An anticlimactic ending, an endless debate

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By Matthew Ralph

For the majority of college football fans who justifiably detest the BCS, there is sure to be continued protest long after the anticlimactic finish of the Division 1 college football season on Thursday night.

No matter what the outcome ends up being.

If Florida does what many think they will — Florida’s offense, Bradford winning the Heisman and the bulletin board material an OU d-back gave them on media day suggest this could be a likely scenario — the cries will come for 13-0 Utah and a one-loss Texas team that already beat Oklahoma in the regular season to get a share of the title.

If Oklahoma wins, the cries will be even louder for USC, the poor Pac-10 team supposedly the victim of east coast media elites who I guess were too enthralled by Rutgers and Connecticut to pay much attentino to USC’s winning another warm weather game in their backyard against a possibly overrated and long-rested Penn State team. 

The claims fans and UConn/Scarlet Knight-loving media elites in New York City will make will be all over the map.

They’ll point out that the Pac-10 was undefeated in pointless bowl games this year but they’ll shun any further analysis of match-ups and forget how little credit the Big East received for going undefeated in bowl games a couple years ago.

They’ll point out that Utah’s Mountan West conference went 8-2 against so-called real BCS conference teams in the mighty Pac-10 and SEC.

They’ll argue that Texas deserves the title because they beat Oklahoma in a so-called neutral venue in Texas and that a Texas Tech team that beat Texas didn’t have the same argument for a spot in the Big 12 championship because of how many touchdowns they lost to Oklahoma by.

They’ll argue that Oklahoma beat top 25 teams Florida, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, TCU and Missouri and that Texas beat only four (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Ohio State).

They’ll argue that Texas only beat a team USC blew out in the regular season by three without taking into account time off, match-ups or any of the other factors that make final scores largely irrelevant.

They’ll argue that teams in the Pac-10 and Big 10 should have to play a conference championship game like those in the SEC and Big 12. And that the Rose Bowl is a joke.

They’ll argue that Utah should have scheduled better non-conference opponents even though we all know that big schools only need to win their conference to be in the mix for a title and want nothing to do with talented mid-majors with an axe to grind.

They’ll argue that teams that start the season with zero chance to win a national title based on reputation and how a team looks on paper should be allowed to compete for a title elsewhere.

They’ll even argue, as Salon.com’s King Kaufman has, that a case can be made for virtually any team — Tulane University was 2-10, but did beat Louisiana-Monroe, who beat Troy, who beat Middle Tennessee, who beat Maryland, who beat Mississippi, who beat Florida and Texas Tech, who beat Texas, who beat Oklahoma.

And so on.

For even the fans who get what they wanted in the end, the nonsense of how good the team you lost to was, what teams the teams you beat beat, what conference is better or worse, how a team would have faired without an untimely injury or two, whether or not a two touchdown win is a blowout kind of arguments will likely leave a bad taste.

I mean, does any legitimate fan really want their team to win by a technicality or have opponents foaming at the mouth for months even years about how their team that didn’t play in a conference championship game or play in the “title” were really the best team that year?

I still have mixed emotions about Kansas winning a basketball championship because of missed free throws and that was in a sensible college sport where the undisputed champ is decided on a court and not by computer, human votes and weird tie-breakers.

Debate in sports is inevitable, good for sportswriters and bloggers and even enjoyable to a point. But debating whether or not a team should be included in an eight-game playoff would be as memorable or important in the long run as the arguments over the field of 64 in college basketball once a team proves its worth winning three straight games against elite opponents to win an undisputed national championship.

Arguments for or against USC, Utah and Texas having a shot at a national title wouldn’t have much to stand on if a champion was decided where every other major college and pro sport decides it– on the field of play.

Photo by Michael Ralph

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