Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
Sports College Sports College Football

Crescendo? Big letdown

This should be one heck of an exciting final weekend because it says on Page 5 of the Bowl Championship Series media guide, "The BCS delivers the most meaningful regular season in sports."

The manual reiterates, "The BCS plays an important role in preserving and enhancing college football's unique regular reason where every game counts."

Except every game this weekend doesn't count. In fact, none of them really count.

The national title game, no matter what happens, is going to be No. 1 Louisiana State vs. No. 2 Alabama.

And the SEC, which has won seven BCS titles and the last five, actually would be better off if LSU lost to Georgia in Saturday's SEC title game in Atlanta.

Georgia would be assured a Sugar Bowl berth while it's likely LSU and Alabama still would play for the BCS title a week later in the Superdome.

What happened to all the other conferences and schools?

In theory, No. 3 Oklahoma State's game against Oklahoma on Saturday should count. Nobody wants to see an LSU-Alabama rematch, right?

In 2006, the SEC adamantly argued against Ohio State playing Michigan in the national title game. Michigan's only loss that year was by three points, on the road, against No. 1 Ohio State.

Florida President Bernie Machen bellowed after his Gators defeated Arkansas (by 10 points) in the SEC title game, "If they don't vote for us after tonight, we need a new system."

Moved by a chorus of protest in the South, voters manipulated Florida past Michigan into the No. 2 BCS spot. Every game counted that final weekend.

What happened to this weekend?

Oklahoma State, which has a mascot named Pistol Pete, isn't even drawing its guns. Shouldn't a victory over No. 10 Oklahoma start a saloon brawl?

Coach Mike Gundy said of shamelessly campaigning, "That's not my background, that's not my personality."

Gundy had steam coming out of his ears a few years back when he challenged lily-livered reporters to come after him, "I'm a man, I'm 40!"

Suddenly he has gone from Gundy to Gandhi.

"We all signed up and said we're going to agree to it," he said of the BCS.

No one is catching LSU in the BCS standings. The Tigers are Secretariat in the Belmont.

Alabama is No. 2 and Oklahoma State is No. 3, and Gundy says that's the way it ought to be.

"We have a loss and they have a loss," he said of Alabama. "They lost to the No. 1 team in the country."

It has been 14 rocky years for the BCS, but what good is a haywire system if it can't even provide closing-act controversy?

The BCS isn't to blame for the inevitable LSU-Alabama rematch. The voters and computers have decided this.

However, there is growing resignation to "BCS fatigue."

Some college administrators are weary of defending a system that was created in 1998 only to allow No. 1 and No. 2 to meet at a level that fundamentally was opposed to a playoff.

The ancillary was the BCS created more, not less, access for midmajor schools like Boise State and Utah.

Unintentionally, it whetted a thirst for more access and money and produced a face only a mother and her antitrust lawyer could love.

Playoff proponents think destroying the BCS will lead logically to a playoff.

Commissioners actually are running the other way with starting-point talk of paring the BCS down to a skeletal frame. Keep it only to pair 1-2, is one plan, while removing the automatic qualifier conditions for conference champions. In essence, everyone after 1-2 is a free agent.

There would be no restrictions on how many teams a conference could send to a BCS game. The Rose Bowl wouldn't be required, in given years, to take Texas Christian. Boise State, which has played in two Fiesta Bowls during the BCS era, might never play in another.

This roll-back is the radical counterweight to the 16-team-playoff crowd. The answer is somewhere in between, but closer to 1997 than it is to playoffs.

The people sick and tired of the BCS might be getting through to the people who are sick and tired of defending it.

Until then, remember: "Almost every game counts."

cdufresne@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Comments
Loading