A post-season playoff leading up to the National Championship would replace the subjectivity of human and computer polls with the objective measure of winning or losing a game.
A 2007 Gallup poll showed that 85% of college football fans supported a change to a playoff system of some kind.
69% of fans surveyed preferred the idea of a playoff tournament involving the top four, eight, or 16 teams to replace bowl games while 16% preferred a one-game playoff between the top teams emerging from the post-season bowl games.
If a team loses one game it is probably out of contention for the National Championship; if it loses twice there is little chance the team will qualify for any BCS game. Therefore, if a team loses early in the season then the rest of its games lack excitement, and the claim by BCS proponents that every game counts does not hold true.
A playoff system would give each school an opportunity to earn a fair share of the revenue distributed to the 11 conferences in the FBS.
Since the BCS conferences automatically qualify for BCS bowl games, they receive a disproportionate amount of the annual bowl revenue. Since football earnings fund other sports, this disparity affects athletes in all sports.
The BCS human polls are subject to bias, which has been cited as one reason the University of Utah was kept out of the 2008 championship game. One third of the standings are based on how the coaches rank the teams, which assumes that coaches have time to watch all of the games while also preparing their teams each week. A playoff system, used by most other sports, would eliminate the controversy.
The BCS rewards undefeated BCS teams, so schools sometimes try to schedule games against weaker opponents to protect their records. A playoff would remove the easy schedule and make the championship solely about performance.
A playoff system would not mean the end of the BCS rankings, which could still be used to determine the top 4, 8, 12, or 16 teams, depending on how many playoff games are feasible. Every game during the regular season would still be as important as under the current system, because a few losses would make it difficult for a team to qualify for the playoffs.
The national champions in other major college sports are determined by playoff systems. Even the 140 plus football teams of the NCAA's FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) compete in a 16-team tournament. The only reason that the BCS is still controlling the football post-season is because the system has become entrenched.
A playoff system would extend the 13 week regular season by at least a month, which would interfere with athletes' college studies and which could potentially lead to more injuries from playing.
The BCS system makes every regular season game crucial for the teams in contention to finish in the top two. The importance of every game increases attendance and revenue, which is shared with other sports and non-athletic programs at each school.
The BCS rankings are designed to favor consistency over the course of the entire season. It rewards teams that beat the opponents they are supposed to beat as well as underdogs that upset higher-ranked teams. Under a playoff system, a team could lose an entire season's worth of hard work by having one bad day.
The college football post-season bowl games are popular and profitable. Critics of BCS say that most people want a playoff system, but the bowl game attendance numbers contradict their argument. Attendance at the 2008 season bowl games was nearly equal to each stadium's capacity, in some cases exceeding it. For example, the Rose Bowl capacity is 91,000 and attendance was 93,293.
The proposed playoff system alternatives are actually less fair than the BCS system in place. In a league of 120 teams, there is no way for every team to play each other in the course of the regular season, let alone in a playoff during the post-season.
The BCS conferences have stronger teams in them. An undefeated or one-loss record in a BCS conference should mean more than the same record in a weaker, non-BCS conference because the teams are not facing opponents of the same quality. The BCS rankings consider strength of schedule in the computer rating formulas, and the human voters account for it as well.
A playoff system would entail each team playing games in different cities during the holiday season in December and January, with no way to predict where any game besides the first one would take place.Students and alumni would be unable to make travel plans in advance to support their teams.