Horns Leery Of BCS Talk

Texas coaches and players are trying to keep BCS speculation at arms length, so much of it is still out of their hands -- even with a strong No. 7 rating this week.

It could be argued that the BCS ratings system, for all of its tweaks, has been more of a disservice to Texas than any other program. During the past five years, Texas is the only team in the country that has been in every BCS poll at the end of season that has yet to garner a BCS bid.

"I know our kids watch t.v. and read what (newspapers) say and they listen to the students and the fans," head coach Mack Brown said Monday. "I really feel like I need to be able to put some sense into it for them. I told them if they’re still talking BCS after Sunday, it’s a real dangerous thing for them. I told them that we’ve been around it more than anybody here. We’ve been affected more than anybody here."

Then again, howls of protest from snubbed schools have echoed annually since the inception of the darned thing seven years ago. For example, teams that failed to win their own conference (Oklahoma, Nebraska) still competed in the BCS National Championship Game two of the past three seasons.

"A lot of people get screwed," QB Vince Young said. "USC should have played in the national championship last year."

Or, for that matter, Oregon should have played Miami for the 2001 national title instead of the Cornhuskers. Miami should have played Oklahoma for the 2000 NCAA championship instead of Florida State.

"How it (BCS) played out last year, that’s why I don’t respect it (ratings system) at all," Young said.

Texas, of course, finished the regular season with a No. 5 BCS rating and bore the dubious distinction of being 2003’s highest rated team not to go to a BCS game. Kansas State’s upset win over OU, of course, sent the Wildcats to the Fiesta Bowl while OU parlayed its BCS points into the national title game despite falling to No. 3 in the human polls.

"I think last year just got ‘em," Brown said of his players. "I told them it could happen before the (Big 12 Title) game and they said, ‘Nah.’"

Texas coaches clarify BCS implications with players each Sunday, WLB Derrick Johnson said, and then instruct them "to put it out of our minds."

"I don’t think a lot of people understand (the BCS)," said Johnson, who is convinced Texas has shown that it is at least BCS-worthy but has a chance to convince voters with a solid win over No. 19 Oklahoma State at 6 p.m., Saturday, in a TBS national telecast.

Brown has been on record for the past couple of seasons in pushing for BCS ratings to seed teams in an eight-team post-season playoff. He also believes that all BCS leagues should either have a league title game or do away with them completely. (To that, I say ‘Amen’.)

"It’s confusing," Young said. "That’s a fine word for me. I don’t know about the BCS. You never know what’s going to happen."

There are three basic scenarios that impact Texas’ BCS chances this season. In addition to Texas running the table:

1) Oklahoma must either lose two of its final three regular season games (Texas A&M, Nebraska, Baylor) to put Texas in the Big 12 Title game OR Oklahoma must win the Big 12 championship. Any repeat of last year’s scenario where the Northern Division opponent pulls the upset in the title game would likely send Texas to the Cotton Bowl.

2) It’s not an absolute must, but Texas’ chances are greatly enhanced with a Utah loss. Although the Utes are ranked behind Texas in both the human polls, Utah gets a boost from its No. 6 average computer ranking. (The machines say Texas is No. 9 this week.) Currently, Utah would automatically qualify for an at-large bid with its No. 6 BCS ranking. (A team from a BCS-affiliated conference qualifies automatically only with a No. 3 BCS ranking.)

3). Orangebloods need to root for Auburn (BCS No. 3) to beat Georgia (BCS No. 9) on November 13 and then knock off Tennessee (BCS No. 8) in the SEC Championship. Auburn would likely scoop up a BCS at-large bid should either the Bulldogs or the Volunteers win the SEC title.

4) Just because it’s fun to watch BCS officials squirm, cheer for West Virginia (BCS No. 16) to lose. It’s insane that the Mountaineers will be awarded a BCS bid with their watered-down Big East Conference affiliation. (And just how thrilled would the television networks be with, say, a West Virginia-Utah snoozer compared with Texas-Auburn?)

"It’ll get worked out one of these days," Brown said. "I’ll bet, in some way and in some fashion, there’ll be a playoff one of these days."

BCS Top 10

1. (1) USC .9895
2. (2) Oklahoma .9648
3. (4) Auburn .9238
4. (8) Cal .8050
5. (7) Wisconsin .7579
6. (6) Utah .7429
7. (10) Texas .7370
8. (11)Tennessee .7124
9. (9) Georgia .7019
10. (3) Miami .6530

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