Wiz of Odds: BCS fix is in for the SEC

Jay Christensen covered college football, among other sports, for the Los Angeles Times and produces the popular college football blog TheWizofOdds.com.

 

Wander into a barber shop in any small town across America and you’ll soon learn what’s on the minds of the locals. It’s a gathering spot where men hash out all the news that’s fit to print and some that isn’t.

There are ground rules. You don’t talk about religion, and you certainly don’t talk politics. Either will get you in a lot of trouble.

But if you want to get them talking, just mention the words “Bowl Championship Series.”

Nothing fires up football fans like the BCS, a cartel of six conferences and Notre Dame that goes against the very backbone of small-town America.

Work hard, and some day you’ll create a better life not only for yourself, but others — unless, of course, you’re not a member of the BCS, or more specifically, the Southeastern Conference.

If you don’t think the fix is in, read on.

Barring upsets, Texas Christian and Boise State are going to finish the regular season with unbeaten records. The Horned Frogs have road victories over Virginia, Clemson and Brigham Young.  Clemson, of course, just won at Miami (Fla.), and BYU beat Oklahoma to open the season.

Boise State punched out Oregon in the opener, and if the Ducks win a showdown Saturday against USC, they could be headed to the Rose Bowl.

These programs aren’t one-year wonders. Since 2005, TCU is 48-10 and Boise is 51-8.

They’ve worked hard and have answered nearly all the challenges put before them.

Now let’s consider the money players who currently occupy the top two spots in the BCS standings.

Southeastern Conference honks have been clamoring for Florida and Alabama to play twice — first in the SEC title game and then a rematch for the BCS title. These are the same people who brought us a bunch of farmers driving around a circle that eventually evolved into something called NASCAR.

Florida has been playing for weeks like a team that wants to lose. The only problem is that SEC officials won’t allow it.

Two weeks ago the Gators found themselves in a tight contest against Arkansas, but the flags started flying in the fourth quarter and none of them favored the Razorbacks. When it was over, Arkansas was flagged 10 times for 92 yards and Florida only three times for 16 yards.

The calls against the Razorbacks were so egregious that the SEC had no choice but to save face and suspend the officiating crew. It also reprimanded Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino for stating the obvious — that his team got screwed!

Last Saturday, the Gators caught a break from the replay official in their game against Mississippi State when linebacker Dustin Doe fumbled an interception return before crossing the goal line. But the replay official looked the other way and gave the Gators a touchdown. It was either that or risk a repeat of the late-game shenanigans that developed the week before in the Arkansas game.

Alabama didn’t need a helping hand until last Saturday, when it found itself in an unexpected slugfest against Tennessee. The officials tried their best, penalizing the Volunteers eight times for 68 yards and the Crimson Tide only once for 10 yards.

Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin sensed what was going on and did his best to take the officials out of the equation. Instead of running another play or two to better position his kicker for a winning field goal, Kiffin opted to run down the clock and take his chances on a long kick.

“You run another play and you throw an interception or they throw another flag on us — I wasn’t going to let the refs lose the game for us there and some magical flag appear,” Kiffin said.

The 44-yard attempt was blocked, and Alabama won, 12-10.

Kiffin has since been reprimanded for pointing out the obvious — that his team got screwed! Assistant Ed Orgeron, with little to lose, has continued to speak out.

"Seems like some people get the calls and some people don't," Orgeron said. "I've been in this league and I've been a part of that. Whether that's true or not, you can never prove that.

"I do know this: there were some very questionable calls in that game that could have went either way and they went Alabama's side. There were very questionable calls throughout the season and it seems they go for the better team. Whether that's true or not, we can never prove that but that's what it seems like.”

A wise man once said to follow the money, and there is a lot of it at stake in the BCS. Having Alabama and Florida play a second time in the BCS title game would mean a big, fat paycheck for the SEC.

There’s plenty to work with if you subscribe to conspiracy theories. It’s another reason we’re cheering for the underdogs, TCU and Boise State.

