From Minor League Sports to a Major Resolution: Part 4

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I didn’t have time to publish a blog post yesterday or the day before, so I figured I’d make up for it by writing three today.

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Even though I enjoy watching college football (and even watch it as part of one of my jobs), I haven’t blogged much about it in the past. Given the ups and downs of this season, there’s been plenty to talk about, especially if you have a strong opinion one way or another. The words I’m about to write don’t reflect the beliefs of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award or anyone affiliated with Hill Holliday (or any of its partners in the program either). It’s solely my opinion involving the biggest on-field issue this year.

There are solid reasons for both teams to support their sides, but Oklahoma State belongs in the BCS Championship against LSU.

Nick Saban has brought the Tide back to dominance in the SEC and in all of FBS Football during his tenure. He does a lot of good work for Nick’s Kids, his charitable foundation. He’s won a BCS Championship and also the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. This year, the Crimson Tide has been one of the best teams in college football, but not necessarily second-best. Alabama’s only loss came to the number-one ranked team in the country, and it was in overtime. If any of the four misses its kickers had made it through the uprights, we might not be having this discussion (unless we were debating LSU’s claim to a championship appearance). However, that was a home game that Alabama dropped, it was only a month ago, and it didn’t win its division, let alone its conference. With the favorite to win the championship in the same division, it’s pretty tough to deal with, but unfortunately that’s the downside to being in such a good division (and conference too).

In all of the other sports, there are plenty of teams that get screwed by being in good company. Look at the AL East in baseball for the last few years, the NFC East a few years back or the Western Conference in the NBA for a while now. That doesn’t mean it’s right for it to happen, but it does, and it’s hard to avoid it. Ironically enough, the Pokes had a tougher schedule than the Crimson Tide did, even though they’re in a conference that has been seen as inferior to the SEC for the last few seasons.

Some voters and fans unfairly penalized the Cowboys for not being in the SEC. Yes, they lost to an underdog in Iowa State last month but you also have to remember that game came hours after the Oklahoma State Basketball plane crash. That’s not the only reason Oklahoma State lost, but I’ll bet Alabama’s players would have been saddened enough to affect their play if a similar tragedy had occurred within their athletic department right before a game.

When you look through the list of teams the Pokes beat this season, it’s much more impressive than the Tide’s path to the title game. They had to beat more top-25 opponents, and it took one more overtime period to lose in their lone defeat. They didn’t already lose to the Tigers, and their match-up would make a much better story & interesting game.

Les Miles used to be the head coach at Oklahoma State. The Pokes have a great offense, while the Tigers have a great defense. Oklahoma State would have a chance at its first national title, while Miles would be going for #2 himself. No offense to Nick Saban, but wouldn’t the coaching match-up be more fun if it featured an eccentric, energetic former quarterback instead of him? Dancing Gundy and Grass-Chomping Miles are a bit more personable. The underdog lover in me rooted for this game to happen. After all, the Tide have a championship from a couple of years ago. Give someone else a shot!

I’m not sure what would be the best outcome for the BCS Championship now, given its Groundhog Day roots. “What if?” will come up no matter who wins, and no matter who loses, there will be one extra unhappy team. If the BCS is all about pitting the best teams against each other, then why not create a playoff system that lets it happen throughout the current bowl season?

None of the ideas here are original, but that goes to show how much evidence there is against the BCS and points out it may not even be worth using. The bowl system as it is currently is all about the money, so how different can the title game really be? I’m not implying there’s an SEC conspiracy or anything, but the current system is making money at the expense of many teams’ great stories. Virginia Tech in a BCS Bowl? Really? Making money is an important part of sports (for better or for worse), but it doesn’t mean that the quality of games and integrity of Division I-FBS has to take a back seat to it.

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If you liked this post, check out some of the other entries in the From Minor League Sports to a Major Resolution Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

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