I hate Florida as much as the next Michigan fan, but stop blaming them for 2006. THEY DESERVED IT. They absolutely mauled OSU. We didn't deserve to go the National Championship. We lost to a better OSU team who got killed by a way better Florida team. I don't see how you can hate a team for being right. Also, anyone who hates Texas should compare Mack Brown and Bob Stoops with Lloyd Carr and Urban Meyer. Stoops was the one acting like Meyer, and I thought Mack actually handled the situation in a very classy fashion, like Lloyd. I used to like OU a lot better than Texas, but my opinions of Stoops and Mack Brown have changed some.
There Is No Right Answer
On Monday I posted my blogpoll draft ballot and, I guess, in it is contained my opinion on who should play for the national championship: the SEC champion and either Oklahoma or Texas. This is not controversial. My exact ordering of the teams, however, may be:
MGoBrian's got his draft ballot up and he decided on Oklahoma ahead of Texas, for the reasons we've discussed multiple times here already. Though he mistakenly replaces on Texas' schedule Kansas with Kansas State, I'm certain getting that right wouldn't make a lick of difference based on his ballot and published reasoning.
No, what makes Brian's ballot a frontrunner for the wack ballot watch this week is not OU at #1, but Texas at... #4?
You read that right. Brian offers the standard TCU-Cincinnati bit, decides to toss out head-to-heads and common opponents, and rolls with OU at #1. Fine. I dislike the analysis (and find it comically thin considering its publication immediately following a highly nuanced ND 2007 vs Michigan 2008 analysis), but have acknowledged repeatedly that the adopted line of argument clears the lowest bar: Not Irrational. Where Brian really falls off a cliff is in sandwiching Florida and Alabama between the Sooners and Longhorns.
That's Burnt Orange Nation, and they're a little cheesed off. Obviously.
My first thought: "who cares? It will all work itself out this weekend." I was a little taken aback by the stridency of the response to a ballot that's just a draft (and, yes, admittedly a little thin on the justifications), especially when it would be moot a week from now.
Then I remembered the reason Oklahoma was going to the Big 12 Championship game. No wonder Texas fans are a little punchy about polls.
My ballot was apparently the last straw for Peter's faith in the rationality of humanity. The title of the post: "The Day That Common Sense Died." At he throws his hands up in the air, defeated. Um… sorry about that?
Thus a meme is born, the kind that will live on forever in Longhorn and Red River lore; if Texas fails to slide into one of the top two spots next Tuesday, opinion is unanimous and vociferous enough around UT that 2008 will always be "The Year Texas Got Screwed," joining the illustrious company of Ohio State (1998), Miami (2000), Oregon (2001), USC (2003), Auburn (2004), Michigan (2006) and, if you ask them, Georgia (2007) on the wrong end of the BCS' annual stick. It could have just as easily -- and just as maddeningly -- been Oklahoma's turn this time around, given the Sooners' exceptional resumé and dominant stretch run, but their time will come. Everybody gets their turn at outrage.
Every one of those teams outside Georgia has a valid bitch, making it 6 times in 11 years the BCS has either totally failed (picking Nebraska over Oregon, leaving #1 USC out) or run across an intractable problem (three undefeated teams, six indistinguishable one-loss ones).
Every year there is some complaint and the BCS goes about fixing the problem that came before, then announcing a new Pax Idiotica in which there will be no problems forever. Wrong. As long as college football is settled on the world's dumbest playoff system, this will continue to happen.
So, I say this to Peter and Texas fans everywhere: I don't know. I don't know if you are a better team or had a better season than Oklahoma. I don't know if Florida or Alabama did. I don't know if USC or Penn State did. Since the devolution of college football scheduling has deprived us of more than a half dozen meaningful comparison points between one conference and another, I am guessing. Totally. And in this case attempting to pick between Texas and Oklahoma is impossible. I read Texas supporters' justifications and think they're totally reasonable.
