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National championship should excite, but this year’s BCS lineup is a snoozer

Notre Dame Football AP

As far as the BCS championship is concerned, viewers are going to get the game they want: Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

You couldn’t pack more hate or intrigue into a single game. In one corner, you have the Tide appearing in its third title game in four years. A win would instantly bring about the term “dynasty” and there simply is no other team that represents the face of SEC dominance in college football like Alabama right now. And the insufferable “S-E-C!” chants? You better believe they’ll be loud and clear if Alabama hoists another crystal football.

In the other corner, you have the Irish. What bass-ackwards, Twilight Zone do we live in where Notre Dame — you know, the irrelevant yet extremely relevant program with its own TV deal and privileged bowl agreement — can be the team to give the SEC its comeuppance?

You can understand why any college football site *ahem* would be giddy about such a match-up for the next four weeks (hint: page views and page views and page views and page views and page views and page views and…).

Or, Jan. 7 will roll around and the game could be a total bust. Nobody in the right mind hopes that it is, but with the rest of the BCS slate looking rather ehhhhhh, the national title can have season-defining qualities.

Oh sure, there are other intriguing storylines. The Fiesta Bowl pits Kansas State and Oregon, two teams that could have met in a nonconference game that wasn’t and at one time last month looked to be on a collision course for the national title. But some other BCS games? Not as much.

Take the Rose Bowl for example. Wisconsin blew the doors off Nebraska in the Big Ten championship and made us all wonder where in the hell that was all season, but the Badgers are still a five-loss team. Even UConn didn’t have five losses when it went to the Fiesta Bowl a couple of years ago and got stomped by Oklahoma.


Speaking of the Sooners, they have to be all kinds of mad that they got bumped from the Sugar Bowl because Northern Illinois made it into the BCS top 16 (No. 15 in fact). Now, Florida will face Louisville in New Orleans and the Huskies will try to upset Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Compelling? Not overly unless you enjoy the possibility of major upsets. For some reason, that’s lost more on college football than it is in, say, college basketball. There were people who hated Boise State once the Broncos started winning consistently on the national stage.

But don’t be mad at NIU for altering the BCS lineup and start spouting off about how the Huskies don’t “deserve” to be in an upper-echelon game. Deserving went flying out the window and smashed into your car on the street years ago. Did Georgia Tech deserve a shot at the Orange Bowl this year after backing into the ACC title game? Did Michigan or Virginia Tech deserve bids to the Sugar Bowl this past year? Did Oklahoma deserve the right to get manhandled by USC while fellow undefeated Auburn sat back and watched following the 2004 season?

The answer is sort of; what ties those cases together is that each team took advantage of what the system provided them. Northern Illinois played it just like everybody else this year. When Vanderbilt coach James Franklin casts a coaches’ poll ballot — those are used in determining the BCS standings — where he ranks undefeated Notre Dame fourth and his own 8-4 Commodores 16th, there shouldn’t be a problem with NIU getting a little love.

The BCS is tragically comical, like a circus clown trying to jump through a hoop of fire on a tricycle with one busted wheel. You know that clown’s not going to make it, and it’s going to be awful when he doesn’t, but the thought of a flaming clown running around with dudes trying to extinguish him is too tempting.

In that spirit, we’ll all still watch the BCS games this year. I’ll watch because my job requires me to keep track of all kinds of football no matter how fugly it is. Remember the scene in “A Clockwork Orange” when Malcolm McDowell‘s character has his eyes pried open for the Ludovico technique? Yeah, like that was last year’s Orange Bowl for me. And you’ll watch because no matter how busted the system is, we’re all hoping that the BCS affords us some good games.

Even if it doesn’t look so good now.

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32 Responses to “National championship should excite, but this year’s BCS lineup is a snoozer”
  1. vanmorrissey says: Dec 3, 2012 5:41 PM

    Add in the fact USC went down the toilet and Ohio State has to endure the postseason ban, more reasons NIU got to slip upwards. Oh, and Texas sucking big time, just a confluence of events. No matter how much ESPN hates it, we’ll still watch or at least it makes us pay attention to see what Lynch can do against a ‘big time’ team, cough. And ESPN will promote it since, like all but 2 bowls, its on ESPN (or ABC).

