Your wait is over, ladies and gentlemen. The Bowl Championship Series, featuring the new and improved BCS rankings -- aka "Up With People!" -- is back this week, promising the usual autumnal chaos and mayhem.
Or, as we like to say: The BCS is pretty much just BS with a middle initial.
The BCS makes you crave the old Soviet electoral system; the only way the BCS rankings could be worse is if "Hannity & Colmes" got a vote.
You can retool it, retune it and retrench it all you like, the BCS never gets it right. Heck, I wouldn't trust the BCS to alphabetize the alphabet.
The BCS rankings are sort of like Social Security -- there's a lot of money at stake, we're not sure it's always going to be around and nobody is happy with the system.
When we last left the BCS, a nation divided watched in horror as a fate worse than communism -- a split national championship -- unfolded. Sports radio crackled, chat rooms overflowed, emotions ran high, helmets rolled down Main Street and BCS changes had to be made to the devious, Byzantine formula that relied heavily on multipliers and mixed decimals.
We saw the enemy, and, indeed, it was an Apple iMac G5.
So the BCS, which couldn't boil an egg, decided to shift the weight of responsibility from PCs to people. In the new BCS formula, the Associated Press media poll counts for one-third, the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll counts for one-third and computer rankings count for one-third.
Six computer rankings are still in the mix: Jeff Sagarin*, Anderson & Hester, Kenneth Massey, Dr. Peter Wolfe, Richard Billingsley and Colley Matrix.
(* Pending his mother's permission.)
If the new system were in place in 2003, the BCS title game would've been LSU-USC instead of LSU-Oklahoma; in 2001, it would've been Miami-Oregon instead of Miami-Nebraska.
(Note: Under either system, Army still loses 28 of its last 31 games.)
(Personal Note: If I had used the new BCS system 20 years ago, I might've proposed to a different woman and -- who knows? -- might've had a smoother divorce.)
(Tiger Woods Marriage Update: He has decided to skip this week's Funai Classic for the first time since turning pro in 1996. Why? Because he's been sailing in the Caribbean since nuptializing Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5. Next thing you know, he'll be skipping the Masters because IKEA has a futon sale.)
(Heisman Update: Betrayed by his defense in a 51-20 loss to Texas-El Paso, Hawaii's Timmy Chang still completed 26 of 49 passes for 294 yards Saturday. Chang is now 559 yards away from breaking Ty Detmer's NCAA career passing record of 15,031. It takes my breath away to realize we're watching history in the making; now I know what the good folks of Giza felt like in ancient Egypt watching those pyramids go up.)
While I support the BCS's move toward human error, I believe it hasn't gone far enough. I'd throw out all the CPU machinations. Who can trust a computer, or don't you remember the HAL 9000 in "2001: A Space Odyssey"? On any given day a computer can have a virus, and before you know it, East Carolina is ranked No. 3.
So I have devised the Couch Slouch BCS -- all people, all the time -- with each of the following groups counting one-third toward the top 25 rankings:
Fortune 500 CEOs. College football -- and America, for that matter -- is all about dollars and cents. So let's let the nation's richest power brokers decide who's No. 1. Granted, they don't see a lot of games, but neither do the coaches and sportswriters voting in the USA Today and AP polls.
Four seventh-graders from each time zone. I picked seventh-graders because that's the year you learn algebra, plus who watches more TV than a 13-year-old?
Beano Cook. He has not missed a single snap of an SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame game since 1918.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Why does Fox Sports have to make all those techno-gizmo sounds during a baseball game? (Bill Wimmer; San Leandro, Calif.)
A. Maybe they're trying to drown out Tim McCarver.
Q. Many hotels now ask their guests to help them conserve resources by reusing towels and not changing the linens. They're just trying to save money, aren't they? (Jeff Hazle; Houston)
A. Cynics aren't born, they're self-made. You've done a terrific job.
Q. If the Arizona Cardinals are the "Team of Destiny," what exactly are they destined for? (Alan Freed; Des Moines, Wash.)
A. If you're trying to get on my bad side, you're doing a nice job.
Q. Is your obituary on file with all major electronic and print media? (Bill Schultz; Arlington)
A. No, but I've got a cemetery plot that overlooks a grassy knoll near an IHOP.
Q. Are athletes from the Lesser Antilles more prone to inferiority complexes? (Michael Benter; Milwaukee)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!