Sunday, December 04, 2011

BCS Thoughts

It’s the first Sunday of December, so, of course, we have BCS outrage that people will incoherently scream about for the next 48 hours on talk radio. Every college football beat writer and television personality will chime in with their opinion in that same time. And, every idiot with a blog (myself included) will feel compelled to offer their thoughts. Then, amazingly, a month will pass with no outrage. People will go Christmas shopping, spend the Holidays with their families, bemoan the fact that New Year’s Eve is the most overrated night of the year, and finally, people will happily watch the New Year’s Day Bowl games while they eat collard greens and black-eyed peas. And only then, in the week leading up to the Rematch, will the outrage surface again. So, before the outrage subsides, let me take this opportunity to share mine.

Okay, that’s not really what I am doing here. For better or worse, at some point over the past several years, I have become a guy that appreciates sports for their entertainment and humor and very little more. The closest I have come to feeling outrage over anything sports related in these past several years was the NBA Lockout and that is only because I recognized that my winter and spring would be robbed of both my nightly entertainment and humor with no NBA, and more importantly, no Kenny, Chuck, Ernie, C-Webb, and Shaq. Now that I have that back, I’m cool. I like not feeling outraged about sports. Rightly or wrongly, it makes me feel mature and as if I somehow have my priorities in order. That said, I do have a few points about this year’s BCS Title Game I feel compelled to share:

First, anybody that argues that the Rematch is the “right” decision because Alabama and LSU are clearly the two best teams in the country (Yes, I’m talking to everyone at ESPN, including you Herbie) is offering an indefensible position. Why it is it indefensible? Because, by definition, you cannot know whether one team is better than another team unless you see them play one another. And, even then, it’s not an exact science. For example, I watched LSU v. Alabama I, and I know that Alabama easily could have won that game, but on that given night, the breaks didn’t go their way. So, even though LSU scored more points after overtime, I honestly don’t if they are better than Alabama. And, if I don’t know if LSU is better than Alabama, how in the world could I possibly know if Alabama or LSU is better than Oklahoma State, Stanford, or Boise State? I certainly can have an opinion, but opinions are subjective. Consequently, when you go on national television and try to pass off a subjective opinion as an objective fact, you look like you either are not smart enough to know the difference, or you look like you are trying to justify the result because your network paid gazillions of dollars for the broadcast rights to the BCS. Either way, you look silly. I knew Mark May was silly, but I really thought Herbie was better than that. Color me disappointed, Herbie.

Second, given the fact that OSU was one double OT loss at Iowa State away from the Title Game, I truly hope every human voter gave thoughtful consideration to the circumstances of that loss. Specifically, OSU took the field that Friday night in Ames approximately 24 hours after the school’s head women’s basketball coach and an assistant coach were tragically lost in a plane crash. Is this the reason they lost that game? I have no idea whatsoever. I do know, however, that we are talking about 18-22 year old young men that may or may not have ever had to deal with the fact that someone that they were accustomed to seeing all the time, or someone that their friends or girlfriends were very close with, would never pass by them in the dining hall or athletic offices again. Again, I have no idea what impact this tragedy had on those young men that night. I do know three things for certain, though: 1) that game day in Ames, whether it was the team breakfast, down time in the hotel, a possible walk through, and even dressing for the game in the locker room was, at least to some degree, not a normal day for those young men; 2) Coach Gundy and OSU will never, and I mean NEVER, bring this up in any argument on their behalf because they know that in the grand scheme of what is important in life, it would be wholly inappropriate and self-serving to do so; and 3) Because Coach Gundy and OSU could never even hint at the impact that tragedy had on them that night in Ames, it was the responsibility of the human voters to do so for them. If a voter took this into account and still felt it was appropriate to vote Alabama #2, that is fine and they should have had no hesitation about casting that vote. If a voter failed to take this into account, they failed to properly discharge their obligations

Next, tonight, Nick Saban actually made the best argument I have heard in favor of the Rematch, but he and his interviewer, Reece Davis (someone whose work and objectivity, despite being a ‘Bama grad, I admire very much ) failed to seize upon it. Specifically, Coach Saban said that Alabama and LSU played to a tie after 60 minutes, and LSU happened to get the better end of things in overtime. For those, like me, that loathe the randomness of the college overtime system, this is a fine argument: “Look, nobody disputes that LSU should be in this game, and after 60 minutes of football, we proved we are at least their equal, so let us finish the game.” That is how Saban should have phrased it. Of course, he rushed through the point and continued to make a bunch of statements that might not be true. I mean, I’ve been told by many LSU and Dolphins fans that is what he does, so I will take their word for it

Finally, I really hope LSU wins the Title Game. I feel this way not only because my close friend and LSU diehard, Ben, may walk around in a catatonic state for a month if they don’t, but also because I will feel terribly for the LSU players and coaches if they don’t. When you break this down to its core elements what you are left with is an LSU team that has not lost a game, has two more wins, one less loss, and one more conference title than Alabama, and beat Alabama on its home field. Now, if that same LSU team, after over a month break, has its first off night of the season and loses to Alabama in the Title Game, they will be forced to watch the team they already beat (on their home field – did I mention that?), with one less win and one less conference title, walk out of LSU’s de-facto home city with the Crystal Football LSU has focused its every waking minute on since the end of last season. How does that make any sense to anybody?

Furthermore, if Alabama wins, everything LSU has accomplished to this point in the regular season, which is historic on several levels, will amount to nothing. And, as someone who has railed against a college playoff system for fear it would cheapen the regular season, I will have to re-evaluate my position. And, nothing outrages me more than having to re-evaluate my position. So, for my sake, I really hope LSU wins. I have no desire to once again feel outrage toward anything sports related.