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Saturday, December 20, 2014

BCS rankings are an SEC party

It’s that magical time of year again: The one where people are talking nonstop about humans and computers as if this were “Tron” played out in real life. No, this isn’t science fiction run amok but the annual reminder that the BCS standings are here. Danger, danger Denard Robinson.

If you are not a Dixie-ophile, perhaps you should look away from the BCS polls and pick up a copy of “Mother Jones.” The SEC, winners of the last six national championships, is once again attracting as much attention as Rush Limbaugh at a Sierra Club meeting. Along with Alabama, there are three other teams from the conference occupying the top ten spots in this year’s first edition of the standings. And 6 of the top-12 hail from the league. That’s 50%! I must thank my statistician father for helping me with the math on that.

Alabama, by no surprise, tops the charts by a margin currently that stands as college football’s version of Franklin Roosevelt-Alf Landon, the Kansas governor not the furry character. The Crimson Tide has distinguished itself on a level seemingly above the rest of the nation; so much so that they could theoretically lose the national title game, provided they put the right cleats on the proper feet, some guilt-ridden writers may just give them the national championship nonetheless.

Keep in mind, last year’s national champion had four players taken in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, eight overall. That’s about as fair as the peewee football team I played on which featured 3 college dropouts and a 300-pound bald guy ironically named Harry.

Alabama has been ranked number-one the last seven weeks in the AP poll. “Sweet Home Alabama” never got higher than eighth on the US charts, though Lynyrd Skynyrd may demonstrate some largesse by donating one of their “y’s” to help ask the question “Why?” As in, why bother playing out the rest of the season?

Florida ranking second, ahead of Oregon, causes a small measure of furor. Folks are pointing the finger at Pat Buchanan or a hanging chad or three for the Ducks getting slotted in the third position in the BCS rankings despite being placed at number two by the human polls.

Such commonplace BCS acrimony brings to mind that Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk and his pals battled some kind of evil supercomputer. Perhaps these enigmatic computers will not be beaming up Chip Kelly anytime soon, but the Beaver State has a reason to smile, with Oregon State’s placing at number eight, while the rest of the nation snickers childishly at the state’s nickname.

If you’re big into logical deduction, perhaps this isn’t for you. The Big Ten added Nebraska last year to appropriately increase its numbers to 12 teams; this was after the conference had had 11 teams for over two decades and sported a logo that read “Big Ten Conference” with the number eleven stenciled in.

The league bills itself as a Midwestern conference, except for having a team from Pennsylvania. It is spread out across nine states total, staying true to its historical fondness for odd numbers.

Also, the Big Ten has two divisions named “Legends” and “Leaders” despite having four teams that have never won a national championship and each division sports one team whose football program is at least 143 games under the watermark. Perhaps I underestimated myself: I might be more of a leader and a legend than once thought.

That was just a long way of saying the Big Ten has 0 teams in the BCS rankings. Meanwhile, the ACC, which has taken its lumps from the college football-consuming public as the sport’s version of a sociology degree, finds itself with three teams in the Top-25.

Notre Dame is in the fifth position despite less-than-stellar wins against Purdue by a field goal, a one-score victory over Michigan despite the latter making 6 turnovers, and a controversial victory over Stanford this past weekend.

What’s more is that the BCS has marginalized the West Coast worse than the Electoral College, which unfortunately does not compete in the FBS. Only four of the top-25 teams are from states that postdate “The Scarlet Letter.” Over 160 years later, we are left with three letters that would be written in varying shades of crimson if not for the introduction of a college football postseason format due to come into existence next year.

Regardless of how tired you are of the SEC, the conference is not going anywhere. Alabama has scored no less than 33 points per game this year and has yielded no more than two touchdowns to the opposition in any contest. They’ve score 167 points in five games against opposition from the top conference in the land.

At this rate, one might have thought the SEC would lean toward breaking away from the rest of college football. However, that whole secession thing in the South didn’t really work too well the first time.



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