Politics As Usual

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2014-15 was supposed to be different.  After all, the much maligned Bowl Championship Series (BCS) had been made a thing of the past.  In somewhat of a role reversal, computers were being replaced with humans…in place of the BCS was a twelve person Selection Committee.  Not too long after the inaugural playoff teams were announced, a comparison list was released of what the BCS would have looked like, if it was still being used today.  There was a slight variation in the order….however Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State were the last four teams standing when the dust settled. 

In theory the dust may have settled but in practice plenty of dusty stuff is being kicked up as discussions continue to focus on this selection process versus the previous approach to crowning a college champion.  Full disclosure, I am a cynic at heart.  Now that the elephant in the room has been acknowledged....cynicism led me to have reservations about people, regardless of how diverse the panel, being charged with the responsibility of developing a short list to the annual trophy---why, because people are flawed…as such, factors only considered by humans would inevitably make their way into the boardroom---if not on paper, most definitely on the minds of committee members: 

First up, I can not fathom how a panel consisting of a few former athletes would have such utter disregard for “unbeaten”.   Yet, Florida State  (FSU) began slipping in the polls regardless of the obvious…the Seminoles kept on winning despite the odds being against them---seemingly week in and week out!  Hellooo?? Unbeaten means something…in every realm and every level of sports…including but not limited to Pop Warner, church, civic and citywide leagues. Ask anybody who participates in anything and they’ll certainly enlighten you.

Are we not to believe off the field allegations and subsequent proceedings surrounding the team’s Heisman winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, had absolutely nothing to do with the slippery slope the Noles remained on throughout the season?  If so, exactly how many of us were born as recently as last night?

Strength of schedule was supposedly considered…as if Alabama and Oregon, number one and two respectively, were without a single creampuff team on their play dates.  Then the argument became the less than impressive manner by which FSU was winning.  Style points, really?  Now that matters is arenas like competitive diving…one must maintain perfect form…the whole toes pointed, body in perfect alignment thing…were it football though, a good old fashioned cannonball would suffice.  Isn’t getting into the water the goal?  

Another reason given was the level of competition in the ACC as a whole.  Hmmm, I’ve yet to see a conference that wasn’t top heavy….and the SEC is no exception.   Case in point, Missouri nor Texas A&M were forces to be reckoned with in the Big 12.  Yet, shortly after they decided to move to the SEC, they became newsmakers….one competing in two conference championship games & the other producing a Heisman Trophy winner.  Furthermore, if mano y mano is held in such high regard…Florida State beat their last SEC opponent---capping off last year’s season with nothing less than a championship trophy…in a similar manner, devoid of style points—if memory serves me correctly!

The other factor I wholeheartedly doubt a computer would ignore is the significance of a head to head win.  When reviewing two very talented teams with the very same record…TCU’s Horned Frogs and the Baylor Bears…how the committee thought it wise to place TCU over Baylor when TCU’s only loss was to Baylor is beyond me! 

Adding to the debacle was the Big 12 conference itself….co-champions with a head to head winner is asinine at best.  I can only imagine two things…one---the conference committee will be going back to the drawing board on that silly decision….two—this kind of thing sometimes happens to new kids on the block—were it OU and Texas involved in the same situation, there would be no sharing of a title.  We…neither team, that is…simply would not have it!!

Lastly, on that same note….there is more than one committee in town.  We’d be fooling ourselves if we minimized the role of the Bowl Committees themselves.  Bowl Committees are charged with one incredibly important responsibility---filling the stands, which of course translates to millions in revenue!  The Universities of Oklahoma and Texas are fortunate to have a fan base willing to travel to the ends of this planet we call Earth to support their teams. 

Bringing it around full circle….OU nor Texas would have been removed from contention--as a drop from number 3 to number 6 guarantees.  The whole lack of a conference game would have been a non-factor. 

On the flip side there is TCU.  A loyal fan base stands behind them….yet, if you were to put everybody who has ever loved and/or attended the university in the stands of a playoff game, there would still be one too many empty seats.  THE Ohio State University?---not so much!

No system is without its share of critics…PunxsutawneyPhil gets more than enough on a yearly basis.  Yet, just as it has been under the BCS’s rule, I’ll be welcoming the annual end of season debate….it is much, much more fun than actual politics!





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