Monday, December 1, 2008

Time to Address the BCS Mess

I've tried to avoid it. I tried to use Michigan's eye-gouging season as an excuse for not writing about it. I've even closed my eyes, scrunched up my face, and hoped for that perfect season. The perfect season where everything works out and there are no legitimate arguments for teams left on the outside looking in. When will I learn? It's only happened once: 2005-06, when Texas and USC met for the National Title and no one else had any reason to argue. But every other season since its inauguration in 1998, the BCS has carried controversy. This year is no different, and it's about time to address it.

First, let's assess the BCS rankings as far down as I care to list, leaving out #10 Ohio State of course:

#1 Alabama (12-0), #2 Oklahoma (11-1), #3 Texas (11-1), #4 Florida (11-1), #5 USC (10-1), #6 Utah (12-0), #7 Texas Tech (11-1), #8 Penn State (11-1), #9 Boise State (12-0).

Everything appears to be fine. Some big-time schools with great records at the top and a couple undefeated small schools (Utah and Boise) a bit further down. What these rankings don't tell you, is the chaos that can ensue with one week left in the regular season.

Spinach in the teeth: No big upsets. Alabama wins against Florida in the SEC Championship and Oklahoma wins against Missouri to clinch the Big 12. That would create a good title game (Alabama vs. Oklahoma) and still leave plenty of exciting bowl games. Only one problem: Texas. So...Oklahoma wins this weekend and goes to the title game while Texas is left out even though the Longhorns beat the Sooners by 10 points this year at a neutral site? Doesn't sound fair to me. And that's the best possible scenario for the BCS? Yikes...wait 'til you see what's cooking down below.

Red wine on a brand-new white shirt: Florida knocks off #1 Alabama and wins the SEC while Oklahoma still bests Missouri in the Big 12 Championship. Now, it will probably be Florida vs. Oklahoma in the title game (still a good match-up) and we're left with the same Texas problem. BUT, if Florida doesn't impress voters enough in their victory, it's possible Texas could keep their spot above Florida and play Oklahoma for the title in a Red River Rematch. If that scenario were to play out with the amount of good teams in the SEC this year, I think the South might secede again.

A shaving-cream pie to the face: Florida and Oklahoma both win but USC loses and creates a three-way tie atop the Pac 10. Now, we have the Texas problem, the possibility of the Oklahoma-Texas rematch title game problem, annnd the 20-something ranked team playing in a BCS game problem. If USC loses and either Oregon or Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl to play Penn State (keep in mind Oregon State already lost to the Nittany Lions earlier this year 45-14), there will be a feel-good story in Corvallis or Eugene but uproar everywhere else. That would definitely leave Boise State out of the BCS games altogether and might even exclude Utah if the voters still want USC to take an at-large bid. Two undefeateds being left out of the biggest five bowls compounded with the two aforementioned problems? Storm's abrewin...

Eating wet dog food with your hands behind your back: Missouri wins the Big 12. If that happens, it doesn't matter who wins the SEC because they'll be in the title game against Texas, in all likelihood. Then, you'd have people pissed about Texas being in the title game without having won their conference championship, you'd have people pissed about Missouri being in the BCS at all (another 20-something ranked team playing in a BCS game), and you'd still have people pissed about Utah and Boise State not getting a chance to play the big boys. I can't even imagine the repurcussions of Oklahoma losing the Big 12 Championship this weekend: since the BCS rules say that only two teams from any given conference can be in the BCS bowls, if Missouri wins, then it's Missouri and either Texas, Oklahoma, or Texas Tech. How do you even begin to sort that out?

Biting a cactus while Tanya Harding creeps up behind you with a TaylorMade: Where in the world am I coming up with these images and disturbing references? No idea...they just keep coming to me. Anyway, this particular insane scenario happens if all hell breaks loose: Missouri upsets Oklahoma, UCLA upsets USC, even Virginia Tech beats BC in the ACC title game. The world erupts with animosity and although the title game would still be good to watch (Alabama/Florida vs. Texas), all the other BCS games would be lopsided matchups. Penn State would play either Oregon or Oregon State in the Rose Bowl, Missouri would probably play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, and Virginia Tech would play Cincinnati in the Orange-you-glad-you're-not-required-to-watch-this-game Bowl. Oy vey.

So...where does this leave us?
Nowhere, really. It's purely speculation and rambling thoughts from my innermost objective college football mind (now that Michigan's out of the picture of course). The system's been an issue for ten years now and if we're lucky, it will only be a problem for ten more. ESPN just signed a contract for the TV rights to the BCS bowls from 2011 to 2015. We're stuck. Then again...maybe good ol' Barack will enact some Presidential mandates to force a playoff. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Alright, well I just wanted to make some bad jokes, ramble about college football, and update my blog. Now that I've done that, it's about time I did some reading and went to bed. So farewell, I'll be back again once I find something to write about for the weekend.


Tyler said...

With no personal stake in the season, I'm hoping for complete chaos. It's more fun that way.

My favorite BCS disaster was the 2001 season, when nobody wanted to play Miami in the title game and everybody collapsed at the end of the season: Nebraska got trounced by Colorado; Florida lost to Tennessee; Texas lost to Colorado in the Big 12 championship; then Tennessee blew the SEC championship to LSU -- all had chances to solidify a shot at playing the Canes.

Cameron Kittle said...

Ah yes, 2001. That was the year when everyone still thought Joey Harrington was better at football than he was at playing the piano and his Oregon Ducks were somehow left out of the title game. I bet that would have made for a great game, as opposed to the corn-shucking fest that actually happened.