While the BCS is clearly not as good as a 16-team playoff would be – something that, oh by the way, never existed – it is still better than the old system, where teams (Notre Dame) would be accepting bowl bids in early October (Notre Dame) based on a three-game win streak against the service academies (Notre Dame).
So while it is better, this year it’s … not.
Unless Georgia pulls off an upset Saturday night in the SEC Championship game (the Bulldogs are 14-point underdogs), it seems pretty clear that we will be seeing LSU vs. Alabama for the second time this season.
And while it is easy to make a case that the Crimson Tide are the second best team in the nation, the idea of rematch just doesn’t sit well with us.
First off, Alabama already had its shot at LSU and lost. There’s also the fact that Alabama couldn’t even win its division, let alone the conference. Shouldn’t that be one of the criteria for a team to find itself in the national title game?
Finally, if there is a rematch that means LSU would have to beat Alabama twice to claim the title, while, for Alabama, it would be as if the first game never happened. Win on Jan. 9 and all is forgotten.
The problem is there really isn’t anyone else who can take the place of the Crimson Tide.
If Houston wins on Saturday to close the season at 13-0, the Cougars deserve to be in a BCS bowl, just not the title game. But you have to reward them for going undefeated.
Virginia Tech could make a case if they win the ACC Championship game to finish at 12-1, but the Hokies loss came to Clemson, who they are playing Saturday night. Like Alabama-LSU, you can’t reward the Hokies for beating Clemson and not count their earlier loss against them.
Oklahoma State probably had the best chance to jump over Alabama, but a loss to heavy underdog Iowa State hurts too much, even if the Cowboys win the Big 12.
Oregon is going to win the Pac 12, but the Ducks have two losses, one to LSU, so they’re out.
Thankfully we don’t have to worry about a Big 10 team getting involved (you’re welcome, America).
And let’s not even get started on the Big East, which inexplicably has an automatic BCS berth. At best, the Big East will have a three-loss team as its champion, at worst it will be a five-loss team.
The best team in the conference is probably West Virginia, but for the Mountaineers to take the conference title, they must beat South Florida tonight, then get a win by Cincinnati (8-3, 4-2) over Connecticut on Saturday to forge a three-way tie for the conference title with Louisville (7-5, 5-2).
If that happens, the Mountaineers would still need help from the polls, as the champion would be determined by which team has the highest ranking in the final BCS standings.
Got all that?
So it looks like LSU vs. Alabama – by no means a bad match-up – come the title game.
Of course, LSU could still drop the ball Saturday night, which would knock the Tigers out of the title game. Unless the voters decided they want a rematch so bad they just switch Alabama and LSU in the standings.
But that would never happen.