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Tuesday Question - PSU vs. Who For The Title?
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 4, 2008


If Penn State finishes unbeaten and gets one national title slot, who should get the other, a one-loss Big 12 champion or a one-loss SEC champion?

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Pete Fiutak     

Q: If Penn State finishes unbeaten and gets one national title slot, who should get the other, a one-loss Big 12 champion or a one-loss SEC champion?

A: There is absolutely no right answer. Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have all been fantastic. It depends on whether or not Florida can keep up its current pace of offensive amazement. If Bama loses to LSU but redeems itself against Florida, it might deserve it. Whomever survives the Big 12 race and wins the league title, if it finishes with one loss, deserves the spot in the national championship.

I've been preaching strength of schedule, so while I believe Florida is the best team in America, I need a neutral tie-breaker. My pecking order, at the moment, as far as what one-loss team should play an unbeaten Penn State, would go in this order: 1) Oklahoma (who played the nation's second toughest schedule), 2) Texas (7th toughest schedule), 3) Florida (11th), 4) Texas Tech (16th), 5) Oklahoma State (29th), 6) Alabama (80th)

By the way, Penn State has played the 67th toughest schedule.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: If Penn State finishes unbeaten and gets one national title slot, who should get the other, a one-loss Big 12 champion or a one-loss SEC champion?

A: Wow, this is the type of question that makes your head throb just thinking about it. Anyone who’s 100% sure here is trying hard to not look indecisive. I’ll take the SEC champ. The separation is nominal, so go with the team that’ll have the toughest game in December. While the Big 12 South winner will face a Missouri or Kansas team with at least two losses, Florida and Alabama could be squaring off in Atlanta as two of the top teams in the country. If the Tide beats the Gators, or vice versa, that should be enough to beef up the resume and build a stronger case than the Big 12 champ. It’s splitting hairs, but that’s where we’re at as quality one-loss programs begin to line up behind the three major unbeaten schools.     

Matthew Zemek

Q: If Penn State finishes unbeaten and gets one national title slot, who should get the other, a one-loss Big 12 champion or a one-loss SEC champion?

A: I reserve the right to wait until the season has run its course--that's the only responsible answer. Florida versus Texas will be a very familiar BCS train wreck, a choice that will simply not produce a fair outcome. See 2003 and 2004 in particular.
 
Here's a more precise explanation of the situation staring the college football world in the face: It's not as though one team will not deserve to be in Miami. It's that one team will deserve to go to South Beach, yet receive the shaft anyway.
 
With a plus-one, we could avoid this whole mess. 12-1 Texas, 12-1 Florida, 12-0 Penn State, and either 11-1 USC or 11-1 Oklahoma (take your pick there) would provide a mighty nice pair of BCS bowl games, followed by a national title tilt that would blow the doors of TV ratings and provide a windfall for the sport.
 
But no, we still can't have common sense now, can we? That would be asking too much of the incompetent fools we have "running" college football, the one big-time athletic entity in the United States of America that can't decide a clear-cut champion.

Back to the specifics of the question and a debate that would presumably pit 12-1 Texas against 12-1 Florida. If forced to choose right now, this writer's answer would have to be Texas. The Longhorns, despite playing in the toughest single divison in football--one without Vandy, Kentucky, Tennessee or South Carolina--have gone 2-1 against the murderer's row of OU, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, nearly pulling off the sweep. Mack Brown's team has also crushed Missouri. With a road win at Kansas and then a triumph in the Big 12 title game (presuming they get there), the Horns will have a loaded resume.
 
Florida's profile won't be half-bad: LSU, Georgia and Alabama (with the win over the Tide coming in the SEC Championship Game), plus Miami, Florida State, and an okay Hawaii team out of conference (plus the Citadel, a huge drag on the schedule quotient). Texas's non-conference schedule (Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Arkansas and Rice) is lousy.
 
But then compare the losses: Florida at home to Ole Miss, Texas at Texas Tech in the last second of play.
 
Florida is--along with Oklahoma--the hottest team in America right now. A 12-1 Gator team would be worthy of a title shot, and moreover, a load for anyone to handle. Yet, Urban Meyer's bunch could be kept out of the Sunshine State in early January.
 
It might be the only choice the BCS has... and that's precisely why this system needs to be blown up. If it can't be eliminated, a plus-one simply has to be installed. Immediately.

Steve Silverman

Q: If Penn State finishes unbeaten and gets one national title slot, who should get the other, a one-loss Big 12 champion or a one-loss SEC champion?

A: Hmmm. It seems like a pretty decent team from Los Angeles is not getting an opportunity to be heard from. Oh, yeah. You can only pick one team to play against because there is no postseason tournament. Someone is always going to be left out.
 
That Big 12 South is just a monster. Texas came within an eyelash of running the Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech gauntlet. Oklahoma still has Texas Tech and Oklahoma State remaining. The Cowboys have Texas Tech and Colorado, while the Red Raiders have Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks.

No offense to the SEC, but whomever emerges from that Big 12 logjam will deserve a shot at the national title. All this is assuming Alabama loses at LSU or in the SEC title game to Florida and does not finish undefeated. And what about Florida? Is anybody playing better football in the country than the Gators? What they did to Georgia was something of a crime. Losses in September are not supposed to be fatal, but when the loss come at home by a point to a half-decent Ole Miss team, it keeps you from playing for the national title.

None of this is fair and all of it smells like hot garbage. A tournament is the obvious answer every season, and never more so than this year.