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Well, bowl me over!

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Sports Editor
For the last two seasons, I'm not sure there's been a more downtrodden group of fans than those who cheer for the Auburn Tigers.
Last year, Auburn was locked out of a chance to go the national championship season after finishing 12-0 and was forced to watch fellow undefeated USC clobber undefeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
This season, most viewers would arrive at the opinion that Auburn was the best team in the SEC, yet the Tigers missed out on the SEC Championship game and also failed to get an at-large bid into the BCS.
I feel sorry for Barry Alvarez and the Wisconsin Badgers. They're going to have a very temperamental group of Tigers in the Capital One Bowl this year.
There's been a lot said about whether Notre Dame deserves to be in the BCS this year after narrowly squeaking by a Stanford team that BCS at-large hopeful Oregon handled easily.
This Sunday, the inevitable happened as the BCS passed on the neon-yellow-clad Ducks in favor of the Irish. But in my opinion, Oregon's anger should not be directed at Notre Dame but instead at its own conference and the other conferences that make up the BCS.
This season, there will be a four-loss Florida State team that makes the BCS, coming into the Orange Bowl outside the top 20 in the AP Poll. The Seminoles are the team that stole Oregon's spot in this year's BCS, not Notre Dame.
The monopolistic attitude that the BCS has toward non-BCS schools and independents like Notre Dame is appalling. When the system was set up, it was designed to protect those six conferences and guarantee that at least one team from each conference would make the BCS, whether that conference was deserving of having a team in the BCS or not (remember Pittsburgh last year?).
Can you imagine a March Madness where it was dictated that the Final Four had to have one SEC team, one Big XII team, one Big Ten team and one Big East team?
Of course not.
But that's exactly what the BCS does, making sure that all its conferences are happy while deserving candidates like Auburn and Oregon are left out in the cold.
This year's national championship game looks like it will be a good one, but I balk at the assertion that USC and Texas are light years ahead of the other teams in Division I this year.
Both the Trojans and Longhorns were tested in road games against BCS at-large teams (USC's narrow win over Notre Dame and Texas' squeaker over Ohio State). Both also took advantage of two of the weakest top-to-bottom conferences in the history of college football. The Pac-10 has never been considered a terribly strong conference, but when the second-best team in the conference (Oregon) loses by 32 to USC and the third best (UCLA) loses by 47, that should give people a pretty good idea of the strength of the Pac-10 this year.
The Big XII wasn't much tougher. Texas had little trouble with the second-best team in its conference (Texas Tech) in a 52-17 win over the Red Raiders. And of course, the Big XII North "champion" Colorado really never showed up in either the regular season or the Big XII championship, outscored 112-20 in those two games against the Longhorns.
I'm not trying to take anything away from either USC or Texas – they did their jobs and finished their seasons undefeated and certainly deserve their Rose Bowl bids. Even so, they faced basically one or two difficult games all season on their powder-puff schedules. They're good teams, but to say that they are the best teams in college football and nobody else is even close, that's just ridiculous.