If you're looking to weigh in on the debate that rages on about BCS superiority vs the worthiness of Non-BCS teams, you needn't look too hard on the cbssportsline message board. You'll find passionate people voicing their opinions on both sides of the argument and, both sides make some valid points.
Supporters of the "Majors" like to point to Georgia's rout of Hawaii in last year's Sugar Bowl to justify their superiority argument. Those supporting the "Mids" enjoy reminding folks of Boise State's thrilling win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple of years ago. My own view is this. There are very strong Major programs that produce excellent teams year in and year out. There are also Majors who are weak year after year. Then there are a large chunk of teams in the middle that have great seasons every so often but more often than not, wind up in the middle of the pack. The same can usually be said of the Mid-Major conferences.
Where people error is in lumping ALL Majors or ALL Mids together in their respective arguments. It's true the top Major teams run roughshod over most of the Mids. It is also true that the top Mid programs would be very competitve in any of the Major conferences. When Ohio State plays Ohio U and beats them soundly, it is hardly a referendum on Mid-Major programs as a whole. What it says is that Ohio State is better than Ohio. It doesn't say anything as to how Ohio State might fare against Boise State, Ball State or Utah. Conversely, for Ball State to thrash a generally weak Indiana team does not give them a free pass to say "we can beat anyone". As much as the fiercest proponents from both groups like think otherwise, it cuts both ways.
Which brings me to the whole BCS Bowl situation. The current BCS Bowl set up screams to be changed. It is wrong on so many fronts and not just because of the impact it has on mid-major teams. Teams participating in the National Championship Game are "selected" by a combination of computers and people. It's the only sport I can think of where teams don't EARN their way to the championship game. It's outrageous and ultimately, the only people who end up agreeing on the decision are the teams selected and the fans of those teams. I saw a post recently from a USC fan decrying how the BCS process was "unfair". If ever there was a team that has benefited from the BCS Rules over the years, it's been USC - yet this year, it's unfair.
If anyone has a beef, it's those teams who did what they were supposed to do. Win all their games on their schedules. Yet we will likely have two teams this year that will do just that but will not receive a BCS Bowl invitation. Opponents of those teams (Boise State and Ball State) will point to their weak schedules and conference they play in. They will argue that the last time we let a mid-major in a BCS Bowl, it was a huge mismatch (insert Hawaii). Understand what I am NOT saying here. I am not proposing that Boise State and Ball State are deserving of a BCS Bowl bid based on the rules that are set up today. What I am saying is, the rules need to be changed. The BCS process needs to be scrapped and a better solution that would reward a team for success should be put in its place.
So what do we do with Boise State and Ball State this season? Well, if no one intervenes, they will be off to their respective obscure bowl games. The latest CBSsportsline bowl projection has a 12-0 Boise State going up against a possible 7-5 Wake Forest while possbily 13-0 Ball State will head off to play 7-5 Minnesota. Is that the best we can do? Even if they don't qualify for a BCS Bowl, don't these teams deserve better than this? Is this how we reward excellence? There are 120 teams in Division 1A college football and as of today, 116 of them have at least one loss. Shouldn't there be something special in store for the 4 teams that don't?
So what is the solution? There are two in my mind. One will take time and involves a playoff scenerio. I won't try to tackle this one in this blog. The other one can happen immediately, if the right people get involved now and begin a dialogue. The answer to this one is so simple and cries out to be heard. Boise State and Ball State should be let out of the conference tie-in committment to the Humanitarian and Motor City Bowls and be allowed to play each other in one of the Bowl Games. If we're not ready to include these two in a BCS Bowl game, at least let them battle it out on the field together and determine who is the best of the Mids - BCS Bowl Lite, if you will.
I know what you're saying.... "that's not what is ordinarily done regarding the bowl games". I would argue this is not an "ordinary" season. It is rare we have 4 undefeated teams at this stage of the season. Two of them - Alabama and Utah - will be richly rewarded with a BCS Bowl invitation. The other two deserve something special of their own - if not a BCS game. Sending them off to play teams that were .500 or worse in their conference is an insult. They deserve better than that. What they deserve is each other.
So I'm on record. Pit the Cardinals against the Broncos in the "One Hell Of A Game Bowl", put it on ESPN2 and watch the viewership go through the roof. It's a win - win for everyone involved. You'd have no shortage of sponsers clamoring for air time for that one, football fans from all over the country would be glued to their sets ready to watch maybe the most entertaining of all the bowl games, the schools involved could get a decent payout and, most important, the student atheletes that have worked their butts off all year long to get to this point would get a just reward. It's the right thing to do. Now we need the right people to start the dialogue now and make it happen.