Monday, December 8, 2008

Going Bowling

It seems like we have this argument every year, doesn’t it? An annual rite of passage, trashing the Bowl Championship Series, lamenting Division I-A football’s lack of a playoff system and trying to find something – anything – that would lend credence to an incredibly flawed system.

And after the public unveiling of this year’s BCS bowl games Sunday night, things appear much the same this time around. The National Championship match-up of
Florida and Oklahoma was expected, given each team won its conference title game on Saturday, but the controversy still remains with the Sooners because, lest we forget (again), they lost in October to Texas.

The same
Texas that gets … Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl?! Seriously? The Longhorns are one tackle of Michael Crabtree from an undefeated season, and they get a team from the Big Ten that doesn’t even deserve a BCS bid?

Think about it –
Ohio State was clobbered by USC this year before losing to Penn State. Okay, so maybe losing to a pair of Top 3-ranked teams isn’t the best example – but you’re seriously going to take an Ohio State team that struggled against the likes of Ohio and Troy, while banishing Boise State (12-0, dominating the WAC) to the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl again TCU?

Tell you what, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you put Boise State against Ohio State on a neutral field, Boise State wipes the floor with the Buckeyes. I’m over Texas getting passed over in favor of Oklahoma (that controversy is so last week), but I can’t understand how an undefeated Boise State can get passed over in favor of a two-loss team from the Big Ten.

Then again, it is the BCS.

As for Florida-Oklahoma, it’s an intriguing match-up – certainly better than the blowouts of the last two years. Forget any talk of defense in this game, because these are two of the most dynamic and explosive offenses in all of Division I-A football (I refuse to use the FBS or FCS things – it’s I-A and I-AA).
Florida averaged 38.9 points a game this season, while Oklahoma is scoring a staggering 53.1 points per game.

I’ll give you time to read that number again.

The Sooners have scored at least 60 points in each of their last five games, and topped the 50 mark nine times.
Oklahoma’s lowest point total this season? The Sooners twice scored “just” 35 points – in that loss to Texas and a win over TCU.

Hello, offense.

’s defense has only given up 13.9 points per game this season, which might just slow down the Sooners – but don’t count on it. This is going to be an old-fashioned shootout, certainly better than the one-sided snoozefests Ohio State took part in each of the last two seasons.

That said, the bowl formula is still woefully inadequate. There are far too many bowl games, and the fact that a team can finish .500 is bowl eligible is seriously worth questioning. Seriously, does Notre Dame really deserve to go to a bowl this year? Sure, it’s the Aloha Bowl against 7-5 Hawaii, but I have a hard time believing a 6-6 team – that lost to 3-9 Syracuse – is worthy of a late December/early January contest.

Then again, if I’m Notre Dame, I take what I can get.

Easy solution: there should be no more than 20 bowl games, and in order to qualify for a bowl, a team has to win at least seven games against I-A competition. I’m tired of seeing I-A teams scheduling I-AA foes to get an easy blowout win, just as I’m tired of seeing 6-6 teams playing bowl games. Ideally, I’d like teams to at least be 8-4, but for the time being 7-5 will be acceptable.

I’d also like to see the soon-to-be President’s idea of an eight-team playoff implemented, but all of this makes far too much sense for college football to actually take it into account. So have fun waiting for Florida-Oklahoma for the next month; I’ll be watching college hoops and gearing up for Daytona.