Parity brings need for college playoff

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

So, there’s no need for a college football playoff, huh?

Following LSU’s second triple-overtime loss on Saturday, the mess this season known as the Bowl Championship Series looks more like the Suvivor television series.

Because of parity in college football, it’s difficult to determine the best teams. With all the upsets this season, the teams in the BCS championship game could be the teams with the easiest schedules.

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Teams like to pad their schedules with easy non-league games to guarantee them three or four wins, then it’s only a matter of going .500 in the conference and a team is bowl eligible.

(Take note, Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum.)

Ohio State lost late in the season, but the Buckeyes may reach the title game again by process of elimination.

When the Buckeye faithful begin to lobby for a spot in the title game, don’t expect a dissection of other teams’ schedules.

Besides beating a 3-8 Kent State team 48-3, Ohio State’s non-league schedule was know as YAWN.





Still, that doesn’t mean Ohio State wouldn’t deserve a spot in the title game.

Read one.

Kansas was 11-0 and the Jayhawks do have a powerful offense, but look at the non-league opponents: Central Michigan (52-7), Southeast Louisiana (62-0), Toledo (45-13), and Florida International (55-3).

However, losing to Missouri would make the point mute.

Missouri went into Saturday’s showdown with Kansas sporting a 10-1 record. There were some big conference wins, but the non-league schedule featured Western Michigan (52-24) and Illinois State (38-17).

The only loss was at Oklahoma (41-31), but there was a 40-34 win over Illinois, the same team that best Ohio State.

The Big Ten didn’t play a strong non-league schedule as a whole, and the league didn’t fare that well. Northwestern is Duke’s only win and just last week Iowa lost to Western Michigan.

It pains me to say that West Virginia has a legitimate claim to be playing in the title game.

The Mountaineers opened with a 62-24 win over Western Michigan. Yes, the same Western Michigan that upset Iowa.

Along the way have been lopsided wins over Marshall (48-23), Maryland (31-14), East Carolina (48-7), Mississippi State (38-13) and 66-21 over UConn on Saturday.

WVU’s only loss came at South Florida when quarterback and best player at White went down early with an injury.

It may be another week before there are any survivors for the BCS title game. And things could get cloudier in future years.

The trend of some schools — mainly the Big Ten — to compile soft non-conference schedules has other athletic directors re-thinking their position regarding a tougher non-league schedule.

It could help those teams, but there’s no guarantee.

Just ask Michigan.

— Sinatra —

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.