This is only okay because the BlogPoll does not count. I wouldn't participate in a poll that contributed to the current BCS rankings, because the BCS is an abomination. It is the worst of all possible worlds.
You cannot oppose a playoff and be in favor of the BCS in any form: the BCS is a playoff. It is a two-team playoff in a field of 119 teams. Those teams play 12 or 13 games and have schedules so segregated it's impossible to distinguish between one-loss teams in difference conferences. It is the worst playoff that has ever been conceived. It sanctions the idea that there is a real national championship to pursue, then awards it in the worst way possible. I would prefer anything to it.
- A return to the old bowl system and entirely mythical championships
- A four team playoff
- A six team playoff
- An eight team playoff
- Anything at all, anything, God, anything
My personal playoff plan has been expounded upon on this site already, but a recap:
Six teams. Six is a great number, big enough to include all reasonable contenders, small enough to fit, and lopsided enough to make finishing #1 or #2 really worth it, as they get byes.
Home games in the first two rounds. Reward better teams for their seasons. Value the regular season. Reward loyal fans. Avoid corporate whoredom.
The first round is the week after the conference championship games; the second round is January 1st. The final is the next Saturday at least a week out. First-round losers (and everyone else) are welcome to participate in whatever bowl games they feel like participating in.
No Autobids. Autobids are stupid. Ask the Orange Bowl.
Max two teams per conference.
Final at the Rose Bowl. Obviously. Kickoff at 4:30.
Assuming Florida and Oklahoma wins in the conference games, this year's bracket:
#1 Florida vs #4 Texas/#5 Penn State
#2 Oklahoma vs #3 USC/#6 Alabama
I've futzed the seeds to prevent second round intraconference matchups.
Is this perfect? No. It's hard to leave Utah out.* Does it crown a better champion? Yes. Does it maintain the drama of the regular season? Hell yes. The SEC championship game is the difference between a first round bye and a second round home game and a first round road game if you even make it. Is it 10000% better than what we've got now? Yes.
I'm not a big fan of the eight-team playoff proposal with autobids for all the BCS conferences. Frankly, no one in the Big East or ACC has any business playing for a national title this year, and in previous years that goes for the Pac-10 or Big 12 or Big Ten or SEC, too. But it would be so much better than what we've got now. I no longer care about the tradition of the bowl games. They've sold out for more money and more games and this whole fifth game was a transparent money grab that gives us a slew of awful matchups every January. It's impossible to love something with "Fedex" as part of its name. The bowls can die for all I care, with the exception of the Rose.
*(I've done these the past three years and this is an unusual situation. Most years Utah would get in.)
I don't understand how some people can actually say Michigan got robbed in '06. If they wouldn't have tanked against USC, I'd get it. Seriously, that USC game pisses me off like no other. Such a waste of fucking talent on that defense, to get abused like they did.
The bowl games show who has more talent. After them, its pretty clear that 2006 Florida and USC had more talent than 2006 Ohio State and Michigan. But, shouldn't the championship game participants be the two teams that played the best (as best we can tell)? I don't think there is a single playoff in the world picked on talent. And, IMO looking at their regular seasons in 2006, Michigan was slightly better than Florida.
They shouldn't, barring extreme circumstances, have to do it a second time if there's a reasonable alternative. And Florida was a reasonable alternative.
Hindsight's 20/20. When the game ended, and on November 19th, there were no doubts as to who #1 and #2 in the country were. The matchup happened as a result of our more difficult schedule (no bye week), Urban Meyer, and Gary Danielson. It doesn't matter if it was right; it never should have happened.
