The BCS has failed us (again). The pollsters say USC is No. 1, but the computers say otherwise. Reality bytes? LSU made the Sugar Bowl, but only after having to prove how much it really belonged. Oklahoma, no longer a team for the ages, has qualified for a national-championship game, even when it couldn’t win the Big 12 title. How ridiculous.
How unnecessary. Logic says LSU should be playing USC in the Sugar Bowl. What a game that would be. The nation’s two hottest teams, settling things on the field. Instead, it’s chaotic. Some voters now will be out to prove a point, so the championship could be split. Oklahoma might be celebrating half of that title in New Orleans, although it won’t have a conference championship. College football deserves better. It’s time for the P-word. Wouldn’t this be a marvelous time for a Division I-A playoff system? Division I-AA, II and III already do it. Imagine the possibilities. Eight teams. Three weekends. The BCS can stay, but only as a way to seed the teams. We’ll keep the six major conference champions (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC), plus the highest-rated other two teams.
How would the first round look?
No. 1-seeded Oklahoma vs. No. 8-seeded Kansas State
Sooners get their rematch.
No. 2 LSU vs. No. 7 Miami
Hurricanes might struggle against that LSU defense.
No. 3 USC vs. No. 6 Florida State
Fascinating cross-country matchup. Expect plenty of points.
No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 5 Ohio State
Wouldn’t you know it? Luck of the draw. Can you imagine a season with TWO meetings between the Wolverines and Buckeyes?
(Texas and Tennessee wouldn’t be happy, but at least the outcry to include them in a playoff would be much smaller then what we have now).
If the seeds held, the semifinals would be Oklahoma vs. Michigan and LSU vs. USC. Think anybody would watch those games? Obviously, there would be resistance from the bowl system. And sure enough, the bowls are vital to college football. Surely, though, there must be a compromise or a way to have both.
Really, how can any right-thinking person ignore this. THE CONSENSUS NO. 1 TEAM DIDN’T MAKE THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
What else must happen? Playoffs? BCS proponents have their answer. We have a playoff every week. The regular season has meaning. Each game counts. We hear you. It’s a great system, huh? So that’s why we watched that epic battle between 5-6 teams, Syracuse and Notre Dame, to see how it would affect the Sugar Bowl race.
That’s why we stayed up until the wee hours for that Boise State-Hawaii result, with BCS standings hanging in the balance. That’s why style points seemed so vital in USC’s mugging of Oregon State. That’s why LSU was compelled to pour it on against Georgia in the SEC Championship game, but also wondered if that would eliminate its quality-win component from an earlier victory against the Bulldogs.
(Imagine that. A penalty for twice beating a good team.) That’s why Oklahoma, ever so slightly, might have lacked customary urgency while trailing against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game.
The computer geeks had said it all along: The Sooners were in, regardless of the Big 12 result. That’s a great system? It’s a horrible system.
The BCS was supposed to separate things at the top. Arguably, the top criteria for this system’s existence is to avoid split national champions. Instead, mind-blowing confusion has been added.
In 2000, one-loss Florida State was rated ahead of one-loss Miami, despite the fact that Miami had beaten Florida State.
In 2001, Nebraska made the Rose Bowl despite not even playing in the Big 12 Championship game. The Cornhuskers finished five-hundredths of a point ahead of Colorado, which had thrashed Nebraska 62-36.
In 2002, BCS honchos celebrated the Miami-Ohio State matchup in the Fiesta Bowl. After all, under the old bowl system that would’ve tied Ohio State to the Rose Bowl, such a game wouldn’t have been possible. But people forgot about other orange-to-apple inequities. The Big Ten doesn’t have a conference title game. Ohio State was co-champions with Iowa. The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes didn’t play each other that season. Where was Iowa’s chance at No. 1? Now this.
“It’s better than the old system, when we used to set up games a month ahead of time,” said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, the BCS coordinator.
But we’ve never seen something like this. USC, the consensus No. 1-ranked team, relegated to No. 3 in the BCS. LSU, the apparent beneficiary of some otherwise inconsequential results that worked against USC’s strength of schedule. Oklahoma, after one of the most bitter losses in the Bob Stoops era, now being immediately handed its opportunity for atonement.
Everybody has a case here. USC is fabulously entertaining. LSU is wonderfully aggressive and disciplined. Oklahoma had a superb regular season, punctuated by one awful evening against Kansas State. Can computers really separate these teams? And what about Michigan, which might be playing the best of all? Just think of all the games we’ll miss.
Settling this on the field would make for marvelous theater. Most of all, it would make so much sense.
The BCS has its ultimate nightmare scenario. The system didn’t work. It didn’t work when Florida State was taken ahead of Miami in 2000. It didn’t work when Nebraska didn’t play in the Big 12 title game, but still got taken by the Rose Bowl. All along, the BCS honchos have tweaked here and there, adding a quality-win component, subtracting a margin of victory factor.
You know what? It still doesn’t work. Not with consensus No. 1 USC sitting with its nose pressed against the glass as Oklahoma and LSU are sent to the Sugar Bowl. Get rid of the BCS. Let’s settle it on the field. Let’s have an eight-team playoff. Imagine the possibilities.
The Fighting Irish have a promising future based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path, and program power.
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