Just when we thought the BCS was beginning to come around, it returned back to its awful, hateful ways now that its days are numbered.
The BCS bowl lineup is out, and never have the flaws of our current “postseason” been more apparent. There are a lot of reasons these matchups leave a lot to be desired—and we’ll get to some of the glaring issues—but before we begin blasting away, here are those matchups for those just tuning in (all times Eastern):
- Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois (Jan 1, 8:30 pm)
- Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Wisconsin (Jan 1, 5:00 pm)
- Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville (Jan 2, 8:30 pm)
- Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State (Jan 3, 8:30 pm)
- BCS National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama (Jan 7, 8:30 pm)
Do you still plan on tuning into them all?
That’s an answer that ESPN would like to know, as they have televising “privileges” for college football’s “premium” matchups. Although “Bowl Championship Series” is the title used to describe these games, this lineup feels anything like it.
This point can best be summarized in a tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel, who made note of some of the teams involved and their place in the AP poll.
This year's BCS games will feature AP No. 13, 16, 22 and NR teams. Just brutal.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 2, 2012
No. 13 in the AP poll is Florida State, the winner of the ACC championship, although its game against Georgia Tech wasn’t the pushover many expected. The Seminoles don't head into the BCS in a sprint, but rather a brisk crawl.
No. 16 is the MAC dandy Northern Illinois, which indeed found its way into the Orange Bowl thanks to finishing the MAC Championship Game and finishing in the top 16 in the BCS rankings. The Huskies will be a punching bag over the next month, which really isn't fair. They just played the game.
And the unranked team is none other than five-loss Wisconsin, which destroyed Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game to book its ticket to southern California despite having five losses and playing in the B1G title game simply thanks to sanctions to both Penn State and Ohio State.
Overall, the games lack interest. They lack traditional power programs, intriguing story lines and games that the non-football junkies will be dying to see. Most of all, however, they lack the good football teams that should have spots in college football’s biggest games.
Should we bash the teams involved for it? Absolutely not. Spew your venom elsewhere.
This is a system issue, not an issue with the teams chosen, and my disappointment in these matchups is geared strictly at the BCS that allows this to happen.
Let’s face it, though—this is nothing new. We’ve known for quite some time now that the system is capable of creating out games like this, and in 2012 a handful of strange scenarios came to fruition.
Because of it, very good teams like Georgia and Oklahoma will not be allowed to participate. Northern Illinois took Oklahoma’s spot, while Georgia is out because of the two-team limit for conferences.
That makes absolutely zero sense. But again, these are the rules in place.
Sometimes, however, this game surprises us. Although some of these BCS games don’t look like much on paper, the best sport on earth works in mysterious ways.
Remember that one weekend earlier this year when both Oregon and Kansas State lost as double-digit favorites and the slate of games lacked interest? You never know what will happen, and they could all be wildly entertaining.
Speaking of those two, the Fiesta Bowl is one that does not disappoint. I am anxious to see how Bill Snyder gears up against Chip Kelly, and this looked like it was going to be our national championship not long ago.
And then there is the BCS National Championship, which could make up for any issues you may have with the other bowls. Alabama and Notre Dame appear poised to put on quite a show—please, take your “S-E-C” chants elsewhere—and this is a game that the entire country will be glued to.
The ratings will be unlike anything we've ever seen, and it will do more than hold up its end of the bargain.
The BCS got that right, no question, and the magnitude of this matchup might be enough to make up for a BCS bowl lineup in need of a boost.