As those who know me well will tell you, I am not one for hyperbole. With that said, if I hear one more “expert” pontificate about how Michigan was jobbed out of a National Championship shot by the BCS, I may well go on a murderous rampage. In an effort to spare innocent lives, I will seek to alleviate some of this pent up angst by baring my dark soul to you, the Kentucky Sports Radio reader.
First of all, let’s begin with the proposition that the BCS system is what we have to work with, and I do not intend to weigh its respective strengths and weaknesses in this writing. Yes, the system has some holes, as did the Titanic. However, the rules of the game are consistent for everyone, and if you take the time to review them, and to get a degree from MIT, you know where everyone stands. That being said, under the current system, Florida is the logical choice to play Ohio State for the National Championship.
Let’s check some of the numbers. Obviously, the BCS rates Florida slightly ahead of Michigan. Florida earned a final BCS average of .9445 while Michigan scored a .9344. Of course, there are not ten people on the planet who can tell you what this means, other than the fact that Florida’s number is a little bit higher than Michigan’s. What I can tell you is this. Florida and Michigan were seen as a virtual tie by the computers, who are, of course, all-knowing and superior in every way to mankind. (This tip of the cap is given in order to avoid the almost certain spontaneous combustion of our website.) Also, Florida is ranked second by the humans in both the Harris and USA Today polls. No word as of press time as to where they are ranked by Earth’s other bipeds. Florida navigated a tougher schedule including ten bowl-bound teams to Michigan’s seven. Why, then, does the national perception seem to be that Michigan is superior to Florida, and got cheated by the system? The answer is simply because people base their evaluation on ridiculous a criterion: namely, losses.
Kentucky fans are uniquely qualified in the field of legitimizing football ability based on close losses. How many times over the years have we, as Kentucky fans, determined that we must be pretty good despite paltry records because we played Tennessee or Florida close before the wheels came off in the fourth quarter? This argument has been correctly dismissed by our rivals as silly rationalization. Losing is bad, and no credit should be derived from it. Nonetheless, Big Ten fans, other than those that wear the garnet and gray, keep beating the same drum. The following sentence is to be read in a nasally Michigan accent. We saw Michigan take the Buckeyes to the wire at the Horseshoe, and it was clear that they were the second best team in the country. Really? Well, Ole Miss took LSU to the wire at Baton Rouge. Is crazy Ed Orgeron’s club equivalent to the Bayou Bengals? Cincinnati had a shot at the end zone to beat Louisville at the Pizza Pit. Does that mean the Bearcats should be playing in January? Finally, Michigan fans, the Ball State fighting David Lettermans nearly stole one from the Blue at the Big House? Perhaps they should be third in the BCS standings? You may say that these comparisons are apples to bologna. Michigan won the rest of its games while the other teams mentioned did not. Nevertheless, the point remains clear even if this writing has turned partly cloudy. Comparing the aesthetic value of losses is no way to determine who should be playing for a championship.
Let’s take a novel approach and look at winning. Florida’s best win was against BCS # 4 LSU, the most talented team in the league for my money. Michigan’s best win was against BCS #7 Wisconsin. Perhaps most importantly, Florida won their league title. Michigan? Not so much. And don’t give me the sob story of having to sit and watch for two weeks. Don’t like that, Big Ten? Here’s a wacky idea. Add a team and initiate your own championship game. (You can’t fool us with your Conference name by the way. Our investigative team reveals that you actually have 11 teams, and just need one more to stage a championship game.) It would be awesome. You can have old dudes coached up by sixty year old former quarterbacks to try to throw footballs into novelty soft drink containers for fun and prizes.
Like it or not, the BCS has produced the best game to crown a champ for this season. Will Florida beat Ohio State? Who knows? But they have earned their plane ticket.