Sun Dec 07 09:51pm EST
In a perfect world, the Doc would be given carte blanche to publicly torch the Bowl Championship Series in effigy and institute the elaborate, double-elimination battle royale of his dreams. But we live in the world we live in, so each Sunday the Doc looks at what the new BCS numbers mean for the rest of the season. Rooting interest: chaos. Always chaos.
For part of Friday and Saturday, there was a minor meme that, even if Florida and Oklahoma won their respective championships, the second spot opposite the Sooners in the mythical championship would actually be decided by the outcome of the Cincinnati-Hawaii game in the wee hours -- if the Bearcats won (which they did, 29-24, after a 19-point fourth quarter rally), the Gators' head-to-head win over Hawaii in the opener in August would be sufficiently devalued enough to keep computer favorite Texas No. 2 according to the machines, while the Longhorns would also get a transitive boost by the slightly enhanced value of Cincinnati on Oklahoma's schedule. Even an opponent of an opponent can put you over the top when your fate hangs on every last tenth of a point.
But even the peddlers of that theory had given up on the speculation by the end of the night and accepted the inevitable: It's the Sooners and Gators. The Harris Poll, like the AP, moved Florida into its top spot, and the coaches only kept UF from No. 1 by a single point. Texas remained ahead of the Gators in five of the six computers, but not by nearly enough to overcome Florida's much wider advantage in the human polls. All exactly as expected.
I'm going to break from realpolitik to idealistic crusader mode here: To me, this is sufficiently chaotic on paper. The outrage at Texas is already well-chronicled, of course, but USC, Utah and Penn State must feel like the thumb's been stuck in their eye as well. By any standards but its own, I count this as another failure for the system: Not that Florida and Oklahoma aren't worthy in context, but there are at least six worthy teams in this discussion -- that's not even including Alabama and Texas Tech -- and shoehorning two of them into a self-appointed championship is insulting to the definition and the fans who are supposed to swallow it.
I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for that meme to catch on. Everyone's going to swallow it. The early take outside of the Lone Star State, in fact, seems to be something along the lines of "The BCS got it right," or at least as right as it could, and the talking heads indicated the UF-OU buzz will probably be "High-scoring and exciting," and Lee Corso will expound on style points and the like. So if there's nothing very controversial about taking two very good one-loss teams out of a half-dozen very good one-loss teams, then the BCS probably got the right two teams. But only if you accept the premises. I have kind of a hard time with that.