In what has been an absolutely wild, unpredictable and ridiculous past month of college football, we have seen the fortunes of nearly every top-ranked team in the country rise, fall and sometimes rise again.
We’ve seen upsets and beatdowns; shootouts and dominating defensive struggles. This past weekend alone, three of the give teams in the nation went down to defeat in instant-classic type battles.
After the smoke had cleared and the dust settled, we were left with an AP poll that featured the three top teams coming from the same conference — for the first time in 75 years. LSU, Alabama and Arkansas, all of the SEC West, now sit on top of the national stage, while the Pac-12 also lists three teams in the top 10, though Southern Cal is ineligible for postseason play.
So what does it all mean in the larger context of determining a true national champion?
Not a single blessed thing.
The only thing this wild stretch of football proves is that it will be utterly impossible for the money-brokers that rule college football to select just two of these incredibly worthy teams to play for the BCS title.
The straight truth of the matter is that college football fans across the country are about to be cheated by those in power who continue to cling to the ridiculous, indefensible BCS system.
Cheated! I say.
Over the next five weeks, we will be robbed of what could be lifetime memories to be shared with future generations of fans in our own families. We will be denied a chance to see which of these terrific and evenly matched teams would fall in an early round “Sweet Sixteen” style playoff game, and which of them would rise up.
No one in America knows whether or not top-ranked LSU would be able to survive the gauntlet of a national title tournament after navigating the treacherous waters of the SEC, and no one knows whether or not eighth-ranked Houston would be able to run Alabama’s rock-solid defense as ragged as they’ve run everyone else on their schedule with their record-setting, fast-break offense.
How would Andrew Luck and Stanford match up with Brandon Weeden and the scoring machine from Oklahoma State in a national Final Four matchup?
We’ll never be allowed to find out.
What we do know is that top 10 teams have been dropping like flies in recent weeks, only to rise up again when their highly ranked competitors fell after them.
Less than a month ago, 10th-ranked Arkansas barely squeaked by a .500 Vanderbilt team 31-28.
The Razorbacks are now No. 3.
On Nov. 5th, No. 4 Stanford was taken out by No. 7 Oregon in a 53-30 rout, but on Saturday, the No. 4 Ducks were shot from the sky by two-loss USC in a 38-35 shootout.
As a result, Stanford is now right back to its No. 4 ranking, while Oregon, which completely dominated their matchup, is No. 9.
Just two weeks ago, No. 9 Oklahoma embarrassed No. 8 Kansas State 58-17, but then lost to No. 22 Baylor on Saturday 45-38.
So which Sooner team would show up in a playoff scenario?
Wouldn’t we all love to find out.
With so many outstanding teams having fallen at least once, and some twice, who should have the ultimate authority to determine which among them is most worthy of a championship shot? And when three of the top five ranked teams lose in the same weekend, what does that say about the ability of those who rank them to truly get it right?
This has been an amazing season of college football, and it will be shame to watch it end.
Well, actually, the shame will be in the way that it ends.
Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.