Bowl Matchups Robbing Us of Progress (And It's Not a Playoff Problem)
Every year people root for chaos within a system they believe doesn't do them justice in determining who should play for the highest achievement in all of college football.
Many don't want to hear it, but they've been steered wrong in their thinking. The Bowl Championship Series sets out to do one thing and one thing only.
And it does it very well.
I sat down to write this and started going at it from an angle that most definitely would have made people angry with my stance.
I then deleted all of it, not because I don't want people to disagree with me, but because I realized the point I was making wasn't the one I set out to make.
I'm not here to dispute or defend the BCS. As I said earlier, the BCS does what it is set out to do and that is pick the two best teams to play for the championship. It does not set the rules that we are given and it does not dictate who goes to which bowl beyond that.
Alright, I know you are already thinking that I'm going back on what I said I wasn't here to do. I kind of am, but I need it to get to my point.
Since we don't have a playoff and one isn't on the horizon anytime soon, I'm perfectly content with watching 30-some bowl games. What I'm not content with is watching 25 bowl games that aren't very good.
Traditions aside, let's focus on our so called "money bowls" in the BCS.
The Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose are all out there as the cash cows of college football. It goes back to the reason we do not have a playoff and it goes to the reason it won't change.
The people who run these bowls and those who run the participants in these bowls do not want to mess up what they have going. I have no problem with them continuing to deny us a playoff.
But when their selfish agendas get in the way by screwing up something that doesn't impact them at all?
Then I've got a problem.
Texas Christian was paired up with Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, a meeting that will pit two undefeated teams and two non-BCS entrants for the first time in a non-title game.
Last year, I was ecstatic when these two teams were paired and the results of that pairing did not disappoint. TCU won a thrilling game that showed both should be taken seriously on a national scale.
Mission accomplished. So why are we seeing it again?
Pairing Boise State and TCU in this year's BCS sets back everything they've both accomplished by going undefeated this season. Not only are they both robbed of a chance to take down a BCS-team, they are robbed of ever being taken seriously for a national championship game.
In just about every inaugural address a president will make, he speaks of change and movement. He will say we have to initiate change and initiate it now, but it won't happen overnight. Change is a long process, but it does need to be initiated to ever begin that process.
TCU, Boise State, last year's Utah team...they are all pioneers for that change. In order to change people's minds, we need teams like Utah to come into the BCS and beat Alabama. In order for change we need a team like TCU to take on a superpower like Florida and beat them.
We need a Boise State team to challenge a Cincinnati team and show them that a Big East and a WAC can get together and put on one hell of a game.
If we don't have that, progress will not be made. You may not like to chip away at a mentality, but that is the only way to go and this year's slate of BCS bowls sets that back yet another year.
I'm relatively happy with the slate in terms of the types of games we will see. I have no doubt after last year that Boise and TCU will put on a show. Georgia Tech and Iowa are perhaps the weakest BCS teams and they are in the same game. Florida and Cincinnati are going to get together for some fireworks.
However the bowl representatives couldn't have screwed this year up. They got Oregon and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl as a lock and a good team that will travel well in Iowa to pair up with Georgia Tech.
They had four very good teams for two very big stages.
Yet somewhere along the way, someone was led astray.
I think it's safe to assume that Florida went to the Sugar Bowl after TCU was put into the Fiesta, which would lead the Fiesta Bowl to make the decision of whether to select Boise State or Cincinnati.
I don't blame the Fiesta Bowl for wanting to make history. They have been one of the best in the past in welcoming different matchups and different scenarios. But I think they dropped the ball on this one.
They're going to get a good matchup. A team close to them in proximity in TCU that is undefeated against a team that owes them a lot for giving them the chance to beat Oklahoma on a big stage.
Not to mention, they get to make a little bit of that history they always like to make.
But again, the progress that these teams have made in just going undefeated has been ruined by pitting them against each other.
By seeing two non-BCS teams face each other it defeats the true purpose of these "BCS Busters" being included in the fray.
It isn't to give these programs a nice bonus for making it this far. Boise State has been there, done that and TCU is a storied program that has seen some true greats come through.
Once again, this is about changing the landscape and we aren't changing it by letting them face each other.
If the people who set this system with five big bowls and the money it makes for all involved really wanted to get it right, they'd eliminate the traditions and the nonsense that is attached.
Without a doubt, tradition is awesome, but not at the expense of what is right. And what is right is good football and rewarding teams who deserve it. As a fan of a team in the Big Ten, I cannot defend it when they and the PAC-10 sit back and fight hand in hand with the Rose Bowl committee in keeping tradition.
Do remind me, what is the tradition of the Sugar Bowl?
Off the top of my head, here are the teams I remember playing in the game as long as I've lived: Florida State, Miami, West Virginia, Georgia, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Utah.
There are teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Mountain West, and of all conferences, the WAC. Where is your tradition? The tradition for me is sitting down in the late afternoon-early evening of New Years Day and watching the Rose Bowl with my family.
The tradition for me is watching whatever big time bowl game is on that same day, later that night. I think I'm in the majority when I say this, but the tradition isn't watching what teams are in it; it's watching it when I can normally expect it.
I could care less who plays in it, just as long as the game is a good one and I can get into it.
So here I sit, with two wishes, very different in what they would accomplish. If we bring them together with this much hated computer, we may just get something that can appease us all.
If you use the angry computer to establish a ranking of teams, that would essentially seed your bowls, then you are guaranteed five games that are of the caliber of the National Title Game. You may not be getting the first and second best teams, but you are getting the same intensity level with two teams equally talented.
You are getting Cincinnati and TCU against each other. You are getting Florida and Boise State, ready to put on an offensive show. Every once in awhile, the Rose Bowl will get lucky and have their own traditional matchup with Ohio State and Oregon in the same game.
If something doesn't happen often, when it does happen, it becomes just a little more special. That may not be what the Rose Bowl officials want to hear, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for the good of your sport.
You are also getting that change. If Boise State and TCU happen to end up ranked right next to each other then you live with the consequences. But that goes right along with the Rose Bowl mentality.
To appease the football fans that want good games everywhere they turn, start pitting the top ranked teams against each other. We may not be giving the people what they want in a playoff, but we are taking a step towards the change it could bring about.
In the end, taking steps is the best you can do, so we might as well start walking.
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