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How The BCS Got It Right (and wrong)
Texas WR Quan Cosby
Texas WR Quan Cosby
Posted Dec 7, 2008

It's Oklahoma vs. Florida in the national title game, and while the world might be fired up at the prospect of the two high-octane teams battling it out, the question remains ... did the BCS get it right? Here are five reasons why the national title is right, and five reasons why the BCS screwed it up.

Why The BCS Got It Right (and wrong)

By Pete Fiutak   

At the end of the day, if we had the playoff in place we all wanted, would you be that upset/shocked if it was Florida vs. Oklahoma for the whole ball of wax? No, but that doesn't mean there's not a little bit of an empty feeling when it comes to how everything shook out. After all, if two one-loss teams are playing for the national title, then why weren't Penn State and USC more a part of the mix along with Texas? How about an unbeaten Utah, not to mention a 12-0 Boise State? Here are five reasons why the BCS got it right, and five reasons the whole thing is screwed up.

The BCS Got It Right Because ...

5. The losses really weren't that bad.
Much has been made about Oklahoma's loss to Texas, and rightly so, but the team did adjust since the defeat. Star linebacker Ryan Reynolds got hurt and Colt McCoy took advantage with short throw after short throw that burned the Sooner linebackers. Had Reynolds stayed healthy, the outcome might have been far different. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ifs and buts, Texas still won the game, but the Sooners have gotten better and better on both sides of the ball as the season has gone on, highlighted by the obliteration of then No. 2 Texas Tech. While Texas wins the head-to-head debate with OU, the three-way tie aspect of things can't be ignored. Meanwhile, the Florida loss to Ole Miss, which at the time seemed like the end of the world, appears to be far more acceptable in hindsight. After all, Ole Miss turned out to be the SEC's fourth best team. Like OU, Florida got much, much better as the season has gone on.

4. The schedules.
Florida had a layup against Citadel on the schedule and Oklahoma blew away Chattanooga, but there's no dogging the schedules. If you're just looking at the FBS slates, Oklahoma finished with the nation's toughest schedule with non-conference wins over TCU and Big East champion Cincinnati by a combined score of 87-36. The Sooners played the three toughest teams from the North (Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri) and blew away Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Florida finished with the nation's fourth toughest schedule having beaten the No. 1 team in America, Alabama, along with a good Florida State team, Miami, and Georgia. The Gators faced 10 bowl teams, along with Tennessee and Arkansas, while Oklahoma played eight teams going to the post-season.

3. Pure statistics.
For those of you who believe that numbers mean everything, these two really are the best all-around teams in America. Oklahoma is No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, Florida is No. 2. Oklahoma is first in the nation in scoring, first in the nation in pass efficiency, third in sacks, third in total offense, fourth in sacks allowed, and finished first in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense. Florida finished second in the nation in pass efficiency defense, ninth in total defense fifth in scoring defense, fifth in passing efficiency and has the best special teams in the nation. The weaknesses? Oklahoma can't cover kicks and Florida commits a ton of penalties ... whoopee.

2. Record-setting offenses.
Defense wins championships, and these two can play D, but the offenses are what has everyone buzzing. When you're setting offensive records at Florida and Oklahoma, you're doing something right. This Gator attack scored 587 points and has a near-perfect balance averaging 230 yards on the ground and 213 yards through the air. Oklahoma's numbers a twisted, scoring 702 points, averaging 54 per game, while cranking out 562 yards per game. Even the Barry Switzer juggernauts never put up numbers like these. The ground game is fantastic, averaging 206 yards per game, while the passing attack is third in the nation averaging 357 yards per outing.

1. Florida and Oklahoma are the two hottest teams going.
Texas might be playing extremely well, but the loss to Texas Tech came on the first day of November. Utah might have the longest winning streak at 13 games, and Boise State has won 12 in a row, but the Utes struggled to get past a TCU team that Oklahoma blew away, and it beat New Mexico 13-10 on November 1st. Boise State has blown away everyone in the WAC, but its one win of note came at Oregon with a 37-32 victory. That was nice, but it's not quite like beating Alabama by 11 or Texas Tech by 44. OU has gone over the 60 point mark in its last five games and is doing it with ease. It's not like this is being done against the dregs; the Sooners put up 62 on Nebraska, 66 on a bad Texas A&M, 65 on Texas Tech, 61 on Oklahoma State, and 62 against Missouri. Outside of the Ole Miss loss and except for Alabama, no one has come close to touching Florida. All 12 of the Gator wins are by 12 or more points highlighted by the dominant run after the loss to the Rebels. During the nine game post-Rebel stretch, the Gators beat seven bowl bound teams, along with Arkansas and Citadel, but a combined score of 445 to 79, or an average of 49.4 to 8.8 per game. In other words, the BCS might really have gotten it right by taking the two best teams right now.

