Sunday, December 2
Somewhere in the great beyond, Occam is drinking heavily.
Since you can't get screwed out of something that was never yours to begin with, this isn't going to be a rant about how Georgia got screwed out of a national-title shot. Truth to tell, I'm not a big fan of a team that didn't even win its own conference getting invited to The Show, whether that's Georgia or anybody else. Thus it bears mentioning that if Georgia had taken care of business against South Carolina, or even bothered to show up against Tennessee, we might not even be talking about this.
And here's the thing -- there's nothing in what I'm sure is an extensive BCS handbook saying that a non-conference-title-winner is barred from the big one. The system is what it is, so if you're pissed that we Dawgs were even entertaining the thought of playing in the national-title game, your beef is not with us with the BCS itself, whoever the hell that is.
So I would be really interested in knowing the thought process(es) that kept Georgia stationary in the polls when two teams above them lost. If you're an AP or USA Today voter, chances are good that you thought Georgia was better than LSU last week -- the Dawgs were ranked four in both polls, obviously, while LSU was fifth (and 85 points behind) in the sportswriters' poll, seventh (and 98 points behind) in the coaches'. Now LSU is ranked second in both polls, above the Dawgs. That in and of itself is no sin; if you voted LSU below Georgia last week but saw something in the Tigers' 21-14 win over Tennessee in the SEC title game that elicited some kind of epiphany and made you decide they were really the second-best team in the country, I got no beef with you. Diff'rent strokes to rule the world and all that.
Yet I have the sneaking suspicion that a lot of voters jacked the Tigers up a few notches simply because they wanted a conference champion, as opposed to the alternative, in the title game. If that's the case, then one could look at this as the second year in a row in which some last-minute gamesmanship by the poll voters was necessary to keep a non-conference-title-winner out of the big game and engineer a supposedly more attractive alternative.
Again, this is something I'm not opposed to in principle, because again, I'm of the general opinion that the national-championship game should be open to conference champions only. But that isn't the way this particular system works. And if that system is going to require this much finagling to ensure that it works the way its designers want it to work, then doesn't that make it kind of a shitty system?
Near as I can figure, the BCS was intended to provide a uniform system of selecting national-title participants so that we wouldn't have any more split titles. But there's an excellent chance we're going to end up with a split national title this year, meaning that the BCS's method of artificially limiting the field of teams who have a shot at the title basically serves no practical purpose whatsoever. After nearly a decade, I really can't discern any way we're better off now than when there was no BCS and the first weekend in December was just a mad scramble by the big bowls to grab whomever they found most attractive. We've introduced a whole new level of complexity and controversy into the system just to get us to a place that objectively is no better than what we had before.
Now, my disdain for the BCS doesn't necessarily mean I'm lusting after some long, drawn-out playoff, either; give me a real plus-one game where, say, the winners of the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl would face off for all the marbles, but you start to complicate matters with any more than four teams and I'm not interested. But the BCS is, as we say down South, as useless than tits on a boar. Either give us a real plus-one or just go back to the old way; the current system has no added value for anyone except poll voters and math nerds.
And I guess that's about it, except . . .
· Congratulations to LSU. I can still take at least a little bit of pride to see an SEC team in the big one, even if it isn't my own. You realize, of course, that the reputation of the conference is on your shoulders, but if history is any guide, that may not be a problem. When they first cut to Jim Tressel on the BCS selection show on Fox, he looked like he was mentally calculating how much alcohol it would take to quell the acid flashbacks from this.
· Mark Richt said exactly what he should've said during his segment on that show: that he didn't necessarily feel like Georgia got screwed out of their shot, but that it seemed like a lot of people were focusing on the whole "didn't win the conference" thing -- which, again, is officially irrelevant according to the current BCS system, which do not require a team to have won its conference to get a berth in the title game -- than on Georgia's actual body of work.
· So we're going to the Sugar Bowl, to face Hawaii -- and I'd be lying if I said I was super-thrilled about that. It seems like we're sitting in the same chair that was occupied by Oklahoma when they played Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, but I'm less worried about that than the fact that we're also sitting in the same chair that was occupied by . . . Georgia, when we played West Virginia in the Sugar two years ago. I can only hope we take this game a little bit more seriously than we took that one, because like the Mountaineers, Hawaii is plenty capable of making us look foolish if we go into it thinking a half-assed effort is going to be enough.
· Speaking of Hawaii: Tommy Tuberville? Hawaii better than Georgia? Really? I guess this is his way of getting back at us for that 25-point drubbing we laid on him earlier in the year. Next year let's make it 50.
Wow, he musta really hated the black jerseys, then.