Life, Liberty and The Pursuit. Inspirational words from our forefathers that have guided our country for over 230 years.
For the 2009 Boise State Broncos and TCU Horned Frogs, their pursuit of perfection has rewarded each with a well-deserved matchup in a BCS game: the Fiesta Bowl to be played on January 4th, 2010 in Glendale, AZ.
This landmark game is a symbol of the evolutionary nature of the BCS and college football as a whole. The game and the system have evolved for the better, and for that, we should all be grateful. For all the 'woulda, shoulda, coulda's', the system rewarded, rightfully, both non-AQ teams with an opportunity, once and for all, to prove to the nation that the highest-quality college football is not always constrained within the walls of the 'Big Six'.
There's plenty of evidence to suggest, though, that this fact has already been demonstrated. But many naysayers, who point to Hawaii's dismantling at the hands of Georgia, Boise's 'gadget' win over Oklahoma and Utah's dominant win over a weak Pitt team in '05 still like to make excuses for, rather than cases for more inclusion into the BCS.
For the first time, though, this year's BCS lineup is inclusive of the 10 highest ranked BCS teams, regardless of conference affiliation. And isn't what this should really be all about? No one got bypassed, no one got overlooked.
The problem is that it almost didn't happen. We're literally one missed XP by Pitt and one second left by Texas away from the BSU v TCU matchup never occuring. Nebraska would be in the Fiesta and Pitt in the Orange. That would mean that two one-loss teams (Cincinnati and Texas) and one undefeated team (Boise St.) would have been eligible in the 'at large' BCS pool. In that scenario, potentially Boise State, Cincinnati or Iowa would have been completely left out, while the system would have rewarded 3-loss Nebraska and 2-loss Pittsburgh. Nothing against those programs, but neither could be counted as one of the ten-best teams in 2009.
The progress I see is this: in the scenario above, which did really almost happen, the Fiesta would be 'stuck' with Nebraska. But the Big Red travels like none other, so economic-impact wise, it's a wash. The interesting part is one of the BCS bowls would more than likely be picking between Cincinnati and Boise State. Given Cincy's most-recent history of BCS travel, combined with a potentially lame duck coach, Brian Kelly, who may actually be the Notre Dame coach by the time we get to the Orange Bowl, I have to believe the choice would have been the Broncos from the non-AQ Western Athletic Conference.
The next evolutionary step that must occur in the BCS is to throw out the championship games or make every conference play one. It's either 'in' or 'out'. I'd vote to abolish them and let the best 10 teams play in the 5 BCS games. If that means the SEC gets three teams in, so be it. With the limits on scholarships and parity now more obvious than ever, great football is being played nationwide.
Let's start rewarding teams and stop rewarding conferences. Let the 2010 Fiesta Bowl be the arrival of a new age when all teams are judged on a common set of critieria and let the best teams in to the BCS party, regardless of conference affiliation.