Glad to see that the intra-blog taunting has begun. Thanks, guys. One of the saddest moments a person can feel in life is realizing that the people you choose to spend your time with are huge assholes and you hate them very much.
Anyway, I think there are a few points that should be addressed:
1. The BCS system objectively sucks. This evening, actual Mark May quote: "I think that these teams [in the BCS championship] are two of the best in the nation." Slip of the tongue or no, the man makes a valid point. They are two of the best. The two best? Hell if I know. Can someone rationally explain to me why the winner of this game should have any greater claim to call themselves Champion than the winner of Va. Tech-Kansas? Or even USC-West Fucking Virginia?
2. Mark Richt's comments about the BCS rules are dead-on. To play in the national championship, there is currently no requirement that a team play in its conference title game. That said, there probably should be. But A) that's not the system we have and B) the conferences have incredibly different modes of crowning a champion. The fact that the Big Ten doesn't have a championship game is manifestly unfair. Last year, for example, Ohio State missed a scorching-hot Wisconsin team in the regular season. That's ... ah ... what's the word ... bullshit. Every conference needs a championship game, or no conference should have one. Letting some Big Ten/Pac 10 team backdoor the BCS Championship every year is freaking retarded.
3. The influence the talking heads have on the process is absurd. Pollsters: wake up, watch the damn games, and make up your own mind. Or turn in your voting privileges. One or the other. Listening to Herbstreit et al. blather on last night about how Ohio State and LSU were locks for the game. Be honest: how many voters filled out their ballots based on his statements alone?
A large part of this is a fourth wall problem. Somehow, we still attach an incredible amount of importance to the arbitrary, often-ill considered opinions of the ESPN morons -- even while having, thanks to the internet, a wealth of analytical tools at our disposal that should allow us to make decisions that are better informed and far more intelligent. Baseball fans went through this a decade or so ago, when stat nerds (starting with Bill James) and everyday bloggers helped us realize that we knew as much about baseball as the average GM. But guess what? Change is slow. We still have Dusty Baker decrying high-OBP guys as "clogging up the bases" and idiot GMs like Ed Wade sign sub-.700 OPS guys like Kaz Matsui to 3-year, $16.5 million contracts. But change is coming.
Football can roll in the same direction. We may not be able to break the game down statistically to the degree of MLB, but you know what? I'm willing to bet that most of us watch a damn sight more football than half the analysts, and I'm pretty sure my IQ exceeds Herbstreit's by a power of three.
4. Look, I don't think the Dawgs should be playing in the NC. This is a young team that far exceeded middling expectations and put together one hell of a season. That they're going to a BCS bowl would have been unthinkable in mid-October, but they gelled, found a running back, and have a great foundation laid for next year. Two losses, though -- a close one to South Carolina and a blowout of epic proportions to Tennessee (don't let the 35-14 final score fool you; it was an ass-kicking) disqualify you ... in a normal year. This year? Weeeeeeeeeeeeell:
5. LSU should go. Here are their victories, roughly ranked from best to worst (ranks are BCS, losses are red):
|#3 Virginia Tech||11-2|
They got beat by a smoking-hot Woodson and Superman himself ... and the two losses took a combined 6 overtimes. Combined with the great four wins and incredible depth of schedule (7 solidly tough games) they're as worthy a 2-loss national championship team as there ever will be.
6. And here's Georgia:
Similar to LSU in depth of schedule (8-9 solid games), but the marquee Va. Tech-quality win isn't there. The losses aren't terrible, but they're not ones you can write off, either.
Not nearly as much depth as the UGA schedule, but the big-time wins are there over Mizzou. If, that is, you think Missouri is a killer. I happen to believe in the Tigers, but I don't think the Sooners played another team worth a damn. Be honest: what does Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky, or Arkansas do in the Big 12? I'm not sold, but if you want to make a case for this team, I'd listen.
8. Ohio State
Ugh. Who did they beat? No, seriously -- who? The best win I can see is over Wisconsin, a solidly middle-of-the-pack team (do any of you gambling-minded folks really think they'll be favored over Arkansas in the Capitol One Bowl?). The next is over Michigan, they of the embarrassing Div. 1-AA loss. Out of conference games included a struggling Washington team and three Powder Puff teams (to be fair, their in-conference schedule included three Powder Puff teams, too). At the end of the day, this is nothing more than a boringly efficient team in a pathetic conference. They were never tested, save at Illinois ... which they failed.
Ask yourself this: with this schedule, is there any way this team could have lost more than one game? Does Tennessee lose a game with this schedule? Is LSU even pushed? There are at least 15 teams in the country who I could see going 11-1 playing this slate of games, and at least 10 who'd have even-money odds of running the table.
Both Georgia and Oklahoma are more deserving.
9. But it's Ohio State-LSU. 41-14 redux.
10. And at times like this, when all is lost and the world smells like Mangino, all we have to comfort our downtrodden souls is spite: