As you might assume from reading my previous posts, I approve the selection of Florida to meet Ohio State in the BCS title game. I won’t review all the complaints about the BCS or the very reasonable arguments on behalf of Michigan. My logic: in the absence of a post-season playoff, the conference races constitute the playoffs and filter out the contenders. Michigan had its chance in conference and lost to Ohio State. Florida won the SEC and among the other major conference champions (USC, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, and Louisville), the Gators have the best resume. Even that is debatable, of course, as Louisville had just one loss and Oklahoma was robbed at Oregon. But we are where we are. If not quite the infamous old Polish Constitution, not far away.
For those who think that this game will be a blowout given Florida’s uneven performance during much of the season – perhaps. Ohio State is indeed very good. But Buckeye fans remember that many experts gave little chance to the underdog in the 2003 title game (2002 season), in the face of the multi-talented juggernaut from “the U.” My early pick is Florida.
Perhaps lost in all the shouting is the accomplishment of Wake Forest, which will play Louisville in the Orange Bowl. The Demon Deacons had not won an ACC championship in 35 years. Even perennial doormat Duke (under Steve Spurrier) had managed a title during that time. Wake Forest has one of the smallest undergraduate enrollments among the Division I-A football schools (4,000) – which fact, unless you are Notre Dame (8,000), means a significant limit on the alumni and fan base that underwrite the big-time programs. Everything fell into place this year for Coach Jim Grobe, despite a number of key injuries. The ACC had a down year. The ball bounced the right way at the right time. The close games – and most of them were close, including a one-point win at home against Duke – fell into place. One suspects that this will be a blip on the radar rather than a trend, as the big time programs (Florida State, Miami) reload and as Butch Davis takes hold at North Carolina. But the story holds out hope for the little guys of the world.