  2. wustlumdnj says: Dec 3, 2012 5:43 PM

    There should be no AQ’s in these major bowls. Congratulations to 8-5 Wisconsin for the Big 10 title, but they should be nowhere near a top bowl based on their performance this season.

  3. scalpemseminoles says: Dec 3, 2012 5:47 PM

    I liked Franklin uuntil I saw his poll

  4. cometkazie says: Dec 3, 2012 5:58 PM

    Butt ugly bowl season.

  5. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 3, 2012 6:11 PM

    While maybe the games don’t all look that great on paper why don’t we wait until the games are actually played. Just because a BCS bowl has 2 names we all recognize doesn’t mean it will be a game worth watching. Didn’t Oklahoma lose by 30 to LSU in the champ game a few years back? Yeah great game that was.

  6. southernpatriots says: Dec 3, 2012 6:11 PM


    Is there going to be a change with the playoff system coming? Will any of the same influences or decision-makers assemble the teams for those? This season’s bowls apart from the BCS NCG is truly a disappointment. (and I was thinking I would have to arrange to DVR many bowls since I will be working hard during that time in Appalachia).

  7. irishdodger says: Dec 3, 2012 6:12 PM

    “When Vanderbilt coach James Franklin casts a coaches’ poll ballot – those are used in determining the BCS standings — where he ranks undefeated Notre Dame fourth and his own 8-4 Commodores 16th”

    This alone should be enough to dispose of the Coaches Poll. The AP isn’t even this biased.

  8. lrg51 says: Dec 3, 2012 6:30 PM

    The bowl committees used to do a much better job selecting top teams. Yeah, I know… some programs got pissed because they felt like they did not got a fair shot at the big bowls.

    Well… this is the result we get.

  9. thegamecocker says: Dec 3, 2012 6:31 PM


    Nah, ND deserves a #4 AT BEST. But Vandy at #16 is James Franklin getting together wiht “Mary Jane” and believing the dream…….

  10. thegamecocker says: Dec 3, 2012 6:32 PM

    The word is “with” and not “wiht”…….my bad.

  11. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 3, 2012 6:32 PM

    It was easier to get good bowl games when there were only around 10 games. When there’s 30 the quality tends to suffer.

  12. thegamecocker says: Dec 3, 2012 6:41 PM


    Strongly AGREE!!

  13. chc4 says: Dec 3, 2012 6:42 PM

    FSU/Georgia and Florida/Oklahoma would be great matchups. Instead we get Louisville and Northern freakin’ Illinois. Welcome to the social welfare system that is the BCS.

  14. effjohntaylornorelation says: Dec 3, 2012 7:03 PM

    The various second place finishers bowls are much better matchups.

  15. udub says: Dec 3, 2012 7:26 PM

    I don’t get why people are angry N. Illinois got in the BCS. Sure they didn’t belong, but this is what you get when you whine about the Boise State/TCU/Utah teams of the past having a hard time getting in. You get what you ask for. If a non-AQ only has to finish in the top 16 to get to the BCS if other factors like Louisville and Wisconsin being terrible happen then this is what you get.

    Having to finish in the top 16 doesn’t mean it’s only acceptable if you finish a lot higher than 16th, or only if you’re undefeated…it just means finishing in the top 16.

    This is what the same people whined about wanting to happen and now you want Oklahoma instead.

    Can’t have it both ways

  16. immafubared says: Dec 3, 2012 7:49 PM

    I guarantee I can snooze real good through most of these bowl games, no problemo

  17. basset11hound says: Dec 3, 2012 7:51 PM

    The BCS Championship game has some merit w/Dame being undefeated, but why is Bama favored over K-State or Oregon….a consistent arguement for the playoffs. And that match-up in the Fiesta might be the best. The BCS system is a complete disaster, always has been. These clowns need to finally get the hell out of Dodge.

