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Sunday, December 2, 2012

BCS Mess: Wisconsin's Luck, Georgia's Heartbreak

In a few hours the BCS selection committee will announce its matchups for the 2012-2013 bowl season. It is expected that Notre Dame and Alabama will meet in the BCS National Championship game in Miami, while the other known game is the Rose Bowl, where Wisconsin will meet Stanford in Pasadena, California.

Unfortunately the loser of last night's SEC championship, Georgia, won't be playing in the BCS. That spot will more than likely go to Florida, who, like Alabama last year, didn't even make it to the conference championship game.

And never mind that Wisconsin, the Big Ten's participant in the Rose Bowl the last two years, didn't even finish first in their own division. Actually at 4-4 in the Big Ten, they barely finished third in the Leaders division, a game a head of Purdue (3-5), two games behind Penn State (6-2), and three games behind Leaders division champs Ohio State (8-0).

But wait a minute, how is this possible? A team that struggled to finish with a .500 record in its own conference, has an 8-5 overall record, and has had three different starting quarterbacks during the season is going to the Rose Bowl? While undefeated Ohio State (12-0) will be watching at home?

The short answer is simple: Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for postseason play, thus making Wisconsin the Leaders Division's representative in last night's Big Ten title game in Indianapolis. And Wisconsin went on to win the championship game by defeating a Nebraska team that believes the word defense is not in their vocabulary.

The longer answer, however, is a bit more complex. You see, Ohio State was banned from postseason play this year because its former head coach, Jim Tressel, lied to the NCAA. And the NCAA, not wanting to be embarrassed itself, decided to make an example out of Ohio State. Never mind the fact that the suit-wearing individual who levied the bowl ban more than likely doesn't watch football. Nor does he realize that the revenue of a potential OSU-ND national championship game would dwarf that of a Stanford-Wisconsin Rose Bowl. Ohio State broke the rules, so they must pay the consequences.

But it makes me absolutely sick that Wisconsin is going back to the Rose Bowl for a third straight season. And it doesn't even matter that Ohio State will be watching from home this January. Look I get it, the last two seasons, like it or not, the Badgers deserved to be there. In 2010, they tied Ohio State for the Big Ten Title, but, because they had already beaten them head to head, they went to the Rose Bowl. Then, last season, not only were they clearly Big Ten Champions at 11-1 but they were one Kirk Cousins hail mary away from playing LSU in the BCS National Championship.

Watching last night's conference championship between the Badgers and Huskers, however, made my stomach turn. Not only did Bret Bielema's team finish third in their division, but they backed their way into the title game, losing two of their last three games. Not to mention if you asked over 70% of college football fans in the nation to name Wisconsin's starting quarterback they probably wouldn't get it right. That's because during the course of the season they had started three different guys at the position, and the guy who played last night, Curt Phillips (a fifth-year senior), was starting in only the fourth game of his college career.

All of this happened only a few hours after Georgia, who would probably knock the tar out of both Nebraska and Wisconsin (and will more than likely face Nebraska on New Year's Day), lost their only chance to play in the BCS when they fell 32-28 to Alabama in the SEC championship. And though it should be known I don't particularly care for teams from the SEC, I do have respect for teams that play well.

So while fans argue if Alabama and Notre Dame should be in the BCS Championship, if an undefeated Ohio State squad deserves consideration for the AP National Title, or if Ohio State could beat either Alabama or Notre Dame, I have another question for my readers. Does a Wisconsin squad that didn't even finish above .500 in its conference deserve a BCS bid over an 11 win Georgia team that quite possibly gave No. 2 ranked Alabama its toughest game all season?

It's going to be very hard for me to watch any of the Big Ten bowl games this season, but not because Ohio State won't be there. There is a definite possibility that the Big Ten only wins one or two bowl games this season and even that is in doubt. And there might be a few things worse than sending the conference's fifth best squad to the Rose Bowl, but you won't hear me mention them here.

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