Texas-Oklahoma Screwup: How the BCS Undermined Its Own Anti-Playoff Argument

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 30, 2008

Much will be made about the results of today’s BCS poll in the days and weeks to come, but this should be the straw that breaks the BCS camel’s back.

Oklahoma received enough computer points and coaches’ votes to leapfrog Texas in the BCS rankings...and into the Big 12 title game. A win there will give the Sooners a spot in the National Championship.  

Nevermind that the teams had identical records and Oklahoma’s loss came at the hands of Texas on a neutral field. Nevermind that Texas had a tougher schedule. Nevermind that Texas’ one loss was on the last play of the game, and by six points, while Oklahoma’s loss was by 10 points.

The BCS proponents (and playoff opponents) say that a playoff would undermine college football’s regular season. Now tell me, how does putting Oklahoma in the title game over the team it lost to not undermine college football’s regular season? The only thing it does do is prove the case for a playoff.

There are so many problems here that it would take books to describe them all. The BCS vs. playoff battles have been waged way too many times, so I’ll just make a couple of points on how the BCS system affects this situation.

First of all, what the BCS does reward is running up the score. The coaches won’t say it, nor will the BCS folks, but it’s true.  They call it “looking more impressive.”

They point out Oklahoma’s eye-popping offensive onslaught of four straight games scoring 60-plus points.

Sure, they scored 61 against Oklahoma State on Saturday, but they also couldn’t stop OSU for three and a half quarters, giving up 41 points. Texas gave up only 24 to OSU.  

Sure, Oklahoma piled 66 points on Texas A&M. They also gave up 28. Texas scored 49, while giving up just nine.

Sure, Oklahoma scored 45 on Kansas. They also gave up 31. Texas beat Kansas 35-7.

So, what does this all mean? The reward goes to the team that can score more points, not to the best overall team.

Secondly, the USA Today Coaches Poll should never be relied upon to determine the fate of the teams. The coaches themselves don’t like it. Most of them don’t actually do the voting themselves—and why should they? They don’t even watch the games, except for their own and the tape of their next opponent(s).

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops would never vote Texas ahead of his own team this season, even though Texas beat his team. Going further, why would he even vote Texas anywhere close to his team? There’s no penalty for leaving Texas completely off his ballot, so why give them a chance to be rated higher than his team?

There’s no way to regulate how a coach votes—or whether he even does the voting himself. Why let that factor into the BCS standings?

Thirdly, if head-to-head doesn’t matter, then the regular season doesn’t matter, either. Why even play the games if beating somebody early on doesn’t matter at the end of the season?

To say that one team deserves a title shot over the team it lost to because it has beaten its tough teams at the end of the season is ridiculous. In that case, the whole regular season becomes illegitimate.

This season proves that college football needs a playoff. Do you think any of the top eight teams would complain about a playoff this season?

Whoever the best team is, they would (or should) relish the opportunity to prove so in a do-or-die tournament format, just like every other major sport.

If Oklahoma is truly more deserving than Texas, it should prove so in a playoff, not in a conference championship game against a team that wasn’t even one of the top three teams in the conference.

The BCS is a joke and it’s turning college football into a joke. Just because it creates controversy in November and December doesn’t mean that’s good for the game.

If I’m Texas, I boycott a BCS bowl this year to send a message that something needs to change.*

There have been arguments in seasons past, but this one goes way beyond any of those and has pushed the BCS beyond the brink of acceptance.

The time for a playoff is upon us.

In the coming days, I’ll lay out my plans for a playoff and why it would work.   

*I don't believe Texas will do so, although there is a contingent of boosters and season ticket holders hoping to convince UT athletics director, DeLoss Dodds, to do so.


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