When are big-time college football fans going to learn that postseason games are about money, not about settling who is No. 1?
Each year they howl that their favorite team has been denied a chance to play for a national championship that's still quite mythical, despite its computerization via the Bowl Championship Series.
Many have been stirring tar and gathering feathers over the BCS's selection of Oklahoma — crushed Saturday, 35-7, and thus denied its own conference crown — to play SEC champion Louisiana State for the national title in New Orleans. Instead of heading for that game, the victor over Oklahoma, Big 12 champion Kansas State, will be coming to Tempe to play Big Ten runner-up Ohio State in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl.
Yet Fiesta Bowl officials are far from upset. They know that in recent, separate appearances in their game, both Kansas State (1997) and Ohio State (2003) brought tens of thousands of free-spending supporters to the East Valley, from Scottsdale resorts and shops to Tempe nightclubs and restaurants.
In Pasadena, Calif., home of the Rose Bowl, thanks to Oklahoma and LSU edging out Pac-10 champion Southern California for the title game, the USC Trojans will remain home in nearby Pasadena to take on Big Ten champ Michigan. The tradition-steeped Rose won’t have to do what it occasionally must and give up its usual lucrative matchup of Big Ten and Pac-10 champs.
Visitors will be tossing money around like — forgive us, Sen. John McCain — drunken sailors, enjoying the warm sunshine and great hospitality while filling local merchants and hoteliers’ tills, translating to jobs and growth in an important tourism industry.
Since the 117 Division 1-A university football programs are not clamoring for a true playoff system, then it’s likely the top of college football’s heap will continue to be chosen via a method involving the current bowl matchups with both some science and the right human element mixed in.
The BCS can be changed so that it becomes a true championship. Obviously that’s going to include more of that human element, for only computers would have picked Oklahoma over USC this year.