Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Experts rule in the BCS and in Politics

Article first Published as The BCS Title Game and National Politics on Technorati.

It's official. The BCS title game will be a rematch: LSU v. Alabama. Earlier in the season, LSU squeaked out a win over the Tide in a defensive struggle. Now--in order to win the now-not-so-mythical championship of college football--they will have to do it again.

There is plenty of talk out there about whether this is right, just, fair, or what have you. For LSU did beat 'Bama once--when 'Bama was number one--and has not dropped a game since. On the one hand, what did 'Bama do to deserve another shot? Beat up on Georgia Southern, Mississippi State and Auburn? Not exactly a stunning series of victories.

On the other hand, who else deserves the shot? If not 'Bama, then who? Oklahoma State has one loss, too. And they closed out the season with a thorough drubbing of a top-ten opponent, Oklahoma. Stanford also has one loss and  finished the season with a win over a ranked opponent. Then there's Boise State--perennial outsider--with only one loss to TCU. So, why 'Bama?

Forget what the sportswriters are saying, forget the SEC conspiracy claptrap, forget the networks. The end result here is a product of one principal thing, alone: the preseason polls. Here they are (the top ten, anyway), for those that may have forgotten:

1Oklahoma (42)0-01454
2Alabama (13)0-01414
3Oregon (2)0-01309
4LSU (2)0-01296
5Florida State0-01116
7Boise State0-01065
8Oklahoma State0-0933
9Texas A&M0-0885

LSU is undefeated and Alabama is the highest ranked team--from the preseason--with only one lost. The entire BCS exercise is nothing but the justification of "expert" opinion. From the moment the season starts, the position a team has in the polls is a hype-point. Teams not in the top 25 have to "earn" their way into it, something the preseason picks get to opt out of. 

It may be the case that LSU and Alabama are the two best teams, insofar as they are the two teams with the most talent, the best on paper. But that shouldn't matter. What should matter is the games. On the field, we already know who the better team is: LSU. Why do we need to see it again?

And the world of national politics is no different. Ron Paul--the Boise State of the Republican Party--remains on the outside looking in. No matter what he does, he can't get to the top. Jon Huntsman wasn't even on the preseason poll, so he'd be lucky to just be around at the end. Cain? Flash in the pan. Mitt Romney--off an on front runner--remains in the conversation, no matter what. No matter how well or how badly he does, he's a "legitimate" contender.

And why? Because the "experts" say he is, no other reason. If he's smart, he'll be pulling for LSU.

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