BCS Bits – Media Comments, October 23, 2009There has been a bit of dialogue (or “mono”?) this week about college football’s post-season. Here is one gentleman’s take on the matter:
If BCS not completely broken, don’t fix it
By Peter Finney, New Orleans Times-Picayune
October 22, 2009, 9:30PM
It didn’t take long, did it?
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has asked President Barack Obama to launch an anti-trust investigation of the BCS. The first BCS standings of the college football season are announced, and before you can say “kill the BCS, ” it’s accompanied by another announcement.
How about the birth of “Playoff PAC,” a booster club whose patriotic goal is to bring our country to its senses and push Congress to use its weight to decide a major college champion with a playoff. A day later, such nonsense is followed by news of a 10-page letter, from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to Barack Obama, asking the president to launch an anti-trust investigation of the BCS.
Well, the president asked for it, didn’t he? Didn’t he say earlier this year he’s a staunch playoff proponent?
So where are we?
As I see it, Sen. Hatch’s war on the BCS could be an opening for a president who’s now at war with the insurance companies, and their anti-trust exemptions, in the battle over health care.
I can imagine the president replying to the senator and doing it in less than 10 pages: “Orrin, I’ll be happy to join you on such an important matter as the destruction of the BCS. If you can help me in using your influence to change the anti-American anti-trust exemptions enjoyed by the insurance companies, I see no reason why you and I, shoulder to shoulder, will not be successful in our patriotic, pro-American fight for a playoff.”
It’s so sad. Perhaps the death knell of the BCS is at hand, just when everything seemed to be cut and dried.
No. 1 Florida plays No. 2 Alabama for the SEC championship. No. 3 Texas wins out and is crowned Big 12 champion. The Florida-Alabama winner plays Texas for No. 1 and the crystal football.
Simple as that.
Hold on. Not so fast.
Suppose the Boise State Broncos, famous for their blue gridiron, run the table? Suppose they defeat Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico State to finish 12-0? What happens then?
In that case, I guess the only thing left for President Obama would be an address to a joint session of Congress.
With Democrats and Republicans holding hands across the aisle, the president makes a brief, unprecedented announcement: “Using my powers as chief executive, Boise State will play the survivor of Florida-Alabama-Texas for college football’s first legitimate national champion. God Bless America.”
Meanwhile, booster clubs representing Southern Cal, Cincinnati, TCU and Iowa, the highly rated BCS also-rans, announce plans to impeach Barack Obama.
What does it say? It proves a playoff is as tough a sell as health care.
To me, as flawed as it is, the BCS is the best thing that ever happened to college football.
Take the Utah Utes, last season’s unbeaten wallflower, who whipped Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, then had to sit by and watch once-beaten Florida defeat once-beaten Oklahoma for the BCS championship.
Which is why Sen. Hatch is overjoyed carrying the torch for his home-state heroes.
I think of the Utah Utes, and as the years go on, they’ll be remembered fondly as one of the unbeatens that didn’t get a shot to play Florida.
The Utes will be playing the Gators, and winning, well into old age.
It was like that last season for the Texan Longhorns. Three weeks after defeating Oklahoma to take over No. 1 in the BCS standings, the Longhorns lost to Texas Tech, thanks to three missed tackles on the winning touchdown in the final seconds. It created a three-way tie in the Big 12, with the tiebreaker going to the Sooners.
“The toughest thing I ever did,” Texas Coach Mack Brown said, “was sitting home and watching a championship game we should have been in.”
Face it. The BCS never will satisfy everyone. Flaws will endure.
“Take the BCS standings,” said one Las Vegas oddsmaker. “Oklahoma is not among the top 25 teams. Why? Because they lost three games. One point to BYU, one point to Miami, three points to Texas. Cincinnati is ranked No. 5. I make Oklahoma 10 points better than Cincinnati.
“If you were seeding in the NCAA basketball tournament, based on who you played, Oklahoma would be a second seed and Cincinnati would be lucky to be among the top 16. That’s the kind of problems a committee would face in seeding the top teams in a football playoffs. They’d be a lot of angry teams out there, more than you’d have with the BCS.”
Oh, and one more…
Virtual playoff begins as road games make champions
From ESPN.com October 22
By Rece Davis, ESPN.com
You want a playoff in college football? With the release of the initial BCS standings, the playoffs are in full swing. It might not be in the tidy tournament format the new Playoff Action Committee wants, but let me ask you this. How often do you hear gripes about teams left out of the NCAA basketball tournament? My point is a playoff format wouldn’t fix everything. The fifth-best team or ninth-best team or 17th-best team would be griping. To illuminate my point, if you used the BCS standings at the moment, Cincinnati wouldn’t make a four-team playoff. LSU would be squeezed out of an 8-team field. In a never-going-to-happen-in-our lifetime 16-team bracket, Oklahoma State would be in, Houston out. Remember what happened on the field in Stillwater?
How about if we celebrate what we do have, the most significant regular season in sports? And one in which if LSU wants to play for a national championship, the Tigers have that chance. If LSU can beat Alabama then take down Florida in the SEC championship game, the Tigers would be hard to squeeze out of Pasadena. LSU would even get a second shot at the Gators along the way. Just like a playoff.
I’m not really trying to convince you this is as clean as a seeded playoff would be. I’m just saying the pined-for playoff wouldn’t necessarily be college football utopia. It also would reduce the impact of mammoth upsets, like Washington over USC. To me, that weekly drama playing out in unlikely places is compelling. I’m not opposed to playoffs. In fact, I’d love to see them seed 1-4 in the bowls and have the winners play. But I also put a great deal of value on the pursuit of a championship we witness every week. By the way, I wouldn’t contribute to that new Playoff Action Committee’s fundraising efforts. Your money would be better spent investing in the Heene family’s new reality show “Little Falcon’s Hot Air Balloon Hoaxes.” Then again, that Playoff Action Committee likely will have the most hot air this side of Falcon’s balloon. We digress.