Heck, let’s take the big money out of the equation and have the Horned Frogs and Broncos play for the national title.

That’s the true meaning of the American Dream.

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Posted by johnz5588
4 years ago

All I can say is its not about the conferences its about the bigger tv markets and the bottom line money.There is a lot of catholics in America and they always try to get those goofs in a bowl game even if another team has to let up on the scoring ala USC.
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Posted by letsgamble23
4 years ago

hey lucky logan: u might want to go back 3-4 years and watch the tapes cause it has already happened buddy. rememebr boise beating oaklahoma?? cant be a FARCE if it has already occured!!! anybody can be beat at anytime. go bet the wnba!!!!!
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Posted by koko11
4 years ago

madulamaximus- What the hell are you talking about?
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

KOKO BUTT WIPE...........THOSE ARE CALLED .........."MAKE UP CALLS" DAMAGE COMPLETE. LOL
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

iM NOT GETTING INTO THE LOST MAZE OF COMPARISON ITS ALWAYS A COUNTER ARGUMENT FOREVER. I WILL SAY A BOWL PLAYOFF SYSTEM WOULD BE BETTER. WHY NOT TAKE THE WINNERS OF EACH BOWL GAMES, FORM A BRACKET AND SEE WHICH BOWL IS LEFT STANDING. IT MAY ADD 4 MORE GAMES WHICH WOULD BE EQUIVALENT TO NFL PLAY. THEN THE COLLEGE KIDS BODY CLOCK WOULD BE MORE CONSISTENT TO WHAT ITS LIKE ON THE PRO LEVEL. COMPUTERS SHOULD HAVE KNOW PLACE IN THE PREDETERMINATION OF THE HEART AND WILL AND OTHER INTANGIBLES THAT MAKES UP A CHAMPION. COLLEGE IS CURRUPT AND THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE MULTI-MILLIONS THAT THEY SACRAFICE THEIR BODIES FOR THE BENIFIT OF OTHERS. THEN IF THEY DONT GET DRAFTED THEY CAN TAKE THEIR EDUCATION AND SOME SEED CAPITAL AND MAKE A DECENT LIVING FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GAME AND THEIR PERSPECTIVE SCHOOL. ANY BODY WHO FEELS DIFFERENTLY IS A GREEDY SELFISH A$$HOLE.NOT TO MENTION THEY SHOULD HAVE BOTH LEGS BROKEN AND MADE TO WALK TO WORK. WOULD THAT BE FAIR? LOL
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Posted by koko11
4 years ago

"And if you want to see some calls that did not go Bama's way that should have go and watch the last 2 minutes of that game when Bama was on the 4 and threw to Julio Jones" That should be go watch the last 2 minutes of the 1st half...
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Posted by koko11
4 years ago

I will just put this stupid behind theory to rest right now... Here is Bama's biggest games this year and penalty yards for each: Virginia Tech- 6-45 Bama- 10-83 Ole Miss- 4-16 Bama- 4-30 South Carolina 5-60 Bama- 10-113 Tennessee 8-68 Bama1-10 Now all but 1 of those games Bama was more penalized.... You might want to do your research before you spout off about something that you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.. And now here are the Penalty's called on UT in that game Vs. Alabama.... Most are false start and all can clearly be seen in replays during the game... They do not appear our of no where and in no way did any of these hurt UT's chances of beat Bama.... You are just a moron!!! And if you want to see some calls that did not go Bama's way that should have go and watch the last 2 minutes of that game when Bama was on the 4 and threw to Julio Jones..That was blatant Pass INT. that should have been called on UT but Bama did not get the flag... Another go look at the last to final drive and you will see blatant holding on one of UT's O-lineman out in plain view but no flag... So you can shove you conspiracy theory out the window when it comes to Bama.. I will let UF take up for themselves... Penalty number 1 -- 620 to go in the 1Q False start - five yards -- Penalty number 2 -- Pass interference - 8 yards -- Penalty number 3 early 3Q on punt to Alabama Illegal block below the waist Penalty number 4 -- mid 3Q Delay of game -- Penalty number 5 -- early 4Q False start -- Penalty number 6 - early 4Q Holding -- Penalty number 7 -- late 4Q Roughing the kicker -- Penalty number 8 -- last 4Q False start --
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Posted by garbotalks
4 years ago

