This idea has a plus side
The Bowl Championship Series matchups will be announced Sunday. All indications are that the championship game, to be played in New Orleans Jan. 9, will be between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama - a Southeastern Conference rematch of a regular-season game won by LSU, 9-6, in Tuscaloosa Nov. 5.
It could be LSU vs. Alabama even if LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC championship game in Atlanta tomorrow.
Critics of the system say rematches should not take place under any circumstances. They also argue that the “C’’ in BCS is for “championship,’’ and if you didn’t win your league championship (Alabama did not even win its division), you should not be able to play for the national championship.
Yet this has happened twice, with the BCS allowing Nebraska to play for the title in 2001 when the Huskers did not win the Big 12 and allowing Oklahoma to play for the title in 2003 after the Sooners were not the Big 12 champions.
In both instances, the Big 12 teams lost - Nebraska to Miami and Oklahoma to LSU.
The argument for allowing “non-champions’’ to participate is that the No. 2 team from a highly respected BCS conference might still be one of the two best teams in the country.
The way the numbers look right now, it seems that Oklahoma State has a remote chance of bumping Alabama from the No. 2 slot, but it must beat Oklahoma, which has been difficult the past several years.
Once the championship game is settled, the other BCS bowl slots will be filled, and we will have a series of games that are largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
There is a solution - one that was rejected a few years ago but would create interest and excitement and be a fairer way of settling the issue of who’s No. 1 without going to a full-scale playoff, which still has too much opposition to overcome.
It is called a Plus One - meaning play the BCS games, then have a one-game playoff with two of the winners.
The plan was voted down last time because it was a “seeded’’ Plus One, which put No. 1 vs. No. 10, No. 2 vs. No. 9, etc. - i.e. a quasi-playoff.
What makes more sense is an “unseeded’’ Plus One, which would almost certainly add a fifth BCS bowl to the formula.
In such a system, the bowls would maintain their conference affiliations. And a new game - call it the Jerry Jones Bowl, to be played in Dallas - would be put in the mix.
If such a system were in place this year, this is how it might look:
Rose Bowl - Wisconsin-Michigan State winner vs. Oregon (assuming that Oregon beats UCLA tonight in the first Pac-12 title game).
Fiesta Bowl - At-large selection vs. at-large selection.
Sugar Bowl - SEC champion vs. at-large selection or Big East champion.
Orange Bowl - ACC champion vs. at-large selection or Big East champion.
Jerry Jones Bowl - Big 12 champion vs. at-large selection or Big East champion.
The highest-ranked BCS champion would get the first pick among available opponents.
For the sake of argument, we would have:
Rose Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Fiesta Bowl - Stanford vs. Oklahoma State
Sugar Bowl - LSU vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
Jerry Jones Bowl - Houston vs. West Virginia
The championship game would be a week later, between the two teams ranked highest by the normal BCS voting procedure.
It could very well be a rematch of LSU vs. Alabama, but at least each of the five BCS bowls would be in the mix to send their winner to the championship game.
It is not a playoff system, but it is a fairer way to determine the two best teams and it would make all of the BCS games meaningful.
But, of course, this makes too much sense, which is why it won’t happen.
Michigan is on the fringe of being BCS-eligible, at No. 16 in the standings. At-large selections must be 14th or higher to become BCS-eligible. If the Wolverines can climb to No. 14 - a possibility, since either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma must lose and either Michigan State or Wisconsin must lose. If the Wolverines do become eligible, they will be a lock for a BCS spot - probably in the Sugar Bowl . . . If LSU wins the SEC title, the Sugar Bowl will get first choice to fill the slot vacated by the Tigers.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.