Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Red States

Despite what you may have heard on Tuesday night, color the following states red: New Jersey, New York, California, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Indiana.

More accurately, color them scarlet. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights’ surprising victory over Louisville has thrown the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) into turmoil or talk radio and blogger heaven, depending on your point of view. Rutgers, despite its current undefeated record, has no chance to play in the national championship game against the winner of Ohio State-Michigan. That leaves, in order of current BCS ranking, the following one loss teams still officially in the mix: Florida, Texas, Auburn, USC, Cal, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Arkansas and Louisville (once it is re-ranked). My home state Boise State Broncos, even if they finish undefeated, have no shot. The number-crunchers seem to think that Florida and USC, because of strength of schedule, have the inside track over the other schools if they win out.

I have mixed feelings about Thursday’s game as I do generally about the current structure of college football. (Set aside the fact that money rules absolutely – if it is corruption, it is magnificent corruption – but that is a story for another time.) The games are always more interesting when the traditional power programs – Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Notre Dame, etc. – are competing for a national championship. On the other hand I dislike the fact that the BCS system is so openly an oligarchy, skewed to protect the big programs and power conferences from the upstarts, more so even than college basketball. Merit can only slowly overcome bloodlines and deep pockets, and usually not for long. Rutgers simply does not have the multi-year track record to convince the system that it belongs. West Virginia and Louisville, two other Big East schools with a chance to go undefeated, did have sufficient pedigree, but barely and then only because enough traditional powers had lost at least one game. And Rutgers will probably soon slide back into the equestrian class at best. Reality – and the probable departure of its outstanding coach, Greg Schiano - will out.

An example of big big school arrogance: those who argued that there should be a rematch of Ohio State-Michigan for the national championship if their first game was close, rather than allow an undefeated Big East team into the title game.

The best case scenario under the current system would have been a mixed regime, where a big name (Ohio State) played a credible, high-powered upstart (Louisville) for the national championship, with the other bowls having intriguing traditional matchups (e.g., USC-Michigan) and a mixture of the new (Notre Dame-Boise State). Rutgers’ win should be celebrated for its own sake but ironically it did not help the immediate cause of the less big guys. I say less big because in the world of Division I-A college football, there are no true Horatio Alger stories. Rutgers is as close as one can get, but the system won’t allow us to see it through.

Discussions - 5 Comments

That was, in fact, an uplifting upset. But I fear Rutgers won’t make it to 11-0.

What do you have against these schools that you want them taken out of their second rate conferences and humiliated by Ohio State or Michigan in front of a national audience. The Ashland Arrows are undefeated, too - I would not suggest having them go up against the Buckeyes.

I think Patrick has fallen prey to some Rousseaun romantical view of the world. If teams try really hard then they can overcome all.

That is nonsense. It seems to me (though I know very little) that football is about size and quickness. No matter how hard certain people try they simply will not be as fast, or as big as other people. No matter how hard Rutgers or Louisville or BYU or those types of teams try they simply do not have the kind of people needed to win. Any pairing between them and a traditional team would be embarassing.

Yeah, I have a hard time believing that Rutgers can play OSU or Michigan even up. However, I really think that when these teams come along the BCS should give them other BCS games against established powers. So far it is unclear. Utah played WV and won easy but it was not a chance to prove themselves against a real power. Likewise WV rode a big hot steak early to hold on over a mediocre Georgia team. What they need to do is match up Boise State, Rutgers, etc with a real power in a non-championship BCS game to see if these teams are for real. Do that for a couple years and we might know??

I’m a Baton Rouge native and thus by birth a die hard college football fan and an LSU fanatic. I object to the continual "politicizing" of the game with these references to blue bloods and upstarts. The analogy simply doesn’t hold. Rutgers doesn’t deserve to be in the championship game because outside of one game against a mediocre Louisville team they have played no one. Their non-conference schedule is a joke and their Big East schedule is worse. The best non-conference win a Big East team can claim this year is Louisville over Miami -- which is not any good this year. Give it to the best two loss team from one of the 5 power conferences before Rutgers.

That said - Schiano has done a fabulous job there, and if they win out, they should get a birth in a non-championship BCS game. They’ll probably get killed, but they should get a shot.

Geaux Tigers!


Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL:

Warning: include(/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2006/11/red-states.php on line 531

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/sp/php7.2/lib/php') in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2006/11/red-states.php on line 531