Photo: Getty Images/Andy Lyons
College football’s bowl season and its Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games were announced yesterday and met with a mess of scrutiny from media members.Of the five BCS games, only two of them are going to be fun to watch: The National Championship and the Fiesta Bowl, which feature Notre Dame versus Alabama, and Kansas State versus Oregon, respectively.
The other three games have three teams ranked outside the AP Top 15 (No. 16 Northern Illinois, No. 22 Lousiville, unranked Wisconsin), which is the worst lowest average ranking of any field in the 15-year history of the BCS.
This year’s field more than ever proved how the BCS is flawed.
Here’s how it happened.
It all came down to the gimmicks in the BCS system.
Northern Illinois punched its ticket to the Orange Bowl for a matchup with Florida State because it squeezed through every possible loophole in the system.
The BCS requires a non-automatic qualifying conference team to be the top non-automatic qualifying team, finish 15th or higher (NIU finished 15), and finish ranked higher than at least one automatic qualifying conference champion (NIU beat out the Big East champion and Big 10 Champion) to qualify for a BCS bowl berth.
Everything fell into place for the most underwhelming BCS slate in a long, long time. The two-team limit per conference and the Big 10 and Big East receiving automatic bids despite down years also factored into this year’s atrocity.
It could have been a little bit better if Nebraska, last week’s No. 13 team, didn’t lose terribly to Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship, freeing up the spot for NIU’s controversial selection, or if undefeated Ohio State didn’t shoot itself in the foot with a one-year bowl ban, or if both Louisville and Rutgers didn’t fizzle in the second half of the season.
But such is life.
Pat Forde, of Yahoo! Sports, summed up the feelings of many perfectly after learning the bowl slate:
“Take a bow, Northern Illinois, Louisville and Wisconsin. You don’t have to apologise for appearing in marquee bowls like the Orange, Sugar and Rose – but we don’t have to pretend we’re happy you’re there, either.”
And once again, we have the BCS to thank for those grievances. At least we get to see Landry Jones versus Johnny Football in the Cotton Bowl.
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