Entering this past holiday weekend, SEC West teams held the top three spots in the BCS poll: LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. The Tide rolled over Auburn and LSU did the same to Arkansas and just like that, we have undefeated LSU playing Alabama, whose only loss was to — you guessed it — LSU.
Strangely, though, LSU (12-0) will have to play one more game than Alabama (11-1) before the national title game. Because LSU won the West, it must face Georgia for the SEC title this weekend.
Even if LSU loses, no one really expects the BCS standings to change much. Maybe Alabama would move up to No. 1 and LSU would drop all the way to No. 2.
After seeing these two teams play, plus other one-lossers including Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech, I don’t have any problem with the computer calculations that give us LSU and Alabama as the best and brightest in college football this year. If we’re stuck with computers to do our bidding, and we have one unbeaten team and one team that lost only to that unbeaten team, then those are probably the teams that deserve a shot at the title.
But did we really need computers to figure that out? Did we really need six polls and strength of schedule and the Large Hadron Collider to determine what we could all figure out using common sense? Even Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy, No. 3 in the BCS poll, said he would pick Alabama for the national title game, for heaven’s sake.
The BCS wants us to believe it’s essential to this process, that the gobbledygook of numbers we run in the newspaper every Monday is somehow meaningful and interesting and important. But is it really?
We’ve been told we needed the BCS to ensure that the top two teams in the country would meet on the field. But here’s the thing: They already did, and fans were treated to a scintillating 9-6 kicking exhibition (Any chance the Redskins could borrow either of those guys this month?).
We’ve been told the BCS ensures that every week of the regular season will count — except evidently in this case, the last one. The conferences that gave us this mess will stage championship games this weekend, and the only consequence on the national championship race will be which team will get to wear white in the title game.
We’ve been told we don’t need a playoff system — even one as small as four or eight teams — and because the NCAA apparently has abdicated all responsibility for college football to the conferences, the BCS and anyone else who wants it, we’ll probably never get one.
Yet every year, it gets harder and harder to believe what we’re told.