The strength of the BCS system

The BCS isn't a perfect playoff system, but it does one thing better than most

Originally Published: December 5, 2011
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Les Miles and Nick SabanMarvin Gentry/US PresswireLes Miles and Nick Saban guide the top-two BCS teams into the national title game.

The BCS final standings are out and the pairings are set. And as with almost every year, an incredible level of scrutiny was ushered in when the announcement became official that the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide would stage a rematch for the national championship. College football's postseason permits two -- and only two -- participants in its playoff, leaving many fans feeling underwhelmed, especially those in Stillwater, Okla.

If the "regular season is a playoff," why will the first game between Alabama and LSU back on Nov. 5 ultimately mean nothing in the BCS title chase? Every other major sport features a multi-round playoff format, so what would be the problem with creating one for FBS football?

We're not going to make a case against a playoff as an exciting -- and perhaps more fulfilling -- conclusion to the college football season. But there is also a case to be made that the current BCS system more consistently crowns the best team in the sport with its trophy, while playoff systems in other sports reward only the team with the hottest finish.

The best team playing the second-best team for the title is worth something, right? Well, it's not that simple.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site,