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Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series
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Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  749 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A team of award-winning sports reporters takes down the Great Satan of college sports: the Bowl Championship Series.

Every college sport picks its champion by a postseason tournament, except for one: Division I-A football. Instead of a tournament, fans are subjected to the Bowl Championship Series, an arcane mix of polling and mathematical rankings that results in just tw
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 14th 2010 by Gotham
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3.97  · 
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 ·  749 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Dec 09, 2010 rated it liked it
I like the overall sentiment (and am in support of some sort of playoff in college football), but felt the writing suffered from being overly one-sided and sensationalized. The book also presumed what it set out to prove. For example, the book refers to the main six football conferences that control the BCS as a sinister-sounding "cartel", which is reminiscent of the phrase "axis of evil." That might be true, but "cartel" is a term of art in antitrust law, and that aspect has yet to be settled b ...more
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gen-nonfiction
the bowl championship series is an utter debacle. while a majority of college football fans, even the most lackadaisical, must know this well, the extent of its inadequacy and iniquity may come as a surprise to even the most ardent gridiron enthusiast. death to the bcs: the definitive case against the bowl championship series offers a number of well-researched and well-reasoned arguments for abandoning the farcical, nonsensical system of crowning a national champion that is the bcs.

while nearly
Nate Douglas
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
After reading the first couple chapters, you could name this book 'Death to the Logical Fallacies'. Almost to the point that you would have to pull a walk-out-of-the-movie move on your reading which is one of the highest insults, basically stating, "Yeah, I'm wasting my time and money by walking away from this...but I am, 'cause it stinks!". But bear with it a little bit, it gets into pretty fascinating stuff.

Sports fans have opinions about everything, but many will just blindly argue some hot
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
I thought that I hated the BCS and had a lot of reasons to back it up; then I read this book and discovered I needed to hate the BCS waaayyyy more than I already did.

The way this book is written can be a little unpolished and is repetitive at times, but that doesn't really matter in light of the fact that it does exactly what it sets out to do. It presents an argument (the BCS is a terrible way to run college football; a playoff would be better in every conceivable aspect). Then it devotes each
Matt Skains
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Overall, this is a pretty sickening book to read. The level of corruption, back-room deals and abuse of college football is astounding. Despite being a pretty quick read, it can be repetitive at times - even if the (achieved) effect is to drive home the central theme. Wetzel and company do an excellent job of researching many of the numbers behind the system and present it in an easy to understand fashion (even for those of us not naturally inclined toward financial discussions). Reading about h ...more
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
The writers do an absolutely brilliant job of researching and exposing every flaw and injustice in our current college football postseason, exposing the greed, corruption, and lies that have perpetually plagued the sport. Any college football fan should fully educate themselves by reading this book. By logically showing that the current bowl system is not a financially sustainable enterprise for college athletics, the writers offer great hope that the BCS will soon implode. The writers' solution ...more
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Before I get into the negatives, I have to give the authors of the book a ton of credit for the amount of research they put into this project. They invested a lot of time and effort into crafting their proposal for a 16-team college football playoff and conducted hundreds of interviews in condemning the BCS. It was well thought out and well crafted. The problem: their assertions are not entirely true.

As the title suggests, much of this book was spent demonizing the BCS. That’s fair. The authors
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Playoffs ... here we come?, February 14, 2011

If you are a fan of college football, more than likely you have an opinion regarding the basis the Division I teams determine its national champion ... either you like the poll and bowl system that is currently in place or you desire a playoff of some sort. Personally, I've always enjoyed the current system (as wacky and unreliable as it is) partly because of tradition, but mostly because I thought the current system was favorable for my alma mater. T
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
To say that this is an impassioned call for a playoff system is a bit of an understatement. Tackling, so to speak, the current BCS structure and often absurd bowl setup, Wetzel, Peter, and Passim present a convincing case for a full playoff system such as one finds in every single other NCAA sport - including all of the other football divisions. Contrary to the sentiment, proffered by the apparently two or so people still completely wedded to the current bowl-focused system as well as the plus-o ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College football fans
Recommended to Brendan by: Stewart Mandel on
Death to the BCS is an eye-opening explanation of exactly why the almost universally-reviled BCS has remained in place, namely, the greed of a handful of bowl executives and conference presidents who have conspired to keep it. It breaks down how ostensibly non-profit bowls profit handsomely at the expense of the colleges that participate in them and fans of the sport, while also debunking straw man arguments made by what the book calls "The Cartel" to justify the BCS.

