January 01, 2009
Merry New Year! At 4:30 p.m. ET, The Rose Bowl kicks off the
annual NCAA money-grab Bowl Championship Series, a set of five games designed to maximize profits determine a national championship like Illinois awards Senate seats in an orderly, fair manner.
Thankfully, college basketball deals not with such nonsense. But what if it did? What if university presidents made up phony excuses about missed class and travel difficulties (excuses that only are deemed relevant when discussing college football playoffs) and forced the NCAA to get rid of its symmetrically beautiful brackets in favor of five games spread out over six days.
At this early juncture of the season, here's how a college basketball BCS might look. We followed the arbitrary rules of the system -- conference tie-ins, no more than two teams per conference, two at-large bids, try to get Notre Dame into a game at all costs, etc. So, as you settle in on your couch for an afternoon of football, searching for Advil and trying to remember where you left your cell phone last night, take comfort in the fact that college basketball fans don't have to worry about stuff like this.
Orange Bowl (ACC vs. Big East): Duke vs. Connecticut
With some of the dog matchups the Orange Bowl has had in recent years (Wake Forest-Louisville, Virginia Tech-Kansas, Virginia Tech-Cincinnati), the guys in the orange blazers would be begging for such an intriguing game between two of the nation's best programs. And for fans who were expecting a football game, they could enjoy watching "Greg Paulus run Coach K's offense like a quarterback." (Copyright, Dick Vitale, 2006.) And in case you were wondering what the logic was behind selecting Connecticut over the Georgetown team that just beat them, shame on you. Logic has no place in the BCS!
Sugar Bowl (SEC vs. at-large): Tennessee vs. Oklahoma
The SEC has no problems filling BCS berths in football, but that might prove challenging in basketball. The conference has just one ranked team (Tennessee at No. 14) and, even more remarkably, just one more team receiving votes (Florida). Oklahoma would fill the first at-large spot, even after its loss to Arkansas.
Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac 10): Michigan State vs. UCLA
The two premiere programs from the Big Ten and Pac 10 would make for a perfect Rose Bowl match-up.
Fiesta Bowl (Big 12 vs. at-large): Texas vs. Butler
Texas gets the upper-hand on Oklahoma this time, earning the Big 12 berth in our faux BCS. For the final at-large berth, teams like Wake Forest, Georgetown, Syracuse and Notre Dame weren't eligible because our the rule restricting two bids per conference. That left Purdue, Gonzaga, Arizona State and Butler. The Bulldogs ended up getting the nod because of their gaudy RPI rating (No. 2).
BCS Championship: North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
What would the BCS be without a little controversy? UNC would doubtlessly be the No. 1 seed in any rankings, but who would they play in the title game? Pitt, Oklahoma, Texas, Duke, Wake Forest and Georgetown could all lay claim to the berth. Instead of settling the matter on the court, the BCS would solve the problem by deciding it with a vast array of computers and mathematical formulas, just as James Naismith intended. Despite the fact that they haven't really played anybody, Pittsburgh would probably be paired up with Carolina due to the team's No. 3 ranking in both polls and its curious No. 1 placement in the RPI.