Even an unbeaten Big East team seems Miami bound

Updated: November 8, 2006, 9:04 AM ET
By Gene Wojciechowski | ESPN.com

Louisville fan: Whooee!! We're going to the BCS championship! All Coach P -- Petrino, not Pitino -- and the boys have to do is beat that team with those Radio Shack logos on their helmets, then beat South Florida, then Pittsburgh, then Connecticut, then keep Coach P from secretly flirting with an NFL team or some money-whipping college program, and we'll be in Glendale, Ariz., come Jan. 8!

Me: You sure?

Son, you fall off the top bunk one too many times? Of course we're going. We'd be 12-0. It'll be us against Ohio State or Michigan.

Just because you're undefeated doesn't make you the second-best team in the country.

They got cable TV where you live? We just got done performing a loss transplant on West Virginia, which, by the way, was ranked No. 3 at the time.

Saw it. Also saw your defense give up 34 points and 540 total yards, including 318 on the ground: 156 to a running back playing with one good hand, and 125 to a quarterback playing on one good ankle.

Maybe you saw our offense too -- the one scoring 30 of our 44 points. We did that against the No. 12-ranked defense in the country.

You did that against a West Virginia defense that had faced Marshall (44th out of 119 in total offense), Maryland (95th), East Carolina (51st), Mississippi State (104th), Syracuse (112th), UConn (77th) and Eastern Washington (77th out of 119 in Division I-AA). The Mountaineers were the 12th-best defense in the country like Borat really has a son named Hooeylewis.

I don't think I like your attitude.

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It's nothing personal. Louisville plays entertaining football. The Big East is a BCS bowl-worthy conference. And Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese deserves a raise for keeping the league relevant after Miami and Virginia Tech defected to the ACC. What the conference doesn't deserve is a team in the national championship game.

I am so tired of you ascot-wearing, Audi-driving, pheasant-under-glass-eating, Eastern elitist, football snobs telling America who deserves what. If we finish 12-0 we damn well better be playing in that BCS title game. And if Rutgers beats us and finishes 12-0, then I'm rooting for my Big East buddy to the north to get there.

First of all, I drive a 5-year-old pickup truck and live outside Chicago. Second, Rutgers versus Ohio State/Michigan? That's not a national championship game. That's a game played in early September as part of a three-for-one deal -- three games at Columbus or Ann Arbor, one game at Piscataway. I'd rather see Boise State.

That's a cheap shot.

You're right. Sorry. The Scarlet Knights have had a wonderful season, but they're not championship-quality stuff -- yet. Same goes for Louisville -- yet. But right now, I just don't think you're the second-best team in the nation. I'm not even convinced you're the ninth-best team.

Ninth?! You've been spending too much time at the opium den. Who's better?

Unbeaten Ohio State, Michigan and one-loss Texas for sure. One-loss Auburn, Florida, Cal, USC and Arkansas almost for sure. And I'd like my chances with two-loss LSU or Tennessee. If there were an eight-team playoff system, I'd seed Louisville eighth, tops.

The last person who talked to me like that had to pick his teeth off the ground ... with tweezers. Look here, we just got done winning one of our playoff games. It's called: Cardinals 44, Mountaineers 34. This week's playoff game is against Rutgers. It's not our fault those other teams can't win theirs.

Please stop saying that. Every week is not a playoff game.

Making it through Louisville's "playoff" schedule (West Virginia, Rutgers) isn't anything like Florida's (Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State) or Michigan's (Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Ohio State) or Texas' (Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas A&M) or USC's (Arkansas, Nebraska, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame) or Arkansas' (USC, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU) or Cal's (Tennessee, Oregon State, Oregon, USC). And Texas, Florida and Arkansas/Auburn or LSU still have to play in conference championship games; Louisville and Rutgers don't.

So let's quit pretending we have an elimination tournament when all we really have is a season-long BCS breath-holding contest, punctuated by a major controversy about every other year or so. A playoff has seedings. The BCS has computers, coaches with agendas and an ever-changing series of rules governing the rankings.

You like apples?

Sure.

Well, those BCS standings have us No. 3. How you like dem apples?

I think the SEC, for example, has four teams in the top 12 of the BCS standings, five teams in the top 13 of the AP poll. The Big East has three teams in the top 13 of the BCS, three in the top 15 of the AP. I also think Ohio State would beat you by double digits. The same goes for Texas, USC, Cal and Michigan.

The Big East is 32-8 against nonconference opponents.

The SEC is 35-7.

[Sigh] Coach P would like to put you in a Papa John's pizza oven.

I don't blame him. But I want to see the two best teams play in Glendale. If that means an Ohio State-Texas rematch, I can live with that.

And leave a 12-0 team out of the game?

Auburn, Utah and Boise State were undefeated in 2004 and didn't make it. And it could happen again to Boise State this season.

Yeah, well everybody said the Detroit Tigers would beat the St. Louis Cardinals, and look what happened. Fear the Bird.

Enjoy the Orange Bowl.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.

Gene Wojciechowski | email

Columnist / College Football reporter