Want to know what keeps the BCS from faltering? It's four simple letters: E-S-P-N.
You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. Unfortunately, the media sets the tone for this debate and when a good chunk are actually in favor of the current system, it's hard to establish any rebellion. The biggest outlet of them all, The World Wide Leader in Sports, might throw up a token pro-playoff article every once in a while, but when it comes down to it -- specifically now that ESPN owns the rights to the BCS -- they're firmly planted in the camp that houses the status quo.
That was made painfully obvious by a Heather Dinich blog post making the rounds today.
For starters, just who is Heather Dinich? Well you only have to look at her bio to see how woefully biased she really is.
Heather Dinich covered ACC and Big Ten football for five seasons before joining ESPN.com in November 2007. She's an Indiana grad but somehow her favorite day of the week is Saturday.
I'm not saying her opinion is automatically garbage because she's done nothing but cover BCS programs and attended a school currently in the BCS, but it does make her shilling for the BCS that more curious. Are we to take her seriously when it's clear she's nothing more than a mouthpiece for the current system?
But we won't let Dinich's past speak for her. That'd be too easy. Instead, how about we just let her column do that?
Because I think you'll find the bullshit stacked a mile high.
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman nailed it: If non-BCS teams like Utah want to work their way into contention for the national championship, they've got to beat teams like Oklahoma, Texas and play other gauntlet-type schedules the BCS conferences have to face. One of the reasons Florida earned a No. 1 ranking is because it beat LSU, Georgia, Alabama, etc. Beating Weber State and Utah State won't cut it.
Again with the tired strength of schedule argument. I guess she's got to get the easiest one out of the way first, right?
Well for starters, Utah beat Alabama and did it by a wider margin than Florida. Weber State? Sure, they're nothing, but how's that game any less pathetic than a game against the Citadel? The Gators played them and hell, at least Weber State made the FCS playoffs last year, all the Bulldogs could manage to do was win four-games.
But I'm to believe that FCS game is more impressive than Utah's because Florida played and beat an LSU team that went 8-5?
Forget that Utah went undefeated -- something Florida couldn't do. That doesn't matter, right? They played Georgia!
Well good. The Bulldogs were a great win for the Gators, but there is no game on the Utes schedule worse than Florida's loss -- at home -- to Ole Miss. Not Utah State, not San Diego State and certainly not Weber State. You know why, Heather? Because they won them all.
But let's look at this a bit further. What makes Florida's schedule that much better than Utah's? Is it because they play in the SEC? Maybe. But that doesn't explain how Tennessee, a team that sat tied with LSU in terms of conference losses, could get beat, at home, by Wyoming. Oh and did I mention those Cowboys only mustered one victory in their entire Mountain West schedule?
So Tennessee, who happened to win more SEC games than Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State, can't even beat a team tied for the worst record in the Mountain West -- at home! Yeah, I'm really buying this strength of schedule argument, Heather.
I also wouldn't call Hawaii, Miami (maybe ten years ago), Tennessee (again, maybe ten years ago), Arkansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and the Citadel (those pesky FCS teams) a gauntlet-type schedule. That's 8 teams Utah probably would have easily defeated this season. We already established they can beat Alabama , so now we're at 9-wins and counting.
Does anyone really believe the Utes couldn't knock off Georgia, Ole Miss or Florida State?
Now we're looking at a record nearly identical or better than what Florida produced last year.
So what's the point you're trying to make, Heather?
Problem is, Utah's Mountain West Conference opponents include UNLV (5-7), New Mexico (4-8), Wyoming (4-8) and San Diego State (2-8). For the most part, the BCS conferences go deeper. The ACC had an NCAA-record 10 bowl eligible teams last year. When it comes to strength of schedule, that's where Utah gets hurt, despite its wins over three ranked teams in TCU, BYU and Alabama. It's not Utah's fault, nor is it necessarily fair, but that's the way it is. And that's the way it will stay, especially if members of Congress continue to talk in circles like they did Tuesday.
Do the BCS conferences really go deeper year in and year out?
The SEC had how many great teams last season outside of Florida? Alabama? Utah beat 'em. Ole Miss doesn't count, because they weren't great. LSU? Five losses. Auburn? Fell off the map? Tennessee? We established they lost to Wyoming (who she lists). Georgia? Ok, I'll give you that. But who else?
