After the announcement that Alabama was to play LSU for the BCS Championship, we saw a flood of whining and complaining from every corner of the football world. It’s not surprising that Okie State fans were upset. They wanted a chance to shock the world, to prove that they could hang with a world class defense. They lost that chance in Ames, Iowa, but in their mind, they lost it at the hands of the voters. Nor was the weeping and gnashing of teeth amongst the football hoi polloi unexpected. SEC fatigue is at its height, and the notion that the conference was guaranteed another Championship (though the SEC lost its first championship game as well) was almost more than they could stand. And of course, the calls for a playoff and criticism of the BCS reached unprecedented levels.
But the cold hard truth is this—the BCS worked, and it proved once again that it is the best system in all of sports for putting the two best teams together for a championship. Consider, for instance, the arguments for Oklahoma State. None of them were that Oklahoma State was the better team than Alabama. People compared resumes, they talked about how Alabama had its chance, they talked about the more interesting or exciting match-up of Big XII offense against SEC defense. They even brought up fairness and the deaths of Okie State’s Women’s Basketball coaches. But what they never said is that Oklahoma State was a better team than Alabama or that it would take anything other than a miracle for Oklahoma State to win.
And all of those arguments are well and good. But that’s not what championships are about. This is not elementary school. Life is not fair. In the end, sports is about the best against the best. It is about determining who is the champion, not about awarding teams for a good performance or a fine season. That’s what the bowls are for, and college football is better than most sports at providing that type of reward.
What would a playoff mean? It would mean that LSU would have had to play yet more teams, risk yet more injuries, and “prove” that it was worthy of playing for a championship. It would also mean the charade of showing that Alabama is the other best team, even though we know that to be the fact. Look, if you have a different conception of what a championship should be, so be it. But when it is the best against the best, the BCS got it right. Fortunately, Alabama proved that last night. Roll Tide.