One thing I've always found comical in sports is how we often rely on failed sports figures to provide us detailed commentary on the most crucial stories of the day. One example is Lee Corso, who had a fairly uneventful coaching career at Louisville, Indiana and Northwestern.
Yet he is one of the most important figures in college football today and his success, along with College GameDay, has opened the sport to far more mediums than were there even ten years ago.
Which is the cruel irony in this. A once has been, fired after a failure, wields more influence today than most great coaches of the past. John Robinson, who guided the USC Trojans to a national championship, fell into college football obscurity after receiving his pink slip in 1997. When he finally returned to coaching -- taking the job at UNLV -- and subsequently retiring in 2004, Corso quipped it was an embarrassment that the Rebels would lose to Colorado State 45-10 in his second to last game ever. This comment was made live in Salt Lake City, hours before the Holy War.
A failed coach, turned college football icon, reporting on the end of an era for a coach many don't even remember, yet one who attained greatness. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, as Corso obviously has what it takes to be successful on television. But is he successful because of his shtick or because he's actually providing quality insight into the game of football? I have a hard time accepting that it's the latter.
Which takes me to this interview with Corso from the South Bend Tribune, since he brings up Utah.
"I hear the Mountain West Conference wants a college football playoff," the ESPN college football analyst mused. "Ah, forget about it, the Mountain West. It's not going to happen anyway, because the (college) presidents don't want it, and all they have to do is say 'no,' and they don't even have to give you a reason."
This comment doesn't even bother me much, since it's actually true. We're not going to get a playoff no matter how much we complain about the current system. It just isn't going to happen. In fact, it's far more likely college football reverts to the system they had prior to the BCS than embrace any sort of playoff.
But as I said, that comment was rather light and it's hard to argue. However, as Corso does so well, he just couldn't shut his mouth and had to push further.
"They went crazy, because they beat an Alabama team that didn't want to be there," Corso said of Utah. "They didn't beat the Alabama team that played Florida four weeks before that."Congratulations! Good! But they have no complaint. The Associated Press has their own champions, and enough people in the AP poll didn't think they deserved to be champions. They didn't play enough good teams over and over to get a shot at the national title."
Excuse me, Lee? They didn't beat the Alabama team that Florida played four weeks before the Sugar Bowl? If you're going to throw out excuses for 'Bama laying a huge egg in the Sugar Bowl, at least make it original. Yeesh, you're rehashing a pathetic talking point from months ago and seriously, it was stale then and it's stale now. But then again, when it comes to Corso, everything is out of date. That's part of the shtick that has endeared him to so many college football fans over the years.
Believe it or not, though, that wasn't the dumbest comment from Corso during the interview.
"The BCS has its flaws, but not that many," he said. "I wouldn't change a thing.If you want to talk about a team that got messed up in the national championship picture, it was Southern California.
"They were the best team in the nation that I saw last year. They would have beaten Florida by at least 10 points. Their defense was unbelievable."
Anyone else see the contradiction in his argument?
Firstly, he admits the BCS has its flaws, but unfortunately follows it up with the statement that there aren't many. Well that's fine, but you only need one gaping hole in the side of a plane to bring that sucker down. The BCS might not be riddled with holes, but it has one major one that even he concedes and it's that we never really know who the best team in the country is. And we don't know this because, well, there isn't a playoff.
So Corso thinks USC was the best team he saw last year (funny, since he called their game where they lost to Oregon State) and then speculates they would beat Florida by at least 10-points. Well that's just dandy, Lee, but this game of football shouldn't be played in your feeble little mind.
And that is the biggest flaw that undermines the BCS entirely. People like you get to decide who the best teams are in the nation and in the end, it is entirely subjective. You think the Trojans -- who lost to a team Utah beat -- deserved a spot in the title game and who knows, maybe they did. But what proof, outside of opinion and prejudice, do you have to back up such a claim?
The fact is, no one ever has proof. I can't say for sure the Utes were the best team in the nation last year, because they weren't given a chance to prove it in a tournament fashion. What I do know is that supporters of the BCS have consistently said the regular season acts as a playoff and as Boise State in 2006 and Utah last season proved, it does not. That's a lie.
Yet we're supposed to believe the BCS gets it more right than another system would. Well the fact even Lee Corso suggests Florida might not be the best team in the nation is proof enough the BCS will never be more right. So yeah, it might have only a few flaws in his eyes, but one of those flaws is bigger than any flaw that could come from any true playoff.
It's a shame he can't realize this.
But then that would require forward thinking and unfortunately, Corso is too tied to the past for that.