Are BCS Fans Really This Naive?

Brian NelsonCorrespondent INovember 24, 2009

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We’ve all heard them over and over again. It’s the same stuff year after year.

Blanket assumptions opined by ignorant fans from BCS teams questioning the worthiness of non-BCS teams and their quest to bust the BCS.

While the naiveté comes in different shapes and sizes, from various parts of the country, from analysts, coaches, and fans alike, what they all share in common is their blatant lack of validity, rationale, and factual support.

We all get that the BCS is rooted in tradition, fanbases, recruiting, and revenues, while those factors may be a source for a delusional sense of superiority, they don't usually correlate to performance on the field.

Remember the tune Barry Switzer sang before kickoff at last year’s Sugar Bowl? “There isn’t one player, not one player, on Utah’s team that Nick Saban would’ve recruited.”

That alone was the basis Barry used to predict that Alabama would be too much for Utah to handle. He wasn't alone.

The blogosphere along with "analysts" throughout the country were rampant with the expectation that Alabama was going to dismantle Utah, based on worthless, delusional assumptions.

So how do they explain Utah's bitch-slapping of Alabama?

They can't. They can only minimize Alabama's motivation or point to the loss of OT Andre Smith. Never mind that USC was still motivated to beat Penn State, Texas to beat Ohio State, Georgia to beat Hawaii, etc.

So goes the logic and the rationale in the attempts to discredit the non-BCS elite.

We all welcome a healthy argument, but please do so with a) logic, b) substantive reasoning, c) empirical data, or d) items that can be found on a scoreboard.

No assumptions. We already know that you think TCU couldn’t withstand the "brutal week in, week out" schedule in the SEC or the Big 12. 

Or how teams like Colorado or Virginia would probably run the table in the MWC.

We’ve heard it all. What we haven’t heard is evidence to support it. Though we’ve seen plenty to the contrary. If the MWC is so weak how does:

Colorado State clobber Colorado in Boulder, but then go 0-7 in the MWC?

Last year’s Wyoming (1-7 in the MWC) travel to Knoxville and beat the Volunteers?

Last year’s UNLV team (2-6 in the MWC) go 2-0 against BCS teams (Arizona State, Iowa State)?

These are teams that have a combined 3-20 record in MWC play that somehow have managed to go 4-0 against BCS competition.

While the MWC has proven it’s on par at the bottom, it’s beating the other conferences at the top as well. In the last two seasons alone, the MWC has beaten Alabama, Boise State, Clemson, Oregon State, and Oklahoma.

Can your conference lay claim to five stronger out-of-conference victories in the last two years?
While the MWC can talk up scoreboard, the BCS will continue to throw out useless platitudes to justify their illusion of superiority.

As a result, we all have to suffer from the existence of pathetic articles such as, “Three Reasons TCU Doesn’t Belong in the BCS," which came out Monday from Tim Nash.
(Mr. Nash also focuses the article on Boise State, which I'll ignore. The BCS conferences love to denigrate the MWC by blurring it with the WAC.)
Let's break down Mr. Nash's typical, uninventive arguments for why TCU doesn't belong in the BCS.
Reason No. 1: The MWC Has Inferior Depth and Talent
Mr. Nash says, “There are currently only four schools from BCS automatic qualifiers that are currently undefeated. That's because the BCS schools play conference schedules against teams that test them for the most part, week in and week out.
"When you get an unranked Tennessee team that almost knocks off No. 2 Alabama at home, or an unranked Oklahoma almost upsetting No. 3 Texas, it tends to weed out the contenders from the pretenders.”

So let me get this straight, there are six undefeated teams left. Four come from the six BCS conferences and two from the other non-BCS conferences. This illustrates how truly weak the non-AQ conferences are?


You should be. It makes no sense. The basis of this poorly articulated argument is that BCS teams fall and suffer from close calls more frequently because they play tougher schedules.

Never mind TCU is ranked higher than Texas in four out of the six computer polls or that TCU has more wins over ranked opponents than Texas and Florida. Or that both of Texas’s marquee wins have lost to non-BCS teams.

To support his assumption, Mr. Nash uses the Longhorns' close call with Oklahoma as proof that TCU doesn't belong.

Does he not know that Oklahoma lost to BYU, an MWC team that TCU slaughtered 38-7?

