Saturday, November 29, 2008

College Football Potpourri

As you munch on Thanksgiving leftovers and figure out who's been naughty and who's been nice (if you've actually gone Christmas shopping), here's a little grab-bag of dopeyness related to college football for this Saturday:

First off, we have a story from Tim Prister in this morning's Indianapolis Star:

Weis in trouble if tonight is a blowout

The headline is misleading, since it's written to make you think that if the result of the Notre Dame/USC game is the determining factor as to whether or not Weis is fired. Instead, the article talks about how Notre Dame might be regretting signing Weis to a long contract extension. Pretty harmless, but then this:

One media outlet reported that Weis would be fired upon the conclusion of the USC game, which would drop the Irish to 6-6 with losses in five of their past seven games. (emphasis mine)

I love how the author just assumes that Notre Dame will lose the game. True, the Irish were something like 31 point underdogs to USC, but a newspaper should at least acknowledge the possibility of Notre Dame pulling off an upset tonight.

(EDIT: Notre Dame lost 38-3. The score is misleading; the game wasn't even that close.)

On to part deux: Georgia/Georgia Tech in the early afternoon game on CBS. Craig Bolerjack and Trev Alberts doing play-by-play and color, respectively.

Besides generally hacky play-by-play, Bolerjack also called a two-point conversion by Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer a touchdown. After that score tied the game at 28-28 in the 3rd quarter, Georgia Tech recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and scored another touchdown three plays later to make it 34-28. When Georgia Tech lined up for the extra point, Bolerjack questioned why Georgia Tech wasn't going for two again. With 6:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Up six. With a healthy placekicker.

Okay, a little nitpicky, I know. Eat your leftover turkey.

EDIT: But wait, there's more:

After USC smacked Notre Dame around like a grumpy nun using a ruler on a really bad Catholic-school kid, ESPN's Holly Rowe was interviewing a couple of USC defensive players on the field. She asked how it felt for one player to be on the field with his teammate for "the last time." Of course, USC will be going to a bowl game (most likely the Rose Bowl), but even if she meant the regular season, USC plays UCLA next week. So I think
Rey Maualuga (the player she was interviewing) will be able to line up with his defensive teammates at least one, if not two, more times.

Finally, more BCS shemoligan!

In case you don't know the whole mess that is the Big 12 conference right now. Since Oklahoma won tonight over Oklahoma State, there is a 3-way tie in the Big 12 South between Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. All 3 have beaten each other: Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas, and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech. There is no clear tiebreaker (at least, not head to head), so Big 12 rules state that the team that is highest in the BCS standings will go to the Big 12 Championship game. All 3 teams are 11-1, and heading into this week Texas was #2 in the BCS with a slim lead over Oklahoma. Texas Tech came in at #6, so it's unlikely (okay, impossible) Texas Tech would go to the Big 12 championship. Oklahoma was ahead of Texas in the polls, but behind the Longhorns in the computer rankings. Since Oklahoma beat a ranked team tonight, the Sooners will probably get a boost in the computer rankings, but how poll voters react is anyone's guess.

(As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of the polls. To me, the only way to objectively figure out the best team out of three 11-1 teams who have beaten each other is to use the computer rankings and nothing else.)

I'm sure you're thinking "that's pretty clear." If by clear you mean "absolute clusterfuck," you'd be right! I think what we can all agree on is that you can make a case for each team (Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech) to be the Big 12 South representative in next week's championship game.

However, ESPN SportsCenter's Neil Everett believes that Oklahoma is already #2 in the rankings. As he was doing highlights, Everett constantly referred to how Oklahoma is going to the Big 12 Championship game, including concluding the recap with "Oklahoma punches its ticket to the championship game." A little premature, yes? Even if Everett is right, there's no way he can assume that until the BCS standings are released Sunday. And, he has no business injecting his opinion in the highlights!

Also, Oklahoma scored a touchdown with :30 seconds left to make the final score 61-41. Oklahoma did not pass at all on its final drive--the Sooners took over in Oklahoma State territory after a fumble, so it's not like the Sooners were throwing passes and running a hurry-up offense frantically trying to score again. But the final play came on first down with Oklahoma State only having one time out. Oklahoma could have taken a knee and ended the game, so why run a play at all? I'd say the Sooners were running up the score a little bit, since they need the poll voters to get them to #2 in the BCS.

Of course, Neil Everett disagrees, saying during SportsCenter of the Sooners' final play: "you can't take a knee there." Really? Why not? Why do NFL teams do it? Neil, are we rooting for Oklahoma? Yes, Everett made the case on SportsCenter that it's not Oklahoma's fault Oklahoma State couldn't tackle, but again, no play was necessary.

It's somewhat understandable if Oklahoma was running up the score--as I mentioned, the Sooners need poll voters to be impressed with them. But Everett and others should not defend it by saying there was nothing else the Sooners could do.

Here is a memo to everyone involved in discussing or covering college football: there are no such things as "style points." Quit using that stupid, tired cliche to describe how teams need to win by large margins in order to impress poll voters.

No matter who ends up being #2 in the BCS, there is one thing we can count on as a result: lots of whining.

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