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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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A perfect system

See, this is exactly the kind of mess the Bowl Championship Series has bent over backwards to avoid. A No. 6 seed, a mere wild card, playing for the championship? Pssh?this is clearly a sham. The Pittsburgh Steelers had the 15th-ranked offense in the league, behind such offensive juggernauts as the Redskins, Falcons, Cowboys and Dolphins.

Clearly, this is not a team worthy of the Super Bowl. Did they average 28 points a game this year? Did their quarterback throw for, like, a million yards? Did they go undefeated for 13 weeks? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

If only computers had been deciding things, we wouldn’t be in such a quagmire. After all, the numbers don’t lie.

Ah, but they do. The weekend’s championship games-in particular Pittsburgh’s dominant showing over the favored Broncos-once again just goes to show that all the numbers, stats and standings in the world don’t mean anything.

When asked about the Steelers-Colts matchup two weeks ago, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. defiantly refused to even consider the possibility of an upset, declaring that the Colts were going to win the Super Bowl, no ifs, ands or buts, and that was that. And as recently as a few days ago, the Broncos were evidently an 8:5 favorite to win it all. After all, they had the more attractive numbers, the better record, the hairier (and thus, more grizzled) quarterback?they had it all.

But they got their butts handed to them anyway. (And while we’re at it, can that game please be a lesson to all the gullible folks out there who bought into the whole “Jake Plummer really is a franchise quarterback” crap I’ve been hearing all year? I mean, are you serious?! Let’s put that to bed once and for all.)

I say this now, oddly enough, because college football’s Bowl Championship Series has been getting an increasing amount of support lately. The annual controversy has died down; the haters have been silenced, primarily because there is a perception that the system now works.

USC and Texas were the two best teams in the country this year and few people question that fact. So, despite an otherwise completely ridiculous lineup of BCS matchups, all the criticism has piped down. But don’t worry; it’ll be back.

As well it should. This may be stating the obvious, but the Steelers proved-even though some people still can’t get it through their head despite years’ worth of evidence-that it takes a lot more than just gaudy numbers to actually win, not only in the NFL but in just about any sport.

Peyton Manning doesn’t have “It”-the second-round loss to Pitt should prove that, although no doubt the hype will be back next year when they start the season 10-1 and once again have home-field advantage. Manning is a great quarterback, but like Dan Marino, he’s failed time and again when it’s really mattered. If you ever need a quarterback for your fantasy team, however, he’s your guy.

Plummer doesn’t have “It,” either. Mike Shanahan did a brilliant job of coaching this year, taking the game out of his idiot-prone signal-caller’s hands and winning with an excellent defense and that perpetually unstoppable running game. Even with all that, he faltered and his team got blown out.

But if, say, there were a BCS-like system governing the NFL postseason, what would the computers have to say about it? One thing’s for sure-the Steelers would be nowhere near a championship trophy. It would have come down to the Colts, Broncos and Seahawks.

Had such a system been in place, Pittsburgh may have won the big one last year, when the team went 15-1. The Patriots, their offense clearly inferior to Manning and his Colts and his 49 touchdowns, wouldn’t have been there even despite the 14 wins.

The 2001 Patriots certainly never would have claimed the title with their “lucky” 11-5 record, far superior that season to the 13-3 Steelers, 14-2 Rams and 13-3 Bears. Who knows how many shots at the title the Eagles would have had, having consistently finished at the top of the NFC Standings. Need I even bring up the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, the 1999 Jaguars and just about every Chiefs team in history?

Teams like that, and often the superstar players who highlight those teams, are nothing more than myths that people choose to buy into, regardless of history or even common sense. The reason the Steelers went on the road three times and beat the Bengals, Colts and Broncos is because they were the better team in each and every case. The numbers would tell you otherwise, and the “expert” power rankings, too. But we all watched as the Steelers picked apart, and at times dismantled, all three of their opponents.

Throw all the big stats out there you want to, but you can’t argue with the results.

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