Monday, December 6, 2010

The BCS May get the Big Game Right ...

The days of the Bowl Championship Game have seen some timeless matchups that were not for a national championship. Boise State v Oklahoma (Fiesta), West Virginia v Georgia (Sugar), Penn State v Florida State (Orange), and Texas v Michigan (Rose) have been some recent matchups that either defined a new tradition (Boise State in BCS, West Virginia's 1st BCS bowl appearance a win over SEC power UGA, a Big 12 team in the Rose Bowl) or a clash of coaching legends (Paterno v Bowden), the undercard matches have often been of great magnitude at least for one game out of the the four. It is hard to say which game will go down as a classic BCS game this year, although Arkansas-Ohio State and Wisconsin-TCU look to be good matchups, I am very displeased with the way the BCS ended up this year.

I'll start with the Big East Champions, Connecticut. I understand the Big East is still considered a BCS conference, although the closest they came to a BCS championship berth with West Virginia in 2004-05 after a 11-0 start, losing to Pitt to end the season. Although they went on to win against Georgia, their lack of power since losing Virginia Tech and Miami (FL) to the ACC has hurt the prowess of the conference as a whole. Which is exactly why TCU is headed to the conference, because the defense they play can dominate the Big East and give them a BCS NCG berth with a season like the last two they've put together. UConn playing in a BCS game against Oklahoma is a slap in the face to three parties: 1) Oklahoma - they always seem to get stuck playing the statistically worse team eligible for a BCS game 2) The Fiesta Bowl - again they get a game that no one will watch, and could be highly one-sided 3) UConn - they will get the exposure and the payout, but the game will be over quickly and be very forgettable, although it is a BCS game.

The Rose Bowl, although many people will say it is a good matchup, is another big slap in the face against a team who could be a national champion: Stanford. Instead of playing in the Rose Bowl, they will travel across country to the Orange Bowl, probably the most insignificant of all the bowls, and face Virginia Tech, who hasn't played in a BCS bowl against a team with any depth since the 2004 Sugar Bowl against Auburn. They've benefited from the Orange Bowl tie-in with the ACC 3 of the last 4 years, and have gone 1-1. VT is a great ACC team, but their 9-14 record historically in bowl games doesn't fare well against the Cardinal from Stanford. It will be watched by a lot of Cardinal fans, but another forgettable game.

This is what should have happened, and although there was a stipulation that the Rose Bowl had to take TCU (which is odd, since they aren't from a BCS conference ...), here is what I wanted from the BCS matchups:

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v Stanford - a classic Rose Bowl-style game, two I-formation teams that play it tough at the line of scrimmage, and would have attracted more fans from the state than TCU will, although the Rose Bowl is always a hot ticket, regardless of the teams.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech v Michigan State - I don't agree with giving a team an automatic bid and barely sneaking in the Top 25 of the BCS standings, which means there are 24 teams that are better than UConn, and 14 won't be playing in a BCS bowl. I also know the rule of only two teams per conference, but when a third teams beats the Rose Bowl-bound team, I have to include them. Fairness is putting the best teams together, and not weighing them based on their conference. UConn doesn't deserve a New Year's Day (or later) bowl game (Rutgers, Louisville, and Temple beat them).

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma v TCU - Stanford belongs in the Rose Bowl - they've earned it. TCU doesn't belong in the Rose Bowl, but they've probably earned an at-large bid. Going against Oklahoma might not be the best of matchups, but thanks to the BCS, not every game is.

Sugar Bowl: Arkansas v Ohio State - nothing wrong with this matchup

I apologise in advance to UConn fans - I'd be excited to have a BCS bowl berth if I were you, regardless of whether you deserved it or not, so no hate against your school - there are just 14 teams that are ranked higher than you are and played tougher competition and didn't lose to Temple.

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