SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ProCon.org, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity dedicated to promoting critical thinking, created the new website http://www.collegefootball.procon.org to explore the core question "Should college football replace the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) with a playoff system?"
The number one and number two college football teams, selected by the various polls and ratings used over time, played each other in post-season bowl games eight times out of 57 seasons (14%) between 1936 and 1992, when the first bowl coalition (a bowl agreement preceding the BCS) began. Since the creation of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, the top two teams (according to the Associated Press poll) have met eight out of 11 seasons (73%), a fact that the BCS proponents consider to be evidence that the system is working.
However, the BCS has detractors in high levels of government. President Obama supports a playoff system. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) argues that the BCS violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced an Act on Jan. 9, 2009 to make it illegal to advertise or promote a "national champion" in college football unless that team was the final winner of a national playoff system. In fact, 85% of college football fans in a 2007 Gallup poll supported changing to a playoff system.
The BCS has resisted these pressures, and continues to argue that the BCS rating system is objective, fair, and superior to a playoff system. The BCS has been frequently maligned for excluding undefeated teams from national championship games (University of Utah in 2004 and 2008 and Boise State University in 2006) while one-loss teams have competed for top honors. They have been further criticized for giving preferential treatment to teams in six specific "BCS conferences," and for making special accommodations to include the University of Notre Dame as a "BCS school." To work on improving its image, the BCS hired the former director of the popular NCAA basketball tournament, Bill Hancock, as its first Executive Director on Nov. 17, 2009; launched a Twitter page on Nov. 19, 2009; and hired George W. Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer as its official spokesman on Nov. 21, 2009.
Proponents of a playoff system argue that it is the only fair and objective way to determine the true number one team each year. Playoff opponents argue that the current BCS system with its multiple ratings factors (human polls, win-loss records, strength of schedule, etc.) is the best indicator of the country's best teams. Opponents further contend that athletes, fans, and sponsors benefit from the BCS system because the bowl games generate more profits for more schools and their local economies, plus the BCS system keep the season at least three weeks shorter than a playoff system would so student athletes can focus on their schoolwork.
The latest ProCon.org website explores these pro and con arguments and includes sources, images, videos, reader comments, and a section of little known facts called "Did You Know?" Some facts from the site include:
1. 43% of Americans say that football is their favorite sport to watch, more than three times any other sport.
2. In 2008, a record 37.5 million people attended college football games.
3. Nearly $250 million in bowl game revenue was paid out in 2008 to over 100 colleges and universities via their 11 respective conferences. Bowl game payments to schools are expected to total more than $2.5 billion over the next 10 years.
4. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame's football team was estimated to have generated $97 million (through ticket sales, merchandising, TV deals, etc.) for the university's other sports, academic programs, and the local economy of South Bend, Indiana.
5. From 1998-2008, nine undefeated teams were excluded from the BCS National Championship game while teams with one or more losses were included. Eight of those excluded nine teams were non-BCS schools.
ProCon.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship. ProCon.org websites are free, require no registration, contain no advertising, and have no bias.
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