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The Annual BCS Screw Up, 2006 Edition

Oh, the BCS is at it again!  Michigan or Florida?  Well, the BCS went with Florida.  Now, I cannot say that Florida is undeserving of the chance to play for the National Championship.  The problem is that I cannot say that Michigan is undeserving of that chance, either.  Or a one loss Louisville team.  Or an undeafeated Boise State team.  The BCS' job is to give us a matchup between the two best teams in America.  Its inherent problem is that, without letting the teams in that discussion play it out on the field, we have no way to determine who exactly that is.

Take Michigan and Florida.  Both have very impressive resumes.  Michigan throttled the perenially least deserving BCS team, Notre Dame, in South Bend, 47-21.  The have another top 10 win against Wisconsin.  They also have good wins over Penn State and Iowa.  Their only loss was by three points at the number one team in the country.  They were ranked #2 until the very last week of the season, where they dropped despite not even playing.  A resume deserving of a NC appearance, no doubt.

Florida also has a very deserving resume.  Two wins against top-10 teams:  LSU and Arkansas.  Wins at Tennessee, at Florida State and at Georgia.  Only loss by ten on the road to the #11 team (Auburn) in the country.  Widely regarded as playing the toughest schedule in the league.  It is worth noting that they had one more game than Michigan to build that resume, but how do you leave that resume out of the NC game?

I also want to talk about Boise State.  I know they play in the WAC.  But those kids have done everything that has been asked of them.  I have a fundamental problem with any sport that would allow you to go undefeated without having a chance to play for a championship.  Sure, their only major conference win was against the Beavers, but its not like major conference teams were lining up to play them.

"But Dave", you're saying, "If all you had to do was go undefeated to play for a NC, then teams would just make a non-conference schedule of Temple, Buffalo, and Western Carolina."  That is a problem.  I have long advocated for central scheduling by the NCAA.  However, since that would never happen in a million years, make it so that 2/3 of your nonconference games have to be either major confernce opponents OR on the road.  Sure, some might try to take advantage and schedule Cincinnati and Vanderbilt, but there aren't enough of those schools to go around.  We'd get a lot more matchups like Auburn-Washington State, and those are good matchups.  We'd also give the smaller schools a more equal playing field to get home games against bigger competition.  Would you like to see teams like Oklahoma and Miami play at places like Idaho and Central Michigan?  Yeah, me too.  Give the small teams those types of games at home, and they are at a much more equal playing field.

Here is my other problem with the BCS.  How the hell did Notre Dame get in (again).  Now, we will get to laugh when they are rolled by LSU in the Sugar Bowl.  But their best win is against Georgia Tech.  Their only other decent win is against an unraked Penn State team.  Other than that, they have beaten up on the three service academies, North Carolina, Stanford, UCLA, Michigan State, and Purdue.  That is one godawful resume.  They lost to the two Rose Bowl teams (Michigan and USC), by a combined 46 points. This is a mediocre team that got by playing a bad schedule.  They are in the Sugar Bowl because of money.  While I believe that LSU fans are usually fairly obnoxious, I only have one thing to say:  Geaux Tigers!

What also not talked about is voters manipulating polls to get the matchups they want.  There is substantial evidence this happened this year to avoid a Michigan-Ohio State rematch.  And who can forget 2004, when Cal mysteriously fell behind Texas on the last poll of the season, and out of the BCS?

So the BCS is rearing its ugly head again.  A dispute over #2.  An undefeated team not playing for a national championship.  Notre Dame in undeservingly, and about to get rolled by a far superior team.  This sounds like the BCS every year, right?

