There is not a doubt in my mind that LSU is the best team in the country. Not only have they gone undefeated (thus far) in the nation’s toughest conference (make that division) but they did it in style. They went on the road and won an ugly game against the #2 team in the nation at the time in Alabama. They destroyed #3 Arkansas. And let’s not forget they had an impressive opening week win against Pac-12 Champion Oregon. There is no doubt that should LSU beat Georgia tonight (which I expect they will do by at least 17 points) they will be going to the BCS National Championship.
The question is clearly not – who is #1, but instead it’s who is #2?
Just a month ago there were so many questions as to who would play the SEC Champion in the BCS National Championship game – would it be undefeated Oklahoma State? How about golden boy Andrew Luck and his Stanford Cardinal? Maybe the resurgent Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers? Surprise team Clemson? Or maybe, just maybe, Boise State would get their shot.
But now as we head in to championship weekend, the case for #2 is unclear. While FCS, Division II, and Division III use a playoff to determine who should be the national champion, the BCS has failed us once again due to a plethora of one-loss teams. The BCS focuses on what should happen and what will happen as opposed to what does happen and takes all the magic out of sport. Can you imagine if NCAA Basketball used a BCS-type system? Would we have ever heard of the Butler Bulldogs, VCU Rams, or George Mason?
But the BCS system is what we have and the question remains – who should be #2?
A lot of people believe that Alabama should play LSU for the national title – I STRONGLY disagree. Alabama already had their crack at LSU. They had them at home and lost a game which ultimately proved nothing except that LSU’s kicker is marginally better than Alabama’s kicker-by-committee. If we had a playoff system I would have no problem with two teams from the same conference playing for a national championship. But we don’t – the whole season is a playoff. Alabama did not win their division, did not win their conference, and will be sitting at home this weekend. The nation’s best country had to beat the Pac-12 champion, the #2 team in the country on the road, and these last two weeks had to face the #3 team in the nation, and now goes to face the SEC East Champion. LSU has to win to make the national title game. It seems that Alabama doesn’t have to do anything at all. It makes no sense. If the whole season is a playoff, Alabama has already been eliminated.
I would love to see Stanford play for a national title and watch what Andrew Luck can do against an SEC defense. I would love to see Boise State finally get their shot. My argument for them is the same as Alabama – they had their chance and they blew it. They did not win their conference and they did not win their division. And in a system where the season is the playoff, I just cannot justify sending someone to a national championship game that does not win their conference. The Big Ten has eliminated themselves on a strange series of last-minute heroics that leaves Wisconsin with two more losses than they should have. If Oklahoma defeats Oklahoma State like I believe they will, that will also leave 2-loss teams in the Big 12. Kellen Moore and Boise State once again lost a conference match-up they could not afford to lose on a last second field goal. If not for a loss to TCU, the Broncos would probably be getting the title shot they have been clamoring for all these years. Houston provides intrigue and has a great QB in Case Keenum but unfortunately their undefeated season will not get them to the BCS title game. Conference USA took a big step backwards this year which in the computer’s eyes makes a very impressive Houston team look rather lackluster. Don’t even get me started on the Big East – the Mountain West and Conference USA are more deserving of being an AQ conference than the Big East.
That leaves the ACC – wait a second what about the ACC?
Do they boast a team that should be considered #2?
Clemson started off the season fast beating #21 Auburn, #11 Florida State, and #11 Virginia Tech but quickly showed their colors with a string of three losses in four weeks – two of which were unranked teams. Today they will be playing against the Virginia Tech Hokies for the ACC title. The Hokies are a program that has really blossomed over the past decade and made a number of BCS bowl game berths.
This season Virginia Tech has only one loss on their resume. But since they won their division they will have the opportunity to avenge that loss against Clemson tonight. They have won 7 straight games since that early season loss.
They have the seventh ranked defense in the country and additionally, Virginia Tech has played the same number of opponents that Alabama has with 8 wins or more. Overall, Virginia Tech has played more bowl-eligible teams than Alabama. And a win tonight would have them sitting with only one loss (that they avenged) and as division champions and conference champions of an AQ conference.
But the media meanwhile is not even talking about the Hokies but instead expects us to believe that the Crimson Tide can beat the Bayou Bengals in Louisiana in January when they could not beat them in Tuscaloosa in November.
Of the top 5 teams in the BCS Rankings at this moment, only 3 of them are playing for a conference title. Two teams ranked ahead of Virginia Tech didn’t even win their division. If tonight goes the way I believe it should then there is no reason why a one-loss team in Virginia Tech who has a conference championship in an AQ conference and avenged their sole season’s loss should be ranked behind a 2-loss Oklahoma State or a Stanford and Alabama team that could not win their division and did nothing this weekend to boost their resume.
If the #1 team in the country has to win this weekend to play for the national title, shouldn’t the same be expected of #2?
Why aren’t we talking about Virginia Tech?