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BCS Bashing Has Big Bandwagon

by Dave Congrove

The season is only halfway over and the first BCS Standings for 2001 do not come out until Monday, yet BCS bashing has reached a fever pitch.

C’mon folks, take a deep breath and relax. Odds are, it will all work itself out.

Only one BCS season has produced a questionable title match-up and that was last year’s Oklahoma-Florida State Orange Bowl. An undefeated team played a once-beaten team and football pundits were incensed. What is wrong with this picture?

Let me tell you exactly why you have heard, and still hear today, such a negative reaction from the media regarding the BCS.

The media votes for the Associated Press Top 25. By the polling of their members, Miami was the number two team in the country at the end of the 2000 season and Florida State was number three.

Their team did not get chosen so they threw a temper tantrum last December and are still throwing it today.

They are even getting mean-spirited about it.

Everyone already loved to call the people who compile BCS member computer rankers “geeks”. Now, in a Friday (Oct. 19, 2001) USA Today commentary by Christine Brennan (“Keeping Score”) they are being attacked as “98-pound wonks” and the entire system is a “nightmare”.

Get over it, media pollsters.

Accept the possibility that your opinion was simply the wrong one. Accept that your perception may not have been reality.

Yes, you can make a case that Miami should have been Oklahoma’s opponent in the national championship game. But you can not make the argument that you are definitively correct. Even your own final regular season balloting had FSU third with Miami receiving just 3 first-place votes to the Seminoles’ 1. It isn’t like you placed an overabundance of faith in the Hurricanes.

And, in case you don’t recall, there were three more one-loss teams behind the trio at the top. One of those was Washington, which beat Miami.

All I am saying is this - if the worst thing the BCS has done is narrowly selected one team with a 11-1 record over another team with a 10-1 record, it is not a big deal. In fact, the most idiotic thing the BCS has done is tweak its formula as a result of the media’s incessant whining.

Hear this fact, media. Your poll is subjective. It is perception. It is not the final omnipotent authority on the debate.

The BCS computer rankers are not all concocted by “geeks” and “wonks” either. The pervasive theme is to dismiss the entire lot as know-nothing, non-fans of college football.

Did you ever stop to think for a moment that perhaps they devised their rankings because they detested how ridiculous the voted polls turned out every year? In all likelihood, everyone of the computer “geeks” is actually a huge fan of college football, a student of the game as much as math, who wanted to see the selection process improve. And, for the most part, they have succeeded.

Given that approach, you can still disagree with their results without instantaneously denouncing them as ludicrous. Maybe, just maybe, they are right.

At the least, the pairing of championship contenders is now based somewhat on reality by comparing all teams against the same set of criteria.

No regional bias. No big-name school bias. No “they were big twenty years ago when I was a kid so they must be good now” bias.

No matter how hard we try, as humans we can not totally suppress our allegiances, opinions, and desires.

For example, how many times have you seen the media prop up any success by Notre Dame, Alabama or Ohio State? Last season, the Fighting Irish were ranked 10th in the final regular season AP Poll. The computers had them ranked much lower, many of them had them out of the top twenty. Notre Dame fans thought the computers were nuts. But look what happened? The Irish were embarrassed 41-9 by Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Notre Dame had no business being there, but they were. And only because the subjective voters can not get it into their thick sculls that this is not the 1940’s and 50’s, and Notre Dame is not the King of college football any more.

So, as I said, take a deep breath and relax. After all, the season is only halfway over. Eleven teams are still unbeaten. Twenty-five others have suffered just one loss.

The possibilities of what can happen between now and the end of the season are endless and, to me, that is part of what makes college football so exciting.

Also See:
Whining About Whining About the BCS
Lack of Quality Leadership Opens the BCS To Annual Controversy
Did BCS Do The Right Things With Its Changes?
Computer Rankings and National Titles

(Dave Congrove is the owner of College Football His Congrove Computer Rankings are in their ninth year. He is not a geek or a wonk. He is a married 41-year old father of two, the owner of a radio advertising agency, and a college football fanatic.)


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