December 04, 2006

Enough!!!! (And a quick I-told-you-so)

From the pre-season preview:
There you have it -- this year, the SEC is Gator Bait. Florida beats Auburn yet again in the SEC Championship game and goes on to beat Ohio State in the BCS Championship game, despite being a double-digit underdog.

Ok, so I goofed on the Auburn pick (though, honestly, who saw Arkansas coming??), but there you have it -- Florida is headed to the national title game, where I'd be shocked if the spread was less than 12 by kick-off.

But today's cry of the football season is "Foul!! Foul!! How in the world does Michigan get voted in over Florida?? Surely it's the voters' fault because noone in their right mind would EVER think Florida had a better season!!"

What?? Florida has a better record than Michigan! They actually won their conference! Their schedule was the toughest in the country! You know what, it would be easier just to shoot down the arguments FOR Michigan than to list all the reasons Michigan should be in the title game.

"Michigan's only loss was a CLASSIC struggle against Ohio St, the #1 team in the country!!!"

Classic, my ass-ic. Yes, they only lost by three, but there was never a time in that game where there was a doubt that Michigan would lose. In the second half, Michigan had the ball trailing by 7 points or less for a whopping 6 plays over two drives. The first drive started after an interception on the OSU 25, and went for a whole 3 yards before a FG decreased the lead from 7 to 4. In the fourth quarter, Michigan was trailing by 4 and recovered a fumble at their own 32. How did they take advantage? A quick 3-and-out, which was immediately followed by an 11-play TD drive that iced the game for OSU. At no time near the end of this game was OSU's win ever in doubt, but the fact that it's a three-point game and it's Michigan-Ohio St. buoys it to "classic" status. Whatever. Michigan was even +3 in turnover ratio and STILL lost. You want to play in the title game? Take advantage of turnovers in big games.

"Each team only has one loss!!!"

Um, there's that pesky number in the left-hand side of the record. That's right, Florida has one more win than Michigan, thus giving them a better record. You wanna cry about that 12th win being a conference game and the Big Ten doesn't have a conference title game? Then petition the Big Ten Commissioner and get one!! A loss against Arkansas would've dropped Florida in the standings; there's absolutely no reason in the WORLD that a win shouldn't put them closer to the top.

"This is all just thanks to Urban Meyer's politicking!! (sic)"

Um, yeah, about that. If you don't want him to state his case for why the Gators should play in the national title game, here's a thought: DON'T ASK URBAN MEYER ABOUT WHY THE GATORS SHOULD PLAY IN THE NATIONAL TITLE GAME!!! I understand that these are questions that need to be asked, and I'm all for finding out his thoughts, but don't chastise him or accuse him "politicking" for providing you with an answer!! I'm thinking that Meyer wasn't on the phone this week actively petitioning for voters to vote for him -- he was probably (gasp!!) preparing to coach a game that would decide the SEC champion!! My guess is that he'd rather not talk about it all and just let the voters/computers decide.

I still say that the BCS works -- Michigan and USC both had games that they knew they had to win in order to get to the title game, and they lost. Florida came off a close loss to Auburn in the middle of the year knowing they'd need to win every game left in a Murderer's Row of a season and did just that. If you want to be in the national title game, win when it matters, and you can't say that USC or Michigan didn't realize that those last two games mattered.

Should there be a play-off in collge football? I still say no. These are student athletes, and too often in a sports journalism world, we confuse college athletics, where these are kids who have FINALS in December and shouldn't be subjected to the extra pressure that comes with practicing for playoffs in mid-to-late December, and professional sports, where it is an athlete's job to prepare for an extended season with playoffs. While I know that 95% of the players in big-school football don't care about academics, what about actual student-athletes like those at Wake Forest? As the ACC champions, they'd have to be invited into the play-offs, which (if Wake is on a semester plan) would fall right after finals, a tougher task at Wake than, say, Tennessee or Florida. That gives the larger schools an advantage that wouldn't be fair to teams like Wake or Georgia Tech. Even with a tournament, we'd still be in a heated argument about why teams 9 & 10 are left out of an 8-game play-off. It would take away so much from the students and solve so little in the argument that it just wouldn't be worth it.

So, anyway, congrats to the BCS for, once again, providing us with a legitimate national title game that we wouldn't otherwise have enjoyed in the traditional bowl picture (Ohio St. would be in the Rose bowl while Florida would be in the Sugar Bowl). Remember, BCS, most of the people that argue against you and just upset that they couldn't figure out who'd be in the final game before the season started. Luckily, we enlightened few understand your value and hold you high regard season after proven season.


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