Most of the college football world is waiting with bated breath for tonight's BCS Selection Show that will announce which team will face undefeated Louisana State in the BCS championship game, Alabama or Oklahoma State. Both teams have dominated most of their opponents, with their one losses coming against LSU and Iowa State, respectively. I, of course, have spent the morning laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Any other sport that wants to decide which of two teams is better in a postseason would have them play one another, or at least put them in a playoff bracket where they'd have to win their way through. But not college football – they decide things by voting and computers!
Thins morning I was mulling over better ways of choosing between Alabama and Oklahoma State than the BCS, for what was going to be humorous tweets to annoy the football fans that follow me (Both of them!). But, then the bad pop-economics books I've been subjected to kicked in. Economics can love everything! Revealed preferences! The free market! In a flash, the answer came to me.
Auction the spot off to the highest bidder.
Obviously, we can't just let every school bid on a chance at the championship. We don't want Texas walking away with it, after all. But open it up to the Top 14 in the BCS rankings, the same pool from which the rest of the BCS bowls will be filled from. I personally would think that a representatives from the fourteen schools holding up paddles while listening to the rapid-fire patter of a tobacco auctioneer would make for riveting television, but since the NCAA is a little sensitive about the role of money in the system, I'll settle for a silent auction.
What? You can't think that money has no place in deciding who plays in a BCS game. One of the other reasons football fans are tuning into the selection show is to see if Michigan (10-2) squeaks into the top 14. If they do, they're almost guaranteed a BCS bowl bid ahead of at least five or six teams ranked higher than them, and why? Ticket sales, fans that travel, and television ratings, all of which bring in money. And nobody blinks an eye. It's treated as perfectly reasonable that Michigan, who might get to 14th out of a disaster of a conference this season, is BCS bowl bound if they do. Hell, the whole concept of a BCS Championship game was to stave of calls for a playoff and bring in a fifth BCS bowl game, all to keep those profits exactly where they belong – in the pockets of BCS conferences and their member institutions.
Sure, the first year or two it'll seem a little crass. But schools will start using econometrics to calculate exactly how much they're willing to
bet on invest in their team's championship hopes. Mathematics and economics departments will get a bit of that sweet athletic department money. Coaches will no longer have to couch their recruiting pitches in the strength of the facilities or the number of TV appearances a player will get at their school. They can come right with, "Our alumni are willing to pledge the support to get you in the Championship Game."
Let's do this. Solicit the bids, get it on the air, and get the people the football game they want in January. The one they're willing to pay for. Auction off that football game today.