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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

FACE IT, WE ARE HEADING TOWARDS A REMATCH




 



This is the next-to-the-last week of the College Football Season and the last chance for several teams to make their case to play in the national championship game. Recently an article from ESPN’s Rick Reilley about why a rematch in the BCS Title Game is a bad idea prompted a response.


LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

The Bayou Bengals are perfect. 12-0 record, 1.0000 BCS average, 1.0000 in the Harris Poll, USA Today, and the Computer Rankings.

The Tigers started their season with some scandal seeing key players face a suspension due to off the field behaviors. LSU responded by defeating then-#3 AP ranked Oregon 40-27 in a nationally televised game at Cowboys Stadium that was a very pro-LSU crowd.


Tyrann Mathieu is a game-changer. He has the ability to swing momentum in a game.

8 times LSU scored 40 or more points. Only once LSU failed to win by double digits; it was in their 9-6 overtime win over #2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Some college football observers are saying that LSU does not need to win the SEC Title Game in order to claim a spot in the BCS Championship Game at the Louisiana Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.


Agreed, Dr. Huxtable. Agreeed.

Even though the Georgia Bulldogs (or Uga) is on a 10-game winning streak since starting the season 0-2, which included a loss to Boise State in Atlanta opening weekend, LSU will be too much for Georgia to handle. Arkansas learned that after jumping out to a 14-0 lead.


For the rest of the game, LSU went on a 41-3 run.

And Bobby Petrino turned into “Whaaa, Pig Souiee!”

LSU will claim the SEC Title on Saturday afternoon and a spot in the BCS Title Game.

So, who will play the Tigers in the game…?


ALABAMA

It looks like the Crimson Tide has returned to what helped them to the National Championship in the 2009 season.


Running back Trent Richardson will most likely win the Heisman Trophy based on that run alone in The Iron Bowl.

Alabama has remained in the top 5. The lowest Alabama dropped was to #3 in the BCS which happened after their only loss of the season: at the hands of #1 LSU at home in overtime. Alabama won all their games by double-digit margins (including a 41-0 home win against North Texas; hey we got paid and Alabama failed to cover the 47-point spread).

The only time Alabama did not post double digits on the scoreboard: again the loss to #1 LSU at home. Missed field goal attempts and failure to punch the ball into the end zone in goal-to-go situations cost the Crimson Tide a chance to claim the SEC West and the number one spot in the BCS.

It is interesting that Alabama fell to #3 in the BCS after losing to #1 LSU. The team that briefly replaced them in the #2 spot….


OKLAHOMA STATE


The Pokes did not sprout up overnight. This team has been building a winner and national championship contender since the promotion Mike Gundy, who was Oklahoma State’s QB in 1986-89 and offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004, to the head coaching position in 2005.

Investments into the football program, specifically from alum and oil and natural gas businessman T. Boone Pickens, has helped attract quality players to the university. 2010 Fred Biletnikoff Award Recipient Justin Blackmon has again become one of College Football’s top receivers with 103 receptions for 1241 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The last time there was this much talk about Oklahoma State being a contender was during Mike Gundy’s period as their starting quarterback in the late 1980s. Aided by running backs Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, both of whom would go on to Hall of Fame careers in the NFL, the Cowboys posted their first back-to-back 10-win seasons from 1987-88; a feat that would not be matched until 2010 and 2011.

Oklahoma State has had a history of being a second-tier football program. Since 1950, the Cowboys did not post a 10-win season until 1984, the season after Jimmy Johnson (a 29-25-3 record during his time from 1979 to 1983) left to coach at The University of Miami. Most of that had to do with being in the shadow of the Oklahoma Sooners. Even during the high point of Oklahoma State in 1987-88, the Cowboys lost to the Sooners in both seasons.

The Bedlam Game has been a one-sided affair for the Sooners holding an 82-16-7 advantage. Wins are very rare for Oklahoma State with their last win in this series coming in 2002.

This game against Oklahoma is the de facto Big XII Title Game. A win against their instate rival would match their win total from 2010 and match the number of wins that Alabama has. It would send Oklahoma State to their first BCS Game in


STANFORD

Led by quarterback Andrew Luck, the Cardinal posted another 11-1 regular season record. Luck is likely to be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy Ceremony in a week. In addition, Luck was named PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All PAC-12, First Team PAC-12 All Academic Team, and a finalist for the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, and Manning Awards.

Andrew Luck holds the Stanford record for wins by a starting quarterback, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. Luck is slated to be the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft currently held by the 0-11 Indianapolis Colts, whose quarterback (Peyton Manning… see EVERYTHING is connected) has not played a snap for the Colts this season (explains the current win total) due to a lengthy recovery from neck surgery.

