Finally, champs that don't have to compute

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

At least college football’s computer era closed with a bang.

It ended last night when Florida State won the final BCS national championship over Auburn, 34-31.

That not only ended the SEC’s streak of seven straight titles, but also stuck a fork in the old way of selecting teams to

play in the championship game.

Now it’s on to the playoffs. Sure it is just four teams next year to start, but it sure beats a bunch of computers picking

our winners.

Once again the championship will be decided on the field.

Wait, there is still a committee which will pick the nation’s four most deserving teams, so this is not a perfect system we

are starting, but it sure beats letting a bunch of robots make the call.

For the record, the BCS did what it promised it would do. Year in and year out it gave us a game between the top two ranked

teams in the land.

Make that, in the land of the BCS.

Because the system was flawed to begin with, we never really know if the computers got it right.

A bunch of times it didn’t pass the eye test.

Taking the human element out of the selection left us with a system designed and run by those who knew little about college


Each computer was programmed in a way that seemed unfair.

Did opponents matter? Scores of games? Strength of schedule?

It sure seemed easy for a one-loss SEC team to race back into the title picture while other leagues often saw their champs

fall with just one defeat.

Alabama might have benefitted the most from this system that told us the SEC was by far the best conference, then proved itself

right in some universe we never really understood.

It’s like coming up with the right answer on a math test but never showing your work.

Partial credit is all you deserve. It’s all the BCS deserves.

During the years we saw too many flaws.

There was 2003 when top-ranked USC won its final game but could only sit back and watch as not one but two teams jumped over

them to play for the national championship.

LSU beat Oklahoma that year for the BCS title, splitting the national crown with USC, which the Associated Press rewarded

with its championships.

That regular season ended with three one-loss teams in BCS contention: Oklahoma, LSU and USC. USC ended the regular season

ranked No. 1 and LSU No. 2 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches’ Poll.

That should have been the title game right there.

USC had lost a triple-overtime thriller

at California, which finished 8–6; LSU had a 12-point home loss against

(8-5) Florida

and Oklahoma, which was the top-ranked team most of the year, fell

to No. 3 after being thumped 35-7 by Kansas State in the

Big 12 title game.

By BCS contract, the coaches had to change their votes to make LSU the national champ. The Associated Press kept USC No. 1.

It seems the BCS was designed not to let this happen and yet it promoted this event.

We won’t even get into the year LSU won another title, this time with two losses.

That would have never happened before the BCS came along.

And, in case you think I am just picking on the Tigers or the SEC I haven’t forgotten 2004 when Auburn was snubbed despite

going undefeated in the regular season.

One of three undefeateds that year heading into the bowl season, Auburn had to sit on the sidelines while USC and Oklahoma

played for the title.

Still, the worst was 2002, when Nebraska lost 62-36 to Colorado in its final regular season game but was given the right to

play for the national crown anyway by the BCS. Not surprisingly, the Cornhuskers lost by 23 in the title game and haven’t

really been heard of since.

Fact is, under the BCS system teams lobbied more for their right to be in the championship game rather than play for it.

Seconds after beating Alabama in a thriller this season, Auburn players were talking not of the great game they had won but

about how they deserved at chance in the title game.

This while they still had to play for the SEC crown against Missouri.

While nobody said life, or college football, was fair, BCS boosters did tell us the games would be closer under the computers’

watchful hard drives.

They weren’t.

Only twice in the first 15 years was the margin of victory less than a touchdown and extra point. Two more times it was seven

points on the nose.

Once it went to overtime, though this year’s major bowls have been more entertaining than usual.

The rest were pretty much blowouts.

College football’s computer dating system seemed to give us one beauty and hideous beast on a yearly basis. So if your date

was good looking, odds are good the computer didn’t think as much of you.

Now the humans are back in charge and while I would rather see a bigger playoff, four teams is a good start.

It sure beats what we have been going through.

So goodbye BCS, you won’t be missed.

At least not by me.