Frank Beamer is right not to apologize. Why should he be the one to apologize for the embarrassment that is the BCS? His Hokies didn’t storm New Orleans and take the Sugar Bowl by force. Beamer shouldn’t have to read a list of Virginia Tech’s accomplishments over the past 16 years – to be frank, Frank, they aren’t really relevant to the discussion anyway – to try to justify his team’s bowl berth.
If this were the NCAA tournament, we might say that Virginia Tech got over-seeded. But we wouldn’t blame Virginia Tech for that – we’d blame the Selection Committee.
So let’s put the blame where the blame is due – right on the good ol’ BCS and the good ol’ bowl system, which is still run by the good ol’ boys. The BCS was supposed to deal with the inequities of that system, in which teams seemed to be picked willy-nilly for the best of the bowl games (with the biggest payoffs, of course). That doesn’t seem to be working. Both Tech and its opponent, Michigan, leapfrogged some of the teams in the BCS rankings to grab the coveted Sugar Bowl spots.
Michigan was selected over Michigan State despite the fact that the Spartans beat the Wolverines by two touchdowns this season. Other teams with an ax to grind include Kansas State, Baylor, TCU and perennial ax-grinder Boise State. Seriously, Boise State could clear-cut all of Idaho with all the axes it’s ground over the past few years.
Baylor and TCU are not the darlings of college football, but they played one of the best – if not the best – game of the season, and Baylor has Robert Griffin III, who may now be the Heisman front-runner. And Kansas State – though it pains me to say it – is ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, higher than every team in the discussion except Boise State. Bill Snyder has done a remarkable job with the Wildcats, who deserve better than they got, although their Cotton Bowl matchup with Arkansas could be one of the better bowl games.
(Sorry, I need a minute here.)
And don’t talk to me about travel. Sure, the Hokies and Michigan “travel well.” So does K-State (I’m actually experiencing the bends now). So would other teams, if they were ever given a chance. We’ll never know if Broncos fans travel well because they never get to go anywhere. Well, that’s not true; they get to go to Vegas, baby! What a rare opportunity.
The bowl system was unfair before the BCS, and it’s unfair now. So why the devil do we need the BCS? If the bowls are going to pick and choose programs with great pedigrees over programs trying to build great pedigrees, we’re going to see the same teams play every year and that’s that.
Of course, life’s unfair, and it was unfair long before we’d ever heard of the BCS. Yammering from the media and fans apparently isn’t going to change anything, but where are the conferences in all this? I’ve said it before: If they can entirely realign themselves without permission or guidance from anyone, why can’t they turn their attention to this hot mess? After all, it’s in the conferences’ best interests to ensure that their teams get the best possible bowl berths because it’s an important source of revenue for the entire conference. Forget fairness as an incentive; money should work.
And apparently it has. The conferences – as soon as they are actually clear on which schools are members – will propose changes to the BCS by next summer; the current BCS contract runs out in two years. It’s probably too much to hope that these changes will include oh, say, a playoff system – the good ol’ boys would never go for it. But what if the BCS standings meant something? What if success during the regular season translated to the best possible bowl bid? Wouldn’t that be something?
Until then, the blame needs to be put where it belongs – not on Frank Beamer or Virginia Tech, not on Michigan, but on the BCS and the so-called bowl system. Make them stand up and read a list of accomplishments. It would be short.