The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Doing Our Civic Duty or Breaking the BCS

The current top-6 of the BCS standings:
1. USC
2. Oklahoma
3. Auburn
4. Cal
5. Texas
6. Utah

The biggest arguing point right now is whether or not Auburn should be in the top 2 or not, and whether USC or Oklahoma deserve their positions. Really, though, there's a far more interesting subplot developing right now. The rest of the top-10:
7. Michigan
8. FSU
9. Boise State
10. Louisville

Yes, that's 3 non-BCS conference teams in the top-10 of the BCS standings, which is nice, but it gets better. If Texas loses to Texas A&M (which is entirely possible as the Aggies are good and Mack Brown always finds a way to lose big games), Michigan loses to Ohio State (which is entire possible as underdogs often win in this series), and UF beats FSU tomorrow (more on that tomorrow), then Utah gets non-BCS conference company in the top-6 from Boise State. But wait, you say, that's nice and all but they'd just take Cal and Utah since finishing in the top-6 guarantees a BCS bowl berth, and in the case of 3 non-conference champions they just take the 2 most attractive schools, which leaves Boise out in the cold. Well, that's not entirely true. In the BCS rules, it guarantees bowl bids to the 6 BCS conference champions, which everyone knows. It does not guarantee anything else to BCS conference schools, however. Under the section of Qualification for At-Large Teams, rule number 2 states:
Any team from an independent institution, or Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, or Western Athletic Conferences, which is ranked third through sixth in the final BCS standings, shall qualify for a berth in one of the BCS games unless more than two teams meet this criterion. If one team other than Notre Dame qualifies for selection under this provision, Notre Dame shall also qualify for automatic at-large selection provided it is ranked in the top 10 in the final BCS standings or has won at least nine games, not including exempted games. If two or more teams other than Notre Dame meet this criterion, Notre Dame shall also qualify for the at-large pool provided it is ranked in the top 10 of the final BCS standings or has won at least nine games, not including exempt contests.
Translation: any non-BCS conference schools that finishes in the top-6 is guaranteed a BCS bowl berth, unless there are three non-BCS conference schools in which case two of the three would be selected. The top-6 selection trigger is clearly for non-BCS conference schools only, so finishing #3-#
6 means absolutely nothing to BCS conference schools.

The point of this all is this: if Texas, Michigan, and FSU all lose but the rest of the current top-10 win out, the final BCS rankings would look like this:
1. USC
2. Oklahoma/Auburn
3. Auburn/Oklahoma
4. Cal
5. Utah
6. Boise State/Louisville

That means the 6 BCS conference champions, plus Utah and Boise State/Louisville with their automatic triggers, get BCS bids while poor #4 Cal is left out. With the distinct possibility of another split championship, having the #4 team left out of the BCS would add insult to injury. The BCS would look even worse, and the case for a playoff would be that much stronger. This also would work if Texas, Michigan, or FSU win but Cal loses a shocker to Stanford (who lost to USC by only 3, remember). Either way, this needs to happen.

DISCLAMER: If everyone does end up winning out and Utah can hold its #6 ranking, then either Cal or Texas will be left out because of Utah's automatic bid. Everything I described doesn't need to happen in order for the top-5 in the BCS rankings getting left out scenario. However, it would be a lot nicer if two non-BCS schools got in at the same time. Worst-case scenario: Texas or Cal loses but Michigan wins, putting the Big-10 champ in the top-6. Cal then gets taken along with Utah as the at-larges and then the only thing left to complain about is the Big East champ still getting an automatic bid.


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