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|It's early, but Vince Young and Texas are suddenly at the top of the BCS.|
That phenomenon is Snyder's Revenge. It's so strong that it has persisted even though K-State made the Fiesta Bowl in 2003. And its power should make for a Happy New Year in Austin. Based on previous manifestations of the Revenge, the only thing that could keep the Longhorns out of the national championship game would be getting shut out by Baylor. And if Virginia Tech, Georgia or Alabama finishes undefeated along with Texas and USC, they'd be well-served to feign happiness about playing in the Fiesta or Sugar bowls for little more than pride. That's the least the universe could do for Snyder's conference, considering what happened to his team in '98. Old-fashioned football fans can argue over whether the BCS is more of a headache than a helping hand. The number crunchers can find where one of the computers forgot to carry a one and tweak the formulas accordingly. But when the bowl pairings for '98 were released and the third-best team in America was forced to play in a game that was more like a big cup than a bowl, the BCS made its greatest mistake. The computers didn't do that. Men in blazers with logos from the Orange and Sugar bowls, fearful that the Wildcats faithful wouldn't buy tickets, did that. (And I could be wrong, but I think that people in Manhattan, Kan., where the average temperature in January is 28 degrees, would jump at any excuse to see the sun, let alone a bowl game.) Invoking Snyder and the best team he'll ever coach to explain this oddity points out the real problems with the BCS. The computers aren't nearly as problematic as the people involved with the BCS. The arrogance that comes with opposable thumbs has made the computers the BCS's scapegoat, but the computer rankings are the only beacons of objectivity in the BCS. They may be soulless and unable to account for style, but they are also unencumbered by whom they voted for in previous weeks. The computers didn't make it impossible for Auburn to reach the Orange Bowl last year. The voters who kept Auburn below Oklahoma on their ballots -- because, well, that's where they fell on their preseason ballots -- did the Tigers that disservice. Despite protestations from Northern California, Texas' late-season leapfrog over Cal last year wasn't the fault of the computers, either. That happened because the Bears nearly lost to Southern Miss in their last game of the season. No computer made them squeak past a team they should have smashed. Any pollster who watched that game but dropped Cal only a place or two on his or her ballot because Mack Brown made a plea is in the wrong line of work.
|USC has been burned by the BCS before.|