Maybe I am slow. Perhaps it is because I do not have access to inside information. Or it might be because I do not have a [sports] journalism degree or whatever. Nevertheless, I do not understand why Texas supposedly has a legitimate argument to be in the BCS Title Game.
Let’s clear two things. First off, the Bowl Championship Series title is arbitrary. There is no true criteria except being in a particular conference. It does not even determine the NCAA champion. The BCS is its own entity, separate from the NCAA [so, your 2007 NCAA Champs was actually Appalachian State, not LSU]. Second, I am not anti-Texas. I respect their tradition and I respect Mack Brown.
That stated, Texas does not deserve to be in the BCS title game. In fact, I do not see how this is only about Oklahoma and Texas. Yes, Texas beat Oklahoma. But Texas Tech beat Texas. So why aren’t the Red Raiders involved in the discussion. Oh yeah, Oklahoma beat Tech. But all three teams have one loss, and that loss was to one or the other. It is a circle. The Horns beat the Sooners, who beat Tech, who beat Texas. And around we go. So what is the situation here? Let’s break it down.
The thing that matters most in the BCS is WHEN a loss occurs. This seems almost as important as WHO the loss was against. The “Who” certainly matters — if Florida lost to The Citadel, it does not matter when it happened, it is still a loss to The Citadel. But when the competition is relatively equal, then, at the top tier of Division 1 football, the “When” is more important. With the three parties involved, Oklahoma’s loss came first (11 October), followed by Texas’s loss (1 November) then finally Texas Tech’s defeat (22 November). Therefore, OU had time to recover in the polls; Tech never stood a chance to recover. Texas was in the middle. Keep in mind, each were undefeated at the time of their loss AND either #1 or #2. So, the quality of the win is tremendous for each team. So, because of when the loss occured, Oklahoma was rewarded.
Unfortunately, that is the nature of the BCS with the system that is in place. Late-season losses are heavily weighted. Yes, there have been times where a late season loss did not knock a team out of the BCS title game [Oklahoma in 2003], but Alabama, Penn State and Texas Tech were punished for late season losses whereas Florida, Oklahoma and USC [to a degree] had early-season losses and where able to overcome that. The system is flawed because of that…and you cannot blame Oklahoma for this flaw.
So what other factors could have been used to, at the very least, determine the Big 12 South winner? Well, strength of schedule is one item, but it needs to be an elaborate scheme that also incorporates the opponents’ S-O-S. In the case of the three Big 12 teams, you have to throw out the conference schedule for two reasons. (1) the Big 12 conference is the one that sets that schedule; not the teams themselves. So it is really out of their hands. (2) because the conference sets it, the teams do not face the same “common opponents.” While the three play all the teams in the South, there is a rotating schedule with the teams in the North. It is three from the North for two years (home-and-home) and then it switches to the other three. So that is no good. But the out-of-conference schedule is telling. OU had Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington and TCU. That’s two BCS-conference schools [Cincy and UW], as well as two bowl-bound schools [Cincy and TCU] AND a conference champion [Cincy]. Texas had Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Arkansas and Rice. With their sched, UT had two bowl-bound teams [FAU and Rice] and only one BCS-conference school [Arkansas]. Texas Tech had Eastern Washington, Nevada, SMU, and UMass. Ugh…two FCS teams, one bowl-bound team [Nevada] and NO BCS-conference teams. Granted, these schedules are usually put together several years in advance, but Texas Tech’s sched is awful and certainly the worst of the three. OU’s appears to be the toughest of the three. And Texas is in the middle — they were trying to help out UTEP [game was played in El Paso] and renew the rivalry with Arkansas [could not anticipate down years]. So, if perhaps Oklahoma still deserves it based on out-of-conference scheduling. But, if I must continue…if Texas Tech’s OOC schedule is bad, then maybe they were a bit overrated. But if that is the case, then Texas losing to the Red Raiders should hurt them more BECAUSE the latter is not an “elite” team. At least OU can claim they lost to an “elite” team. Advantage is STILL to Oklahoma.
Rankings are another way to look at it. Or, better yet…ranked opponents. OU played six ranked opponents! Texas and Texas Tech both played four. Hmm…
We could borrow from soccer and look at points differential among the teams involved. OU lost to Texas by ten but defeated TT by 44 — a points differential of 34. Texas lost to Texas Tech by 6, so their points differential is four. So Texas Tech’s PD is -38. Again…who is the advantage to? Oklahoma.
It is impossible and illogical to make the BCS title game argument about OU and Texas and NOT include Texas Tech in the debate. It was a three-way tie in the Big 12 South. While an argument could be extended to Alabama [since the Tide beat Ole Miss, who beat Florida, who beat Alabama], it is not the same because there was not a tie for a division or even the conference. So it does not matter that Texas beat Oklahoma on a “neutral site” [questionable — even though Norman is slightly closer to Dallas, the game is still in the state of Texas] because there is one other team involved.
I think the BCS got the two teams right in terms of the programs that were subjectively the best. Oklahoma’s loss to Texas was more of a slip up, as was Florida’s loss to Ole Miss. Texas’s loss to Tech probably should have been worse as Tech allowed the Longhorns back in it (and to take a late lead). OU and Florida were the most complete teams all season and deserve to be in the BCS title game.
BUT, if teams have an argument to be in it, it is NOT Texas or even Texas Tech. Hell, since the three tied, why not throw all three out. There are other teams who have a beef that probably deserve to gripe just as much the Longhorns. Where is USC? Dominate the Trojan Conference with the exception of one hiccup against a better-than-expected Oregon State team. But the Beavers did beat USC. And another one-loss team beat the Beavers — the boys who call Beaver Stadium their home, Penn State. A one-point loss to Iowa is the Nittnany Lions’ only defeat. And they destroyed Oregon State. They, like Alabama, were also hampered by a low preseason ranking that really handicapped them all season (PSU was 22 in the Coaches’ Poll; Alabama was not even ranked). And Penn State was dominate all season with the exception to their trip to Iowa City. So perhaps it should really be Penn State versus Florida in the BCS title game!
Well, I am not going to complain about the BCS title game teams because, as I noted above, those are the two best teams (subjectively speaking). And because the BCS is a subjective system, OU v. UF makes sense. And it makes money. Because in all honesty, that is what the BCS is really about. It is not about determining a “national champion” as much it is about creating match-ups that make money. And Oklahoma versus Florida will make money. Both teams still have one loss…and a loss is a loss no matter how it occurred. Meanwhile, the two teams without a loss are not anywhere near the title game. I guess Utah versus Boise State would not make FedEx enough money. Go figure.