(With apologizes to Juliet in London.... another American football post. I probably should owe her a pint for every football post that's up between now and the National Championship, but then I'd probably have to rob a bank or sell so much plasma that I'd be perpetually woozy. So, it'll have to be 1/6 a pint for each post... that way I can still buy my kids milk.)
Well, now that USC has crapped all over themselves, I've come to the conclusion that teams on the west coast and Nitre Dame are just really that bad. It can't be for lack of talent.. I mean if you're recruiting in California, or if you have your choice of top picks across the country while the academic provost for the first time in school history will bend the rules to admit your recruits (something that was never done for Ty Willingham), you have to wonder what gives. At least USC has an excuse.. they lost a quarterback and the two top running backs who anchored their offense last year, so I guess you have to give them a pass... maybe even kudos for playing way above themselves all season. But the rest of west coast.... let's face it, Boise State is the cream of the crop, and they just barely survived San Jose State two weeks ago.
Arizona, UCLA, Washington, Colorado, Stanford, Arizona State... where the heck have you guys gone?
And as for Notre Dame.... well, I've heard how fantastic Charlie Weis is, how well prepared the team is under his expert coaching, and how he's the future of football from various football announcers, ND fans, and even blog devotees so many times, that I feel obligated to point out three simple facts about the Charlie Weis era....
- The Patriots seem fine without Weis. They'll be in the playoff hunt again, and it's been two years AND they don't even have a decent receiver on the team. This should make you nervous.
- Last I heard you had to be able to stop somebody in football if you wanted to win games, and Weis just dosen't seem to have the same passion for defense that he does on offense. He's like a modern college version of Don Coryell, and Brady Quinn is Dan Foust. Until he gives two-cents about the time the QB is off the field, ND is going to have problems. http://www.cancharlie.com/ is saying as much, even as we speak, which bodes for stormy days ahead. Why anyone would want to coach in South Bend, given the pressure, is totally beyond me.
- Outside the comeback win over Michigan State, which I predicted would happen on Aaron Wymer's couch at the beginning of the 4th quarter (it was a hallmark of the John L. Smith era, which is why he'll be announcing games for the Louisville Cardinal Radio Network next season), ND still has no defining win in the Charlie Weis era. All the "must win" games (last year to USC and OSU, and this year to Michigan and USC), his team got outplayed... which in the days of Woody, Bo, and The Bear would have meant you got outcoached, cause they would have said they got outcoached. I'm telling you, next year he's playing with all players he recruited, and if the defining win doesn't come soon, ND fans will be running out of excuses.
But that's not why I blogged tonight... I want to address the question, "Now that USC is officially headed to the Rose Bowl, who plays OSU in the BCS Championship Game in January? Florida or Michigan?
Well, the truth be told, my belief is that we ought to see the Gators in Glendale... and here are the three reason why?
1) Michigan got their shot. They had their chance. Besides, two fumbled snaps, which aren't exactly products of fine defensive play, kept that game closer than it should have been. Giving Jim Tressel weeks to prepare for a team guarantees the team will be prepared. Giving Jim Tressel weeks to prepare for a team he's already faced, pretty much guarantees a not so close game. But apart from that, in honor of Woody and Bo, let's honor the tradition of The Game, and state unequivocally that when you win or lose, you win or lose it all. And, yes, I would feel the same way if the Buckeyes had lost that game. The mystique of The Game is that it is winner take all. We've destroyed so many other traditions in college football in the name of money, I just don't think most OSU and Michigan fans would have it any other way.
2) Nobody really believes that Florida is better than Michigan, except for a few wags in Gainesville. They run this bizarre two quarterback thing where the one guy who can actually pass moves the ball, and the other guy who should be a tight-end cause he's so large, runs up the middle for touchdowns. They've won consistently (save one game) but they always seem to play to the level of their opponent (which is why they lost the game that they did) which is why you just feel underwhelmed everytime your watch them play. But, I remember back in 2002 that another team, who ended the regular season undefeated after barely beating among others, Cincinnati (one touchdown pass dropped at the end of the game... that's how close it was), Purdue (Dad and I were there... Krenzel to Jenkins on 4th and 2, and a Boilermaker kicker who missed three field goals that day), and Illinois (in OT) ended up playing for a National Championship. None of the so-called experts gave them a chance against Miami that year...
and yet the 2002 National Champions Football travel mug in my kitchen is a constant reminder that the important thing is to win when you have to. Florida won when it had to, all season long. They deserve their shot.
3) If you had spent all year among a bunch of SEC football fans, jawing about how terrible their teams looked, openly mocking them when they talked about how much better the SEC is than everyone else, and generally making a boorish punk out of yourself all for the purpose of baiting them into replying... why wouldn't you rather see an SEC team in this game? For the next five weeks the SEC BP fans will secretly think that this is the ultimate revenge for all my trash-talk (things like "Are those Auburn lineman wearing high heels?" and "Well, at least Georgia's basketball program is superior to Kentuc... oh wait, scratch that.") and so they'll be humble on the outside, but on the night of the big game which I imagine we'll be watching together somewhere in Houston, they'll expect that their time will have arrived. Who wouldn't enjoy all of that drama?
oh, and lest I forget...
In August, Nolan Donald, a BP who graduated from Auburn, made it a point on his blog and in person to note how lonely I'd be this year because when it came down to it, because of our backgrounds, only SEC football would matter this year here on the Beeson commune... and that was when OSU was the pre-season consensus to win the whole shebang. I mean it still boggles my mind that any college football fan anywhere could utter something like this... but then again, I never knew how arrogant SEC fans really were.
(I want to make it clear that for the most part, I'm not talking about my colleagues, but rather the local paper, blogs they've connected with me with about various SEC school, various articles published in various places. Growing up in Lima on playgrounds hooping it up, I've always enjoyed trash-talking. When everyone is loose and having a good time, you're busting one another's chops. That's just the way it is. I tried to bait my colleagues into doing this all season, but either their too Christian/proper to do so, or the Bucks were too overwhelming for anyone to open their mouths. Thus, my biggest disappointment this season: not getting ripped back. Thus, unfortunately, my colleagues, for the most part, were perfectly respectful all year... although Gordon Griffin's take on how Florida could beat OSU a couple of weeks ago was particularly amusing... now if only he had insulted my momma, we'd have had something.)
Weeks of hearing how Iowa or Penn State couldn't hold LSU or Arkansas' candle, and whining about how an SEC school will never win another National Championship cause it's too tough top to bottom kind of leads me to believe that if OSU beats Michigan again... even if it's the true match-up of the best two teams in the country, there will be a bunch of cry-baby SEC fans who never had to fess up to the truth that this year was never their year.
That's why Florida needs to play in this thing. Because the only team we've been talking about consistently, all of us, all season, hails from Columbus and that team has had the last word against the Big Twelve (blasting Texas), the Big Ten (by beating Michigan), and the Pac Ten (vicariously through Michigan stomping ND). Since the ACC and Big East kind of shot themselves in their own feet, there's only one conference left to conquer, and prove to everyone, everywhere, that when it came to college football this year, it mattered, everywhere.
Do that, and you can say that you've truly crowned a National Champion.