The BCS Got It Wrong Because ...

5. The Ole Miss loss was at home
The point of the whole BCS exercise is to look at the entire season and the entire landscape of what happened. A loss at the beginning of the year is supposed to count as much as a loss at the end. While the humans in the equation always skew towards the hottest teams, the computers are supposed to be more objective, and while they weren't, the fact that Florida lost at home to Ole Miss shouldn't be ignored. Would USC have beaten Oregon State in Los Angeles? Penn State almost certainly would've beaten Iowa in Happy Valley, and Texas probably would've gotten by Texas Tech in Austin. Florida came up with nice wins against Florida State, Alabama and Georgia away from The Swamp, but the fact that the team gacked in a key home battle should've counted for something.

4. Utah is unbeaten
If you're not going to include the "little guys," then what's the point of having them in the FBS? Not including Boise State in the national title mix is one thing because of the WAC schedule and the one decent win this year was against an Oregon team that was in utter disarray at the time, but not even thinking about Utah is a whole other problem. The Utes have the nation's longest winning streak with a good win over Oregon State and wins over highly-respected TCU and BYU teams. It's not Utah's fault that Michigan stunk it up after the season-opening win in Ann Arbor. The Utah offense is 15th in the nation in scoring, the scoring defense is 12th in the nation, and considering the Mountain West might really be better than the Pac 10 and the Big East this year, finishing sixth shows just how far the have-nots have to go before they equal the haves.

3. USC
The USC defense is having an even better year than the record-setting Oklahoma offense, but great D isn't as sexy as a high-octane O. The Trojans aren't just leading the nation in defense; it's not even remotely close. USC is No. 1 in total D allowing 207 yards per game. TCU is second allowing 216, and Alabama is third allowing 257 yards per game. Alabama, Alabama is allowing 50 more yards per game than USC. USC allowed 7.8 points per game. TCU gave up 10.9, and everyone else allowed 12 or more. So teams must have bombed away to try to get back into games; USC had to have given up a ton of garbage passing yards, right? USC leads the nation in pass defense allowing just 123 yards per game, 38 fewer than New Mexico's No. 2 pass defense. The Trojans gave up four passing touchdowns all year long, and everyone else gave up eight or more except for ...

2. Penn State
The Nittany Lions allowed just six touchdown passes on the year. Championship teams come up with wins in the clutch, but Iowa's last-second loss to Iowa was almost (note the word almost) equal to Texas losing to Texas Tech in the final seconds. Along the way, Penn State blew away everyone else except for Ohio State. Arguably, considering the Buckeyes improved over the second half of the year with a healthy Beanie Wells and an improved Terrelle Pryor, beating Ohio State at Ohio State in late October was as impressive a win as anything Oklahoma came up with and is better than anything Florida did outside of the win over Alabama. Talk about your complete teams, Penn State led the Big Ten in total offense, total defense, scoring offense, scoring defense, run defense, passing efficiency, kickoff returns, and sacks allowed.

1. 45-35
The Texas debate is so last week, but ask 2004 Auburn fans or 2003 USC fans about how hard it is to just let it go. The Oklahoma win over Missouri in the Big 12 title game doesn't change anything; Texas blew out Mizzou, too. Had Texas gotten just a few more votes over Oklahoma last week, it would've been off playing for the national title instead of Oklahoma. The results were basically a flip of the coin. The Longhorns might have lost to Texas Tech, but the final three games were all blowouts, and in all, only Oklahoma State came closer than ten points in any of the wins. Of course, until the end of time, 45-35 will always mean something in the world of college football as Texas fans will always use the final score in the win over Oklahoma to discredit anything that happened in the national title ... and rightly so. If Oklahoma wins, then Texas will have said it could've beaten the Gators, too. If OU loses, then Texas will claim the Big 12 took the wrong team in the first place and that the matter still hasn't been settled. However, now the onus is on Texas to not just win the Fiesta Bowl, but to win impressively. A loss, or even a close victory, and there won't be much of a leg to stand on