Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TOTALLY unrelated

but truly my passion for sports lands somewhere behind my passion for Christ and ahead of my passion for politics, so I'm veering off the normal Page 132 path for a dip into the mess that is college football. The big debate, as always, is which two teams should get to play at the end of the season for the national title. Here are, SIX UNDENIABLE REASONS WHY WE NEED A PLAYOFF based on this season alone!

1) Ohio State - Michigan loser. These two teams are ranked #1 and #2 and have been for most of the season and will be until they play each other on November 18th where one of them will lose and will be thusly eliminated from the national title race. So think about this - one of the two teams that almost everyone has been saying for most of the season is one of the two best teams in the country will be eliminated from the possibility of playing in the national title game because their only loss was to the team that then will be the undisputed #1 ranked team in the country. That's insane.
(Additionally it doesn't even make sense that Michigan is so well thought of. They played one marvelous half at Notre Dame and besides that they've played no one who is all that good {Wisconsin is the only other ranked team and that was a home game for Michigan} and they have won by margins of 20, 24, 14, 14, 18, 7, 14, 14, and 8 - not really blowing the field away - EVER)

2) Texas and Notre Dame. When the Michigan-Ohio State game is over, immediately they will start asking if the loser of that game is still the #2 team and should be in the national title game (though it's way too late in the season for that to likely happen). But right now Texas only has one loss - to Ohio State - and a very good chance at staying that way. And Notre Dame only has
one loss - to Michigan - and a very good chance of staying that way. And both of them have played tougher schedules than whoever loses the Ohio State - Michigan game.

3) Louisville (was West Virginia, could end up as Rutgers). The Big East is a weak conference. They have generally weaker teams and collectively as a conference they have played very weak non-conference opponents (the biggest wins for the conference are like Indiana and Maryland and a very weak Miami team). But right now Louisville is #3 in the BCS and after the Ohio State-Michigan game will likely be #2 (assuming they beat Rutgers and the rest of their schedule). No one honestly believes Louisville would be undefeated playing in the Big Ten or ACC or Pac 10 or Big 12 and some aren't even sure they would have a winning record playing in the SEC. If the title game ends up as being Ohio State-Louisville it will likely be a blow out. And if by some miracle it's not and Louisville wins - no one will ever believe they truly were the best team in the nation this season.

4) Rutgers and Boise State. Much of the reason why Louisville is poised to play in the title game is simply that they are undefeated. But so are these two schools - who are currently ranked 13th and 14th in the BCS. So we have some MASSIVE inconsistencies here. Either you should be at the top because you are undefeated regardless of how weak your schedule was - or you shouldn't. In the end we can only have at most three undefeateds because they play each other, but if it's Rutgers and Boise State, don't they have an argument? NO ONE BEAT THEM. Just like two years ago when we finished with three undefeated teams, it's an extremely questionable title at best while there are still other undefeated teams out there.

5) The difference in being a one-loss team. How flawed is the BCS? Check this out. USC is ranked 7th in it. But why? Right now they have only played ONE team in the top 25 of the BCS - and beat them (arkansas) when the Razorbacks were playing with the wrong QB and wrong RB. Meanwhile USC has played all these Pac 10 teams that are not even going to make a bowl game - and barely squeaking by them every week - until Oregon State beat them! And for that USC is ranked ahead of Cal - undefeated in the same conference, and Notre Dame - one loss to undefeated Michigan, and West Virginia - one loss to undefeated Louisville, and two undefeated teams? The media is SO in love with USC they will always keep getting indefensibly preferential treatment in the polls and when that is still the major factor in determining the participants in the national title game - USC has an unfair edge on the rest of the field. If Louisville loses - this will come down to a battle of one loss teams and that, for now, includes USC.
Yet it does not include Oklahoma. They officially have two losses, though one never should have been because of multiple ridiculously bad calls by the officials and replay officials for Oregon. It's unlikely that with their best player hurt and with their one loss to Texas which will keep them from even making the Big 12 title game that they would have ever been in the hunt really for the title game spot, but considering that their only losses came in the game that was stolen from them on the road and a decently close game to a top 5 team - shouldn't they at least be considered a team with the potential to go all the way if there was a playoff?

6) The SEC. Two of the top six teams (only the Big 10 can match that), four in the top 12 (no one else has even three), five in the top 16 (no one else has even four), 75% of the conference already has five or more wins and there are no dogs in it (the fewest wins is 3 by any team in it). The conference plays at a whole different level than the rest of college football - it's loaded and you have to go to battle week after week after week there. Several NFL teams would struggle to go undefeated through the SEC. And no SEC team is going undefeated this season. But look at LSU. They have dominated almost everyone this season - cruising to having one of the best offenses and one of the best defenses in the nation. They had one bad game - happened to be on the road at Florida and they lost, though it was fairly close. They played another very tough game at Auburn - and barely lost despite really having been the better team on the field. They also played at Tennessee and dominated the game but made a few too many turnovers so it was very close, even though they were still clearly the best team. At Florid At Auburn, At Tennessee - no team in the nation could win all three of those. And I've seen several college football games now and if you put LSU on a neutral field with ANYONE - I could never say LSU is the underdog. Yet the SEC is so strong LSU won't even make the SEC title game. In fact, I'm not sure Tennessee is much behind LSU - and they won't make it either. Throw the two of them in any other conference in America and they battle for that conference's championship. But right now the SEC title game winner is still hoping for LOTS of help to even be considered for the national title game. And trust me - the Ohio State - Michigan winner is hoping they don't get that help.

All of this could be solved with an actual playoff. It's so obvious - and so sad that it hasn't happened yet.