Then there’s Tennessee-Alabama. I get it. He’s trying to say that because Alabama plays talented teams like Tennessee week in and week out, they're more vulnerable to loss.

Let’s reverse his logic. Over the last two seasons, Alabama is 15-1 in the vaunted SEC. Yet somehow, they are 0-1 against the MWC in the same time frame. Alabama could play 14 games against MWC opponents and still have a worse winning percentage in the MWC than they do against SEC competition.

Go figure. Yet somehow all this strange reasoning was used to support how the MWC has inferior depth and talent. Again, a blanket assumption with worthless data to support it.

Maybe he’s asserting that over a broader sample of BCS teams, non-BCS teams would be more likely to lose.

That's a fair argument, except that 2004/2008 Utah and 2009 TCU are a combined 9-0 against BCS teams, beating:

Arizona, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Oregon State, Alabama, Virginia, and Clemson.

Nine BCS opponents, nine victories. Only two games played at home. Is that a strong enough sampling?

I know the new BCS party line centers on the constant brutality of BCS conference play, but that's only a myth.

On very rare occasion, like Texas in 2008 or Miami at the beginning of this season, do you see a brutal "week in, week out" schedule. Most schedules consist of a trip to Kentucky, followed by Tennessee at home, Mississippi State on the road, and then Florida International.

That's nothing TCU couldn't handle. Trust me.


Reason No. 2: TCU Hasn’t Played a Tough Out-of-Conference Schedule

Mr Nash claims: "Supposedly, TCU beat a terrible Virginia team and then a mediocre Clemson squad. The rest of their out of conference slate, with wins over Texas State and SMU, were underwhelming."

If Clemson is mediocre, then how come they get to play in a conference championship game that could earn them an automatic BCS berth, but TCU doesn’t belong? Doesn’t that contradict the whole point?

Tell me one team, or one BCS conference, that has an out-of-conference win that is substantially more impressive than TCU at Clemson.

If Virginia is so terrible how come the Cavs alone have beaten more BCS teams than all four of Texas’s out-of-conference opponents combined?

It’s not like Florida and Alabama's OOC schedules are worth writing home about.


Reason No. 3: TCU’s Victories Against Ranked Opponents Are Suspect

Mr Nash: "TCU has beaten two ranked teams from its own conference that will play each other, leaving TCU with only one victory over a ranked opponent."

First, let’s all completely ignore the fact that Clemson is currently ranked 18th in the BCS. I know it's a lot more convenient to disregard facts that do not support BCS supremacy, but that doesn't alter the reality of the outcome.

BYU and Utah play each other this week, which is the third time this season that two ranked MWC teams play each other.

BYU is ranked No. 19 in the BCS. Utah is No. 21. Barring a complete blowout, it seems highly unlikely that the loser will fall out of the top 25, but more than likely, the winner will head towards the top 15 in the BCS.

Even if TCU's wins over these ranked teams are somehow "suspect," they have still beaten three of them. That is the same number as Alabama, one more than Florida, and two more than Texas, who has only beaten one.

That's elite company. Tell me again how TCU doesn't belong?

Mr. Nash can't. And neither can the throng of BCS fans singing the same tune. All they can do is point to baseless assumptions that bear little resemblance to on-the-field results.

The MWC is 2-0 in the BCS, with both being blowout victories. No other conference has a higher winning percentage or better average margin of victory.

By contrast, the ACC is 2-9. The Big 10 is 2-5 since 2005-05. The MWC can go 0-8 in BCS Bowls and still claim a better record than the ACC.

Amazing, perhaps Tim Nash can right articles questioning their worthiness. At least this time he'll have empirical evidence to draw from.

If TCU isn't worthy, then who is? Who deserves to get in more than the Frogs?

Oklahoma State hasn't beaten a single ranked team. Neither has Penn State. Iowa beat Penn State, but needed help from above to beat Indiana (a team that Virginia killed) and lost to Northwestern.
The truth of the matter is that the Utah's and the TCU's can be every bit as good, if not better, than the elite powerhouses.
The BCS, its fans, pundits, and coaches will do everything they can to try and cover this fact, but it's finally time to drop the baseless assumptions and stop living in denial.
Instead of trying to mold hard facts to fit a myopic view of how we think college football should be, let's just sit back, enjoy, and praise good football when we see it. 


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