Another interesting column, Wiz. Believe me, it's all a conspiracy. Garbotalks
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Posted by hvacdawg
4 years ago

heh...heh...heh.
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Posted by hvacdawg
4 years ago

boise would whip florida if they played. tcu and alabama would be a great defensive battle with tcu winning. floridas defense is weak and boise would exploit it. they should of lost to miss.st. but the officials took care of that.
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Posted by Dekaid
4 years ago

As a Gator fan my $.02. Miss St. & Arkansas got hosed on some calls, whether the calls won or lost the games is debatable, both teams left points on the field. Whether TCU or Boise St. could compete in the SEC is highly debatable. JMHO
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Posted by eliteminority
4 years ago

The end of the Florida, Arkansas game was a joke! No conspiracy, just obvious bias to everyone watching
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Posted by Floridan
4 years ago

If there was a four team playoff that began with TCU vs Alabama and Boise State vs Florida, how many people would bet their own money on a TCU - Boise State final?
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Posted by renroh123
4 years ago

Anytime, anywhere, and anyhow big money is possible to win, or lose, in business, sports, or anything; there will be corruption,...period. The question we have to ask ourselves is: will this negative press cause the SEC to back off for a couple weeks and risk losing thier $$ matchup, or will they follow the money regardless. Afterall, those of us thinking correctly don't care either way, as long as we cash on the winner.
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Posted by aspire210
4 years ago

Its amazing how everyone tries to rationalize football between conferences. LSU goes into washington and beats them around, the same washington that beat USC, who beat ohio state at home. Oh no, now the SEC looks good by the common opponent idea. Football does not work that way. Love how everyone talks about how the SEC will get "exposed" this bowl season. Funny, since people said the same thing last year, but it didn't happen. Everyone cries about the strength of schedule for flordia, well TCU and BYU may play good out of conference teams, but those are the toughest teams on their schedule. Top to bottom, the SEC is the strongest conference. You have a couple good teams, a lot of decent ones and a few crappy ones. This is the same conference that has won the last 3 national championships, but I guess that was "rigged" as well.
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Posted by Beechernic
4 years ago

Im under the impression that the CPU system DOES NOT consider the early/late loss. it just counts a loss (contrary to what seems). Either way the issue that will arise this year...lets hope for upsets is too many 12-1 and 13-0 teams when the final cannon sounds. The only way this will ever be solved in the current BCS system is if BCS conferences started playing each other for non-conference games. Yeah Yeah I know, "But we would have too much to lose if we were upset." The players and coaches that have this attitude are the same ones that HOPE the officiating crew decides the game. Isnt part of college athletics suppose to teach kids about accountability, perseverance, etc... Grow up Peter Pan. Count Chocula. Let The Trojans (The real ones, not Troy) play an October game at the Swamp. VaTk came to Tuscaloosa - Kudos. Maybe If Iowa beat the Huskies instead of the Red Wolves, they'd have an arguement against the PAC-10, AND a fair shot at the Title Belt. The Irish should think about playing the Cougars in Utah NOT Washington. With that said...TCU should play a bigger horse than the SoMeth Mustangs, and if BoiseSt wants to go out East to play the Bulldogs, DONT stop in Louisiana, continue into Mississippi. There will never be a tournament style system. D2 & D3 can do it, but there is too much money in speculation. So why not put a non-conf schedule together that would challenge the New England Patriots? This season has continually shown us what happens to results when its put in the hands of people not wearing jerseys.
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Posted by rod_steve
4 years ago

Forgot about Texas, they are a shoe-in for BCS title game if they win out. So SEC championship rematch is probably a moot-arguement.
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Posted by rod_steve
4 years ago

