Monday, December 06, 2004

rose bowl blues

Even more perplexing than the NFL's quarterback rating formula (max 158.3) is the BCS college football ranking system: Cal has been denied a Rose Bowl berth.

I'm not a big college football fan, but even I can see how frustrating it must be to have rules like this:

The champions of the six major conferences automatically receive six of the eight berths in the four big-money BCS games, and Cal was hoping to land one of the two BCS at-large berths, which would have put the Bears into the Rose Bowl.

Utah took one of those at-large spots because of a BCS rule instituted in 2001 that guaranteed a team -- such as Utah -- from a non-BCS conference an at-large BCS berth if it finishes in the top six of the final BCS standings. Utah (11-0) finished No. 6 and will become the first team from a non-BCS conference to play in a BCS game when it plays in the Fiesta Bowl against Big East champion Pittsburgh, which is 8-3 and ranked No. 19 in the AP poll.

Another rule added in 2001 provides that a team from one of the major conferences, such as the Big 12 or Pac-10, is guaranteed an at-large BCS berth if it finishes in the top four of the BCS standings. If either of those two selection rules had not been added, the Rose Bowl would have been free to take Cal, and Rose Bowl officials made no secret of the fact that they preferred the Bears.

So, the 10-1 Bears, whose only loss was to #1 USC on the road, by six points, will play #23 Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl.

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