The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Replacing the BCS

Now that the 2005 BCS National Championship race has finally ended, the organization is in the process of trying to come up with a way to replace the AP poll in their decision-making process for the 2006 game in Pasadena.

Here is my humble suggestion: why not just throw it open to any and all college football fans? No, not via some computer website or other easily-manipulated system; I'm talking a "chosen elector" voting system.

Here's how it would go: Between now and, say, April 30, solicit bids for people to become "electors" for the BCS' new third poll. The only requirements would be that you were at least 21 years of age, you have no connection to any current Division I-A football program, and you had $50 to put down as a good-faith deposit on your intentions to be a poll voter for 10 consecutive weeks, beginning in October.

The money aspect is two-fold: first, it separates the proverbial wheat from the chaff, keeping those who really want to be selectors and would take the job seriously from those who would just stuff the box for their favorite team; second, it pays for setup and, if a voter becomes derelict in his voting responsibilities, it becomes a "penalty" for failing to live up to the deal.

Nominees would be notified, either by snail-mail or e-mail, that they have been selected as a BCS Voter by June 1. Ideally, the BCS would try to whittle it down to about 1,200 candidates from what would probably be a very large group signing up. They would be notified, sometime around September 1, how they are to either log in to a website to vote, or an 800-number they could call to register their vote - along with a password and/or PIN to use with either.

Voting would begin at Midnight PT on the first Saturday/Sunday of October. The voters would have 72 hours to get their votes in to the website/phone-in log. Anyone who double-votes (votes both on the website and the phone), or doesn't vote during that 72-hour period, has their vote not count for the week. If that happens three times before the voting is complete, the voter loses his/her election privileges, their account is deactivated - and they're out the $50. Voting would be monitored by a group assigned that task by the BCS.

The voting process would be simple: all voters pick their top five teams from the 117 Division I football teams. Using the phone, a voter could just input a four-digit code to "call in" their vote. The phone system would have a redundancy check - after you input the code, it would tell you "you've chosen team X. If this is correct, press 1, otherwise, press 2." The codes would also be pretty simple (USC would be, for example, 7622 - where South Carolina would be 7227). It would even be possible for a voter to e-mail his/her picks to the BCS.

All voters who are still active after the 2006 Rose Bowl game will receive at least half of their $50 back - and, presumably, some swag for being a "BCS Selector". A BCS National Championship t-shirt, cap, maybe even a discount pass to the National College Football Association Hall of Fame. And, of course, an opportunity to stay on for the 2007 selection process.

I'm thinking it would be a great thing for the game of college football - people who want to be selectors would actually get a chance to have a say in who plays in the championship game.