Wednesday, January 08, 2014

5 Thoughts On The Last BCS Title Game

The BCS, shown actual size

And none of them are about Jameis Winston, because until the inevitable independent investigation and the civil litigation happen, what's the point:


It may have been "replaced" by a "playoff", but it's the equivalent of Bobby Valentine putting on a fake mustache and glasses and popping back into the dugout. The BCS was basically an invitation-only party where the hosts made up the rules and only let the cool kids play (except when Mom said they had to invite the nerdy kid, too, but the nerdy kid had to sit at a different table and play Oklahoma and not get any cake or ice cream). The playoff will be an invitation-only party where the hosts made up the rules and only the cool kids get to play; in all honesty, the one significant change is that it's even harder for the nerd schools to get invited now. So keep all your complaining about the polls and the computers and the BCS standings. Next year you can lightly retouch them and complain about the polls and the computers and who's likely to get invited to the "playoff". They'll hardly notice the difference.


Florida State won, so we're being subjected to a lot of "team of destiny" and "overcoming adversity" nonsense. Six inches the other way on Auburn's last play and we're talking "8 years of SEC dominance". It was a very good and very even game, one that matched Florida State against its only opponent with a pulse all year. Kudos to them for pulling it off, even if it took some rabbit-out-of-hat magic to do so; they won the game. Anything more than that is meaningless - six inches, over the course of a season, is nothing.


Much is being made of the fact that Tim Tebow got the score of the game mostly right, which can safely be filed under "Blind leopard" until he does it a few dozen more times. But the line had FSU heavily favored, and the pundits largely agreed. They pointed to Auburn's cliffhanger season and FSU's undefeated record, and that pretty much covered it. The only thing anyone could find in Auburn's favor was that they'd played close games, so they had an advantage if FSU didn't blow them out of the stadium.

This blog actually picked Auburn, for the simple reason that Auburn had an actual running game, and actual running games gave FSU the closest thing to fits it had all year. Run the ball, keep Jameis Winston on the sideline, and punch it in, and that was a recipe for beating FSU. Would have worked, too, if they hadn't had a special teams brain freeze in the 4th, one that will have conspiracy theorists going back over Megacast footage like it's a cross  between Zapruder and Patterson-Gimlin.
But the fact remains that the Greek chorus of ex-jocks and fancifully coiffed "experts" were all pretty much in unison on this one, and all pretty much wrong.


Seriously. Catch the last quarter of the Bowl, or whatever the heck it was. The similarities between Ball State-Arkansas State and Auburn-FSU are eerie*.

OK, maybe not that eerie, but I just got you to watch Ball State postseason football. So that's something.


Others have documented it much better, but it is important to remember before the warm glow of nostalgia overwhelms us, that the BCS was awful. It distorted schedules. It distorted athletic budgets and the institutions that supported them. It created terrible football games. It kicked off the ridiculous nonsense that was and is conference realignment. It was corrupt and greedy and generated so much know-nothing hot air you'd think it was Murray Chass talking about the pharmaceutical industry. Oh, and it was an excuse for a zillion beefy wannabe ex-jocks to fart orally about "the computers" somehow ruining college football, when those computer polls were nerfed into oblivion by the human coaches and writers they used as most of their data. It was a terrible thing and it is good that it is gone. What replaces it is probably also going to be terrible, but that's next year's problem.
For now, Smaug - and there is no better metaphor for the BCS than an evil, reptilian, murderous greedhead curled up on a pile of someone else's gold, is dead.  

*The interim coach for Arkansas State repeatedly gave credit for his team's win to God. This was the second year in a row he coached the team in a bowl game after the regular season head coach left for a better gig; today, he's unemployed. One would hope that the Supreme Being, should Adonai actually deign to pay attention to football, would actually care more about providing a stable environment for the kids on the team by ensuring enduring guidance and leadership, or maybe continued employment for this guy, or possibly even the divine gift of a new logo that doesn't look like a 14 year old came up with it in MS Paint for his Blood Bowl team. Then again, the Lord moves in mysterious ways.

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