Monday, December 1, 2008

The BCS Strikes Early

This is the drama the BCS apologists point to when they say the current system provides exciting football, spirited debate, and general intrigue. This weekend was exciting, with Texas putting up "style points" on Texas A&M Thursday, Texas Tech avoiding an upset against Baylor Saturday afternoon, and Oklahoma pulling away from Oklahoma State late.

Then came the one thing that any supporter of the BCS cannot defend. It got the whole thing wrong. With a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South and tiebreakers such as records within the division, records against common opponents, tackiest band uniforms, and most annoying fight song exhausted, the conference decided to turn to the BCS for help. Excellent choice. The BCS, ultimately the computers, will send Oklahoma to the Big 12 Championship Game instead of Texas.

Oklahoma's best argument for representing the Big 12 South has to be a blowout win over Texas Tech, the team that handed Texas its only loss. The Sooners also played a tougher non-conference schedule with games against Cincinnati and TCU, while Texas played Arkansas and Rice. The benefit of having the last chance to impress voters also helped Oklahoma, with a 20-point win over 12th ranked Oklahoma State Saturday night. But it was the computers, not the voters that picked Oklahoma, so what were they thinking?

Well they obviously didn't look at October 11th, when Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35 at a neutral site. The computers may have also forgotten that Oklahoma's big win against Texas Tech came in Norman, while Texas lost in the last ten seconds in a game at Texas Tech. The resumes aren't that different. Texas and Oklahoma both cleaned up in the conference, both had close games against teams the other dominated, and both breezed through their non-conference slates. So why would the computers ignore October 11th, the one thing that truly places Texas above Oklahoma?

There really is no answer, other than a bit of advice: don't ever try and figure out the computer rankings. The puzzling outcomes are too bountiful. One computer ranking puts Utah ahead of Texas. Another puts Texas Tech and Utah ahead of #1 Alabama. Texas Tech, Utah, and Boise State are all ranked ahead of USC by the computers.

The computers have spoken and Oklahoma has jumped Texas. BCS shenanigans have started early this season, as it has screwed up the national championship picture by the time December has started. Don't say the computers lack a sense of humor. While most of America is yelling to let the players decide it on the field, the computers looked at two teams who have already decided things on the field, and picked the loser.

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