Don’t Knock the BCS This Time; Oklahoma Deserving

by John Furgele

Another Thanksgiving, another uproar over the BCS and its computer.  But, this time, the whiners need not apply.  Based on combinations, Oklahoma will represent the Big 12 South Division and will play North Division winner Missouri (9-3) for the Big 12 title.  With a win, Oklahoma will more than likely advance to the BCS Championship Game. 

The fans in Austin are mad and of course, they have a right to be so.  There is nothing wrong with politicking and stating your claims and Texas, at 11-1 has a right for its case to be heard.  Texas supporters will say that they beat the Sooners 45-35 in the “head-to-head” matchup and therefore, that should warrant them a trip to the conference title game. 

There is another side to this story and that story is Texas Tech, which beat Texas 39-33 earlier this season and after losing—badly—at Oklahoma still finished in a three way tie for the South Division title.  The cynics say that Texas Tech “eliminated itself” with the horrific perfomance in Norman and because they did so, the battle comes down to Texas and Oklahoma and because Texas beat Oklahoma, the Longhorns deserve the South title.

Nonsense.  You don’t elimniate teams that end up in a three way tie for first place.  If this were the Olympics, there would be three Gold medals.  You can’t break three way ties using the head-to-head formula because it simply does not work.  You have to come up with a concocted formula, something the Big 12 kind of did by stating that the highest ranked BCS team would earn the berth to the conference title tilt. 

Why was Texas’ win any more important than its loss to Texas Tech?  Why was Oklahoma’s loss to Texas more important than its win against Texas Tech?  Why does Texas Tech’s loss to Oklahoma mean more than its win over Texas?  In a beauty contest, Texas Tech, because it is a relative newcomer will never be better looking than old money powers Texas and Oklahoma, so that may be a reason why the Red Raiders are being easily dismissed, but that doesn’t mean it is right. 

Perhaps, as a result of this, the Big 12 will tweak its own tiebreaking procedures.  If it were my call, I would have looked at the opponents winning percentages for all three teams, based on Division 1-A opponents only.  Texas Tech played two 1-AA opponents, so their percentage is based on ten games, and it should be pointed out that Tech scheduled a second 1-AA opponent after Tulsa, which plays in the Conference USA Championship Game this Saturday bailed on the Raiders in the spring. 

Here are the opponents winning percentages. 

Oklahoma, .622; Texas, .590; Texas Tech, .558, so based on this, Oklahoma is the best choice.  I would never use point differential because that encourages schools to run up the score, something we really don’t want or need to see anymore.  Oklahoma benefitted from beating Texas Christian (10-2) and Cincinnati (10-2, with game at Hawaii left),  while Texas benefitted from beating Rice (9-3).  Texas Tech did not fare as well because two of the wins came against 1-AA Eastern Washington and Massachusetts, and they beat Nevada (7-5) and SMU (1-11, yikes). 

The system—no system—will ever be perfect for college football.  An 8, 12, 16 or even 24 team playoff will not solve all the ills of college football, neither will the “plus one” game, which would take place after all the bowl games.  As fans, we have to realize that this system has been around for decades and is going nowhere in the near and probably distant future.

It is trendy to knock the BCS at every opportunity but this time it is unwarranted.  I’ll stop short of saying that the BCS got it “totally right,” but let’s just say that they got it “more right than wrong.”


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