  18. cometkazie says: Dec 3, 2012 8:04 PM

    You have 11 basset hounds?

    I have only two.

  19. snaxdsp says: Dec 3, 2012 8:15 PM

    @brew……….21-14 LSU. Nice guess though

  20. sssjim7 says: Dec 3, 2012 9:01 PM

    I think it is great NUI made it… I could care less if nobody gives them a chance… it is why college basketball tournament is so great… everyone gets to dream.

    There is no difference between the BCS bowls and the rest of the bowls, other than a group of greedy men got together and tried to keep all the money for themselves… the teams aren’t better and the games generally aren’t the best.

    Everyone is screaming about Oklahoma not going to a BCS bowl… but honestly, the Cotton bowl looks like a great matchup. Nothing wrong with the cotton bowl… except the perception that if you don’t get in a BCS bowl you missed out.

    Another example of money ruining the game…

    Personally, I can’t wait for the LSU-Clemson game… or the Carolina-Michigan game… :)

    Just my .02

  21. sssjim7 says: Dec 3, 2012 9:21 PM

    Oh, one more comment… I don’t know if it is just me or not… but I really hate the automatic BCS ty-ins… especially these two games:

    #4 Florida is playing #22 Louisville
    #6 Georgia is playing #23 Nebraska

    Nothing against Louisville or Nebraska, but if they played each other it would make for a better game. I really wanted to see Florida and Georgia play Oregon and K-State… but somehow they got matched up against each other…

    Bummer… I wanted to watch the offense vs defense battles…

    We pretty much learned the ACC doesn’t match up against the SEC this year on the last week of the season, but I still have to wonder how the PAC -12 and Big 12 would fair… but since the BCS has them playing each other, we will never know…

    Why can’t the BCS bowls swap out teams?


  22. vincentbojackson says: Dec 3, 2012 9:38 PM

    Looks like a good bowl lineup to me.

    Besides, the only bowl that matters is the National Championship game. The rest of the bowls are just cash grabs and glorified exhibition games. If you don’t like the match ups, then just locate the off switch on your TV and press.

  23. mcjon22 says: Dec 3, 2012 10:57 PM

    They should completely do away with pre-arranged conferences going to certain BCS Bowls along with AQ for teams not ranked in the top 16. Also, if you are in a non BCS conference you should have to finish in the top 8 to get in, not top 16.

    The Rose bowl shouldn’t always be a PAC 12 or Big 10 team. The Fiesta shouldn’t always be the landing spot for the big 12, and the ACC champ shouldn’t always get to go to South Beach.

    An SEC school in the Rose bowl would be cool. I’m sure Oregon rather be going to South beach in stead of Tempe, and so on. They need to spice it up. It’s getting stale

  24. justheb says: Dec 4, 2012 12:08 AM

    Mormons & Catholics vs.

    Roll Damn Tide is a Joke!!!

  25. truefootballinsight says: Dec 4, 2012 1:27 AM

    Don’t hate Franklin, every coach votes this way, they all put their interests first.

  26. bbeaman78 says: Dec 4, 2012 4:17 AM

    Take NIU out of the BCS there would have been nice match ups. NON-AQ’s need form a subdivision of Division 1. NIU absolutely has made it even more obvious that the 2014 version if the college football’s final 4 can’t arrive soon enough!

  27. dcroz says: Dec 4, 2012 8:24 AM


    Let me turn that question around: Why would Oregon and K-State be favored over Alabama for the other slot in the BCS? Oregon only played two teams that finished the season ranked (Stanford and Oregon State) and was 1-1 against them. ‘Bama, on the other hand, played three teams that finished in the top 10, and won two of those games. While ‘Bama and K-State both won their conferences and only had one loss, the Tide’s was to #10 Texas A&M by five points; the ‘Cats’ was to a 7-5 Baylor team by four touchdowns. And also Alabama won the conference that finished with six of the top 10 teams in the BCS poll. So, like it or not, the Tide has the stronger argument against both the Ducks and the Wildcats.

