It’s that time of year again: the last few weeks of the college football regular season, when the daily whining and moaning about the BCS’s inequities reaches a fever pitch.
For the second year in a row, Stanford fans have had the good fortune of being active participants in this conversation. (Isn’t it much more fun to complain about the BCS when your team is actually in the hunt for one?)
But this week, after Stanford polished off Oregon State to extend its record to 9-0 and Alabama fell to LSU in overtime, the Crimson Tide still stayed ahead of the Cardinal in the latest BCS standings. Stanford sat at number four, Alabama dropped from two to three.
This, of course, provoked some vitriolic reaction from the Cardinal faithful, who maintained that it was unjust for Bama to keep its high ranking despite losing a 9-6 snooze-fest at home.
A fantastic example of this outrage can be found in Wednesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, where columnist Bruce Jenkins calls out the BCS for giving Stanford “absolutely no respect.” Clearly, Jenkins says, the BCS has a pro-SEC bias that is conspiring to keep Stanford out of the title game and rig an Alabama-LSU rematch in New Orleans on Jan. 9.
I don’t encourage you to go and read the whole column — it appears to have been written while he was under the influence of bath salts — but let’s look at a few choice quotes:
First: “You can’t get robbed if there’s no money in the safe, but the burglars are circling Stanford’s football program. They’re wearing BCS sweatshirts and singing fight songs from the Southeastern Conference.”
Next: “In other words, go ahead, West Coast teams, run up an impressive record in a conference rich in talent. We’ll continue to be bribed — sorry, influenced — by the SEC people.”
And finally: “It’s possible that if Stanford beats Oregon, it could jump ahead of Alabama because the Cardinal’s schedule will have gained some teeth.”
An epic takedown, right? Feel your blood boiling? Ready to storm the warehouse where the BCS Illuminati conspire create the rankings?
Not so fast, my fellow Stanford fans. Don’t fall into groupthink with Jenkins. Let me assure you: There is absolutely no reason at all to get upset about one week of injustice in the BCS.
While I agree that Bama should have fallen beneath the teams that remained undefeated (except for Boise State), the bottom line, no matter what happens this Saturday, is that this week’s BCS standings won’t matter anyway.
If Stanford loses, it will fall well behind Alabama (and the one-loss Ducks) in the BCS standings. If Stanford wins, it will easily leapfrog the Tide. It’s not just “possible,” as Jenkins suggests. If the Cardinal pulls off its biggest win of the season, it will, without a doubt, pass the Tide.
Second, suggesting that prejudice prevents a West Coast team from surpassing an SEC team is simply not true.
Look a little further down the BCS standings, and you’ll notice that Oregon, after an unimpressive win over Washington, leapfrogged Arkansas, which beat No. 9 South Carolina by 16 points on Saturday. Looks like the work of pro-SEC conspirators to me, Shaggy.
So ease off those online message boards and step back for a minute, Stanford fans. Remember, there’s no need to be upset. If your favorite team takes care of business this weekend, all it will need to do to assure itself a shot at a national championship is to win out and have Oklahoma State fall on its face. But don’t take the Chicken Little approach to things just because Alabama is still microscopically ahead in the standings with four weeks of football left to be played.
Instead, keep in mind the words of Stanford head coach David Shaw.
“The BCS ranking has absolutely no bearing on what happens on Saturdays,” he said on Tuesday. “It only matters when all the regular-season and conference-championship games are over, because that’s when you decide what bowl games you go to. Up until then, it’s a TV show.”
Wise words for every Stanford fan — myself included — to keep in mind as this season winds to its dramatic close.
Jack Blanchat is trying very hard to hide the fact that deep down, he bleeds SEC colors. If you’d like to discuss the East Coast, West Coast or any other regional bias, shoot him an email at blanchat “at” stanford.edu or follow him on Twitter @jmblanchat.