Posted by Walter
"Sometimes you lose sight of the forest through the trees"
- ancient Chinese Proverb
Why is it that human beings have such a prediliction for the difficult? What is our aversion to the simple answer? Is it cynicism? The unavoidable thoughts that something so easy cannot possibly be correct or, dare I say, rewarding. It is competition? The possibly endless yet definitely fruitless quest for a more perfect solution. Or is it simply stupidity? That undefinable quality which incorporates a little bit of everything that makes humans simultaneously so great and so maddening.
We here at the323 are certainly not the ones to answer these weighty questions, but we'd definitely like to suggest the BCS as the poster child for this syndrome. After all, how else can one explain a species that can compose symphonies, master space travel, and invent TIVO, yet not conjure a system capable of providing a true champion for its collegiate football teams? The BCS has taken something so simple, so pure, so human, and turned it into a math problem. The goal is not longer to pit the two best teams against each other. It's to prove that we don't even need to play the games. We've become so smart as humans that we already know what is going to happen.
Well we here at the323 contend that clairvoyance and football don't mix. That the phrase "any given sunday" still means something. That Flutie to Phelan, the Statute of Liberty, and Armanti Edwards are not merely outliers on an otherwise predictable linear curve. That while USC, Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma may be some of the sturdiest trees in college football, they are but merely part of a greater forest, one which we must not lose sight of.
But all hope is not lost. Like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars, college football puritans have a single hope (and an ironic one at that): The University of Hawaii Warriors. The same Warriors who eschew traditional notions of running the ball and playing defense, in favor of a wide open passing attack that would bring a grin to the face of Don Coryell himself. Yes, the undefeated Warriors are the only ones who can save us from ourselves. Not OSU, nor WVU, nor the litany of other teams praying that the magical BCS formula tabs them as one of the two best teams in America. Only Hawaii, who has earned the right to play for #1 by simply not losing. The sad thing is, though, they'll almost certainly never get the chance to redeem us all. Not unless we do something about it! So without further ado, the323 presents The Case for Hawaii, our first installment in a week long campaign to get Hawaii into the national title game.
I. Hawaii Could Actually Win the Title Game
Who thought Appalachian State could win at Michigan? How about Boise State over Oklahoma? What about Duke over anyone???? If nothing else, the past 12 months have proved that football, unlike any other sport, is prone to unpredictability. The so called "best" team doesn't always win, especially in college. The NCAA should be embracing this phenomenon just as it does on the basketball court, rather than shunning it as it does on the gridiron. There isn't a person who watched the game that doesn't recall Boise State's statute of liberty play with remarkable detail. How many people could say the same for Ohio State's game winning touchdown against Miami in 2002? Or any play from last year's title game? Maybe those games were great, maybe they weren't, but they weren't moments. Moments come from a team that has both the will to lay everything on the line to win, and the ability to execute. Boise State had it. Appalachian State had it. Hawaii has it.
In an otherwise forgettable college football year, Hawaii has the chance to do something that nobody, ever, will forget.
After all, if Hawaii played West Virginia or Ohio State tomorrow what would the spread be? I'd be willing to wager that it wouldn't be as high as some of the other title game tilts we've seen (Miami-Nebraska in 2001 comes to mind). In fact, didn't we have a double digit underdog win the national title just last season? The bottom line is that Hawaii represents somewhat of an unknown quantity, and while a point spread may not favor them, anyone who thinks they wouldn't give their opponent one heck of a game is fooling themselves.Could Hawaii beat Ohio St? Yes. Could they beat WVU or Missouri? Yes. So why aren't they in the conversation?
II. Hawaii is the ONLY Undefeated Team
Last time I checked, winning games was still the only thing that mattered. No Hawaii doesn't have any five star recruits on their roster, and no they don't have a whole offense of first round NFL draft picks, but the Warriors have something no other team in the nation has: a zero in the loss column. Who cares what teams they've played. In 2007 Hawaii has been the only team in America that has won every game that they were supposed to win. LSU, OSU, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all lost games to opponents they were favored to beat. Not Hawaii. They've simply played their game and taken care of business with every opponent brought before them. Does Ohio State really get credit for losing at home to an unranked team simply because they play in the Big 10? Why is it OK for BCS teams to lose games they are supposed to win, but not OK for Hawaii to win every game they play?
III. But What About the Schedule!
What's that you say Ohio State and West Virginia? Hawaii's schedule is a joke? Must be fun throwing stones from those glass houses. Truth be told by the end of the year Hawaii will have exactly as many victories over a top 25 team as either OSU or WVU, and Boise State might be a tougher matchup than either Wisconsin or Cincinnati. Let's take a quick look at how Hawaii's top 3 wins stack up against those of Ohio State and West Virginia:
Hawaii's three best wins - Fresno State (7-4), @ Nevada (5-6) and Boise State (10-2)
Ohio State's three best wins - @ Penn State (8-4), Wisconsin (9-3), and @ Michigan (8-4)
West Virginia's three best wins - @ Rutgers (7-4), Louisville (5-6), and @ Cincinatti (9-3)
Now are we here to argue that Hawaii's three wins are better? No. But they are pretty darn close, and there is definitely NOT enough of a disparity to justify putting either of those one loss teams ahead of undefeated Hawaii.
IV. If Not Now, When?
It's not every year that the BCS is presented with a situation like this. Truth be told, the stars are aligned. America is ready for Hawaii. Every team in American has been given one, sometimes two (LSU!) chances to prove they want to play for the national title. No team has shown that they want it. Every team in the country has serious deficiencies, whether it be a bad loss, a weak conference, etc. If an undefeated team like Hawaii can't get into the big show this year, the NCAA might as well anoint every team outside of the BCS conferences Division 1AA schools. If the BCS isn't willing to be flexible and open minded in a year where not a single other team deserves to be there (outside of Mizzou if they beat OK), the WAC, MWC, MAC, and every other conference that doesn't have its own TV contract might as well start trying to get dropped to 1AA now....at least then they'll be allowed to play for a championship.
V. The BCS Needs Hawaii
The BCS is holding on by a thread. An OSU-WVU title game will almost certainly be the straw that breaks the camel's back. If the unthinkable should happen, there will be many fans across the country who simply won't watch college football's championship game. And who can blame them. An OSU-WVU game would underscore just how arbitrary and idiotic the BCS has become. Imagine if that game is played two days after Hawaii lays a 45-21 hurting on some other BCS conference school in a lesser bowl game (watch out LSU). Wouldn't some of the pollsters feel obligated to give Hawaii some love, even if it meant spitting in the face of the system we've all sold our souls to? The BCS is entering territory as an unmitigated disaster that few have entered before. Unless the Hawaii miracle comes to fruition, we could very well look back on the BCS the same way we think about Crystal Pepsi, the Hubbel Telescope, and Britney Spears wearing a two piece in her comeback attempt.