  1.  Washington's only loss was to a top 10 Oregon team.  Miami's only loss was to Washington.  Florida State's only loss was to Miami.  Florida State plays for the National Title.  Huskies and Hurricanes screwed.  ND gets in and gets rolled by the Beavers.
  2.  Oregon ranked #2 in both polls, but somehow #4 in the BCS. Instead of Oregon, Nebraska, who didn't even play in their conference championship game, and got rolled by Colorado, plays for the NC.  Miami destroys Nebraska, and Oregon slaughters Colorado.  Yeah, I'm still pissed about that one.
  3.  They actually got one right!
  4.  USC ranked #1 in both polls, yet LSU and an Oklahoma team that got rolled in their conference title game plays for the NC.  Oklahoma gets rolled again, and LSU and USC split the NC.
  5.  Oklahoma, USC, Auburn, and Utah all finish undefeated.  USC kills Oklahoma, to win the NC.  Undefeated Auburn never gets their chance.  Talked about less, Utah doesn't, either.  Cal mysteriously gets left out of the BCS for Texas after politiking by Texas coach Mack Brown.  In the last poll of the season, Cal, despite winning, fell behind Texas.
  6.  Notre Dame again gets in undeservingly, this time over a one loss Oregon team.  Ohio State goes on to dismember Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
And now, this mess.

There is a reason that March Madness is the greatest event in all of sports.  Win your conference--you get a shot at the NC, no matter who you are.  They play it on the field.  I suppose you could be the 64th best team in the country and not get in, but its a lot harder to whine about that than it is to be a top 4 team and not play for the title.  It is obvious that college football needs a playoff as well.  "But it will take too much time."  BS.  That's why they added a 12th game this year, huh?  And I don't suppose the other divisions are missing too much school?  Any playoff will do, but I propose a 16 team playoff.  It would take four weeks, starting the second week of December, ending somewhere around the time that the current NC game takes place.  Of course, smaller schools wouldn't go to the bowl, but why should you be rewarded for mediocre seasons?  All conference champions, regardless of conference get in.  Here is how my tournament would play out this yea:

First Round, Campus Sites

#16 Troy State (Sun Belt Champ) at #1 Ohio State (Big 10 Champ)
#15 Central Michigan (MAC Champ) at #2 Florida (SEC Champ)
#14 Houston (C-USA Champ) at #3 Michigan (at large)
#13 BYU (MWC Champ) at #4 LSU (at large)
#12 Wake Forest (ACC Champ) at #5 USC (Pac-10 Champ)
#11 Notre Dame (at large) vs. #6 Boise State (WAC Champ)
#10 West Virginia (at large) vs. #7 Oklahoma (Bg 12 champ)
#9 Wisconsin (at large) vs. #8 Louisville (Big East champ)

Second Round:  Traditional BCS sites

16-1 winner vs. 8-9 winner, Fiesta Bowl
15-2 winner vs. 10-7 winner, Orange Bowl
14-3 winner vs. 11-6 winner, Sugar Bowl
12-5 winner vs. 13-4 winner, Rose Bowl

Third Round:  Cold Weather Sites

at FedEx Field, Washington
at Giant Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Fourth Round:  National Championship Game, Rose Bowl

Sure, you could make the argument that Auburn or Arkansas should be in.  But its much harder to be upset when arguing about the 17th team than about the 3rd team.  And I probably would put Auburn in ahead of Notre Dame, but you know that they would never create a playoff without some kind of special Notre Dame provision.  But look at this tournament.  It would be four weeks of must see TV.  It would be a freaking gold mine.  You can even keep the damn minor bowls if you want to.  But this playoff would be great.  And I'd much rather watch that than the Poinsettia Bowl.  Lets face it, I will watch two bowls this year:  The Vegas Bowl, only because the Ducks are in it, and the National Championship game.  I may tune into a bit of the Fiesta Bowl to see if Boise State really can hang with Oklahoma, but I will not watch the whole thing.

But have the playoff, and I'm glued to my TV.

It's like March Madness.  It doesn't matter who is playing, I have to watch.  The Emerald Bowl doesn't have that.  The Meineke Car Care Bowl doesn't have that.  Playoffs do.  And, more importantly, the champion is decided on the field, not on a calculator.  Makes sense to me.  Why won't the powers that be come around?