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Tanks take 12/10/03


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Bowling For Morons

Just when you thought College Football's lack of true Championship could not get any worse, this year's final BCS result have set new standards in idiocy. Southern California who has been one of the best teams all season moves into the number 1 slot in the AP and Coaches polls, after Oklahoma the last of the unbeaten lost their conference championship Saturday Night. However due to computer ratings and a quotation variables and ratios and digi pixels USC will not be playing for the National Championship at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 4th.  

This opens the door for another Split National Championship, even the words Spilt National Championship sound stupid. When the Bowl Championship Series was formed in 1998 it was to avoid these situations as the 1997 National Title ended up being shared by Michigan and Nebraska.

The BCS itself was formed in the ashes of the Bowl Alliance which had failed to get number 1 and 2 into the same bowl game on several occasions as the Rose Bowl along with the Pac-10 an Big 10 refused to participate, choosing instead to keep the traditional Rose Bowl match up of the Pac 10 and Big 10 Conference Champions.

The Bowl Alliance first came together in 1995 after years of split National Championships were caused by Conference Champion having pre arranged deals with Bowl games.

In the old days the winner of the SEC would always go to the Sugar Bowl, the Big 8 winner would go to the Orange Bowl, the winner from the now defunct Southwest Conference would go to the Cotton, while the Rose featured a Big 10 versus Pac-10 match up. If the number 1 and number 2 teams came from 2 of these conferences they would not meet in a Bowl game no matter what.

This situation set up the possibility that 2 or more teams could finish the season undefeated, which often created a split in the polls with the AP awarding 1 team with the final Number 1 ranking and the UPI Poll which has since been replaced by the Coaches Poll awarding the other team.  

Split National Championship appeared to be a thing of the past during the 80s when there were none after there had been 4 during the 70s. However, in 1990 split National Championships came back with a vengeance as both the 1990 and 1991 Championships were shared while there was a disputed title in 1993 and 1994.

Thinking it fixed the problem the Bowl Alliance featuring the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar was formed with the Bowls rotating who would get 1 versus 2. However without the Big 10 and Pac 10 the Alliance was not working, as in 1996, and 1997 a top rated team went to the Rose Bowl, highlighting a major flaw. In 1998 the Bowl Alliance was scraped in favor of the BCS as the Rose Bowl was added to the rotation.

The BCS flaw came with how do you narrow down to 2 teams. If 2 teams finish the season undefeated, as was the case in 2002 with Miami and Ohio State there is no problem and the BCS works. However when 3 or more teams finish undefeated, how do you justify leaving out 1 team from the National Championship picture? The same questions are raised when you have 1 undefeated team, and 3 teams with 1 loss, how do you justify to the other 2 teams with 1 losses that they don?t get to play that top rated team. This situation created turmoil in 2001; fortunately the NCAA was bailed out when Miami beat Nebraska. Had Nebraska won Oregon, who many felt should have gone to the Rose Bowl to face Miami would have had the right to complain since in the AP Poll they were rated over Nebraska.

All of this however, pails in comparison to the mess created this year when Oklahoma was upset in the Big XII Championship Game. Had Oklahoma won there would be no disputing they would deserve to go to the Sugar Bowl, while LSU and USC would of each had equal claim at the Sugar Bowl.  

Unfortunately without a playoff USC or LSU would have had a right to complain, but it would have just been an unfortunate side effect of the BCS, not a total travesty that was created when Oklahoma lost and still got to the Sugar Bowl. Unlike LSU and USC each having equal claims at the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma failed to win their Conference Championship, and thus should have been the odd man out among the 3 teams that finished the season with just 1 loss.

Which is the crux of the problem with Oklahoma going to the Sugar Bowl. When all else is equal, if a team does not win their conference then they should not be in the BCS Championship. The was the same controversy 2 years ago when Nebraska got into the Rose Bowl ahead of Pac-10 Champ Oregon.

In truth Oklahoma was the best team in College Football all season, and Saturday's 35-7 loss to Kansas State may have just been a one-time slip up. However, unless you have a playoff and they earn there way back to the Championship, then its just too bad. They should have played better; they should have treated the Big 12 Championship like a play in game for the Sugar Bowl. The game was not even close the Sooners were humiliated by K-State, so they cannot even have a claim that they had bad luck or were the victim of bad calls. So if Oklahoma had been squeezed out they would have no right to complain.

However, in truth Oklahoma is probably still the best team and will likely easily win the Sugar Bowl despite LSU having a tremendous home field advantage. Which is exactly why there needs to be a playoff. There is no longer any reason to save the bowl games, other then to place playoff games in the same stadiums.

The Bowls are now beyond watered down as this year there are 28 bowls, with several teams with mediocre 6-6, and 7-5 record getting into a bowl game. When there were only a few games, making a bowl, actually meant something. Now it?s nothing, as many Bowl games are only of interest for the players and fans of the teams that are participating.  

A playoff would be something fans would instantly embrace and it would be among the most anticipated sporting evens every year creating a March Madness level of excitement. A playoff would be a boost for the NCAA and the sport of College Football, as it would revitalize sagging ratings.

There is no reason that there is no playoff, they have one in Divisions 1-AA, 2 and 3. There is no money in those lesser divisions, and some how they can find away to schedule a playoff around exams.

Its simple and easy a 16-team playoff could begin this weekend, with the semifinals played on Christmas and the Championship on New Years. It would become appointment television and a great new Holliday Tradition that would put the Thanksgiving Football games, and the old New Years Bowl marathons to shame. The 16 teams could be made up of the 11 conference champions and 5 at large teams, with the games will be played in existing bowl sites.

Its time there are no more excuse and no other options.

Unfortunately the BCS Contract does not expire for 2 more seasons, so a change will not happen before 2006. However the NCAA has to make a change in 2006, otherwise they could just take College Football and shove it. In fact it may be the last option available that enough fans get together and pressure the NCAA to start a playoff in 2006, by threatening to boycott all bowl sponsors and the NCAA itself.

If enough fans boycott then they will lose the money they make with these ridiculous unwatchable pointless bowl games. However we must start now beginning telling your friends and neighbors maybe start a petition the goal will be to get enough names by the 2005 season that the NCAA will have no other choice to begin a playoff once the BCS expires.

For once the fans have to speak up, the NCAA is not that powerful and money is their only motivation. The outrage felt by USC fans cannot be allowed to simmer down. Winning the Rose Bowl and creating a split National Championship will never make up for the fact they were screwed. This has to stop. USC is not the first team to be screwed, but they can be the last if we speak up now.

Allot of people can force big changes, just by speaking up and refusing to be feed from a Bowl full of bullplop. The BCS does not produce a Championship so all you have left is BS and BS is the only explanation you need. However, I cannot do it alone, we all need to start pressuring the NCAA now, and when the BCS expires they will have no other choice but to start a playoff.

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