If the question is: Does Northern Illinois deserve a BCS bid? Then clearly the answer is: Yes.
There really is nothing to debate. The rules clearly stipulate that any non-BCS school that finishes in the top 16 ahead of any BCS conference champion automatically would qualify. Northern Illinois finished ranked #15. Louisville, the Big East co-champion, finished #21. End of discussion.
The rules are different now. They didn’t need to go unbeaten. The Huskies didn’t need a marque non-conference win. They didn’t need to be considered one of the best teams in the nation. All they had to do is finish 2012 as one of the top 16 teams according to the rules. They did.
First, let me say, that the BCS is not the “elite club” everyone portrays it as. You can’t convince me that somehow the Orange Bowl is more important than the Cotton Bowl. Or the Sugar Bowl has so much more value than the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl. It is perceived that way because those are the bowls in the National Championship rotation and they have higher payouts than the others. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have better teams or match-ups. I mean seriously, look at (Texas A&M-Oklahoma, Georgia-Nebraska, Michigan-South Carolina) vs. (FSU-N. Illinois, Florida-Louisville).
Secondly, the Northern Illinois is not the weak sister of this lineup. Louisville is ranked below them and Wisconsin has 5 losses and is unranked. Why should I care if the #11 Oklahoma Sooners are playing in the Cotton Bowl instead of the Sugar Bowl? Does a Sooners fan really care about which of those two games they play in?
Thirdly, the system was put together with the best intentions, but clearly has it’s flaws. It doesn’t create the best games, and never has. Teams ranked 7-11 don’t qualify because of rules built in to prevent more than two teams from one conference from being eligible. So we have teams ranked 15, 21, and one not ranked in the BCS games.
Fourthly, the MAC has had a recognized exceptional year. It should be noted that the MAC beat Cincinnati, Rutgers, UConn, and USF in head-2-head games. It also has two ranked teams, compared to just one for the Big East.
Finally, it should be brought up that whenever something looks off with the BCS people tend to blame the computers. This just in: Voters control 2/3 of this BCS total, and have for a number of years. And in case you didn’t notice, the Harris Poll and the Coach’s Poll each had Northern Illinois ranked 16th, while the computers actually had them averaged out at 19th. The people made this happen, not the computers.
Unbeaten Count: 2. Irish will face Alabama, and Ohio State will finish 12-o ineligible for the postseason.
Winless Count: 1. Southern Miss fired it’s coach, Ellis Johnson, after just one season. On top of it, they sold home-field advantage for next year’s much anticipated home-opener against Nebraska back to the Huskers for $2.1 million, just enough to cover Johnson’s buyout.
My Top 25
1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
3. Kansas State
9. Texas A&M
10. South Carolina
13. Oregon State
18. Northern Illinois
19. Utah State
20. Boise State
21. San Jose State
– Ranking teams is often a fruitless task. It’s why I scoff at NBA and NFL rankings when I see them, which tend to go by flavor of the week. There is a point around 15 or so, where I could just as easily begin to recognize the many 7-5 teams in the Pac-12 or Big 12. My opinion is that on a neutral field, I’d take most of those teams to win. But I suppose the task is to rank teams based on their season works and their record, not necessarily who I think would win however.
– If I was ranking the teams simply based on who I think would win today it would go something like this: 1. Oregon, 2. Texas A&M, 3. Alabama, 4. Notre Dame, 5. Kansas State, 6. Stanford, 7. LSU, 8. Georgia, 9. Oregon State, 10. Florida.
– I can’t say this enough, I don’t care about bowl games. There are 35 of these meaningless exhibitions. 13 teams are 6-6. 14 teams have 5 losses. 12 teams finished under .500 in conference. Plus any system that simply allows bowls to choose who they want, not basing selection on the record/order-of-finish is whack to begin with.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE
Coming later this week…