Editorial: Where's The BCS When You Need It?

I know the cry is always for a playoff but college baseball has a playoff and with work like this by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee in laying out the "Road to Omaha" then give me a BCS for college baseball. One reporter that had listened longer Monday than I did to the committee chair's conference call following the bracket announcement said, "It's a joke and it gets worse every year."

But I'm going to defend the committee for just a minute. They are given ridiculous parameters in the way of matchups (avoiding conference teams playing in regional play) and geography (spreading out sites and keeping travel costs down). That said some of their decisions still border on lunacy.

The University of Oklahoma sent its team home after Saturday's Big 12 Tournament loss to Texas. OU head coach Sunny Golloway talked about building for next season in Saturday's postseason press conference, never having a hint that his team might make the field for the NCAA Tournament.

"We've never discussed who was the last team (in the field) and we're not going to start this year," said Division I Baseball Committee chairman Larry Templeton during Monday's conference call with media members after the 64-team field was announced. "They were in the last group that went in. I think that's all that needs to be said."

Media inquiries from the Northeast wondered about how the Sooners compared to two-time defending champs Oregon State, while those from the South wondered how College of Charleston could be left out. No doubt, Baylor and Kansas State are wondering why they didn't get in over eighth-place finisher Oklahoma.

Heck, it's great for the Big 12 that the conference's eighth-place team can get in the tournament. But you also have to ask if that happens, then why can't one of their top teams get a national seed?

The Big 12 finished as the third-rated conference in the RPI yet could not scratch a national seed. In the latest RPI, Nebraska is eighth, while Oklahoma State is the next best Big 12 team at 13th. Five of the national seeds were in the top five of the RPI as Miami, North Carolina, Florida State, Arizona State, and Rice were 1-5 in the RPI and all made the top six of the national seeds. Rice was the sixth seed with Cal-State Fullerton getting the five seed.

Again, we go back to parameters placed on the committee that forces them to not even seed the very important 9-16 positions. The second eight is the second eight, but on the bracket they are not placed in order so as to not seed conference teams to play each other in the Super Regional, even though it can happen and to keep a geographic or regional theme to the Super Regional round.

The Cowboys' résumé was good. They finished 13th in the RPI and were rated sixth in the Baseball America poll released Monday morning. They were 16-6 against the teams they played that are in the tournament, including 3-1 vs. Nebraska, 2-1 vs. Texas A&M, and 2-0 vs. Arizona, which are all teams that are top regional seeds.

One reporter on the teleconference with Templeton asked about Oklahoma State head-to-head with LSU in regards to the decision to make the Tigers a national seed and leaveing Oklahoma State as technically a 13th seed, even though the 9th through 16th teams aren't ranked in the bracket.

"We go at great lengths not to rank 9 to 16 and let the chips fall where they fall," said Templeton. "At some point in the future the committee may decide to rank 9 to 16 but our policy is not there yet."

That reporter pointed out that the Cowboys were 11-3 against Top 25 RPI teams and LSU was just 6-4. Oklahoma State finished the season with a better record in a better conference.

"I wouldn't say they were left out of the conversation (for a national seed), but that is your opinion compared to the committee's," said Templeton. "I think the committee felt very strongly that LSU is the hottest team in college baseball and, quite frankly, I had a problem with them being just seventh. I thought they should have been higher. We felt very strongly about LSU and, unfortunately, Oklahoma State didn't make the top eight."

Pressed a little further, Templeton added this. "They were in the discussion (for national seeds) 7 and 8 for a long time," added Templeton. "LSU's end of the year run put them in and Georgia (the No. 8 seed) winning the Southeast Conference regular season put them in."

Okay, but the RPI clearly ranks the Big 12 above the SEC as a conference. We just have to accept the decision of the 10-man committee. It just wasn't good enough. The committee, which includes Big 12 deputy commissioner Tim Weiser (former Kansas State athletic director), along with baseball coaches John Anderson of Minnesota and Pat Murphy of Arizona State and is chaired by Templeton (the Mississippi State athletic director) needs to do two things, ask for less parameters and watch more Big 12 baseball.

I think I'm liking computers and human polls more and more, but the time for griping is over and it's now time to play baseball. Hopefully on real dirt and grass throughout this "Road to Omaha."

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