Texas and Alabama face off at the Rose Bowl tonight in Pasadena in what is being billed as the BCS "National Championship" Game. But is it really a championship? Or could the winner of tonight's game finish No. 2 behind No.1 Boise State?
The answer is technically yes and no. Confused? Welcome to college football, the only sport where a champion is settled off the field, court or ice. Spawning anger and frustration across the land, one of America's favorite games is actually decided by two different polls. One, the USA Today poll, is conducted by the coaches, who are contractually bound to vote the winner of tonight's game the number 1 team in America. Boise State is out of luck there.
But the Associated Press, which bestows its own national champion, is under no such obligation. The writers and analysts who comprise the AP's voting populace can vote for any team they desire. Good news for Boise State here. Thus, you could have a split national champion -- a nightmarish scenario the BCS was supposed to solve.
Appearing on NPR Thursday morning, sportswriter/author John Feinstein urged writers to vote for Boise State, saying, "I think as a protest and out of respect for what Boise State accomplished this year, vote for Boise State. Make them a national champion in at least one poll."
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Will those writers listen? Could they vote Boise State No. 1. It's possible, yet unlikely. But one thing is certain: Boise State belongs in the discussion.
The Broncos will have the same 14-0 undefeated record as tonight's winner. And considering college football doesn't allow those two undefeated teams to meet and decide which one is best, why not crown two champions? It's happened many times before -- and it could serve as the best way to finally kill the unpopular BCS.
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There has long been a call for a college football playoff system to determine a true champion. Even President Obama got into the act, saying there should be a playoff. But those cries have fallen on deaf ears at the NCAA, in part because it and the schools are making a ton of money from the current system of bowl games.
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If Boise State was crowned co-champs, the protest vote could go a long way in finally bringing about change in the college football system.