Stanford defied the logic that it would fade to mediocrity after Jim Harbaugh left the college ranks for the NFL. Can they do it again by making it to the BCS Title Game?


VIRGINIA TECH


The Hokies has the nation’s 26th ranked rushing offense, ranked 44th in points for, but a staple of Frank Beamer coached teams is the defense which ranks 7th in points against in all of FBS.

Virginia Tech is looking to avenge their only loss of the season to Clemson in tonight’s ACC Championship Game from Charlotte, NC. The Clemson Tigers opened the season 8-0, but has lost three of their last four games. The winner will claim a spot in the Orange Bowl.



HOUSTON

The other undefeated team in FBS is the University of Houston Cougars. Led by quarterback Case Keenum, the NCAA all-time leader in touchdown passes and passing yards, the Cougars rebounded from a disastrous 2010 campaign where many starters including Keenum were lost due to injuries to an undefeated 2011 season.

The Cougars have been known to strike from anywhere and anytime on offense scoring more than 40 points in all but three games.

A win over Southern Miss in the Conference USA championship game would send Houston to the BCS.


SO WHO PLAYS LSU IN THE TITLE GAME?

There are a lot of What-if’s and speculation. I’d rather make my prediction AFTER the LSU game, but the Conference-USA Championship game starts at 11 AM Central Time.

OK, let’s get this out of the way… if Georgia can pull off the upset of LSU, I doubt that anyone will subscribe to the theory that LSU should play in the National Title Game after losing this late in the season.

Again…


An LSU loss would pave the way for either an Alabama-Oklahoma State or Alabama-Virginia Tech BCS Title Game.


AGAIN, WHO PLAYS LSU IN THE BCS TITLE GAME?!

OK, I don’t think Georgia will beat LSU. So, tomorrow night LSU will remain perfect in the BCS and be on their way to New Orleans.

Oklahoma State? Their lone loss was to Iowa State in double overtime on the road 15 days ago. They trail Alabama by 342 points in the Harris Poll and 166 points in the USA Today rankings. They are ranked 5th in both of those polls. I cannot see the pollsters jumping Oklahoma State to #2 in the Human Polls so that the BCS can spit out a Title Game that features teams that won their conferences.

Stanford? Another one-loss team, their lone loss was to eventual PAC-12 Champion Oregon. You cannot justify jumping Stanford into the Title Game when both the Cardinal and Alabama didn’t play this week. Also, Oregon won the PAC-12 and is playing in the Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin-Michigan State winner (On, Wisconsin!) in the Big Ten Title Game. Shouldn’t the Ducks play in the Title Game too if Stanford is being considered?

Virginia Tech? A win in the ACC Championship Game would put them in the one-loss ranks, but their low Computer Ranking will hold them back. They may get as high as 4…. maybe 3 if Oklahoma State loses, but that is as far as they will get.

Houston?

I said that if Houston wins they will go to the BCS. However (comma) I did not specify if they would get an invite to the Title Game. There are many different metrics on how to measure a team in College Football: strength of schedule, conference vs. conference, versus teams in the Top-25, versus teams in the Top-10, points per game, defensive rankings, etc., etc., etc., etc…

There is one metric that is being ignored: Overall record.

Houston has the same record as LSU. They are the only other unbeaten in the BCS Top 10.

So… why not have a BCS Title Game where both teams are undefeated? After all, the defenders of the BCS claim it is a playoff. And the championship game in the playoffs is between teams that did not suffer elimination during a tournament…

So… the team I did not mention… Alabama…

Everyone will say that Alabama doesn’t deserve to play in the BCS Title Game because they didn’t win the SEC.

Well, neither did Oklahoma State, Stanford, Virginia Tech, or Houston.

OK, smart-ass… Alabama is not playing in their respective conference title game. Well, neither did Stanford. If you want to justify putting Stanford in the game without acknowledging that they lost to PAC-12 Champion Oregon, go on right ahead.

Oklahoma State? Again, their loss is recent and was to Iowa State. In the BCS, it’s always about who you lose to and when you lose. Iowa State is not exactly the cream of the Big XII and the loss is still recent. I am sure people will point out I am omitting Boise State. They lost to #18 TCU on the Smurf Turf in Boise 3 Saturdays ago.

Alabama lost at home.

In overtime.

To #1 LSU by the score of 9-6.

If Oregon hadn’t missed that field goal against USC, we may be talking rematch of the season opener with LSU-Oregon.

The logical choice in all this BCS Mess is Alabama.

Face it; we ARE headed towards a rematch.

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