Gazzolo: Time to embrace future look of big boy football

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

I guess big boy football comes in all shapes and sizes now.

Texas A&M proved the spread offense can work in the SEC, throwing themselves a coming out party in Alabama last Saturday.

It might have knocked the stone age right out of the old league. At least, it woke them up.

In reality, all the Aggies did was make a bigger mess out of this BCS. Or maybe they helped clean it up.

The Aggies may also have hurt their new conference, which was hoping to produce the mythical national champ for a seventh

straight year. Now, the SEC may not even get an invite to the big party.

How’s that for first impressions?

Without a major non-conference victory it seems the only way a one-loss SEC team gets back into the championship talk is with

not one, but two key losses by the three remaining undefeated teams.

Suddenly, all those SEC fans who said the BCS system was good are now jumping on the bandwagon for a playoff.

It is coming soon, just maybe not in time to keep the streak alive.

Of course, Alabama lost a game last year in November and then backed its way into the championship game. It could happen again.

All the SEC champ needs is for two of these teams, Notre Dame, Oregon or Kansas State, to lose once.

That would likely drop any one of those from title contention, for it seems when it comes to voting only the SEC gets credit

for close losses or second chances.

This all leads us to what is really unfair about the current way college football’s biggest division decides its champion.

At the youngest of ages we are told to let the outcome be decided on the field. Of course, that it isn’t in the world of the

BCS. But with a playoff planned, that will hopefully change.

Still, with any system their is a flaw. The BCS is no different.

The current plan punishes a loss much greater than it rewards a win. Take this year’s group of three.

If each one of the trio wins out in the regular season, Oregon would likely play Kansas State for the title. Notre Dame, the

biggest of television draws, would probably end up in the Rose Bowl, a ratings bonanza for the Granddaddy of them all.

However, the Irish will have never been allowed to prove how good they are. No California dreaming for them.

But let’s take this further. Neither Notre Dame nor Kansas State would have to play a conference title game. This is where

the BCS punishes a loser.

Say Oregon goes on to 12-0 but must

still beat a talented, if not underachieving, USC team in Los Angeles in

the Pac 12 title

game. The reward for winning such a game is a chance, one the

Ducks have already earned according to the BCS poll, at playing

for the championship.

Yet a loss would punish the Ducks by knocking them out of the big game. The risk/reward doesn’t add up.

Suddenly, the Ducks are punished for winning.

Yet, if the nation’s top 16 teams were

given a bid, suddenly the SEC might get six in, and wouldn’t LSU fans

want to have

their Tigers get a second bite at the title apple. Fans all over

would love to see Texas A&M with Johnny Football playing

on the big stage.

I can hear purists now saying that the regular season would not mean as much.

Really? You mean the Alabama-LSU game would have been less exciting, considering the loser would be sent on the road in the

postseason? Right now, the SEC title game could be a battle for a first-round bye if only 12 teams got postseason berths.

Yes, the regular season would still mean the same.

Maybe this is what we needed, a one-loss SEC team and an undefeated Notre Dame being left out in the cold. Those two fan bases

can make a lot of waves with their voices, dollars and tears.

And for those who don’t like change, you can’t say the Aggies’ win over Alabama wasn’t exciting, spread or no spread.

Time to embrace the future look of big boy football.


Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at