A Brief History Of: The Bowl Championship Series

Doug Benc / Getty

Louisiana State University Tigers celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 38-24 in the AllState BCS National Championship on January 7, 2008.

Like eggnog or reruns of it's a wonderful life, college football fans' grumbling over the Bowl Championship Series (BCS)--the muddled method by which the sport anoints its national champion--has become a December rite. The chorus of critics includes Barack Obama, who opined in his first postelection interview that "any sensible person" would favor a playoff system to determine who's No. 1. And that was before the Oklahoma Sooners sped past Texas in this year's race to the BCS title game despite losing to the Longhorns 45-35 in October--a result purists say should logically make Texas the higher-ranked team.

The BCS selects...

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