Before everyone gets into his or her annual rants about how we need a playoff system, let me help you narrow the field. There are six teams that should still have vying rights for the title. Six, that’s it. There aren’t eight, and there certainly aren’t sixteen. Here they are:
LSU, Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arizona State.
LSU and Oregon are the two top teams in the country and I don’t think many people debate that. Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are three, four and five respectively, and since they are all in the Big 12, someone will have to go through the other two on the way to the league title. That would legitimize anyone. Then there’s Arizona State. Unloved so far by the polls, but this is based more on history than anything from 2007. They have one loss, which was at Oregon. That’s it. And in the non-conference part of their schedule they drilled a Colorado team that has all but ruined the year for the Sooners. Why the Sun Devils are #9 in the AP poll (which strongly contributes to their #8 in the BCS) is beyond me.
Now, for the two pretenders ranked ahead of Arizona State who don’t deserve consideration.
West Virginia: These guys are the perfect examples of the need a BCS type system. (I always say that WVU’s 1988 National Title game against Notre Dame starring Major Harris is one of the main reasons that strength of schedule and computer programs were needed) This 2007 squad has played no one. When an entire college football season ends, and your toughest game is at South Florida, and your best win is (if they actually win) at Cincinnati, then you don’t deserve to be considered as the best team in the land. I don’t care how good your running back is or how electrifying your quarterback is. If they are so good, then show it against a team that actually has a defense.
Ohio State: Again, who have they played? I guess it’s not their fault that the Big Ten is awful this year, but when campaigning for the National Title, you have to make your case. When ‘we won at Penn State and at Purdue’ is your best selling point, then you don’t have anything to sell. I don’t care if they beat Michigan by 100. They’ve played no one. They lost at home to unranked Illinois. They’re out.
Sometime in December when it’s ten degrees outside and I’m locked in my house, I will go into all of the reasons why a big playoff system isn’t right for college football. I will say this. I would be open to seeing a four-team playoff. This year could get interesting if LSU and Oregon win out. If that happens, they, and the winner of the Big 12, will have a pretty loud argument as to who should be in the title game. Also, if Arizona State beat USC, they’re going to have an argument as well.
Let’s see how it plays out over the next few weeks. My guess is that someone will lose to someone that they shouldn’t. Maybe Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma again, or LSU loses to Arkansas. All I’m saying is don’t spend the next five weeks feeling sorry for the WVU’s and the Ohio State’s of the world. They had their shots, both on the field and at making tougher schedules, and they blew it.