Boise State, USC, Texas, and Utah felt aggrieved having not had the opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship game last year. When this season reaches its conclusion, it's likely that a few more teams could be added to the list.
It raises the question: Are the calls of an unjust format the cries of wronged championship contenders or delusional pretenders engulfed in their own hype?
The current structure which gives a national title game birth to the top two teams in the BCS standings is seen as unjust, with fans, media, and President Obama calling for a playoff.
The polls may not be perfect, but what those aforementioned fail to realize is that if a team is good enough, they will play for a national title.
The Nearly Men of '09
When Heisman Trophy nominee Colt McCoy's Texas Longhorns fell short last year it showed the brutally harsh nature of the BCS format. They finished 12-1, as did USC, Boise State, and Oklahoma and Florida, who contested the national championship.
Disposing of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Oklahoma State in as many weeks led ESPN’s Beano Cook to proclaim: “If they go undefeated, they should go straight to the Super Bowl."
Their 8-0 streak was breathtaking but they were guilty of the fatal flaw that has hit many sports teams; overconfidence, bordering on arrogance.
They imploded against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. McCoy had an interception returned for a touchdown, was sacked four times, and the Longhorns showed a lack of quality in killing off the game when they got into a winning position.
Simply, their arrogance in their own ability meant they didn’t deserve a BCS title game berth. They threw away a perfect season and struggled to beat the runner-up in the Big Ten, Ohio State, in the Fiesta Bowl. It was hardly the substance of greatness.
In light of the letdown that accompanied the loss to the Red Raiders, McCoy has a point to prove when returning for his senior year. The NFL draft awaits, but as the Ole Miss loss was felt by Tim Tebow, it’s certain McCoy is hurting from not going to the National Championship game. This is his chance.
If Texas is 8-0 this year it will have defeated Texas Tech and completed the treble over OU, Missouri, and OSU for the second year in a row. For Texas and McCoy it is about time they put the grumblings of being robbed to bed and perform.
The Undefeated of '09
Boise State and Utah did well to go undefeated in the regular season, but the fact remained that they weren’t good enough nor did they deserve a shot at the national title.
The WAC and MWC are lethargic in comparison to the Big 12, SEC, Pac 10, and the Big 10, but due to them being unbeaten they were deemed to be entitled to a shot at the title.
While Kellen Moore has great ability at Boise, demonstrated by his dismantling of then-No. 12 Oregon last year, he lacks the quality of player that surrounds Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, or Colt McCoy.
Although the defensive qualities of the Big 12 might have been their own downfall last year, it also provides stiffer opposition for the likes of Bradford and McCoy than that experienced by Moore at Boise or Brian Johnson at Utah, who has since signed for the UFL.
Besides Oregon, Boise’s non-conference matchups included Idaho State, Bowling Green, and Southern Miss. That schedule was hardly going to send them to the BCS National Championship.
A one-point defeat to 11th-ranked TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl destroyed an otherwise blemish free season. It was good, just not title game good.
Utah played one ranked team in No. 24 Michigan in their non-conference games. Although they gave Crimson Tide offensive and defensive lessons, with a 31-17 win in the Sugar Bowl, the other non-MWC teams to test them were Oregon State, Weber State, and Utah State. Hardly a run that warranted a place ahead of Florida or Oklahoma.
If a team thinks they have the ability to challenge the top teams in the nation and they lack the conference prestige of the SEC or Big 12, those are the conferences they need to be playing against. It will boost their ranking and it is the only way teams outside the major conferences are going to improve.
If Utah could have shown it was not to be taken lightly before the Sugar Bowl, they could have had a national championship game opportunity.
Before the next team that fails to get a national title spot complains, they should ask themselves if they were good enough.
Boise State, Utah, Texas, and company were not!