Without a lot of undue fanfare, I’m just going to get to the reasons…
1) It Exposes The BCS For Being A Complete Sham
This is what happens when you have a half-playoff, half-bullshit system. It’s no secret I am an anti-BCS guy; I’ve devised my own solution to this problem. But since the Dubsism approach involves a) dismatling the current conference system and b) makes complete sense, it will never happen. That means I have precious little options other than to rail against the BCS.
Georgia got a royal screwing, but that didn’t even come from the BCS. That was done by the Sugar Bowl selection committee. Despite coming within a few yards of beating Alabama and landing in the BCS Championship game, Georgia gtes left out of the BCS entirely thanks to the Sugar Bowl’s decision to take Florida; a team that the Bulldogs beat in October. Yeah, that has to suck, but then again, nobody said life was fair.
But let’s say you want to be a hater and blame somebody for all of this. Let’s make sure you are blaming the right people.
First off, don’t start piling on Northern Illinois. The way this thing worked out, either the Huskies or Kent State were going to be in the BCS, and the reasons why really don’t have anything to do with either of those schools other than the fact they won 12 of their 13 games and play the best football they could. The BCS chips fell in their favor not just because held up the end of the bargain they could control, but because a whole lot of other factors pushed Northern Illinois into the BCS picture. Under the rules of the BCS game, Northern Illinois earned their way into the Orange Bowl, and all those who are whining about it didn’t.
First of all, there’s
Our Lady of Money Notre Dame. Nobody had this team ranked above their traditional overrated #20-ish preseason ranking, and lo and behold, this team rode a crushing defense and pedestrian offense to the top of the BCS heap. So, there’s one less BCS slot available, but there’s so much whining about who got left out.
Let’s break that down, shall we? If anybody deserves criticism in this situation, it is the Big East, the Big Ten, and for sure Oklahoma. Again, don’t get me wrong, this is in no way a defense of the BCS, rather it’s a call-out of all those who signed on to the game, lost, and now are bitching about the rules to which they agreed.
Sure, I get the Big East is a joke. That joke got even funnier when it’s eventual champion plunged right out of the rankings from #9 after losses to Syracuse and Connecticut. Hell, had the Cardinals even managed to win one of those games, they would still be ranked ahead of Northern Illinois, thus keeping the Huskies out of the BCS.
The Big Ten didn’t help matters any either. The fact that best team in the B1G was ineligible made a difference you can’t underestimate. Without the NCAA sanctions, Ohio State is certain to be in the BCS Championship game conversation, thus knocking either Notre Dame or Alabama to another BCS game, thus eating up another BCS slot.
Then, there is all the whining around Oklahoma, which is for lack of a better term, complete bullshit. First of all, if Oklahoma helped fuck themselves over by losing to Notre Dame at home. That was the game everybody had circled on their calendars waiting for the Irish bubble to burst, and the fact the Sooner didn’t even bother to show up for that game lit the fuse for the Notre Dame rocket ride to #1. Then, there’s the fact the Sooners sealed their fate by losing to Kansas State at home.
Now, for the fun part. The same people who are pissing and moaning about Oklahoma (who just so happens to be the # 11 team) being left out seem to forget they are blaming the same system that would put the Sooners in the BCS over higher-ranked squads. The fact is that only the BCS’ “two teams per conference” rule kept Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, and South Carolina out, all of whom were ranked higher than Oklahoma.
The bottom line is this is what you get with such a “neither-nor” system. It’s not the old bowl system, and it’s not a playoff. Rather it’s the worst of both, and you’d better think again if you believe this coming 4-team playoff format is a solution.
Hell, we haven’t even started it yet, and we are arguing over who is tenth.
2) It Royally Pissed Off ESPN
Watching Kirk Herbstreit go full-on Peter Finch from “Network” was absolutely fucking priceless. Seriously, it was literally the highlight of the bowl season watching Herby nearly lose control of his bodily functions over what really shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
As entertaining as it was, its almost equally perplexing. Herby wasn’t the only ESPN-douche going completely apeshit over this; the whole cast of the ESPN BCS Selection special was acting like Northern Illinois had just collectively porked their wives.
Doesn’t the ESPN family realize that they broadcast those mid-week MAC games. Don’t they get that national exposure for the MAC might mean more than 16 people watch those games? I live in the heart of MAC territory, and while it may be a collection of small schools, it still produces competitive, solid-quality football.
In other words, I’m supposed to accept some sort of argument saying Northern Illinois does not deserve the Orange Bowl bid they received, yet will defend the B1G Ten BCS representative being a five-loss team.
Herby, no matter how much table-pounding you do, I’m just not buying. Hating on the Huskies misses a crucial fact.
Frankly, I don’t really care about the already shopworn anti-Huskies arguments. I’ll give you that Oklahoma is a more talented team. I’ll give you that the casual college football fan would rather see Oklahoma in January than some some small school from a second-tier conference. I’ll even give you that Oklahoma has a larger fanbase and therefore draws more national interest.
The question is how much so?
Let’s say we replace Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl with Oklahoma. Is that a game that really stokes the fires of any football fan that doesn’t have a rooting interest in either of the two teams? ESPN wants you to think so, but both these teams are a decade past their most recent championships.
So, what does Northern Illinois offer? An underdog…America fucking loves an underdog. Rudy, the Bad News Bears, the Jamaican bobsled team…they are all in that special place America has for the “little guy,” and now Northern Illinois is in that class.
In other words, this team now adds a new level of interest, and Herby and the rest of the blow-dries at ESPN have no idea what to make of it. That’s why they are so pissed.
Think about it. In order to cover this successfully, they now have to pick a side of what will be the biggest story of the bowl season. For those who love the “Cinderella” story, they’ve got a new team for which to cheer. For those who are outraged about the Huskies’ inclusion, they now have a team to hate on. That leaves the talking heads’ squarely in the middle, and they hate that more than ear-aches and speeding tickets combined.
The bottom line is that BCS system sucks, and there really has been no better season for pointing that out. But for college football, the Northern Illinois story is pure gold. Love it or hate it, it generates interest, while making ESPN look like a bunch of crybabies.
How is that not a win?