A Tale Of Three Undefeateds: How Boise State, Cincinnati, And Tcu Can Screw Up The Bcs

As of the stroke of the pen in this column the college football galaxy (FBS, whatever) has 3 undefeateds (besides Texas, Florida and Alabama) who are making some serious noise in the hopes that they can get even a passing whiff of the BCS Title Game.

I know, I know, I could go smaller and say that they should be happy to even have a shot at being “in” but I don’t care about that.  Let’s forget the whole “it’s a privilege to be “in” crap and get real…we want a title Game damn it!

Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State are all unbeaten, unappreciated, under-valued, and un”in a BCS position of power”.  The team that is closest to being in the mix is Cincinnati (because they’re in the Big East) but being in the Big East in football is about like being Butler and being in the Horizon League…no one cares.  As good as Cincinnati is and as strong as Brian Kelly looks right now they have no power in this thing…none at all.  Think about it.

In 2004 an undefeated Auburn team got left out of the National Title picture and a Nebraska team, a few years back (before the Bill Callahan experiment) played for the National Title and they didn’t even win their conference.  You could say Cincy will lose out just because they’re in the Big East and the Big East is a pitiful football conference.  They’ll play a bunch of nobodies at the end of the season to a considerable amount of “underwhelment” by everyone around, but at least if they control their own destiny they get to play garbage teams to determine that destiny.  (It hasn’t worked out so well in the past, like when West Virginia was a snapshot away from the Title Game and they lost, stupidly, to Pitt…yeah, Pitt.)

But, this is Cincinnati we’re talking about here.  The closest thing this school has had to “athletic glory” is being a #1 seed in the Tournament a couple times (thanks mostly to Nick Van Exel.)  But that’s it.  This same school has a BCS football team that doesn’t have a practice field.  Not one.  They practice in the football stadium:  offense on one side and defense on the other.  With that in mind you have to wonder how the hell they’re so good…

Brian Kelly folks.  Brian Kelly is a monster coach and he deserves alot of credit for doing what he’s done at Cincinnati.  Cincinnati…for all that is holy, who would have picked Cincinnati to be in the Top 5, I don’t know, EVER!?

{Not to put too fine a point on this, but this solidifies my argument that coaching IS a big deal in college sports.  While Bobby Bowden is screwing around at FSU, Brian Kelly has turned Cincy into a monster.}

Since this Cincinnati team kind of snuck up on everyone and it’s late in the season and the Big East sucks.  We can’t stand here and say that Team X will give Cincinnati “what for” in a couple weeks, because Team X is Pitt, Rutgers, or some other crappy Big East team.  There’s no one to put Cincinnati in their place.  Cincinnati will decide how far they can go…and no one else will (except some stupid voters who don’t watch games, some idiotic computers, and a BCS formula that is so complicated ESPN has to hire a guy FULL-TIME to figure it out and give analysis on it.  Yeah, that’s college football for you.)

Cincinnati has the Big East locked up and we all know it.  Let’s just accept it and see who loses around them.

Boise State is not a surprise either.  They’ve been good since before Chris Petersen was the coach and before the “Statue of Liberty” play that beat Oklahoma (yet more evidence that Bob Stoops is not as good as advertised.)

They’ve been all over the place and stayed good.  They won the “Punch” game against Oregon and they play in a weak conference non-BCS conference.  They have only one choice…DESTROY everyone they play.  I mean…DESTROY.  If they aren’t still kicking a team when it’s 70-0 then they aren’t trying hard enough to get into the Title Game.  (And for those of you who thinks it’s mean to run up the score I have this to say “If you don’t want me to score, then stop me.”  They have no choice but to look for blood everywhere because this school and Utah has crashed the BCS before and they can do it again, but if they have a shot at the Title Game then Florida, Cincy, Bama, Texas, and TCU all have to lose (or a big combination has to anyways.)  Here’s the problem;  they had trouble with Tulsa.  Yikes!   But, at the end of the day they’ll still be out in front of…

TCU.   Gary Patterson is one of the best coaches in football over the past decade and he’s done such a good job so quietly that we forget he’s there.  TCU is the Alma Mater of LaDanian Tomlinson and……………………………well, that’s it.  Even so, Gary Patterson does well with not a lot.  The Horned Frogs (what a silly name for a team.  My Dad’s High School Mascot was the “Poets” and even that’s cooler than the Horned Frog) rear their ugly horned heads every few years to no great fanfare and then they go away until another day.  Would anyone even remember this school existed unless they went undefeated and EVERYONE else has a loss?  I doubt it.  That’s the problem…the polling system doesn’t take into account how MUCH football there is because we’re missing out on some good programs.

Here’s the crux of the matter.  In order for one of these teams to have a shot at the Title Game they need to run the table…and that’s hard, but fine.  Then Texas, Florida and Alabama ALL have to lose.  We came pretty close to Ohio Stat and Michigan playing a rematch for the National Title a couple year ago and if you think they wouldn’t just put Bama and Florida back in the Title Game then you’re crazy.

