The difference .009 makes

The Bowl Championship Series computer spit out an extremely tiny difference between second-place Alabama and third-place Oklahoma State in setting up the all-SEC rematch many are dreading. (Officially, the computer gap is .0086, but who’s counting? The math still edges out the Cowboys.)

Oklahoma State’s fatal flaw, Gregg Doyel asserts, is that it’s not in the SEC.

But even in SEC country, there is grousing about the system too. In Birmingham, Jon Solomon argues that if “every game counts” then LSU should already be a national champion.

In Atlanta, Mark Bradley is dismayed by Kirk Herbstreit’s admission that his measuring stick for picking the two BCS finalists is “the eyeball test:”

And that’s what big-time college football has become — a game of brands, not reality. Is it mere coincidence that ESPN has a 15-year contract to carry SEC games? (ESPN also has a contract with the Big 12, Oklahoma State’s diminishing league, but the bigger Big 12 package is with Fox Sports.)

Dennis Dodd said it’s not right to blame the SEC but the voters.

Ivan Maisel makes an analogy understandable to the huddled masses on the East Coast:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the modern American sports fan’s nightmare — a World Series featuring the Yankees.”

In full Death-to-the-BCS mode, Dan Wetzel points out it was SEC commissioner Mike Slive who first proposed the “plus-one” playoff that many are now clamoring for. So the predictable outrage is being predictably misplaced:

“The BCS built the SEC’s reputation. And now the SEC’s reputation has overwhelmed the BCS.

“When Slive drew up his ‘plus one’ plan, he was reacting to 2004, when a 13-0 Auburn team got snubbed from the title game. He wanted a more expansive postseason that would assure his teams a chance to settle things on the field.

“So in 2008, he unveiled his plan, which he thought would not only help the SEC but improve the sport overall. Before the BCS meeting, he said, ‘I think we will be able to discuss at a high level a tangible concept that has been [hashed] through.’

“Instead, there was no discussion. High level or low.

“The reason? That a ‘plus one’ would prove so popular and profitable that there would be pressure to expand it, something the powerful bowl lobby opposes.”

So will Mike Slive’s plus-one idea gain any traction? The Arizona Republic‘s splendid seven-part BCS series from last month would indicate that action from the Solons, no matter how badly their ruse continues to be exposed, will take more than yet another unsatisfactory final poll.

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