Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The agony and the irony, they're killing me

"Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get me."
-- Harvey Danger, "Flagpole Sitta" (1998)
The one hit of the one-hit wonders got it right when it comes to what the Bowl Championship Series can do to a football coach's head. Today the paranoia hit Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who suggested ESPN analysts have an ulterior motive in suggesting Auburn should be ranked No. 2 ahead of his Sooners. See, ESPN has a contract to broadcast Southeastern Conference games, and ESPN wants to boost its ratings by making an Auburn team that has dominated all but one of its opponents this year seem better than an Oklahoma team that relied on sheer luck to win two of its last three games on the last play. Yeah.

Paging the Warren Commission: I found the magic bullet, and apparently its new name is Lee Corso.

Stoops' sterling assessment of ESPN commentators completely ignores four crucial facts that defeat the "make money by promoting Auburn over Oklahoma" hypothesis:
1) The Walt Disney Co. owns both ABC and ESPN.
2) ABC has a contract to broadcast Big 12 games.
3) Oklahoma is in the Big 12.
4) ESPN won't show any more Auburn games this year.

Despite the tinfoil-hat quality of Stoops' comments, I don't blame him for lashing out. He's frustrated, and he has every right to be. Because major college football refuses to decide its champion in a playoff, there's a good chance that his team could finish 12-0 in one of the country's strongest conferences and have no opportunity whatsoever to play for the national title. Two other undefeated teams could find themselves in the same situation. It's grossly unfair, and it's enough to drive anyone a little crazy.

To borrow a phrase from some flagpole-sitting philosophers, college football is not sick, but its postseason is not well.

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