Thursday, January 01, 2004

You can't always get what you want ...

So Michigan blew it in the Rose Bowl. It'll be a "split national championship." That's fine. It would have been nice to get a little clarity in this whole thing, but congrats to USC.

The Trojans proved themselves tonight against a very good Michigan squad in a huge game. There's no disputing they played like a premier NCAA team. And watching that game did make me want to see a USC / LSU matchup.

That said, the Trojans' domination of the Rose Bowl over Michigan still doesn't convince me the BCS got it wrong. The humans and the BCS formula disagreed on the No. 1 team, true, but that doesn't mean the humans were right. As I wrote before, USC got the No. 1 human ranking because of human factors - politics - in the polls. They were No. 2. ... No. 1 lost ... they won ... they become No. 1.

In the rarified air of top-5 rankings, humans don't look at factors beyond most recent rankings and game outcomes. If USC had squeaked by Oregon State and LSU had beaten Georgia 227 - 0, LSU wouldn't have passed USC in the human polls. That's just the politics of the system, and we all accept that.

Well, people need to accept the cold, hard facts of the BCS formula, too. It came out OU, LSU, USC because that's what the formula came up with. It's the correct and proper outcome this year.

The formula will be tweaked, I'm sure. There's talk of a rule that says if you don't win your conference, you can't play in the title game. I guess that's good news for USC, who plays in a weak conference with no title game.

I'll make this suggestion: Put in two conference-related point deductions (low is better) for the BCS formula. If you win your conference, you get a 1.0 point deduction. But also put in a point deduction for playing in a title game at the end of the season. Say 0.5 points if you play in a post-season title game before the bowls.

In that scenario, LSU would have ended up at 4.49 in the BSC, USC at 5.15 and OU at ... 4.61.

Wait, that won't work. We have to figure out a way to get USC into the title game, dammit!

Also, can somebody please tell Keith Jackson it's time for him to retire ... for good? I have all the respect in the world for the man, but he's lost it. I watched the Rose Bowl on PVR delay, so I mostly just watched a play, hit the 30-second jump when a knee went down and watched the next. But in just the few instances where I heard Jackson's call of the whole play, he said 1) a guy fumbled when he didn't come close to fumbling 2) a pass was batted down at the line when the QB never even threw it and 3) that the USC back went out of bounds on the last play of the game, when he wasn't close to doing so.

It's time to take up golf full time, Keith.

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