DALLAS –Time to fess up picking Auburn to win the national championship last season didn’t pan out. But thanks to the new (and supposedly improved) Bowl Championship Series ranking system, this year’s prediction can be made with great confidence:
USC will face Oklahoma in the FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. The reasoning: The Trojans and Sooners have the inside track.
Sorry, LSU. Too bad, Texas, et al. College football coaches and media have already given the Trojans and Sooners a head start in the national-title race. They were picked first and second, respectively, in the two major polls that now make up two-thirds of the BCS formula.
The BCS formula was radically overhauled during the off-season to put more emphasis on humans instead of computers. Now, the Associated Press Top 25 poll counts one-third. The ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches’ poll counts one-third. The computer rankings make up the final third.
Gone are things such as strength of schedule, the “quality win” component and deductions for losses.
If this system had been in place last year, USC and LSU would have played for the national championship, not LSU and OU. It’s just yet another change in the evolutionary system that is supposed to produce a No. 1 vs. No. 2 championship game at season’s end.
“The fact the voters have more influence should make the fans happy,” BCS analyst Jerry Palm said. “That’s all fans cared about: what the voters think.”
Preseason polls are supposed to be fun for the fans, right? After all, August is a time for optimism. OU coach Bob Stoops probably speaks for all coaches when he said, “At this point in the year, the polls don’t mean a whole lot.”
The reality is the preseason polls act as early BCS barometers. Now that USC and OU are entrenched atop the two major polls, all they have to do is go undefeated to reach the BCS title game. Granted, that’s no small feat. But if they keep winning, neither team should fall from the two top spots. Media and coaches will feel compelled to keep voting them 1-2.
Fight on, Trojans! Boomer Sooner!
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