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Original Issue

Phil Taylor's Sidelines


Boston College's 36-17 win over West Virginia on Saturday not only gave the Eagles the inside track to the Big East championship, but also confirmed what has been increasingly clear for weeks: The conference doesn't have a team deserving of the Big East's automatic BCS bowl bid. The Mountaineers appeared to be the closest thing to a worthy candidate before B.C. dominated them in Morgantown, behind two scoring passes from quarterback Paul Peterson (above) and two punt returns for TDs. The 7-2 Eagles, ranked 21st in the BCS standings, now need to beat Temple and Syracuse for a probable spot in the Fiesta Bowl--much too big a reward for a team that has lost to Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. When West Virginia quarterback Rasheed Marshall was asked whether he thought B.C. was worthy of a BCS slot, he said, "I'll keep that to myself." The situation would have been avoided had the BCS taken away the Big East's automatic bid after the departures of Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC significantly weakened the league. Blame the BCS, not B.C.


At least the BCS race in the Big East is fairly easy to grasp, unlike in the ACC, where chaos is brewing. The only certainty is that if running back Mike Imoh (left) and Virginia Tech (4-1 in the conference) win their final three games, the Hokies will get the automatic bid. But if they stumble, Miami (4-2), Virginia (4-2) and Florida State (6-2) enter the picture. According to the complicated BCS rules, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, unless one team is six or more spots ahead of the other in the BCS standings. Because Miami beat Florida State, for instance, the Hurricanes hold the tiebreaker over the Seminoles--unless FSU, whose No. 8 BCS ranking is four spots ahead of Miami's, can increase that margin by two. Then there are a multitude of three-way-tie permutations, scenarios that make the head spin. Wasn't the BCS supposed to make things less complicated?


San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said his embattled team's demeanor at its pregame meal gave him a good feeling going against No. 14 Boise State. Given that breakfast began at 5:45 a.m., maybe Hill was just heartened to see that his players were awake. With kickoff set at 9:02 a.m. (some of the estimated 6,000 fans in attendance wore pajamas), the Spartans nearly caught Boise State napping. But Jeff Carr (right) had a potential game-winning field goal blocked late in the fourth quarter and SJSU fell 56-49 in double overtime. Still, it was a good morning for the Spartans: They opened up the San Jose Mercury News that day to read that interim school president Don Kassing had no plans to eliminate the program, which has sagged badly on the field and at the turnstiles.