Cowboy Nation, let me introduce you to George Wine.
He is 80 years old. He is a retiree. He is living in the Iowa City suburb of Coralville, Iowa.
And he is the latest face of all that's wrong with the BCS.
The former sports information director at Iowa is also one of the voters in the Harris Poll, one of the two human polls that factor into the BCS rankings. Those people polls were the difference between Oklahoma State playing for a national championship game and going to the Fiesta Bowl.
Alabama edged OSU by .0086 points, the closest spread ever between No. 2 and No. 3, the narrowest margin between playing for a title and watching someone else get that shot.
On the day that the Harris and USA Today ballots were revealed, we know that Wine isn't the only reason that the Cowboys are headed for the desert instead of the bayou. I don't want to paint him as a villain or anything. I understand he's a very nice guy, in fact. Most folks from the Hawkeye State are.
But votes like Wine's make you realize just how flawed this system is.
He voted the Cowboys No. 6.
“This voting is highly subjective,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I realize that voting is subjective and often arbitrary. I probably don't do as much research … but who the hell knows whether Oregon is better than Wisconsin?”
Who knows what Wine was going to say after “I probably don't do as much research … ”, but here's guessing it would've been something along the lines of “as I should” or “as these teams deserve.”
College football is a multibillion dollar industry with multimillion salaries and larger-than-life stadiums, and yet it allows this type of madness.
Listen, I'm not saying the Cowboys should be headed to the national championship game instead of Alabama. I thought they deserved a chance, but the way this system is set up, a team has no legs to stand on once it loses a game. Every team knows it is at the mercy of the system.
Like it or not, that's the way it is.
What I am saying, though, is that the pulling back of the curtain on these human polls makes the whole system seem like a sham.
Alabama coach Nick Saban voted OSU fourth. Just making sure if the vote between his Crimson Tide and the Cowboys was close that his vote wasn't the one that made the difference.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel voted the Cowboys fourth, too. Just sticking it to the league he's leaving, which stuck it to him by sending him to the Independence Bowl and Shreveport, La.
Hey, I can actually understand someone who might've voted the Cowboys fourth. If you're hung up on quality of losses, Alabama and Stanford lost to better teams than OSU. Alabama lost to No. 1 LSU, Stanford to No. 5 Oregon, OSU to unranked Iowa State.
I know that might not be a popular stance among the Cowboy Nation, but I could understand it. If a voter penalized OSU for losing to Iowa State, why not reward Stanford for losing to Oregon?
But voting OSU lower than fourth?
One voter in the coaches' poll, Air Force's Troy Calhoun, voted the Cowboys fifth while four voters in the Harris Poll did. But here's the kicker — three voters in the Harris Poll had them sixth.
Former Notre Dame player Derrick Mayes had OSU behind Stanford, two-loss Arkansas and Boise State while former Hawaii coach Bob Wagner had it behind Stanford, Boise and two-loss Oregon.
But the craziest of them all was Wine. He had Stanford third, Boise fourth and — brace yourselves — Houston fifth ahead of OSU. That's the same Houston team that lost Saturday to Southern Miss. Lost at home. Lost by three touchdowns.
“Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State, which I think is a very bad loss,” Wine told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think Southern Miss is a very good football team.”
A very good football team? Southern Miss lost a few weeks ago to Alabama-Birmingham, which won three games this season and fired its coach. I love Larry Fedora, but I'm not sure his Southern Miss squad qualifies as a very good football team.
Very good? M'eh.
Never mind the fact that OSU played the 10th-most difficult schedule in the nation, Houston the 68th.
Let's remember, too, that Wine was the longtime sports information director at Iowa, big-time in-state rival of Iowa State. Seems like there might be a chance that he's never thought real highly of the Cyclones.
Now, I'm not going to call Wine a complete and total dunce.
“I think the BCS is just a mess,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I think college football is crying for a playoff system.”
He is dead right about that.
The reason is loony votes like his.