Before I get started on the BCS's notion that "many more teams and fans go home happy this way", a quick addendum to the last blog about the Womens NCAA Volleyball championship.
First, Penn State is part of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, a slight but definite mis-labeling. Secondly, I had intended to follow that volleyball story with one that was, with all due respect to the situation in Haiti, about an earth-shakingly important event in the volleyball world--the 1982 Jose Cuervo Open at Clearwater Beach in FL. While my buddy Ivan Marquez and I wound up as one of about 55 judges for a bikini contest that weekend, the primary importance of the event was that it represented the first time pro beach volleyball left the insular southern California scene. Ivan wondered at that time if the pros would be willing to travel all over for their paydays vs. play, party, be locally famous. While I cannot locate what would obviously be an ancient original copy of that article, I do know Karch Kiraly was part of one winning duo, and Misty May (though I'm almost certain it wasn't May then) was a winner too. No doubt about it, the game *definitely* took off from that point, Olympic sport and millions-of-bucks-and-prime time-TV are very valid proof of that.
Back to the idea that the BCS is better for fans and institutions than say, the NCAA's March Madness deal, where a champion is crowned in three long weekends of high caliber excitement. Quite frankly, I watch a LOT of hoops during that time, and I watched a lot more of the 34 bowl games this year than I have in the past. I've never really had any problem with more than one group of fans holding that special digit aloft and shouting "We're #1!" Even with Pete Carroll's move back to the NFL, the usual tally of his success at USC is still "two titles and shared another." People don't forget they were *this close* to being the best, no matter what the computers say about ranking teams 1-2 and saying their game represents the ultimate battle.
I really can't argue with the happiness factor as something to consider as desirable vs. having even two more games to pair off exceptionally worthy final fours. Consider these other-than-that-specific-game situations:
On the bottom line, they say its politics about who gets to play for the biggest prize--some weren't even happy that undefeated TCU and Boise State had a major bowl to play themselves. Watching Utah win its ninth straight bowl (Poinsetta, 37-27 over Cal), I gave a ton of credit to the commentator who suggested that the Mountain West conference teams had probably been told to quit bitchin' about being overlooked and just *thump* whoever got put in bowls against their teams.
THAT is how you should be thinking at the end of the year, and while their success (forget about the $$) should definitely make it somewhat easier to get more favorable ranking when things begin again in 2010, isn't it enough that soooo many teams and people DID go home happy?