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Pity the poor Big XII

I would have blogged about John Lopez’s latest comic masterpiece before now, but I kept laughing too hard every time I tried to set fingers to keyboard. Honestly, the man is funnier than Robin Williams at the Metropolitan Opera House.

The first Bowl Championship Series poll was released Sunday and while we won’t go into the whole playoff discussion – I think you know I stand firmly behind the idea – clearly the BCS brought to light a bigger, more pressing problem.

It’s all a lie.

The BCS standings include the appropriate No. 1, Ohio State, and much-deserved acclaim for Michigan at No. 3. But after that, the standings reflect the misguided belief that the Big 12 is down, and the best football is played elsewhere.

It took seven weeks and a number of enlightening moments involving alleged superpower conferences and teams. But the BCS standings have it all wrong, and the Texas Longhorns – ranked No. 9 in the first poll – are the unfortunate victims.

I think what he’s saying here is that he loves the BCS as long as it ranks the teams the way he thinks they should be ranked. Otherwise, it’s a piece of junk.

Most of the rest is his subjective opinion about how Texas and the Big XII is so much better than anybody else. He’s entitled to all that, of course, and frankly I don’t care if he’s right or not. What amuses me is that the whole point of the BCS system was to produce a reasonably objective ranking of all the teams, so as to overcome the subjective, regional, and structural biases of the polls and give the real title contenders their due. And here’s Lopez, who’s a faithful defender of the BCS, saying it’s all a lie because any fool like him can plainly see that Texas and the Big XII are getting shafted. In his opinion.

I say live by the convoluted ever-tweaked ranking system, die by the convoluted ever-tweaked ranking system. I’m a playoff proponent, so the annual BCS bitchfest always warms my heart. But what really takes this column over the top, from the usual Lopez stylings to all-time unintentional comedy masterpiece, is the final paragraph.

But in the BCS, Texas has a formidable hill to climb from No. 9, and other deserving Big 12 teams won’t even get a sniff. Everyone who believed the hype should think again. Others have foundered, but the little league that couldn’t has proved it deserves better.

“The little league that couldn’t”? He’s not really referring to the Big XII, is he? The made-for-ESPN/ABC, ultimate Big Conference, insiders’ dream that is the Big XII? Wow. This would be like Tom DeLay claiming that his demise was caused by “entrenched Beltway interests”. Next he’ll tell me that Mack Brown is a “scrappy underdog” who’s “speaking truth to power”. I think I need to lie down, I’m feeling lightheaded.

UPDATE: Just to prove that Lopez is a man for all conferences, here he is calling for Miami president Donna Shalala’s head for her lack of satisfactory-to-him action in the aftermath of the brawl against Florida International, yet never mentioning another ugly brawl that happened to involve his alma mater. I largely agree with the point he’s trying to make, but he could at least acknowledge that.

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  1. Pete says:

    How, exactly, is UT getting the shaft? They have one loss (to the #1 team, sure, but still a loss) have beaten only one ranked team (#22 Oklahoma) and pounded a bunch of lesser squads (no offense). You can make a legitimate case for everyone ahead of them being where they are.

    Except Notre Dame, of course. Guess that “Irish mystique” still counts for something.

  2. Patrick says:

    The Big-12 is weak. This year as a conference, the Big 12 is 33-15 in out of conference games, which on it’s face is pretty good, but eleven teams in the Big-12 have played a game against a 1-AA squad (kudos to OU for staying all D-1A) amassing a 10-1 record with Colorado losing badly to Montana State. That brings the 1-A OOC record down to 23-14. Of those games the Big 12 went 21-6 against non-BCS conference schools (losses to TCU x 2, Army, Colorado St, Toledo, and Houston). But against the very best competition, other teams from other BCS conferences, the Big-12 is a miserable 2-8 with wins over Ole Miss and Washington.

    But Lopez really needs to quit crying about how the BCS has mistreated the Big-12. That’s the biggest load of horse manure around. The Big 12 has been treated with kid gloves. They are the only conference to ever have a team lose the conference championship game and still advance to the BCS championship game and it’s happened twice – Nebraska in 2001 and OU in 2004. They both lost, with OU’s unwarranted appearance leading to a split title between USC and LSU and a reshuffling of the BCS selection criteria.

    Stricly by the numbers, there have been 8 BCS championship games, and the Big 12 has hada more team with a shot than any other conference – 5. They’ve posted a 2-3 record. (BTW- In the history of the BCS championship game, only twice has the margin of victory been more than 20 points Guess who? Nebraska by 23 to Miami and OU by 36 to USC. Ouch.)

    The ACC has had 3 shots (all Florida State in the first 3 years) going 1-2.
    The Big East has had 3 shots, also going 1-2.
    The Pac-10 has had 2 shots (both USC) going 1-1.

    Which leaves arguably the toughest 2 conferences from top to bottom in the country – the Big 10 and the SEC.
    The SEC has only had 2 teams make the BCS championship game and is 2-0.
    And the Big 10 has only once had a team make the BCS championship game with Ohio State winning in 2002.

    The Big-12 mistreated? I don’t think so. Lopez is a baby.

  3. pol says:

    Actually, Nebraska didn’t even play in the Big XII title game in 2001 but somehow managed to make the national championship game. Colorado won the north that year.

  4. Mathwiz says:

    I don’t care if he’s right or not. What amuses me is that the whole point of the BCS system was to produce a reasonably objective ranking of all the teams, so as to overcome the subjective, regional, and structural biases of the polls and give the real title contenders their due.

    Exactly, Kuff, and yet every time the BCS produces a different ranking than the polls, all the pundits start complaining that the formula needs to be “fixed!” They never consider the possibility that it’s the polls, and not the BCS formula, that have a problem.

    Regarding the current dustup, if Texas is as good as Lopez thinks they are, their ranking will rise. An 11-1 record will give them a much better BCS ranking than 4-1 or 5-1 does, and Lopez will no longer have reason to complain (though he may well continue to do so anyhow).

    And if not, we’ll be able to tell Lopez “I told you so” after their next loss.

  5. vividblurry says:

    It might be a little early to start thinking about even going to the games, but on the Tostitos BCS website they are giving away tickets to the championship every day, if anyone is interested. I just registered for it, so we’ll see. Here’s the url: