GREENBERG: At least one writer will miss the BCS
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter December 8, 2013 10:13PM
SEC Championship - Missouri v Auburn
Updated: January 10, 2014 6:33AM
ATLANTA — I’m going to miss college football’s ever-controversial BCS format. Yeah, I said it. I’m going to miss every week being essentially a national playoff — win or, unless you’re an SEC team, you’re out of the running — with all the weekly drama that offered.
College football must be starkly different from the parity-driven NFL to remain prominent on the national sports scene, and in this way it has been — more so than ever before.
Will the playoff that begins in 2014 change things much? It won’t represent a sea change. But the four-teamer is a slippery slope toward an eight-teamer and beyond, and this might hurt the college game in the long run.
Auburn’s 59-42 victory over Missouri here Saturday in the SEC title game, coupled with Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, was a late, last show of BCS strength. The pressure of early December was on epic display. And the BCS, on its last legs, delivered.
Ooh-ooh, that spread
Can’t you smell that Florida State-Auburn spread? I can. The No. 1 Seminoles opened as 8½-point favorites over Auburn, and for the life of me I don’t understand why.
FSU ripped through the so-so ACC. Auburn beat Alabama and won the SEC. Hello?
According to USA Today handicapper Danny Sheridan, the Tigers are 5-0 against the spread as underdogs this season and have beaten the spread in 10 consecutive games.
So there’s that.
The last BCS controversy
It’s Oklahoma, off a victory at Oklahoma State, getting lined up — instead of fellow two-loss team Oregon — with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Understand this: The Sooners have absolutely no chance against the Crimson Tide. Maybe the Ducks wouldn’t, either, but the guess here is a Ducks-Tide matchup would have so much more buzz. And would be such a better game.
Meaningless playoff chatter
If there were a four-team playoff based off the final BCS rankings, the semifinal mathchups would be Florida State against No. 4 Michigan State and Auburn against No. 3 Alabama.
No news flash here: The Seminoles and the Crimson Tide — in a neutral-field rematch with Auburn — would be the expected winners.
I’d take FSU and Alabama, and the two-time defending national champs in the title game. For whatever that’s worth.
My top four?
Again, for whatever it’s worth, I’d say the best four teams are — in order — Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Baylor.
There are some fascinating matchups outside of the BCS. But here are my rankings of the BCS games based on entertainment only: (1) Florida State-Auburn, title game; (2) Ohio State-Clemson, Orange Bowl; (3) Michigan State-Stanford, Rose Bowl; (4) Alabama-Oklahoma, Sugar Bowl; (5) Baylor-UCF, Fiesta Bowl.
And now, my favorite three non-BCS bowl matchups:
1. Missouri-Oklahoma State, Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3): This is where we find out if the Tigers would’ve won the Big 12 this season. No doubt the Cowboys believe it should be them, and not Baylor — which they hammered by 32 — in the Fiesta.
2. South Carolina-Wisconsin, Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1): Remember Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith last postseason? It was replayed by ESPN only a billion times. Can’t wait for the SEC’s scariest defensive line and the Big Ten’s most brutish offensive line to do battle.
3. Oregon-Texas, Alamo Bowl (Dec. 30): This could be a massive blowout in favor of the Ducks. Maybe it should be. Do the Longhorns have a pulse anymore? Texas has outperformed expectations in many a bowl game under Mack Brown.
Wrong but right
Northern Illinois came so close to qualifying for a BCS game. Instead, the Huskies will have to settle for the Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 26) against Utah State.
The harsh reality is USU didn’t win the Mountain West but is more than a match for NIU. Jordan Lynch and the Huskies will have to play their best game of the season to avoid a second loss.