Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Stop Complaining and Keep BCS Computers

College football is beautiful. The snap echo of snare drum off metal bleachers is beautiful. The simplicity of Penn State blue and white is beautiful. Eighty-five thousand Georgia fans screaming “SIC `EM DAWGS, WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” in unison is scary – and beautiful.

The Bowl Championship Series is not beautiful. It is imperfect and flawed, but in the end, it makes the beauty of the game all the more stunning.

While it may be early in the season for a column about the great BCS debate, I thought it best to go ahead and get mine out of the way before the usual deluge of championship commentary floods the sports pages come January.

To me, it’s simple. If your girlfriends’ baby blue eyes melt your heart more than the earth-colored mole on her neck turns your stomach, you stick with her. If college football’s greatest attribute outweighs its largest shortcoming, it should stay the course.

Bands and uniforms and cheers are grand and all, but the best part of college football is that every game means everything. Were the BCS to be scrapped in favor of a postseason playoff, a team could lose early – and possibly often – and still win it all.

With the current format, it’s one and you’re more than likely done. That’s why every weekend is so pressure-packed. That’s why college coaches turn gray faster than Anderson Cooper. That’s why Michigan fans have spent the last week wondering whether Owen Wilson might have had the right idea.

That’s why the college game is better than the NFL. Should the New England Patriots – a popular preseason pick to win it all – lose this weekend to the New York Jets in their season opener, it would hardly matter. Sure, Pats fans would groan, the analysts would stipulate, and the bookies would place a line on how long it will be until Randy Moss stabs his offensive coordinator, but in the long run, it wouldn’t mean a thing. New England could lose their next seven games and still make the playoffs as a wild card, get hot, and win the Super Bowl.

But what happens to the team that loses this weekend’s ballyhooed showdown between ninth-ranked Virginia Tech and LSU, the nation’s number-two team? Whichever squad leaves Lane Stadium with a loss Saturday night sees their national championship aspirations all but dashed. Whichever team emerges unscathed gets a few hours to celebrate before going back to the week-in-week-out grindstone on Sunday morning.

It used to be that early-season games were nothing more than a dress rehearsal for the cutthroat conference schedule. But the BCS ratings’ strength of schedule component has top-notch programs playing Russian roulette in August and September. In addition to the Tigers-Hokies blockbuster, this season’s non-conference slate includes Miami-Oklahoma, Texas-TCU, and USC-Nebraska.

That’d be like if the losers of the Patriots-Chargers, Bears-Cowboys and Saints-Colts games, all of which take place in the next three weeks, were automatically eliminated from postseason contention. Chris Berman’s head would explode!

It would be like March Madness continuing on through April and on until June. A flame would appear hovering above Dick Vitale’s head, and he would begin speaking in tongues.

So now, in September, when you’re reveling in spending your whole Saturday on the couch, eating nachos and watching top-10 match-ups normally reserved for New Year’s Day, make a note of how glorious this really is. Make sure you remind yourself in January, when some BCS computer geek named Warlock who hasn’t seen the light of day in five years has pitted one-loss Florida against U.S.C. in the “Title” game while undefeated Louisville takes on unbeaten Boise State in the Outback Bowl.

Remember how wonderful it was, back in week one, to watch ichigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr, looking like death warmed over, explain how his team needs to “start over from scratch” after losing to Appalachian State. Remember how fantastic it was to know that each coming week of football was another blindfolded walk through the minefield, never knowing who would forge ahead, and who would be left for dead.

Remember that one week in January isn’t worth four months of autumn afternoons.

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