FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The winners will not need our compassion tonight at the BCS Championship game. The winners will be fine, once they shake the confetti out of their hair.
It’s the losers who will need understanding.
They will be the only highly ranked college football team in America without an argument to make.
Doesn’t matter who goes down in Dolphin Stadium, Florida or Oklahoma. Or how it happens.
Utah will say it would have done better.
USC will say it would have done better.
Texas will say it would have done better.
Everyone not here has a grievance. They all have advocates who claim this whole matter is a raw deal. They have the system to blame. Or the voters. Or the computers.
But today’s losers will have nowhere to hide and no complaint to make. No one will pat them on the shoulders and agree how the world is unfair. They will be orphans on the talk shows and blogs.
Six weeks ago, in the journalistic equivalent of sticking my face in a fan, I offered that the BCS is not the root of all evil, and actually has some appeals. And that a playoff world would not be the land of milk and honey.
The e-mail is still arriving. I have been called five morons, four fools, three idiots, two imbeciles and a partridge in a pear tree. Nearly every cyberspace ICBM came from someone whose particular team is getting the shaft.
But who will write on behalf of the team that is defeated tonight? Know what everyone will say? They had their chance.
So our pity should be on red alert, because a really, really good team is about to be hurt, and look around to find few national sympathizers.
Until then, we should admire the view of this game. Aren’t some of the numbers staggering?
•Oct. 25: The last time anyone held Oklahoma to less than 60 points.
•76-8: The combined touchdown-interception ratio of Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow.
•392-50: The combined first-quarter scoring differential of the Gators and Sooners.
•2: Sophomore Heisman winners in all recorded history. Both will be playing quarterback in this game.
So it is time to decide things, finally. This goes much longer, and teams will be passing the first spring break arrivals on their way out of town.
Tebow will be ready. He will have had his milk to drink Wednesday, like he does the night before every game.
Bradford will be ready. He will have read the Bible story of David and Goliath, like he does before every game. Plus, he’ll have on the same ratty pair of socks he always wears on game day.
They seem as grounded as their coaches, Florida’s Urban Meyer and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops.
Tonight’s winner will have other coaches doubting the propriety of his championship, with recent campaign speeches coming from Utah and USC and Texas.
“That’s absolutely what they should do,” Meyer said.
But tonight’s winner will at least have a championship trophy, no matter who debates it.
The loser is on his own.