Monday, November 22, 2010

When the Thing You Hate Ends Up Helping You

Behind debt and Notre Dame, there is nothing I hate more than the Bowl Championship Series.  The BCS continues to make a mockery of college football--leaving it the only sport in the US that doesn't have an on-field playoff to decide its champion.  So imagine the torn feelings I have this week as the BCS provides my beloved Wisconsin Badgers with a path to the Rose Bowl.

Under the current tie-breaker system used by the Big Ten, if Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish their seasons this Saturday with wins and identical 11-1 records, the Badgers get the automatic bid to Pasadena by being the highest-ranked team in the BCS standings.  Under the old tie-breaker used by the conference, the team that had gone the longest without a Rose Bowl appearance would get the bid.  This year that would have been Michigan State--who hasn't been to The Grand-daddy of Them All since 1988.  Ironically, this is the tie-breaker that sent Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 1993 and 1998 when they finished in ties with Ohio State and Michigan.

So after screaming and bashing the BCS for years about it being a joke--it will likely provide me with one of the things I enjoy more than any other--Bucky playing on New Year's Day in the only bowl game that matters.  I'm justifying this "love" for the BCS now by thinking back to 2006--Bret Bielema's first season at the helm in Madison--when a 1 loss Wisconsin team that finished in the top 10 of the BCS standings got screwed out of a BCS bowl because Ohio State was in the National Championship game and Michigan went to the Rose Bowl--and you can't have three teams from one conference in BCS games--even if they are clearly deserving.  So it was back to Orlando for Big Red (a fate that apparently awaits Michigan State this year).

Of course, I'm talking now like the whole "highest ranking in the BCS" thing is in the bag.  All it takes is a couple of computers stored in some college football "experts" mothers' basements to decide that an Ohio State win over Michigan gives them the "strength of schedule" necessary to move them ahead of the Badgers and suddenly the Buckeyes vault Bucky and go to Pasadena while Wisconsin gets screwed again.  On Saturday, I didn't know if I should be rooting for LSU and Nebraska to win or lose because one is ahead of Wisconsin in the computers--while the other is behind them and would that help Ohio State more than the Badgers? 

I do stand resolute in my support for dissolution of the BCS and going to a 16-team playoff--that includes the 11 conference champions (yes even Florida International) and five at-large bids.  In my scenario, the Badgers would be a number 2 seed in the Midwest--and would host a game at Ford Field (site of the Papa Bowl!) against 3-seed Oklahoma State with a matchup against number 1 seed Boise State in Dallas (site of the TicketCity Bowl!) after that.  Then its on to the Football Final Four Semi's in Orlando (home of the Champs Sports Bowl!) and a real National Championship game in Tempe, AZ (home of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl!).

In the meantime, we'll just enjoy our ill-gotten fruits in Pasadena.

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