Friday mailbag time! Thanks to everyone who has written in. I read all your comments and do my best to answer as many questions as possible, trying not to go over the same topics we have already covered in previous mailbags.
First, the TCU-Utah game is on CBS College Sports. Second, I know I messed up on the live chat earlier this week. Ohio State lost at Wisconsin. So please accept my apologies. Third, I just found out the Big Ten has decided the bowl order for the Gator and Insight bowls, which are going to alternate No. 4 and No. 5. Gator picks No. 4 this year. This will be reflected in the bowl projections on Sunday. I try to make every attempt to fix my errors, and I know my credibility is on the line. So thanks to all for letting me know when I mess up.
Scotty in Boise, Idaho, writes: Why do Boise State, TCU, Utah even have Division I status? They can play Oregon, Texas, Alabama, they can beat these teams but they still can't play for a national championship. Talk about back of the bus.
Andrea Adelson writes: Great question, Scotty, and one I have often wondered myself. If half of the teams in college football are automatically eliminated from championship contention before the season even starts, how do we have a fair system? Why should teams like Boise State play? For wonderful consolation prizes? The system is unfair and completely broken. It is the only one in the NCAA that does not give every team in its division a fair shot to play for a championship. That is the way the powers-that-be want it because they want to keep the glory (and the money) for themselves.
Tim in Boise writes: In a recent BCS chat, BCS Guru Brad Edwards makes it sound like Boise St. may now get left out of a BCS game all together. He predicted that TCU gets the automatic non-AQ nod and then the Big 12 and Big 10 both get the at-large bids. From a financial standpoint and recruiting stand point, that is brutal. Who wants to play for a team that starts No. 3 in the polls, wins all their games, and can't get into a BCS bowl game? Ouch!
Adelson writes: Edwards is absolutely right. If TCU finishes ahead of Boise State but out of the national championship game, a very real possibility exists that the Horned Frogs would be the only non-AQ team in a BCS bowl game. Two non-AQ teams made it in last year, so there is that hope. But with the big-name, one-loss teams that could be available for an at-large berth, the bowls may opt to go for teams that they know will travel, fill the stadium and be more of a bigger "national name." Although I think everybody in America would tune in to watch Boise State vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, don't you?
Homesick Warrior in Livermore, Calif., writes: Now that the Fresno State and Nevada departure dates are confirmed and the WAC is once again on the verge of survivalist expansion, is Hawaii a viable football independent? Are they better off staying in a watered down WAC? Do you see the dominos falling in their favor within the next few years if they continue to win?
Adelson writes: Being an independent is exceedingly hard, as BYU is set to discover once it goes down this road starting in 2011. First you need national cache and a TV partner that will pay millions to broadcast your games. I don't think Hawaii has either. They need to have set teams that will travel so far away. I am not sure how many teams would do this if Hawaii was on its own. The WAC looks as if it is in tatters right now, but think of this as an opportunity for Hawaii to emerge and dominate the way Boise State has.
Alan in Salt Lake City writes: I'd like someone to please give me a rational explanation as to why the ACC and Big East should even be allowed a spot in a BCS bowl. Pitt (5-3) and Virginia Tech (7-2) are the latest teams projected to reach the BCS bowls from their respective conferences. Can anyone else see how asinine an automatic bid is for them? Unranked Pitt lost to the Utes and to Miami. VT lost to Boise State and FCS James Madison. Please tell me why Boise State and a one loss TCU or Utah squad do not ALL deserve a BCS bid over the Big (L)east and the ACC.
Adelson writes: They all do, and it is a crying shame the loser of the Utah/TCU game is probably going to end up in Vegas. There is only one explanation. Those two are automatic qualifiers, and whether we like it or not, that is the system that is in place. They are not losing that status any time soon.
Jim Grossman in Santa Monica, Calif., writes: Since everyone agrees the BCS is broken and essentially is a "beauty contest," until we get a proper playoff system like every other sport here's a suggestion: Evaluate teams by how efficient they are. In other words, rank the teams on how well they play (win/loss record, strength of schedule and statistics) against how much resources they have (football budget, ranking of incoming recruiting class, maybe even size of fan base.) Ideally this would be the only ranking qualification in both the human and computer polls, but even if it was just a component of either or both sets of polls, I think it would spur what I believe 'amateur' and college sports should ultimately and even exclusively be about; the pursuit of excellence, not necessarily dominance.
Adelson writes: You present an interesting theory, but money makes the world go 'round, right? Unfortunately, people are not much interested in the finances that make these schools and programs function and only care about the results on the field and the schedules they play. You cannot rank a team on recruiting class, either, because those are so hard to predict and most times end up being wrong. Size of fan base is also an abstract number that does not have much to do with the results on the field. But I do appreciate you trying to come up with a different way of looking at the teams that play.
Jim in Rapid City, S.D., writes: Can a college football team get a schedule change during the current season. I read that Bill Curry said his Georgia State team was tired and needed a rest. Georgia State is scheduled to play Alabama on Nov. 18. My question is could Boise State request and be granted permission to play Alabama in Georgia State's placer? The result could answer the BCS question of where Boise State should be.
Adelson writes: I wish this were possible, but alas it is not. Great idea, though!
Donnell in Vancouver, B.C., writes: Would it be an overstatement to say SMU's running back Zach Line is the most improved player in Conference USA?
Adelson writes: Not at all. Line is having a great year, taking over for Shawnbrey McNeal and leading the league in rushing. Bet nobody expected that!