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OPINIONS

Editorial: Let’s beat the bears

This weekend almost wreaked havoc on the infamous Bowl Championship Series. When No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 TCU came from two touchdowns behind to earn hard-fought victories and No. 1 Oregon squeaked by with a two-point win after Cal missed a short fourth-quarter field goal, the powers of college football breathed a sigh of relief. If those three teams had gone down, the projected national championship game would likely have been undefeated Boise State against…whichever one-loss team the voters and computers happened to like best.

In the end, the chance to play for the title will be decided off the field by a system that has astounded us with its capriciousness. Consider that over the last four weeks, Boise State has fallen from No. 3 to No. 4 while winning four blowouts by a combined 150 points. And how exactly are we so sure Oregon deserves to be ahead of a Bronco team that throttled the Ducks last year and returned all but one starter?

Why so much confusion? Because the system that determines the winners and losers in college football is just a glorified guessing game. That’s why we’ve had a shared national championship and an undefeated team (Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl) destroying the No. 4 team in a bowl game without getting a chance to play for it all. That’s why we have utterly inane conversations about style points (e.g., praising coaches for running up the score mercilessly on inferior opponents) and speculate about BCS bowl games looking for teams that “travel well” when deciding who deserves an at-large bid.

It is in this context that our beloved Stanford Cardinal (9-1, No. 6 BCS) comes into its final two games of the season against Cal and Oregon State. With only one loss on the road to the nation’s top-ranked team, the Cardinal, who several ESPN pundits called the best one-loss team in the country, has earned the right to play in a marquee bowl game. If a couple of bounces had fallen differently for the top three teams on Saturday, the Cardinal would have been in a position to argue it deserved a shot to play for the title. Instead, Stanford is left hoping that a set of archaic rules and biased voters don’t relegate it to the Alamo Bowl.

Of course, the Cardinal must win its final two games against a tough Oregon State team and this Saturday in Berkeley against a Cal squad coming off a near-upset of Oregon. And we as a university must be there to support them. Yes, the games are over Thanksgiving break, and there might be some high expectations of Red Zone points for Big Game, but everyone who can go to these games must do so. This has been one of the best seasons of Stanford football in memory, and if the enthusiasm of our fans is one metric that will affect the team’s chances to play in the right bowl, it would be a shame if we constrained their success. The weak fan support in our biggest home win against Arizona earned us the derision of the sports world. This weekend is Cal–don’t let it happen again. Let’s show up, let’s be loud and let’s beat the Bears.

About Editorial Board

Editorials represent the views of The Stanford Daily, an independent newspaper serving Stanford and the surrounding community. The Daily's Editorial Board consists of President and Editor-in-Chief Victor Xu '17, Executive Editor Will Ferrer '18, Managing Editor of Opinions Michael Gioia '17, Desk Editor of Opinions Jimmy Stephens '17, Senior Staff Writer Kylie Jue '17, Senior Staff Writer Olivia Hummer '17 and Senior Staff Writer Andrew Vogeley '17. To contact the Editorial Board chair, submit an op-ed (limited to 700 words) or submit a letter to the editor (limited to 500 words) at eic@stanforddaily.com.
  • Evan

    “And how exactly are we so sure Oregon deserves to be ahead of a Bronco team that throttled the Ducks last year and returned all but one starter?”

    We’re not. Ranking is not an exact science. But I’m pretty sure the current rankings are related to the fact that Boise St. played an Oregon team featuring Jeremiah Masoli and LeGarrette Blount instead of Darron Thomas (redshirted in 2009) and LaMichael James (had two carries for 22 yards against the Broncos). The backfield is the linchpin of the spread-option offense, and the evidence indicates that the latter pair is significantly superior to the former.