The BCS matchups are set, and here are some closing thoughts…
*On the main controversy of the day, I unequivocally side with Oklahoma State. I am opposed to rematches in general, but especially within the conference. An argument pro-playoff supporters often make is that we need to settle this all on the field. What’s a more fair way of settling it on the field than a complete eight-game schedule followed by a championship game? If that isn’t a reasonable way of eliminating 11 of 12 teams, why should a one-and-done postseason bracket be? Pro-bowl people remind us that the purpose of the current system is to create elimination games every week. So much for that. The Game of the Century LSU and Alabama already played was apparently The Warmup Scrimmage Of the Century.
As to the argument that these are the two best teams in the country, regardless of conference, I’m not even persuaded of that. Oklahoma State’s only loss came on the very day the athletic department was rocked by tragedy with the plane crash that took the life of the women’s basketball coach. Who’s to say they couldn’t beat Alabama? And if Okie State would get a crack at LSU and lose decisively when Alabama went to the Sugar Bowl and pounded someone, then fine—they can be the best two teams in the country in the final poll. But at least we’d have settled it on the field and given everyone who earned a shot a chance to prove it.
*Something has to be done to prevent teams from being penalized for reaching conference championship games, but losing. Michigan State finished with a better conference record than Michigan, had a 10-2 regular season and beat the Wolverines head-to-head. But a championship game loss to Wisconsin handed the Spartans a third loss and dropped them out of the Top 16 where they needed to be eligible. Michigan moved up by default. The Spartans deserve the Sugar Bowl nod against Virginia Tech over and above the Wolverines (Kansas State does too for that matter, but that’s a different topic).
*Speaking of Kansas State, while I felt they deserved an at-large BCS slot, their Cotton Bowl game with Arkansas on Friday, January 6 is no small consolation prize. This is the best of the non-BCS games.
*Before we continue endless talk about reforming the national championship process, how about reforming the minor bowl selection process, an issue that would exist whether we have a playoff or the BCS. TCU and Boise State just missed qualifying for a major bowl, which I am okay with. But the drop-off is way to severe. Boise State plays Arizona State, a collapsing 6-6 team that fired its coach, in the Las Vegas Bowl prior to Christmas Day. Why can’t the Broncos take 6-6 Washington’s place in the Alamo Bowl against #12 Baylor? Kellen Moore and Robert Griffin III going toe-to-toe would be a great game. And TCU plays WAC champ Louisiana Tech, who is at least an underappreciated team. But let’s move the Horned Frogs past Northwestern and into the January 1 Meineke Car Care Bowl against Texas A&M. The Aggies are in disarray, but they still have talent and there’s no reason the entire Big Ten and SEC have to occupy New Year’s Day. In short, let’s set up secondary and tertiary level BCS-style selection formats, where good midmajors can play their way past mediocre major conference teams.