Here we go again.
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) that was created to eliminate controversy about who plays in the national championship game has proven to be a headache in college football.
And the possibility is strong there will be more of the same this year.
The system is supposed to produce a championship game between the two most deserving teams. The trouble is that three or four emerge, but only two are selected.
Right now USC and LSU are the highest rated teams, but Oklahoma, Florida and perhaps Penn State and West Virginia are off to fast starts and could continue to make their cases.
The Associated Press poll is released every week. Currently USC is No. 1 and LSU is No. 2. But in a few weeks the BCS standings – the only one that counts in selecting the championship game teams – will be released.
At Pete Carroll’s weekly press conference on Tuesday, September 10, I asked the USC coach about the polls. LSU had won impressively on national television the previous weekend and USC didn’t have a game. As a result, LSU had shaved 19 points off USC’s poll lead.
I asked Carroll what he thought about that.
“Who are these voters?” he asked in return.
It was explained they are media members from around the country. Carroll didn’t say much more, but turned his team loose with a convincing 49-31 win at Nebraska last Saturday, keeping his starters in long after the outcome had been determined.
The road to victory kept USC ahead of LSU in the AP poll.
However, on the same day talk mounted about Oklahoma’s outstanding early season play and Florida was lauded for a convincing win.
A year ago, USC and Ohio State were headed to the championship game and Florida, another good team, wasn’t going to be invited. Then USC was upset by UCLA. That led to Florida being chosen instead of USC. And Florida defeated Ohio State to become the national champion.
In order to earn a berth this season USC will likely have to conquer a tough schedule that includes road games against their stringent Pac-10 Conference opponents.
That’s because the competition to be ranked first or second is so intense that one loss will likely eliminate a team from consideration.
UCLA, for example, had extremely high hopes this season, but its shocking 44-6 loss at Utah Saturday probably ends their championship game hopes.
USC lost at UCLA and Oregon State last season, but defensive end Lawrence Jackson told me the lack of execution, not the location of the games, was the biggest factor.
“It’s all about execution,” he said. “We had five turnovers at Oregon State and didn’t put ourselves in position to score against UCLA.” “It’s up to us. If we execute, it doesn’t matter if the game is played on the moon.”