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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The BCS Got it Right

Since the creation of the BCS, we have had our fair share of controversy and the annual cries for some kind of a playoff system. The BCS was formed as a way to have the #1 and #2 teams in the nation play each other for the National Championship at the end of each year. And I think in 2007 it did exactly that. Ohio State and LSU both deserve their chance to play for this year's National Title.

On the last day of the season we saw the top two teams get beat, Missouri lost to Oklahoma and West Virginia was upset by Pittsburgh. With both #1 and #2 going down so late in the season, a BCS "mess" was created. Why? Did people honestly think before the Big XII Championship that Missouri was the best team in the country? Would we have been satisfied with a BCS Championship Game of Missouri vs. West Virginia just because they were #1 and #2 on the last weekend? Probably the biggest point to keep in mind when analyzing the BCS is the fact it is meant to compare teams at the END of the season. Once ALL games have been played, the BCS calculates which teams are the best two. Every year this fact gets lost as ESPN and other media outlets prematurely look ahead at what Championship Games we MAY have if teams ranked 1 and 2 win out. Of course this is meaningless because the BCS is not meant to create the Championship matchup until all games have been played.

Some argue (Pete Carroll) that this is a flaw in the system since it doesn't reward teams that are playing their best at the end of the season, but rather rewards teams based on their entire season. This is exactly one thing I love about the current BCS system. It evaluates teams based on the entire body of work. You have to be great for all 12 games and not just get hot at the end of the season. This year the BCS determined Ohio State and LSU were the best two teams based on their entire body of work and I agree. I haven't heard too many complaints about the Buckeyes reaching the Championship, but some are saying other teams were more deserving than LSU. Let's take a look at the Tigers and some of those other teams that were competing for the #2 spot once West Virginia went down.

LSU Tigers
LSU finished the season with 2 losses, both of those in triple overtime and was the champion of the toughest conference in the nation, the SEC. The Tigers deserve their shot at the National Title.

Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia is a very good football team and one of those squads that peaked at the end of the year. However, although it is not written anywhere that a team has to be a conference champ to play in the BCS Championship, it needs to be noted that not only did Georgia not win the SEC, they didn't even play in the SEC Championship Game.

USC Trojans
Pete Carroll will tell you that his Trojans are the best team in the nation right now. They are playing as good as any team right now, but the system we have measures every game equally. Whether that game was back in September or right now. And USC lost at home to Stanford! I know they were hurt and banged up, but under no system should a team be able to lose at home to Stanford this year and still have any chance at playing for the National Title. Sorry Trojans.

Oklahoma Sooners
If not LSU, Oklahoma would be the one team I would have been okay with jumping up to #2. They have two losses, both on the road, and the last to Texas Tech when QB Sam Bradford left the game with an injury. But injuries are part of the game and part of each season.

Virginia Tech Hookies
Virginia Tech won the ACC Championship avenging their loss earlier to Boston College. But in this case we can actually look at what happened on the field. Va Tech played LSU this season, and even though it was played in early September, LSU won that game 48 to 7. Enough said.

Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas is the other one loss team from a BCS Conference, but the Jayhawks beat exactly ZERO teams that are currently receiving votes in the AP Poll. Missouri was the one ranked team they played all season, and Kansas lost 28-36 on a neutral field. Nice season KU, but you really didn't beat anybody of substance.

So we are left with the best two teams ALL SEASON playing each other in New Orleans, Ohio State and LSU. The system is not perfect and no system will be, but this year the BCS did its job and got it right.