The BCS field is muddled. With so many teams sporting perfect records and no playoff to decide a champ, our bloggers take on the ultimate task: making a case for each team with a title shot.
Hear ye, hear ye. The Court of Public Opinion, whose estimable judgment greatly helps determine who plays for the BCS championship, is now in session. Wisconsin Badgers, please approach the bench for your inquisition:
What gives you the right to play for the national championship, you bunch of cheeseheads?
Well, how about sheer and utter dominance? You can't really ask a team to play better than we have. We're No. 1 in the nation in scoring offense at more than 50 points a game, and we're also No. 3 in defense at 9.7 points allowed. We have the No. 7 rushing offense in the country at 257.5 yards per game on the ground, but we're also averaging 266 yards per game passing the ball even though most of our games are over long before the fourth quarter. We've won every game by at least 31 points. We've got a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, if not the top candidate, in quarterback Russell Wilson. He's an unflappable four-year starter who can hurt you through the air or by running by you. Our best running back, Montee Ball, has 18 total touchdowns. And our offensive line is the biggest, baddest group on the planet.
Well, then how do you explain why three of the BCS computer rankings have you no higher than 12th, and one (Massey) has you 17th?
Clearly, there's a glitch in the matrix. Any computer that doesn't have us ranked among the very best teams in the country should stick to playing Angry Birds. But we know what you're getting at: our schedule. We're the first to admit that our nonconference slate wasn't the toughest. But we had no way of knowing when we lined up our opponents years ago that Oregon State's program would fall off a cliff. Northern Illinois is better than most people think; we can't help it if its athletic department decided to make some money off our fans by moving a home game to Soldier Field. Besides, all we can do is play who's on the docket, and we've crushed everyone in our paths without any hiccups. And we steamrolled Nebraska, who was ranked eighth at the time and is No. 13 right now in the BCS standings, 48-17. Our schedule is about to improve, starting with Michigan State this week on the road, plus games at Ohio State and Illinois and a regular-season finale against Penn State before the Big Ten title game.
Why shouldn't we just go with the SEC champ, the Big 12 champ, Stanford or Boise State?
The SEC champion absolutely deserves a spot if it goes unbeaten. Can't argue with the recent history there. But we feel we have just as good a case, if not a better one, than everybody else. Oklahoma is really good, but the Sooners' best two wins came over Florida State and Texas, whom we feel were vastly overrated. Oklahoma State scores almost as many points as we do but gives up a whole lot more. The Big 12 champ won't have to worry about a championship game, and besides, haven't we watched Oklahoma flame out in the BCS title game enough times already? We love the underdog story as much as the next guy because we used to be one, but Boise State's schedule makes ours look like a murderer's row. The Pac-12 is too top heavy and not as good as the Big Ten. Wouldn't you just love to see our corn-fed offensive linemen go against the SEC defensive line freaks?
But don't we already know the Big Ten is inferior to the SEC?
Objection! Don't blame us for the failures of Ohio State and others on the big stage. Sure, we lost the Rose Bowl to TCU last season, but that game was nip and tuck and we probably would have won it had we stuck to our strengths. We split our last two bowl games against SEC teams (losing to Tennessee in 2007 and beating Arkansas in 2006). Come on, you know you love the storyline of seeing whether the Big Ten can actually one-up the SEC in a title game, and how much fun would our coach, the media-savvy Bret Bielema, be in the leadup to championship week? We know this: If we keep up our current level of play and finish 13-0, we'll deserve to play for it all. While we wait for your word, we'll continue to beat the snot out of people.