Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Georgia beats Hawaii
USC beats Illinois
The BCS is supposed to deliver college football's five finest postseason games and to resolve, beyond reasonable dispute, the question of the sport's best team. Its first two games advanced neither goal.

Southern California 49, Illinois 17.

Georgia 41, Hawaii 10.

These were bad games. Hawaii earned its way into the BCS, in a manner of speaking, by running the table and drawing on the goodwill that previous outsiders (Boise State, Utah) had built by crashing the BCS party and defeating the likes of Oklahoma.

Illinois did nothing of the sort. The Illini were the last Big 10 team standing, and the blighted traditionalists on the Rose Bowl committee coveted Pac 10/Big 10 tradition over quality. And so Illinois took the place of, say, Missouri, ranked #1 on the eve of BCS selection day but exiled to a Cotton Bowl that the Tigers dominated. Georgia would have made a fine opponent for USC, especially in retrospect, but again tradition prevailed and dispatched the Southeastern Conference's best available team to the Sugar Bowl.

All together now:

Tradition. Ugh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

What exactly is wrong with a Pac 10/Big 12 matchup in the Rose Bowl? So soon has the Rose Bowl forgotten Vince Young's Texas defeating the USC of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Now that was football drama.

What would be great fun? Lettiing Georgia and USC settle their score on a neutral field.

What would be even greater fun? Letting the winner of that hypothetical Georgia-Southern Cal game play the winner of Ohio State-Louisiana State for all the marbles.

But that would be a playoff, which the NCAA treats as a seven-letter word for big-college football. And why would we do anything that would make even one law professor happier at the margin, let alone bring greater rationality to a system that pretends to evaluate American universities — albeit in athletic rather than academic terms — according to their purported merits?

Bah humbug, and happy new year to all.


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