It's coming up on another year of college football under the BCS, and teams are salivating in hopes of a BCS bowl berth if not a title. Around the country, colleges are preparing their football clubs, and young kids (I know, I'm 23... but high school seniors? Yeah, they're kids) are waiting for their future to be decided. Unfortunately, I have some bad news for most of the country:
If your school is not in the SEC or Big-12, they will not be in the BCS title game.
It'll take catastrophic years for Florida, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, AND Georgia for someone else to get a shot. Special exception here for USC if they have a great season AND four of the five above teams have atrocious ones... and USC I'm sorry but with all the players you lost this year, I believe this is the year of the Duck.
All the power rankings I've looked at have a little wiggle room - and again while most have USC at #2 or 3 I think they'll end up being too one-dimensional to beat out a team like OSU, Oregon, or CAL - the vast majority of power rankings have Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia in the top 5. I don't have a whole lot of problem with that... but what I do have a problem with comes in the 6-10 range, where many power rankings have teams like LSU, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, and Missouri.
So why are those teams ranked so highly? Well, they're all in either the SEC or the Big 12. For whatever reason, the sportswriters who are all heavily centered in the East coast decided to justify Florida's loss to Ole Miss not as a result of Florida being good but not absolutely amazing, but because the SEC was absolutely STACKED with amazing teams that Florida had to fight through. Therefore the SEC is obviously the best division in college football right?
Well then Ole Miss goes on to lose to Alabama, but Alabama's an SEC team, so obviously it just means they're both amazing! And nevermind that LSU keeps losing, it's only because they're in the SEC too! Then of course Texas has to mess everything up by beating the number one ranked Alabama team... so does this mean the SEC might be getting a little bit too much credit? OF COURSE NOT! It just means that the Big 12 is the second best conference! That's obviously the only solution here.
Based in the East coast, the sportswriters would latch onto the ACC if it weren't so awful, the Big East if it weren't so unknown (go... RUTGERS!), but instead they choose to inflate the SEC and Big 12 because they're what they see. I mean, what East coast voter is going to stay up til 11pm to watch Oregon play? How many of them know that WSU has a new head coach and were getting down to their 5th string runningback and quarterback due to injury? (I'll note I'm not claiming that's the reason for WSU's last season... they're just bad, but the point is they know very little about West coast programs)
Point is they're greatly inflating the strength of the SEC and Big 12, and those power rankings are used to determine the strength of schedule, which IS in part how the BCS scores are calculated.
So, who cares? Why does it matter? Am I really just bitching and moaning because I want their power rankings to be 1. Oregon 2. USC 3. Oregon State? Honestly no. I wouldn't put a Pac10 team at #1. However playing in a BCS bowl game brings in about $15 million dollars to the school, which is then divied up in the conference. MILLIONS of dollars in program and scholarship money are at stake here. And if it were only that the BCS was in love with Florida and weren't inflating the rest of the Southeast, I wouldn't care as much. I also wouldn't care as much if the non-BCS championship teams weren't automatically berthed, or given purely because of their conference (last year's Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech and Cincinnati... what the hell?).
The BCS system is guaranteeing that schools that aren't from ESPN's favorite conferences get shafted, not just in rankings, but in funding.