The Perfect Matchup

Dan Wetzel has a great column about the supposed wonderful BCS matchup of Florida and Oklahoma:

Pre-BCS, Florida would be in the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma in the Orange and no one would have any idea which team was better. They’d just hold a vote at the end and pick one. It was ridiculous.

The idea back then was that since the top two teams were often easily identifiable why not create a system that could get them together?

It wasn’t the worst idea and while still full of corruption, duplicity and stupidity, it helped fuel the very surge in popularity that makes it so useless in current times.

The number of college football programs that are truly competing for a national championship has grown exponentially in just a decade. We’re talking facilities, coaching salaries, staff budgets and, perhaps most importantly, fan intensity.

College football is far more competitive than it once was. Everyone is on television so recruits will play just about anywhere. These aren’t the old days, when top players would gladly sit on the powerhouse bench for three years just for the chance as a senior. Now they go find playing time.

In the SEC just this season, coaches who owned a national title, a perfect season and the most recent league coach of the year honors were all out of their jobs. Each of them had a winning season in 2007.

That just didn’t happen in the mid-1990s.

When the suits were drawing this up, they assumed that most years, two teams would navigate the season with perfect records. That’s how it used to be. The selection process would be nice and easy.

They designed for the future based on the past. Then the future changed so quickly the past doesn’t even seem like the same sport.

What we have now is the new normal. Not only did no one go undefeated last year, two-loss Louisiana State won the championship. Every year there are an increasing number of teams that are in contention at season’s end.

So it comes down to marketing; which team can convince fickle voters they are more deserving than the other teams of essentially similar résumé.

There is no rhyme, nor reason. No strategy that makes sense. No collective sense of what the system values. Is it whom you beat and how? Is it who you lost to and how? Is it strength of schedule?

Is it OU’s mighty offense? Or USC’s incredible defense?

How can you tell when the voters make no sense.

Read the whole thing. Oklahoma and Florida are great teams. But what about USC, who allowed less than 8 points a game on a rough schedule? What about Penn State, who came within a field goal of a perfect season? What about Boise State or Utah?

Yeah, their conferences are weak? Really? What is this based on? Any fact? Or is Oklahoma impressive because they whomped an over-rated Mizzou team? Or is Florida impressive because they whomped an over-rated Georgia? There’s an awful lot of circularity in these ratings.

We only have Oklahoma and Florida because the writers think running up huge scores — even against weak opponents — is impressive. There is absolutely no reason USC, Penn State, Boise State, Utah, maybe Texas shouldn’t be included.

And for all those saying that “the regular season is the playoff”, just stop. Tell that to Texas. They beat Oklahoma but watched the Big 12 Championship from their living room. that doesn’t happen in a playoff system.

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