Ed. note: John Turner, formerly of Comcast SportsNet, offered his perspective regarding the Bowl Championship Series.
A Perfect Mess by John Turner
The BCS is a perfect mess. It really is. Can you even imagine any other sport allowing its championship to be decided the way college football is?
By the logic employed by this ridiculous system, Duke and Connecticut would have faced off against each other for the college basketball championship, no one on earth would have seen the way Florida dominated everyone in March and George Mason would have been relegated to playing the fifth best team from Conference USA.
Thank God that the powers that be get some things right.
Bashing the BCS is almost too easy. Year in and year out some team feels snubbed by the selection process and their only recourse is to go play in what amounts to a glorified exhibition game. Really, what does winning the Sugar Bowl even mean to a team if it isn’t for the BCS Championship?
This year, like almost every year in its’ nine year history, the BCS has managed to screw things up. Since they edged out Michigan at home, everyone has known that Ohio State would be playing in the championship game.
No problem. They are an undefeated team from a "power conference."
The controversy comes because they will be playing Florida for the title.
I have nothing at all against Florida and actually believe that Florida might be the best team in college football. Will a win over Ohio State confirm this in my mind?
Of course not.
My question is, what makes Florida more deserving of a shot at a National Title than Michigan, Louisville, or (dare I say it) Boise State?
Let’s first look at Michigan’s case. This is a team who is coming off a dynamite year in which its only blemish is a three-point loss at Ohio State. Who can legitimately claim that the three-point differential might not have gone the other way had the game been played in Michigan?
So dominating through their season was Michigan that each one of their wins was by a touchdown or more. In fact only three times all season, excluding the OSU game, did Michigan look up at the scoreboard and not see themselves in the lead (twice against Wisconsin and once against Ball State).
The reason that Michigan isn’t getting a rematch against Ohio State is because somehow in not playing the last two weeks, poll voters decided that they are no longer a better team than Florida. Perhaps Florida’s SEC Championship victory over Arkansas convinced voters that Florida deserved the shot. My belief, however is that if No. 1 beats No. 2 by three points, it still probably means that the No. 2 team is still the second best team in the country. How could a loss to the No. 1 team diminish that? Had Michigan lost to a team ranked lower than it, than a drop in the rankings would make sense. A narrow loss to No. 1 when you are No. 2 should if anything affirms the fact that No. 2 is the second best team.
Moving on to Louisville. Here is a team that was all the rage early in the season as a possible Championship contender. One loss to Rutgers, who is a triple overtime defeat away from being included in this article’s argument, and Louisville gets thrown right under the BCS bus.
Finishing the season at 11-1 and winning games by an average of 24.6 points did not even get them a mention in the whole National Title debate.
Sure, he argument can be made that the Big East is not as powerful as it once was and that Louisville was the beneficiary of a softer schedule, but couldn’t the same be said for the Pac-10 champions? Until a startling loss to UCLA on Saturday, everyone had USC penciled in to be Ohio State’s opponent in the championship, despite a loss to Oregon State, a team whose profile was significantly less prestigious than Rutgers. This loss however, never took USC out of the conversation despite the fact that their conference finished with a .554 winning percentage compared to the Big East’s .625.
Which brings us to Boise State, the nation’s other undefeated team. Boise State, much like USC also played Oregon State this season. Unlike the Trojans, however, the Smurf Turfers beat the Beavers like they stole something in a 42-14 victory.
Now, I will not argue that the WAC has the strength at the top that the Big Ten or SEC has, but don’t the Broncos at least deserve a chance to prove they can mix it up with the big boys? After all, no one thought George Mason would make a peep on the national radar until they actually blasted their way into the Final Four.
So alas, here is the scenario that I am hoping for. I want Florida to defeat Ohio State for the BCS Championship. This would give each team one loss on the season. I would like USC to beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl making both teams 11-2. I would like Louisville to down Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl to lift the Cardinals to 12-1 and Wisconsin to drop Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl to move to 12-1. Finally I would like to see Boise State top Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl to finish the season as the only undefeated team.
If this were to happen, no one could legitimately claim the National Championship with the possible exception of Boise State.
Sure Florida would proudly raise the banner, but with an undefeated that played in a BCS bowl and three other one-loss teams from power conferences who could possibly take the Gators claim seriously?