If the season ended today Alabama would play LSU for the national championship.  But Alabama doesn’t deserve to be in the BCS title game.  Sorry Stanford, neither do you.  How do I know that before the last game has even been played?  It’s not their record, it’s not computers, it’s not head-to-head matchups, it’s one simple fact:  those teams didn’t win their conference.  In fact, none of them are even going to play in their conference championship game.

Unlike college basketball, the NFL or the NBA college football isn’t decided by playoffs but rather is a 12 or 13 round single-elimination tournament leading to the national championship.  If the Green Bay Packers failed to win the NFC championship game would you say they should be in the Super Bowl?  Better yet, if they failed to even reach the conference title game would you say that, based on regular season record, they should be skipped right into the Super Bowl?

Twice before teams who failed to win their conference were placed in the BCS title game and twice they lost.   In 2002 Nebraska didn’t even make the Big 12 title game but were put into the Rose Bowl against Miami and promptly thumped 37-14 in one of the least entertaining title games of the BCS era.  Just two years later Oklahoma came into BCS title game ranked number 1 despite being drilled 35-6 by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship and fell to Miami LSU 21-14 in the championship game.

If you think conferences are ridiculous then get rid of them.  If you like them for tradition then give a reason for more than one to exist by making their titles important.  If the conference title has no bearing on the national championship then all you’re doing is penalizing conferences that play more conference game (for example the PAC 12 plays 9, the SEC only 8 which is why Alabama had a hot date with Georgia Southern last week) and rewarding conferences with no championship game.

In a playoff scenario there is nothing wrong with bringing in multiple teams from one conference and letting them battle it out for the title.  But as long as the national championship is determined by pollsters and computers every game leading up to the BCS title game needs to be treated like part of a 13-game tournament.  When a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament loses in the Elite Eight no one ever advocates skipping them to the championship game to insure the best matchup and the BCS shouldn’t either.

The BCS is broken.  Everyone agrees it’s broken and until on-field competition and revenue are considered more important than old boy networks and traditional bowls it’s going to remain broken.  The least the BCS can do is at least try to bring some consistency and requiring a team to win their conference to be BCS title game eligible would be a solid first step.

  • Ponder

    Well, as much as I agree with you that the BCS is broken and complete nonsense, I disagree that Alabama doesn’t deserve to play for the title (and no Skeezy, I’m not speaking out of bias). All along the BCS has touted that it’s goal is to bring together the #1 and #2 teams in the nation. It doesn’t say anything about whether or not they win their conference. If the other teams can’t pull their rankings high enough to satisfy the computers, that’s their fault, not Bama’s. Personally I would love to see them settle it on the field just like everyone else, but until the BCS honchos finally listen to reason, we’ll need to go with what they give us.

    • jaw

      I think for a team to play in the BCS title game they should be required to win their conference. Otherwise, why have conferences?

  • Phil

    What’s ironic is your article sites Green Bay and that they won the NFC Conference before going to the Super Bowl. But guess what the author misses – Green Bay didn’t win their division last year. Had it not been for “Wild Card” spots, Green Bay would have never gotten a shot at the Super Bowl. They went into the playoffs as a wildcard team. In fact, Green Bay was the 6th of 6 seeds. Chicago won the NFC North. Chicago also beat Green Bay in Week 2 (Green Bay beat Chicago in Week 17). The same thing happened in baseball. The Cardinals were the NL Wild-Card team. They didn’t win their division either. Seems like the author discredits his own reasoning right there. But why let facts get in the way, right? If Alabama is truly number 2 in the country, they shouldn’t be kept from playing in the championship because the system is flawed. (and before anyone accuses me of it, no, I’m not an Alabama fan)

    • TheDoctor

      Good question Phil, thanks for bringing it up. I was very aware of that which is why in the 5th paragraph I explained that I see it differently for a playoff than for the BCS. I normally wouldn’t reply but I just wanted to make it clear I have no issue with the systems in other sports, solely with the way the BCS handles this particular issue because of it’s unique setup.

