The BCS rankings were released Sunday, and you know what that means: The controversy has begun.
It may be a blessing for college football, it may be a curse, who knows? Whatever your take is, the Bowl Controversy Series rankings surely make for the kind of midseason drama that is not possible in any other sport.
As much as I pine for a college football playoff — I put it on my Christmas and birthday list every year, highlighted, in bold and double-underlined — I’ll concede that the ensuing weekly shake-ups sure make me much more attentive on Saturdays.
And with USC banned from the Coaches’ Poll because of sanctions, you won’t see the Trojans holding a spot in the BCS. So with completely unbiased goggles on, let’s look at two things we learned from this season’s first incarnation of what amounts to the antithesis of all that is good in competitive sports:
1. If computers are going to one day dominate the human race, then God help us all.
In numerous works of science fiction, computers grasp control of humanity because they are more logical than the whimsical human race. Computers are supposed to be impartial and balanced.
We humans know Oregon and Boise State are the two best teams in the nation. They have both looked untouchable this season. Nobody has come within 10 points of Oregon, not even Stanford (No. 12 in the BCS).
But who gets the top spot in the BCS? Oklahoma. The Sooners, who struggled to beat Utah State and Air Force, somehow get credit for beating No. 19 Texas (more on them in a minute), and No. 17 Florida State, the most overrated 6-1 team in the nation.
Moving on, in two of the six computer rankings that go into the formula, LSU is the highest rated team in the land. A computer clearly can’t understand luck, which is the only way to spin the Tigers’ victories against Tennessee and Florida.
Coach Les Miles won those games despite himself, and we humans know this. Yet all a computer takes in is the data of wins and losses, then spits out a No. 6 ranking for undefeated LSU.
Then there is two-loss Texas, a team that gets demolished at home by a UCLA team that proceeded to lose by four touchdowns to Cal the next week.
Yet after a win against Nebraska, Texas is the highest-rated two-loss team in the BCS.
If the BCS is a computer’s idea of reason, then I’m thinking about frying my hard drive right now and running for the hills before it corrupts my brain. Apparently, there is no mathematical logarithm for common sense.
2. An undefeated Boise State will not make it to the BCS national title game.
The Broncos started so high in the AP rankings this season (No. 3) that this was supposed to be the year the little guy finally busted into the big time. Based on the fact that the Broncos, No. 2 in both human polls, still ended up No. 3 in the initial BCS standings makes it clear that they will continue getting bucked as the season progresses.
Any undefeated team (except for fellow underdogs TCU and Utah, of course) will end up going to the BCS title before Boise State. Oklahoma could coast to an undefeated mark. Oregon already handled the second-best Pac-10 team when it beat Stanford. The SEC teams will knock one another out, but it’s even possible that a one-loss Alabama or LSU could get to go ahead of the Broncos.
So why the love affair with Boise State?
True, its schedule is as WAC as its conference but every time Boise’s put in the national spotlight, it rises to the occasion, such as against TCU in the Fiesta Bowl last year or against Virginia Tech at the beginning of this season.
How much more do the Broncos have to prove? They can’t strengthen their nonconference schedule because no major conference wants to play them outside of the Pac-10.
There’s no question Boise State vs. Oregon would be the most exciting national championship matchup imaginable. Those offenses and those coaches going head-to-head would produce one for the ages.
But it’s just a pipe dream. It will never happen. This is why I loathe the BCS. I hate the slightest idea that you can measure the talent of a football team with numbers.
I can’t mathematically prove that Boise State and Oregon are the best teams in college football. There’s just a sense, a human inclination that no computer could ever comprehend.
Human intuition could be just as dangerous as logical computers. But based on the rankings this week, I’ll put my faith in the humans while the BCS methodically deprives college football of a true national championship.
“Middle Ground” runs Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.