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One Way or Another, The BCS is 2 Weeks From Chaos

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It’s hard to fathom that the 13th BCS National Championship Game will be held this January. Even harder to fathom is the fact that the obviously flawed system has been in place for this long. At this rate, it will catch up to the American Music Awards who just elected Justin Bieber as artist of the year. Year after year everyone who watches college football laments the fact that there isn’t a playoff system. That those that decide who will play for the NCAA’s highest prize are: coaches who don’t watch every game, biased media members, and computers.

This year may finally show the BCS that a change is of long overdue, or maybe they will keep doing their best Bud Selig impression and bury their heads in the sand, pretending there is no problem. The NCAA and the BCS hang their hats on the fact that everyone is always talking about their system. They live by the motto: there’s no such thing as bad publicity; which they certainly get a lot of. There may actually be hope on the horizon though. After all Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young should prove that the sports world is slowly progressing from the archaic into the modern sports world, where logic, reason, and rational thought rule the day.

The BCS is the 70-year old guy who doesn’t like “those darn kids” walking on his lawn. Last season, even they couldn’t hide how obviously apparent it is that they want to keep “outsiders” like Boise State and TCU away from the party. Fans want to see David take on Goliath. The Boise State – Oklahoma game has been voted one of the greatest college football games of all-time. Yet the BCS keeps robbing the public of these match-ups. They will argue that they have a bidding system, and that the bowls pick the teams that they want without any meddling. To word it another way, a highly political organization is claiming that there is no politics involved with how the teams end up paired.

So I guess it was just a coincidence that undefeated TCU faced undefeated Boise State last year instead of squaring off against BCS conference champions like Florida, Georgia Tech or Cincinnati. The more that the smaller schools beat the big, the closer the BCS is to implosion. They know this, they know that we know this, and they will do everything that they can to stop it. BCS director Bill Hancock is praying that Auburn and Oregon remain undefeated so he doesn’t have to deal with what is on the horizon. Unfortunately for Mr. Hancock things might not work out the way that he hopes.

There are currently 4 undefeated teams and 6 teams with one loss. Here’s a look at how things shape up over the final two weeks.

#1 Oregon has two of their most difficult games remaining, and is coming off of their worst performance of the year.  Cal set the blueprint to beating the Ducks and Arizona may have the personnel to go into Autzen Stadium and execute. If they get through that one, they have to travel up the road to Oregon State to take on their rivals, the Beavers.

#2 Auburn has to travel this week to Tuscaloosa to face a superior Alabama team. If somehow they get past the Crimson Tide, the SEC Championship looms on the horizon in Atlanta against the Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina Gamecocks.

#3 TCU will end the season undefeated. They have one game remaining and this isn’t the NFL where any team can win any game. 1-10 New Mexico could play with 12 on the field and not have a chance to beat TCU this weekend, home or not.

#4 Boise State takes on #19 Nevada on the road this Friday. If they get past the Wolf Pack, and they should, they have a bottom-feeding Utah State team to humiliate and finish their 2nd straight undefeated regular season.

#5 LSU may be the big winner if Auburn falls this weekend and they get the job done against a good #12 Arkansas team. LSU lost to Auburn, so will not have to play in the SEC championship game. However, if Auburn falls to Alabama, LSU could leap them in the BCS and the highest ranked 1 loss team at the end of the season.

#6 Stanford led by Andrew Luck plays their final game on Saturday at home against Oregon State. Should they win, they will have stated their case for inclusion if one of the major conference undefeateds fail to deliver.

#7 Wisconsin should win their final game this weekend against a Dan Persa-less Northwestern. Hard to see them getting into the National Championship picture, but a trip to Pasadena should be well received in Madison.

#8 Ohio State blew their chance for a guaranteed title spot with their lackluster loss at Wisconsin earlier in the year. They shouldn’t have any trouble with their hated rivals this weekend and have no chance of getting into the National Championship conversation without a lot of upheaval in the teams above them. A BCS bid should be a lock.

#9 Oklahoma State a tough game against Oklahoma stands between them and another tough game in the Big 12 championship game. The Big 12 as a is just about entirely out of the BCS National Championship picture, but Oklahoma State is their best contended and would need a miracle to get there.

#10 Michigan State ranked below #7 Wisconsin even though they defeated them by 10. Largely because Ohio State was not on the Spartans schedule this year coupled with their embarrassing 36-7 loss to Iowa. Michigan State will need both Ohio State and Wisconsin to lose in order to earn a trip to the Rose Bowl, more likely Sparty will take it’s talents to Orlando for the Capital One bowl.

That leaves us with an infinite amount of scenarios, but here are the 4 most probable:

Scenario 1: The teams that should win out, do win out, and Oregon faces Auburn for the national title. Sorry Boise State & TCU, better luck next year. BCS members can feign sadness over not including two undefeated teams, but as they would say “there are only 2 spots in the game, and we wish we could include everyone.”

Scenario 2: The most likely in my opinion. Oregon, Boise State, & TCU win out, Auburn loses. Now the BCS is in the ultimate lose-lose scenario. Oregon will take one spot in the title game, but who gets the 2nd? Undefeated Boise St? Undefeated TCU? A one-loss team? Which one? LSU? Auburn? Wisconsin? Stanford? I think TCU loses out in the instance and Boise State on the strength of their recent past gets the nod. All hell will break lose in the media (I’m looking at you Pat Forde) if they choose a one loss squad over the two undefeated non-BCS schools. I don’t necessarily disagree with the choice of a one loss team over Boise State. After all, The Broncos do only play one difficult game per year. This year’s version they barely won over a team that lost the next week to FCS James Madison (A team that finished 8th out of 10 in their conference with a 6-5 record).

Scenario 3: Oregon & Auburn lose, Boise State & TCU win out: another BCS nightmare. The BCS hates enough when one school from a non-member conference crashes their party, let alone two playing in the most important game of the year. Media markets would hate it which, in turn, means the NCAA will hate it. America loves David vs. Goliath, but they aren’t too keen on David vs. David. In this scenario I have to believe that they let Boise in but keep the Horned Frogs out. Let the debate begin over who the one loss team that gets chosen will be.

Scenario 4: Oregon, Auburn & Boise lose, TCU wins. Now there is one undefeated team from a non-BCS conference and at least 8 one loss teams who believe that they should have a chance to play for the title. This might lead to a split national championship. Let’s say the BCS picked Oregon & TCU, and Oregon won 13-10. Meanwhile Stanford beat Auburn 49-3. It would be hard to not vote Stanford #1 because they beat a better opponent. What if the BCS decided to leave TCU out and match-up two one-loss teams?

I’m personally rooting for whichever scenario is worst for the BCS. The exciting part is that the only good scenario for the BCS would be if Auburn and Oregon win and Boise State and TCU lose. The odds of that happening are about the same as the Carolina Panthers winning 6 straight and making the NFL playoffs. The outcome of this season should help in moving closer to ending the current BCS, and the sooner this nonsensical crapshoot of a system is eliminated the better. Think about the conversations you will have with your now-unborn kids/grandkids years from now. Trying to explain to them, who have only ever seen a playoff system, how it worked back in the “old days.” “Well you see, they had a bunch of people vote, and then they loaded data into a panel of computers to put teams in rank order… and then after that they put a whole bunch of pieces of paper into a hat… oh, hell with it, let’s just watch the semifinal games.”


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