Sunday, December 06, 2009

TCU-Boise bowl matchup shows the cowardice of the BCS

Certainly a lot of college football fans are looking at the major bowl matchups with more than a bit of disbelief, and it's not about the championship matchup, nor about which schools got in ahead of which other schools.

Certainly it is true that after Texas' lackluster, last second win yesterday against Nebraska one could make the case that Texas Christian is a better team and deserves to play Alabama for the national title, but that's debatable.

What is not debatable is that the BCS took a mulligan when they announced their bowl pairings Sunday night.

Their argument has been in the past that top schools from non-BCS conferences aren't competitive with the top schools from the six 'power conferences' that make up the BCS. Only over the past few years, non-BCS 'bowl busters' have made mincemeat out of that argument by going 3-1 vs. BCS competition in the major bowls. Clearly, that qualifies as 'competitive.' This wouldn't be such a big deal except that tens of millions of dollars are involved, money the six BCS conferences want to keep exclusively for themselves (or at least as close to exclusively as they can get away with) and the non-BCS conferences want a share of so they can use it to benefit schools in their conferences (and more importantly students who attend those schools.)

This year is the first year in which two non-BCS schools, Boise State (from the WAC) and TCU (from the Mountain West) both forced their way into the BCS bowl series. Not only were they undefeated but there were no one-loss teams available to sneak in ahead of one of them (as happened last year when Boise State was undefeated but couldn't get a break since Utah was also undefeated and ranked ahead of Boise State in the computer rankings.)

It would be great to see both of them play conference champions from the BCS conferences (or for that matter to play Florida, which was ranked number 1 before losing to Alabama.)

So what did the BCS do? They sent Boise State to the Fiesta Bowl (not that I blame the Fiesta for wanting the Broncos back after they played probably the most exciting and fun game in BCS history against Oklahoma three years ago in the Fiesta.) Then they also sent TCU to the Fiesta Bowl.

That's right, they play each other.

Not only is the game a rematch of last year's Poinsettia Bowl (won by TCU, 17-16) but it suggests that the BCS is afraid of being embarrassed again by one or both of these teams if they were to beat a BCS conference champion (maybe the memory of last year's domination by Utah of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl is still too fresh.) Both Boise and TCU deserve to play a top BCS school from a BCS conference, and that's what the fans would rather see, too!

It's hard to escape at least the passing thought that the movers and shakers in the BCS were afraid that if they let Boise State and TCU both play high level BCS competition, it is possible that could result in two BCS losses and certainly that outcome would ratchet up the pressure to overhaul the system.

Come on, BCS! You still claim we don't need a playoff and yet you continue to defend a system that locks non-BCS schools out of any kind of contention for a national title? Then PROVE YOUR CONFERENCES ARE BETTER!! In the first year when two non-BCS schools force their way into your party, making them play each other isn't the way to convince anyone. Well, maybe it's a way to convince some people that the BCS really is afraid of the Mountain West and the WAC. But that's about all this pairing will convince anyone of.

On a lighter note, I happen to be a fan of the Montana Grizzlies (the only college I've attended that had a football team.) Montana beat Stephen F. Austin yesterday in the first round of the Division I playoffs. Yes, read it again. The Division I PLAYOFFS. Something the BCS is deathly afraid of, because it would force them to decide the whole thing on the field, instead of their pre-stacked computer ratings (hey, the computers even start out with pre-season rankings, though most aren't published. What could possibly go into a 'preseason ranking' besides last year's statistics and/or the bias of the programmers?)


bcs hater said...

This is such cowardice. The BCS powers fear (or know) that TCU and BSU could beat their best. They have no interest in finding out. They don't want to open their system to more conferences because they are greedy and selfish. The Fiesta Bowl is now like the mid-major champsionship. The BCS can claim they graciously invited these teams to their party, but they truly are sitting in the back of the bus. This is really one of the slimiest things the BCS has ever done.

rakeback said...

I think its pointless to argue over which undefeated team is best instead of letting their play decide it on the field.
The BCS clearly only cares about making money, otherwise how do you explain that this is the only sport in div 1,2,or 3 that doesnt have a playoff system to determine its champion.

BCS = BS said...

I always wondered about 'preseason' computer rankings myself. The only way you could have a fair computer poll would be if everyone began with 0 points and got points according to how they did, how well their opponents did or whatever was in the formula. Otherwise it's not really a ranking about this year at all, it's a ranking based on how a lot of people who aren't even on the team anymore did last year, combined with some geek's perception of how strong the school is or how strong the conference is.

miriam said...

I am a died in the wool TX Longhorns fan, but agree that it probably would be the better game to see TCU play Alabama (or Florida, at least). OK, I said it. I also think the BCS needs to be rethought. So does Obama, for what its worth. TX deserved more last year and the BCS screwed up then too. The system is run by money, not by fairness to high-performing teams.

BTW, I was also very happy to see Tim Tebow left in a crying heap.

Indy Voter said...

Don't blame the Fiesta Bowl. They picked the best team available with each of their picks.

With Alabama and Texas playing in the championship game, the top two picks went to the Sugar and Fiesta bowls, respectively. The Sugar Bowl selected Florida, the SEC runner-up, to replace Alabama. The Fiesta Bowl then selected TCU, the best team available.

The Orange Bowl had the next pick, and selected 10-2 Iowa, rather than either of the two remaining unselected undefeated teams, Cincinnati and Boise State. It's a dubious selection, but Iowa probably will bring more fans to the stadium than either undefeated team, and for the Orange Bowl that's a very strong consideration (the Orange Bowl is the weakest, financially, among the four BCS bowls).

The next pick was the Fiesta Bowl's, and Boise State would look a lot more attractive than Cincinnati to them. After the Fiesta Bowl took Boise State the Sugar Bowl was forced to take Cincinnati, the Big East champion.

The Sugar Bowl taking Florida as the replacement for Alabama was pretty much a given, since the bowl has a long, strong association with the SEC and Florida was 12-1 with their only loss coming in the SEC championship game. They did the exact same thing last year when Alabama lost to Florida in the SEC championship game for their only loss to that point.

That leaves the Orange Bowl taking a chance on either Boise State or Cincinnati as the only realistic way to prevent the Fiesta getting both TCU and Boise State. They went with the safe choice, attendance-wise, but have a pretty uninteresting matchup in Georgia Tech versus Iowa.

Eli Blake said...

You may be right about that, but this is still a letdown. I think most people would prefer to see both TCU and Boise State go up against the BCS big boys. And if the Orange Bowl gains in attendance I have a feeling they will lose it back in lower TV ratings.