On November 6th, 2011 there will be two groups of people making the case for a rematch between Alabama and LSU for the BCS National Championship. Those two groups will consist of BCS Anarchists like Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel and sore loser fans of the team that doesn’t win next Satruday’s date with Armageddon.
In the absence of a playoff system in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the November 5th meeting between SEC West Titans LSU and Alabama is a BCS Quarterfinal game. The winner goes on to likely win the SEC West division, demolish whatever patsy emerges from the SEC East “who sucks less” race, and play whatever other non-SEC team runs its table and finishes undefeated. Stanford, Oklahoma State, Boise State or Clemson. Any of the four could finish without losing a single game.
To suggest that the human voters in the USA Today and Harris Polls would stomach a one-loss SEC team gaining a rematch against the undefeated, undisputed SEC Champion is patently ridiculous. Quite frankly, anyone suggesting that it could be possible is either a few crab claws short of a bowl of gumbo or is working on an agenda that would throw college football back to the days when #1 and #2 faced each other only eight times in a bowl game in 56 seasons.
Hells bells, you might as well go back to having the major polls crowning their champion after the regular season, and just let the bowls just be a fanfare finale for the holidays. The presidents and chancellors of the FBS schools have consistently and steadfastly resisted instituting a playoff system. They’ve even reacted to a basic “plus one” scenario with cool reticence. They might reconsider their position when the current BCS agreement expires after the 2014 season, but that’s still three years off.
What happens if the anarchists get their way and the BCS dissolves?
Having a BCS-less post season in FBS would certainly return us to the era where the major bowls used their conference tie-ins to match who the hell ever showed up and the poll voters freely exercised their bias for or against certain conferences and certain football programs.
The BCS is far from a perfect system for identifying the consensus national champs, but it is a huge improvement over what we had before it emerged. I’m not somebody who lets improvement be the enemy of perfection. I’ll take the 12-pack now and come back for the rest of the keg another day.
I hear the argument that whoever loses the game next Saturday could beat anyone else in the country and should be ranked No. 2 if it finishes the regular season with that loss as its only blemish. I counter that with the 2004 NFL Playoffs. Many thought that the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts were the two best teams in the NFL and could beat anyone that the NFC had to offer. But the Patriots stuffed the Colts 20-3 in the Foxborough snow. The BCS anarchists are operating under logic that would have put the Colts in a position to avenge their loss on a neutral field in Jacksonville.
Still not convinced? Look at it this way. If the loser of next Saturday’s game gains enough ground and gets the rematch and wins the game, what has been decided? Nothing.
If you want to play for the BCS National Championship, then go win the games you’re supposed to win to get there. The victor of the game next Saturday in Tuscaloosa gets to say they did that. The loser doesn’t, even if they’d be favored against everyone else they’ll face afterwards. If the two best teams in the country have to face off against one another months before the BCS National Championship is formally and officially decided, then that’s just the way it is.
Who told you that life was supposed to be fair?
And no, you won’t see a column in this space arguing the opposite if LSU pulls the upset next Saturday.