I have been 1 of the nuts thinking about playoffs for years and the "we can't ruin our regular season" and turn it into basketball was a valid argument against. Brian's system is by far the best I have seen(I proposed a similar 1 for years :-)). Being a fan of Nebraska and Michigan my entire life, I lamented every Jan 1 as my team traveled across the country to play a major bowl at a "neutral" site like playing Miami in the Orange Bowl or USC in the Rose Bowl. I love big match ups like USC-OSU this year. The thought of a USC-Alabama game in mid December to advance would be awesome and to see Florida come up to Mich in Dec for a plyoff game would be off the hook. The only mod to Brian's system I have always proposed was a 7 team playoff...the main reason being we get 1 day that would be our March Madness the week after the championship games.. 3 games Noon, 4:00, 8:00. Great matchups all day long. I do like some Conf Champs getting a few of the auto bids(3 toughest conference based on ratings)or not allowing non conf champs to jump conf champs to keep the conf champs important.
There is no right answer to the Tex-Okl argument but laugh every time the Tex people pile on and ignore Texas Tech and their win and horrid out of conf schedule which they claim doesn't matter....We're Texas!!
But I would gladly sacrifice a little bit of drama on one day to gain weeks worth of playoffs every year. Also, in 2006 Michigan would have made the playoffs.
How often do you get Armageddon Games like that, though? On average, probably less than once a year (certainly there were none last year). For every game that it diminishes, it raises the stakes in several more. Take '05, for instance, when USC and Texas went wire-to-wire; pretty much no other games had any title implications at all, because they just kept winning. Instead, the ACC title (VT-Miami) would have been a play-in, Penn State and Ohio State would have been fighting for spots the whole year, the SEC title (LSU-Auburn) might have been a play-in (though an Auburn win could have opened the door for Oregon or Notre Dame instead).
-Regular season ends by Thanksgiving/Dec 1, reduce number of regular season games to 11, finish conference championship games earlier.
-seed 6 conference champions, 2 at large.
-1st and 2nd rounds at lower seeded home stadium, 2nd and 3rd week of December
-All Bowls continue as they are, losers of quarter and semi finals can still go to NYD Bowls
-Final 1st week of Jan at Rose-Sugar-Orange-Fiesta rotation.
it would be nearly impossible to remove the 12th regular season game at this point. It would be one less home game for major teams, which means one less game worth of revenue. It's the reason BM always says that UM "can't afford" to play a home and home with a major power out of conference--we want the money for that extra home game.
Playoffs won't happen without a reduction in number of games. The NCAA already prohibits participation in bowl games when it interferes with the schools exam schedules. The only way to get playoffs of more than 4 teams completed is to start them during "conference championship" weekend.
Also, the only way I see a NCAA sanctioned playoff happen is if all conferences get automatic bids. This is because the NCAA will have to sanction any additional games played and between remaining BCS conference Presidents against a playoff and non-BCS Presidents who would feel screwed, a playoff won't happen without automatic conference representation.
with a 6 team playoff, and that includes conference title games. The NCAA already allows a team to play 15 games in a year if you schedule Hawaii (12, plus 1 for Hawaii, plus 1 for the conf. title, plus the bowl). At most 2 teams per year would play 16 games, and that would require each of 1) that they play in their conference title game, 2) they don't get a first round bye and 3)they upset one of the top 2 teams. It probably happens to one team every 2 or 3 years. Not really a big deal.
I was more saying that currently the NCAA sanctions 12 regular season games, a championship game for conferences of 12 or more, a 13th game for teams who travel to Hawaii and one bowl game. Any additional game, even the +1 proposal requires NCAA approval. If that additional game is part of a playoff, I don't see it being approved without automatic bids for each 1A conference. That means a 16 team tournament.
I'd never, ever want to diminish the importance of the Michigan/OSU game by making it about seeding. I was fine with the polls and bowl system and split national championships than bullshit BCS ones. How would you have rather capped off the 1997 season: In the Rose Bowl with Keith Jackson calling the game or playing Tennessee in the Tostitos bowl? The choice is clear.
Michigan/OSU rivalry > helping other conferences and the rest of the country determine a legitimate national champion. Beat OSU, win the Big Ten, go to the Rose Bowl. Anything else that happens is gravy.
The thought of hosting a night game in Michigan Stadium versus USC in the second week of December makes my bits tingle.
