Fox Sports Net - Los Angeles
Forgotten in all the gnashing of teeth over the possibility that Nebraska
could play for a national title that the media doesn't think it erned
the right too, is the simple fact that Nebraska did not buy it's current
BCS standing, it earned it. Let's examine just how Nebraska got there
and why it might actually have a valid claim to be the other team
in Pasadena on January 3rd.
THE BCS RULES
The BCS itself is a collection
of unusual rules that are designed to get the two best teams (on paper)
up against each other for a fictional national title game. The fact
that the "S" in BCS stands for "Series" is a myth
in and of itself. There is no "Series" of events but rather
a group of individual games that do not consitute any form of playoff
or elimination. The use of computers, the two major polls, strength
of schedule and losses per team.. each accounting for 25% of the total
poll was designed with the idea that the BCS could eliminate individual
or regional bias in any popular vote of a champion. The problem is
that the computer software must be programmed by individuals, which
by its nature constitutes at the very least a personality bias of
the programmer towards his model of what a championship club looks
like and the the fact that any bias within the major polls still remains.
Thus fully half of the "impartial" final poll is, in fact,
subject to the same partial leanings of the old "vote and crown"
way of picking a champion. Still Nebraska did not manipulate the BCS
polls.. did not campaign publicly for its cause and as a matter of
fact didn't even bother to try and state its own case until after
last week's BCS standings when the Huskers came under fire for nothing
they had done. And then it was simply an attempt to say that they
had played by the rules and we not guilty in any way of trying to
shape the polls or ratings in their favor.
IF NOT NEBRASKA, THEN
The latest round of screaming
is from media types who think there ought to be another factor weighed
into the BCS standings (and since they can't change the rules in the
middle of the game this season... by extension they are trying to
see if they can get the computer programmers to subjectively tweek
their inputs to account for) a plus-minus system for "winning
your conference crown". Obviosuly Nebraska did not win its conference
title.. it didn't even make it's conference title game. But let's
break that down and show you why the Huskers might have a beef if
they were to be leepfrogged in the final BCS standings.
NEBRASKA CO-BIG-12 CHAMPS?
The Biggest knock against
the Huskers is a trojan-horse of an issue. Without a Big-12 title
game the Huskers would have finished as Co-Big 12 champions in a 3-way
tie with Colorado and Texas. As co-champions of what is thought to
be the toughest league in the country.. the next line of default in
picking one representative between the 3 would be all the other associated
factors of the BCS (strength of schedule, losses, quality wins, etc).
The Huskers had a stronger schedule and. more quality wins than Texas
(even a 1-loss Texas team which is why the Huskers were still ahead
of UT after the CU loss) so Nebraska beats out Texas. Colorado had
more losses this season (2) and that's a major factor in the BCS rankings.
By virtue of that and the fact the Huskers had (prior to the Texas
game) the same kind of quality win as CU (actually Nebraska beat a
higher ranked team - Oklahoma was #1 in the polls.. the Huskers were
#2 when CU beat them).. Nebraska gets the nod over CU. In this argument
the Huskers win.
ONLY OREGON OR COLORADO
There are only two teams
that have a gripe. Oregon and Colorado. The others have no case. Nebraska
was the #1 rated BCS club for most of the season and its schedule,
victories and performance rate it above every other possible contender
outside of these two. But let's address these two directly.
Nebraska vs. Oregon - Oregon
did win the Pac-10 crown. But Oregon did not play a conference title
game. If they had the Ducks would have faced USC, a hot team that
had won 4 straight and lost to OU on its home field on a last second
field goal earlier in the season. The fact that the Big-12 and SEC
play title games when the Pac-10 does not does apply to the pro-Nebraska
argument. Should the Big-12 dump its title game if it costs it in
the polls? That's for the league to decide but not for the computers...
which simply look at the numbers. And those numbers say Oregon's weak
wins against a weaker schedule than the Huskers (who had better wins
against better teams) cost the Ducks. And that OU's lone loss (where
they allowed 49 points to a lower rated team than Nebraska lost too)
is not enough to cancel out the disparity between the two in terms
of quality wins.
Nebraska vs. Colorado
- Yes CU is a hot club and yes they did lay 62 on Nebraska. They also
lost twice. Once to Fresno State and once by 34 to Texas. This is
a simple argument argued above. That without a "title game"
these two would be part of a 3-way tie that Nebraska would win. The
fact the BCS rankings don't take into account intangibles such as
"conference title game winner" is not Nebraska's fault.
And the BCS does take that into account anyway since, as mentioned
above, a quarter of the points towards the BCS standings are the two
major polls where Pac-10 champ Oregon is ahead of Nebraska in both
and the Huskers trail Colorado in one of the two. CU has been given
credit for this by the voters and they still fall short. Two losses
has done that to them.
The Huskers have nothing
to appologize for. They are not weasles working behind the scenes
to screw OU or CU out of a spot they "might" have earned.
According to the BCS those two have, in fact, NOT earned it. Whether
fans agree or not is, to be honest, beside the point. The inetesting
thing all the media honks need to note is.. Huskers fans AGREE that
the BCS is wrong. That a playoff is the only way to go - they will
say if their club got another shot at Colorado the Huskers would win.
They might get a chance to prove that. If LSU does beat Tennessee
and those upset voters and media honks can manipulate the BCS to get
Oregon ahead of Nebraska and into the Rose Bowl.. then the Huskers
would likely end up in the Fiesta in a re-match with the Buffaloes.
But read that last line
carefully. Who is it who is trying to "manipulate" the BCS
It's not Nebraska.