College football’s system of determining a national champion is so complex, that even UR statistics professor Nicholas Zaino would be scratching his head in bewilderment to determine two teams to play for the title.

The system, which has received harsh criticism since its inception four years ago, has several flaws. For instance, Nebraska received a bid to the Rose Bowl, last year’s championship game despite receiving a 40 point thrashing at the hands of Colorado in its previous game. Oregon, which clearly deserved the second spot,while Nebraska suffered an even more embarrassing defeat to eventual champion Miami.

The most apparent defect in college football’s Bowl Championship Series, the system that determines a national champion, is that a team can go undefeated and still not make it to the Fiesta Bowl, this year’s title game. Division I-A college football still remains the only sport without a playoff to determine its champion. Why? It makes too much sense. Avaricious sponsors and traditionalist conference commissioners claim that the season will last too long, keeping the players out of the classroom, which is their “primary reason” for attending college. Yet there is a 60 day break between the end of the regular season and the bowls, and Florida State displayed the emphasis they place on academics when they cancelled classes for two days earlier this fall because of a Thursday night game on campus. But for now the ineffective BCS remains for at least several years until its contract with the NCAA expires. Here’s how the race for number 1 shapes up.

Booking a trip to Tempe

No. 1 Oklahoma?The Sooners are in great position after avoiding their two biggest roadblocks in the last two weeks. They ran all through Texas, who thought this was their year and shattered the Heisman hopes of Seneca Wallace of Iowa St. The only challenge Oklahoma faces is in the Big XII Championship, a game that has been known to spoil the seasons of title contenders in the recent past.

The winner of the No. 2 Miami vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech game?Both teams have easy roads to their showdown, as Tennessee, a team that was supposed to give the Canes fits at the beginning of the season looks like a pushover. The Hokies features the best ground game in the nation, but Miami’s defensive front seven will contain Va. Tech’s backs and the nation’s last two national champions will face off for the title in the desert.

Contenders

No. 3 Notre Dame?The Irish are the surprise of the season, but it looks like their luck will run out this week versus Florida State. If the Irish somehow gets out of Tallahasse unscathed, and beats USC, Tyrone Willingham’s media darlings will knock Miami or Oklahoma out of the title game.

No. 5 Georgia?The ‘Dawgs have been the surprise team in the SEC, the nation’s toughest conference. With Florida having a down year, Georgia might be able to sneak through the regular season unbeaten.

No. 6 Ohio State?With a weak Big Ten and a powerful runner in freshman Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes can finish the year undefeated. However, Ohio State has been way too inconsistent and has nearly lost to less than stellar Cincinatti and Wisconsin.

The Best of the Rest–Teams that can’t make the Fiesta Bowl, but can earn a BCS spot

There are two spots remaining and one will go to either Oregon, Washington State of the PAC 10 in the Rose Bowl. The other will go to the ACC champion, either Florida State or NC State. Texas has a chance to get a birth if Notre Dame falters.

Rybaltowski can be reached at mrybaltowski@campustime.org.



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