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Call It the 'Bowl Complaint Series'

And from the sort-of-great Northwest comes the word. “Everybody is just tired of the system.’’ That was Chris Petersen, Boise State coach, the system meaning the Bowl Championship Series, which should be called the Bowl Complaint Series.

Everybody? An exaggeration by Mr. Peterson, who if he doesn’t like the status quo could have accepted the position reportedly offered him by UCLA, which is having as much trouble finding a new football coach as it did scoring points against USC.

“Some’’ would be more accurate than “everybody,” as “Some are tired of the system.’’ Some others are tired of grumblers finding fault with the system, because it worked to their disadvantage.

Then again, since Boise State is moving to the Big East, a BCS Conference, the problem may no longer be the system but other teams in the conference.

LSU doesn’t seem to be tired. Or disenchanted. Same thing for Alabama. But they’re in the title game, and most people, excluding those from Boise State and Oklahoma State, would say deservedly so.

You compete in the Southeastern Conference, play a tough schedule, lose no more than one game, and you have status. Reputations do count. Life and bowl game choices are unfair.

The whimpering and whining are now a jolly part of the BCS, like itching when you touch poison ivy or poison oak. There’s an inevitability. Hey, the BCS is all screwed up. And the sun sets in the west?

The debate helps make the BCS the delightfully irritant it has become, an integral part of late autumn. The decisions are arbitrary, imperfect and controversial, factors which keep us attuned.

The other day, on his ESPN radio show, Doug Gottlieb, who never fails to keep it interesting, was wailing about Oklahoma State not being chosen for the championship game. Oh yes, Gottlieb did graduate from Oklahoma State, but why would that have an effect on his viewpoint?

A playoff? Playoffs? As Jim Mora shrieked 10 years ago. Impossible and we all know it, Petersen and everyone else, whether personally involved or merely observing - albeit every observer considers himself or herself personally involved.

Already the BCS schedule has college football going virtually throughout the first week of January. Isn’t baseball spring training about to begin? Won’t they be holding the London Olympics any minute now? Oh, that’s July, when college football will be starting again and another SEC team will be preparing to win the championship.

The almost certain way to make it to the last game is go through the season undefeated, as did LSU. Or only lose to the team which went through the season undefeated, as did Alabama. That the Crimson Tide botched field goal attempts and could have beaten LSU in the game a few weeks ago didn’t work against them, nor should it.

The issue is one of being in the wrong place at the right time. If you lose, make sure it’s early November –  when Alabama lost - not late November, which is when Oklahoma State was beaten by Iowa State (Iowa State?), Stanford was overwhelmed by Oregon and Oregon subsequently was thumped by USC.

Maybe LSU isn’t the best team in the land? Maybe Alabama isn’t either. Maybe, in fact, USC could beat either or both. That win at Eugene was damn impressive. However, as we’re aware, USC was punished for Reggie Bush’s monetary sins and ineligible for any post-season games.

Mike Gundy is the coach at Oklahoma State, which unquestionably is a very good team, pounding Oklahoma, the traditional power.

Gundy has made headlines in the past, for a rant against a journalist and more recently for being sued by a contractor who said Gundy fired him when the worker wore an Oklahoma shirt to Gundy’s home, in that state probably punishable by a year in solitary confinement.

On Monday Gundy told Dan Patrick that Oklahoma State should be facing LSU in the championship and could beat them. What else would he say? That he’s ecstatic the voters who control the rankings were correct in placing the Cowboys third, if only fractions behind Alabama?

Gundy, without being asked, offered his suggestion on a new template, the fourth team in the final BCS standings – this time, Stanford – faces the first team, the aforementioned LSU in one game and the second team, Alabama, plays the third, Oklahoma State. The winners then meet each other, one would hope before Super Bowl Sunday. Or the NBA Finals, which may not end until after Wimbledon.

Thanks for the advice, Mike, but I’d be concerned about the Cowboys facing Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. They’ve got this Andrew Luck kid at quarterback for the Cardinal, and even if he doesn’t win the Heisman, the last two years he’s helped his school win 23 of 25 games.

Besides, no matter what you think, an SEC team always wins the BCS championship.

As a reporter since 1960, Art Spander is a recipient of the Dick McCann Memorial Award -- given for his long and distinguished career covering professional football -- and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the PGA of America. His columns appear in RealClearSports on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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