Tom Pennington, Getty Images
So, now we know how the insidious and evil BCS will survive and continue to resist a national playoff for college football into the foreseeable future.
The BCS will simply absorb the most nettlesome non-BCS schools. If you can't beat 'em, have 'em join you.
On Monday, it was announced that TCU has accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference, a BCS member.
Thus, TCU is the latest to fall into the trap, following the University of Utah's defection to the Pac-10 earlier in the year.
You've got to hand it to the BCS. They are cunning.
Don't you see what's happening? They're incorporating the teams that continually cause them headaches, the teams that tend to knock off the BCS schools and climb high in the national rankings and force consideration for BCS bowl berths and take millions of dollars away from BCS schools. They're assimilating the teams that create all the controversy and trouble.
Utah caused a Congressional investigation into the BCS monopoly by going unbeaten in 2008 and steamrolling Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The Utes created national outrage because they weren't allowed to play for the national championship. The Utes did the same thing in 2004, again by going unbeaten and pummeling BCS rep Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.
This summer the Pac-10 invited the Utes to join their league.
Now along comes TCU. For the second straight year, the Horned Frogs have finished the regular season unbeaten and untied. Having climbed to No. 3 in the BCS rankings, they are this close to forcing the BCS to invite them to play in its national championship game — which would be a first for a non-BCS school.
This week, the Big East invited TCU to join its ranks.
Just like that, two of the biggest pests from the non-BCS ranks have joined the other side. Now all the BCS has to do is find a way to absorb Boise State, the third non-BCS school that continually gums up the BCS's best-laid plans for a monopoly. Only six times have outsiders been granted a berth in BCS bowls since their inception in 1998, and Boise State, Utah and TCU are responsible for five of them.
To a lesser extent, BYU has presented another challenge to BCS schools; the Cougars, bypassed by the Pac-10, have chosen to go independent beginning next season. Someday, something might have to be done about inviting them to join a BCS conference, too, or give them the special "Notre Dame" treatment.
The BCS's move to adopt these non-BCS powers is not good for the cause of eradicating the BCS and/or creating a national playoff system. The BCS knows this, of course. The more trouble that outsiders like Utah, TCU and Boise State can cause for the BCS, the better the chance of changing things. Every time those schools go unbeaten and beat a BCS school, it creates more public outcry for change and more problems for the BCS.
Someone should say it: It would have been better if Utah and TCU had not joined the BCS, but no school can resist the smell of BCS money, which is what college football is all about these days. It would have served the greater good if they had remained rebels for the cause as BCS outsiders. Instead of creating problems for the BCS, now they are part of the problem.
The addition of Utah and TCU to the BCS ranks doesn't make the BCS any more equitable. It simply eliminates the competition.
Think what might have been. In June, Boise State was invited to join the Mountain West. That meant the conference boasted a dream lineup that included Utah, TCU, BYU, Boise State and Air Force. They could have challenged any conference in the country. Now BYU, TCU and Utah are gone.
Some observers lament the loss of those schools because they could have forced the BCS to give BCS status to the Mountain West. BCS executive director Bill Hancock has said as much. He told ESPN this week, as he has previously, "Before the season began, intuitively we knew that the Mountain West was in a good position (to become a BCS conference)."
But all this misses the point badly. Making the Mountain West a BCS conference wouldn't solve anything. The real value of a powerful Mountain West Conference would have been its ability to undermine the BCS, not to join them. The league, not to mention Utah and TCU, missed an opportunity to improve the game for everybody.
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