I told you it was nonsense-the BCS

December 01, 2008

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John Barfield

I told you it was nonsense-the BCS

     So here we are. One week before the end of the NCAA Football regular season the BCS has already claimed a victim. As Oklahoma leapfrogged the University of Texas to claim the number 2 spot in the BCS, Longhorn fans have gone looking for a nice padded room.

     The Oklahoma Sooners can thank the BCS voters and those "equations" that are at the heart of the computer rankings for their fortune. Let's not also forget that the Big-12 itself decided that the BCS standings would be used in a three way tie-breaker. In this week's BCS standings Oklahoma was ranked 2nd, the University of Texas-3rd, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders were 7th. They all finished 11-1 and they all beat each other in a round robin that was very entertaining. 

     Before you begin congratulating the Sooners, let's look at what they got in their holiday gift bag. For their work, the University of Oklahoma gets an extra game against a highly talented (Chase Daniel, Jeremy Macklin) and irritated team. The Missouri Tigers are upset about being all but forgotten and just losing a tough game to Kansas. So, I wouldn't take them lightly. I will also point out, and this is important-if Oklahoma loses they will not even go to a BCS bowl. Missouri would go, by being conference champ. Texas would be ranked higher in that case so they would get the second bid. The BCS only takes two from a conference.

     Meanwhile, Texas Longhorn fans are upset, and rightfully so. They have the same record. They beat Oklahoma by ten points this season. They also have victories over #13 Oklahoma State and #20 Missouri on their resume. With this wacky system, however, they might be better off. Oklahoma has to win the Big 12 Championship game next week and hope that voters don't change their minds. Remember, the Longhorns demolished Missouri just last month.

     Technically, Texas could even benefit if Florida beats Alabama in the SEC Title Game. However, it is almost certain that Florida would also leapfrog the 'horns in that scenario.  

     Don't ever kid yourself, the BCS was not created for anything other than, you guessed it-MONEY. This is no more apparent than this season in the second half of the BCS qualifying rankings. I often like to argue for the 'little guy'-the Utahs and Boise States of the world that are treated like an annoying mosquito during a family picnic. The major networks have even become fond of calling them the "Fly in the Ointment." Ohhh, that is irritating!! They are teams too, and I do believe that they play in the same division as the USCs and Alabamas of the world. These teams will be shut out of the National Title Game (again), but that isn't the full story.

     There are four - yes count them, four non-BCS teams in the top 12 of the official standings. The BCS rules state that the highest ranked non-BCS school (provided that they are in the top-12) will receive an automatic bid. That appears to be Utah at this point, but what about the others? Boise State (9), TCU (11), and Ball State (12) will all be shut out of the BCS because, although they could be chosen based on their qualifications (Boise State and Ball State are undefeated), the bowls themselves can choose from the pool of qualifiers. They will more likely pick Ohio State (ranked 10) instead.

     Why? Money. Prestige. How else would a two loss team be placed in front of a Boise State team that is undefeated. The argument is that teams like Ohio State "travel well". In other words, more people will travel to the game and more people will watch the game because they are Ohio State. Well, excuuuuuuuse meeee! I thought they were all in the same division. It has been said that the entire college football season is a playoff. If that is the reasoning, then this is the equivalent of enjoying March Madness, and then, halfway through the sweet sixteen, the NCAA yanks out Gonzaga, George Mason, and Davidson because they don't travel well. Why even bother? As for me, I love a little Davidson in my March Madness.

     Finally, if you look at the favorites for next weeks end to the regular season, you are going to see the argument for the playoff that you have been looking for. If Florida beats Alabama and Oklahoma beats Missouri, then look at the resulting records. there will be SEVEN TEAMS WITH ONE LOSS and three undefeated teams. The three undefeated are considered less than superior due to their non-BCS status, but with a game lead versus the big schools then they should be mentioned. So that's ten teams, all with a legitimate argument to the title. Only two will be picked. Two spots for ten teams-there are not the words. 

     However, I will say this. If the choice of who goes and who gets the title is based on schedules and margins of victory, then how is the title narrowed to two teams before those bowl games have been played? Boise State has a weak schedule. If they beat a team like Alabama would that have an effect in the rankings? What if Utah beat Texas? What if USC beat Penn State by 40? Who's the champ then? I actually liked it in the pre-BCS system when these other bowls mattered. Pre-BCS, BCS, and playoff systems will continue to debate. A playoff would at least end the debates, but with the absence of the sanity of a playoff system, I like my nonsense pre-BCS style.

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