Pardon Robert Shelton if he comes off as a kid in a candy store over the prospect of having the Notre Dame Fighting Irish involved in the BCS.
“They have four games left. Anything can happen, but they’re looking so strong. Even if they only win two of those, certainly if they win three or four, they will be in a BCS game,” he told the Associated Press. That a poor attempt to hide that the Powers That Be want the Irish to be under the largest of college football’s spotlights.
They do and it’s understandable why, but some smoke and mirrors would be nice. Notre Dame’s finally a story and a half. They’ve risen from the ashes and with a lovable Manti Te’o to boot. Suddenly, fans of the Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats have something in common. They have to take the idea of getting edged out of the BCS Championship Game due to prestige and monetary value into account. Yes, even you, Ducks.
Notre Dame would likely lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s a game out of college football’s past and maybe its future, but to shoehorn the Irish into the BCS Championship Game isn’t just inviting controversy, it would be blatantly spitting in the face of college football fans everywhere.
The Fighting Irish versus the Crimson Tide isn’t the BCS’ title game. It becomes The Money Bowl. Two of the biggest brands that will travel well, pay the horrifically inflated rates for everything from hotel rooms and tickets to commemorative memorabilia, and the college football world shouldn’t be the least bit suspicious about numbers being fudged should it happen.
This takes us back to the “not caring” part. Eventually, it’d become part of a random trivia game where you might earn five dollars off your next order of wings. What opponent did Tom Osborne go for two against? Who won the 1996 Heisman Trophy? What two teams played in what would later be known as “The Money Bowl?” It’s believable and it’s the perfect time to pull it off, too.
The BCS will be with us until 2014, so why not squeeze as much juice out of the orange as possible?
Here’s a hypothetical for you: Let’s say Notre Dame does play Alabama amidst wailing and gnashing of teeth. The outcome doesn’t matter, the checks get cashed and we move on. The last BCS Championship Game ever (maybe) features two teams that meet under equally dubious circumstances, maybe Alabama and Notre Dame again. Everybody loves a rematch, right?
What do the men and women up top have to fear? At the end of the BCS’ days, they can say “We hear you. We’re looking forward to this playoff as much as you and hopefully it’ll give us all what we want: a true national champion.” Sound familiar?
Keep your eye on those standings if Oregon and Kansas State go undefeated. We’ll get a good idea of whether the “b” in BCS stands for “business.”
Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation.