"Things are more like they are now than they ever were before."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
President and General Eisenhower wasn't, but might as well have been, speaking of the BCS rankings.
The initial rankings of the 2009 season came out Sunday. We saw them. We'll debate them, curse them, argue over their merits ... same as next year, same as last year, same as the year before.
Welcome back to The Campus Game, where we can all try to make sense of something that makes no sense.
Here are the first BCS rankings for 2009:
12. Georgia Tech
Don't get me wrong. For opponents of a college football playoff (such as me), the BCS system works about as well as any such system could. It can be confounding and confusing, but for the most part seems to function pretty well.
Problems arise because ... like in many other areas (schools, government, etc) ... we expect too much.
The system is only supposed to identify the two teams most worthy of playing in a championship game at the end of the season.
Most significant word in that previous sentence? END.
So, if your squad is a serious title game contender, be patient. The rankings can and will fluctuate between now and early December. For proof, check out the initial BCS rankings for the past two seasons (final bowl destination is indicated):
2008 Week 1
1. Texas (Fiesta)
2. Alabama (Sugar)
3. Penn State (Rose)
4. Oklahoma (BCS Title)
5. USC (Rose)
6. OK State (Holiday)
7. Georgia (Capital One)
8. Texas Tech (Cotton)
9. Ohio State (Fiesta)
10. Florida (BCS Title)
11. Utah (Sugar)
12. Boise (Poinsettia)
2007 Week 1
1. Ohio State (BCS Title)
2. South Florida (Sun)
3. Boston College (Champs Sports)
4. LSU (BCS Title)
5. Oklahoma (Fiesta)
6. South Carolina (No Bowl)
7. Kentucky (Music City)
8. Arizona State (Holiday)
9. West Virginia (Fiesta)
10. Oregon (Sun)
11. Virginia Tech (Orange)
12. Cal (Armed Forces)
Around the Nation
South: In the ACC, Virginia hosts Georgia Tech in a Coastal Division contest. Visiting Clemson poses a threat to Miami's division hopes, and Bobby Bowden will get plenty of attention when his FSU team travels to beautiful Chapel Hill for a Thursday night ESPN game with North Carolina.
The SEC offers up the great "third Saturday in October" tradition with Tennessee visiting Alabama. Rejuvenated Arkansas faces former head Hog Houston Nutt at Ole Miss. Top-ranked Florida also squares off on the road against a former coach as Dan Mullen (past UF offensive coordinator) and Miss State welcome the Gators. Auburn at LSU is worth a watch as well.
North/East: The Big East features a trio of nice games. Louisville paddles the Ohio River to face front-running Cincinnati; South Florida plays at Pitt; U Conn tries to carry on against West Virginia in the aftermath of the Jasper Howard tragedy.
Midwest: Big Ten country provides a terrific pairing of two storied programs when Michigan hosts Penn State. Minnesota travels to Columbus to face Ohio State, the Buckeyes reeling from a loss at Purdue. Unbeaten Iowa faces a hurdle at Michigan State. In South Bend, the hard-luck Irish try to stop yet another losing streak, this one a six-game skid against Boston College.
Southwest: Texas travels to Missouri for one of the toughest remaining tests on the Longhorns schedule. Texas Tech travels to Texas A&M in a game that got a little chippy last year when Red Raider coach Mike Leach tacked on a touchdown with just seconds remaining in a game that was already decided.
West: Potential BCS busters TCU and BYU meet in Provo, while fellow threat Boise State plays at Hawaii. USC seeks to pay back Oregon State for last year's loss. Oregon at Washington might be interesting too.
Here are this week's Top Ten Lists ... Enjoy!
Campus Game Top Ten Rankings (Week 8)
10. TCU (tie) ... Horned Frogs make rankings; can they beat BYU?
10. Boise State (tie) ... Broncos in the top ten, but no title game in future.
9. Georgia Tech ... Jackets offense is thing of beauty; defense not so much.
8. LSU ... a ten-point loss to Gators was no shame.
7. Iowa ... undefeated Hawkeyes still still getting little respect from TCG.
6. Miami ... still expect Canes to lose one or two more, but they deserve rank.
5. Cincinnati ... Brian Kelly keeps Bearcats winning regardless of QB it seems.
4. USC ... Trojans escaped Notre Dame upset bid, now jostle for poll position.
3. Texas ... Longhorns won ugly vs. Oklahoma, but ugly wins count.
2. Florida ... Gators hanging tough but need to score more.
1. Alabama ... Tide holds onto top spot in TCG ratings.
Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 8)
Oklahoma at Kansas ... both teams trying to recover from big losses.
Clemson at Miami ... Tigers a major obstacle to Canes title hopes.
Tennessee at Alabama ... will week off give Vols edge over Tide?
South Florida at Pitt ... Panthers try to stay atop Big East race.
Boston College at Notre Dame ... do all Irish games go to last-play?
Penn State at Michigan ... two of college football's flagship programs.
Oregon State at USC ... Beavers ended SC title dreams last season.
Texas at Missouri ... Longhorns must avoid post-Oklahoma letdown.
TCU at BYU ... winner tries to woo BCS bowls.
Iowa at Michigan State ... does Iowa's dream season end in East Lansing?
See you at kickoff!