Monday, December 4, 2006

BCS bloodbath

Oh, good god. First we beat ourselves bloody, and now the Alamo Bowl people are tossing us in the shark tank.

College football has always done it differently, and this season is throwing those differences into sharp relief. As I write this, there’s a roiling controversy over which team really deserves a shot at the national championship game against Ohio State.  Perennial powerhouse USC was widely expected to face the Buckeyes, but lost a shocker against underdog rivals UCLA. Now Florida gets a somewhat unexpected chance, but even this was met with rumbles of indignation. The computer (oh, yes, it’'s a computer, doesn'’t that give you confidence?) that calculates BCS rankings had Florida and Michigan tied for second place, but the coaches and AP voters really seemed to hate the idea of a Michigan-OSU repeat, even though most of them would agree that Florida is the weaker team. 

Then again, since Michigan has already tried their luck and found it wanting against OSU, the Buckeyes still ought to be heavily favored against any possible challenger. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it’s a damn silly system, but it probably won’t make much of a difference this year at least for the championship game. The rest of college football’s postseason is a kind of Thunderdome of vaguely hierarchical bowl games that don’t really count for anything other than bragging rights and momentum for, er, next year. (I’'m not kidding; some sports journalists talk about momentum gained from these flashing-neon-lights-SEASON-ENDING games.) This leads to what could politely be called “a few mismatches.”  Another way to put it might be that every postseason game other than the championship is a glorified party put together solely for the purpose of drawing spectators and viewers. “Bloodbaths” is the word.

There needs to be a better system for this. Great teams shouldn'’t sit at home in January, and our poor beleaguered Hawks deserve better than what I'’m pretty sure will be a brass-knuckle beating at the hands of the Texas Longhorns. End the loony BCS.

Jon Gold
DI columnist

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