First off: Yes, I'm an Alabama fan. Yes, this argument is extremely convenient to me right now, today.
But NO, I did not make this argument up today because it suits my purposes. In fact, if you look at the list, I think you will be able to tell that I have been brooding over this for years. The fact is, basing a national championship on conference championships is a very bad idea, for a lot of reasons.
Reasons that are explained below the jump.
First, please tell me one good reason a conference championship should be a prerequisite to a national championship. I have been hearing this "must win your conference" thing for years, but I have yet to hear a single cogent reason why that would make for a better selection process.
Please. One good reason it would help us pick a better national champ.
Now let me list a few reasons it is a very bad idea:
(1) It’s completely arbitrary and local as to how conference affiliations--and conference championships--are determined.
(2) Teams that aren’t in conferences are screwed and at a huge disadvantage.
(3) The only way to cure #2 is to enforce mandatory conference composition, and since the 120 schools are all independent entities, that will never happen.
(4) In fact, the conferences are currently on a wild merry-go-round, where they get off nobody knows, so depending on them to make logical, dependable determinations to set up your system is totally insane.
(5) Conferences are, of course, far, far from equal, so treating them at equal is nothing but importing a falsehood, and a problem, into the selection process.
(6) Look at how screwed up the BCS bowls have been since they went to conference champ lock-ins. Frickin’ Connecticut was in last year, the worst team that has ever played in a major bowl, and Louisville missed by a hair this year of topping that and being even worse than Connecticut.
Why import this obvious problem into the championship selection process?
(7) Currently it's the SEC that would get jobbed by this process, but if some other conference comes along in a few years and establishes superiority, then that conference will be ripped off instead. Basically, whichever conference establishes excellence on the playing field will be rewarded by getting screwed, blued and tatooed by any system that auto-selects conference champs and excludes others. There can only be one champ of the SEC, but the SEC is probably going to have 2 to 3 of the 8 best teams more years than not, and the top 2 will not be a rarety.
What value is more important than getting the best teams in? Once you let in your Louisvilles, Connecticuts and Clemsons, every spot they get is a spot taken away from a deserving team. Getting the teams in that deserve to be in is the most important value, hands down. If you disagree with that statement, please oh please tell me why.
(8) What’s to prevent, say, Texas from screwing the system over? Hello, Rice, Baylor, Texas Tech, North Texas, etc., join my new Texas Conference and I’ll give you a share of my TV cut and then we’ll let the conference champ go to the tourney!
(9) Who decides which conferences count, and which don't? Remember, we’ve just had the Big East counting over the Mountain West which was CLEARLY a better conference over the last 3 years. Also remember that you have to make this determination anew over and over because you will never be able to pick X number of conferences that are always the best. The only dependable thing about that is that it always changes.
I’m sure I’m leaving out other problems, too, because I just threw this quicklie list together. But the bottom line is that 120 independent units thing. There is just no way to fairly divide those teams up into groups that can fairly and reliably determine champions that go on to a playoff. No. Way. It’s impossible.
A conference champs rule for BCS/playoff inclusion is nothing but trouble. Leave that to the locals and make a national system for a national championship. I'd propose a playoff of some sort, but whatever it is, it should NOT be based on conference championships.
NOTE: In case this looks familiar to any of you, it is based on a comment I made in a fanpost. I thought it might spark some good discussion--and OK, I also thought it mght provide folks with some ammo for certain outside conversations that are going on--so here it is.