Keeping Score

Iron Bowl Miracle Shows BCS Can’t Die Soon Enough

An Alabama-Auburn rematch for the national title game would be fitting. But thanks to the BCS, it likely won't happen. Good riddance.

  • Share
  • Read Later

For starters, few right-minded, unbiased college football fans would be sad to see a team that produced this play:


and this play:


featured in the last BCS title game, on January 6.

But if the season plays out as predicted, Auburn, college football’s miracle factory, will be sitting on the title game sidelines.

How fitting that, in the last season of the BCS’s existence, its many faults are laid bare, just one last time. Since Florida State and Ohio State are both undefeated, they hold the top two spots in the BCS standings. Auburn, Alabama, and Missouri, each with a single loss, hold the third, fourth, and fifth spots respectively. So if Florida State and Ohio State with their conference championship games next week — Florida State plays Duke, Ohio State faces Michigan State — the Seminoles and Buckeyes will likely make the BCS championship game. Which would be fine, if not for the key fact that Florida State and Ohio State have played weaker teams on their way to their undefeated seasons. Dan Wolken, over at USA Today, breaks it down nicely:

But what can’t be debated is that, among the five power conferences, no presumptive champions have played easier schedules than Florida State and Ohio State. And it just so happens that they’re the two major-conference teams without a loss.

According to Jeff Sagarin’s formula, Florida State has played the nation’s 66th-toughest schedule while Ohio State has played the 61st most difficult. By contrast, Auburn’s schedule is ranked 26th, Missouri’s is 41st and Oklahoma State’s is 43rd.

Not that you need computers to tell you Florida State and Ohio State have had laughably easy paths. Ohio State’s best win came against a 9-3 Wisconsin team barely hanging in the top 25, its second-best win was against 8-4 Iowa and its third best win was against either Penn State, San Diego State or a mess of a Michigan team. Florida State, meanwhile, has faced two legitimate opponents amidst the Atlantic Coast Conference dreck: A Clemson team that just lost decisively at South Carolina and 9-3 Miami (Fla.).

Under the four-team playoff system, which starts next year, things would be much clearer: Florida State, Ohio State, and Auburn would be in with wins next week, as would Alabama, which is idle. If Auburn lost to fifth-ranked Missouri in the SEC title game, Missou would leapfrong Auburn into a playoffs.

Alas, too little too late. The computers and human voters and whatever else is tossed into the BCS’s toxic soup these days give the less impressive Florida State and Ohio State teams the edge. The nice part: things are bound to get screwy this weekend. It’s just the nature of this college football season. We hope that Florida State and Ohio State lose. (Florida State is a heavy, heavy favorite over Duke but hey, we can dream). And that Auburn wins the SEC championship. That would most likely set up an Alabama-Auburn rematch.

So let’s present, one more time, Chris Davis. Just because.