January 07, 2009
One of the Doc's ironclad rules when reading Venerable Sports Columnists is "Always Disagree with John Feinstein." It doesn't matter what he's saying, really, but when it comes to college football, he just tends to be a step or two behind. Last year, for example, he called Navy's very predictable win over 1-7 Notre Dame "a miracle." I used to get angry whenever I came across a Feinstein column or one of his regular interviews on NPR. Now, I just go the other way.
Case in point: Feinstein's appeal in today's Washington Post for AP voters to cast their No. 1 votes for Utah on Friday morning, purely for the sake of sticking it to the BCS. I'm not normally much of a fisker, and actually, I'm cool with the blatant antagonism; with Utah's case for a split championship, too. But just how closely did he review those schedules before submitting this thing?
First of all, the strength-of-schedule argument is bogus. How tough did Texas Tech and Oklahoma State prove to be in the postseason? Beyond that, consider this: Do you think anyone from a BCS conference is going to start a home-and-home with Utah -- or Boise State or TCU or Brigham Young -- anytime soon? No. The BCS schools would rather schedule Coastal Carolina and Wofford and Pacific (to name a few teams that played BCS powers this year) than schedule Utah, especially on the road. Michigan did deign to play the Utes at home and we all know how that turned out. In retrospect, it might have been one of Michigan's better performances all fall.
First of all, teams from BCS conferences regularly schedule home-and-home series with Utah, Boise State, TCU and Brigham Young. Since 2002 (in no particular order), Georgia Tech, Stanford, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Boston College, Arizona, Texas A&M, North Carolina, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Texas Tech and UCLA have all played a home-and-home series with one of those four teams; the Bruins actually had a home-and-home with Utah in 2005-06, then another one with BYU in 2007-08. Both the Cougars and Utes have hosted at least one BCS conference team every year this decade except 2001.
Secondly -- and I understand the point he's making here -- but which "BCS power" lined up against Pacific, again? That's a true cupcake right there, considering Pete Carroll's alma mater folded its football program in 1995. Feinstein could have thrown a dart at a list of I-AA teams and hit an example of some sadsack that fell against an elite team this year -- Chattanooga, The Citadel, Western Kentucky -- and instead he picked the one that hasn't existed for over a decade. Truly, AP voters, this is the man from which you should be taking your cues.