Back in 2006, Michigan and Florida were jousting for the final spot in the BCS title game against unbeaten and top-ranked (and, as it turned out, severely overrated) Ohio State. Michigan had lost its season finale to Ohio State in a nail-biter that came one day after the death of legendary former coach Bo Schembechler.
The Wolverines were still ahead of Florida in the BCS rankings, but Florida beat Arkansas Dec. 2 for the SEC title while Michigan and Ohio State watched TV. No. 2 USC lost to UCLA, shockingly taking itself out of the running.
That, naturally, brought on the politicking that makes the BCS so damn special to college football fans.
Remember when Florida was worried Michigan and Ohio State were going to meet in a rematch for the title? Here’s what Urban Meyer said that day:
"We’re going to tell a group of young men who just went 12-1 with the most difficult schedule against six ranked opponents that they don’t have a chance to go play for a national championship?” Florida coach Urban Meyer asked incredulously. “I’m going to need help with that one.”
Here’s then-freshman receiver Percy Harvin:
“Michigan already had its chance. I think we deserve a chance.”
And the best quote came from Florida President Bernie Machen (who is a playoff guy):
“If they don’t vote for us after tonight, we need a new system,” Florida President Bernie Machen said after the game. “We should be packing our bags for Glendale.”
Florida got in, largely because a number of voters decided that their win over Arkansas meant they were suddenly better than Michigan.
Now, of course, the lobbying is of a different sort. An Alabama team that is idle this weekend while the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 12 decide conference titles with championship games is expected to play LSU in the BCS title game Jan. 9. That game might actually be played even if LSU stubs its toe against Georgia Saturday.
The games this weekend don't count. At all. They have no bearing on the BCS, which prides itself on telling us how every game counts.
These games don't count, and apparently LSU's win over Alabama Nov. 5 meant nothing, too, because Alabama will get another shot at LSU.
I'm guilty of saying publicly that Alabama is the second-best team in the country, yes. But as Stewart Mandel writes this week, the BCS is choosing Alabama not because it's clearly deserving, or because the world is clamoring for another Alabama-LSU snoozefest.
Instead, the selection is about the past, and not the present. If you look at the case Mandel makes, it's not about the present. Oklahoma State has more wins against top 25 teams, more wins against top 50 teams, and actually (gasp) won its conference. Alabama didn't even win its division, much less its conference.
The system needs help. There is no easy way to determine a second-best team in a world where there is only one viable unbeaten (sorry, Houston). I'm not going to bang the playoff drum, because there's no point. People are either going to scream along with you or scream at you. There is no convincing the insane on this issue. They will continue to believe that every game counts in the BCS, and that there are no major issues with the bowl system.
Go ahead. Rally against facts, and against the truth. It wouldn't be the first time the majority believed in a lie.
Meanwhile, another season has gone by where the powers-that-be have ignored the obvious cash cow that is a college football playoff in favor of an inferior, corrupt, less lucrative bowl system that sucks half the life out of a sport a lot of people would love if only given the chance.
Oh, and we continue to judge teams that play different styles and different schedules by results of games that were played three, four, five, or more years ago.
Of course, this doesn't matter to the BCS. The SEC is king, the league that produces national champions. That voters already spoke loudly about a potential title game rematch five years ago is irrelevant. That, after all, involved the crappy Big 10. This involves the NFL-like SEC. And you know fans will flip their TVs on in droves to see another big SEC game morph into a field goal-kicking contest.
Since it's the BCS, that's all that matters in the end.