Here's SI's proposal: Match the tour highest-ranked teams in the AP and coaches' polls against each other in two BCS bowls (sidebar, left), with the winners meeting for the national title in a third BCS bowl. Only if the polls differ in their top four—and since the inception of the BCS in 1998 the top four of the final prebowl AP and coaches' polls have been identical—would strength of schedule be used to resolve the issue. This would produce something much closer to an undisputed champion, would add only one more game to the season and would include three bowls per year in the championship picture, rather than just one. True, the No. 5 team in the polls might still cry foul, but at least this system would push the element of controversy further down in the rankings.
"You have to work within the system that's in place," Carroll said on Sunday. "When we play Michigan in the Rose Bowl, we'll be playing for a championship. If you look at the top of both polls, USC is the name you'll see." Let's put that into an equation even a BCS computer might understand: The Sugar Bowl minus USC equals a big mistake.