I think Tostitos needs to step down from their sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl this season as it clearly doesn’t reflect the atmosphere of this year’s selection. The Chik-fil-a Chickenshit Bowl (or Pilgrim’s Pride can step in, since Chik-fil-a has the Peach Bowl), U.S.D.A. Bullshit Bowl, or a dual sponsorship Tropicana/Absolut Screw Job Bowl would be far more appropriate.
Once again, the BCS never ceases to amaze to just how low they will sink to protect their horrendous system from the obvious elephant-in-the-room controversy that pops up year after year. Let’s be frank here, the BCS is in no danger of leaving any time soon thanks to money tied up in contracts, conferences, and university presidents. However, there is no doubt the BCS is a self-serving entity and the less negative press they get, the better the chances are for a longer contract.
This year though, all hell nearly broke loose. Texas barely escaped an monumental upset at the hands of Nebraska, Cincinnati had a massive comeback against Pitt, and Alabama just a week prior barely escaped an Iron Bowl upset themselves. Think about that for just a little while. We could quite easily be in a situation in which Alabama, Florida, Texas and Cincinnati would all have a loss–leaving only TCU and Boise State as the only undefeated teams in college football. Even if just the Nebraska upset had worked out, the BCS still would’ve had a nightmare (ratings-wise) had Texas been the only upset to go through as that would give us an Alabama/Cincinnati title game.
However, as even their propaganda spewing Twitter account will tell you, the BCS is only worried about matching #1 and #2 together for the title game. They are the white knight bringing order to a once chaotic landscape of an antiquated system of bowl tie-ins and media votes they say. Without them, how else could we crown a definitive champion?! If we went into a playoff system, the #4 team in the country could win the title and then we could have bracket creep and have #12 eventually win!
Well…so they say.
This season definitely proves where their “we always are able to put #1 v #2 together” breaks down. Unless Texas is able to put one hell of a game plan together, their Big XII Title “performance” points to an absolute curb-stomping by the Tide. And with three other undefeated teams left in the mix (two of which aren’t in non-BCS conferences), it begs the question, “who is really #2?”
So if you are the BCS, what do you do in this situation to stack the deck back into your favor? If TCU, Boise, and Cincinnati all win their BCS games, remain undefeated and Texas gets killed, that is obviously the worse case scenario and is unacceptable.
However, you are the BCS and you are able to use your own system in your favor.
Just a refresher of these rules:
BCS Championship: #1 BCS vs. #2 BCS
Rose Bowl: Big Ten Champ vs. Pac 10 Champ
Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 Champ vs. At-large
Orange Bowl: ACC Champ vs. At-large
Sugar Bowl: SEC Champ vs. At-large
Rules for At-large: Big East champ, must be taken in one of the at-large spots. Also, if a non-BCS conference team is ranked #12 or higher in the BCS, they also gain one of the at-large bids — only one team may receive such an automatic bid.
The only other rules to keep in mind is that if a bowl loses their conference tie in to the BCS title game, they will have the first pick at a replacement team — trying to stay to tradition they will try to stay in the same conference, but if they can’t, they will pick an at-large team. Furthermore, only two teams max from the same conference can be selected to the BCS (there are exceptions, but they won’t happen this season). Finally there is a set selection order to fill in the remaining at large bids. This year it will be in the order of: Orange, Fiesta, and then Sugar.
So you have your BCS title game set automatically, as well as the Rose Bowl. Now you have the following at-large order for picks: Sugar (they lose #1 Alabama to title), Fiesta (they lose #2 Texas to title), then Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar to end.
Now granted, what follows is guess work as the Bowls don’t reveal their selections pick by pick, just the end results. However, the reasoning I will give does make sense considering the way things played out.
Bowls always do their best to keep their conference tie-ins. So with the first pick, the Sugar immediately looks to the SEC and to no shock, selects Florida. The Fiesta Bowl then looks to the Big XII, and finds there are no suitable candidates for the game. Now they know a non-BCS team must be taken, and TCU makes sense as a regional pick, so they take them being the higher of the two non-BCS teams.
Now things really get interesting/funny/simply awful.
