Bowling for college football

Philip Consuegra

Yes fans, it’s that time of year again, you know – that special part of the college football season which has everyone guessing about how the Bowl Championship Series will once again get things wrong. Last season, if you remember, an undeserving Oklahoma team, after getting destroyed by Kansas State in the Big XII Championship, went to face LSU in the Sugar Bowl, while a disheartened USC team went on to clobber Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

It seems pretty clear that Oklahoma and USC are leading in the BCS tally, but there are two teams that may have something to say about that: Auburn and Wisconsin. The War Eagles – or Tigers, depending on where you’re from, are undefeated and will be playing for the SEC Championship in December. The Badgers will be playing for the Big 10 title as they face Michigan State and Iowa. Auburn, however, rolls through their competition, and they don’t look back, unlike Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Too bad for Auburn, margin of victory is no longer a factor in BCS births. Undefeated Auburn and Wisconsin teams are exactly what the doctor ordered for the BCS.

The case for Auburn is strong one. First, they play in a more than quality conference, the SEC. Teams like Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and last year’s champ LSU make that conference a tough one.

Second, their schedule is solid. They beat Tennessee on the road, LSU at home, and they have a donnybrook against Georgia coming up this weekend. If they beat the Bulldogs and win out, the Auburn Tigers deserve a National Championship bid.

Third, they don’t just beat teams. They slaughter them. They beat Tennessee 34-10, and have just crushed the teams they were expected to. All in all, Auburn has done everything the BCS asks of a team. It would be criminal not to consider them.

The case for Wisconsin is also strong: their conference, the Big 10, with Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue stacks up against all the others. Second, their schedule is as tough as Auburn’s. They sent Ohio State and Purdue on downward spirals, which may hurt them, and their game against Iowa should be fun to watch. They sit at 9-0, and are well deserving of consideration.

At this point, the BCS may have yet another team to contend with. The Utah Utes are sitting pretty at 9-0, and will be knocking on the BCS door for legitimacy in the college football nation. They are ranked, as it stand right now, as seventh in the BCS rankings. If this stands, Utah will be the first team to receive an out-of-conference at-large bid in the BCS. For all you BCS haters, here’s your dream scenario: five undefeated teams.

So what happens if we have five undefeated teams? Of course, the BCS will look at many factors, probably something outrageous like “which quarterback has the best hair” to pick their teams. If you take that approach, that’s fine, but I prefer to stick to the schedules.

You can count Utah out of the National Championship picture, because their schedule just doesn’t match up to the others. Oklahoma plays in the Big XII, which gives it automatic legitimacy in my mind. Auburn also gets legitimacy, thanks to the power in the SEC.

Wisconsin’s opponents have just not lived up to hype: Purdue has come under a nasty spell as of late, and we all know what happened to Ohio State. Wisconsin, when it’s all said and done, may not have the schedule to brag about. USC plays in the Pac-10, which has been historically weak, but has improved this year. It may even send two teams to the BCS: USC and Cal. I think USC’s schedule just doesn’t match up to Auburn’s or Oklahoma’s. If this scenario stays the same after the Conference Championships, my National Championship game is Auburn and Oklahoma, by a hair.

I know what you’re thinking: USC deserves to go. After being slapped in the face last year, they want it more than any other team. Well friends, as we all learned last year, the BCS isn’t always fair. Plus, I’m just not convinced that USC’s schedule is very strong. The Pac-10 just isn’t what it used to be.

For those of you on the edge of your seats, relax and breathe. Everything works out in the end, albeit convoluted. Here’s an even better reason to relax: I have a game of the week for you. Auburn is looking to stay undefeated against Georgia. Expect this one to go down to the wire, as one of the oldest college football rivalries is renewed in Alabama this Saturday: Georgia at Auburn.