As if there weren't enough quirks with this crazy, contrived BCS system of ours, there's a certain bit of irony that has added yet another layer to the madness. It goes something like this: He who pops off soon gets whacked.
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville started it way back in early October -- even before the first BCS rankings were released -- when he stated that an unbeaten SEC team couldn't be left out of the championship game again.
Next scene: Arkansas thumps unbeaten Auburn by 17.
Next up, Louisville coach Bob Petrino politicked for his Cardinals after a big win over West Virginia. A week later, Rutgers stopped that train with a last-second field goal. Then Rutgers coach Greg Schiano repeated the Big-East-lacks-respect refrain. No sooner had those words rolled off his lips than the Scarlet Knights lost to Cincinnati.
Why, oh why, would Southern California coach Pete Carroll join the fray knowing the karma that awaits? Because the Trojans actually are the best one-loss team in the country, that's why.
"We played a heck of a schedule," Carroll says. "We'll play anybody anywhere, and I think we'll be hard to beat."
It's hard to argue with that. And this much is undeniable: The Trojans have played 10 bowl-eligible teams. They've beaten two division champions from BCS conferences (Nebraska and Arkansas), and they lost by two points on the road against an Oregon State team that has eight wins.
All that's left is a tester at rival UCLA this weekend, a game that will determine whether the revamped Trojans can find their way to their fourth consecutive bowl game with national title implications. This game won't be anything like last year's 66-19 laugher, when a nine-win UCLA team put up less fight than the wind. This Bruins team can play defense -- and this Trojans team, minus the stars of the past, has just enough uncertainty on offense to make things dicey.
Last week's rout of Notre Dame was a bit misleading; the Irish defense is horrible, and the Trojans have problems in the running game and protecting quarterback John David Booty. UCLA, meanwhile, is 14th in the nation in run defense and fourth in sacks.
It all sets up one final, wild weekend of the regular season. A time to celebrate conference championships and put to rest -- if for a few hours, anyway -- the weekly BCS blather.
Besides, we've heard enough politicking to last through the offseason.