Most years, the end of the College Football season is a heated debate over which one-loss team deserves a spot in the BCS Championship game. The 2012 NCAA Football season looked like it would buck the trend as we had 3 undefeated teams setting their sights on the National Championship, with none of them from the dominant SEC. The most exciting part throughout this year was the new blood we were seeing on top of the BCS. For the first time since 2005, it looked like someone other than a SEC team would hoist the crystal. Our three contenders were far different too:
- Kansas State – K-State flew under the radar and were surprisingly on top of the polls. With no superstars, the Wildcats quietly rode consistent QB Colin Klein to wins over top Big XII schools like Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma St. The Big XII hadn’t produced a champion since the legendary 2006 Rose Bowl shootout when Vince Young led the Longhorns over USC.
- 2. Oregon – The Oregon Ducks have long been a contender and a fan favorite with their high scoring play and wacky uniforms for more than a decade. The Ducks had one crack at a title in the 2010 season, losing to Alabama in the Title Game 22-19. The Ducks blew opponents out of the water and lit up the scoreboard, with their lowest output of the season coming in a 43-21 win over Arizona St. That’s right, the Ducks ONLY put up 43 pts in their lowest scoring game.
- Notre Dame – Traditional power Notre Dame had fallen onto hard times lately, but 2012 held a rebirth for the Fighting Irish. With their Independent status, the Irish scheduled a tough slate of games that most thought they couldn’t come out of unscathed. ND took on all comers and produced some gritty wins over teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Stanford. The Irish built up enough quality wins to make even a SEC team jealous.
Our SEC powers seemed to be on the outside looking in. Alabama, Georgia and Florida all carried a loss and Ohio State, despite no L’s, are forbidden from post-season play this year because of NCAA sanctions. Yes, this year was going to be different. Assuming all 3 stayed undefeated, the Irish would presumably be on the outside looking in, although each top team faced a tough final week with KSU playing #16 Texas, Oregon at #15 Oregon State and Notre Dame facing rival USC. Surely one of those teams would lose, making a nice neat Championship game between two undisputed contenders… right?
As they say, “The Best Laid Plans…” and we find ourselves heading into Thanksgiving with some crazy drama in the BCS once again. Saturday night was a nightmare for pollsters, as Oregon lost an OT-heartbreaker to Stanford and Kansas State was crushed by Baylor. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Once again, we are looking at the possibility of another king from the SEC as a slew of one-loss contenders have emerged. Notre Dame now sits at #1 with a Matt Barkley-less Trojan squad standing between them and a date reserved in Miami for January 7th.
Their opponent? Well that’s where things get tricky. Alabama is ranked #2 right now, with their only loss coming to an outstanding 9-2 Texas A&M team. If they should stumble, #3 Georgia has a mighty impressive resume. What makes this tricky, is that Georgia’s loss ALSO came to Texas A&M and outstanding Freshman QB Johnny Manziel. Surely that means the Aggies should have the right to play Notre Dame. After all, they hold wins over the 2nd and 3rd ranked team. No other NCAA program can boast that right? In the words of ESPN commentator Lee Corso, Not So Fast!
Texas A&M has two losses that keep it from its rightful place near the top of the BCS standings. In their first ever SEC game, the Aggies lost to Florida (ranked 4th in the BCS) and they were also bested by LSU (7th in the BCS ranking with a 9-2 record). Who should be #2? Is your head spinning yet?
As much as college football needs a playoff (and we’ll eventually see a 4-team tournament), all this excitement and drama would not exist if not for the BCS. Let’s face it; the NCAA needs a 16 team playoff. What would these late season losses mean in an expanded setting? Not much. Even though the BCS isn’t ideal, taking the human element out of this year’s mess may be the only way to fairly figure out who is #2. The contenders still have some hurdles to climb themselves. Alabama, Georgia and Florida all have one more conference game, plus the ever-deadly SEC Championship game, while Notre Dame still isn’t a lock. One loss and no conference championship would spell the end of the Irish. The BCS is messed up, but the sooner you learn to love it, the sooner you can just sit back and enjoy the ride to the Title Game in Miami.
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