much as a faceless cartel knitted together by a series of contracts.

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