The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    BCS stupidity has struck again, columnist says

    With 33 seconds left in the second-to-last regular season college football game this season, Texas Christian’s Kenneth Hilliard intercepted a pass thrown by Southern Mississippi’s Jeff Kelly, preserving a 14-12 victory for the Horned Frogs.

    Because of TCU’s close win, No. 4 Nebraska earned the right to play in the Rose Bowl instead of No. 3 Colorado, a team that beat Nebraska 62-36.

    I don’t know why the TCU-SMU game affected the national title picture, but it did.

    So now Nebraska will likely get pummeled by Miami in the Rose Bowl, and a couple other schools will be upset that they didn’t get the chance to play the best team in the country.

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    The magic of the Bowl Championship Series has struck again.

    The biggest proponents of the BCS argued that it was a sure-fire way to create a bowl matchup between the top two teams in the country, saying the old bowl system was outdated and old-fashioned.

    The “old-fashioned” bowl system may have had its flaws, but it led to some fun matchups on New Year’s Day each year.

    Here is what the bowl matchups could have looked like for this season, under the old bowl system with each team’s final AP ranking listed:

    Rose Bowl: (7) Illinois vs. (2) Oregon. Yes, this system would have prevented a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup, but the champions of the Big Ten and Pac Ten should meet in the Rose Bowl, period.

    Orange Bowl: (1) Miami vs. (3) Colorado. Under the old format, Colorado, as champion of the Big Twelve, would have received an automatic invitation to the Orange Bowl. This would have set up a matchup between the team that’s been No. 1 most of the year, Miami, against the team that’s arguably playing better than anybody right now. Since this is the matchup that a lot of people wanted for this year’s title game, this is as good an argument as any that the old system worked most of the time.

    Fiesta Bowl: (4) Nebraska vs. (8) Tennessee. Tennessee could be replaced by fifth-ranked Florida here, but since the Fiesta Bowl had no tie-ins to any conference, several interesting matchups could have arisen here. But with this matchup, it’s a battle between two teams that lost their final game of the season and lost the chance to play in the national title game.

    Florida Citrus Bowl: (5) Florida vs. (6) Maryland. Again, Florida could be switched with Tennessee in this game. The ACC champion Terrapins, automatically tied to this bowl under the old format, wouldn’t have minded the automatic invite to what was often considered a “lesser” bowl if it meant a game against one of the powers from the SEC.

    Sugar Bowl: (12) Louisiana State vs. (10) Oklahoma. When LSU won the SEC, it helped insure that there would be kind of a drab matchup in a major bowl game. LSU and Illinois both won their respective conferences, but they aren’t considered strong teams. In the current system, those two teams meet in the featured Sugar Bowl. In the old format, the defending national champion Sooners would get to play a conference champion, instead of playing Arkansas, which is probably only the fourth- or fifth-best team in its conference.

    Cotton Bowl: (9) Texas vs. (11) Stanford. The Longhorns lost in the Big Twelve championship game, and probably would have been invited to the Cotton Bowl in the old system. Its opponent would likely have been a team that finished second in its conference, like Stanford did. Other teams invited could have included 15th ranked Virginia Tech or 17th ranked Michigan.

    The main argument against the old bowl system was that it often didn’t result in a true national champion. If Nebraska somehow beats Miami in the Rose Bowl, the BCS will have failed in that regard, as well. The Cornhuskers would be automatically declared champion in one poll, but the AP poll would probably select the winner of the Oregon-Colorado matchup as the national champion.

    The point here is that the old bowl system was just as successful picking the right bowl matchups as the BCS has been. As long as college football teams only play 11 to 12 games in a season, there will be no way to truly declare a national champion without going to a playoff system.

    A playoff system would cause debate as well, as there would likely be only eight teams invited. There would be controversy if a deserving team was left out.

    The best thing college football can do is bring back the old bowl system. There may have been a few years where the national champion wasn’t clear as it is in other sports, but that’s what always made college football unique.

    And if the old system were in place, a team would be able to decide its own destiny, rather than having it decided for them in a game as inconsequential as Texas Christian against Southern Mississippi.

    That way, TCU’s 2-point win over a team not even going to a bowl game wouldn’t be more important than Colorado’s 26-point win over a team that was ranked No. 1.

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    BCS stupidity has struck again, columnist says