This weekend was quite possibly one of the most exciting final weeks of the regular season we have seen in college football for quite some time. So many huge games, so many huge victories, and so many blown opportunities.
Now, after this whole weekend, so many crazy things happened, and the final BCS standings may begin to form and take place.
On Thursday night, Louisville (10-2) went into New Brunswick, New Jersey to knock off Rutgers (9-3) to all but clinch the Big East championship and possibly a BCS berth. Both teams were un-ranked after losing conference games the week before.
On Friday, #21 Northern Illinois (12-1) defeated #17 Kent State in the MAC Conference Championship game in Detroit. Kent State had a chance to play for a BCS game had they won
Later that night #8 Stanford (11-2) defeated #16 UCLA (9-4) for the second straight week (this time much closer AND at Stanford) in the Pac-12 championship game and clinched their first berth in the Rose Bowl since 1999 and will go for their first victory in the game since 1972.
Some maligned squads, #6 Kansas State (11-1) and #13 Florida State, both clinched their conference by winning big on Saturday night. The Wildcats will likely play in the Fiesta Bowl while the Seminoles will likely play in the Orange Bowl.
Then there was quite possibly the most surprising matchup of the week. The un-ranked Wisconsin (8-5) absolutely manhandled #12 Nebraska (10-3) by a score of 70-31. The Badgers may have technically clinched their third consecutive appearance in the Grandaddy of them all.
Of course, there was THE big game of the day, and quite possibly the season: #2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. After an excellent, well-played, back-and-forth game, it was the Crimson Tide (12-1) who prevailed in the end as the Bulldogs (11-2) ran out of time in the red zone.
The defending national champions look to repeat in Miami against the upstart Fighting Irish of #1 Notre Dame (12-0), who have enjoyed their best regular season in a long time. No matter how you slice it, this is the matchup that was meant to be and will be a hell of a game.
However, every single year, there has been criticisms of the BCS and its results. Of course, last season was about who #1 LSU should have played in the National Championship between Alabama and Oklahoma State.
No, this may be possibly bigger. The SEC is as good as it’s been in years, quite possibly it’s best. Before this past weekend, SIX SEC teams were in the BCS Top 10, all finishing with at least 10 wins and no fewer than two losses. All should have a shot to play for a BCS bowl game.
These six teams are:
Alabama, SEC Champions
Georgia, SEC East Champions
Florida (11-1, 7-1), who had their biggest wins at Texas A&M, Florida State, and against LSU and South Carolina but also lost to Georgia in Jacksonville.
LSU (10-2, 6-2), who had their biggest wins at Texas A&M and against South Carolina but also lost to Florida and Alabama
Texas A&M, who had a season defining victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa
South Carolina, who had their biggest wins against Georgia and at Clemson, but also lost to Florida and LSU.
All in all, the SEC is a loaded conference with teams filled with excellent resumes that warrant BCS appearances. They just happened to all defeat each other, which makes the SEC look even more strong as a whole
Alabama already gets to play in the National Championship, so that leaves five teams to four different BCS bowls. The Fiesta Bowl is likely going to between Kansas State and Oregon. The Sugar Bowl could very well go to Florida, as they were the highest ranked of the six that was idle over the weekend.
However, because of some standards of each of the bowls, some berths may end up going to two undeserving, un-ranked teams, Louisville and Wisconsin.
Louisville finished in a four way tie in an eight team conference (in terms of conference record) with Rutgers, Cincinnati, and 7-5 Syracuse.
Wisconsin only won a right to play in their conference championship as a result of the bowl bans for Ohio State and Penn State, who both finished with better overall records than the Badgers. The Buckeyes in fact finished 12-0 and were ranked #4 in the AP polls in the final week.
This isn’t right or fair to the SEC teams who didn’t win their divisions or the conference.
This is really how the BCS should end up like:
National Championship: #1 Notre Dame (Independent) vs. #2 Alabama (SEC champions)
Fiesta Bowl: #4 Oregon (Pac-12 at-large) vs. #5 Kansas State (Big 12 co-champions)
Sugar Bowl: #3 Florida (SEC at-large) vs. #11 Oklahoma (Big 12 co-champions)
Orange Bowl: #12 Florida State (ACC champions) vs. #8 LSU (SEC at-large)
Rose Bowl: #7 Stanford (Pac-12 champions vs. #9 Texas A&M (SEC at-large)
with #10 South Carolina earning a berth in Big 12 vs. SEC bowl, the Cotton Bowl Classic, a non-BCS but prestigious bowl game. However, this leaves Georgia out of the BCS picture, but voters may look at their blowout loss to South Carolina as well as their close loss in the SEC title game to Bama and vote them out.
It may not be right to go against tradition, much like in the 2010-11 bowl season when TCU played in the Rose Bowl (when Oregon, the Pac-10 champion, played in the national championship) and Stanford, a Pac-10 at-large, played in the Orange Bowl.
But it is right to reward the SEC for being arguably being above every conference in the land. They cannot be denied. After all, if Alabama wins, it will mark seven straight seasons the national championship is won by the SEC.