BCS could be red in face again
By Ferd Lewis
Somewhere in Morristown, N. J., is a laptop computer that can perform alchemy.
We know this because even though a Bowl Championship Series geek punched Nebraska's 62-36 loss to Colorado into it a week ago, guess who is waiting on deck for a berth in the Rose Bowl, which is supposed to decide the national championship this year?
The Cornhuskers, their national championship hopes left for dead on the portions of Folsom Field that Buffaloes' running back Chris Brown didn't churn up a week ago, have been resurrected as contenders for the trip to Pasadena, Calif.
Yesterday's BCS rankings have positioned Nebraska a curious third, meaning if second-ranked Tennessee falls to Louisiana State Saturday in the Southeastern Conference championship game and the Volunteers are but six-point picks, Big Red lands in the Jan. 3 national championship game.
It means a team that didn't even win its division in the Big 12 would be rewarded with its dream shot. A team that was beaten by four touchdowns in its last game would be permitted to advance to the biggest game of the college season.
That's not the fault of the Cornhuskers, who merely play the games, but of the BCS which sets the ground rules in a convoluted scheme designed to provide a title game of convenience without an honest-to-goodness tournament. Any championship game that actually pairs the two best or even the two most deserving teams is merely a coincidence.
Which is why it is almost guaranteed to raise howls of protest each year. Last year the BCS bypassed Miami for Florida State, which had been a mid-season victim of the Hurricanes. And you will hear the same uproar, this time in stereo, if the Cornhuskers crash the championship game while Colorado and Oregon are left out.
There is a better, more equitable solution just waiting to be adopted: A tournament. Every other major division I sport has one.
Take the winner of every division IA conference (there are currently 11 but the Sun Belt is likely to lose its standing under soon-to-be adopted rules), fill out the draw to 12 or 16 with the best independent or at-large teams and seed them.
That way nobody who is worthy gets left out and no longer will there be the prospect of a team like Brigham Young, which has the potential to finish undefeated and left out. Everybody shares in a bountiful payoff and, as an added environmentally friendly benefit, no longer will the landscape be littered with dubious bowls or the 6-5 teams that play in them.
Of course, this presumes somebody can prevail upon the six-conference cartel that owns and administers the BCS to open itself up to the kind of meaningful championship it claims to want.
Maybe that should be the next assignment for the laptop in Morristown, N. J.