It was a year dominated by even more BCS-inflicted turmoil and hair-splitting to the extreme among teams. What did we learn in 2008?
*The BCS system may seem like it's here to stay, but we may be closer to a playoff than you think.
Few consider the BCS a satisfactory way to determine a champion, except for the people who count. The public's disaffection for the current format finally may have turned a corner this season.
As SI.com writer Stewart Mandel pointed out earlier this week, television ratings for the BCS bowls sucked this year. It's been a developing trend ever since the BCS administrators added a fifth game to rotation. Mandel goes so far as to declare the recent addition of a fifth BCS game "an abject failure."
If fans continue to ignore matchups like this year's Orange Bowl, the universities and, more importantly, ESPN may soon begin to feel the pocketbook pinch.
*You can have too much of a good thing.
The good thing in question here would be Tim Tebow.
Tebow is a fantastic quarterback who is forcing college coaches to reconsider how utilize the position. He's not just a great quarterback, but a great football player. He's not just a great football player, but a great person.
At what point, though, can a person be so thoroughly deified by the media that it reaches the level of obnoxious? Homerism thinks it happened with Tebow somewhere around the time Thom Brenneman said this during the national championship game broadcast: "If you're fortunate enough to spend five minutes or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it."
What if you spend 20 minutes every day--and often much more--reading or hearing about the Florida quarterback in the sports media? I'd argue my life is worse for it. I'm so sick of the swooning over this guy that I've come to loathe someone who is by all accounts the ideal college athlete. I know I can't be alone here. I detest Tebow for turning me into a worse person.
*Scheduling still matters.
Scheduling matters so much that it was enough to put a team in the championship game ahead of another team with a comparable record and head-to-head win.
Texas had an outstanding season, including a win over arch rival Oklahoma. But it doesn't look like scheduling Rice, Florida Atlantic and UTEP out of conference will cut it when it comes to distinguishing your team. Thankfully, more elite teams are showing a willingness to play home-and-home non-conference games against other elite programs. Hopefully we'll continue to see more match-ups like USC-Ohio State going forward.
*College football coaches are shameless.
Even as a Sooner fan, listening to OU coach Bob Stoops stump for his team in the weeks leading up to the end of the regular season made Homerism cringe. The comments of USC's Pete Carroll and Texas coach Mack Brown following their BCS bowl victories took the politicking and winging to another level, though.
Listen up, coaches. If your team goes undefeated in the regular season, chances are that you're going to get your title shot. (You get a pass for being pissed off, Kyle Whittingham.) Everybody knows that.
When you lose a game, you lose your right to complain. If you lose a game, it's even more egregious to proclaim yourself the best team in the country when you haven't won the national championship game. It's annoying and just plain undignified.
The reality is that you didn't get it done under the rules you agreed to. There's no injustice to it, and you're not the best because you say so. We have a system for determining that, albeit a highly imperfect one. If you didn't understand how it works when you signed your contract, that's on you. If you want to change the system, go for it. But until we see a new way of determining a champ, this is it.
Sit down, shut up and just admit you came up short. The rules are the same for everyone.