- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2006

‘Tis the season to get bollixed by the BCS.

This year’s ultimate BCS bullet was painted maize and blue.

Here’s a quick primer for those who spent the weekend untangling decorative holiday lights or wrestling with electric yard deer:

Southern Cal choked. Michigan watched. Florida vaulted.

And the system still stinks.

A week ago, Florida was fourth on college football’s title totem. But thanks to assists from UCLA, Arkansas punt returner Reggie Fish and the BCS formula’s capricious human elements, the Gators (12-1) are going to Glendale, Ariz., to face Ohio State (12-0) for the national title.

Now, the Back Judge has nothing against the Gators. After all, choosing sides in this deal is like picking a fight on deck of the Titanic. Thanks to the ludicrous BCS system, everyone is doomed to lose sooner or later.

Still, it is humorous that Michigan, which performed at a consistently higher level than the Gators all season and entered the weekend leading Florida in both human polls, exited the weekend deemed inferior to the Gators without playing a down.

That, of course, was Michigan’s primary problem. A Big Ten title game is an unlikely answer. But don’t be surprised if the annual Michigan vs. Ohio State showdown, and thus the entire Big Ten season, adds an extra bye and gets pushed back a week to eliminate the layoff factor.

The Wolverines (11-1) closed the regular season with a 42-39 loss at Ohio State on Nov. 18 and spent the last two weeks helplessly watching as a culture with a five-minute memory took a shine to Urban Meyer’s gang from Gainesville.

And the Gators are certainly more entertaining, if considerably more erratic, than Michigan. They played a drastically different game in each quarter against Arkansas in Saturday night’s SEC Championship.

They led 17-0 behind spectacular freshman sensation Percy Harvin (11 touches, 167 yards, two touchdowns), who will be the most electric player on the field Jan. 8 — apologies to Troy Smith and Ted Ginn.

They trailed 21-17 midway through the third quarter after cosmically overrated senior quarterback Chris Leak completed a 40-yard touchdown pass … to Arkansas’ Antwain Robinson.

And they pulled away 38-28 thanks in large part to a momentum-reversing mental error by Fish, a backup who momentarily mistook himself for Willie Mays and attempted to field a punt a la basket catch on his own goal line — muff six.

The Gators are exciting, explosive and implosive. But they have done nothing this season that would suggest they are superior to Michigan.

That said, the Back Judge is all for spreading around the misfortune. Two years ago, unbeaten Auburn was victimized like few teams in history when college football’s Deep Blue nightmare spit out a Southern Cal vs. Oklahoma title matchup, spurning the SEC champion. Both the Trojans and the Sooners were sensational that season and probably better than Auburn. But after running the table in what is always the toughest football conference in America, Auburn had earned a title shot more than either of the actual contenders.

So maybe this season’s SEC squeaker in the BCS can be chalked up to karma.

And frankly, the Back Judge always welcomes BCS chaos with open arms. The more times in virtual succession the system gouges, cheats, shams, frustrates or otherwise spectacularly fails, the closer the people who mismanage the game will come to instituting the playoff everybody knows it needs.

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