Could We Have a Disputed BCS Championship?
by Paul Grossinger
As it stands today, nearly three quarters through the college football season, the race for the BCS title game remains surprisingly open. While Florida, Alabama, and Texas remain unbeaten, their schedules indicate that other top teams could rock the boat. Florida still has a trip to Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks next week and will almost certainly face fellow unbeaten Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
For its part, Alabama must beat a tough LSU team in Tuscaloosa, something they haven’t done in almost a decade, and then take on Florida. As a result, both of these teams cannot remain unbeaten through the season. Texas could run the gauntlet as they face no more ranked teams but they will face three more road games in-season and then will take on a tough challenger for the Big 12 Title.
So, here’s the problem. The human polls continue to snub unbeaten Iowa, Cincinnati, and TCU and ranked USC in the top 12 despite two losses. This leads one to believe that, even were each of the three top teams to suffer a loss, two of them would play for the championship and one in a major BCS bowl.
For instance, if Florida, Alabama, and Texas stay undefeated through the regular season then one of the first two will take on Texas for the title regardless of any of the other teams’ performances. Where it gets dicey though is if one of those teams, quite possibly Iowa, coming roaring in to their BCS non-championship bowl against the odd man out in the Big Three and smashes them off the field. This is hardly an impossible scenario since Utah did it to the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl last year. The difference, of course, is that the Utes were undefeated in the oft-ridiculed Mountain West Conference and their mid-major objections could be overridden.
What would the BCS do if they were faced with a 13-0 Iowa as champion of the Big 10 and the Sugar Bowl and winners over Penn State and Ohio State on the road? How could they deny an unbeaten with top wins in a top conference a share of the title if the eventual winner of the title game was already marred by a loss?
Ultimately, all of this is irrelevant if Iowa and Cincinnati, the two major conference unbeatens, choke even once in the rest of their in-season schedule or their championship game. However, if that doesn’t happen and they win a BCS bowl to remain undefeated a la Utah, it will be another embarrassing debacle for the BCS. If nothing else, I will have a lot more to write about.