There seems to be a pretty steady drumbeat this year that this season’s BCS matchups suck for the most part. You’ve got examples like James Carville’s notable rant about the corruption of the system producing clunkers (in his opinion) like USC-Illinois in the Rose Bowl. You’ve also got our pal Stewart Mandel lamenting an “utterly unappealing postseason” when he writes
But after all the excitement and intrigue caused by all those upsets the past 14 weeks, we’ve reached what should be the climactic point of the season, only to be treated to Ohio State-LSU and … Virginia Tech-Kansas? USC-Illinois? Oklahoma-West Virginia?
Now I know a lot of this is agenda driven, with folks frustrated that there isn’t a true playoff in place wanting the BCS to at least take the form of a playoff by having the bowls match closely ranked teams instead of following the more traditional form of lining up the games, but I’m curious if this year’s BCS is any more lopsided in its matchups than last year’s.
The major complaint about last year, of course, resulted from the process of determining whether Florida or Michigan would play Ohio State in the title game. I don’t recall seeing much negativity about the matchups in the remaining BCS games. So is the complaining this year particularly justified?
Looking at the current spreads, here’s where Vegas has the BCS games right now:
- Rose: 13-14 points
- Sugar: 8-9.5 points
- Fiesta: 6.5-7 points
- Orange: 3.5-4 points
- Title: 4.5-5.5 points
And the spreads for last year?
- Rose: Even
- Sugar: 9 points
- Fiesta: 8 points
- Orange: 10 points
- Title: 8 points
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a whole heckuva lot of difference there. (2007 average spead is 7.15 points; 2006 average spread was 7 points.)
Keep in mind that what we got from last year’s BCS were three blowouts (including what was supposed to be the closest game), one boring game that came out one point over the spread and one game for the ages. So, going in, what particularly makes this year’s set of games so much more objectionable?
One final point of consideration. When Mandel whines that
… Virginia Tech, No. 3 in the final BCS standings, is playing Kansas, the No. 2 team in the Big 12 North. No. 4 Oklahoma’s reward for beating the No. 1 team in the country Saturday night (Missouri) is to face a West Virginia team that lost to 4-7 Pittsburgh the same night. No. 5 Georgia went from an anticipated title date with Ohio State in New Orleans to the undercard a week earlier against Hawaii. And do you think USC’s Carroll, whose teams have made mincemeat out of their previous Big Ten Rose Bowl foes, is losing much sleep over those Illinois game tapes?
… how does he know, given how unpredictable this season has already been, how things will turn out?