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Sunday, December 07, 2003

In keeping with my recent tradition of posting about things of little to no interest to anyone who reads this, I've decided to talk about the BCS controversy surrounding OU and LSU playing in the title game. For those of you living in a closet, figuratively or otherwise, the University of Southern California is currently ranked first in the polls (basically: asking a bunch of sports journalists to rank people) after Oklahoma lost its conference championship to Kansas State. Oklahoma dropped to third. So according to the polls, OU and LSU are the second and third place teams, and are playing for the national championship anyway. People find this to be an incontrovertable damnation of the BCS system as a method for finding the national champion.

A few issues. First, it is a travesty that the team who is first in the polls is not playing in the championship game - but not becuase of the reasons they're saying. USC is not that great a team. They are 11-1 (OU and LSU are both 12-1), their loss coming to Cal, who ended the season 7-6. The best team USC has beaten all season has been Wazzou, who later lost to Washington, a team who gets routinely trounced, despite residency in what is unequivocally the worst of the BCS conferences. Even the ACC is stronger. The polls reflect, more than anything, the bandwagon effect.

A constant rant of mine about ESPN, who is even a little better about it than other people, is that they just randomly sensationalize everything. The Bengals' quarterback, Jon Kitna, wins a few games, and they start writing up a storm about how he should be the league MVP. Nevermind that he's just generally an okay quarterback with an above-average completion percentage and breaking even on wins. It's the same general trend in the polls. There are huge swings in voting which don't make any sense. OU destroys everyone all season, and then has an understandably uninspired game which doesn't matter a bit since they're guaranteed a national championship slot, and they lose one to a legitimately good team, and ESPN (along with many sports writers) jump the bandwagon like nothing.

People talk about how a playoff system would somehow remedy this. It wouldn't. Then, a team like any of the ones currently under consideration for the championship could lose in the first round of the playoffs. If USC can lose to Cal, they can certainly lose to FSU or Tennessee. Hopefully they get trounced by a superior Michigan in the Rose bowl, so everyone can finally shut the hell up.

cranked out at 10:07 PM | |

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