Lately, there has been a lot of clamor from the non-BCS (or non-AQ) teams and their fans for consideration as title-contenders. Under the current BCS system, there are only two teams each year that gain the privilege of playing for a BCS national title.
The most commonly cited argument in support of the inclusion of non-AQ teams is that they have shown they can beat the big boys. Boise State fans point to their opening win over Pac 10-title-contender Oregon. TCU fans will argue that they beat Virginia and Clemson on the road.
While these wins are commendable—and certainly show that BSU and TCU can compete with BCS conference teams once or twice per season—they do not equate to BSU and TCU being worthy national title contenders.
To see why BSU and TCU (and the like, such as Utah last year) don't deserve one of the coveted BCS title game spots, look no further than the rest of their schedules.
After Oregon, the rest of BSU's schedule is Miami (OH), Fresno State, Bowling Green, UC Davis, Tulsa, Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, Utah State, Nevada, and New Mexico State.
Besides Virginia and Clemson, TCU's remaining schedule is Texas State, Southern Methodist, Air Force, Colorado State, BYU, UNLV, San Diego State, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
While the rest of TCU's schedule is more difficult than the rest of BSU's schedule, there is a common theme to both. The majority of both of their schedules are teams that are considered cupcake opponents for BCS teams.
When Texas played Wyoming, they were chided for scheduling a cupcake opponent. For TCU, Wyoming is just another conference opponent. The same rationale applies to the majority of these non-AQ teams schedules.
Suppose that BSU or TCU were fortunate enough to schedule three or four out of conference games against BCS opponents. If them won them all, would they have a tough enough schedule to get a BCS title game spot?
The answer is still "no." Even if they played and beat a several BCS opponents, they would still go untested in their remaining eight or nine games.
Schools like Alabama, Florida and Texas play at least eight games against BCS conference competition (and at least nine if you consider their conference title games, which will always be required for a title run).
Thus, in any given season, a BCS conference team will play at least twice as many big time opponents as the BSUs and TCUs of the world.
For a team like BSU, the Oregon game was their season. After BSU won that game, they haven't faced an opponent even half as good.
For every Pac 10 team, Oregon is just another conference opponent. And for Oregon, BSU was just another team on their schedule. After the BSU game, Oregon has played many teams that are just as good or better than BSU.
Under the current system, it is just not fair to to the BCS-league teams to allow a team like BSU or Oregon a title spot when they play a schedule that BCS teams would be laughed at for playing.
The criticism that Florida and Texas have received this year for their weaker than usual OOC schedules is ironic in this context because their OOC's stack up favorably to BSU and TCU's conference schedules.
The soundness of my argument is evidenced by the terminology used by fans and the media. For example, when USC plays San Jose State, they are considered a "cupcake" opponent. When BSU's plays them, they are considered another conference test.
Also consider how much more taxing it is to play teams like Oregon, Virginia, and Clemson almost every week than it is once or twice a season. The mental stress of being on your A-game all the time, combined with the physical toll of getting hit by bigger and faster athletes, is something TCU and BSU just don't have to deal with.
Simply put, BSU and TCU (and their ilk) are victims of circumstance.
When your conference schedule is filled with opponents that the powerhouses are criticized for playing, you simply don't deserve consideration as one of the two best teams in the land.
In defense of BSU and TCU, I think both would be worthy of a spot this year if we had an eight-team playoff. Both teams look good in most of their games, and three straight BCS playoff wins would legitimize them much more than any BCS bowl win.
However, in a two-team scenario, they cannot stack up.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!