The thought of hosting a night game in Michigan Stadium versus USC in the second week of December having earned my Fandom Endurance III merit badge mere weeks ago makes MY bits shrivel and fall off.
By playing Nebraska in the national championship game, which would have happened if the BCS was in place that year. I don't like the BCS, but 1997 was one year that the BCS would have been able to solve the problem--there were 2 teams that clearly had the best season but didn't get to play each other for the championship, hence the birth of the BCS.
I completely agree with everything Brian said. The only bowl game that has any prestige is the rose bowl and making it the national championship makes so much sense even though it would be sad that Michigan or any other Big Ten/Pac-10 team would have to go through a couple of playoff games to get there instead of just winning the conference.
"A return to the old bowl system and entirely mythical championships"
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Conference championships should be the most important championships in college football.
go back to the old bowl system and mythical championships.
...and by the way..."hard to leave utah out?" why on earth would that be? they'd have two losses, MINIMUM, in ANY bcs conference. shit, we almost beat them. screw them, screw hawaii, screw boise and their chickenshit razzle-dazzle crapola against oklahoma.
wow, imagine how pissed off i'd be if we weren't 3-9.
I'm reasonably sure that Utah and Boise would both be the Big East Champion this year, be the 3rd best team in in the Big 10, the 2nd best team in the Pac 10 and possibly the ACC champion. For reals. The only teams I'm utterly sure are better than them are Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, OSU, PSU, USC. But of course, because nobody ever plays anybody else, we don't know.
I love how people continue to say this is another case of the BCS screwing a team.
This has everything to do w/ the Big 12s choice of tiebreakers and their conference rules. If they used the highest temp on sunday the 30th as a tiebreaker, we'd still be here if Oklahoma was hotter. The SEC and the ACC, both of which use the BCS in tie-breaking scenarios, have rules for such an event.
Blame your conference, Texas fans, not the BCS.
The rules for the tie-breaker (i.e., BCS ranking) were agreed to by all members of the conference, including UT, OU and TT. UT fans can complain all they want about where they stand in the human polls used to calculate the BCS. Except the Harris and Coaches polls aren't the ones sending OU to the B12 championship game:
Harris: UT(#3 - .9115) and OU(#4 - .9094)
Coaches: UT(#3 - .9154) and OU(#2 - .9161)
Looking at the average of these two polls for the purposes of BCS calculation, UT averages out to .91345 and OU averages out to .91275. If anything, UT has the edge in these polls. The computer rank is what brings them down:
Comp: UT(.9400) and OU (.9800).
So basically, the computer rank is determining that OU is going to the B12 championship game instead of UT. I suppose the UT fans can find their nearest PC or Mac and start yelling at it if they want.
Even if OU loses against Missouri, I think it's hard to argue that UT should go to the BCS title game when they don't win their own conference based on rules they agreed to.
Brian, I'm a bit perplexed as to how you can say that autobids are a mistake, but that a six team playoff with no more than 2 teams from each conference going would be a workable system. The fact that you would have Penn St. over Texas Tech shows the utter failure of your system. Either no autobids, and no max teams per conference, or autobids with at-large. I prefer a return to the old system, call me nostalgic. College Football was never about "crowning" a national champion, it has become a complete creation of ESPN and the Sports Media in general. College Football is about winning your conference, getting to the best bowl game, and winning that. If I had to do a playoff, I would do a 16-team playoff with 6 auto-bids. Anything less than 16 teams would make an already horrible system worse. You can't arbitrarily decide between a handful of 2-loss teams, which, although not this year, would be the case in most years. I would drop 1 or even 2 non-conference games, and eliminate the conference championships. Still, the old system was the best.
does Penn St. over Texas Tech show "the utter failure of [the] system?" That seems fairly reasonable to me. Many (if not most, or all) polls have Penn St. over Texas Tech.
