MULE’: Another Year, Another BCS Mess
Texas beats Oklahoma – on a neutral field – by 10 points, finishes the regular season with the same record as the Sooners, yet is left out of the Big 12 Championship Game.
by Marty Mule’
Tiger Rag Featured Columnist
And any hope of playing for the national championship.
The Longhorns have a legitimate beef.
But, it’s with their league, not really the BCS. What waylaid Texas was the fifth tiebreaker in case of a three-way deadlock in the final conference standings, which is what happened with Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. The determining factor was that the Sooners were ranked ahead of the Longhorns in the BCS standings. The Big 12 put that in, not the BCS, which only tabulated its own results. Too bad for the ‘Horns.
But you know what? No system is ever going to be perfect, and what has some upset now is what the BCS originally tried to rectify in the first place: the imperfections of the system in place for most of the 20th Century – human calculations.
It was computers that put OU over the top in the BCS rankings, determining that over the course of the entire season, despite the Texas defeat, the Sooners were playing the best football.
OU coach Bob Stoops, who admittedly has reason to side with the outcome, nevertheless hit the nail on the head when he said: “They (computers) don’t have agendas; they don’t have loyalties; they don’t have opinions; they don’t have all the bias that everyone else does.”
What’s lost in the annual squabbles about the BCS is why.
For decades fans complained – almost always when their favorite team was not in the top spot – about the biases of sportswriters voting in the polls. The coaches’ poll was also questioned, but to a lesser degree because coaches, by their own admissions, often don’t vote; they let underlings do it for them, at least until the end of the regular season.
That’s what brought on the advent of the current system, with its series of factors – knowledgeable observations and the data from various polls fed into computers – to come up with the most deserving two teams to meet for the national championship.
The idea was to have as close to a true No. 1 game as possible, while preserving the bowl system, and not, as was the previous case , a championship based on opinion. Educated opinions for the most part, but opinions nevertheless.
I remember well the great college football announcer Keith Jackson intoning at the 2004 Rose Bowl that USC, which shared the national title with LSU, was the “People’s Champions.”
That was just the point. USC was much a media darling as an outstanding team. At the Sugar Bowl, where LSU was playing Oklahoma, an AP writer (whose outlet also had USC atop the polls) wrote the Trojans could beat both on the same day.
Really… And they think we’re the bumpkins.
Which is why the cold, dispassionate, calculating computers, combined with human observation, gives us the best evaluation of college football teams.
At least, until we have a 16-team playoff system.
* You not only might have watched the best of all SEC Championship Games Saturday, but also some of the best figures ever to take part. Think about it: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is already considered one of the best in the three-quarters of a century the SEC has been playing football. Bama freshman receiver Julio Jones has the same kind of top-of-the-line potential. Then there are the coaches, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida’s Urban Meyer, both with lots of football yet to be coached but already having left deep dents in the conference record books.
* Bastrop’s quarterback/receiver/athlete Reuben Randle is important to LSU not only for what he brings to the table for the Tigers’ team, but as a symbol. Should Les Miles not reel in Randle, who is believed to be leaning to Alabama, it would be the second time in three years that the No. 1 prospect in Louisiana has passed on LSU to go out-of-state. Curtis’ Joe McKnight spurned the Tigers two years ago to go to Southern Cal.
* Nick Saban would be my Coach of the Year in the SEC, maybe even nationally. But he may have caught a break going undefeated. Looking back on it, the opponents that seemed so fearsome on Bama’s schedule in August (Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Auburn) all looked very beatable by December.
* BCS-buster Utah, set to play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, is the 34th undefeated team to play in the New Orleans classic. The first was Temple (7-0-2) in 1935, which lost to Tulane in the inaugural Sugar. The last was Auburn (12-0-0) in 2004, which beat Virginia Tech.
Marty Mule’ can be reached at MJM981two@Charter.net