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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Just the way the BCS planned it

Texas will face Alabama for the title, so what's all the hubbub?

December 06, 2009|By Chris Dufresne
  • Quarterback Colt McCoy celebrates after the Longhorns defeated Nebraksa, 13-12, on a last-second field goal in the Big 12 Conference championship game on Saturday.
Quarterback Colt McCoy celebrates after the Longhorns defeated Nebraksa,… (Jamie Squire / Getty Images )

What was all that screaming about?

We've been saying all year the winner of the Southeastern Conference title game, Alabama or Florida, was going to play Texas for this year's national championship on Jan. 7 in the Rose Bowl.

And didn't it turn out exactly that way on Saturday, just as predicted? Except for the part about everyone almost having a heart attack, the Bowl Championship Series coming inches from mass chaos as the nation awaited a rip-roaring Sunday itching to see whether Texas Christian or Cincinnati was going to climb over Texas' back into the championship game.

Folks, you don't want to know what might have happened had Texas kicker Hunter Lawrence not sneaked the eight-ball into the corner pocket Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to lift the Longhorns to a 13-12 victory for the Big 12 championship.

Over at air traffic control, they call this a near miss, not that it wouldn't have been fun to see TCU defy the odds and get a shot at the title.

It also would have been interesting to be part of the political round table/mud wrestling match had Cincinnati jumped TCU in the final BCS standings, not to mention the look on Boise State players' faces upon learning they got knocked out of a BCS game because of two-loss Iowa and three-loss Nebraska.

Texas, by making it so hard, now makes it so easy.

By the skin of a left upright, the BCS pieces now fall into place and the system everyone says is senseless is going to end up with five terrific bowl games, with two teams from outside "the monopoly" advancing to major bowl games.

Lawrence's kick, which was good by the width of a shoehorn and a longhorn, secured a BCS spot for Texas but also for TCU and Boise State.

Here is how it will, 93.7% surely, shake out, with the official news coming with the final release of the BCS standings at 5 p.m. on Channel 11:

Alabama, which soundly defeated Florida for the SEC title, will play Texas for the BCS title.

"I'd like to thank everybody in the organization," Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban, still talking like an NFL coach, said after Saturday's 32-13 SEC win.

Unless, though, you think there's an outside shot disgusted poll voters will not vote Texas into the game. Wait, though, didn't Alabama beat Tennessee this year, 12-10, by blocking a last-second field goal?

OK, enough of that, the BCS title game is going to be Alabama-Texas.

Your projected BCS lineup (with liner notes):

BCS championship: Alabama vs. Texas.

Rose: Oregon vs. Ohio State.

Fiesta: TCU vs. Boise State.

Orange: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech.

Sugar: Cincinnati vs. Florida.

The Sugar Bowl gets the first pick for losing its anchor school to the BCS title game, so it takes Florida to replace Alabama.

The Fiesta then gets to replace Texas, and it chooses TCU, which then kicks off this year's selection order: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar.

The Orange takes Iowa to play Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech.

This leaves the Fiesta with an interesting decision -- Boise State or Cincinnati?

A TCU-Boise State matchup is intriguing, for sure, but do you really want the two "outsider" schools playing each other? Also, TCU and Boise State played in last year's Poinsettia Bowl.

Boise State, however, is extremely attractive to the Fiesta because it holds a win over Oregon, the outright Pacific 10 champion.

If the Fiesta doesn't side with increasingly watch-worthy Cincinnati, which pulled off an incredible win at Pittsburgh, then the Bearcats slide to the Sugar Bowl to face Florida. This is a terrific game with similarities to last year, when Mountain West champion Utah shocked Alabama, still hung over after losing to Florida in the SEC title game.

Is there still going to be controversy?

Yes, but we wrote a few weeks ago that having five unbeaten teams is better for the system than having three.

TCU and Boise State are going to get denied a bid for the title, but so is Cincinnati, champion of a BCS conference.

This should not diminish the uproar for a playoff, but it should quell the notion

that the BCS has illegally conspired against the underlings.

This year is a mirror of 2004, when there were also five unbeatens: USC and Oklahoma played for the BCS title, with SEC champion Auburn, Utah and Boise State all wondering what might have been.

So, the BCS is still stupid, maybe, but no dumber than it was five years ago.

There were also a few wrinkles in the Pac-10 bowl lineup, thanks to Saturday victories by Arizona (over USC) and Washington (over California).

Those developments will send Arizona to the Holiday Bowl and Stanford to the Sun, where Toby Gerhart might be able to show off his Heisman Trophy (shaky performances by Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy might have narrowed the field to Gerhart and Alabama's Mark Ingram).

The Emerald and Las Vegas bowls share the No. 4 and No. 5 picks with the Emerald getting first choice this year, and it gets to select among Oregon State, USC and Cal.

The Emerald reportedly will pass on Oregon State, meaning it will be USC or Cal. This could be a selection-time decision.

USC is a bigger national name and defeated Cal this year, 30-3, but Cal probably will put more fans in the Bay Area stands. Cal, though, played Miami in last year's Emerald Bowl.

The school the Emerald Bowl doesn't select will go to the Poinsettia, with Oregon State ending up in Las Vegas.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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