While everyone is griping about the BCS, you know what is unsatisfying? Complaining about the BCS system the day after the bowls are set.
Complaining about Ohio State and "backing into" the national title game. Complaining about LSU being picked over a half-dozen other contenders. Complaining that there's no playoff. Yeah, yeah: It's a broken system; I'm no apologist. But here's my new campaign:
What's the point of griping about it now? Particularly now that we have left the 24-hour frenzy of arguments that happen between the end of the regular season late Saturday night and the BCS reveal on Sunday night, it's just not worth it.
Yes, the system is exposed worse than ever (although the most aggrieved fan in 2007 would be hard-pressed to top the screw-job suffered by Auburn fans a few years back), but you certainly ain't changing it with your whining.
Ohio State and LSU may or may not be most worthy, but — and this is hardly perfect — every other contender is somehow LESS worthy:
Oklahoma has "worse losses"; Georgia didn't even play for (let alone win) LSU's conference title; USC had the single-worst defeat of the season; Virginia Tech lost to LSU head-to-head by 400; Kansas couldn't beat the team who couldn't beat Oklahoma; Hawaii played their schedule.
Given the discontent, let's quickly foreshadow the chance of a split national title if (when) LSU beats Ohio State, and the AP decides they would like to prove their relevancy by anointing an alternative champ.
If there's one legit gripe about the current BCS system, it's these counter-productive conference bowl-alignment requirements, which limit our ability to see, say, AP No. 3 (Oklahoma) vs. AP No. 4 (Georgia), with the winner earning the AP's share of the national title.
It will be a lot harder for the Sooners or Bulldogs or Hokies or Trojans to make that claim for a share of No. 1 when they are playing West Virginia (ranked 11th) or Hawaii (10th) or Kansas (8th) or Illinois (13th). So a split is a stretch.
There is one intriguing BCS scenario one of my blog commenters pointed out: What if Hawaii just throttles Georgia?
Given the way many — including me — consider UGA the best team in the country right now, wouldn't a sudden contrarian surge of AP support for Hawaii as champ put the perfect cap on this most imperfect of seasons?
Regardless, in this lull between the end of the regular season and the start of bowl season, can we just take a second to stop bitching about how fucked up the system is or how unfair the selections were — and appreciate that this was by far the most fascinating, unpredictable and thrilling college football season of our generation?
From the first week's "Upset of the Century" by App State over Michigan to this last week's shoulda-seen-it-coming bank-shot losses by both Top 2 teams, there has been nothing to complain about.
Except for some, the complaint is its ending.
For me, the complaint is it's ending.
This Week's Bandwagon: Who Is the Best Player? The most iconic individual award in sports will be given out next Saturday, and if we're all lucky, Tim Tebow will win — not (just) because he is the best player in college football but because he will end the tyranny of the previously impenetrable voter bias against sophomores.
With that inexplicable taboo eroded, we can actually focus on honoring the best player in the sport, regardless of age. (Meanwhile: Can I assume that as that "Top 25 Greatest College Football Players of All Time" countdown winds down, we'll find that Tim Tebow surprisingly ends up in the Top 3? OK: I'll settle for seeing him there after 2008.)
(My final ballot: (1) Tebow (2) McFadden (3) Brennan.)
This Week's BlogPoll Ballot Top 10
Hawaii? UGA couldn't even get WVU or Kansas?
Miles will beat OSU, just not for Michigan.
Start lobbying the AP voters now, OU fans.
2007: "How Stanford Ruined a Championship."
5. Ohio State
No. 1? Needs "By Default" asterisk.
God damn you, clutch Auburn kicker.
7. Virginia Tech
Only 6 spots from my preseason pick.
As long as they're not playing OU.
Ron Zook in Pasadena: Amazing.
Mark Mangino: Coach of the Year.
And so, in the fictional universe where my rankings reign supreme, here's the BCS bowl lineup I would have liked to have seen (but don't call it "bitching"):
National title: LSU vs. Georgia. Matches the "best-body-of-work" qualifier vs. the "hottest-top-team-at-end-of-season" qualifier.
(If you want a playoff, you want to see a team that didn't even PLAY for its conference title play for the national championship.)
Rose: USC vs. Ohio State. Let the teams too pussified to play a conference title game enjoy their precious little no-stakes bowl.
Sugar: Florida vs. Illinois. Screw the BCS' "two-team limit" per conference. Because Zook against Tebow in New Orleans sounds awesome.
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Kansas. The Big 12 showdown we're all intrigued to see. Bonus: Winner gets the AP half of the national title.
Orange: Virginia Tech vs. Hawaii. Stick the "sympathy vote" teams together No: I am not COMPARING VT sympathy to Hawaii sympathy.
(Yes, I left out West Virginia, as a penalty for gagging the worst choke of the year AND for ruining my prediction from last week.)
Given how utterly wrong I was about my WVU-over-Pitt pick, it is of nominal consolation to me that my preseason pick of Virginia Tech as national champs was in line with the BCS computers' final regular-season results, which had VT ranked No. 1.
Coming next week: A realistic playoff system we can all agree on!
And in two weeks: The Bandwagoneer Bowl Preview!
As usual, send any comments, observations or complaints to danshanoff-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com.