I was a little disappointed, but not surprised to hear that LSU had jumped past Georgia in the BCS rankings today, and will play in the title game against Ohio State. I expected it. I was hoping for something else. It is a sad thing to have a year where so many teams can legitimately lay claim to a spot in the title game... a year when so many fans from around the nation will be disappointed. Only a very small percentage of fans are celebrating today, and that is a shame. Normally, the announcement of the bowl matchups is cause for great joy for numerous fans, but this is not one of those years.
The greatest irony surrounding the controversy this year is simple. Those who hate the BCS got exactly what they wanted, and will complain the loudest about the results. Those who love the BCS got exactly what they feared most, and will most earnestly defend the outcome. What a strange world it is.
At the core of the great debate over the crowning of a national champion for college football lies a philosophical disagreement over what constitutes a champion. On the one hand, we have the tradition of voting for a winner based on performance over an entire season. Every game counts. The quality of play and the worthiness of your opponent are factored in to the decision. It is out of this tradition that the BCS was born. On the other hand, we have the example of other sports in which the outcome is settled on the field. Period. Both positions have a certain allure that is hard to overlook. Both sides have valid points and great passion in arguing their case. But the ultimate fate of the most controversial coronation ceremony in sports will not ultimately be decided on the merits of the two sides, carefully examined and judiciously weighed. It will be decided the same way this year's selection process was decided. It will hinge on emotion.
While considering the results of the selection process, it is hard to escape the conclusion that LSU was annointed by a group of folks who so deeply desired to see them in the championship game that they left reason out of the process when they made their final desperate goal line push as the clock expired to propel their chosen team across the goal line and into the championship game. I believe that several teams had very strong cases for going to the title game, but only one could win. So how do we decide who that is? Apparently it has to do with the allignment of the stars, how the shrimpers are doing in Louisiana, and the Coriolis Effect (that's what makes the water in the toilet spin when it goes down the drain.) Apparently it has a lot to do with the Coriolis Effect. How appropriate on so many levels.
First came all the spin. Even as the results were announced, we were told something to the effect that due to Mars being in retrograde, and shrimp being particularly abundant this season in Louisiana, that the season long struggle to reach the BCS championship game had just gone down the toilet for so many fine teams. I would have felt better if we had been told something about tie-breakers, and why an embarrassing loss against an unranked team early in the season is less significant than a heart-breaker against a valiant and worthy opponent late in the season. But instead we got a lot of the typical mumbo-jumbo about polls, momentum, computer models, and so on. As the Scarecrow in Oz once observed, "I may not have any brains, but who is that man behind the curtain?" Ok... so I paraphrased that one a little.
After this year's debacle, I think the only hope for the BCS is a little transparency. They need to come out and say, "Well, we had to choose SOMEONE! We did the best we could. We sure wish we could have chosen them all." Well, maybe they should leave off that last part. A playoff would have nicely covered that, wouldn't it! As it is, I expect nothing more than irrelevent and nebulous political speech by the BCS elite. And that will be the beginning of the end. Failing to answer the questions surrounding this year's confusing and controversial results will mark the beginning of the death march for the BCS system.
The end result will be a quick and disappointing ride down the toilet for the entire BCS system. Y'all enjoy that Coriolis Effect now, ya hear?