      • Phil

        I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree because the way I see it is Alabama shouldn’t be punished because of the BCS’s flaws. Alabama and LSU are clearly the top two teams in the country and should play each other in the championship. If the BCS system is “No 1 plays No 2”, then the fact that LSU beat Alabama earlier in the season shouldn’t be a deciding factor, nor should the fact that it’s unfortunate for Alabama that they just happen to be in the same division and conference as LSU. Additionally, the two teams had the same record going into the game and they were TIED at the end of regulation. That tells me they are two evenly matched teams. Overtime was needed to determine a winner – and not that long ago, when there was no overtime in the college regular season, they would have ended the season tied at 11-0-1. On top of that, going on the logic that LSU beat Alabama – I say “so what?”. The year the Giants won their most recent Super Bowl (2007-2008 season), the teams the Giants beat in the post season were teams they lost to in the regular season (the one exception being Tampa Bay – who they didn’t they play in the regular season). The Giants lost to Dallas twice – one of which was at home. They lost to Green Bay in Week 2 – at home. And they lost to New England in Week 17 – at home. The Giants BEAT these teams in the post season, first on the road (Dallas and Green Bay) and then at a neutral site (defeating New England in Arizona).

        So personally, I’d rather see an LSU-Alabama match-up for the BCS National Title. I’d rather watch what I know has the strong potential to be a good, close, well-fought game than what would likely be another “Who is the SEC going to blow this year” championship game.

  • ggg

    “Just two years later Oklahoma came into BCS title game ranked number 1 despite being drilled 35-6 by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship and fell to Miami 21-14 in the championship game.”

    They fell to LSU.

    • TheDoctor

      Good catch, fixing that now.

  • ggg

    “Green Bay didn’t win their division last year. Had it not been for “Wild Card” spots, Green Bay would have never gotten a shot at the Super Bowl. ”

    But there are no “wild card spot” to secure in college football. Only two teams are given a chance to win an NC at the end of the regular season. Two spots out of 119 as opposed to 12 spots out of 32. With such a limited opportunity to play for a title it is ASININE to see one of those spots in terms of a fucking wild card who didn’t win their division. The only sensible thing is to treat regular season games as though they WERE playoff games as much as we possibly can and it’s easy to do that when we’ve already seen a game between two teams being considered.

    I’ll mention only in passing that wild card teams don’t get a first round bye. LSU has to play UGA next week. They may or may not be in with a loss. Its a risk. But your Alabama “wild card” team gets to stay home with no risk at all. That’s some wild card huh?

    • Phil

      What’s funny is you say “your Alabama” like they’re my team. Guess you missed the last sentence in my post that states I’m not an Alabama fan. I’m looking at this from a completely neutral standpoint because I don’t have a horse in this race.

  • ggg

    “They didn’t win their division either. Seems like the author discredits his own reasoning right there. But why let facts get in the way, right? If Alabama is truly number 2 in the country, they shouldn’t be kept from playing in the championship because the system is flawed. (and before anyone accuses me of it, no, I’m not an Alabama fan)”

    Irrelevant facts certainly shouldn’t get in our way. The question, you ignorant ass, isn’t whether its possible for someone who didn’t win their division to win a championship. The question is, given such a limited chance to play for a championship, should a non-division winner get PRECEDENCE over a division winner? You may have noticed that wild card teams tend to have the toughest road to the championship. In the NFL they always play the first week for example. We can’t do that in college football because they’re aren’t enough “playoff” spots to organize it that way.

    And what does it mean to be “truly number 2?” They’re truly ranked 2 sure. If they are truly ranked 2 next Monday, then they will of course be playing for a championship. The question is, SHOULD they be number 2. Now perhaps you meant “truly the 2nd best team.” Not only is that always debatable but that they should then play for a national championship is by no means a matter “of course” nor should it be. If OSU’s field goal was called good, they’re undefeated. If they then go on to beat OU, they’re an undefeated conference winner. In that scenario they are in and Alabama is out and there is almost no debate about it. Is that because there would be no debate about whether OSU was a better team than Alabama? Um, no. Barely beating Iowa St. and beating OU by any margin and the vast majority of people would still think Alabama was a better team. But here’s the thing: it wouldn’t matter. Being a “better team” does not supersede everything. It usually doesn’t supersede overall record and there is no reason for it to supersede conference championships, more wins against ranked teams (OSU has that over Bama ya know) or the desire to avoid rematches.

    • Phil

      “You ignorant ass”
      Ouch I’m hurt…. Bet you feel like a big boy now, don’t ya?

