Of course, the BCS and those who support it don’t think so, but this year’s bowl season will take us back to those times prior to the BCS, when two separate polls crowned two “mythical” national champions, leaving several other teams with equal records and the extremely subjective evaluation of who had the tougher schedule to claim their own rights to the title. I must conclude, seeing that any kind of realistic application of a playoff system, which exists in just about every other college sport, does not have a snowball’s chance on a hot stove of ever being applied, that the NCAA doesn’t mind things being the way they are. Considering the amount of money involved, and how it is distributed, that would be the logical conclusion.
So it is that we will have to endure not only the continued sports media propaganda justification that Oklahoma and Florida are truly deserving of playing in the national title game, but we will also have to endure the whining of Texas fans who will forever stamp this season, particularly if Oklahoma beats Florida, with the asterisk (*) indicating that they beat OU, branded with the score 45-35. It has to be just a wee bit bothersome to Sooner fans at this point to realize that in a potential national championship year, there is that nagging fact that they couldn’t beat UT on the field. If their lone loss were to any other team, it might not be an issue, but UT fans in particular will not let them forget.
“But,” say the Sooner fans, “We’re the first team in history to score 60 points in five games in a row to end the season.”
How many other teams, though, that could have easily scored 60 points in every single game they played in a given season chose, out of graciousness and respect for their opponents, not to humiliate them when it was not necessary to win the game and which of those two perspectives is more exemplary of the high standards college football once held? But the BCS computers evaluate those scored points, so a simple, sound beating in which the bench warmers can play the fourth quarter has become a thing of the past.
The door is also open to several teams to make a valid claim for national title consideration, in spite of the farce that awards the crystal trophy. Utah could easily finish 13-0, and part of OU’s claim to a tough non-conference schedule includes their win over TCU, from the same conference as Utah. If the Utes take out the Crimson Tide, OU’s claim more or less weakens the argument about their conference. Wyoming, a well below mediocre level team even by Mountain West standards, smacked Tennessee, an SEC east team that, in turn, smacked Vanderbilt and Kentucky to end its miserable season. The other two SEC east teams besides Florida ended their seasons by losing to Clemson and Georgia Tech respectively. The SEC is obviously not the worst conference in the country, but I am not convinced they are better than the Big 12, Big 10 or Pac 10, and maybe equal to the ACC.
Boise State should be loudly complaining. This program proved its mettle when it smacked the Sooners down in the Fiesta Bowl just a couple of seasons ago, and seriously damaged the argument that some conferences are always better than others. Still, in spite of that accomplishment, and yet another undefeated season, the Broncos are stuck with the Poinsettia Bowl, an egregious example of the fact that NCAA football is not about crowning a clear champion, but about money. They are a small school from a small city in a small state, and even though they have build a solid and loyal following, they are not capable of turning out the kind of traveling crowds that sell thousands of tickets at high prices for the big bowl games. Shame on the Fiesta Bowl for not opting for the Broncos, but instead opting for an Ohio State team that shouldn’t even be in the BCS lineup.
Then there is the Orange Bowl. If the rest of the mess does not convince you that the whole BCS system is a disaster, the matchup between Virginia Tech and Cincinnati should. The Big East negotiated its BCS contracts when Virginia Tech, Miami and BC were still part of it. Now that they have fled, the Big East is a paper tiger, and ironically, the ACC has rubbed its football mediocrity off on the newcomers. They are included in the BCS only by accident of geography, since WAC and MWC teams do not play their games when eastern time zone sports pundits are watching.
Deep in the Heart will follow the tradition set last year when we named Kansas as the National Champion by naming our own top 10 following the bowl season. Chances are pretty good our national champion will not be Oklahoma or Florida.