Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
April 10, 2012 Issue
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Further Review: Why does No. 1 have to play No. 2?

By Ken Cohen
So the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) has matched LSU against Alabama for its so-called national championship game. No. 1 versus No. 2.
Where do you start in blasting the BCS for this match-up? How about with the whole premise of the BCS to pit the computer-generated two best teams in one, final decisive game. In what other sport – high school, college or professional – do we usually end up with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams playing against each other in a championship game? Rarely – and thankfully so.
Our enchantment with sports lies in its unpredictability. We embrace underdogs and root for the little guy. By creating a championship game through sheer calculation and computation, the BCS eliminates all that we love about sports. There can be no Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl last year as a wild card or the St. Louis Cardinals doing the same in this fall’s World Series. There will never be a Villanova winning the NCAA men’s basketball title as the No. 8 seed or Butler playing in the final game. There won’t be the 1995 Houston Rockets winning the NBA Championship as the sixth seed or the 1999 New York Knicks playing in the Finals as the eighth seed. You get the point.
This has been the problem with the BCS since its inception. Somewhere, somehow, someone blindly assumed that a matchup between the alleged two best teams would be the ultimate way to decide a championship. Perhaps, theoretically, it sounds good. But practically, it’s senseless.
Sports are played on a much bigger field than the actual event – it touches our heart, tugs our soul and tries our nerves. It’s a living expression of who we are – flawed and fallible, persistent and proud. Championship games should be played out on a human level, not a computer screen. That means letting an undefeated TCU or Boise State have a chance to compete for the big one. Or even a team with two or three losses play its way in.
That said, here’s my question to the BCS regarding this year’s selection of Alabama – what point differential in its loss to LSU would have been too high to be considered a good loss? A touchdown, 10 points? In reality, Alabama was selected to play because it only lost to LSU by 3 points in overtime. What was the threshold?
Because, if this idiotic system is to stay in place, it might be fair for teams to know how much they can lose by to a top team to remain in consideration. That’s how stupid this whole charade is – that it’s coming down to how much you lose or win by.
Why any coach wouldn’t run up a score in this world is beyond me. You can be sure Oklahoma State only moved up in the last poll because it beat Oklahoma by 34 points in the Big 12 Championship. What would a 14-point victory have meant?
This is where we’re at in college football – that margins of victories and defeats to whom and at what point in the system dictate who plays in the championship game. What a farce!
Ken Cohen is an editorial advisor to the Democrat. He brings 30 years of publishing experience, many covering sports and working for sports companies. His “Further Review” column will appear every Friday.

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