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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hate the BCS? Root for the Hawkeyes

I'm a huge antagonist when it comes to the Bowl Championship Series, better known as the "BCS," formula of crowning a college football champion. There are far too many years where there's more than two teams worthy of competing for that title by the time the season's over. The really unfortunate thing at this point is that there appears to be no end in sight.

As's Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg noted about a year-and-a-half ago, the Big Ten has likely benefited more than any other conference from the current BCS system. This past bowl season did nothing to detract from that thinking, as yet another pair of Big Ten teams, Penn State and Ohio State, made one of the five bowls. But what if the BCS gave the Big Ten a reason to change their tune about the system as a whole?

It might be difficult to look at from as far down the road as we are right now, but an undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes team that does not make the national title game over a one-loss USC or Texas could be that turning point us BCS haters are looking for. I know, I know, I'm a Spartan fan, we're playing Iowa for the right to be in the Big Ten championship drivers seat this weekend, yet I'm still writing this article. Believe me, I want MSU to beat the 'Hawks, but I really feel this subject needs some serious attention. If Iowa was kept out of the title game, the office of Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney would be loaded with calls and e-mails from not only Iowa fans, but all Big Ten fans clamoring for him to do something about the disparaging outcome.

Would Delaney, or any other Big Ten bigwigs for that matter, be able to actually affect the needed change? It's hard to say, but having such an ardent supporter of the system turn on the BCS would certainly be a first. Cincinnati and Boise State could also go undefeated and potentially have their bids beat out by another one-loss team. It's pretty safe to say that neither the WAC, or even the Big East, however, likely have the same type of pull with those who actually pull the BCS strings.

So, realistically, how likely is this scenario? Well, it's likely enough that I felt the need to write this article. Iowa already beat fellow front-runner Penn State, but does have to go to East Lansing for a night game against the Spartans this weekend, and then have a trip to the Horseshoe to face Ohio State three weeks later. However, other than that, they play Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota all at home in Iowa City, all very winnable games. As for the others, assuming Iowa beats out Cincy and Boise State in the BCS polls (it wouldn't hurt if the Bearcats lost one too), things are a bit more muddled. There's a decent chance that the SEC champion may have one-loss, and, I would say almost probably, would be ahead of the Hawkeyes in the polls. If, however, there's an undefeated SEC champion, either Florida or Alabama, we can hope Texas loses one in the regular season, then wins the Big 12, or that USC wins out, and looks strong doing so.

Any way you shake it, I do feel that the recent performance, or lack thereof, from the Big Ten in recent bowl games could keep Iowa from getting the votes. Fans across the country have blamed the Big Ten for some bad bowl games lately, and may have reason to blame the conference for the BCS still being around. Come this off-season, however, those same fans may have reason to thank the Big Ten for getting the powers-that-be to seriously consider some major BCS change.

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