Texas might lose the Big 12 Title Game to a North a North opponent, but I highly doubt it.  Either Bama or Florida could lose before they meet in the SEC Title Game (which may open the door for LSU, but that’s a whole other story) and then if LSU gets shut out of the SEC Title Game and the one-loss team wins the SEC Title then you MIGHT have a scenario where one of these teams (Boise, TCU or Cincy) could sneak into the Title Game IF they’re undefeated.

“Well, you can’t penalize TCU and Boise (or Cincy) for being in crap conferences!” I know and you also can’t penalize Florida and Bama for being in the best conference in football.  I heard Rece Davis on the radio the other day talking about how “the level of competition just isn’t the same.”  Ok, then maybe we need to go to a different format in the MLB because clearly American League teams (in general) are much better than National League teams.  Plus, we need to go to a new system in the NBA because, in general, the Western Conference is much stronger than the Eastern Conference.  But we don’t do that…you know why?  Because that’s a stupid idea!  What Rece Davis, and countless others, fail to realize is that this is a two-way street.  One the one hand you can’t blame TCU, Boise or Cincy for having crappy opponents, but you also can’t blame Florida or Bama for having good opponents.  The logic works both ways.  We need to cut this crap about “the level of competition isn’t the same.”  Are you kidding me?  We know that, but it doesn’t matter…all of these teams are still playing college football that is sanctioned by the NCAA.  Period.  Stop drinking the Kool-Aid and wake up…IT’S ALL FOOTBALL FOR PETE’S SAKE!

With that said, it means that Florida/Bama and Boise/TCU/Cincy’s penalties offset and we are on a level playing field.  There’s only one little thing…

Money.  College sports is about money.  It’s not about education.  It’s not about bettering yourself as a person or becoming a leader or whatever.  It’s about money.  We all know it’s about money, but everyone inside the college “scene” wants to pretend that it isn’t.  I’d have alot more respect for these college presidents and coaches if they just said “Yo, this is about money.  Peace.”  Think about it, on the one hand they show those cute commercials during college football games espousing the academic principles of the schools or conferences that are playing and on the other hand the college Presidents are saying “Screw that, we want the money baby!”  I honestly wouldn’t care if they would just keep it real, but that’s never going to happen…soooooooo.

I suppose the most entertaining scenario would be one where ALL these 3 teams go undefeated and Florida and Bama lose.  Can imagine he BCS “powers that be” all freaking out, drinking Starbucks, pounding cigarettes, sweating through their suits with 3 undefeated “mid-majors” staring them in the face?  I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that room.   {Here’s a better one.  What if they weren’t the only 3 undefeateds?  Mwahahahahahahaha!}

I don’t even care about a playoff system anymore.  Who gives half a rat’s tail about that when we can’t do simple math?  When we have to have a discussion about whether an undefeated team (who was playing football) should be ranked higher than a team with one loss?!  Seriously, forget the playoff system and let’s get the math right:  1 loss is more than 0 losses.

My picks for the week after the jump…

(12) Georgia Tech @ Virginia   Noon

Supposedly Georgia Tech has a hard time with Virginia.  I think Virginia’s going to be having a hard time with a team that completed one pass all night against Virginia Tech and beat them.  Yeah.  I say the over/under on rushing yards for GT is about 400.  The Jackets smash the Cavaliers in Charlottesville.

UCONN @ (23) West Virginia   Noon

I don’t really care who wins.  I just hope the kids from UCONN can hold themselves together after one of their own was stabbed to death on campus.  I guess the hardest part for me was to hear about the victim’s mother.  She came around the locker room and consoled every kid that was sobbing, telling them it’ll be alright.  That’s a strong woman.  It’s just a game this week…

Tennessee @ (2) Alabama   3:30 P.M.

This is Nick Saban’s shot to show Lane Kiffin where to stick it…although the Tide might be doing most of the sticking…The Tide Rolls……

Louisville @ (5) Cincinnati, Clemson @ (10) Miami, (11) Oregon @ Washington, (6) Iowa @ Michigan State

These are the BCS-busters this week.  Louisville probably won’t beat Cincy, but you can’t out it past them.  C.J. Spiller is still the most exciting player in the ACC and he might be able to help Clemson sneak up on Miami.  Washington has killed a giant this year…can they do it again to the Giant’s little brother?  Iowa always loses at the worst freaking time.  They might against a bad Michigan State team this week.

(1) Florida @ Mississippi State   7 P.M.

Dan Mullen knows Tim Tebow…he coached him for a couple years.  Dan Mullen knows Florida…he worked there for a couple years.  If the officials in the SEC weren’t so awful I would have been right about Arkansas beating Florida.  This could be Florida’s Waterloo again if they don’t watch it.  Mullen outwits Meyer in a close one…

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