Monday, December 03, 2007

It's all settled - NOT!

Last week I posted about the sorry lack of a playoff in college football and now this week we have the bowl pairings all settled and we can see quite clearly how bad it really is. We've got our BCS bowl match-ups, let's run through them (I'd say "quickly" but I know I'm going to have a lot to say):

SUGAR BOWL: Georgia vs. Hawaii. Georgia was controversial because they are hot now and were playing as well as anyone for the last month and some thought they should make the title game. Unfortunately a couple early season losses cost them a shot at the SEC title, but they still got one of the four at large BCS bids. So did Hawaii. They don't play in a BCS conference, but they went undefeated and captured a lot of imagination because of their similarity to Boise State from last year - who everyone loved after the Fiesta Bowl last year. They did play a remarkably weak schedule though and one wonders if this doesn't reward a team for doing that.

FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia. Going into this weekend, West Virginia was ranked #2 and headed for the title game. Their QB got hurt and they lost. Earlier this year Oklahoma appeared headed for the title game before they played Texas Tech. Their QB got hurt and they lost. This past weekend they played Missouri, who was ranked #1 and headed for the title game. Oklahoma creamed them. It's pretty hard to say either of these teams at full strength couldn't be the best team in the country. They both have two losses and both had significant injuries (especially the Sooners). But since this actually puts two really good teams on the field against each other, I'm excited for this one.

ORANGE BOWL: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas. V-Tech finished 3rd in the final BCS standings, meaning they were actually the closest to going to the title game without making it. What's ironic is that they ended up with just two losses (like many others including LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Missouri, USC, Georgia, etc.), but one was against LSU in what was clearly the most marquee match up of the season. Had they instead scheduled Tiny Lame University and creamed them by 60 - they would be playing for the title. Don't believe it? Look at their opponent in this game. Kansas played NO ONE! Their schedule is basically as weak as Hawaii's - except for playing Missouri and that was the one game Kansas lost. And for that they get rewarded by getting a BCS spot. What really sucks is that Missouri does NOT get a spot. Try to figure this one out. Two teams in the same half of a conference. One plays such a weak non-conference schedule and is fortunate enough to get to avoid the good teams in the other half of the conference that they have the 109th toughest strength of schedule in the nation (out of 119 teams). The other team ends up playing (and beating) a team that ends up in the Rose Bowl in non-conference. They also play the team in other half of the conference that ends up ranked 4th in the countr (but losing). When they play each other, the team that played a tougher schedule wins, fairly comfortably - wins their half of the division and plays for the conference title (but that same #4 team beats them again). So who do you take - the team that played no one and lost head to head or the team that played a tough schedule, only lost to the #4 team in the country, and won head to head? BCS took Kansas and Missouri got dropped to the Cotton Bowl.

ROSE BOWL: USC vs. ILLINOIS: The media sucks. They picked USC to be #1 pre-season and they've done nothing all year but try to prove they were right. They had some injuries, sure, but all I've heard for the last month is how great they are, how without those injuries they would be undefeated, and how right now they are the best team in the nation. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. They are playing well, but not great. The never were nearly as injured as Oklahoma or LSU this season. They've been very healthy for the last month or so - and haven't been great during that time. A mild win over a mediocre UCLA, a mild win over a mediocre Cal, a loss to Oregon - all while healthy. The win over Arizona State was really good, but that's the only game all season they've looked national title worthy during. And this team has something like a dozen offensive players who will be first round draft picks - and they play in one of the weakest defensive conferences in America - and they couldn't even score 30 points in half their games (and when they did, it was against the likes of Wazzu, Idaho, Notre Dame, Nebraska - yuck). The media was wrong and they need to admit it and move on. Why is Illinois in this game? Because they want a Big Ten - Pac Ten match up in the Rose Bowl, even though the Big Ten winner is in the national title game. Didn't they do this last year, too? How well did that work out? Exactly. What's worst is that Illinois is #13 in the BCS standings. Obviously you wouldn't take Arizona State (#11) to play USC here, but Missouri beat Illinois this year and is #6. Or even Florida is at #12 - can you imagine anyone who would rather see Illinois get thumped by USC instead of seeing Florida and USC duke it out?

TITLE GAME: LSU vs. Ohio State: There are a bunch of people complaining about a two loss team in the title game. Apparently they all think Kansas or Hawaii is better than LSU. Idiots. There is certainly lots of debate about how to pick a two loss team among a handful of options - I think LSU makes the most sense. They played in and won the conference that was head and shoulders better than all others. They played a tougher non-conference game than anyone else (except for Virginia Tech). And their two losses were both to good teams and both in triple overtime. And they did it all with more injuries than anyone. By bigger issue is with Ohio State. They played no one, both in conference and out. They have done nothing this season to look like a national title contender. They are the exact same thing as last year - only much worse. Last year they beat Texas in non-conference - that was good. This year they beat Washington - last place in the Pac 10. Last year they went undefeated in the Big Ten. This year they did not. And last year they got crushed in the title game. Can't say I envision anything different this year. Way to go BCS.