BCS, we thank you. No, really.
They are the three letters that make us crazy every year: BCS. No lowercase in this big deal. It is now an American institution that, like crabgrass, is unstoppable.
The Bowl Championship Series is the Big College Shank. Take a swing at it and it will veer, uncontrollably, off line.
It is the ingenious creation of people who weren’t geniuses. Picture a group trying to find its way home after the bars have closed, stumbling down one of several available roadways, changing walking shoes, walking sticks and eyeglasses many times, and emerging at the end of the rainbow.
“We shall call this pot of gold the BCS,” they say. “Maybe someday, we will become famous and loved for this.”
Or, infamous and despised.
No matter. The BCS is like Dennis Rodman. The only way you can hurt it is to ignore it, and in this country’s sports world, nothing is ignored that produces shiny trophies, lathered-up alums and large chunks of cash.
In fact, in its imperfection, the BCS is perfect.
It satisfies sports fans’ need to hate. It makes 2% of its constituency happy and the other 98% ready to slit throats.
It plays to the conditions inherent in most sports fans in this country -- morbid fatalism combined with nonfunctioning senses of humor. Coming soon, a DNA test for this.
The BCS needs to have a two-headed logo, one head in a Cubs cap, the other a Red Sox. Being a sports fan in the U.S. is painful, and the BCS is the ultimate thumbscrew.
All those marketing brains on Madison Avenue don’t come close to grabbing this large a segment of our population by the lapels and refusing to let go. The BCS is the Holy Grail of attention-getting. It is so flawed that we can’t stop beating ourselves up over it.
Where would sports-talk radio have been the last several months without it? What about newspaper columnists, with chances to be angry, snarky, disgusted, appalled, amused? Insert your favorite adjective.
One of the country’s leading print-media experts on BCS dysfunction, The Times’ Chris Dufresne, prays each night that chaos will continue to reign. For him, from September through the middle of January, it is at least 20 columns.
Another, Christine Brennan, wrote in USA Today recently, “The coaches make decisions like guys in a local bar.”
One coach she cited, a voter in her paper’s poll -- which is part of the BCS formula for who ultimately plays whom and where -- forgot to include national power Arkansas on his ballot. She reported that Ball State’s Brady Hoke said he felt “terrible.”
One radio talk guy said that Michigan got robbed. Another was certain that a Florida victory in the title game, preceded by a Michigan victory in the Rose Bowl, would make Michigan the national champion.
No way, his sidekick screamed back. Michigan and Ohio State would have the same record then, and Ohio State beat Michigan.
No less than ESPN Radio’s Dan Patrick, an adult in a sea of screaming acne, was advocating the need for a playoff because of voting bias. He coveted a system of voters with no agendas.
Where do we find those, Dan? Mars?
For about five months every year, the BCS generates more noise than the guy on the corner with the jackhammer. It is a sports squawk box, football’s version of Dick Vitale, a front-row seat at the drag strip with no earplugs and no pause between races.
In season, there is no dip on the BCS decibel meter. It starts with speculation and permutations of what-ifs before the games, and is followed by postmortem replays and new permutations of what-might-have-beens after. Currently, we are in the cool-down, rehash period known as: how-they-screwed-it-up-this-time.
Before we know it, it will be Jan. 8, the night of the title game between Ohio State and Florida. A few days later, silence, the result of that dreaded post-BCS mute button. With no more oxen to gore, we will have an end to the yakking.
Unless we are creative. Unless we can get a new computer tossed into the formula for next year, and we can find out who programmed it so we can start despising him. Or maybe a new BCS poll of monks in Tibet. Hissing at monks is kind of sporty.
This could work. It would give us a full 12 months of BCS badmouthing.
Embrace the crabgrass.
Bill Dwyre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Dwyre, go to latimes.com/dwyre.