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Monday August 25, 2008

Repechage: You couldn’t watch much Olympics coverage without coming across the term repechage. If you missed it, it’s more or less French for "loser’s bracket". Though the application of the term varies by sport, it generally allows individuals who aren’t automatic qualifiers in preliminary rounds to remain alive and earn their way back either by being the "fastest loser" or by winning additional heats against others who failed to qualify.

College football has its own repechage. There will be teams that lose early and are outright eliminated from the national title picture. Sorry, Michigan, several Pacific islands finished ahead of you in your first heat of 2007. There will be other teams who lose and remain viable title contenders. They’ll have a tougher road back with each loss, and they might need some help. But if your qualifications are strong enough, you still have a fighting chance. The United States might drop the baton, and Pitt might beat West Virginia.

It should be noted that the last two national champions got to the national title game via the repechage.

Superdelegates: We’ll see them in action this week in Denver. They probably won’t have as much of a controversial role at the DNC as it seemed during the spring, but the concept is interesting.

Imagine if after the BCS did its thing a group of college football’s elite figures got a chance to vote and affect the outcome. Some might accept the results of the BCS and vote accordingly. Others might vote in the interests of their conference or school. Still others might feel an obligation to do what’s best for the game and override the BCS.

In many years the football superdelegates wouldn’t have much to say. Southern Cal and Texas? Fine. In other years their role might become much more controversial. Nebraska 2001? Really?

If there were BCS superdelegates, to whom would you give that job?

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