The problem w/ a 16 team playoff is that it greatly devalues the regular season. BCS conference schools are safe until they get their 3rd loss. That is the thing that makes college football so great - the despair of losing a game. In 2006 do UM/OSU get blasted for playing all of their starters when they are guaranteed a spot in the top 16? If it is the top 6 then they could still drop w/ an embarassing loss AND a win gets them a bye, making the game still much more important than if it simply for seeding purposes under the 16 team format.
Not if those 16 teams are 11 conference champs + 5 at-large. In 2006, by those standards (and using the final BCS standings to pick the at-larges), West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Rutgers would all have been left out with two losses. In 2005 (which was an 11-game season, so maybe not the fairest comparison), VT, Alabama, Louisville, UCLA, and Texas Tech would all have been left out with two losses. In 2004 (also 11 games), Iowa and Wisconsin would have been 9-2 and out. ('07 was wacky enough that a two-loss team made the title game, and this year two losses in a major conference would be safe - barely.)
just go back to the bowls. it was fine back then
Didn't Texas leapfrog Cal a couple years ago in the last week of the regular season when they played and Cal didn't? And didn't that end up sending Texas to a BCS game instead of Cal? In the long term, this all evens out.
Not quite. IIRC, the reason Cal got leaped over was because they had to fight and claw for a victory over some piss-poor mid-major in their final game. Actually, I don't even think Texas played that week at all, and they still got the nod.
That BCS game was the 2005 Rose Bowl against Michigan, by the way. Cal went on to get thumped in the Holiday Bowl by some nobody. I definitely wish UM could've played Cal, but whatever.
Yeah, I think you're right -- I got it backwards. In any case, that poll bump doesn't help me feel sorry for Texas now. Everybody gets screwed by the polls at some point, and I'm sure Texas will benefit at the expense of someone else (again) in the next few years. It's like bad calls in a game ... just on a longer scale of time.
I remember at Christmas that year my uncle and cousins saying how lucky we were for avoiding Cal in that Rose Bowl. I said how screwed we were by having to face Vince Young. I took no happiness in being correct, but certainly made me question everyone's general football intelligence.
PLAYOFF WILL BE 16 TEAMS. this will be the death of CFB as we know it. I like Brian's proposal, but the NCAA will NEVER approve it, so don't go running to the NCAA about a playoff unless you want 16 teams.
16 is fine with me, 11 conference champs and 5 at large. First 2 rounds (at least) at home sites.
Agreed - a 16 team playoff would be absolute garbage.
Playoffs in general aren't always that fucking cool. Let's think back to the 2005 World Series, where the playoff format rewarded a team that was utterly mediocre during the regular season with the championship. Along the lines of Michigan Arrogance, I believe that the very best part of college football is the importance of every single damn game. Take that away for the sake of pleasing smarmy little bastards like Josh Elliott, and you're not any better than the NFL - a league that has become increasingly boring.
I dread the day when a playoff comes to CFB (unless it was Brian's version, which makes way too much sense to ever happen.) I throw up in my mouth every time some twit gets a hard-on over 'Cinderella.'
I don't see how you can use strength of schedule to rank Oklahoma over Texas. It ignores the fact that Texas's strongest opponent and win was over Oklahoma on a neutral field. Oklahoma's weakness is its defense. It couldn't stop Texas, while Texas's defense stopped Oklahoma when it mattered.
Why do people seem to want to disregard Oklahoma's ten point loss on a neutral field to the team with which it is being compared and not look at the fact that Texas's only loss came on a fluke last second TD to the number five team on the road? It's not like Texas lost to Baylor.
For the same reason you are disregarding Texas's loss
The problem is this: It's a three-way tie. If you're voting to break that tie (voting on the rankings while completely ignoring that may be a different matter, but let's face it, the fact that it's the tiebreaker definitely influenced some votes if not most), you can't throw Tech out just because OU flattened them (that would effectively be telling OU that they won by so much that it doesn't count anymore for the tiebreakers).
