Sunday, December 02, 2007

Buckeyes Appear Set for BCS Title Game

With both teams ranked ahead of them losing Saturday night, it looks like the Ohio State Buckeyes are headed back to the BCS Title Game for the 3rd time since 2002. I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I'm happy that Ohio State has another opportunity to play for the National Championship.

But on the other hand, I am NOT a fan of the BCS (preferring the traditional Bowl alignments that existed prior to the advent of the BCS), and would much rather see the Buckeyes in a traditional Rose Bowl match-up against Pac-10 champion USC than in some contrived match-up against some other team (perhaps not even a conference champion) voted into a contrived "title" game.

Furthermore, the way this season has ended - without a clear-cut favorite for the National Championship - is sure to lead to whining and crying from the usual suspects about how we need a playoff for Division 1-A college football. My response to that is this: EVERY WEEK was a "playoff" this year in college football, with more teams having had a legitimate shot at going to the BCS Title Game than ever before (sometimes getting more than one shot after losing once and coming back); the fact is that those teams didn't get it done in important games with the title on the line. Period. Don't come crying now for a 2nd (or even 3rd) bite at the apple when you couldn't beat the also-rans in your own conferences.

Truthfully, that applies to Ohio State as well. They blew it when they lost to Illinois. The Buckeyes should consider themselves extremely fortunate that, after finishing their season with a win over arch-rival Michigan, they were able to sit back and watch every team ranked ahead of them lose.

(Can we please just go back to the traditional Bowl match-ups, with the focus on winning your own conference championship and then winning your Bowl game, and get away from this inane chase for the "BCS title", which really doesn't definitively decide anything anyway?)

I suspect that the Buckeyes will be matched up against either LSU or USC in the big game.

Personally, I think USC is - at this point - playing the best football and probably deserves to go to the game. Of course, the Trojans have that loss to Stanford earlier in the year on their record, so that weighs against them. Nevertheless that pairing would at least have the benefit of preserving the traditional Big 10 vs. Pac-10 Rose Bowl match-up, only moving it to New Orleans rather than Pasadena.

Most likely, however, I think the LSU Tigers - who won the SEC Championship Game on Saturday - are likely headed to the BCS Title Game (thanks to Tennessee's Erik Ainge playing like Erik Ainge in the 4th quarter). No doubt, the Tigers will be a huge favorite playing in their own backyard down in New Orleans.

At this point, all that remains is for the computers to "decide" which teams will be playing.

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