Friday, January 9, 2009

To BCS or not to BCS? That is the Question.

So the NCAA College Football season is over, the Bowls have been played out, and the Poll votes have been cast.  Now that it's all over, I have to tell you, I'm a little disappointed with the results.  Florida beat Oklahoma 24-14 in a sloppy, boring BCS Championship game last night, and only 16 voters had the sack to vote Utah #1 in the AP poll this morning after they dominated Alabama, who held the nation's top ranking for most of the season, 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl last week.  I find this whole BCS mess very sad and I'll tell you why.

It seems that most of the national media and most of the coaches, especially those who's conference champions are excluded from an automatic BCS bowl bid (i.e. the Mountain West), do not like the BCS.  Every time I turn on SportsCenter I hear this guy or that guy talking about a playoff and how that is the only way to escape from the ambiguity, confusion, and conjecture that the BCS system always seems to generate.  But the problem is, when these same guys who complain about the system have a chance to stir things up and actually make a statement by going against the BCS and voting in a national champion that does not fall in line with the BCS's chosen champ, they don't have the guts to do it.  And if ever there was a year for them to do this it was this year.

The University of Utah beat five teams that were ranked in the top 25 when they played them (Michigan, Oregon State, TCU, BYU, and Alabama).  Of those five teams only one (Michigan) turned out to be a stinker.  The other four are still ranked in the top 25 in the AP poll.  The Mountain West, long considered a mediocre conference, has three teams in the top 25 and Air Force also proved to be a quality program capable of scoring points in bunches.  Utah beat Oregon State who beat USC.  Utah killed Alabama who Florida struggled to beat.  And of all the reasons for AP voter to vote Utah number one:  the fact that Utah was the only team in America that beat every single one of their opponents.  13-0 is a big statement and the Utes are the only team that can make it.

Sportscasters, writers, and coaches do not like to take chances that might make them look foolish in the eyes of their peers.  They don't want to predict upsets.  When they fill out their March Madness brackets they all go with the chalk.  It's an understandable behavior.  For example, in last years NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament nobody filled out their bracket with the 10th seeded Davidson Wildcats beating 7th seeded Gonzaga, 2nd seeded Georgetown, 3rd seeded Wisconsin, and narrowly losing (57-59) to number 1 seeded, and eventual national champion, Kansas.  Did anybody take any flack for not advancing Davidson to the elite eight in their bracket?  Hell no.  Gonzaga should have taken care of them in the first round because they were ranked higher and thus the better team.  Right?

That's why the NCAA Basketball tournament is such a beautiful thing.  They play the games because, as history has shown, you never know what's going to happen until you play the games.  Did anybody outside of the State of Utah think that the Utes were going to win the Sugar Bowl?  There was no way a crappy team for the weak Mountain West Conference was going to beat a powerhouse from the SEC.  Almost unanimously the nation's media has dubbed the SEC the most physical conference in the country and Alabama this year was that conference's most physical team.  The SEC has more money, better facilities, better recruits, better coaches, better starters, and better back ups than the Mountain West.  The SEC is bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic than the MWC.  There wasn't one player on the Utah team upon which Alabama would have spent one recruiting dollar.  Everybody knows that.  But when they actually played the game Utah beat seven shades of shit out of the Crimson Tide and that's why the BCS sucks.

In a playoff all of the biases, speculation, and discrimination can be washed away.  Teams can actually line up and decide who is better by their play on the field.  The final score decides who the National Champion is not a computer program.  But it is what it is.  Florida finished #1 and Utah was voted #2 in the AP poll because too many people were worried about what everyone else would think.  The Utes ended up #4 in the Coaches Poll and Florida received all but one first place votes.  Coaches are required by rule to vote for the BCS champion, but one coach bucked against the system and voted Utah #1 (God bless you Kyle Whittingham).

And here is the most confusing thing of all.  Florida is the National Champion in both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll, but if you look at the final BCS Rankings, after all the bowl games have been played, 2 loss Oklahoma is still ranked #1 with Florida (who beat OKU) at #2!  Does any of this make sense to anyone?

Oh well, what else can I say that hasn't already been said.  Congratulations Florida on your retarded "National Championship", I guess.

P.S. Phil, the "Roll Tide" cake that you brought to our Sugar Bowl party was delicious.  Thanks.