The Cincinnati Bearcats had a wonderful season after last year’s loss in the Orange Bowl.
After replacing 10 starters on defense, the Bearcats began the season unranked, scratched and clawed until they pushed back into the top 25.
They set a school record for wins and were ranked an all-time high at No. 3, to the chagrin of their more traditional in-state powerhouse, The Buckeyes.
With quality wins over Oregon State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and South Florida, the Bearcats proved they were for real. Remember, Oregon State came within four points of winning the Pac-10 this year.
The unlikely Bearcats were poised for a shot at the national championship, had Texas lost to Nebraska in the Big 12 title game that literally came down to the final second.
Of course, the BCS pitted No. 1 and No. 2 against each other for a classical matchup between powerhouse schools Alabama and Texas. It is hard to argue this national championship game. The SEC and Big 12 are dominant football conferences.
However, three undefeated teams in TCU, Boise State, and Cincinnati would not be considered for strength of conference reasons.
The BCS Selection Committee would put TCU of the MWC and Boise State of the WAC against each other in the first time ever for two undefeated teams to meet in a BCS game that wasn’t the national championship.
Neither team would get a chance to beat a BCS team in national spotlight on a BCS berth. Instead, they were matched to play each other again in a game that is shaping up to be the least-hyped bowl game of all-time.
These two teams met with TCU edging Boise 17-16 in last year’s San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. That wasn’t compelling enough for a BCS bowl game last year and neither is it this year.
TCU and Boise State will continue to face skeptics about their ability to perform well in BCS Bowls and continually be overshadowed for national championship games because of their non-competitive conferences, the MWC and WAC, respectively.
The only way is for these schools to prove their worth, and they need to continue to embarrass BCS schools in BCS bowls on center stage.
It didn’t matter that teams from these conferences proved they could hang with the big boys when Boise State beat Oklahoma in one of the greatest games ever in the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and undefeated Utah winning the 2005 Fiesta Bowl against Pittsburgh handily. Utah went undeafeted again last year beating Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. You can't tell me these schools can't compete. They already proved it.
Enter Cincinnati, Big East outright champion.
Cincinnati plays in a conference with an automatic bowl bid, unlike the MWC and WAC. They beat several top 25 teams to have quality wins.
The argument against Cincinnati is that the Big East is not as good as the SEC or Big 12, and, thus, they are left out of the Championship game. This sat well with everyone except Bearcat fans who were clamoring for the national title game because of a remarkable undefeated season.
Instead of pitting these FBS schools against BCS competition in Cincinnati and Florida, the selection committee was able to save face and put the MWC and WAC teams against each other in an unremarkable bowl.
Unless there is a 50-or-more-point blowout, don’t expect much controversy from either team for being out of the national championship game.
These schools will not be able to prove for another year that they can handle the big schools, yet Boise State did beat eventual Pac-10 champion Oregon in the season. Shouldn’t Boise get a shot to beat a BCS team in a BCS bowl?
Note: Boise State has reported they are having problems from BCS schools to schedule games against them because of fear if they lose to Boise, they eliminate their chances for bowl berths. Pathetic.
In order for the BCS to save face from fierce criticism for a playoff system or any alternate system for that matter, they pitted the Bearcats and Gators together and hoped for the eventual blowout that the Gators would give the Bearcats in Tebow’s finale to solidify the argument that Cincy did not belong on center stage.
One less controversy right there, whew.
The Gators, arguably the second-best team in the country next to Alabama, are capable of beating anyone. A Florida-Alabama rematch in national championship game is more compelling than a weak Texas team. This is how good the SEC is in football.
The BCS conspired to avoid the hypothetical situation of Cincinnati and Florida playing TCU or Boise State in order for these schools to prove their worth in BCS bowls for fear of embarrassment.
It is not as if TCU and Boise haven’t played before. They did last year. Imagine another upset by TCU or Boise over Cincinnati and/or Florida. It would be great college football debate for the entire offseason.
For those who claim a Florida and Cincinnati game is more compelling than the upset of TCU or Boise over either one of these schools obviously didn’t see that Cincinnati did not belong on the same field as the Gators. This was clear before the Bowl, so why not give a real underdog a shot like in 2007 Tositos bowl?
Instead of taking that chance of allowing these smaller schools to prove themselves and embarrass the BCS—again—they won’t even get a shot this year.
Instead the BCS has left us with non-compelling bowl games this year, save for the Rose Bowl. All to save face on how great the BCS system is.
Even the Capital One Bowl was more interesting than any BCS Bowl this year.
What are your thoughts?