College football needs a playoff
October 18, 2007
With ten Top 10 teams having lost to unranked schools, college football has already delivered a year’s worth of major surprises. Fans are now seeing some new names at the top of this season’s first Bowl Championship Series poll.
The BCS poll ranks universities according to a mathematical formula that combines one-third the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, one-third the Harris Interactive Poll, and one-third the average of six computer ratings from across the nation. The teams calculated to be first and second at the end of the regular season play in the BCS Championship Game, which means this week remarkably, South Florida would have qualified. Boston College, South Carolina, Kentucky and Arizona State were in the Top 8.
Such parity is truly great for college football fans, but unfortunately as always and predictably, the BCS will screw things up at the end of the year. The only way the current BCS can truly avoid controversy is if exactly two teams finish undefeated at the top of the poll. At this rate it would take a miracle for that to happen. Hopefully one day a four-team playoff will determine the national champion, especially one that uses the traditional bowl games.
The debate goes on as to which team so far this year has produced the biggest upset, Appalachian State over Michigan or Stanford over USC. And the winner is…Stanford.
Appalachian State did become the first Football Championship Subdivision school ever to defeat a Top 25 team. But App. St. also is the two-time defending I-AA champ, so recently it has owned at least a strong winning tradition.
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Stanford’s only other win this year came against San Jose State, and the victory over USC occurred one week after the Cardinal were shellacked at home by Arizona State 41-3. Southern Cal had not lost a home game in six years.
If there is still room for debate, one can defer to the sports books as a guide. The Las Vegas books that posted a number on the game had Michigan a 29-point favorite. USC was favored by 41. In fact, Syracuse’s upset at Louisville as a 37 1/2-point underdog was a bigger upset than Appalachian State’s.
But don’t feel one bit sorry for USC. If you believe in Karma, this is a classic case of it.
While at USC, running back Reggie Bush received weekly $15,000 cash disbursements and $280,000 in total, his family lived rent-free in a house leased from an agent with the understanding Bush would sign with his marketing firm, they got free rental cars, limousine rides, travel tickets and top of the line clothing, and stayed in posh hotels. Throw in Matt Leinart’s dad paying Dwayne Jarrett’s rent, current quarterback Mark Sanchez punching a guy out at a bar, Frostee Rucker’s arrest for false imprisonment and vandalism, two other players being arrested for sexual assault, a positive steroid test and a possibly illegal three-way phone call between Bush, head coach Pete Carroll and prized recruit Joe McKnight, and we have a sordid history of criminal behavior and NCAA violations that has regressed the team from being the University of Spoiled Children to now being known as the North LA Forty. Somehow, despite all these dirty deeds, the football team continues to play without sanctions.
The punishment will have to come in the form of a bad season. You can use the excuse of injuries if you want, but toughness is built on the football field, so it’s time to stop inviting Snoop Dogg to practice and start focusing on the task at hand.
If the real punishment one day does come down, expect Coach Carroll to bail out of his sinking ship and join the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. But for this week, the bet is on lowly Notre Dame at home plus 18 points, since USC right now should not be favored over anyone by that much.
As of Wednesday evening Boston was still alive, but barely, down 3 games to 1. At least Colorado came through with flying colors.
World Series – Major League Baseball can be a truly unpredictable sport, so I will go against common sense and continue to stick with the American League representative to beat the scalding hot Rockies in 7.
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