Things are getting serious folks. We are staring firmly at the 5th incarnation of the college football equivalent of an American Idol finale, or what is known at the BCS rankings. It’s a twisted mix of human input, “expert opinion” and computer algorithms that is supposed to serve as the creator of the ideal college football matchup. But what it seems to do a much better job at doing is making the fanbase of 1 or 2 teams really happy, and the fanbases of all the others infinitely frustrated. Which I find extra halarious when you consider that there are never more than 3 or 4 teams that even sniff at an argument for a spot in the title game. Why fans of teams like South Florida and Purdue get so angry about the participants in a game they will never be in is beyond me.
This week we saw a huge break in the BCS DiVinci Code when the University of Alabama fell to SEC newcomers Texas A&M. This means that now there are 3 schools, Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame that remain among the ranks of the undefeated with only 2 or 3 games remaining, depending on the team. How is it all going to play out? Let’s look at each team.
Kansas State are the new No. 1 team in the land, and with 2 games remaining, 1 of which is against the University of Texas that is currently ranked 15th in the BCS, they still have a little time to pad their case to play in the championship. They just need to hope that the Longhorns don’t hiccup against TCU next Saturday, and Kansas State should have all the ammo they need to book their tickets for Miami in January.
Coming in at No. 2 is the high powered Oregon Ducks who steamrolled Cal to keep up its perfect record. Their season wraps up with easily the hardest final stretch of the top teams. Home with Stanford and a road regular season finale against Oregon State, both Top 16 BCS teams would be enough, but assuming they win out, a PAC-12 championship, possibly against UCLA who’s presently 17th in the BCS would almost certainly make them a lock for the other team in the BCS title game, assuming they win out.
The third wheel on this date night is Notre Dame. What Notre Dame has done this season has been remarkable, and should be applauded. To be undefeated with wins over 4 teams presently Top 18 in the BCS is a tremendous feat. But they really hurt themselves in the human polls with their near gaff last week against Pittsburgh. The gap between them and Oregon is only .1 point, whereas the gap between Oregon and the Wildcats is nearly .2. With only a handful of games to go, that difference is huge. Even if Notre Dame wins out and wins big against a mediocre Wake Forest team and an underachieving USC it might not be enough to overtake Oregon.
You will notice I have broken down no potential scenarios should one of the above teams lose. We will cross that bridge when it comes, but I will say this. If 2 of these teams lose, especially Oregon and Notre Dame, I will personally guarantee that a 1 loss SEC champion would play in the BCS title ahead of them both.
Apologies to all fans of all other teams in the BCS. But right now you just don’t matter. There are 3 relevant teams remaining, and until 1 of them loses, they are all that matter. If 1 slips up, you can bet the number of scenarios will go up like solutions to a Rubix Cube, but I feel good knowing that the BCS dream matchup I predicted earlier in the week is looking more and more likely.
In the final analysis, I will just say this. I have never been one to long for closure in college football. Those who do will always find a way to be disappointed in how BCS college football is structured I promise. I chose instead to enjoy the atmosphere and the tradition of college football and the pure entertainment value a great college game can be. If in mid January I don’t know exactly who the best team was that previous season, I am ok with that, too.