While most arguments about t
Peter Marshall
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. It details the corrupt ties the BCS shares with the politics of the NCAA.
Sterling Southerland
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok

Death To The BCS by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan.
I chose this book because I am very interested in football.
This book is about the corrupt system of the BCS. In the BCS there are 6 commissioners that control the whole system: Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10, and Southeastern. These commissioners run a “cartel” that ignores and disregards all obligations toward the way they run the system. They brutally and unfairly run the whole system by feeding off of fans and mon
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book infuriated me, but that's what it's meant to do, so it succeeds on a number of levels. I think most fans of college football realize that the system is broken. Undefeated teams don't get a shot at the (mythical) National Championship, teams are left out of BCS Bowl games simply due to money etc. We all know that stuff, but it's the dirtier side of college football that gets exposed in this book that's really maddening.

Reading about teams losing money to go to BCS Bowl Games baffles the
Danny Liang
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite pieces of sports literature I've read. I really loved the book not because of its writing style or author, because I generally don't notice that kind of stuff, but because of it's content. I've always wanted a playoff in college football to give undefeated non-power conference teams like Boise State and Texas Christian shots at a title. Death to the BCS was the only book I found on the topic, and provided a definitive case against the current postseason system. It listed and w ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Death to the BCS has good ideas... that could fit in a long form article. The book was stretched out with the kind of ignorant rhetoric that peppers politics - name calling about "fat cats" and whining about "welfare" for the conferences. I felt like I was reading a tea party screed.

When I hear that kind of talk, I start to think that there's probably information/ nuance I am not getting... which is sad, because the BCS is a ridiculous system and a playoff seems to make sense. There's only one
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
There are few things in this life that I am truly passionate about. Good sushi, Hall & Oates, and the stupidity of the BCS are three that come to mind right away.

College football is awesome. Until it reaches the "post-season" and we're left with some crappy bowl games that don't even mean anything. How stoked are you when your team wins the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl? Probably as stoked as I was to just attempt to type out the name.

College football needs a playoff like O
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have spent more than 5 minutes considering college football, the premise that the BCS must go seems painfully obvious. Unfortunately, there is a bizarre world, populated by a disturbingly few exceedingly well compensated power brokers who have their well padded wallets tied firmly to it.

Death to the BCS is written somewhat like a series of columns. There is all the exaggerated terminology, seemingly disjointed references and twists of perspective that you expect from a columnist like Wetz
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
I struggled to make it through this book, the entire time wondering what all the hype was about. I dislike the BCS as much as any other college football fan, so the topic alone merits one or two stars. But this book should be called "Death to Logical Fallacies." I hate books that hide lazy writing behind popular and/or controversial topics, just so they can avoid criticism.

What a terribly written piece of non-persuasive garbage. Wetzel spends all his time creating one strawman after another in a
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. The title suggests a somewhat one-sided view of the issue, but actually provides the other viewpoint, albeit while ripping it apart. That wasn't a negative from my perspective...I am a Boise State football fan, and definitely NOT a fan of the BCS system. The book made me think about some of the decisions made in recent years by Boise State University president, Dr. Bob Kustra, as well as those of former athletic director Gene Bleymeier ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I didn't love this book as much as I thought I might.

Pros - its a compelling case against the BCS. I've always been one of those that thought a playoff would hurt the regular season - but this book debunks that pretty well and also sheds light on a lot of other concepts us lay fans are never exposed to.

Cons - I'm left wanting more detail about the revenue side for the playoff. Obviously its tv money, but there's not much detail about that side of it beyond estimates of x dollars generated. A his
Todd Miles
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
For sports fans or those who love a good conspiracy theory, this is an excellent book. I was never a fan of the BCS, but appreciate the fact that the bowl system allows my alma mater to make the occasional postseason game and figured it was a bit better than the old bowl system. This book rang so true, however, that I my casual antipathy toward the BCS has now grown to conviction. No doubt the writers engaged in some hyperbole and strategic selection of facts. But their case against the BCS is s ...more
Ben Cooper
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This impassioned piece of propaganda fails to realize the relationship between cause and effect. While the book adequately identified numerous problems with the college football system, it spectacularly failed to convince me that those problems were BCS-related as opposed to NCAA-related. The playoff system that the authors suggest as an alternative does not, in itself, solve any of the problems other than the fan-based competitive balance argument that you hear ad nauseum from journalists and b ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you want to understand how college football teams seems to have great seasons, good standings in the polls and still don't receive a bowl bid. Read on. The BCS is called a 'cartel' for a reason. They are as corrupt as any unchecked agency there is. The people that are in charge of setting up bowl games, determining who gets paid and how much have been in the same position for years, making big bucks to make sure the system doesn't change.

I more fully understand now and will try to not get as
Greg Otto
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Not only is this book an eye-opener for college football fans, it details the greed and excess that continues to bankrupt this country.

College football becomes more than a game when the greed of a small group of men siphons money away from colleges and universities who desperately need the money. This book details how the con works, and why it's doomed to fail.

This book needs to be read by educators, athletes and fans of the game. College football needs to be changed for so many reasons, and t
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I despise the BCS and there's a fair amount of info in here that I've argued myself, but also a lot of other ammunition for those opposed to the BCS. well-researched with a lot of relevant data to consider. what I'd not thought about much lately - until I saw it documented here - is how there has been a controversy surrounding the BCS nearly every year since its existence. And they still consider it as having "worked". Enjoyable book, though almost frustrating to read at times because it just po ...more
Michael Messersmith
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I cannot stand the BCS system. I would love to see a college football playoff in order to have a true national champion for once in the sport's history. This book efficiently dismantles the arguments for the BCS and against the playoff system. The authors also present a cogent plan for how to create a playoff, which adresses the needs of schools, student-athletes, and the fans (without harming the existing bowls in the process!). A must-read for anyone who loves college football, but could do wi ...more
Ben Zajdel
I've been meaning to read this book for some time, and I finally had the chance. It wasn't as great as I thought. The authors did a good job researching the subject matter, but their writing wasn't exactly compelling.

Their plan for a playoff system was realistic and completely workable, so that was a plus. I just didn't glean the usual amount of information that I have come to expect from books such as this. (Though I did learn the origin of Boise State's blue turf)

I'll recommend this book if yo
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is pretty heavy-handed and overly snarky in showing the authors' viewpoints. But their viewpoints are absolutely right. Parts of the book made me roll my eyes, but it's still the single most comprehensive guide to why college football's postseason is such a shitshow. I see it as a Michael Moore movie: You cringe at the tactics used and the ham-fisted way the facts are presented, but deep down you know you agree with the arguments being made.
Cory Boudreaux
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
A must-read for all college football fans, playoff supporters or not, examining the deception and corruption that fuels the sport's postseason format, the Bowl Championship Series.

The writing is concise (approx. 150 pages), but a little rough around the edges. But that's not what's important about this book. The authors' exhaustive research sheds light on the many myths perpetuated by football's power conferences in order to preserve a de facto monopoly over the sport's postseason.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book that details some of the greed and stupidity of today's college football. A lot of stuff that goes on is absolutely amazing (lower tier bowls and teams taking a huge loss to attend them). It's a very frustrating book to read also.....How does the BCS continue to get away with it! Why doesn't the NCAA step in an implement a playoff system.....It can't be that difficult and everyone wins.....yet it still hasn't been done. I hate it when "no brainers" aren't done!
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