Monday, November 21, 2011

What a Mess

By Paul Foeller

You know those boring Friday nights when you're sitting at home feeling under the weather and lamenting the lack of any good football to watch as the Nyquil kicks in? Most of you probably do — it's just a fact of life.

What about when that Friday night begins to make you wonder if the Nyquil you bought was some new, faster-acting version? Because there's no way a team favored by four score and seven years (okay, maybe just four scores) could possibly have just lost to an Iowa State team that was just struggling to stay above .500, let alone given that they were down 24-7 in the second half.

Yet as the smoke cleared, something became clear — the BCS just got interesting. Now Alabama, Oregon, and Oklahoma (ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively) were leading a pack of one-loss teams with renewed national championship hopes, and on Saturday, each would have a chance to stake a claim to the second spot in the race for a title.

Oregon was slated to face Pac-12 foe and 18th-ranked USC. Given that the game was at home, not many from Eugene were too worried about this game. But unfortunately for them, Matt Barkley and Trojans weren't ready to let Oregon run away with the Pac-12 crown.

As the clock struck zero, and the result became clear after a missed field goal and a number of defensive lapses, whispers started floating around the nation that an Oklahoma team, whose only loss was Texas Tech a few weeks ago, might be in a tight race with Alabama for that coveted spot behind Les Miles and the LSU Tigers.

As it turns out, Baylor wants to see an all-SEC championship game — they entered Saturday ranked 22nd in the nation, and were far from favorites against the 5th-ranked Sooners. But Robert Griffin III and the Baylor offense exploded for a number of school records, none more important than this. They improved to 1-20 against Oklahoma all-time. They had never beat Oklahoma before Saturday, but this was the tail-end of a roughly 24-hour period that seemed to flip the script in college football, and it got a deserving end.

As fans across the nation woke up yesterday and began to look at the new BCS ranking, what seemed impossible on Thursday night was a forgone conclusion: the top three, in order, was LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas. But while everyone could see this coming as they went to bed on Saturday evening (or more likely, Sunday morning after the Oklahoma and Baylor contest), something still doesn't seem right to the majority of fans.

College football now has six one-loss teams, half of which haven't lost to anyone outside of the top-10, and an undefeated Houston team — leaving eight teams (including LSU) with legitimate claims of a rightful place in the national title game.

So many fans are now left wondering why computers and a bunch of guys who haven't seen many of these teams play on more than one occasion are going to decide which six teams have to sit at home and watch a champion be crowned.

God forbid we should see a playoff, which would look something like this:

(1) LSU vs. (8) Houston
(2) Alabama vs. (7) Boise State
(3) Arkansas vs. (6) Stanford
(4) Oklahoma State vs. (5) Virginia Tech

Seriously, who wouldn't want to see that? Evidently, the people running the BCS don't, and unfortunately, their opinions are the only opinions that matter.

At the very least, the notion of a playoff must at least my entertained, if not immediately implemented. It's the only thing that makes sense to those of us paying for the tickets to watch the games, even if the people taking that money to the bank don't agree.

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