In a country that adamantly promotes equal opportunity employment, one of its most popular revenue-building sources seems to advocate quite the opposite.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas in the BCS National Championship game sure does sound like one heck of a matchup. Two teams that have been ranked in the top five all season will finally match up in what was a somewhat expected turnout in the BCS title game.

But as Heisman candidates Colt McCoy and Mark Ingram face off in Pasadena, a few teams will obviously be left out of what could, or perhaps should have been their opportunity to win a national title.

Thanks to what has become one of the most debated topics in college sports, teams like Texas Christian, Boise State and Cincinnati won’t even get a chance to play for a national championship.

And it’s not like past years where there have been two, maybe three clear-cut favorites. This year, all of those teams are undefeated, and all of them could make a case that they belong in the BCS title game.

Most voters chose Texas because of its status in what is normally one of the NCAA’s best conferences, the Big 12, but this year, that isn’t really the case.

Including Texas, the Big 12 has only three ranked teams, two of which are not in the top 20. In the conference title game, it wasn’t like last year when Oklahoma blew out Missouri, but rather a defensive battle between the supposed No. 3 team in the country and overmatched Nebraska.

Oh, and Texas won on a game-winning field goal, which was made possible by a controversial and questionable call.

Nevertheless, the Longhorns are undefeated, but Texas’ r?sum? isn’t exactly overwhelmingly more impressive than its unbeaten counterparts.

Cincinnati finished the season undefeated, having beaten Oregon State (near Pac-10 championship and Rose Bowl bid) and Pittsburgh on the road, both of which are strong wins against opponents that finished in the top 20.

Boise State began the season with a crushing victory over Oregon (remember LeGarrette Blount’s punch?) and a thorough thumping of the rest of their WAC opponents.

And perhaps the most snubbed of all teams, TCU demolished ranked teams Brigham Young and Utah and also won a tough road game in Clemson, which just missed out on an Orange Bowl berth.

So what has Texas done? Well, aside from the Longhorns near meltdown against Nebraska, it has beaten two other ranked teams in the conference, with a laughable nonconference schedule.

Now I’m not one to say whether Texas deserves to play in the national championship. For all I know, the Longhorns could be the No. 2 team in the country — it’s fairly obvious Alabama deserves the No. 1 ranking.

But the most disturbing part about this season in particular is that debate is clearly a possibility, but we all knew exactly what the outcome would be.

Now to sound like a broken record, it’s about time the FBS institute a playoff system. Seriously, this is just getting ridiculous.

We’ve heard arguments about the season being too long, the tournament field being too big or too small, and the issue of what teams to actually include in a playoff. Frankly, these over-exaggerated qualms completely miss the point of what the grind of a college football season is all about.

I’m sure Alabama would love to play Florida again. I’m sure Florida would love another shot at the national championship. But more importantly, a playoff would simply give the teams like TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati the opportunity to play with the nation’s best.

In another season, an argument could be made for the opposite. But the “why would you give a non-BCS school the opportunity to play a powerhouse” question doesn’t come up this year because Texas by no means outperformed those unbeatens from other conferences.

The playoff is needed for a season like this. When the line isn’t clear about what team is better and there are simply too many options to pass up.

Yes, Alabama deserves to be in the national championship game, but why can’t the Tide beat a couple mid-majors to prove that fact? Why does Texas get a free pass while other teams arguably had better seasons than the Longhorns?

That just doesn’t make sense.

The FBS should take a lesson from the rest of the NCAA and institute a tournament, even if it’s only eight teams, to determine the national champion.

Voters love to hate on the underdog, but as we’ve seen in George Mason in 2006, Davidson in 2008, and even our own Wisconsin Badgers in 2000, the underdog is what creates the drama and excitement of a tournament.

But would TCU beating Texas really be an upset? According to the voters, it would. But thanks to the BCS, it’s simply something we will never know.

Jonah is a junior majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Is the BCS a fair system? Should the NCAA institute some sort of playoff into the FBS? Send your thoughts to [email protected]

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