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Tweak, Tweak go BCS officials

by Danny Carpenter

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

The old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Unfortunately, Bowl Championship Series officials believe their system still needs a fixin'.

In the BCS' first year, officials had to play the waiting game, but thanks to late upsets to UCLA and Kansas State, the final clear-cut teams were undefeated Tennessee and Florida State (even though the Seminoles had one loss -- an early-season loss).

However, Tulane, with current West Virginia University coach Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator, finished the season without a blemish but was left out of the big game.

So the officials said "Let's add more computer ratings to eliminate the weaker contenders."

Again, an undefeated team -- Marshall -- was left out in the cold, while Florida State defeated a Michael Vick-led Virginia Tech for the title.

Last season, the BCS championship game could have been officially called the Florida State Invitational after the Seminoles reached their third straight title game. And again Bobby Bowden's team had one loss.

The loss was to Miami, who lost to Washington, who lost to Oregon State, etc.

You get the point.

Now the BCS officials are making so-called adjustments to include a quality-win component and less emphasis on margin of victory, which would have allowed the Hurricanes face undefeated Oklahoma last January.

With so many changes in three years, the BCS has become the Winston Cup of college sports.

NASCAR is notorious to making changes to even the playing field, but are the new changes in the BCS beneficial to every team or just the elite programs?

The new format awards bonus points for victories over teams rated in the top 15 in the BCS standings.

Officials say defeating a top team early in the season that falls out of the rankings will be no benefit for the winning team.

The problem is what if the losing team finishes 7-4 but three losses are by a touchdown or less. Both teams get hurt in the process.

It would be a quality win with nothing to show for it by the winning team, and just a tough luck season for the losing team.

So many what ifs and still not enough answers for the BCS.

n Speaking of the Winston Cup Series, most of the talk is about Dale Jr.'s victory at last weekend's Pepsi 400.

And the rumor mill has rubbed Earnhardt the wrong way, and he said before practice for the Tropicana 400 that he almost hit a man for asking him if the race was fixed.

I watched most of the race (for fantasy team purposes), and he did have a strong car and solid pit stops.

BUT ...

Even Johnny Benson questioned Junior's ability to move from sixth to first on the outside without draft help in the final laps of the race.

To quote Benson: "But it's OK. It was good that Junior won."

Good for who, really?

Assistant sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at dcarpenter@exponent-telegram.com.

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