BCS sacked by critics as the "great lie"

The Boise State Broncos fans cheer on the Broncos in the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Tonight in college football, LSU plays Alabama for the national championship in New Orleans.

Since 1998 college football has used the BCS to decide who plays for the title. But as CBS News' Armen Keteyian reports, critics say the system is broken and leaves some of the best teams out.

It's an invitation-only party that has excluded teams like Boise State and fans like Tony and Anne Marie Thometz who spend upwards of $25,000 a year supporting their favorite team. In the last six seasons, the Broncos have won 73 games against six losses - the highest winning percentage in the nation - only to be repeatedly snubbed by the biggest and most lucrative bowl games, like last week's Sugar Bowl.

Sugar Bowl: Revenue prevails over rankings

The source of so much frustration, a complex ranking system known as the BCS - short for Bowl Championship Series - is designed to deliver what executives call a five-game showcase highlighted by a national championship game.

"The great lie of the sports universe is the BCS slogan: Every game counts," says Austin Murphy, who has covered college football for Sports Illustrated for more than 20 years. "Boise state goes 11-1 this year and they end up in a mediocre bowl. Tell the Broncos that every game counts."

In fact since the creation in 1998, just four schools outside the top BCS conferences have played in the richest BCS games featuring conference payouts in excess of $28 million this year - never for a national championship.

Last month Congressman Joe Barton, R-Texas, announced the creation of the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus, a bi-partisan caucus that will examine the BCS. In addition, Barton announced that the legislation will advance for a legitimate college football championship. The Justice Department is now looking into the BCS for possible anti-trust violations.

Fans of the Boise State Broncos hold a sign before the team played the Arizona State Sun Devils in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 56-24. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images