BCS voters bought into Alabama's brand name

storapse@aol.comDecember 8, 2011 

Once again, the BCS system has failed. Kind of reminds me of Congress. Both the greedy bigwigs in charge of college football and the self-serving politicians don't get it.

One major difference: We can vote the latter out of office. Football fans don't get that opportunity to change the way a national champion is determined.

Thus we are stuck this year with a dreaded rematch of a game that was far from entertaining the first time around. If you recall, Louisiana State went to Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama, 9-6, last month.

The rematch is a violation of what the people in charge of college football have preached for years. They insist that there is no need for a playoff since every game throughout the season is an elimination game.

OK, Alabama had its shot at No. 1 LSU and lost at home. How come the Crimson Tide get a second chance?

How come Oklahoma State, with the same 11-1 record as 'Bama -- that loss came in overtime on the road -- and with arguably as tough a schedule as 'Bama, doesn't get an opportunity to knock off No. 1 LSU?

I'll tell you why.

College football has brand names -- teams and coaches. Alabama and its coach Nick Saban are brand names. Just like Penn State and Joe Paterno, and Ohio State and Jim Tressel (and soon-to-be-coach, Urban Liar; oops, I meant Meyer.)

Teams and icon coaches like those are always going to get the edge over an Oklahoma State and its less-known coach, Mike Gundy, when fellow coaches cast their ballots in the USA Today poll.

That's what happened last Sunday when Alabama was voted No. 2 by the coaches and another bunch of pollsters (Harris). These polls, along with six computer ratings, determine the BCS standings.

Interestingly, four of the six computers had Oklahoma State ranked above Alabama. And get this: five coaches listed Oklahoma State No. 4 and one had them No. 5. Anybody else see some bias there?

Keep in mind this voting came a day after Oklahoma State routed the team that was No. 1 in most preseason polls, Oklahoma, 44-10.

Oklahoma is another one of those "brand name" teams. And I'll bet that if the Sooners and Barry Switzer had Oklahoma State's record, it would be Oklahoma, not Alabama, playing LSU on Jan. 9.

The good news is that the best of the 35 bowl matchups should be Oklahoma State against No. 4 Stanford in the Fiesta Jan. 5.

In the best of possible football worlds the winner of that game would play the LSU-Alabama winner for a real championship in mid-January.

This would follow the "Plus One" format calling for a four-team seeded tournament that was first proposed in 2008 by Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive.

The ACC was the only conference that supported the plan. The Big 12, the Pac-10 and the Big Ten were firmly opposed.

However, the structure of college football leadership has changed significantly since 2008 and support for the old bowl system may be waning.

Last Monday, Big 12 athletic directors voted in a straw poll to get behind a Plus One format.

The Pac-12 has a new commissioner, Larry Scott, who is said to be open to change. And the Seattle Times reported that in a straw poll of Pac-12 athletic directors a majority supported a Plus One playoff.

That leaves the Big Ten as the only powerful conference likely to resist a playoff system. You know, the conference that is letting Penn State and Ohio State accept bowl bids, despite shamefully tainted programs.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany feels strongly that the old bowl system and its monetary rewards is the most advantageous for the league. He feels that whatever is good for the Big Ten is good for college football. The man doesn't believe in compromise or change.

Sounds like Delany would fit right in should he run for Congress.

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