To: Pete Carroll
From: Pigskin Pundit
Re: The BCS
So, you think the BCS stinks, huh?
Well, you might want to head to the back of the line to find space on a playoff bandwagon, because the first couple of hundred are already full.
But it seems that you had some questions at your Tuesday press conference, so let’s see what answers we can come up with.
You asked, “What is the criteria of the process? Is it to pick the team that has the best season, that has the season that you like the most and feel best about voting for? Or is it the best team at the end of the year, the team that would win a playoff system if you did have it?”
Well, Pete, according to the BCS website:
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is a five-game arrangement for post-season college football that is designed to match the two top-rated teams in a national championship game and to create exciting and competitive match-ups between eight other highly regarded teams in four other games...It is nothing more than (an) attempt to match the No. 1 and No. 2 teams within the bowl system and to create exciting match-ups in four other bowl games.
The BCS standings formula consists (of) three components, each weighted equally: the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings (Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe).
Now, Pete, I can understand your frustration. You just slipped from fifth last week to seventh. You currently sit behind Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. All of you have one loss, and your loss occurred earlier than any of their losses did. But let us take a quick look at your last five opponents since losing to Oregon State, and the records of the last five opponents of the one-loss teams in front of you:
USC’s Last Five Opponents Combined Record: 14-28
Texas’s Last Five Opponents Combined Record: 36-9
Oklahoma’s Last Five Opponents Combined Record: 29-19
Florida’s Last Five Opponents Combined Record: 28-16
Right now, it looks like your team is the victim of playing weaker conference opponents. Of course, you are right when you make this point: “I think you have to do the best you can. Can you properly? I don't know. Who can properly figure this thing out? It's so subjective I don't know how you figure it out.”
But, Pete, this is the system that we have to live with—because your conference commissioner Tom Hansen, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and the Rose Bowl staff want to preserve the Big Ten/Pac-10 paradigm as long and as often as they can; even at the expense of more interesting matchups. I firmly believe they only want to go in a different direction if they truly have no other choice, which is how you wound up playing against Illinois in the Rose Bowl last year.
One final thought, Pete: If you want to know who actually runs the BCS, just follow this link. The guilty parties and their affiliations are all there in black and white for you.
Last week I went 4-2 in picking games. I whiffed on Texas Tech beating Texas and Georgia Tech beating Florida State. But I was damn close on both fronts. My season record is 26-13, which would probably get me fired at Tennessee.
On to this week’s guesses:
TCU 20, Utah 17
The biggest non-BCS game of the season gets played Thursday night. TCU looked good in destroying UNLV on Saturday. Utah struggled with New Mexico. Even though it’s two straight road games for the Horned Frogs, I think that they have proven themselves to be one of the best teams in the country, and will validate that with a win over TCU.
I don’t think there are many schools from the automatic qualifying conferences that would want to face TCU. Expect to hear Gary Patterson’s name a lot in the coming weeks as more jobs come open.
Alabama 34, LSU 17
Nick Saban returns to Baton Rouge for the first time since taking the job as Miami Dolphins head coach. As much as the fans hate Saban, I don’t know if LSU can win this one, given the Tigers' performances in recent games against Florida and Georgia. Alabama is for real; I don’t think it loses this game against a Louisiana opponent.
Oklahoma State 37, Texas Tech 31
Hell, Red Raider fans might want me to keep picking against them in these big games. I am a big Red Raider fan, but I just have this funny feeling about the game on Saturday night. I can see Oklahoma State pulling the upset because of special teams. A Dez Bryant kick return late will be the difference in this game.
USC 24, Cal 17
A P.S. for Pete Carroll: Just keep winning and rooting against everyone in front of you. If that occurs, things will turn out just fine and you can pack for South Beach. But you might want to see if you can bring the offense that showed up last week for Washington instead of the one that faced Arizona. I think, for this week, you’ll be somewhere in between.