Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BCS: The Bucky Channel Standings

The main reason that I'm starting to believe that the BCS system of determining the national champion in college football is never going to go away is because of the attention that it draws. Even though it is so flawed to the point that TCU is basically forced to move into the Big East, which may actually be a worse conference than the one they are currently in, I don't think the system is going anywhere. And this past season of college football is a good example of why. You want a playoff, the BCS asks? We just gave you a playoff, they'll say.  After months of college football, there are now just three undefeated teams left, and since they are going to discredit anything that TCU is doing because of the whole "large conference" bias, Auburn and Oregon are going to play for the national championship. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Boise State, Stanford, etc... - you all had your shot, but you lost in the 12-week regular season that serves as a playoff. Better luck next year, according to the BCS. 

During the World Cup this past summer, there was a lot of controversy about a few of the goals that were scored in the tournament. There was the lack of goal-line technology that doomed England against Germany, and there was the questionable offsides that stopped the Americans comeback against Slovenia from being a true all-time classic. But the organization that runs the cup, FIFA, loved every second of the controversy and don't expect them to make any quick changes to remedy these situations. Controversy means publicity, and the more controversial something is, the more we talk about it. The BCS knows how controversial their system is, and they know how many people are in favor of a playoff, but look how much time we've spent talking about this season. Not just insignificant little ol' me either, we are all on board with college football as the ratings are up this season, and those in charge of the BCS think it's because of the excitement that they create by having this "season-long playoff". 

Granted, while it is exciting watching which teams will end up as the final two, that doesn't necessarily mean that the system is right. Last weekend, I was rooting against Auburn and Oregon not because of feelings I have towards the schools themselves, but because I wanted them to lose as sort of a fuck you to the BCS system. It isn't right that TCU is going to go undefeated in the regular season and they don't get a shot at the title. It isn't right that as good as Wisconsin is playing right now, they don't get the chance to prove they are the best because they have one loss on their record to another top-ranked team. It isn't right that college football announcers discredit Boise State because they don't play hard teams week in and week out, and then when Boise State loses to a good Nevada team, announcers are quick to say "I told you so" rather than realize that Boise State faces some good in-conference competition after all. The whole system isn't right.

I don't mind the BCS formula in determining the top teams in the country, but the fact that they limit it just to the top two teams is what bothers me. Is it that hard to use it to determine the top, let's say, sixteen teams and seed them in a playoff format similar to what every other level of college football does? Look at the first round matchups that'd we have as of right now if there was a playoff - an Auburn/Alabama rematch, Oregon/Virginia Tech, TCU/Oklahoma State, Stanford/Nebraska, Wisconsin/Missouri, Ohio State/Boise State, an Arkansas/LSU rematch, and Michigan State/Oklahoma. And those are just the first round games! How would there not be monster interest in watching how that all shook down? 

What's that? You don't want the players missing all that school time to compete in a playoff? Last time I checked, don't college kids get like a seven-week break over the holidays? Keep your shitty bowls for the teams not good enough to qualify for the playoff, and then use the top-level bowls for playoff games. Keep the tradition of the Rose Bowl alive by hosting a playoff quarterfinal or semifinal there on January 1st. My god, a college football playoff would be a huge national draw and bring fans all over the country together. Conference rivalries would be intensified while new inter-conference rivalries would be formed. Other than the fact that this is too good of an idea, I don't know how it hasn't happened already.

But for now, all we can do is dream. We can settle with the fact that you have to be undefeated (and from a major conference) to get national title consideration and then we can get all jacked up for the behemoth BCS bowl between Va Tech and UConn that we'll likely get in a couple of weeks. Can't wait for that one. But the bowls aren't set in stone yet, as we still have one more week of conference championships and in-state rivalries to go, and there's a chance, albeit a small one, that both Auburn and Oregon could still lose and this system will get shaken up once and for all. It would louden the call for a national playoff, which is why I root for the small conference schools to win in the first place. All that I want is to see the current BCS system crumble in favor of a playoff and even though it seems like a lost cause, I know I'm in the majority. Let me step down from my soapbox now, and take a closer look at the only BCS standings that matter - The Bucky Channel Standings.

Dropping Out: LSU (6th), Oklahoma State (9th), Alabama (10th)

10. Nevada (LW: NR) - Surprise! It's the Nevada Wolfpack! Since my version of the standings don't mean anything anyway, let's just pour all the love we can on the non-AQs. I mentioned earlier about how announcers were kind of hypocritical when comparing the conferences of Boise State and TCU to those of Auburn and Wisconsin. Even during the Wisconsin/Purdue game this year, an announcer went all crazy about how Purdue is better than any of the competition that Boise State would face. Come on man, you don't think that Nevada would beat Purdue? Because I sure do. Nevada was 19th in the BCS last week, they then go to knock off the number three team in the standings, and all they do is move up to number 17? Whhaaaaat? I do admit, schools like Nebraska and LSU probably would take care of Nevada, but let's give these guys a bit of credit when they deserve it. 

