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.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

7 responses

  1. Ken Coffee says:

    Lee, I might agree that the BCS has failed, but your arguments leave out some facts. First of all, understand that the BCS is the brainchild of a few major conferences who see that their conference champions get into one of the four major bowls (Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange.) In other words, these conferences own the BCS series and other conferences cannot re-design that any more than General Motors could re-design a Lincoln. It is not their creation. As for Oklahoma, I promise you they believe if they played Texas again they would beat them and have the argument that they beat the team that beat Texas. Of course they ignore the fact that home field played an important part in that. As for Utah, you claim they could easily go 13-0. They may go 13-0, but it won’t be easy. Alabama will not roll over and they will work hard not to be beaten by a team from an “inferior” conference. There is no question but that this has been a down year for the SEC, but you can’t seriously believe that just because Boise State beat Oklahoma last year that their conference is equal to the Big 12, or that if Utah beats Alabama that their ocnference is equal to the SEC. One or two strong teams do make a strong conference. The gaudy records of teams like Boise State and Utah are evidence that they are not in strong conferences. By the way, what happened last year doesn’t count for this year. The bottom line is that the BCS champion will always be the national champion because no one else can challenge it. Its like General Motors deciding that the Cadillac will be the car of the year. They can call it whatever they want to because it is theirs. That is the same with the BCS. Until someone else determines that a Boise State or a Utah is the real champion and challenges the BCS champion, nothing will ever change. Fair? No. Reality? Yes.

  2. Ted says:

    The SEC has a bad year, but I would put them team for team against any other conference. This year I do believe the Big 12 is the strongest. But Big 10? ACC? No way.

    I wish Alabama and Texas were playing. I love the ‘horns, but I agree with the BCS selection of Florida and Oklahoma for the championship. No way Texas’ freshman db’s can keep up with either FL or OK this year.

    One mark of a championship team is that they get stronger as the season goes on and they do not have any “uh-oh” losses. Unfortunately, Texas did that in Lubbock and again, their db’s could not keep pace.

    Now next year, if McCoy stays…awesome! And, if they blow out Ohio State and Fl – Ok isn’t so good, who knows????

  3. Lee says:

    Team for team in the SEC? Outside of Alabama and Florida, the best of the SEC would include Georgia and LSU, both of which lost to mediocre teams late in the season, Georgia to Georgia Tech, LSU to Ole Miss. Wyoming, one of the worst of the MWC, came to Knoxville and beat a Tennessee team that finished its miserable season by beating Vanderbilt and Kentucky. So I wouldn’t buy the argument that the SEC is all that this year. Nor would the ACC, whose teams enjoyed five late season wins against SEC teams.

    I don’t think Texas Tech, ranked third at the time, is an “uh-oh” loss for the Horns. That being said, I don’t see any basis for claiming that Oklahoma, five games into the season and ranked No. 1, would fare any better against the Longhorns today than they did when Texas racked up 45 points and all that offense against them.

    I’m having trouble seeing where the basis is to lean in the direction the BCS does, other than going after the money, when you consider how well the non-BCS conference teams who have been in the mix have done over the past half-decade or so. This is Utah’s second unbeaten season, and second trip to a BCS bowl, and I wouldn’t bet on ‘Bama. Boise State and West Virginia both laid it on OU in the Fiesta Bowl. Of course they don’t want the Broncos in the BCS mix, it is too embarassing.

    The bottom line is a sixteen team, four week playoff.

  4. Ted says:

    Does the SEC get a mulligan this year?

    I thought this was a conversation about football, then you bring up money and the BCS. 🙂

    Utah just might beat ‘Bama. I think what has happened to Boise State is just grossly unfair.

    I would opt for top 10 in BCS, not just conference champions. But then, you brought up that $$$ thing.

  5. Lee says:

    Well, those top four bowls and the national championship pay out something like $18 million, so money is part of the conversation. It will take the presidents of the major universities demanding change for it to happen. When your athletic department gets a shot of cash like that, you aren’t inclined to advocate for change.

    Elevating two more bowl games to BCS status, and adding four conferences–the WAC, MWC, CUSA and MAC to the mix would include all the major Div. 1 conference champions. Add the Cotton Bowl and Peach Bowl to the mix, so that the major bowls are sort of spread out regionally and you might even have something that looks like the beginning of a playoff system, almost.

  6. Jack Matthews says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the BCS wasn’t really formed specifically to name a national champion, but to put together matchups of the highest ranked teams in the four bowl games with the largest payouts. Producing an uncontested national championship game was part, but not all, of the idea. After the Fiesta Bowl cracked into the top four with an exclusive time slot, sponsorship money and national title headliner games, the other bowls came up with this idea to compete. One of the other polls, the AP, I think, has its own national championship trophy, so the BCS doesn’t always produce a clear cut champion. Several years ago, LSU won the BCS title game over Oklahoma, but USC got the other national trophy. That doesn’t happen as much now, and the BCS is set up to help prevent that, but unless and until there is a recognized playoff format, there will always be teams that can lay claim to the title.

    I’m a Vandy fan, so I tend to favor the SEC, too. Gee, for so many years we’ve taken a beating from most of the rest of the conference, for a while, at least, we were on top of the east this year and it felt good for the whole week it lasted. But I’d have to concede that the SEC sort of went downhill in the last half of the season, except for Alabama and Florida. I don’t think we had enough bowl eligible teams to fill the contract slots for the conference.

  7. Ken Coffee says:

    Once again, the BCS champion (winner of # 1 and 2 playing against each other) is called (by the BCS and media), “National Champions”. Without a legitimate playoff format, and no one challenging their calling it “National Champion”, I am afraid Lee is right. The universities will continue to follow the money.