One Fine Mess

The Bowl Championship Series finds itself in one heck of a mess. The BCS, already a hated computer creation by the majority of college football fans, now must decide between three one-loss teams for two spots in the Sugar Bowl, site of this year's national championship game.

No. 1 Oklahoma's shocking 35-7 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, coupled with convincing victories by No. 2 Southern California and No. 3 Louisiana State, leaves the BCS with three one-loss teams - and college football fans frothing for some kind of a playoff system.

Southern Cal thumped Oregon State 52-28 on Saturday, and LSU pounded No. 5 Georgia 34-13 in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.

The two were thought to be battling each other for the right to play top-ranked Oklahoma in the title game. Just who would be No. 2 was so much in doubt that Syracuse's 38-12 victory against Notre Dame was considered among the day's most important contest because of its bearing on USC's strength of schedule.

"I don't know how it helps us, I don't know how it hurts us," LSU head coach Nick Saban said of the Oklahoma loss. "I don't really understand all the formulas and how the points are divied up. We can't control the computer and we can't control the system."

The final BCS standings, the combination of the two human (the Associated Press and the coaches') polls, six computer polls and a quality win component, will be unveiled today and no matter the outcome there is sure to be outcry from one team.

"I think our team deserves an opportunity," Saban said. "I also have respect for the system we have right now though it may not be perfect and it may not work out in our favor."

Oklahoma (12-1) has spent the entire season ranked No. 1 and even its loss to Kansas State might not be enough to keep them out of the national championship game. But USC (11-1) and LSU (12-1) have every reason to believe that they also deserve a chance to play for the national title.

"They're good enough to (play for the national title)," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said of LSU. "I think they could beat anybody they play on any given day. I vote for them to get in. I wouldn't feel quite as bad if they won it all."

Much depends on the outcome of the two human polls, particularly how much Oklahoma is punished for its loss. Also Georgia's place in the BCS standings, because its translates into quality win points for LSU, matters a great deal.

There was even some, notably Brad Edwards, a BCS expert for, that postulated USC could be No. 1 in both human polls and not be among the top two teams in the BCS standings. That could lead to exactly the kind of split national championships the BCS was created to avoid.

Even LSU fans who cheered when the Oklahoma score was announced on Saturday night had no real clue about whether or not the loss would help the Tigers' chances.

"We don't know," one LSU fan said. Then wishfully added, "Surely it must help." Top Stories