NCAA still needs a better system for deciding postseason

It’s always the fine print that gets you.
And it’s the newly added fine print in the Bowl Championship Series that’s going to cause trouble.
There’s a rule new to the poll this year that makes it possible for a team to be excluded from the championship game if it doesn’t have an average rank in the top 12 over the past four years.
Enter Marshall and Chad Pennington. The Thundering Herd have an 8-0 record this year, but are no higher than 13th in any of the polls.
Let’s play the imagination game now. Suppose that Marshall finishes the season ranked in the top five of the BCS standings. They should make it into one of the four BCS bowls, right?
If the BCS coalition wants to, it can exclude the Herd from the bowl picture simply because they’re not a traditional powerhouse. The BCS favors teams of long-standing power. But how are teams supposed to come up and start a new dynasty?
The problem has deeper roots. College football is in a class with track and swimming as an NCAA sport without a playoff process — and at least track and swimming take athletes from more than a couple of schools.
And let’s get rid of some of the poll-based selections. Any Division-I team that has an undefeated season should be eligible for the playoffs.
I understand that maybe athletics directors don’t want to play a couple of extra games. Fine. Let’s make it a four-team playoff. That’s only one extra game between the middle of November and the end of December.
Still too much? Cut some of the preconference games of the schedule. Take Minnesota for example. Is it really necessary to play Ohio, Illinois State and Louisiana-Monroe in the first games of the season?
Nobody cares about these preseason games and almost every team uses them to molest some horrible team in some kind of organized scrimmage.
A four-team tournament is doable, but it seems like nobody wants it. Why? Schools and promoters are making too much money off the current system to want a change. Why should Iowa have to cut a game off its schedule so Penn State has time to play a postseason game?
Maybe teams that want to be eligible for the tournament would cut short their preseason schedule; maybe something could be worked out.
The truth is, something could be worked out if the schools wanted a postseason.
But they don’t.
Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]