OK, class, today we talk about style points. Apparently, style points could determine which team — Southern California, Michigan or Florida — gets to play Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
Style points. You know what they are, don’t you? Me neither. I guess it means that winning isn’t good enough. It’s how you look winning that counts. You know, style points, which are an invention of all those TV and radio talk show experts.
Style points may be the reason why the Florida Gators won’t get a chance to play for the national championship against the Buckeyes. Yes, even if Florida beats Arkansas this Saturday night in the SEC Championship game at Atlanta to finish the regular season 12-1. That means Florida will have victories over LSU (No. 5 in this week’s BCS standings), Arkansas (No. 9) and Tennessee (No. 16).
A victory by USC over UCLA Saturday will make the Trojans 11-1. Michigan, too, will carry a 11-1 record into the postseason, the one loss its 42-39 setback two Saturdays ago at Ohio State, which is 12-0.
Only one other team will enter the postseason with a 12-0 record: Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncos are up to No. 8 this week in the BCS standings, assuring them of a berth in a BCS bowl game.
So next Sunday, when the final BCS standings are released and the BCS bowl matchups are determined, there could be three teams with 12 victories: Ohio State, Boise State and Florida. If not Ohio State and Boise State in the BCS National Championship game, then it should be Ohio State and Florida, right?
Wrong, BCS breath. If Southern California just slips by UCLA next Saturday, the Trojans likely stay No. 2 ahead of the Wolverines and Florida, no matter how the Gators look in beating Arkansas. Why? Style points. The Trojans, remember, beat Notre Dame 44-24 Saturday, and in doing so, accumulated enough style points to stay No. 2 even if the Bruins give them a battle at the Rose Bowl Saturday.
Style points, you see, only last about seven calendar days. Michigan’s close loss at Ohio State came 14 days ago, and all those jumpers on the bandwagon who pleaded back then for a Ohio State-Michigan rematch now will be OK with an Ohio State-USC matchup because that is what was produced by the BCS system.
That system utilizes the human polls of the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, the Harris Interactive Poll and an average of six computer rankings that are influenced by the humans programming said computers.
That’s right, your Division I national football champion is going to be determined by human beings away from the football field, human beings with biases. Yes, human beings who toss around the words style points.
Just winning, baby, which is Florida’s resume, doesn’t matter anymore.
The only true way to determine a national champion is by a playoff. According to Sunday’s Gainesville Sun, a true college playoff was discussed by FSU President Dr. T.K. Wetherell and Florida President Dr. Bernie Machen.
Now that’s a start.
(Reprinted with permission from the Charolotte Sun Herald)