Yeah, that's it, that's the joke.
The BCS is a pretty big joke, and it makes perfect sense that it would be the process to reward an dystopian institution like big-time college football. But for the near future it's the corrupt and malignant process we're stuck with, so the Pac-12 has to learn to work within the system to maintain the greatest possible advantage against the other football conferences.
It appears that some tweaking is in order. The New York Times reports that some changes could directly affect what schools end up smelling roses, tasting sugar, squeezing oranges, or playing for all the Tostitos.
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive was asked during a teleconference Tuesday about the possibility of the BCS changing its rules to allow more than two teams from a conference to play in the five most lucrative bowl games in a year.
He didn't say if he would support a change, but did indicate that it might be considered by the conference commissioners.
"I do know this: That Bill Hancock has put together a list of issues that he believes the commissioners and the BCS bowl oversight committee ought to be looking at as the BCS develops a position on upcoming negotiations. I think that's one of them," he said.
"I think there are going to be several issues that are important enough to have serious discussion about, and that would be one of them."
If the two-team limit rule is on the table, it obviously makes perfect sense for Slive to try and do his best to abolish it. The SEC has the biggest fanbases in the country and could obviously fill up almost every Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl if they were given the invites. Jim Delaney would do his best to fight this way for the Big Ten, which probably contains the second largest group of fanbases and some of the top TV markets directly interested in college football. The SEC and Big Ten have earned 18 of the 26 at-large major conference bids, and they would love to see that rule go down so they could get more of their schools involved in the January parades.
Which is why it obviously makes sense that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott must fight to preserve the current structure.
Keep in mind the Stanford Cardinal would not have ended up in the Orange Bowl last season if they hadn't finished 4th in the final BCS standings, an automatic bid for the conference. If they had been one spot below, the BCS would have likely picked a school like Michigan State from the Big Ten because of ticket concerns. The BCS is a business, and they want tickets to be sold. They could care less about a team's performance throughout the regular season.
Expect a similar situation to occur with almost any other Pac-12 school. Only one school is guaranteed of having the ticketing and big market clout to earn an at-large bid--the USC Trojans, maybe the UCLA Bruins. The abolition of the two-team limit would make it very difficult for the BCS not to take any SEC, Big Ten or Big 12 school over whatever the second best Pac-12 school has to offer unless the second-place team plays perfect football and ends up in a situation similar to Stanford's. Allowing three SEC and three Big Ten teams into the party is pretty much a death sentence.
Scott must make sure the Pac-12's interests are protected and that any proposal at lifting the conference limit is stonewalled to ensure any shot at future at-large bids. The cards are already stacked hard against the Pac-12 at-large as is; no need to make it any harder.
Either that, or he should start thinking of a way out of the stupid structure the NCAA uses to reward their college football champions.
The Pac-12 could claim that the BCS is unfairly stacking the cards against the conference, and could start negotiating with the rest of the conferences for a better way to reward a champion. This might be above the heads of most of the players with big-time stakes in college athletics, but it could be the next big platform for Scott to tackle to elevate his conference.
There are lots of ways to go, but Scott has to protect his conference from predation, whether it means hunkering down or boldly going forward. And Scott is a forward-thinking individual ...