December 19, 2005
Everything you ever wanted to know about sports on TV.At The Buzzer
College Bowl Season: Meaningless
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some not-so-shocking news to report: College Football is broken. There is no other sport in the world (at the very least, in America) where a definitive playoff pairing down the top teams, culminating in the penultimate championship game between the two remaining sides does not exist. The Bowl Championship Series, known as the BCS (and perhaps better represented as the "B[C]S") is a sham. If you've been living under a rock since 1998, the B[C]S is a convoluted formula factoring in polls from the media and coaches, computer-rated strength of schedules, and a hand full of independent rankings — basically doing everything possible to avoid head-to-head competition — that by season's end determines who the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the nation are. Often times, the process is riddled with problems and brings a whole new level of understatement to the phrase "inexact science."
Again, the B[C]S should've combusted that day, as its sole purpose was to determine a singular, undisputed champion. But, as so often happens when opting for the easy way out, it failed. Again. Rewind to 2004 when USC, Oklahoma, and Auburn all finished the season undefeated. Only two can play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship. Auburn, whose remarkable accomplishment entitled them to a better fate, was dealt the short straw and had to settle for the meaningless Sugar Bowl. And don't even mention Utah to B[C]S honks. The Utes also went undefeated last season and earned a spot in last year's Fiesta Bowl (also meaningless), but were never even considered for the title game by virtue of not being part of one of the six major football conferences who cooked up this hair-brained system in the first place. Hardly a problem Utah could do anything about.
|Let me ask those conferences this: How much interest in the Outback Bowl or the Meineke Car Care Bowl, or the MPC Computers Bowl would there be if they actually meant something? If the winners of those games actually had a reason beyond pride to win?|
Fortunately, this season the cookie crumbled in the B[C]S' favor and we have a dream Rose Bowl match-up between USC and Texas, two teams on a collision course for Pasadena since the beginning of the season, with the national title at stake. Even the staunchest of B[C]S nay-sayers (myself included) will clam up and enjoy what should be an absolute firecraker of a game. Everyone should be watching this one. It. Will. Be. Electric.
There are twenty-eight — 28! — bowl games this season. That means 56 out of 119 — just about half of I-A — will be playing in a bowl game. Of those fifty-six, thirteen have a record of 6-5. Finishing the season one game above .500 is no reason to celebrate and certainly doesn't warrant a reward. What we are being force-fed during bowl week is mediocrity dressed up as something special. In effect, these are exhibition games and the only people that care are the fans of the two universities playing and degenerate gamblers hoping to bounce back on their second mortgage, maybe pick up some extra cash for alimony.
|It is firmly established that the only game of any consequence this season is the one taking place on January 4th between the Trojans and Longhorns. The two weeks leading up to that giant showdown? It's just masturbation.|
This mockery kicks off on December 20th when powerhouses Southern Mississippi and Arkansas State (both 6-5, by the way) slug it out in the oh-so-important New Orleans Bowl. Sigh... Hey, root for your alma mater. That's fine. Have friends over and cheer for Big U to bump their record to 7-5 in a meaningless exhibition game. You support that team already — I understand that. There's already an emotional investment there. But for every other game, do yourself a favor and change the channel. Read a book, take up dirt bike racing, learn to play piano, do anything else. Because supporting these corporate exhibition games only hurts the sport of college football. You don't want to hate college football, do you?
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