The bowl season is a tradition in college football, and a part of that tradition is trying to extrapolate conclusions based on the results of bowl games.
The college bowl system is the most backwards system of postseason play in all of sports. Even the Salem Witch Trials laugh at the absurdities and backwards logic of college football bowls.
Add to the ridiculous nature of the bowl system itself the have-have-not system of the BCS. This turns every low level bowl game between automatic qualifying conference and non-automatic qualifying conference teams into a protest game against the establishment of college football.
Major college football experts would have people think, before the start of the bowl games, that if the non-automatic qualifying conference team wins it means the BCS is wrong, and if the automatic qualifying conference team wins then the BCS is right.
Of course, no matter which team wins, there is little to no change in the system of college football.
The anti-BCS crowd will use BYU’s victory over Oregon State as another piece of evidence against the asinine nature of the BCS. They will make the argument that BYU and Oregon State both ended the season in second place in their conference (Oregon State ended in a tie for second place in the PAC-10, although they finished lower due to tie-breakers); therefore, the Mountain West Conference must be better than the PAC-10.
This argument doesn’t hold water.
The BCS crowd will counter with excuses. The wind helped BYU win. This argument is hard to justify, did the heavens hold back the wind every time BYU touched the ball? The officiating favored BYU. While it is understandable for PAC-10 teams to miss their homer officials, both teams ended the game with an equal amount of penalties called against them.
Yet, these arguments are incredibly credible compared to the typical fallacies that BCS and automatic qualifying conference usually use. The automatic qualifying conference team didn’t have any motivation to play. It seems this argument is used far too often to explain an unexpected outcome. What, have football players magically transformed themselves into thespians? Do they need to have a drive and motivation in order to get into character?
The motivation argument is stale from use, but the new vogue argument of BCS supports is: Any team can play one game against an automatic qualifying school, but they can’t play a full schedule in a BCS conference. Wow! So you want teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences to have less money, be at a recruiting disadvantage, play games at neutral sites or on the road, and still discredit them when they beat a bigger name school. That is like asking someone to juggle five chainsaws blindfolded, seeing it, and then scoffing at the juggler because you don’t think he can juggle ten.
The arguments of both sides are normally ludicrous and hardly stand up to scrutiny; however, the arguments just reflect the system they are commenting on.
The reality is that teams like BYU, Utah, TCU, Houston, Boise State, Fresno State, and Air Force could compete just fine in the automatic qualifying conferences. Teams like San Diego State, UNLV, Idaho, and SMU would struggle if they were in a BCS conference. Yet, teams like Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Washington State, and UConn would struggle in the Mountain West Conference.
There just isn’t a huge difference between the average non-automatic qualifying conference team, and an average automatic qualifying conference team.
It didn’t take BYU beating Oregon State to prove that.
Or Utah beating Alabama.
Or Boise State beating Oregon.
Or Houston beating Oklahoma State.
Or TCU beating Clemson.
It doesn’t matter though because both sides, much like the current political landscape, have bunkered down to their separate ideologies. A college football fan is either pro-BCS or anti-BCS and there isn’t any room for a sane middle ground.
There are too many instant reactions in college football. Oregon State is a good football team, and they were beat by a better BYU football team in Las Vegas. No excuses, and sadly due to the current system of college football there cannot be any conclusions drawn from the game.
Until there is a change in college football’s postseason—arguments will try to decide what should be decided on the football field.