Sunday, December 4, 2011

The BCS Showdown and post SECCG edition

Update: The deal is done. LSU and Alabama finish 1, 2. The Rematch is on.

First things first: Congratulations to the University of Georgia. For one magical half, they made LSU look tepid and slow. They made Jordan Jefferson look like, well, the Jefferson of yesteryear. They made the Tigers' defense look disorganized. They took the fight to a bigger team and overwhelmed them for 30 minutes. They showed, particularly on defense, how much they've grown.

But they kept dropping the stupid ball.

In the end, the Bulldogs learned what every other team on LSU's schedule already knows. Get to the Les Miles' team early. Otherwise, the window closes. The vise tightens. The chances of victory, already small, become shards, and then shards again.

LSU is that good. Only one team has traded blows with them in the middle of the ring. That team is Alabama, which lost in overtime to the Bengals in Tuscaloosa, and at this hour appears to be the last detail standing before one helluva party breaks out in the bayous.

Ah, that last detail.

An imperfect system has one job: to pick the two best teams. This year, there are two teams with viable arguments for a single spot. Oklahoma State couldn't have asked for a better closing argument than the utter humiliation of its despised rival before a national audience Saturday night. But that will have to do for this year.

The computers and the human voters and coaches and the alchemists secretly manipulating the BCS data from some castle in the Balkans all had their say on Sunday. It appears the SEC will have its sixth straight national championship. It will still be five weeks, however, before we know which name goes on the trophy.

LSU's opponent officially comes out of the hat tonight on ESPN. But the tweets have been singing like cicadas throughout the day, and the din keeps pointing toward Alabama. Nick Saban's team had its shot, true. But his team played an almost identical season to LSU's. Alabama was every bit as dominant playing an eerily similar brand of football. On Nov. 5, one team made three field goals; the other made two. That's it.

Sure it's unfair for LSU to have played an extra game and now have to beat the Tide a second time. But as deserving a titleist as LSU would be, coronations for national champs went out when the BCS came in. No more bad matchups because of conference affiliations. The two best teams settle things. Period.

And that's what will happen Jan. 9. The two best teams from the best conference. Everyone else will be home watching. Even for the SEC, that will be a first.



Anonymous said...

The point is, if you're not an Alabama fan: We don't know the best two teams. But it just got decided off the field, and that's a shame.

Michael said...

Sorry, ANON. The point, regardless of your affiliation, is this: The system in place picked the two best teams. When we have a playoff, we'll have a playoff.

For the time being, the BCS did what it was supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

Well, of course you think so. But what the system did was decide off the field who the best two teams are. The system let human voters override computers, which had their own flaws. I can make a pretty good case that Alabama didn't have the body of work Oklahoma State did. You can make a pretty good case otherwise. We just don't know, although you smugly think you do.

pstonge said...

I think Mike is right that the BCS chose the consensus two best teams. No matter how close the final numbers were, they had to end up with two.

But as a fan of Auburn, which similarly got left out in 2004, I agree with with Anon, too. I think LSU and Alabama are probably the two best, but after watching OSU last night, I sure don't know. It's a truly broken system.

George T. said...

Only an Alabama fan masquerading as a neutral blog editor could write this:

But his [Saban's] team played an almost identical season to LSU's.

Check LSU's schedule and then look at Bama's. Also, your team lost on its field after a bye week.

Michael said...

After Alabama lost to LSU, at home by 3 points in overtime, they were deader than Fredo Corleone. Here's what happened.

Boise lost.
Stanford lost.
OSU lost.
Oklahoma and Oregon lost again.

Alabama, on the other hand, blew out everybody on their schedule and eeked in.

In 2007, the SEC proposed a Plus 1 system to settle this debate. Four team picked for two bowls with the winners playing one more game for the national championship.

Maybe the other conferences were worried that the SEC would have two teams in the finals every year. Would have happened this year. Would not have happened a year ago.

At any rate, only the ACC voted for the proposal. All the other conferences, including the Big 12, voted no. So we're stuck with the system instead of a playoff between LSU vs. Stanford, and Alabama and OSU.

So fine, complain away. But it's like following a recipe and then complaining about what comes out of the oven.