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Wednesday Happy Hour is wondering what's in a name

Goodnight sweet prince.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Goodnight sweet prince. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The BCS is dead, this much we know. The powers at the top of the sport have assured us of this, and it makes a lot of sense. Even if the eventual plan that is settled on ends up being the dreaded plus-one -- something that still includes bowls and thus could accurately be named a Bowl Championship Series -- the name BCS has been almost universally reviled for its entire existence. In terms of PR moves, this one was a no brainer.

However, that pesky "Bowl" thing could end up sticking around more than just in the "Jim Delany wants the Rose Bowl to mean something in a playoff" sorta way. While it seemed that a four team playoff (inside or out of the bowls) was all but assured, rumblings of a plus-one are still there, and the people at the top of the sport seem intent on getting their way. However, that overlooks the inherent problem with a plus-one. Matt Hinton explains:

Of course, it may not look like such a problem from where Jim Delany and Larry Scott are sitting, now that their chief rivals for a seat in any championship format have agreed to a de facto elimination round in the form of the Champions Bowl; from that perspective, a plus-one format may be in the Big Ten and Pac-12's interest, even if it's a setback for the basic concept of settling the championship question on the field. And of course, given enough time, a four-team playoff will spawn virtually identical complaints and calls for further expansion. That's how it goes.

But the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. By any measure, a four-team playoff is a giant step in the right direction. Set aside the petty squabbles over how the teams are selected or where the games will be played: The important thing is that a system that finally embraces the concept of deciding a football champion by actually playing football is within reach. That is the change fans – and increasingly coaches and other power brokers at the university and conference levels – have anticipated and advocated for decades. Any playoff format that could realistically exist will be an improvement on an untenable status quo. A plus-one would double down on it.

It isn't just about the process, but about the very meaning of "Champion" that the BCS and NCAA foist upon us every year. It is time to move away from a system that leaves us searching for answers to who deserves what, and a plus-one ultimately won't solve the problem, just push back the time at which the NCAA will take the harried but logical step to some form of playoff.

What makes this worse than what we’ve got now is that this whole fiasco will be sold to college football fans as an improvement over the status quo (from the standpoint of conference bank accounts, it would be). When reality hits, the anger and frustration will be even more palpable than it already is. And that’s not a good thing. It’ll likely force these guys back to the table to scramble to come up with yet another fix. It’s pretty clear already that knee-jerk reactions to short-term problems aren’t their strong suit.

Way to go, NCAA power brokers. Just when I thought you couldn't be any dumber you bring back the plus-one debate. But by all means, get rid of that BCS name. I'm sure that'll make things markedly better.


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