9. Arkansas (LW: NR) - The BCS is very high on Arkansas after their win against LSU, moving them all the way up from 12th to 7th. Hey, they are a good football team and their only losses are to Auburn and Alabama, but they still have two losses whereas everyone else I'm putting above them only has one, and that's the theory I'm going with. You don't think though that Arkansas would have a pretty good shot at doing some damage if they will in a playoff? I know wouldn't want to play them. 

8. Michigan State (LW: NR) - Michigan State could have the chance to prove that they are Rose Bowl bound if this was next year, as Wisconsin and Michigan State will be in different although still unnamed divisions in the new look Big Ten. I know that the Badgers desperately wish that they had this one back, and right now it's clear to see that the Badgers are the better team, so they deserve the birth to Pasadena. Then again, on a field of play for 60 minutes, Sparty did beat Bucky. But in college football, it's not about who you lose to but when you lose. Badger fan or not, I can realize that really doesn't make too much sense. 

7. Boise State (LW: 2) - Maybe they shouldn't be this high, but did they really drop all the way to 11th in the real BCS? At least human voters in the AP put them in the top ten still at number nine, but whenever a team like Boise State or TCU loses you can sense that the voters aren't wasting any time burying them in the polls. Although this year I did sense that a lot of voters wanted to see the Broncos get a title shot, it's just that the college football gods struck down the small conference schools as they always do. And, I may have accidentally jinxed them as well. This poor team is going to go from a potential national championship birth to likely the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl? At least I was right in one regard, college football really is a cold hearted bitch.

6. Ohio State (LW: 8) - Likely BCS bound against Arkansas, I'm probably going to take the Razorbacks in the confidence pool. The Buckeyes are still a great football team, but they have really gone under the radar since their loss to the Badgers. The closest they've been since to the national spotlight was when they wore those terrible uniforms last weekend and everyone wondered just who exactly was beating Michigan. This team never had a chance of topping the Badgers this week in the BCS, and I can't believe how many analysts tried to stir up the notion that they could have. The Badgers beat Ohio State, they are playing more dominant than Ohio State, and all of your worrying this weekend about if the Buckeyes would pass us was based on pure propaganda. Hope you didn't fall for it.

5. Stanford (LW: 7) - The BCS is still more high on Stanford than they are on the Badgers, and the Cardinal would seem to be more in line for a national championship birth if both Auburn and Oregon lose next weekend. They shouldn't be though. For one, they aren't even the champions in their own conference and for two, they really haven't been that impressive. Their most impressive victory was against then #15th ranked Arizona, but how good really is Arizona? I think that if the top two seeds lose, one of them will still go to the title game against TCU, and Stanford will have to settle for a matchup likely in the Fiesta Bowl against the Big 12 winner.

4. Wisconsin (LW: 5) - Pasadena, here we come. The Badgers haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 1999, so this game will no doubt harbor back memories to the days of my childhood, but that's about it for me. In today's college football landscape, where there actually is a designed method (albeit flawed one) to determine a national champion, the Rose Bowl is nothing more than a consolation prize. Badgers fans should be more upset that we don't get a chance to prove we are the best team in the country right now instead of getting ready to go out and get wasted drunk rooting for our guys in Southern California. Make no mistake, playing in the Rose Bowl is a great honor and it's going to be a fun game to watch, but I don't like the mentality of settling. I do that enough in my own personal life, I don't want to see my favorite college football team do it as well.

3. TCU (LW: 4) - TCU, my former love. I still think that this season they deserve as much of an entry to the national title game as anyone, and I will still be praying that either Oregon or Auburn lose so they get that shot. But if they do indeed go to the Rose Bowl to face the Badgers? Then I hope we kill them, and the way we're playing right now you know they will. They are Big East bound anyway, so they'll be showered with automatic BCS bowl bids for years to come, even though the Big East has no teams in the AP top 25 right now whereas a conference like the WAC has three (Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii) and the Mountain West has two (TCU and Utah). I still love ya, TCU, but not on January first I won't. Again, hopefully you're playing ball on January 10th where you will be crowned as national champions. 

Wait, did I just say that the Badgers would crush TCU right now but that TCU has a better shot of going to the national title game where I'd then expect them to win? 


2. Oregon (LW: 3) 
1. Auburn (LW: 1)

I have never had a problem with either of these teams in the past, but it was unreal how much I found myself rooting against them last weekend. All because of how much I hate what the BCS has done to college football, even though with the BCS I find myself watching more and more games than I personally ever have. Again, just because watching the games is exciting doesn't mean we have the right system to determine the champion. But even though both of these schools will likely steamroll their opponents this weekend (Oregon State and South Carolina, respectively), I will still be rooting for both of them to fall. Sorry guys, it's nothing personal.


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