Coach's Corner

There is no question that the BCS is a cyber (and feeble) attempt to crown a national football champion. It is an obviously flawed system that apparently thinks that the Big 12 is the supreme conference in the country. It can't even pick the right opponents, much less the overall champion.

The criteria is mixed and the computer "experts" are no doubt self- proclaimed and obviously don't really understand the sport of football. The results have been as mixed as the criteria and the resulting tie between LSU and USC seems unfair to both teams.

Regardless of the intent, the reality is, there should always be a playoff.

This year really is no different than it was twelve years ago when the Huskies had to share the title with Miami. Sure, we all thought that we could've beaten the Hurricanes, but when we finally did it, it wasn't the same. It wasn't even the same teams. The same thing happened when the Huskies lost another national title to BYU in 1984. The very next fall the Dawgs got hammered and homered in Provo.

Of course, in 1984, we would have gladly settled for a tie, but we lost out on both the major polls. That year, after beating number one ranked, Oklahoma, we felt we had earned the title or at least a share of it.

Now, looking back, I realize it would've been difficult to name us the National Champions when we didn't even win our league. The fact that BYU had played a much softer schedule against much easier opponents was never factored in. We had beaten Michigan that season and when BYU had to rally in the fourth quarter to beat the same team in the Holiday Bowl, well, we just figured we were probably the better team.

We figured wrong.

BYU had finished undefeated and it didn't make any difference who they played. We had lost a league game to USC, and therefore lost the whole thing in LA. The great experience of playing for the national title against the number one team was to be our only reward. No sharing the title. They, BYU, were perfect that season and that was all the polls looked at.

If we would've been a playoff with BYU that year, there is no question in my mind who would've won. I don't know that it would've been that close, either.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, the parallel between this past year and 1984 would've been that we didn't get considered for the national championship because we didn't even win our own league championship.

But, alas, Oklahoma got shelled in their league championship game by Kansas State.

So how do you get pounded two games in a row to end the season and still end up ranked as number three in the country? That is respect, indeed. For USC not to be considered was an absolute slap in the face for the Pac-10 Conference. I don't know how else you can interpret that a second place finisher from the Big-12 was deemed more qualified for the championship than USC.

It is certainly unique that football is the only NCAA sport that does not crown a true national champion. It does at every level below Division 1, but the system has become so addicted to the bowl system money that they literally refuse to allow a playoff to take place.

Do you remember when Penn State went undefeated and didn't win the title? Tough one to explain.

The absurdity of it all makes one happy just to have gotten a piece of the pie. Sharing the Title doesn't seem all that bad.

Sharing a conference title is much worse, particularly if you fail to gain a Rose Bowl berth. Going to The Grand Daddy is what every team in the Pac-10 sets their sights on. It usually takes an 8-0 or 7-1 record to outright win the Pac-10, but if you go 6-2 there is usually a good chance that there will be a tie with someone else. Winning it outright is preferred, but sharing the league crown by record alone allows you to buy your whole team championship rings.

Still, with the Pac-10's terrible bowl arrangements, the differences between the Rose, Holiday, and Sun Bowls are vast. Consequently, a tie for the league crown is far worse than a tie for the national title. If you've ever been to El Paso, you know what I'm talking about.

If the conference had a tie in with the Fiesta or Cotton Bowls for the second place team, then at least the conference runner-up or co-champ could at least play on New Year's Day. As it is, this conference only has one team playing on the traditional bowl day. I found it wrong that a conference like the Big Ten could have 8 teams playing in bowls, with four actually playing on the 1st, including a couple with four losses. Yet the WSU Cougars, who were the Pac-10's runner up, were relegated to December 30th. Go figure.

Here we are a good decade after Washington won their only title, and it was a tie. Now, USC, just the second member of the conference to win since, and it is also getting only a share of it. There's nothing wrong with owning a share of that title, and USC certainly deserves at least that.

Maybe it's about time to change leadership at the conference level and get someone who can negotiate better TV and Bowl packages. Until that happens, the Pac-10 will be considered a weaker conference.

The bowl day match-ups speak volumes.

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