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Post So….why did Texas schedule that series?

Monday November 6, 2006

I was listening, as I often do, to the Colin Cowherd show this afternoon. Love the college football talk. The whole Big East/BCS discussion came up, and he said that if finishing undefeated were all that mattered, then Texas could assure itself of a national title berth every year by playing four nonconference cupcakes. He gave Texas credit for having the “courage” to schedule Ohio State.

The question should be, “why did Texas schedule that game?” Where would Texas be right now had they scheduled Ohio University instead of Ohio State? Right – they’d be undefeated and awaiting the winner of the tOSU-Michigan game for a chance to defend their national title.

I don’t deny the importance of schedule, but give it the proper relative importance. The first order of business is almost always finishing undefeated. You can start backtracking on that as soon as the Big East and the usual “BCS busters” come into the discussion, but there is no way that an undefeated Texas (or SoCal or Auburn or Wisconsin) would be left out of the national title game if they were one of two unbeaten teams at the end of the year.

The importance of scheduling comes into play when you must choose between two similar teams with identical records, but teams like Tulane get left out when they go undefeated. Texas doesn’t. Having more than two unbeaten major programs happens so infrequently in college football that scheduling becomes such a secondary objective versus running the table.

The question shouldn’t be why don’t we have more series like Texas-Ohio State…it should be why those teams with real national title aspirations seek those games out. I’m not saying I like avoiding those kinds of games, but that’s what the system – as it is – rewards. I continue to say that a playoff system would encourage many more interesting nonconference games (just see the December basketball slate) rather than the current system where you must balance the subordinate strength of schedule criteria with the clear primary objective of finishing undefeated.

So what do I think about the Big East? I agree with a great line I heard on ESPN over the weekend, and I wish I could remember its source. I don’t think the Big East champion could have as good a season going through the grind of a more demanding conference, but I wouldn’t count Louisville or West Virginia out when it comes down to an individual game.

(As an aside…how does West Virginia’s destruction of Maryland and Mississippi State look after the past weekend?)

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