The B(s)CS strikes again

I can still remember the debates on local sports radio channels when I moved to Michigan in 2006 concerning a possible rematch between Ohio State and Michigan in the 2007 BCS Championship Game. However I will have to beg the reader’s pardon because being from the South, I am simply unable to replicate all of the pomp and circumstance concerning the anticipation of two non-SEC 11-0 teams playing for a bid in the national championship game, nor do I observe the “tradition” of this NCAA rivalry, as currently, universities jockeying for position in an association of 100+ teams are playing conference musical chairs, destroying one-hundred and twenty year-old rivalries such as Texas vs Texas A&M for a chance to play in one of several seventeen-million dollar bowl games (and ask UConn if if it’s worth it. I mean, I recognize that OSU and Michigan play in two of the largest stadiums in NCAA football, and well, I can’t honestly say that they represent programs of integrity given what happened with Tressell and what he did to Lloyd Carr. But yet there is something about these schools and their rivalry where fans of ESPN and elsewhere believed that a rematch of the 42-37 final score was worth entertaining in debate.

I personally thought much of it was fan fanaticism. But it was intense enough such that I was legitimately afraid that the Florida Gators would get snubbed — and I’m a Florida State Fan!

As it turns out, both Michigan and Ohio State would proceed to get crushed in their respective ensuing bowl games.

Five years later, and after the dust has settled, we will indeed see a rematch, but under different circumstances. That 42-37 OSU/Michigan score is sexy to many football fans, but a rematch between the two teams responsible for the 6-9 #1 vs #2 final score, Alabama/LSU, has mostly generated disgust.

I personally do not understand it. How can a college football game possibly be more competitive than 6-9 in overtime? Indeed, that final field goal came after regulation time when Nick Saban basically out-coached himself, drawing illegal huddle penalties and failing to put the ball in the hands of Trent Richardson on Alabama’s first and only offensive possession in OT, while Les Miles and LSU could settle for an easy FG.

Perhaps it is the condition of the present-day football fan with short memories of when the option ruled the days of college football, when “smash-mouth” was a term more circulated than “spread.” I personally find astronomical football scores annoying. The stoppages in playtime from all the incomplete passes, WRs catching near or running out of bounds, and changes in possession prolong the game more than necessary. The Washington Huskies and Baylor Bears just put up 1,399 combined yards of offense and a final score of 67-56. That might be acceptable for a final score in college basketball, but not football at any level. There’s quality football and then there’s a mockery of football.

Some have argued that Oklahoma State should have usurped Alabama in the #2 spot after thrashing Oklahoma in the last game of the season 44-10. But earlier in the season, their one loss came to the lowly Iowa State (credit, if possible: the game went into overtime). Many have projected and speculated that Oklahoma State could be a serious contender versus LSU or Alabama given its explosive offense, but we’re talking about NFL-ready rosters between LSU and Alabama.

I’m sorry, but you are not going to get more competitive than a 6-6 score going into overtime to decide the winner in a National Championship game. We would prefer to have a true national champion over a “popular” one, yes? That’s the purpose of the BCS, isn’t it? #1 vs #2? The two best teams playing?

If we want to talk about snubs, and who-should-be-playing-in-what-game, then let’s talk about how Michigan State University is for the second year in a row left in the dust when it comes to BCS love. In 2011, they were co-co-co champions with Wisconsin and Ohio St.* Guess which two teams got to go to BCS bowl games? (Hint: one of them wasn’t MSU.) This year, Nebraska joined the Big 10, creating a championship game. MSU beats both Michigan and Wisconsin during the regular season, but loses to Wisconsin in the “extra” conference championship game, falling in rankings, facilitating Wisconsin’s second consecutive trip to the Rose bowl and Michigan’s trip to the Sugar Bowl to play ACC champion Virgina Tech. And get this: even the runner-up of the ACC championship game, Clemson, is playing in a BCS bowl: the Discover Orange Bowl.

Now, before we begin entertaining questions of Alabama going to the National Championship game without winning its conference, tell me what is up with all the MSU disses?

When you’re done figuring it out, I dare you to look me in the eye and say with a straight face that the NCAA is a superior product to the NFL because they “don’t play for money.”

I dare you.

Maurice Pogue spends his time spoiling the fun by taking the joke too seriously.

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