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Did McCoy’s Injury Expose The BCS?

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There are many valid reasons for a playoff to be implemented instead of a BCS. Perhaps No. 467th on that list is "in case a star gets hurt."

Matt Zemek of the indispensable CollegeFootballNews mentioned this on Twitter last night, and expanded further: "How much stock can be placed in a game that lacked its most legendary player (not its best player), Mr. McCoy?"

Colt McCoy hurtColt McCoy played all of two minutes in this national championship game before the behemoth known as Marcell Dareus tackled him on a seemingly nonviolent scramble. No doubt it rattled the structure of the game as a Heisman finalist was replaced by true freshman Garrett Gilbert, who did account for two touchdowns but also five turnovers.

Ever since the dawn of jai alai and caveman badminton, it's been true that injuries are an inescapable facet of sports. They suck, they're relatively tragic and they are never meted out fairly. But … run that by me again why this is an argument for playoffs?

Five undefeated teams. Holy shit, college football had five undefeated teams this year, and three of them were left out in the cold (it was brisk in Glendale, Arizona). There's your argument.

In the 2005 NFL playoffs, the Bengals lost to the Steelers in the first round, largely due to Carson Palmer getting injured on his first pass, a 66-yard reception. The Steelers went onto win the Super Bowl that year. And I understand Zemek's interpretation: the Steelers didn't win the championship by virtue of beating the Palmer-less Bengals, they won because the refs gave it to them against the Seahawks. (Or something to that tune.) But imagine if Palmer wasn't ankle-bitten. There's a very reasonable chance someone else may have won the Lombardi Trophy that year.

"This is what happens," Zemek wrote, "when a 'postseason' – such as it is – lasts all of one game. There’s a reason why 99 percent of sports use at least two rounds of competition to decide championships."

There is a great reason. Many, even. But it has squat to do with injuries.

Photo credit: Associated Press

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  • Uzo

    I was thinking along those same lines–that 1 injury’s toll on one game essentially determined the entire college football offseason. More to the point though, I think the fact that we had to wait so long for a matchup that never really happened kind of attacks the whole system.

  • By the way, what’s with so many people saying Alabama would have won anyway?

  • If Texas won with a healthy Colt McCoy, then we’re talking about Greg McElroy’s cracked ribs and how they changed the landscape of the playoffs.

  • From the original post, “injuries are an inescapable facet of sports. They suck, they’re relatively tragic and they are never meted out fairly.”
    If we’re playing the “what if” game, what if, with LSU leading in their regular season game with Alabama this year, their starting QB,RB, and others had not gone out with injuries? How many top ten teams lost as many starters in one game this season?
    We have to deal with the injuries and let the chips fall where they may. That’s why we have depth charts and it’s TEAM sports.
    Finally, Texas gave up a lot on defense regardless who was playing at QB.