BY JENNI CARLSON
Oklahoma and Wisconsin are extremely good football teams.
And after Saturday, neither has much of a shot anymore of playing for a national championship, much less winning one.
Will someone explain to me again why the BCS is law of the college football land?
On a day when the Sooners and Badgers had not-so-great performances and their opponents had oh-so-great ones, both teams suffered their first losses of the season. That dropped OU to No. 9 in the BCS rankings and Wisconsin to No. 15. Even though these are two of the best teams in the country, they now are all but out of the national title picture.
It's not even Halloween, fer cryin' out loud.
Is this any way to crown a champion?
College football is operating under a flawed system. The BCS places a premium on perfection. Win all your games, and you've got a great shot at playing for a title. Lose even one, and you're depending on other teams to help you climb back in the hunt.
So it is with OU and Wisconsin.
Both could still pop back into the national championship picture, though the Sooners have a much better chance than the Badgers. But still, in addition to winning out, the Sooners would probably need Alabama or LSU to lose twice, Stanford and Oregon to lose twice, and Clemson and Boise State to lose.
OU was a national-championship caliber team a couple days ago, but one loss — albeit a truly unexpected one — has rendered them outsiders.
That isn't right.
By the way, this isn't some knee-jerk reaction to a local squad losing its national title hopes. I railed on the BCS's perfection-or-bust approach a year ago before Boise State and Virginia Tech played on opening weekend. I argued that it would be impossible for anyone to go into the losing team's locker room after that game and convince them that their regular season hadn't been rendered meaningless.
The Hokies were the ones who fell short in that game.
Know what they did the following week?
Lost to James Madison.
Don't suppose losing their national title hopes had anything to do with it, do you?
Yeah, I think so, too.
There are some folks who believe that the win-or-you're-out pressure created by the BCS is what makes college football great.
Don't buy it.
Implement a playoff system, and teams aren't going to start blowing off games. They aren't going to start thinking its OK to lose. They aren't going to start mailing it in.
For starters, a team would still need a stout record to make it into an eight- or even 16-team playoff. But more than that, these coaches and players have pride in what they do. They want to win every time out. Whatever system is in place won't change that.
But what this current system does change is what they are playing for.
Before Saturday night, OU and Wisconsin were playing for a national championship.
The likely best case-scenario for both remains a BCS bowl — the Fiesta Bowl for the Sooners, the Rose for the Badgers — but more than a month before the end of the regular season, neither has much of a shot at a title.
To think, when the day dawned Saturday, these teams were contenders. Players had been preparing themselves for 50 or 51 weeks a year. Coaches had been working 18 or 20 hours a day in season. But they had one bad day, and their title dreams are pretty much over.
The NFL doesn't ask its title contenders for that kind of perfection during the regular season — and those grown men are paid professionals.
Yet in college football, amateur athletes, some as young as 18 and 19 years old, must win every time they step on the field if they want a legitimate shot at a title.
The whole thing is completely and totally ridiculous.
When this season is over, I'm sure a great team will be crowned as champion. All I know is, there are two extremely good football teams that no longer have a legitimate shot at that title after this past Saturday.
I feel bad for them.
More than that, I feel bad for college football.