The Orange Bowl is next. They have their ACC champ, Georgia Tech, already in place. Left to pick are Big East Champs, undefeated, and #3 BCS ranked Cincinnati, undefeated and #6 BCS ranked Boise and at-large, two-loss, and #10 BCS ranked Iowa. So of course, the clear, logical choice to pick here is…Iowa. Yes, the same Iowa that during their undefeated streak continued to squeak out wins and were exposed by their two losses, one of which was Northwestern.
What’s the reason for this pick? You’ll hear from Orange Bowl reps that Iowa will travel better out of the remaining schools. Although, it seems to make more sense to me that you would take the Big East Champ for the East-coast bowl game, especially since they won a BCS conference without losing a single game, but that just must be me and my silly logic!
So now with the Orange Bowl making the laughable pick, the Fiesta Bowl is next. Left to them again are the Big East Champs and the second BCS buster. Again, the clear choice is made…Boise State. Why? I’m sure the Fiesta Bowl reps will say it makes more regional sense for Boise to be in the Fiesta Bowl rather than East-coast Cincinnati. However, this still only seems to offend my crazy logic.
Finally, the Sugar Bowl is then required to pick up the “scraps” on the table as the Big East Champ is still without a BCS game and takes Cincinnati to finalize the selection process. Keep in mind this is the same Cincinnati team that would be playing in the title game if Texas had lost; however, somehow they are magically the final team to be selected in the entire process.
Of course, I am sure a BCS rep would come in and tell me that; in fact, the Sugar Bowl took the Big East Champs as their first pick. That argument makes no sense though. Are you seriously going to sell me that the Orange Bowl was so high on Iowa that they would forgo a pick of in-state Florida? I don’t think so.
The intent by the BCS couldn’t be more clear. Place Cincinnati in easily the hardest of of all possible games, and have the two non-BCS schools sit at the kid’s table and play amongst themselves. The worst case result here would be that Cincinnati beats Florida–it doesn’t matter what happens in the Fiesta Bowl, it is just two non-BCS schools fighting it out amongst themselves and the BCS knows no one in the media will legitimately make a case for either TCU or Boise as a #2 school with that win as the retort will be “well, who did those two schools actually beat?” Even with a Cincinnati win, you have the argument that Florida was exposed in the SEC Championship game and clearly wasn’t as good as we thought they were–I mean, Cincinnati is ranked above them in the BCS standings!
Of course though, you have the best case scenario: no one cares about the Fiesta Bowl result, and Cincinnati loses to Florida. The arguments of course are even easier for this case.
Either way, the BCS “gets it right” and college football and its fans get screwed.
TCU and Boise will probably be a great game, but having the two play themselves play each other is a slap in the face to both schools. Non-BCS schools don’t fight just to get in a BCS Bowl, they fight to make a splash against a “big name” team. They won’t get that chance at all. It’s a joke and a sham.
Here is how the selection should have gone:
Sugar: Florida (BCS replacement) vs. Boise State (final at-large pick)
Fiesta: TCU (BCS replacement) vs. Iowa (2nd at-large pick)
Orange: Georgia Tech (ACC Champ) vs. Cincinnati (1st at-large pick)
I dare you to tell me that isn’t a damn good slate of games or makes “regional” sense for traveling. Cincinnati gets the BCS Bowl closest to them, Fiesta gets Iowa, whom “travels better” than Boise, and the Sugar gets the remaining scraps because they pick last–though luck.
But no, as much as the BCS claims that their system clearly selects #1 v #2, that every week of the season matters, and that the most skilled teams will reap the greatest rewards, we have a situation more analogous to when “J”, played by Will Smith, joins the Men in Black:
J: All right, I’m in. ‘Cause there’s some next level shit going on and I’m OK with that. But before y’all go beaming me up there’s one thing you gotta remember: You chose me… so you recognized the skills, so I don’t want nobody calling me son or kid or sport or nothing like that, cool?
K: Cool, whatever you say, slick, but I need to tell you something about all your skills. As of right now, they mean precisely… dick.
Of course, it is easy for me to poke holes in the current system. Do I have a better solution? You bet I do, I came up with it last year and it makes just as much sense then as it does now.
Instead, I’m left with an Orange Bowl that couldn’t be more unappealing, Rose Bowl game that will likely be a blow out, a Fiesta Bowl that means nothing, a Sugar Bowl that will barely mean much more, and a BCS Title game that will likely be another blow out.