The majority of college football fans acknowledge that Alabama was college football's best team in 2011. But even the most stoic fan is biased. How do we know that the Crimson Tide deserved to play in the national championship at all?
For the latter half of the season, many people had reason to overlook an Alabama-LSU rematch. Les Miles' team, obviously, was destroying every squad in sight and would remain first in the polls. But at one point, Oklahoma State seemed to be the Tigers' destined national championship game foe.
Come mid-November, the second-ranked Cowboys were 10-0 and had clobbered Texas Tech, 66-6. The Cowboys also had three wins over Top 25 teams and had a turnover-machine defense capable of bringing them back from any deficit.
On the other hand, Alabama had just proven to be pretenders. The Crimson Tide missed five field goals and couldn't score a touchdown against cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and the tenacious Tiger defense. To make the loss more embarrassing, Nick Saban's team had lost at home, where they were virtually unbeatable.
Fate intervened on November 18, 2011. OSU lost to lowly Iowa State in double overtime, while 'Bama won out the rest of its regular season games. In a controversial move, Alabama was chosen to play in the BCS National Championship. This outraged many fans—especially critics of the SEC—since Alabama did not win its conference, let alone its own SEC division!
The only positive outcome of this game is the impending playoff. But, as ESPN commentators Rece Davis and Ed Cunningham said on the May 10 edition of College Football Live, the Coaches Poll needs to be taken out of the BCS. No coach can watch all the significant games and be responsible for his team simultaneously.
Many still shutter to thinks teams' fates should be determined by cold, unfeeling computers. Then again, there are coaches like Steve Spurrier, who gave a vote to his former program (in his case, Duke) for roughly 20 years! Some have suggested that the Legends Poll (a non-mainstream poll composed of retired Hall of Fame coaches) could serve as a committee, but those coaches will undoubtedly have some bias as well.
So here's what I propose: let five of the current six BCS formulas hang out to dry. Only one formula designer, Wesley Colley, releases his formula to the public. Colley is well respected; he has a Ph. D. from Princeton, for goodness sakes! Other creators, such as Kenneth Massey, demand property privacy rights. Therefore, Colley's transparency makes him trustworthy.
Someone who doesn't have a conflict of interest and isn't chiefly looking for a profit (like bowl executives or other formula writers) deserves to have a primary say in how football playoff rankings should be determined.
Colley's formula relies on strength of schedule to reward the more commendable teams. The overall record, though, is what matters and does not consider preseason polls viable. His one weakness, in my opinion, would have to be not taking margin of victory into account.
So, what does this all point to? It points to Oklahoma State—a conference champion—having been the worthy No. 2 to battle it out for the national title. Heck, at the end of the season, Colley ranked the Cowboys first!
What do you think? Should we ditch the Coaches Poll? Should we keep only the BCS formulas? Or should we rely on a form of Colley's Matrix to determine the playoff participants?
As of this year, our voice is heard—a playoff is coming. Now, you decide how it works.