"Southeastern Conference honks have been clamoring for Florida and Alabama to play twice — first in the SEC title game and then a rematch for the BCS title. These are the same people who brought us a bunch of farmers driving around a circle that eventually evolved into something called NASCAR." They really let you write articles on here with statements like this?? Now, although I don't agree at all with this ultra sensitive politically correct world we live in today, but it is what it is. Problem is, when it only goes one way and clowns like you come on here and talk like this. As for the football part of it, I feel bad bad for Boise & TCU, TCU even plays a tougher schedule too, but college football is all about the money. And if Florida and Bama' stay undefeated until SEC championship, and then go on to play a close game, pending that Iowa & Cincinnati lose(which I think they both will), can you name a more deserving one loss BCS team to play for the title than the SEC runner-up?? Doubtful.
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Posted by Champa
4 years ago

With all due respect, let's examine how tough the SEC really is. UCLA (yes, the same UCLA that can't win a game in the Pac 10) goes into Knoxville and defeats Tennesee (the same Tennesse that was two blocked and one missed field goal from beating the mighty Alabama). Mississippi State, which was a yard away from beating the Top 10 LSU Tigers, loses at home to Conference USA's Houston. Give some kudos to Georgia for traveling to Oklahoma State to play a tough non-conference game - which they lost (they also did beat Arizona State at home in a close game). Those are examples of the weakness of the SEC this year. The fact is that neither Alabama nor Florida played a non-conference schedule worth a damn this year and the stated reason is because how tough the SEC is. Well, as those examples demonstrate, the fact is that the SEC is not that tough this year and we will not know until the bowls how good either of those teams are in comparison to other top college teams.
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

ASPIRE ? YOU ASPIRING RETARD. THE MAN IS QUOTING FACTUAL EVENTS. ITS MORE REPORTING THE "TRUTH" THAN PERSONAL OPINION AND EMOTIONAL JACKAZZ RESPONSES LIKE YOURS.
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Posted by madulamaximus
4 years ago

That was one of the most honest articles ever wrote. All of you are not true athletes if you think that a computer should be envolved in the determining factor of whos the best. Look at college basketball. The most weak school or conference or team gets a shot. Of course the better players go to the bigger schools and most times high profile schools prevail to the final four. But its all done by athletes competing and every now and then almost every year you get the shocking upsets that put small schools on the map and that magic allows every body the chance to share in the wealth. But we ALL know TCU could beat florida right now! All they got is TEBOW,TEBOW,TEBOW. Look what PERCY HARVIN meant to Florida. There are no explosive recievers or runnin backs. Just good Defense with holes and TEBOW. AND FAVORABLE REFS. They cant cover the 20+ spreads because the TRUE PLAYMAKERS have moved on to the NFL. IF YOU CANT SEE THE CRAP THAT GOES ON IN THESE GAMES INVOLVING ALABAMA AND FLORIDA ........WE DONT NEED TO ARGUE ON THIS.......JUST PICK ALABAMA OR FLORIA GATORS AND GIVE UP THE POINTS.....LOL......THE FLAGS WILL HELP THEM WIN BUT NOT COVER ATS.
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Posted by Henry-Lilly
4 years ago

Florida and Alabama play great defense but are one dimensional offenses. Remember what little Utah did to mighty Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year? The SEC is more overrated that ever this year and will get exposed during the bowl season. Unless, of course, they get enough of the phantom "excessive celebration" calls that save their arses.
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Posted by heinmanIam
4 years ago

Its shame when you think about it......however, TCU and Boise should have consideration. Politics and $'s = BCS
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Posted by hsc1
4 years ago

Mr. Christensen has such a bias against the SEC he can not be objective. I think he should be taken off the site.
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Posted by bealwins
4 years ago

Please stop crying and reconize the SEC greatness all those teams would have 3 losses in the SEC
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Top Response

Posted by eliteminority
4 years ago

"The end of the Florida, Arkansas game was a joke! No conspiracy, just obvious bias to everyone watching"