  • ggg

    • Wins over current BCS Top 25 teams: Oklahoma State: 5, Alabama: 2.

    • Wins over current BCS Top 50 teams: Oklahoma State: 7, Alabama: 5.

    • Wins over FBS teams with winning records: Oklahoma State: 6, Alabama: 3.

    • Conference titles: Oklahoma State: 1, Alabama: 0.

    • Iowa St

      Loses to unranked teams this year: Oklahoma State: 1, Alabama: 0

      This takes precedence over any win the cowboys had this year. The #2 spot was basically handed to a handful of teams when lsu took down the tide. THEY ALL LOST. Alabama can’t be punished by some non-existent conference/division championship rule. They were unfortunate to be in the division with the ONLY undefeated team in the nation. They don’t count “unfortunateness” in the bsc computers, etc. Until they do, the tide was no more than fortunate that the rest of the country couldn’t get the job done.

      PS This could all be solved if they put the two best teams in the sec championship rather than the best team from a super division against the best team from one of the worst division in college football. Everyone wins! There would never be two teams from the same conference up there barring some crazy happenstance.

      • ggg

        “This takes precedence over any win the cowboys had this year”

        Not when the team they lost to is a team they would play again. We’ve seen that match up. They don’t deserve another chance.

        “THEY ALL LOST. ”

        Not to LSU. Alabama is the only 1 loss team to get the chance. They couldn’t get it done. Time to move forward and accept that result.

        “They were unfortunate to be in the division with the ONLY undefeated team in the nation.”

        They were fortunate to be the only of all one loss teams to defeat LSU so far. They couldn’t do it. Time to move on.

        “PS This could all be solved if they put the two best teams in the sec championship rather than the best team from a super division against the best team from one of the worst division in college football.”

        So to accommodate Alabama, conferences must realign themselves? I have a better idea: next time Alabama has a chance to win their division against an undefeated team, they can try actually winning.

  • byweek

    Alabama may be # 2 talent- wise but a lot of teams have alot of talent and still lose!! Alabama lost to LSU last year and had a prime opportunity to beat LSU (at home) this year and failed to do so!!! So Alabama loses to LSU,,,again and now they have a bye week, while LSU has to play another game and risk loss and injury.

    If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, wins their conference they will be told “Sorry you can’t go to the national championship because we “believe” that Alabama’s the better team. So no opportunity for you Okla State even though Alabama lost to LSU this year and last year.

    BCS needs to go away!!

  • Gaylordgolfer

    Yes, we have a system where we choose champions based on “beliefs”. I believe this theam will beat that team and this team deserves nothing. This is a HORRIBLE system and proves nothing. Why can’t we have playoffs? Because it will interfere with a kids studies? That’s one of the reasons we are told but what about the lower divisions? Are their educations not as important? They seem to do fine. The BCS is a money grab and that’s it. As long as this system of greed is used, we will continue to have this problem. Because of greed, LSU is now put in a no win situation. They get to play an extra game and risk lose and injury because they beat Bama. Bama gets to sit back and get healthy and prepare because they were lucky enough to lose. The SEC wants the money from a title game and now have to deal with what that brings.

  • ggg

    9 – 6 Lets allow that to mean something. If we don’t, you’ll have entitled, whiny, self-important programs demanding rematches every year.

  • laughin

    37-31 Let’s allow that to mean something. If we don’t you’ll have entitled whiney, self-important programs demanding the rules be changed every year.

  • Chipper

    Well said! ‘Bama had their chance (and at home to boot). We already know that LSU can beat ‘Bama, so we get to relive it again?…how UNexciting and pointless.

    It stands to reason that someone else should get a shot at beating LSU, and of the remaining teams, it seems as if OSU is the best remaining opponent with one loss that has not played LSU, so thumbs down to the BCS for getting it wrong again.

  • Spidey

    I want to talk about Bama great defense.
    School Off. Rank
    Kent st. 119
    Penn st. 95
    North Texas 97
    Arkansas 26
    Flordia 102
    Vandy 99
    Mississippi 114
    Tennessee 105
    Lsu 74
    Miss. State 86
    Georgia Southern not a fbs school
    Auburn 101

    Alabama Def. rank #1
    So is the great D or maybe playing some really bad Offensive Teams this year always look into the numbers.

  • Very well done article on a difficult subject.