A few scattered thoughts while we wait to see if Hawaii or Illinois gets the last BCS slot and who the hell ends up at #2.
It turns out that Ohio State was the smartest team in the country — they stopped playing games.
Mack Brown was right. If you want to win a national championship, don’t schedule anyone. Ohio State’s non-conference schedule included Youngstown State, Akron, Washington and Kent State. They played one ranked team — although Michigan and Penn State were ranked when they played ’em. Now that’s a championship schedule! Kansas, a potential BCS team, played one ranked team — Missouri — and got beaten.
By contrast, LSU put Virginia Tech among their roster of non-conference patsies. Georgia didn’t have any powerhouses but did get decent opponents in GT and Okie State. USC had Nebraska and Notre Dame — which might have looked impressive two years ago.
Les Miles is a great con man. I, for one, have been less and less impressed with LSU every week. They started strong by crushing Virginia Tech. But it’s been a slow slide since — edging Florida at home, losing to Kentucky, edging Auburn at home, barely beating Bama, losing to Arkansas. The team has talent but they play like shit – undisciplined and disorganized. A true national champion would tear them apart.
Is anyone going to take the national championship seriously? If it’s LSU-OSU, which looks likely, you will be facing a team that played one ranked opponent against a team that blew its #1 ranking *twice*. I defy anyone to take *any* two teams and convince me that these are the two best teams in the country. They might as well be drawing the teams out of a hat.
I have no idea who are the top two teams in the country. None. I do know that six teams won their conferences on the field. I do know that two other ranked teams — Hawaii and BYU — won their conferences on the field. We need to put those eight teams in a tournament and let them play.
This week puts the lie to the SMT assertion that the BCS makes the entire season a playoff. LSU lost the #1 ranking twice to unranked teams. USC lost twice. Virginia Tech lost twice. Ohio State lost to its only ranked opponent. Georgia pulled two choke jobs. And yet, all those teams are in the national title discussion.
This is only going to get worse. The league has amazing parity right now and is likely to move toward greater parity.
It’s clear that the system is affecting the polls. The writers are going to leapfrog LSU over Georgia tomorrow even though most of them think Georgia is one of the best teams in the country right now. But they don’t want Georgia in the championship game so they wil keep them at #3 or #4. Now that’s fine. I’m a Bulldogs fan but I don’t think the Dawgs deserve to play for championship after losing to the Vols and Gamecocks. But if the voters are going to engineer the polls to produce the matchup they want, they need to stop pretending they are ranking teams in any objective sense but trying to engineer a good game. This was obvious last year when Florida vaulted to the top of the polls. It’s even more obvious now.
If we had a playoff system, the writers could happily vote Georgia #1 if they wanted to and sleep well with the knowledge that the most it would do is give them an at-large bid in the playoff.
My prediction for the bowls? As I type this, Hawaii is already down 14-0 and if they lose, they’re out, which is a shame. But that’s what they get for scheduling a real opponent. Assuming Hawaii goes on to lose, I’d make the following matchups using what I see as the likely rankings tomorrow:
BCS Championship: LSU vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl: USC vs. Georgia
Fiesta Bowl: Mizzou vs. West Virginia
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma
Sugar Bowl: Illinois vs. Arizona State
But if we had a fricking playoff, which used traditional bowl pairing as a first round, it might look like this:
Rose Bowl: USC vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. BYU (or Georgia)
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl: West Virginia vs. Hawaii (or Mizzou)