Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gather Up Your Flock, Here Comes BCS Armageddon

"I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven." - Gary Oldman, "The Professional"

All I can say is, UH OH.

The Oklahoma Sooners are currently pasting the Red Raiders out of Texas Tech. Seriously, this game is over and the second quarter just started.

So that means only the Alabama Crimson Tide stands as the persevering unbeaten from a Bowl Championship Series conference. And they still have the Florida Gators looming on the horizon. A Gator team that just put up 70 points.

Granted, it was against the Citadel.

But two things can be taken from this game: what in the hell is Florida doing playing the Citadel in November and 70 points is an impressive output against anyone who can run and see. It is also totally unnecessary and, honestly, a little obscene.

But I'd be at least a little more concerned if I were a member of the Crimson Tide faithful or team.

It's almost inevitable that college football will be staring at a host of one-loss teams from the power conferences plus at least one undefeated team from a "lesser" conference. Possibly two or three. Look at the potential logjam if things play out perfectly, which also happens to be according to expectation:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide - would finish 12-1 if they beat the Auburn Tigers and lose to the Gators. Their signature wins would be over the LSU Tigers (7-3) and Georgia Bulldogs (9-2). Their loss would be to the Gators (10-1) at a neutral site.

2. Texas Tech Red Raiders - would finish 11-1 if they beat the Baylor Bears. Their signature wins would be over the Texas Longhorns (10-1) and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2). Lost to Oklahoma (10-1) on the road.

3. Texas Longhorns - would finish 11-1 if they beat the Texas A&M Aggies. Their signature wins would be over the Oklahoma Sooners (10-1) and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2). Lost to Texas Tech (10-1) on the road.

4. Florida Gators - would finish 12-1 if they beat the Florida State Seminoles and Alabama. Their signature wins would be over the Seminoles (7-3), the Tide (11-0), Georgia (9-2), and LSU (7-3). Lost to the Mississippi Rebels (7-4) at home.

5. Oklahoma Sooners - would finish 11-1 if they beat Oklahoma State. Their signature wins would be over Texas Tech (10-1) and Oklahoma State (9-2). Lost to Texas (10-1) at home.

6. USC Trojans - would finish 11-1 if they beat the Notre Dame Fightin' Irish and the UCLA Bruins. Their signature wins would be over the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) and the Oregon Ducks (8-3). Lost to the Oregon State Beavers (8-3) on the road.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions - finished 11-1. Their signature wins are over the Michigan State Spartans (9-3), Ohio State (10-2), and Oregon State (8-3). Lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) on the road.

And then you have the Utah Utes, who finished undefeated, but list either Oregon State or the BYU Cougars as their best win. The cases are even weaker for the likely-to-finish-undefeated Boise State Broncos (at Oregon) and the Ball State Cardinals (crickets).

How do you sift through that clutter? Seven teams from four BCS conferences.

The three Big 12 teams are a mess because they've all beaten and lost to each other (complicating matters - today's game doesn't look like it's going to even be close as it's now halftime and the score's a 117-6). Not only that, but the only other signature win is against Oklahoma State for all three teams.

USC and Penn State pose problems because their best wins are over good teams from watered-down conferences. And yet, each school's only lost came to a pretty good divisional foe on the road.

Alabama would pose a problem because how can you bounce Alabama after spending the entire year at the top and losing in the conference title game (which neither USC nor Penn State must face)? To a scorching Florida squad?

Florida would pose a problem because, if you can't bump Alabama, how can you bump the team that just beat them? And what if Florida destroys the Crimson Tide? Plus, the Gators have beaten more strong teams than the other contenders while suffering the worst defeat.

And what of Utah, Boise State, and Ball State?

They beat everyone they could convince to play them, but get penalized because no big boys will take that risk. So we don't even get to consider what the destined-for-greatness arm of Nate Davis could do for one night. One game. Four quarters.

If Doug Flutie did it, why can't Nate? After all, if he's not the first quarterback taken in next year's draft, there's something seriously amiss with the player-rating system.

Of course, a lot of this could be avoided if teams stumble in the next couple of weeks. Especially if Alabama can turn back the tide of conventional wisdom and catch Florida in its own death-roll.

But c'mon, who's rooting for that outside of Alabama and the halls of the BCS?

To borrow from another great lyricist, I'm rooting for meteor showers and tidal waves. For fault lines that cannot sit still.

I'm rooting for the End of Days, BCS-style. And I'm not alone.

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