The national title picture, as is typical within the BCS system, looks like it’s heading for yet another controversial finish.
A mere two weeks remain in college football’s regular season, and the six teams that sit atop the BCS poll all remain undefeated with 10-0 records. Only one of two of these teams is sure to fall before season’s end with the top two teams, Florida and Alabama remaining on a collision course for the SEC championship.
Barring an unlikely upset, it’s looking like college football’s championship game is already close to locked in. With Texas sitting at No. 3 in the poll with only Kansas and Texas A&M standing between them and a perfect regular season, it’s looking more and more certain that we’ll be seeing them face off with the winner of the Florida-Alabama prize fight.
Texas vs. the SEC champion should make for a terrific championship game, with plenty of star power and historical relevance with two of college football’s traditional powers facing off.
However, that’s unlikely to serve as much consolation to the remaining teams who manage to survive the season unscathed. With TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State all 10-0 with only two games left it appears to be a near sure-thing that at least one undefeated team is going to be left out in the cold.
TCU, despite giving a mighty 55-28 thrashing to their Mountain West rivals and formerly 16th ranked Utah this past week, was unable to pass Texas and move into position for the national title game. With only Wyoming and New Mexico remaining on their schedule, TCU is a safe bet to finish the year undefeated, but may be dead in the water with regards to the BCS title game. No matter how badly they blow out their final two opponents, they aren’t going to be able to impress the polls enough to pass an undefeated Texas.
Similarly to TCU, No. 5 Cincinnati also remained undefeated after taking down a tough conference opponent this weekend. Their match with 25th ranked West Virginia was much closer than TCU’s victory, with a mere field goal separating the Big East powers in Cincinnati’s 24-21 win.
Within the structure of the BCS, a biased system designed to protect its own and exclude the rest, Cincinnati could actually have a greater gripe than TCU if they run the table and are left out of the championship game. They hail from the Big East, a BCS conference which has defied all predictions and had a great year.
Four of the Bearcats' first ten opponents have appeared in one poll or another this season, with one last major test coming against No. 9 Pittsburgh to close the year.
Boise State, while also likely to finish the season undefeated, is completely out of the discussion. With only one real quality win to speak of against Oregon in the first game of the year, and an otherwise weak schedule, it’s hard to make a case for the Broncos being deserving of a BCS Title game bid even if they do finish the year unbeaten.
In the highly unlikely scenario that four of the five teams ahead of Boise all lose, there is a good chance that they’ll still be left out in favor of a one loss Florida, Alabama or Texas.
It’s shaping up to be another disappointing season that will be unlikely to leave college fans with any certainty that the crowned champions will truly be the nation’s best squad. However, the only way we’re ever going to be free of this sham of a system is for the controversy to continue until it incites the change that FBS football so desperately needs. When another deserving team is denied the opportunity to play for the “championship” this year, we can only hope that their disappointment helps to pave the way for future underdogs and mid-majors to get their fair chance at the trophy.
Here's this week's entire BCS poll:
1) Florida (10-0)
2) Alabama (10-0)
3) Texas (10-0)
4) TCU (10-0)
5) Cincinnati (10-0)
6) Boise State (10-0)
7) Georgia Tech (10-1)
8) LSU (8-2)
9) Pittsburgh (9-1)
10) Ohio State (9-2)
11) Oregon (8-2)
12) Oklahoma State (8-2)
13) Iowa (9-2)
14) Penn State (9-2)
15) Virginia Tech (7-3)
16) Wisconsin (8-2)
17) Stanford (7-3)
18) USC (7-3)
19) Oregon State (7-3)
20) Miami (FL) (7-3)
21) Utah (8-2)
22) BYU (8-2)
23) Clemson (7-3)
24) Houston (8-2)
25) California (7-3)