If Oklahoma State and LSU win out, they will play for the BCS title. However, the Cowboys have rival Oklahoma waiting on Dec 3, and an entirely conceivable loss there could place the BCS in quite the sticky wicket. The formula would spit out a second team to face LSU, but popular perception would question whether it was the right one. There may not be a right one.
Oregon and Alabama are logical answers. They are presently the next two highest teams under the BCS formula. Their accomplishments are virtually indistinguishable. The Ducks and Crimson Tide are both 9-1. Both lost to No. 1 LSU. Their Sagarin schedule strengths – Alabama (20) and Oregon (26) – are nearly identical. Both teams are 1-1 against the Sagarin top 10 and 2-1 against the top 30.
Winning out, Alabama would still be 2-1 against Sagarin’s top 30 unless Auburn squeaks in. Oregon would be 3-1 with a win over USC. Oregon would have a conference title and an extra win. Alabama would bring SEC awesomeness and not having been beaten in regulation. Both would have compelling cases, but more compelling than Oklahoma?
The Sooners hiccuped at home to Texas Tech. Struggling with injuries, they lost a game where they were 28 point favorites. How you value that depends on how you judge teams. Does the best team have the least embarrassing loss or the best overall resume? Oklahoma has the worst loss, but has played the sixth hardest Sagarin-rated schedule, with Baylor and OSU left on the docket. Winning out, they could be 3-0 against the top 10 and 8-0 against the top 30. Would they not have a compelling case?
Some years the BCS formula will work. Some years it won’t. If it does it occurs by chance, because the formula itself is a smorgasbord of flagrant nonsense that does little to end the debate. The simplest solution is to ensure all the best teams every year have a chance to prove themselves conclusively through their play, rather than their politicking. The method of selecting and organizing said teams should be conference champions and wild cards through a simple, statistically sound formula. Playoffs are done in every other sport and at every other level of organized football. They work.
[Photo via Getty]