In the wake of Louisville's impressive 44-34 victory over fellow Big East behemoth West Virginia the B(C)S Championship picture is starting to clear up. The problem with that clarity is that it exposes some pretty serious flaws in the B(C)S logic that could (and will) lead to much bitching and moaning once the participants in the National Title game are announced. If you're being fair this should be the list of contenders right now:
That's every BCS conference team with at most one loss that's currently in the BCS top 15. Now you'll look through that list and say "wait a minute, no way are some of those teams contenders!" Well, that's kind of the point. Teams such as Rutgers and Arkansas have no realistic shot at making it to Glendale, despite the fact that they could wind up with a resume as good or better than the so-called contenders above them...
Consider Rutgers' case: so far they're 8-0 with a Heisman candidate at RB who's leading the nation in rushing. Over their final four games they play #5 Louisville and #3 West Virginia. Should Rutgers win out they could boast an undefeated season with wins over two top 10 teams...just like Michigan. Yet there's absolutely no way Rutgers will play for the National Championship.
Consider Arkansas' case: so far they're 7-1 with a Heisman darkhorse at RB who's leading the SEC in rushing. Over their final four games they play Tennessee and Louisville, with a potential rematch against the Vols or a showdown with Florida in the SECCG. Should Arkansas win out they would own victories over Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, and possibly Florida which would be the strongest resume in the SEC and would trump either Texas or the Ohio State/Michigan loser. Yet there's absolutely no way Arkansas will play for the National Championship.
And what about West Virginia? Should they win out they would have one loss on their record - a 10-point road loss to a top 5 team - that would be a "better" loss than Auburn's or Texas' losses. If Louisville loses to either Pitt or Rutgers does West Virginia leap back into contention based on having the "best" loss of any one-loss team? Of course not... West Virginia's title hopes died last night. But is that fair when Auburn is still a contender?
And then there's Texas, who was blown out at home in their biggest game of the year and have narrowly escaped defeat the last two weeks against one average team (Nebraska) and one bad team (Texas Tech). They play in a remarkably weak conference, so why are they getting a free pass when on paper they have one of the weaker resumes out there? If they win out they're only behind a one-loss SEC champ in the line for National Title Game participation.
My point is that at the end of the season every team should be judged based on what they've done - who've they beaten, where, and by how much - yet there is clearly a bias when it comes to picking teams for the Championship game, and that bias is very much a product of the pre-season polls. Why are we using polls that are based on assumptions and speculation and applying them at the end of the year when there's a full season of empirical evidence to guide us?
I realize this is an old argument at this point, but could we just go ahead and agree that the 'C' in BCS is extraneous..."BS" is a much better description of the current system. What is the point of the polls if they won't objectively rank teams based on their actual accomplishments instead of their rep? Of course the answer is so plainly obvious that it will never happen... with an eight-team playoff we could be free of these ridiculous compare/contrast exercises to pick between teams with similar resumes. This season is shaping up as the perfect example of why we need to get rid of the ludicrous system currently in place in favor of a decent, respectable playoff system. Kind of like every other sport on the planet.
Not that it would do FSU any good, but still...