The zaniest college football regular season in history ends tomorrow. As it stands now, unbelievably, Missouri would take on West Virginia in the BCS National Championship Game, and they are currently the two most deserving teams.
But getting to know this crazy year and the controversial history of the BCS (the C is optional), one somehow gets the feeling that the season will take one last drastic turn. It only makes sense that Oklahoma would screw things up for everybody and defeat Missouri in tomorrow's Big 12 championship. That would surely mean No. 3 Ohio State would play for the BCS title, and nobody wants to see that.
Personally, I would rate Kansas No. 3 ahead of Ohio State despite the fact that the Jayhawks failed to win their division in conference. That precedent was set in 2001 when Nebraska lost the Big 12 North Division to Colorado, got trampled by the Buffaloes 62-36 in its last game, yet played for the BCS title. This year Kansas and Ohio State both played feeble non-conference schedules, but the nod goes to the Jayhawks because their one loss was on a neutral field to No. 1 Missouri, while the Buckeyes lost at home to No. 15 Illinois.
Of course there is the remote possibility tomorrow that West Virginia as a 29-point home favorite could lose the Backyard Brawl outright to rival Pittsburgh. But even then it appears that the Jayhawks would still be cooked because Georgia with two losses is ranked ahead of them. Ohio State against two-loss Georgia for the BCS title would be a nightmare.
No. 5 on my list is undefeated Hawaii, who should be ranked ahead of every two-loss team. The Warriors finally reached No. 12 in the BCS, where in theory with a win over 4-8 Washington they would automatically be invited to one of the five major bowl$, and turn the Nevada-Louisiana Tech match into a winner-take-all battle for one of the three WAC bowl bids. But knowing the BCS, with Arizona State playing tomorrow and ranked directly behind Hawaii, even with a win the Warriors are not a sure-fire lock to remain at No. 12. If Boston College defeats No. 6 Virginia Tech, and USC beats rival UCLA, it is perhaps possible that Arizona State could move Hawaii down to No. 13 with a victory over 5-6 Arizona. Shutting an undefeated Hawaii team out of a major bowl would be a travesty, but it certainly wouldn't be a shocker coming from the BCS.
Being an Oklahoma and Nevada fan, I'm in a tough spot. I want the Sooners to win, but I don't want Ohio State in the title contest. Either way I'll get hosed. Hopefully Hawaii holds up its end of the bargain and Nevada goes bowling.
Late in the college football season fans get riled up over playing their hated rivals. Oregon-Oregon State, for instance, is called the Civil War. California-Stanford is the Big Game, and takes on added meaning this year because it is the 25th anniversary of the craziest finish of any sporting event ever (Oh, the band is out on the field!) But besides personal favorites such as Oklahoma-Nebraska and Oklahoma-Texas, the rivalry I have cherished the most is Army-Navy.
It doesn't matter what the records are, how ugly the style of play can be, or if one team is getting blown out. That game is always special.
Picturing our country's true heroes risking their lives holed up somewhere in a terrible place in a real war, yet being able to watch this important game, makes it very meaningful. Many players themselves will one day face the harsh realities of it. It's too bad both teams can't win.
Predictions: I'm asking for trouble betting on college football during this wild season, but the picks are Navy -14, Oklahoma -3, Oregon State +4 and Under, Hawaii -14 and Tennessee +8.