Oklahoma and Ohio State: A Tale of Two BCS Records
It's pretty clear that, since 2000, the Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12) and the Ohio State Buckeyes (Big 10) have been the class of their respective conferences. They each have a National Championship and multiple BCS Bowl appearances to show for their efforts.
The difference: Oklahoma is 0-4 in their last 4 BCS appearances, while Ohio State is 3-1. So, then, why does Ohio State bear the brunt of such "they don't belong" criticism from many media types while Oklahoma is generally lauded?
Stewart Mandel, writing at Sports Illustrated wonders the same thing:
It's pretty puzzling to me how the same coach, Bob Stoops, who won a national championship in his second season, won nine of his first 10 games against top-10 foes and to this day has an absolutely sterling overall record has now lost four straight BCS bowl games, three of which his team was widely expected to win, two of which have been absolute blowouts. It's equally puzzling why Oklahoma has not suffered anywhere near the same backlash that Ohio State -- 3-1 in BCS games under Jim Tressel -- has endured for its sole bad showing a year ago.(emphasis added)
Here's more from Mandel on the "Buckeye Backlash":
NEW ORLEANS -- Ohio State offensive lineman Alex Boone said he was watching College Football Live recently when he saw a fan comment scroll across the bottom of the screen that said, "If Ohio State loses this game [to LSU], they should be banned [from the national championship] for five years.
"Gosh," he said to himself. "People really do hate us."
There are no official records to support this contention, but it's entirely possible no team in the history of college football has ever endured as much backlash over the result of one lopsided loss as the Buckeyes have in the 12 months since their 41-14 defeat to Florida in last year's national championship game.
Oklahoma lost 55-19 to USC in 2005 and somehow managed to survive with its reputation in tact. Florida's 62-24 loss to Nebraska in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl did little to dampen the aura surrounding Steve Spurrier and the Gators during their subsequent title run the next season.
Yet despite winning all three of its previous BCS appearances under Jim Tressel (including the 2002 national championship over Miami), despite winning 30 of their past 32 games, last year's Debacle in the Desert somehow became a public referendum against not only Ohio State but its entire conference.
This year, just like last year, Ohio State (11-1) enters Monday's championship game as the nation's No. 1 team. However, whereas the Buckeyes entered last year's Florida game as prohibitive favorites, they've been deemed the underdog this time despite having a better record than LSU (11-2). Their legitimacy was questioned literally the entire regular season, and there are no shortage of critics who feel they don't belong in the top 10, nevertheless the top two.
Mandel also has an interesting piece on the future of the BCS. Looks like a playoff is NEVER likely to happen (thank God), but that some other options short of a playoff may be in the works, including a "plus-one" game that would feature a match-up of the top 2 rated teams left standing after the bowl games.
You may recall that my view is that college football should just return to the traditional bowl match-ups and scrap the BCS fraud altogether. However, I would be open to a hybrid system that featured the traditional bowl match-ups followed by a "plus-one" game a week later.