If I had a vote for coach of the year, Michigan’s Lloyd Carr would get it because of what he didn’t do.

After wading into the Buckeyes’ den and losing the best game of the college football season by three points Saturday night, he didn’t beg for a rematch or lobby the people who actually do cast ballots in the Bowl Championship Series polls to bail him out.

“The BCS is a system that governs and will take care of all that,” Carr said. “I think it will be very interesting to see what transpires in the polls as we go forward. But I don’t care to speculate. I know it will probably be very controversial either way. So that’s what we like.”

At the end of what had been a very tough couple of days, Carr cracked a smile.

A day earlier, he had to tell his team about the death of Bo Schembechler, who not only hired and mentored Carr, but continued to shape the program in ways both real and symbolic. A few minutes earlier, the 42-39 loss at Ohio State had likely cost Carr a shot at the national title and perhaps even the consolation prize of the Rose Bowl.

With the Wolverines’ season over at 11-1, somebody asked how tough it would be to find out where his team would land.

“I have no idea,” Carr replied. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Contrast that with what Florida coach Urban Meyer said Sunday, when both The Associated Press poll and BCS rankings kept Michigan in the No. 2 slot, ahead of Southern California, by margins no wider than a few blades of grass.

“If that does happen,” Meyer said about a possible rematch between Ohio State and Michigan in the national title game, “all the (university) presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system.

“I mean like now,” he added, “January or whenever to get that done.”

By my reckoning, that might be the earliest a coach has ever uncorked any BCS whine. The Gators, ranked fourth by the BCS with two games left against Florida State and Arkansas, haven’t even been hosed yet.

But apparently Meyer figures it’s never too early to launch a pre-emptive strike. And if he and his colleagues weren’t so quick to take the hush money – many have contracts triggering handsome bonuses for appearances in the major bowls – and fall into line when the BCS hijacked college football’s postseason back in 1998, maybe we’d have that playoff system that sounds so good all of a sudden.

Instead, members of the coaching fraternity don’t develop a conscience until it’s their ox that’s being gored – or in Meyer’s case, looks like it might be.

In his defense, this isn’t the first time Meyer has mentioned a playoff – that came when he was trying to wedge his former team, Utah, into a BCS bowl. And even so, that little rant isn’t on par with some of the most memorable whines – Oregon coach Mike Bellotti likened the BCS to “a bad disease.”

Nor is it as self-serving as Texas coach Mack Brown’s shameless plea two years ago: “If you’ve got a vote, vote for us.”

But that’s what makes Carr’s refusal to pander even more admirable.

He buttoned his lip, even though Michigan has the best argument, by far, among the one-loss teams clamoring for a shot at Ohio State. USC lost to unranked Oregon State, Florida lost to an Auburn team that’s been beaten twice, Arkansas was humbled by USC at the start of the season at home, and Michigan beat Notre Dame in South Bend by 26 points.

But those four teams all have games left, and if the results don’t swing enough votes, well, you know what’s coming next. Given the BCS’s uncontrollable desire to “tweak” the format – a half-dozen at last count – next year’s innovation will be a “kiss-and-cry” area for coaches who get jobbed.

If somebody can explain what’s so precious about the current format, beyond the nonsense about arguments being good for the game, let’s hear it. The BCS has turned coaches into whiners and the college presidents who supposedly call the shots in the system into hypocrites. They want to protect the major conferences, the bowls and their TV partner and decide nothing tougher than how to divvy up the take.

Those presidents claim a playoff would harm their student-athletes’ chances at academic success, but Penn State coach Joe Paterno, a Big Ten colleague of Carr’s with impeccable old-school credentials shot holes in that alibi a while back.

“Whenever the talk turns to having some kind of a playoff, they say you can’t miss classes and yet we’ve already got NCAA playoffs (in every other college sport) and everything else. I mean, who’s kidding who?” Paterno added. “They’ve got to try to figure out a way to get rid of it and the hypocrisy of money, money, money.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.