(Also, that wasn't a "fluke last second TD". Tech was in field goal range and could have kicked a FG to win it had the pass fallen incomplete, or had Crabtree been shoved out of bounds before reaching the end zone for that matter. 60-yard tip-drill Hail Marys are flukes. A 25-yard pass is not a fluke.)
I can see the argument for either (which is why it's totally stupid that we have to have the argument at all), but "45-35" is not a sufficient argument for Texas by itself.
Two points—although I am not really emotionally vested in a playoff because it’s not likely to happen anytime soon and I recognize the argument is much of the fun.
1. A playoff would increase not decrease interest in the regular season. Right now one slip up and your on life support which whittles the fan bases hoping for the crystal football down week by week. If the system was just a tad more forgiving more teams would remain alive longer. It’s not as if a 6 team playoff is going to mean “Oi, who cares if [insert team] wins this weekend because they’ll be in the top 6 anyway!”
2. I do not get the people that say OSU/UM 2006 would have lost some luster with a playoff. Every OSU/UM game is sacred to me. That one was just one of the biggest, baddest of all (not as big as 1997 or 2002 though because each had won one recently). When UM is beating OSU in the second half I can barely breath regardless of the external stakes. No crystal trophy could have made that game any bigger. The BCS was just something to get jacked about a week after I stopped running around the neighborhood with no pants on yelling, “Michigan just beat OSU and I got no pants on!” That one could not go to eleven. Lastly, policy justification via anecdote is stupid and results in policies that are geared to stop a terrorist from planting a time bomb on a bus full of orphans (which only happens in movies.) But if I’m allowed to carve a terrorist up bit by bit, I can save a bunch of orphans like Jack Bauer (besides my dum ass daughter has been kidnapped for the third time and the President is a double agent)! OSU/UM 2006 is not going happen again and even if it did that is not sufficient justification for a stoopid policy.
I laughed when I read about UM 2006 getting screwed. That outrage has not aged well.
"I do not get the people that say OSU/UM 2006 would have lost some luster with a playoff. Every OSU/UM game is sacred to me."
To you, yes. To all of us, yes. The rest of the world would have ceased to give a shit entirely. Depending on the system, the outcome of the game would have meant nothing but which opponent you play - and would you really care if we played Texas instead of USC (or whichever teams were good that year)?
Who cares if the rest of the world stops caring about UM vs. OSU? Do we need everyone else to watch us in awe? Did anyone give a shit this year? Or last?
Anyone else see this as a very nice, esoteric, philosophical, and totally useless, irrational discussion based on (as Brian said) "the worst playoff that has ever been conceived"??
People complain about how they have been ranked in "the worst playoff that has ever been conceived".
So, D2 Football can justify and conduct a 16 team playoff.
And, FCS Football can also justify and conduct a 16 team playoff.
But the BCS can't??
Even when several of us have provided 16 team playoff scenarios that actually retain ALL the current bowls and retain or improve the desirability of all the bowls??
Ow, my brain hurts!
Wrong! The six team, BCS seeded, no autobid playoff is one of very few right answers.
There is NOT just one right answer -- only people who wish there was.
You MUST have a 16 team playoff (first round being the existing conference playoffs and various at large bids).
How would you pick just 6 teams??
Use the BCS?? Yeah, it is the worst possible selection process in existence so let's just expand the number of teams selected with it. That will make it all better.
We are definitely into the silly season.
I don't know how you can say there is not just one right answer and then say there MUST be a 16 team playoff
A 16 team playoff would be impossible because I don't know where you're going to add 4 weeks to the season, unless you want to go into February which I HIGHLY doubt the NCAA would allow (the games can't go through December because that's exam time), or that teams would even want that. It severely diminishes the importance of the regular season, and It would also not allow bowl games to still exist.
Brian has a great system planned, and I agree with it. Even the 2 team per conference I agree with, because don't we all feel that a national champion should have won its conference? and even allowing 2 teams from a conference sounds like a lot to me, but would we give a team that finished 3rd in its conference a shot at the title? That sounds like pro sports, where a team gets hot all of a sudden and wins the title (more baseball than anything).
