The question of who deserves to play Ohio State in the National Championship game on Jan. 8 at Glendale, AZ, is really impossible to answer. Michigan deserves to have been chosen but it wasn't. Florida deserves to be chosen and it was. Two deserving, one spot. Someone (in this case a lot of some ones) is going to be unhappy. From the day the first BCS standings for this season were announced back in October, it seemed inevitable that there would be a mess of some kind come selection Sunday in December. And there is and it's a beaut.
Back in November, we said that college football's best team may not be the National Champion but college football's best record surely will be. And so it will be with either Ohio State or Florida getting the crown.
To repeat quickly: Ohio State's the only unbeaten school from a Really Major conference (12-0 Boise State from the WAC need not apply); OK, put the Buckeyes down for one side of the bracket. (What, no bracket? College sports has to have a bracket. Actually, this is the only bracket I can fill in correctly.)
And for the other side we have the Florida Gators. Back in October we thought it would be cool to have Florida in the final against Ohio State, featuring the Gators then unique two-QB rotation. That's gotten a little less use than we had hoped and expected but still Florida lost only to Auburn. And the Gators "rolled" through the rest of their season, beating Georgia by 7, Vandy by 6, South Carolina by 1, Division I-AA Western Carolina by 62 and Florida State by 7. I guess the BCS selection process gave a lot of weight to those victories over WCar, which managed to lose its last nine, and Florida State, which is 6-6, because the Gators moved up two places with those and the victory last Saturday over Arkansas. OK, clearly Florida did not roll.
And Michigan seemed to think that its 26-point victory over Notre Dame back in September and its 3-point loss to Ohio State in November made the Wolverines the indisputable pick to oppose the Buckeyes in Glendale. Perhaps the Wolverines wanted everyone to overlook its close call against Ball State in early November or its struggles against Northwestern and Penn State. Sure they won those games, and we know what an unbeaten season gets you. In any case, Michigan has some flaws as does Florida. And any blemishes that Ohio State might have are completely eliminated by the one key stat they do have: zero losses. Nuff said.
So the "system" that trumpets itself as the way around the old confusion (which we kinda liked) has a fine mess. Thanks, guys. We will hear from many about how college football needs a playoff. (We agree but only if everyone really wants a true National Champion) and then we'll hear from others that a playoff system would take the athletes out of class for too long. To that we quote the immortal philosopher and commentator Ralph Kramden and say: "Har Har Har-dee Har Har."
And we turn to Philosopher Kramden for some reaction to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive's answers on a Sunday night teleconference where he spun the decision to put SEC champion Florida in against Ohio State and force poor Michigan to play the Rose Bowl. Slive also happens to be the BCS administrator and isn't that convenient?
Slive: I think the regular season has been enhanced [to] the magic point where you maintain the quality of the regular season as it currently exists, and yet at the same time maybe provide more opportunity for deserving teams.
Interpretation: Hamana, hamana, hamana, hamana.
Slive, asked about OSU Coach Jim Tressel not voting in the final coaches' poll, leading some to speculate that he did so to favor one potential opponent over another (no names mentioned): I think he found himself in a very unique situation; that his vote may or may not have had an impact on a team he could play and he decided not to vote.
Interpretation: Hamana, hamana, hamana, hamana.
Slive, asked if some voters switched to Florida to avoid a rematch of OSU-Michigan: "I've heard a lot of speculation about why somebody might vote one way and not another, but I really have no way of knowing."
Well, you get the idea, but let it be said that the voters should not be voting on which teams they'd best like to see play, they're supposed to be voting on which they believe are the best teams.
Last year the BCS folks pulled out the trumpets because there was a clear No. 1, USC, and a clear No. 2, Texas and they played a game for the ages won by Texas in the Rose Bowl. Now this year, with the added bonus of a single national championship game, the works got mucked up again and no one knows what to do about it.
We've said before when it came to college football, we liked it when there was no "system". Good teams got to play good teams in the bowls and once in a while the No. 1 team played No. 2 and we had a National Championship game. Now we get a "National Championship" game with a system that stinks and as a result everyone can't be happy with the results. If you don't have a playoff of some sort, you'll always have these endings.
Last April, was there anyone that doubted that Florida was college basketball's National Champion? Didn't think so.
Now should Florida beat Ohio State in Glendale and Michigan beat USC in Pasadena, will everyone be certain that Florida is also the champion of college football? Didn't think so.