No one's bowled over by BCS

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

Two weeks later, the uproar hasn't died down.

Oh, and news flash, you folks behind the Bowl Championship Series -- a misnomer if there ever was one, by the way -- it isn't going away anytime soon.

Nope, the Florida vs. Michigan, who's No. 2 debate figures to live on until at least the final whistle blows Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., after the Gators and unbeaten, top-ranked Ohio State decide a national champion for 2006.

At least in the eyes of those tall foreheads in BCS Land, who'll argue till they're blue in the face that their way beats the hell out of having anything to do with that 'P' word.

Perfect storm

You know, a playoff. The very thing that could assure us the right champion each and every year, being that the perfect storm of 2005 (Texas vs. USC) is the ultimate anomoly in college pigskin land.

Let's just say when we're comparing margins of victory over Vanderbilt, something's very wrong with the system.

It could have been even worse. Here's how close this year's mess came to becoming a full-fledged fiasco:

- What if Louisville doesn't blow a 24-7 lead at Rutgers, runs the table and finishes 12-0? The Cardinals surely would have wound up No. 2 in both polls, and they had the computers working in their favour. Then it'd be Ohio State-Louisville in the big one, and the howling would have raged loud and long about how BCS-unworthy the Big East is.

- Say Oklahoma didn't get royally hosed by the striped shirts at Oregon in September. We'd be talking about a 12-1 Sooner team that's champion of the Big 12, playing its best football right now -- and with every right to scream, why not us?

Oh, and one last thought. Can we all stop using ''number of bowl teams played'' as a way of measuring the strengths of a team. No less than seven 6-6 squads were ''rewarded'' with bowl invites this year. It's hardly a badge of distinction anymore.

All that being said, here's a quick look at the early, early bowls:

POINSETTIA BOWL

(At San Diego)

Northern Illinois (+12) vs. No. 25 TCU (Tuesday, 8 p.m., The Score) -- Huskies mighty mite Garrett Wolfe led the nation in rushing. Horned Frogs are No. 4 in run defence. And they can score, too. PICK: TCU.

LAS VEGAS BOWL

(At Las Vegas)

No. 19 BYU (-4) vs. Oregon (Dec. 21, 8 p.m., The Score) -- QB John Beck and the Cougars were a dangerous bunch by the end of the season and deserved a better bowl than this. They'll show why vs. a fading Duck squad in a tight shootout. PICK: OREGON.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

(At New Orleans)

Rice (-5) vs. Troy (Dec. 22, 8 p.m.) -- Is this a bowl game or an exotic meal? Seriously, though, the Owls are one of the feel-good stories of the season and have a hot WR in Jarrett Dillard. The Trojans march behind QB Omar Haugabook. PICK: RICE.

PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL

(At Birmingham, Ala.)

South Florida (-4) vs. East Carolina (Dec. 23, 1 p.m., TSN) -- No matter how you slice it, a lot of what happens here will come down to the two QBs -- the Bulls' Matt Grothe and the Pirates' James Pinkney. Take South Florida by a field goal. PICK: EAST CAROLINA.

NEW MEXICO BOWL

(At Alburquerque, N.M.)

New Mexico (-3) vs. San Jose State (Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m., The Score) -- The 6-6 Lobos are here to sell tickets, plain and simple. A defensive duel that won't be pretty. Some last-minute Christmas shopping, anyone? PICK: NEW MEXICO.

ARMED FORCES BOWL

(At Fort Worth, Tex.)

Tulsa (+1 ) vs. Utah (Dec. 23, 8 p.m., The Score) -- Utes' turnover ratio is plus-8; Golden Hurricane's is minus-5. In a close matchup, that's the kind of stat that can make the difference. PICK: UTAH.

HAWAII BOWL

(At Honolulu)

Hawaii (-8) vs. Arizona State (Dec. 24, 8 p.m.) -- It's aloha for fired Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter, and wouldn't we all like to go out in a paradise like this? But QB Colt Brennan, who's tossed 53 TDs this season, could turn this swan song into a nightmare tune real quick. PICK: HAWAII.

Season record -- 220-46 straight up; 126-123-5 ATS.


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