This is only, I think, my third or fourth non-NFL post, and it's my first NCAA football post. I guess I'm diversifying.
I'd preface this by saying I don't know too much about college football; that I haven't watched many of the games and only know what I read in columns and see statistically. I would say that because it's true; but I won't say that, because from what I'm reading, it seems I know more about how the system works than a lot of people on FanNation do. Because I bothered to look it up.
I've seen a number of proposals on how the teams should be ranked. Injustice abounds in the BCS. And sure, the system sucks, but we're clearly not changing the system before the bowl games, so can we at least stick to what's in place?
The Rose Bowl is going to have the Pac-10 champion against the Big Ten champion, unless one is in the BCS National Championship (that stands for Bowl Championship Series National Championship, by the way). So if you don't have Ohio State or USC as #1 or #2, that HAS to be the Rose Bowl.
As BCS conference champions, Oklahoma, VA Tech, and LSU are definitely in, and if any aren't in the top 2, they'll be in the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls, respectively. West Virginia is also in, somewhere, as the Big East champion.
For the other four slots in BCS bowls, you get the highest non-BCS conference champion provided they finished in the top 12 (Hawaii). You get #3 if they're not already in, and if they are (check), you get #4 (Georgia). Then, anyone in the top 14 with at least 9 wins is eligible to take any remaining spots. That leaves Missouri, Kansas, Arizona St., Illinois, and Boston College. You can't have three teams from the same conference in BCS bowls, so no #10 Florida, and Kansas or Missouri is out.
So that's your field to choose from. Now we can start talking about injustice. And here's the point I really want to make. If your team isn't in the National Championship and isn't named Kansas or Hawaii - YOUR TEAM DOES NOT DESERVE a chance to play for the championship. No way. You didn't earn it. You lost two games, at least one to a bad team.
Now it so happens that LSU and Ohio State don't really deserve a chance either, nor do Kansas or Hawaii (I just excluded them earlier because they can at least make a case, having lost 1 or 0 games). If justice were served, they'd start the rankings at #3, and crown no national champion. LSU lost two games, one to an unranked opponent. Ohio State had only 3 games against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time, and all three were #23 or lower. They lost to a then-unranked team. Hawaii nearly lost to the Pac-10's worst team. Kansas lost to the only good team it played.
But SOMEONE has to get in this game. And they made the right choice. I'd have put LSU #1 and OSU #2, but no matter, that'll sort itself out. LSU's losses were in triple overtime, and they played a very difficult schedule and won most of their games big. OSU had a much easier schedule, but only one loss to a team that is now ranked in the top 14, they only lost by a score, and only allowed more than 20 points that once!
So for anyone who wants to put Oklahoma in the championship over Ohio State, sorry, you blew it. You lost twice to unranked teams. Virginia Tech has a better case than you, vindicating their Boston College loss by winning by a lot more in the ACC championship, and their only other loss was to LSU. Also, their schedule was more difficult.
All right, so I've made my case. #1 LSU, #2 Ohio State. That's the championship, which for this year I'll call the Aflac Fluke Bowl. That opens up the Sugar Bowl and USC's opponent in the Rose Bowl to at-large bids.
Oh, since I'm reordering LSU and Ohio State, I guess I get to rank all the teams in another order if I want. Hm... I'll make it #3 VA Tech and #4 USC, which no longer guarantees Georgia a spot. Other than that, the only way to affect the field is if I want to bump out any top 14 teams for... let's see... Clemson, Tennessee, BYU, Wisconsin... nope. All right, we're good.
Now I take on the role of committee for each bowl game - the decision is up to them from here. I'll take it bowl by bowl, and go through their potential thought processes.
Rose Bowl: USC's definitely in, but the Big Ten champ is in the Fluke Bowl, so who does USC play? I could take Illinois to stay chummy with the Big Ten... that'd be a nice political move. I'm not going to take Arizona State, gotta be a different conference. Hawaii would be interesting - I could get a chance assert the dominance of the Pac-10. But what if they win? That'd be embarrassing. All right... could take Georgia or Florida, or Missouri or Kansas. Or Boston College. Or West Virginia. Sugar Bowl probably wants Georgia, Boston College is a stretch... okay. Got it narrowed down.
Sugar Bowl: SEC champion is in the Fluke Bowl, so I can have anyone I want. I should take Georgia; they're hot, they're SEC, they've got a good fan base. Missouri or Kansas isn't a bad option, could do WVU, we've brought the ACC over a lot so we could go with Boston College... but they're ranked so low. Then there's Hawaii. Intriguing...
Orange Bowl: VA Tech is automatic. Taking West Virginia would be huge, they used to be in the same conference and there's a rivalry there. Missouri or Kansas would be interesting, or Arizona State or Hawaii to bring someone in from far away.
Fiesta Bowl: Got Oklahoma, can't have Kansas or Missouri. Illinois wouldn't be bad, the whole Big Ten/Big 12 thing. Could bring in Hawaii... nope, don't want to risk getting OU embarrassed by the WAC again. How about Arizona State? Not a bad idea.
Now I have no idea how they resove conflicts among the bowl games, but I'm going to pretend they have a conference call and sort out their differences. And here's how it goes:
FB: Okay, one of us has to take Hawaii, who's it going to be?
OB: Does anybody want them?
FB: I'm just saying, we took Boise St. last year, so it's someone else's turn.
SB: Who's got the best chance of stopping Brennan?
FB: USC's got a good pass defense?
[everyone looks at RB]
RB: I was hoping to take Illinois. Keep it Big Ten.
OB: They lost three games!
RB: They're eligible, and they beat Ohio State. Don't try and tell me they don't belong.
FB: Come on, take one for the team.
RB: West Virginia's got a good pass D - Sugar, you've got two at large bids, why not Hawaii-WVU?
SB: If you get to keep it Big Ten, I get to keep it SEC.
RB: Fine, what about VA Tech? Orange Bowl? They get a ton of picks.
OB: Fine, I'll take them, but you guys owe me.
FB: Well, if Rose Bowl is taking Illinois, which is gee-ay-why, that means you've gotta take Kansas or Missouri, Sugar Bowl.
SB: I don't have to do nothin'.
FB: Well, someone has to take them, and I can't.
SB: I want to take West Virginia.
OB: You just don't like being bullied around.
FB: I should get West Virginia.
SB: No, I should get a conference champion; everyone else has one.
FB: So we're going to leave out two of the best teams in the country?!
RB: Come on, one of them has to be in.
SB: So you take them.
RB: Fine, but only if Fiesta Bowl takes Illinois.
SB: Come on, do you want one of them in or not?
FB: How about if I take Arizona St. instead? They're in your other division, and they're better.
RB: Fine, geez. It's like pulling teeth with you guys.
FB: So who you gonna take?
RB: Kind of obvious, isn't it?
RB: Missouri beat Kansas, and beat 4 of their 5 common opponents by more, and their only two losses were to a great team. It's an easy choice.
FB: True. And they did beat Illinois, who you were thinking about using.
OB: I would have chosen Kansas. One loss is fewer than two.
RB: Well you're dumb.
So that's how we'd end up with what I think are the best bowl games the system will allow:
Rose: USC vs. Missouri
Orange: VA Tech vs. Hawaii
Sugar: Georgia vs. WVU
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Arizona St.
Fluke: LSU vs. Ohio St.