BCS Championship 2006: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators

They’ve just announced on the Fox BCS hype-fest that the Florida Gators have been chosen to play the Ohio State Buckeyes for the (mythical) Division-I college national championship.

This was probably a foregone conclusion, as Florida vaulted past Michigan in the final polls. Adding intrigue and controversy to the situation, OSU’s Jim Tressel declined to participate in the coaches’ poll.

Florida passed Michigan and returned to No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today coaches’ polls released Sunday.

While the Gators had a slim lead of three points over Michigan in the AP poll, they were 26 points ahead of the Wolverines in the USA Today poll — a margin that could help get Florida into the national title game. The coaches’ poll is one of three components used in the Bowl Championship Series Standings, along with the Harris poll and a compilation of six computer ratings.


Ohio State’s Jim Tressel did not vote in the USA Today coaches’ poll to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, a move the newspaper said could jeopardize his future in the selection process. “We are excited to play in the BCS title game against a tremendous opponent,” Tressel said in a statement. “After consultation with my director of athletics, Gene Smith, and based upon our unique position in the BCS standings, I believe it is only fair that we not participate in the final poll.”

Monte Lorell, USA Today’s managing editor for sports, said Sunday in a statement, “We are disappointed with coach Tressel’s decision, but our oversight role does not grant us authority to compel his participation. The agreement with the American Football Coaches Association obligates the panel of coaches to disclose final regular season ballots, without exception. “Coach Tressel’s future involvement in the poll will be part of our annual review with AFCA executive director Grant Teaff.”


Teaff, a former coach, said Tressel’s decision was “not something that we would like to have happen, but it’s kind of an unusual circumstance.” Until last year, the coaches’ ballots were not made public. Now, the final regular-season ballots are released. “It’s just a tough situation,” Teaff said.

You can’t blame him, really. It’s an awkward situation for a coach guaranteed a shot at the title to have the opportunity to help pick his opponents. Indeed, one without integrity could easily pick a lesser opponent by voting the #3 or #4 team #1 and leaving the higher ranked teams off the ballot.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Gibson says:

    It’s a real shame that championships in college football are decided subjectively instead of objectively. We need a playoff system insted of this Broken BCS system.

  2. Ivallinen Roisto says:

    Had Florida not been chosen after the miscarriage of justice in 2004 with Auburn, I would have been one of many to demand that SEC Commissioner Slive exercise the nuclear option and remove the SEC from the BCS, and sod the penalties. As it currently stands, well, I’ll remain one of a few to request that. I can’t say that I blame Coach Tressel, and in fact, I consider his abstention an act of conscience and an example of ethical behaviour, though not necessarily for entirely altruistic reasons. With the hopelessly broken BCS (two lies in three words) system, the abstention of interested parties should not only be permitted, but required.

  3. Ivallinen Roisto says:

    It should be noted that the BCS applies only to Division I-A schools. Division I-AA, Division II, and Division III NCAA schools have enjoyed quite a bit of success with their respective college football playoffs. These divisions prove that a college football playoff is workable. Furthermore, the fans demand this. When will the university presidents and the empty suits at the networks listen?

  4. Rachel says:

    College football is the only sport in the country where every game in the regular season counts. Why would anyone want to screw that up? A playoff system is for losers who can’t take the heat during the regular season.

  5. Wickedpinto says:

    Why can’t they just create division bowls, and then extend the season for 3 more weeks?

    They don’t wanna contend against the NFL playoffs?

    Don’t worry, in recent history the NFL doesn’t want the SUPERBOWL to contend with NFL playoff commercials, or Superbowl commercials.

    Hell, extending 3 weeks, means that the universities get more money, and have a greater chance of injuring their “students” in games, making it so that first round picks actually mean something. If they make it 3 years, with a near NFL season brutality without significant injury that alone is enough reason. Maybe those kids who get injured will look at themselves and say “You know? I always liked biology, maybe I should actually learn about that, rather than get a degree in english comprehension or international appreciation, or racial studies or womens studies”

    Really, Football players at universities treat universities as vocational schools for football.

    NCAA football need to mature in it’s scholastic aspect to try and tell us that they are “trying” rather than creating meaningless bowl games that noone finds important, and only watch because it has the game involved.

    I mean really, I love olives, my sister in law loves “greek olives” (we aren’t that well off on all counts, but my sister buys a particular type of greek olives, that none of us like, but her)

    I see all of the bowls now in the same way as I see greek olives. Okay, some peole like them, but it doesn’t mean anything anymore.

    As far as I’m concerned all of the bowl games are greek olives. Okay, they are olives, and I will eat them, but that doesn’t mean I will enjoy them, and a day will come when I will just stop eating them.

  6. David Harris says:

    Does that mean, Rachel, that Boise State should be playing for the national championship? They weren’t “eliminated” in the regular season, by your standards, as they are still undefeated.

    The system is in place: Use the BCS rankings for seeding purposes for a 6 or 8 team playoff. The regular season certainly still “counts”, but the champ is decided on the field, where pretty much everyone with a functional brain wants to see it decided.

  7. Really though, by not making a choice, Jim Tressel made a choice. It was tough for him, but I will note that he did not stand up for his conference as he would probably expect other coaches in the league to do.