Why do Seminoles get a free pass to BCS title game if Buckeyes do not?
The argument pitting Ohio State vs. Auburn as the BCS's No. 2 misses the real question: What has Florida State done to be the be-all-end-all No. 1? Answer: Not much.
Auburn vs. Ohio State? I get Auburn vs. Ohio State. It's a tough call for the second spot in the BCS title game, given that Ohio State is undefeated in a weak BCS league while Auburn has one loss in a tougher league -- and has the most impressive win of the season, by anyone, with that upset of Alabama.
What I don't get is the free pass given to Florida State.
Why are the Seminoles just blithely assumed to be deserving of that first spot in the BCS title game?
What has Florida State done to be placed so clearly ahead of Ohio State? Or ahead of Auburn, for that matter?
Seriously. This is not trolling. You want to read a troll? Read this. That's trolling.
You want to read someone who actually likes Florida State? You're reading him right now. Maybe you read him last month when the allegation against Jameis Winston went public and one person in the country -- me -- wrote that an allegation of rape shouldn't stop Winston from winning the Heisman. (A charge of rape? That's another matter, but that's not where the story is.)
You can like Florida State football and support the Heisman candidacy of its embattled quarterback and even have a deep affection for the FSU coach and his family while also noting that the 2013 Seminoles haven't done much to deserve their presumed spot ahead of Ohio State (or Auburn) entering all three teams' conference title games this weekend.
The problem with Ohio State is also the problem with Florida State: a weak nonconference schedule. The Buckeyes played Buffalo, San Diego State, at California and Florida A&M. That's three unimpressive FBS teams (combined record: 16-20) and one from the lesser FCS subdivision.
Florida State did the same thing. Well, no -- the Seminoles did something worse. They played Nevada, Bethune-Cookman, Idaho and at Florida. That's three even more unimpressive FBS teams (combined record: 9-27) and one from the lesser FCS subdivision.
So we go to the conference slate. The Big Ten is bad, yes, but the ACC is worse. There is statistical data to support that conclusion, mainly the Big Ten's slightly better record in nonconference play -- 77.1 winning percentage, compared to the ACC's 73.2 winning percentage -- even though the Big Ten's composite non-conference strength of schedule is just a notch ahead of the ACC's.
The point is not: The Big Ten is superior to the ACC! The point is this: If we're crushing Ohio State for its weak nonconference schedule and its lousy conference affiliation, why doesn't Florida State get crushed for the same thing?
One theory is the Urban Meyer affiliation. He's that toxic to fans and media, and I'm not saying it's fair. I'm saying, it is. I live right here in the real world, and in the real world Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is not popular outside his fan base, and that bias has to seep into the human polls. How else to explain the way Ohio State has been passed in the polls 14 different times since Meyer got there in 2012 ... without losing a single game?
Oh, right. Ohio State keeps getting passed because of its weak nonconference schedule and its awful conference affiliation.
So why doesn't Florida State get passed? See my point here?
In Florida State's favor are two enormous, eye-catching wins against ranked foes: 63-0 against No. 25 Maryland on Oct. 5, and 51-14 at No. 3 Clemson two weeks later.
In a vacuum, those are shocking. But we don't live in a vacuum, do we? We live -- all together now -- in the real world, and in the real world it turns out Maryland was an overrated flop on Oct. 5, undefeated after a pathetic nonconference schedule. After that 4-0 start to get into the Top 25, the Terps finished the season in a 3-5 slide, all in the ACC, which is a lousy conference. Maryland got blown out by Wake Forest, and Wake Forest went 4-8.
Florida State's demolition of Clemson? I can't dismiss that one. (I'm dismissing the demolition of Maryland.) I wouldn't even try. But Clemson today is ranked No. 13 in the country. That is Florida State's best win of the season. Does it trump Ohio State's best win of the season?
For now, absolutely.
But on Saturday when the Seminoles are playing Duke in the ACC championship game, Ohio State will be playing No. 10 Michigan State for the Big Ten title. And if Ohio State beats the 11-1 Spartans on a neutral field in Indianapolis? Well, by golly, Ohio State will have a signature win to match Florida State's.
Which brings me back to my point:
Why does Florida State get a free pass into the BCS title game? And why does Ohio State not?
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