The LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide are playing in the national championship game barring the surreal occurring this Saturday night. The computers and the pollsters say so, so it is so. Expect great defense and wonderful 35-40 yard field goals to decide it all. Enjoy yourselves football purists. I'll be watching Firefly or something.
That's set in stone. But let's put our heads together and come up with a thought experiment:
Alabama had their chance at LSU. Isn't it time for another team to get their chance?
What's the point of the Tigers beating the Crimson Tide the first time around if they have to do it again? Doesn't it completely devalue the outcome of the first contest, which in turn invalidates the perpetual argument thrown out there by BCS proponents (namely, that every regular season game is a playoff of its own)? Don't the SEC honks that railed against an Ohio State-Michigan rematch a half-decade ago recognize their own hypocrisy in these matters?
Shouldn't teams like the Oklahoma St. Cowboys or the Stanford Cardinal get their chances at #1?
Oklahoma State would present a challenge for LSU with their high-powered offensive attack and their incredible spread versatility. Stanford would put the best quarterback in college football against the best defense. In terms of compelling matchups, it wouldn't get any better than that. It'd be miles better than a rematch.
Sure, Stanford and Oklahoma State might be inferior teams to Alabama on paper, and the Tide might have the more impressive team. But Alabama got their chance like Michigan got their chance at Ohio State in 2006, and they had to pave the way for a probably inferior Florida team. If you want logical consistency, a similar situation should occur here, particularly for the Cowboys if they win, possibly for the Cardinal if Okie State slips up at Bedlam.
No one is arguing the Cardinal and the Cowboys are definite inferior teams, but there is clear separation between the top four (although Virginia Tech could leapfrog Stanford with an ACC Championship) and the rest of the field. It makes you feel like all these teams deserve a shot to prove they're the best in the land.
It's funny, because this situation could probably be satisfied with a plus-one, with #1 facing #4 and #2 facing #3. If the SEC teams won those matchups (as many of us expect they would), then we'd get LSU-Alabama, like the system believes we deserve.
Larry Scott has been set on conference expansion for awhile to expand the national profile of the Pac-12. The next big step he could make is to advocate for the plus-one that'd ensure his conference is not only recognizable, but relevant too. Teams like Stanford deserve their shot, but they won't get it in this system.
If all conferences are created equal, the BCS can never be the answer.