Happy New Year, Missouri.
Your New Year’s gift? Grousing about the Bowl Championship Series.
Truthfully, it’s a party that started without you. The BCS began almost 10 years ago and, pretty much, universally has left football fans grousing on the sidelines.
Not that Missouri doesn’t have a case. In the span of one week, to fall from No. 1 in the country to a berth in the non-BCS Cotton Bowl, does look like a raw deal.
But the BCS has been handing out raw deals since the 1999 bowl season. It’s just that this is the first year that Missouri took notice.
So go ahead and grouse. Grousing about the BCS has become a cottage industry.
But here’s a couple of secrets if you want to play the BCS game.
Losing early is better than losing late. Remember Michigan? The Wolverines opened the season by losing to Appalachian State, of all teams, yet still climbed back into the top 10 before Wisconsin and Ohio State ended the charade. Missouri lost its last game.
The BCS is interested in putting together the top two teams in the country in a championship game. All the other bowls want exciting matchups that sell tickets and draw fans. In other words, this is a business. And beyond that, it’s even a big business. Missouri, without a strong football pedigree, didn’t get the respect it should’ve/would’ve had it had a brand name like say, Ohio State, or even Michigan.
Want a playoff system? Take eight teams and surely the ninth team will be sitting in the corner grousing.
This all could be a no-win proposition. Take universities who don’t play each other, and have few common opponents, and try to declare who’s best.
It works with basketball? Does it? Is the winner of the NCAA tournament every March truly the nation’s best team, or merely the hottest at the moment?
Deep breath: Every. Thing. Will. Be. All. Right.
Missouri will play in the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday morning. That means that 2008 begins a lot rosier than last year ended, with a loss in the Sun Bowl.
Still want to grouse about the BCS?
OK, you’ve earned that much.
Why don’t you go sit over there with Hawaii ... and Arizona State ... and Oklahoma ... The party’s already started.
Greg Bowers is the Missourian's sports editor.