Gordon Gee's doctorate in BCS propaganda

By John Feinstein
Monday, November 29, 2010; 11:52 PM

An open letter to Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University . . .

Dear Elwood:

I've gone ahead and used your first name and dispensed with that E. Gordon stuff. Likewise with your title, which - unless you're practicing medicine when we're not looking - is about as pretentious as your bow tie.

However, all that is the least of your problems right now, Doc.

Last week, you put your foot so far in your mouth that it may never be seen again. You went public with what you and the other 65 Bowl Championship Series presidents really think about college football: You want all the money and all the power and you do not want anyone to intrude on you while you count your money and pat yourselves on the back for being such smart and powerful people. Anyone who questions you on any level just isn't as smart .

Here, translated into English, is what you said: Schools such as Boise State or TCU should be thrilled to play occasionally in one of our lucrative, but meaningless, BCS bowls; how dare they suggest they deserve a chance to compete for a championship. Forget the fact that they're undefeated; forget the fact that they're basically willing to play any BCS team that will play them and have beaten our teams pretty consistently in recent years when given a chance to play them.

So what if Utah, a team from TCU's league, beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl two years ago? Meaningless. Exhibition game. Alabama really didn't care even though it had almost a month to prepare.

Who cares that Boise State beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a few years back? A fluke. The Broncos' wins over Oregon two years in a row? Those were, um, early in the season. And their win over Virginia Tech, by far the best team in the ACC this year, in a virtual road game? That deserves an asterisk because no one is sure what the ACC is. (This last point may have some merit.)

Your best remark, the one you will be remembered for long after you hang up your bow ties, was that unlike TCU and Boise, teams in the "power conferences" aren't beating up on "the Little Sisters of the Poor." Seriously, that's comedy worthy of my favorite Elwood, Jake's brother. He was on a mission from God. You are on a mission from God knows who.

Let's check some of the nonconference games played by teams in your conference, games that comprise one-third of a 12-game schedule. Your school, Ohio State, played all its nonconference games at home, included clashes with Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. And then there was a game with mediocre Miami from the extremely mediocre ACC that you won, 36-24. Pretty overwhelming. Throw in the wins over Purdue and Indiana and half your schedule was pretty much automatic wins.

Your Big Ten co-champions faced similar bruisers. Wisconsin played UNLV, San Jose State and Austin Peay, and a real toughie at home against a 5-6 Arizona State team. That resulted in a whopping 20-19 victory. Michigan State played Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic and Northern Colorado. Seriously. The Spartans did play Notre Dame and managed to win in overtime on a brilliant trick play. That's the same 7-5 Notre Dame team that's still trying to claim that getting crushed by Navy was a fluke.

So let's get this straight: You and your conference brethren load up with nonconference cream puffs, then count on the BCS apologists to actually have the nerve to question TCU's resume even after the Horned Frogs finished 12-0 for the second season in a row. Boise State lost a great game on the road Friday to a very good Nevada team (a team that crushed California, 52-31, a few weeks before the Bears lost to Oregon, 15-13) and will finish 11-1. Where will the Broncos go? Not to a BCS bowl, you can be sure of that.

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