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Friday, June 25, 2021

Lack of flexibility hurts BCS

One has to wonder if Florida coach Urban Meyer feels for Boise State and TCU right now.

Meyer's Utes broke through the glass ceiling in 2004, becoming the first non-big six conference, non-Notre Dame team to earn a BCS bowl spot. But that team never had the chance to be the story of bowl season, because it drew a mediocre 8-4 Pittsburgh team in the Fiesta Bowl (Pitt's berth came from surviving a four-way tie for first in a seven-team Big East, just awful).

Only a few years later, that same bowl plays host to Boise and TCU, a matchup that fans and conspiracy theorists alike see as the BCS powers that be keeping the little guy down.

The logic goes like this: the game is an all-risk, low-reward situation in which the loser will be derided as a small-conference team that didn't deserve a BCS game spot and the winner gets no cred because it only beat a now-exposed mid-major team.

Looking at the current combination of mobile BCS teams ('Bama and Texas are locked in the title game, ditto for Oregon and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl), there is no solution that will satisfy those rooting for the downtrodden.

See, fans want games where David can take down Goliath or the no-name shocks a brand name. This came with Boise-Oklahoma in 2006 and Utah-Alabama last season, and could have happened in 2007 if Hawaii had turned out not to be a fraud (at least the litte guy got his shot, even if he missed by a mile).

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But this year, because of the way perceptions have shifted, we only have one Goliath (Florida), three undefeated low-profile squads looking to prove something (Cincy, Boise and TCU) and two teams equivalent to that '04 Pitt team (Georgia Tech and Iowa). The other four teams are locked into their bowls.

Tech comes in from a decent conference, but lost its second-to-last game to a middling Georgia team, meanwhile ACC teams have an awful history in the BCS (two wins since 1998), Iowa carries little weight since the Big Ten has been abysmal in recent bowls and the Hawkeyes lost two of their last three games in an ugly fashion.

So now we are stuck.

Only one undefeated team can play Florida, so what can you do with the other ones? They won't get much respect for taking down the Hawkeyes or the Jackets.

So, unfortunately, one ""have not"" will have to eliminate another.

There simply are no combinations where these three undefeated teams get a chance to prove themselves, without climbing over each other to do it.

'Bama must get priorities straight

Administrators at the University of Alabama have in fact gone too far. The school's nearly 29,000 students will not have to attend class for three days in January. Why, you ask? So students and staff can get to California for the Tide's appearance in the national title game. Calling this a gross perversion of college sports is the understatement of the year. Good thing there is not a playoff, that would really disrupt academics (and what happens to 'Bama students who—gasp!—don't like football?).

Should be a Suh-in

Just a few days before the Heisman is awarded, it must be said: there is no doubt that Nebraska tackle Ndamukong Suh deserves it. His ridiculous numbers and dominant performances speak for themselves. He was more ""outstanding,"" no matter how you define that word, than Stanford's Toby Gerhart or Alabama's Mark Ingram (who may not have been the best player on his own team). Some argue that a Heisman winner should reflect the season in which he wins it. With a year so wacky that it saw five undefeated teams in the BCS and disappointments from last year's hallowed trinity of finalist quarterbacks, nothing would be more fitting than college football's most hallowed award going to a lineman for the first time.

Any college football thoughts? E-mail Ben at breiner@wisc.edu.

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