I would definitely allow non-BCS conference teams in the tournament (if ranked that high), and I would also want the second round games to be big Jan 1. bowl games (how to decide which bowl, debatable) with the championship game the next week.
I would like to go back to the old system as well, but that is never going to happen, so I feel we have to do the best with what we have, and that's the BCS. And I feel a BCS enforced change to a tournament is a better option than the status quo
Obviously, you didn't get the sarcasm about "no right answer".
Also, you obviously have not been paying attention. Virtually all playoff scenarios start with conference champions. I merely back up one week and make the conference championship games the first round and add at large teams. So, everyone will play 13 games just like the SEC, ACC, and Big12 already have. If the other BCS conferences choose not to form divisions, their first round will be against an at large team.
So, you end up with just 8 teams as of the end of a season the same length as now. The next week is an additional game and result is 4 teams left.
New Years day, 2 current BCS bowls are used for a playoff. The next week, a current BCS bowl is the championship game.
Thank you, thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!
Seeding is important. Forcing the conference championship games into the first round AND allowing any underqualified conference champ into the playoff both lead to a higher probability of ruining the matchups we all want to see in favor of carnage.
I don't want carnage, the last thing I want to see is George Mason in the Final Four. I want to see the best teams play the best teams. The BCS system is great for ranking teams. It is the users of the BCS rankings that abuse the system by arbitrarily limiting the contenders in the "playoff" to two. There are usually four or five legitimate NC contenders every season. This year more like seven, and they are all right at the top of the BCS. Who is not a title contender? Cincinnati. Boston College. Every other ACC team. Shoehorning conference champs into a playoff only leads to more carnage at the expense of the best matchups.
Let every conference seed their champion. That way there would be no bias toward non bcs conferences. Round out a sixteen team bracket with the top at large bids. That would kill the argument that "my team started slow, but now they are playing the best football in the nation." Eliminate all but one pre season game to make room for the playoffs at the end of the year.
This way winning your conference would carry the utmost importance. And if losing your pre-season game does not hurt your chances of winning your conference (except in a tiebreaker scenario) then schools would not be so afraid to schedule a worthy opponent.
That BCS game was the 2005 Rose Bowl against Michigan, by the way. Cal went on to get thumped in the Holiday Bowl by some nobody. I definitely wish UM could've played Cal, but whatever.
Amusingly, the 'nobody' Cal got thumped by in the Holiday Bowl was Texas Tech.
I actually think 2006 was as good a proof as any of why claiming that one team is the "National Champion" is a dumb idea. I'll argue that there were exactly two teams in the country who had both the personnel and the coaching to beat us that year; unfortunately, we played them both. (You think if we'd played Florida that Tebow could have run for an inch against our D? Remember, his passing game was nothing special that year.) It's all about matchups. Right now, Florida looks like they could smoke anyone - yet they lost to Ole Miss. Sure, Ole Miss is an unusually strong team this year, but no one's talking about them as top-10. We're used to the idea that USC can crush anyone they put their minds to crushing - yet Oregon State has their number? The same Oregon State who then gave up 700 yards of offense to an Oregon team that's good, but not good enough to beat USC? Oh yeah, and who lost badly to Penn State as well?
There is no transitive property in football - the OU/UT/TT debate proves that - and in a 12-game season, that alone should be proof enough that there's no such thing as a "best" team either.
For that matter, who says a playoff really solves anything? Think George Mason was really the 4th best basketball team in the country two years ago, or that they just got hot (and lucky) at the right time? Same thing with the Cardinals the year they beat the Tigers in the World Series. Were the Giants really "better" than the Patriots last year? Was Notre Dame really better than us in hockey last year? Was Michigan State really the best college hockey team the year before? I'm not arguing for the status quo (which is awful); I'm just saying, playoffs aren't perfect either.