This voter plans to vote for the BCS game winner — not because that’s the answer most likely to pacify his most immediate reader base, and certainly not because he supports the BCS.
It’s simple. Most everyone, including yours truly, believes the nation’s best two teams will play in the BCS final when No. 2 Alabama (11-1) plays No. 1 LSU (13-0) on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
That’s all I need to know, and a vote for a split national championship would have to be seen as a protest against the BCS system that produces a national-championship game matchup.
Not that there’s any love for the BCS here. This hack has recently urged power brokers like SEC commissioner Mike Slive to seize public outcry and make a renewed push for a plus-one.
It’s the most plausible compromise between our flawed BCS reality and a playoff.
But there’s one thing about our flawed BCS reality. It almost always does what it’s designed to do — produce a national championship game involving the nation’s top two teams.
There are years when the matchup is more controversial and a split vote more warranted. The AP voted Southern Cal No. 1 for 2003, though LSU beat Oklahoma in the BCS game.
All three were one-loss teams, and Southern Cal and LSU were Nos. 1 and 2 in both human polls headed into BCS selections.
But even in years of controversy, there’s a strong argument for the BCS matchup. Oklahoma and LSU had the stronger schedules and higher computer rankings in 2003. In 2004, when undefeated Auburn was left out, Southern Cal and Oklahoma started the year Nos. 1 and 2 and entered BCS selection undefeated.
This year’s controversy involves a precedent-setting rematch of a regular-season game between two teams from the same conference. Thanks a 9-6, overtime loss to LSU on Nov. 5, Alabama didn’t even win its own SEC division.
A lot of public sentiment said Alabama had its chance and that No. 3 Oklahoma State deserved a shot at LSU. That sentiment no doubt fueled the smallest margin between No. 2 and No. 3 in the decisive set of BCS standings since the BCS reconfigured its formula in 2004.
With that in mind, college football pundits have called for a split national championship, should Alabama win in New Orleans. Some say LSU’s body of work so far should make the Tigers champion regardless. Others say an Alabama victory coupled with an Oklahoma State win over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl should prompt AP voters to consider OSU.
The winner of the BCS game will be the BCS national champion, an umbrella that covers the Harris Interactive and USA Today polls and computer rankings. The split would have to come from the independent AP.
It’s ironic that the AP would be in this position. The AP pulled its poll from the BCS formula after the 2004 season, largely because of fears that the panel of sports journalists was becoming the story.
There could come a year when the quirky BCS produces a much more questionable matchup, and a vote to split the national championship becomes the right thing to do.
This isn’t that year.
Regardless of sentiment over a rematch involving a team that didn’t win its conference, it’s obvious that Alabama and LSU are the two best teams.
Anyone tempted to say otherwise should ask themselves one question --- if my life savings depended on the outcome of a game that pitted Alabama or LSU against Oklahoma State, how would I bet?
While an Alabama win over LSU would create a season split and unresolve something the regular season resolved, that’s nothing new in major sports.
The 2007 NFL season saw New England beat the New York Giants late in the regular season, but the Giants ended the Patriots’ undefeated run in the Super Bowl. The Giants took home the Lombardi Trophy, and no one questioned their legitimacy as Super Bowl champions.
The process that decides title-game opponents in college football is controversial, but this isn’t the year to vote against the winner of the BCS game.
This year, as in most years, the formula got the matchup right, and I’ll vote for the winner.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 245-235-3576 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @jmedley_star.