  28. dcroz says: Dec 4, 2012 8:46 AM

    And why do the bowls suck? Because contrary to what some posters seem to think, there is no “bowl selection committee” that chooses who goes where. Instead, matchups are decided by contractural bowl tie-ins that automatically determine who gets first choice from the conferences affiliated with that bowl, in addition to the slots in the BCS Bowls.

    For the ten BCS slots, six automatically go to the champions of the AQ conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big XII, ACC, Big East, PAC-12), one goes to Notre Dame if it meets contracturally-defined criteria (it did this year), one goes to the top-finishing non-AQ conference if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of the champ of at least one AQ conference (hello, NIU), and one automatically goes to the highest-ranked non-conference winner if it finishes in the top three (Florida). So, nine of the ten slots were taken because the BCS rules said they were, leaving Oregon as the only true “at-large” team.

    As for the non-BCS games, let’s take the Capital One Bowl between Georgia and Nebraska as an example. By contract, the Capital One Bowl gets the first selection from the SEC and Big Ten once the BCS teams are set, and except under certain circumstances, that must be the top-ranked teams remaining from each conference. Hence, the Dawgs and the ‘Huskers are playing not because some committee determined it is the best match available, but because the rules say that is the match they must have. Or look at the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, which has the #6 SEC team (if you can call a #8-ranked LSU team that) against the #2 ACC team (Clemson). You think the Chik-Fil-A folks really wanted that matchup as opposed to, say, LSU vs. Oklahoma?

    And yet, before the BCS, the Chik-Fil-A (or Peach Bowl as it was then known) would have been free to negotiate the best matchup it could get. That’s because before 1998, the only bowl tie-ins were the Rose Bowl (PAC-10 vs. Big Ten champs), Sugar (SEC champs), and Fiesta (Big XII champs); prior to the Big 8-SWC merger, the Big 8 champ went to the Orange and the SWC champ to the Cotton. (Also, the WAC champ went to the Holiday, a fact no one cared about except for 1984 when BYU won the national title.) And that was it. The opponents in those games, and the slots in every other bowl in existence, were determined by the bowls themselves making the best matches they could. Alabama and USC played in the 1985 Aloha Bowl in Hawai’i; now, the only way that matchup could happen would be in a BCS game, because there are no bowls featuring an SEC-PAC-12 matchup. Same is true for Notre Dame and Alabama, unless it is in the BBVA-Compass bowl as it is the only SEC-Big East matchup available (ND can be selected in place of a Big East team even though it does not play football in that conference; this will change to the ACC starting next year).

    So, yes, the bowl lineup is a mess, but it’s not because of an incompetent committee. It’s instead from the efforts by conference commissioners to ensure they get as many of their teams into bowl games as possible. The result is often not really pretty.

  29. cometkazie says: Dec 4, 2012 9:26 AM

    Confuse ’em with the facts, dcroz.

    I appreciate your taking the time to research it and present it to the list.

    Trouble is the Yahoos won’t read it as it is more than five lines long and way too early in the morning.

  30. ironmike778 says: Dec 4, 2012 12:24 PM

    Some of the best bowl games are always the ones that look ugly on paper.

  31. tazchiefpu says: Dec 5, 2012 1:02 AM

    Snoozer Bowls ! This article is right on the point… what a sad state of affairs … how can the element of computers and humans have botched these match ups so badly? seriously, 35 Bowls and there is less than a handful worth considering to watch as compared to the regular season match-ups where there are easily one to two games a Saturday worth seeing and practically must sees… What a joke…

  32. tazchiefpu says: Dec 5, 2012 1:13 AM

    it does not matter what system and/or method is employed if in the end you are going to end of with some cockamamie logic that has the #3 rank team in the nation playing the 21st ranked one in a major BCS bowl…

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