For some, winning a BCS Championship game is very difficult. For most, just getting to the championship game is impossible. Here are some very simple steps to improve your chances at doing both.
Getting to the Game
Just getting to the BCS Championship game is half the battle. There are five basic steps that teams and coaches must follow in order to make it to the big game:
1) Win the SEC Championship—Winning the SEC Championship is a key requirement for reaching the BCS Championship game. The SEC Champion has won the BCS Championship game each of the last three years. SEC teams are 5-0 in BCS Championship matchups since the inception of the BCS.
The SEC has more BCS bowl wins than any other conference. Even if the SEC Champion has one or two losses during the season, winning the SEC virtually assures that team of a spot in the BCS Championship game.
2) Complete an undefeated season and win your conference championship game—If your team is unfortunate enough not to be a member of the SEC, then the second most important step is for your team to go undefeated AND win your conference championship game. By doing this, your team will most likely be allowed to compete against the SEC champion for the BCS crown.
3) Complete an undefeated season and have quality, blow-out non-conference wins—Some of the weaker conferences do not have a conference championship game, which puts teams in such conferences at a disadvantage.
In order for such a team to reach the BCS Championship game, it will need to schedule quality opponents from other BCS conferences and beat them convincingly. Without an undefeated season and without at least one blow-out win against a non-conference BCS opponent, teams will find it very difficult proving that they deserve a shot at the title.
4) By the end of the regular season, have your only loss come from an early matchup against a top-ranked BCS team—Losing to the No. 1 ranked team near or at the end of the season does you no good.
Note: This rule only applies to teams in one of the major BCS conferences. Also, the key is to lose early but only once, preferable due to a controversial call or because your star player was injured or at less than 90 percent.
5) Lose only one game, reside in the eastern part of the country, score lots and lots of points, hail from a historically significant program, and have a huge fan base—Even if you fail to go undefeated and do not win your own conference, you might have a chance of reaching the BCS championship if there are no other undefeated teams or if the SEC Champion has two or more losses.
While the chances are slim, certain teams from the states of Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Florida, and others stand to reach the BCS Championship game even if they don't really deserve to be there.
Winning the Game
Now that your team has reached to BCS Championship game, it is time to actually win something. Many teams and coaches are just happy to make it to the BCS Championship game.
Even though most players and coaches would deny it, just getting to the game and collecting a fat check for their alma mater is good enough. The exception would be for SEC teams, which genuinely want and expect to win the BCS Championship. Here are three ways of winning the big game:
1) Win the SEC Championship—In most instances, winning the SEC Championship game ensures that you will also win the BCS Championship game. It is important for the SEC Champions to continue to practice and condition their players during the time between the SEC Championship game and the BCS Championship game, but usually there is no need to go out of your way to dream up new schemes. Just being the SEC Championship is usually enough.
2) Play in a BCS Championship game against a non-SEC opponent—While it is very rare that the SEC Champion is not invited to play the BCS Championship game, it has happened. When this does happen, you need to make the most of your opportunity, and hope that you get to play a Big 12 or Big 10 team, which will maximize your chances of winning.
3) Play great defense—If for some reason No. 1 and No. 2 above are not in your favor, you still have a very slim chance of winning if your team is able to play outstanding defense.
Since your team probably has to play against an SEC defense in order to win the BCS Championship, fancy offensive stats and passing games won't work. Your best bet if for you to establish the run, avoid turnovers, and hope that your defense can slow down the usually methodical SEC offense.
SEC teams obviously have an advantage at winning college football's ultimate trophy. However, just because your team comes from an inferior conference, doesn't know how to play defense, or really doesn't even belong in the title game, that doesn't mean that you can never make it to the big game and at least experience what it is like to lose to the SEC Champion.
Best of luck with the 2009 season and reaching the title game against Florida!