Can we give it up one time for the BCS?
Quit hating, folks. Even if Louisville and Wake Forest make the FedEx Orange Bowl the least sexy thing to hit Miami since 2 Live Jews, even after Notre Dame gets mollywopped in the Allstate Sugar Bowl -- no need to say "if" -- the BCS did well on Monday. After devaluing New Year's Day for eight years, not only did the BCS give us a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl that trumped every other January 1 bowl game of the new millennium, it legitimized the championship game that's been dissed by many since its matchup was announced nearly a month ago.
But that wasn't all. Let's briefly run through all of Monday's goodness.
1. Michigan got mollywopped.
I don't really care one way or another about Michigan, but that should end all the questions about whether the Wolverines, the second-best team in the country all season, belonged in the BCS Championship Game. Michigan being trounced 32-18 by USC only reaffirms that Florida deserves the privilege of being beaten by Ohio State on Jan. 8. Michigan's defenders will argue that the Wolverines had nothing to play for, which is preposterous. Michigan had the same thing to play for that USC did -- a win that would probably propel it to the top spot in the 2007 preseason polls. And considering how many of Michigan's juniors -- Chad Henne and Mike Hart, to name two -- announced that they would return for their senior seasons, there was no excuse for that loss. None.
There was no way Michigan should have gone to Glendale, nor will there be any doubt that the winner of next Monday's game is the best team in America. (Let's not extrapolate too much from the Fiesta Bowl thing, OK?) Score one for the system.
2. All things Fiesta Bowl.
And we mean all things except for Ian Johnson's proposal after the game. Buddy might be in love, but you think he would have taken it there had the Broncos lost? That's a bad sign for the young man. Sure hope the thrill of victory doesn't lead to the agony of giving up half of everything he owns. That wouldn't be cool.
Anyway, highlights include
A. Commercials for Idaho Potatoes.
It wasn't until I saw those commercials that I realized what a good thing it was for Boise State to be in the Fiesta Bowl. This didn't just bring attention to a football program. This was a time for an entire state to shine. Doesn't matter that they brought attention to the only thing about the state that most people know about. It really only matters that they got the chance in the first place.
And, as we saw, they deserved it.
B. Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson at the same desk.
Fox, which doesn't regularly carry college football, has the exclusive rights to all BCS games. That means the BCS will give us some interesting broadcast teams.
But really, were Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka already booked?
JJ and The King have a long history, dating back to Switzer's days as Johnson's tormentor when the former was at Oklahoma and the latter at Oklahoma State. Johnson then went to Miami where he beat OU three times between 1985 and '87, including a win in the Orange Bowl to win the national title, and those were OU's only losses during that span. In 1994 Johnson was fired by the Cowboys after winning his second consecutive Super Bowl. And who was hired to succeed him? Switzer, who hadn't coached since he left Oklahoma in 1989.
But there they were, paired as analysts by Fox. Gotta love it.
C. Switzer's affection for first-person plural pronouns.
Not that this was a shock, but Switzer talked about the Sooners at halftime as if he were being interviewed on his way to the locker room. He said "we" so many times that he had to catch himself.
That leads to an interesting question -- has any coach ever left his school more disgracefully than Switzer left OU but still been as beloved as he is in Norman? Before anyone says Woody Hayes, let's remember that throwing a feeble punch at a linebacker is far less embarrassing than having your starting quarterback arrested for trafficking dope and winding up on the cover of Sports Illustrated dressed like a tangerine.
D. Letting Boise State into the party.
While the BCS's ostensible purpose is to pair the top two teams in the country, it's also used as a way of allocating cash and glory to schools all across the country. To be fair -- and to stay out of court -- the BCS is kind enough to let some of the li'l fellas of the nation play on a big stage.
And the li'l fellas keep winning. Utah spanked Pittsburgh in 2005, but that victory pales in comparison to Boise State's thrilling win over Oklahoma.
It wasn't just that the Broncos won. Or that the end of the game was enough to guarantee that daring play-caller Chris Petersen will be making a lot more money in the near future.
The best part was that Boise State was given a chance to redeem its national reputation. After being physically overwhelmed by Georgia at Sanford Stadium last season, it was difficult to take the Broncos seriously against top competition. This win erases the bitter aftertaste of that trip between the hedges, and it will propel this program into the future. That sure beats where Boise would have played were it not for the BCS -- Boise. At its home stadium, which wouldn't curry much enthusiasm.
E. A moment of irony.
Now, lemme tell you what the BCS did for me. Before the Fiesta Bowl, my mother -- an OU alum -- and I played a game of Scrabble. The game was pretty close down the stretch, but she parlayed "flute" into a friggin' triple word score and some other stuff to get 40 points on her last play of the game to seal up a victory. Then, she had the audacity to look me in the grill and ask how many points were left in my hand, as if the game were in doubt. Right in front of my girlfriend. And to think my mama claims to love me.
So imagine how I beamed when her beloved Sooners were taken down on the last play of the game on a Statue of Liberty play, which prompted her to turn off the TV in disgust. God don't like ugly, now does he?
Bomani Jones is a columnist for Page 2. Tell him how you feel at firstname.lastname@example.org.