Like the Mountain West, it seems the SEC was pretty much three teams deep, maybe four if you want to count Ole Miss.
The bottom of the SEC isn't all that great. In fact, it's just as putrid as the Mountain West.
But isn't that how it always is? Every conference has its elites at the top and deadweight at the bottom. Sure, you can make the argument Florida is better than Utah, but it's all subjective and no one really knows, since they didn't actually play. Yet they don't want to admit that, because then it shows the largest flaw in the current BCS system: everything is built on speculation and nothing more.
Well as a Utah fan, I'm here to speculate Utah is better than Florida.
What makes my opinion any less than those who actually have an impact? The fact is, the only difference is that my opinion doesn't count, theirs does. That's it. They're not tossing out a better argument than me, they've just got power behind their argument. I do not.
The Utah representatives in this hearing kept pointing out the conference's 6-1 record against the Pac-10. Well, the Pac-10 was probably the fourth-best conference last year, behind the ACC. Get a 6-1 record against the Big 12 or the SEC and then you've got an argument. Heck, then you've got yourself a BCS conference.
Well that's solid reasoning right there, right?
You're probably not getting it.
Who knows how good the Pac-Ten was. Who knows how good USC was. The fact is, we don't and college football shouldn't award its championship based on probability. That's ridiculous!
Let's ignore the fact Utah beat THREE teams from the major BCS conferences: Michigan (Big Ten), Oregon State (Pac Ten) and Alabama (SEC). That probably doesn't matter in her eyes, but then again, it probably should.
The point of this hearing was to help determine whether the BCS is really breaking any antitrust laws, and that question was debated and left unanswered. Just like the first hearing in the Senate, this one settled nothing. Utah had an outstanding undefeated season, a great football team, and a convincing win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Were they the best team in the country? We'll never know because they didn't play the schedule Florida did, nor did they play Florida.
Except it's not fact that Utah didn't play as tough as schedule Florida did. It's not fact because Florida and Utah didn't play the exact same teams from week one to week twelve.
That's why we should have a playoff.
You don't leave a national championship up to flawed perception. Just because you, Heather, feel Florida's schedule is far better than Utah's.
And why single Utah out for not playing Florida?
Last I checked, scheduling isn't one-sided here. Florida could schedule Utah, but let's see if you can get them to come to Salt Lake, Heather.
My guess, especially since Urban Meyer knows exactly what he's going up against, you can't.
Or are you suggesting it's only fair to have Utah travel across the country to take on a BCS team in their house, while that team doesn't have to come here?
Nice double standard. The Gators will always get the benefit of the doubt, even if they lose a game. Utah, though, has to defend 13-0 and no one dares question that one blemish on Florida's schedule.
Even if Utah had traveled and beat Florida, those telling us they need to do more would still say it's not good enough.
That's just the way it is.
Utah will start its 2009 season against Utah State, San Jose State, Oregon and Louisville. Only Oregon finished above .500 last year, and those opponents combined for a 24-25 record in 2008. Virginia Tech will play nonconference games against Alabama, Marshall, Nebraska and East Carolina, teams that combined for a 34-19 record. If both Utah and Virginia Tech finish undefeated this fall, the Hokies would have earned their edge, just like Florida did.
Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this argument? Heather spends the entire article suggesting BCS teams, as a whole, are deeper than non-BCS teams and then does a complete 180 to prop up her point.
If the BCS is so great, then Utah's two games against Oregon and Louisville should trump Virginia Tech's games against East Carolina and Marshall (what the hell has Marshall done lately?). And at worst, the only edge Tech has is their game against Nebraska, since Oregon and Alabama are both going into this season rated rather high.
So is that schedule really any better than Utah's? Maybe a tad, but not by much.
Virginia Tech also only has two games against teams that finished last season in the top-25 (Alabama, Georgia Tech). Utah has 3 (Oregon, TCU and BYU).
Of course, the biggest difference here is that Florida did not go undefeated. Had they done that, then this debate becomes more cloudy. But they didn't and if Virginia Tech -- with that schedule -- loses one game, they're not playing for the title.
So she was saying...
Regardless of what you think about the system, the bottom line is strength of schedule, and the teams that finish atop the final BCS standings have it.
Regardless of what you think, Heather, that's not how you decide a champion.