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Sunday, November 23, 2014

BCS Bowl System Is a Load of B.S.

Isn’t the holiday season grand? People slipping in and out of a gravy-induced coma, gathering around the television to watch the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys try to figure out the rules of football, and the annual exchange of gift receipts. That just leaves time to harp on the process of sending college teams to prestigious bowl games. The succinctly titled B-C-S. The mere mention of the three-lettered acronym nearly had President Obama dispatching the National Guard to Bill Hancock’s house. The controversy stirs up more vitriol than an old ladies’ pinochle showdown. Give me a ‘B’!

It seems like every year around this time, the same old debate is stirred up in towns whose major attractions are a Walmart and “The World’s Largest (something).” A Senator from Utah was so miffed that he threatened an anti-trust lawsuit against the Behemoth-CS. Well, you better batten down the Orrin Hatch, because here we go again. People in Eugene, Auburn, and Fort Worth wait with baited breath since, let’s face it, there really isn’t much else to do in those places.

There was a time when the Rose Bowl stood as college football’s version of winning the Publisher’s Clearing House (without having to subscribe to all those crummy magazines). Collegians played off for the right to go to Pasadena or there would be no postseason. But, then came the Orange and Sugar Bowls helping to feed the carb-crazed college football scene, with the Cotton Bowl soon after. Some 75 years later, the Granddaddy has had so many illegitimate children he’s beginning to make Shawn Kemp look like Father of the Year. Every corporate entity is represented in this bastion of amateurism (that’s what they tell us, at least). There is something called a Beef O’Brady’s Bowl (just sounds fattening), an Insight Bowl (which ironically provides no insight into entertainment), a Liberty Bowl (played in the city that gave birth to freedom… Memphis, Tennessee?), and there’s a bowl that’s a message, The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (a Pac-10, WAC matchup will accomplish this by causing one to lose their appetite).

But these bowls are just the appetizers, soporifics, in some cases, alibis: “I’m busy. The Vandals are playing the Pirates in the Larceny Bowl.” Once the bowl with the dancing tire tread as a mascot is over; after the Green Wave, the Golden Hurricanes, and Cyclones have played in some sort of tribute to global warming; and at a point when the top teams in college basketball are still playing schools whose abbreviation looks like someone fell asleep at their keyboard (Duke beat NWST A&M), come the real bowls, the ones where the payout is commensurate to (allegedly) woo stars like Cam Newton or, barring that, Fig.

The BCS has given us so many great memories, like in 2005, when the University of Substandard Compliance destroyed Oklahoma 55-19, and running back (vacated) had the Sooners begging for a return to the Dust Bowl. How about 2007, when Boise State running back Ian Johnson scored on the old Statue of Liberty play to beat the all-too-Sooners to win the Fiesta Bowl, only to punctuate the night by proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend. It would have been a perfect ending had the ever-present Chris Myers not served as Justice of the Peace with a microphone in hand. (Oh, well, that’s what Photoshop is for.)

Still with all that the BCS has given the world of college football, there is still much rancor. Not even last year’s Horatio Alger Bowl between Boise State and TCU could appease fans. The issue of some “computer” helping to determine the top teams in the land is unsettling for many. I don’t know about you, but my computer doesn’t even know that “craptacular” and “dealio” are real words. I doubt that it is capable of determining how bad Virginia Tech losing to one of the Framers of the Constitution is. (That would be James Madison, in case you weren’t a part of the 80% of college athletes who major in history). But, yet, when the discussion of a national championship matchup comes about, invariably the words “computer” and “human” polls come about, as if the contest for college football’s ultimate prize is a scene ripped right out of an old episode of Star Trek. (“Beam me up, Boise!”)

So I’ve gone close to 700 words without even mentioning the word that seems to come up each and every college football season. The quixotic hope that, one day, the best teams on the college circuit will be able to hash it out on the football field for the right to enter college football’s Xanadu. Oh, you mean playoffs? Get over it. The notion is so absurd that Jim Mora’s head just exploded.



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