The BCS Continues to Get it Wrong

By John Feistein
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, November 12, 2007; 6:51 PM

If the college football season had ended this past weekend, the matchup for the national championship game would be Louisiana State against Oregon. At least according to the geniuses at the BCS.

Which is wrong.

The matchup should be 10-0 Kansas vs. 9-0 Hawaii.

Why? One simple reason: neither one of them has lost a game. Quick, name another sport at any level of competition in which you can go undefeated and be told, 'sorry, you can't compete for a championship.'

The answer to that, as we all know, is that there is NO other sport in which that is possible. Only in the Long Lost Land of The BCS Presidents.

The argument can be made that there's never been a college football season quite like this one. Let's start with this simple fact: at one point this fall, the No. 2 ranked team in the country was The University of South Florida. From there you can proceed to Nebraska giving up 76 points to Kansas, a school it once beat 34 straight times. You can consider Notre Dame losing nine games for the first time ever -- couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Charlie Weis, could it? -- including back-to-back losses to Navy and Air Force. And you can circle back to this: there's a very good chance that the regular season will end with Hawaii as the only unbeaten team in Division 1-A or whatever it is the bureaucrats in Indianapolis want to call the 119 teams that supposedly compete for the national championship.

Remember that word, supposedly. Because the truth is the 67 teams that make up the six BCS Conference and Notre Dame (The Fighting Irish have turned down membership in the Big East and the Big Ten in recent years; maybe they should consider the Ivy League.) can actually play for the national championship.

Remember last year, when Boise State was 12-0 in the regular season, one of two unbeaten teams in Division 1-A. Of course it wasn't allowed to compete for the national title because everyone knows it doesn't play a tough enough schedule to qualify or compete in a league (The WAC, which is also Hawaii's league) worthy of sending a team to the title game. Really? Has anyone out there checked out the Big Ten or the ACC this year? Years ago someone described the ACC as being Florida State, seven Peach Bowl teams and Duke. That has changed. It is now ELEVEN Peach Bowl teams and Duke. The Big Ten isn't a lot better.

Would Hawaii win either league? Who knows. No one from either conference would dare schedule them on a regular basis, that's for sure. Maybe Hawaii is a fraud -- sort of like Ohio State proved to be last year. If so, fine, let's find out in a first round NCAA Tournament game. How entertaining would a first round game between Hawaii and Oregon be? Wouldn't you like to see Kansas open up against Southern California after the Trojans sneak into the tournament as the No. 12 seed and win their first round game against Oklahoma? No, that wouldn't be any fun at all would it?

Let's play out another scenario for this season under the current system: Kansas loses to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. That would probably leave at least half a dozen teams with one loss. So how do you choose between LSU and Oregon and Oklahoma and Kansas and Ohio State and West Virginia? Here's a crazy idea: instead of letting computers and coaches and sportswriters do it, decide it on the field.

The BCS Presidents are a lot like the current President of the United States. They think that if they keep repeating their lies and half-truths and remind people who they are enough times, people will buy into what they're selling. According to one poll, only 21 percent of the American people are buying what President Bush is selling, but it sure took a long time and lot of deaths to get there.

What the BCS Presidents are selling is far less harmful but just as dishonest. They hide behind the notion that they are educators rather than glorified fundraisers and snake-oil salesmen and laughingly claim their system exists to help the "student-athlete." They sell their souls to television and to corporate America and then climb onto their pedestals to talk about the purity of college athletics.


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