It is all too fitting that the final BCS National Championship game will take place at the Rose Bowl near Los Angeles, California. For several decades the Rose Bowl has been known as the “Granddaddy of Them All”. This phrase was coined years ago when the Rose Bowl game often determined the national championship. This was well before the BCS was part of the college football bowl system. This season the Rose Bowl will host the “Granddaddy of Them All” but it will take place five days after the Rose Bowl game. The Rose Bowl will take place on January 1st while the BCS National Championship will be played on Monday, January 6th, 2013. This is sure to be one of the most sought after tickets in BCS Championship history because it will be the final championship game in the current format.
How the BCS Works
In 1998, the Bowl Championship Series was formed to crown the NCAA college football champion. Prior to the BCS it was often the case that the top two teams in the country did not play for the championship at the end of the season. In the 1980s and 1990s there were several split national championships because bowl games had conference affiliations that did not allow the top two teams to play. In fact, as I child I can remember the #1 team playing the #11 or #12 team in a bowl game. It was not good for the fans nor the sport. This was the reason we have seen the BCS over the last fifteen years. As the college football landscape has evolved it has changed many things about the bowl system. One issue with the current BCS is the computer system that is involved. In the 1980s and 1990s computers did not factor into the ranking system. Today they are a very big part of the BCS ranking system.
Computers are used to gauge many factors related to college football teams. It would be impossible to explain all the metrics. In short, the computers will analyze a team based on the opponents they have played and, more importantly, the opponents they have defeated. Unfortunately, a team cannot determine what other teams do with their schedule. It is also true that college football programs create their schedule years in advance. If Texas schedules LSU in 2013 for the 2018 season they expect LSU to be a top 15 program as they are now. If LSU loses their coach and some of their recruiting classes are not stellar it may very well be that LSU is not a top 50 program when they play Texas five years from now. Is this the fault of the Texas athletic department? Absolutely not. The computers will not like the schedule simply because of circumstances Texas does not control.
Another issue with the current BCS system is the fact that three undefeated teams cannot play in one game. If Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State go undefeated in the 2013 season one of these teams will be left out of the BCS National Championship in January of 2014. This is a huge cause for concern as fans in different parts of the country will have their issues with who gets it. Is Oregon a better team than Ohio State because they play in the Pac-12? Is Alabama better than both Oregon and Ohio State because they have won three of the last four national championships? These are questions that will be answered much differently by different experts and fans.
The ultimate goal of the BCS was to place the #1 and #2 teams in the national championship game. No matter what fans may say about the current BCS there is no argument to be made that the #1 and #2 teams will play on January 6th, 2014. Whether or not these are the two best teams in the country is an argument for another time. In the future this argument will not be valid as there will be a college football playoff in which the top four teams will get in. It will be the first time in college football history that a playoff will be part of the championship process.
The Rose Bowl and the BCS have had a great relationship since 1998. The BCS currently has four bowl games before the BCS National Championship Game. These bowl games are the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl. All four locations are in warm weather climates as this attracts fans from all over the country. Many fans from northern teams love to travel south for New Years. Some will even make it a long holiday and travel to Los Angeles, California for the Christmas holiday as well. There are very few bowl games, in general, that are played in cold weather climates as January in the United States is not enjoyable in some of the states that are in the northern part of the country.
Los Angeles and the Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl Stadium is located in Pasadena, California but most people consider it in Los Angeles. It is in Los Angeles County and the University of California at Los Angeles plays their home games in this stadium. The first Rose Bowl game was played in Pasadena in 1923 and there has only been one Rose Bowl game played outside of the stadium. The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Even the most diehard college football fans do not know this tidbit of trivia.
When visiting Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl and/or BCS National Championship in January 2014 many fans will look in to some of the local attractions. The Parade or Roses will take place during the day on January 1st, 2014 and it is quite the event. If fans are taking the long vacation for both games it would be smart to plan ahead. Even though Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the world it never hurts to come up with a plan instead of just winging it when you get there. Los Angeles County is huge and those from small towns in the south might be overwhelmed with all the options. Teams in the Southeastern Conference may be excited to go to Hollywood but it takes a little bit of preparation. Those in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Eugene, Oregon or Tuscaloosa, Alabama love the college town atmosphere but that is very much different than the bright lights of Hollywood.
With the advancements of smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet access it is much easier to navigate a large city. Google Now allows users to ask Google for suggestions. This service continues to get better over time as Google better understands the type of food one may or may not like. Apple has something very similar with Siri. Instead of wandering around Los Angeles aimlessly anyone with a smartphone can now get walking directions to the closest sushi bar or steakhouse. This was not possible just five years ago. One of the best ways to navigate the Rose Bowl area is to take advantage of the Google Maps and Yelp apps. These apps are priceless when it comes to dining and entertainment options. Even if you want to get in a quick round of golf you will be able to find options through these two apps.
Booking a hotel or a place to stay in Los Angeles is another tough decision for diehard college football fans. In small college towns it is not hard to drive a motorhome to the stadium and stay for a few nights. Some families have a parking spot right outside the stadium they have used for several decades. This is not going to be possible at major bowl games. It is definitely not possible at the Rose Bowl as the stadium staff will have to clean up the stadium after the Rose Bowl on January 1st for the BCS National Championship game that will take place on January 6th. It might be hard for some fans to fly to LAX, rent a car and book a hotel room. This is something they are not accustomed to when it comes to watching their favorite team play in a college football game. Anyone that has been to big time football in the southeast knows that fans have their way of life and they enjoy it just the way it is.
When these fan bases go to other major cities it is not easy to adjust. That said, they are willing to do anything to watch their favorite college football team play. If the team in the BCS title game is their alma mater they may have waited decades to watch them win a championship. This is not the case with Alabama as they have won three national championships in the last four years. Teams like Notre Dame, Oregon and Clemson have not won national championships in decades so their fans will be ready to roll into Pasadena and take over the Rose Bowl.
By Jesse Wojdylo