Undefeated used to mean something. But these days, according to the Bowl Championship Series system, it doesn’t seem to mean much.
The undefeated Hawaii Warriors (12-0, 8-0 conference) finished the 2007 season with a close 35-28 win over the Washington Huskies on December 1st. With this win, the Warriors finished the season being the only team undefeated in Division 1 college football.
For those who are not aware of the BCS ranking system, it is a computer-based system that determines the final championship game based on teams’ statistics and their rankings overall, compared to the other teams in college football. So to sum it up, it’s a computer that determines what two teams will be playing in the coveted championship game.
Sounds pretty unfair, especially for teams like Hawaii. They stand no chance because of their strength of schedule. Their schedule ranked second to last in the BCS most of the season and dead last at one point in terms of strength. This is because of the fact that they played 11 unranked teams out 12 games.
Instead of the BCS championship game, they got to play in the Sugar Bowl, one of the championship series games. The Sugar Bowl, as a BCS game, is not the championship game. It is just one of the championship series games that the BCS has, along with the FedEx Orange Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl game presented by Citi.
Teams who win their major conference are guaranteed a spot in at least one of these games. The major conferences include the Big 12, Pac 10, Southern Conference. Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Big East.
Now, let’s look at last year’s “Hawaii,” the Boise State Broncos. The Broncos, who had the same exact situation happen to them last year, went into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl as an underdog to college football powerhouse Oklahoma. The Broncos went on to run an unforgettable Statue of Liberty play to win the game 43-42 in overtime.
The Fiesta Bowl game showed that the strength of the schedule didn’t matter and that “lower-caliber” teams can compete with the big dogs. Who says Hawaii could not have done that in the championship game this year?
So as for Hawaii and head coach June Jones, they know they must continue to play their best, as they have all year, come out with big wins, and show college football what they’re all about.
Joe Noel is a 10th-grader at Schenectady High School.