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Quick Slants

If somebody had suggested the Lehman Brothers should avoid investing so heavily in Ohio State -- ticker symbol OSU -- perhaps this whole financial crisis could've been averted.

Yeah, times are tough right now in Columbus. Getting thrashed 35-3 by top-ranked USC tends to have that effect. Especially after two consecutive and embarrassing losses in BCS Championship games. Especially with knowing it'd take a miracle bailout from the pollsters to get you back into the title hunt come next January. Especially after all your credibility went bankrupt in front of a national television audience.

And so, it's gotten progressively harder to believe any of the fancy projections you're used to hearing about Ohio State football. Every year, the Buckeyes are rated highly and someone -- cough, cough! -- predicts they'll make a run at the BCS. But it's like there's a Boiler Room-style plot going on, with somebody pumping artificial demand into a make-believe stock -- because reality is coming up way short of perception.

With Saturday's debacle in the books, the most immediate problem for the Buckeyes isn't finding a way to eke their way into the national championship picture -- they can probably still do that if this season is as volatile as the last -- but instead about proving they're capable of performing against heavy hitters like USC over a period of time (you know, like 60 minutes). It's unfortunate, but until they can overcome their biggest liability of playing against speedier, more athletic opponents, they don't deserve another shot at the national championship.

So, if a chaotic rally takes place and Ohio State somehow finds itself back in the hunt, Mr. Pollster, do not be swayed by any BCS computers trying to sell the Buckeyes as a top-echelon team. Don't buy that bull. Don't expect this team to stand with the big boys just because of its blue chip recruiting and storied legacy. Let somebody else try.

After the last few years, another BCS championship game might not be the best place for the Buckeyes. They might be more comfortable in a support group with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns.

The obvious question: With Oregon football a virtual extension of Phil Knight's empire, would it be considered "vertical integration" if Nike launched a line of knee braces to complement its existing catalog of athletic wear?

Kidding aside, if you're next in line to play quarterback for the Ducks, what kind of preventative measures are you taking to protect your knee ligaments? Layering with Ace bandages? Carrying a rabbit's foot? Borrowing a suit of armor from Sir Lancelot? You'd better be doing something! Last season, Dennis Dixon and Nate Costa went down and, as of last week, Justin Roper's already started the 2008 tally. Oregon quarterbacks might be better suited for hunting ghosts than the BCS Championship.

In related news, Spinal Tap drummers and Madden poster boys are feeling a little better about themselves.

Kudos to Terry Bowden for delivering an unexpected potshot to his daddy's team in his latest article on Rivals.com:

"After two weeks, all I know about Florida State is that if the Seminoles played in a lower level of college football they'd probably make the playoffs."

You know what? Guy's got a point. After the Seminoles scheduled, and subsequently pounded fierce opponents such as Western Carolina and Chattanooga by a combined 115-7 score, you have to wonder if Florida State should just bag the whole "Bowl Subdivision" thing this season and start fresh in a lesser league. Seems like a logical move when you consider the underachievement of Seminole football over the last few years. It'd be almost too convenient to pass up -- that is, assuming Florida State's ACC schedule would meet minimum FCS qualifications for difficulty!

The popular stance among online sports publications has been to chalk Charlie Weis' vicious knee injury up as some occult redemption for his role in Bill Belichick's "Spygate." Quick Slants will take no such position; However, we couldn't help but think of Varsity Blues as Weis stood there on the sidelines looking like Lance Harbor, propped up on crutches and trying to coach in the pouring rain. Unfortunately, the telecast stopped short of providing a cheap thrill through a gratuitous whipped cream scene, but, well, a man can dream, can't he? Can't he?!?

Indeed, Weis' tenure at Notre Dame has been an eerie example of zero-sum gain. For every small victory there has been some kind of loss to balance the equation. A 9-2 first season followed by an embarrassing Fiesta Bowl loss. A Sugar Bowl season followed by a cataclysmic 3-9 record in 2007. A more mature and poised Jimmy Clausen, but with ghastly and distractive hair. And now, a feel-good victory against Michigan coupled with a crippling knee injury. The so-called "luck of the Irish" seems more and more like a fancy way of saying "you'll break even."

1. More painful to watch: Drying paint or Auburn's 3-2 victory?

2. Better Jesse Palmer role:Football analyst or television bachelor?

3. Likelier LSU record: 10-2 or 9-3?

4. Better Saturday bet:Florida -7 or Tennessee +7?

5. More puzzling:Bill Stewart's contract extension or UCLA's 59-0 loss?

6. Less funny VMA host: The Wayans Brothers or Russell Brand?

7. Better "Next Boise State": East Carolina or BYU?

8. More '80s-ish cereal:Ghostbusters or Flutie Flakes?

9. More underwhelming start: Cal or Clemson?

10. Tougher Oklahoma opponent: Texas or Texas Tech?

Two quick notes about Georgia fans:

1) When your team hasn't won a national championship in nearly 30 years, you'd think you'd have something more important to worry about than what highlight packages were shown on the evening news. But such was not the case last week as ESPN snubbed Georgia's Knowshon Moreno during its recap footage, and Bulldog fans around the Internet took to their favorite message boards and issued cries of media conspiracy. To be clear, Moreno's hurdle over top a defender was reminiscent of the moves you last saw while playing NFL Blitz, and it was clearly highlight-worthy. But, in hindsight, um, that's what you're choosing to get huffy about? A missing highlight? ESPN went out of its way to give Moreno his due last week on College GameDay and the controversy is now officially over as far as I'm concerned. But to the select few that remain peeved, shouldn't Georgia's 14-7 victory over unranked South Carolina be slightly more concerning?

2) Nobody's talking about it, but this Saturday's contest between Georgia and Arizona State has the unbridled potential to be the best-looking tailgating scene in recorded history. The well-mannered southern belles of Athens traveling to one of the nation's premiere hotbeds for party girls? Oh yeah, that's can't miss. Anybody who submits an iReport to my inbox will be rewarded in next week's column. Perhaps even in the afterlife.

Ty Hildenbrandt writes Quick Slants every Wednesday. Check out his podcast at SolidVerbal.com and feel free to e-mail him at tyhildenbrandt@gmail.com.

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