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A Holiday For The BCS

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History has a funny way of repeating itself. Proof in point comes once again from the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, where the San Diego sports writer who covers this game must be either giddy with excitement (if he's lazy) or bored out of his mind (if he wants new stories).

For the third straight year, the Holiday Bowl features a #5 ranked BCS team coming in to the game feeling snubbed by the system. In 2003, it was the Horns who felt robbed after Kansas State upset Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship to take away one of the prized BCS slots. Texas was the odd team out and dutifully took its annual winter migration to San Diego. Washington State showed up to the Holiday Bowl and beat the Horns, 28-20, ending any and all justification for Texas' complaining.

In 2004, it was California who got "the snub." Heading in to the final week of the regular season, Cal was ranked #4 in the BCS, just barely ahead of Texas. The #4 BCS team automatically qualifies for the BCS, and with Utah locked in at #6 (where non-major BCS conference teams in the top six get automatic bids), the #5 team was guaranteed to miss out on BCS fun. Texas coach Mack Brown, though, was upset. Certain AP voters were ranking the Horns as low as #10 in the country. It was ridiculous and Mack Brown said so. Some called it whining; the more reasonable understood he was doing what they'd want their own coach to do. "Hey," Mack said, "at least give us a fair shot here." Cal subsequently stumbled in their season finale to a mediocre Southern Miss team and, after some ballot realignment, finished just behind the Horns in the BCS standings. Texas went to the Rose Bowl and beat Michigan, while Cal got run out of Qualcomm stadium by Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl.

There's a lesson in here for Oregon. They've pined about how the BCS system has unfairly kept them out while conference "champions" like Florida State get their BCS spotlight game. Fine. Make your gripe. But unless and until these teams that get left out of the BCS start waxing their opponents in bowl games, aren't we left to conclude that, in the end, it isn't so bad that lesser ranked teams are getting these berths? As long as we're trying our best to get the national champion right, isn't the complaining about getting a BCS bid just that--complaining?

So here's some advice for Oregon. If you want to start shaking up the BCS because you think it's treating you unfairly, go out and ram a 2x4 up Oklahoma's gut and make a statement. Convince us that too many damn good teams are getting snubbed by this broken system. Prove that the BCS doesn't work because there are lots of teams deserving of being in a premier bowl, or needing a chance in a playoff system. If not, you can join Texas and California in the line of teams that lost in the real playoff... the regular season.

--PB--