MARTY RUSSELL: If Mayans don't get us, BCS will make our heads pop

By Marty Russell

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. It’ll probably be our last. If we don’t go out with a whimper following next year’s presidential elections then we’re supposed to go out with a bang, according to the ancient Mayans, who predicted the Earth will be destroyed by some cosmic force on Dec. 21 of next year. Around 2:45 p.m., I believe, because cosmic forces don’t work mornings and like to finish before tea time.
Which means we all have less than a year to live. That’s not a lot of time to do all the things we always said we wanted to do before we die, like bring about world peace, make as much money as a member of Congress or figure out how the Bowl Championship Series works.
OK, so in just the 11 months we have left those first two items on our bucket list might be doable but I’m not sure eternity is long enough to figure out how the BCS rankings work. As you’re probably aware, we’re in the thick of the college football bowl season during the holidays. At last count there were approximately 5,397 bowl games despite the fact that there are only about 1,000 college football teams in this country.
That means you’ve got to be bad, really, really bad not to be chosen to participate. Sorry, Ole Miss.
But it does seem that for about a month around the holidays, you can’t turn on the TV without there being a bowl game on and, of course, each bowl game has a corporate sponsor these days. There’s the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (to which Dan Quayle wasn’t invited), the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and the Gator Bowl, a favorite among Republicans.
Makes you wonder why Roto-Rooter hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon with the Toilet Bowl.
Most of the match-ups in these bowls are determined by something called the BCS, a simple, three-step process much like our tax code. It begins with something called the Harris Interactive Poll, where 115 voters cast ballots for which teams should be ranked highest, which is then divided by 2,875 for some reason and then rounded off to the nearest letter of the alphabet and discarded in the trash.
Next comes the Coaches’ Poll, where coaches rank the top teams, each, of course, voting for their own team.
Finally, Watson, the supercomputer, steps in and chooses the winners and, since it’s a computer and doesn’t give a RAM about football, usually gets it wrong.
So there you have it. We can all die happy next December knowing we’ve finally figured out the BCS system. But wouldn’t a simple playoff system based on overall records make much more sense and be much more fun? Guess we’ll never know.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by email at

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