Harvey Araton has an editorial in today's NYT SundaySports arguing that the Cardinals prove the BCS bowl system is better than a playoffs system. "The exalted playoff has produced the possibility of a 9-7 team...calling itself the best team in the NFL," a team whose performance was so terrible that "it would have probably removed the Cardinals from consideration for the Motor City Bowl." Hah!
A big deal is made about how every game counts in the BCS, but that's not true, or at least they don't all count the same. For Penn State ultimately only two games counted, the loss to Iowa and to USC. For USC the most important game turned out to be the loss to whatever garden state college they lost to last year. Which begs the question, how can every game count when so many games each season are against lower ranked teams? Those only count when they are an upset.
The Cardinals won the games that counted, and they put up a beautiful performance during the playoffs. Luckily there's no risk of the NFL adopting a bowl system because if players played each game as if it "counted", you'd see a lot more dramatic injuries. The Patriots played that way last season, and they're still one of the lamest teams (as in injured) in the NFL. In contrast, the Cowboys shined in all their early games, and stunk up all the games that "counted". The Cardinals deserve to be where they are at; they beat all the best teams when they had to.
The bowl system has a lot of sentimental allure, so it probably shouldn't be abandoned. But this idea that every game somehow proves a team's standing is silly. It's bad for the players and it doesn't lead to better football.
Full disclosure: my only beef with the bowl system is that as a BigTen fan it has led to this mythology of SouthEastern football supremacy. Please.