Dec 082004
 
Authors: Preston Cagle

Ladies and gentlemen, give a big round of applause to the Bowl Championship Series for proving once again that it is the worst postseason creation in sports. All year long they told us to wait out the end of the season and it would all work out.

It did!

The BCS imploded at the end of the season, denying an undefeated Southeastern Conference champion a chance at the national championship for the first time in its sketchy existence.

No one can argue that top-ranked Southern California versus No. 2 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl will be a great matchup for the national championship. Each time had three wins over top-25 teams, but so did Auburn.

No. 3 Auburn finished 12-0, defeating No. 15 Tennessee for the second time this season in Atlanta in the SEC championship game. The Tigers have wins at Tennessee and at home versus No. 7 Georgia and No. 11 Louisiana State this season. However, with strength of schedule not being a factor for the first time this season, Auburn gets no credit for running the table in the toughest conference in the nation, and little more for beating one more ranked opponent than the other two.

All three teams have legitimate claims to the BCS title game, but Auburn is on the outside looking in. The Tigers will travel to the Sugar Bowl, accepting their conference champion automatic bid, and will face the Atlantic Coast Conference Champion No. 8 Virginia Tech in New Orleans.

The Tigers can't help but wonder what might have been this season if there were no preseason polls. It has become almost painfully obvious that Auburn could not make a case to the BCS for a championship bid unless one of the top two teams lost. Auburn began the season at No. 19, but moved up, while USC went wire to wire at No. 1 and OU at No. 2 the whole way.

Many have suggested that preseason polls should be thrown out and that polls should begin about a month into the season to avoid this situation once again.

While Auburn is out of the championship picture, No. 5 in the BCS, California, was not as fortunate. Coming up 9 yards short at top-ranked USC is the only reason the Golden Bears aren't undefeated – and with their only other ranked opponent in the BCS being No. 19 Arizona State, leaving Cal out of the BSC was a shock. Going into their postponed game versus Southern Mississippi, Cal was No. 4 and won by 10 in Hattiesburg, but it seems the BCS voters were unimpressed as enough AP Coaches/ESPN USA Today voters moved Texas ahead of them in the rankings, lifting the Longhorns to the Rose Bowl.

It will be the third time in four years that the Rose Bowl does not see the traditional Big Ten vs. Pacific-10 match up. Texas had wins vs. No. 24 Oklahoma State and No. 20 Texas A&M, but were shutout by No. 2 OU in the Red River Shootout 12-0.

That is only the beginning of the BCS' problems with a couple of the other teams that seemingly were left out or mistakenly left in. No. 9 Boise State ran the tables as well this season, giving the BCS five undefeated teams to chew on. They were left out of the BCS and passed by one-loss teams Georgia and Virginia Tech, but have created a possible shootout in the Liberty Bowl as they play No. 10 Louisville.

No. 21 Pittsburgh was the champion of the pathetic Big East Conference in which it was more about which team would not lose the automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl as much as which would win it. This brings up an unfortunate situation. The BCS had the opportunity with the undefeated No. 6 Utes of Utah to put two more undefeated teams versus one another along with its national championship game. Instead of facing Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, the Utes will go to the Fiesta Bowl to face Pitt who comes into the game with three losses.

The BCS came in championing the idea of the most competitive matchups for college football at the end of the season. It has become the most compelling soap opera to see who will get left out, and a laughing stock to people around the nation. Something must be done to remedy the controversy and this system before it begins to taint the game.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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