There is absolutely nothing in this life that cannot be explained through the metaphor of professional wrestling. Nothing. Career advancement, politics, economics, relationships ... you name it. Everything in this world can be accurately represented through the trials and tribulations of grown men acting out imaginary plot lines and contorting each other into oddly-named physical positions. This is a fact.
I learned this last season when I took my first stab at comparing potential BCS teams to old school WWE superstars. The response was resounding, from Morgantown to Los Angeles, and it was clear that I had struck a nerve.
So, if only for a week, let's cast aside our normal Quick Slants format and focus on the types of things that you, the hungry reader, are clearly jonesing to read. Without further ado, it's the Second Annual Quick Slants BCS-to-Wrestlers column...
Listen up, Trojans. Last year, you were The Undertaker -- this year, you're getting downgraded to his brother. Look, we all know you're a powerhouse with stable of talent deep enough to form two, top-flight teams. But why is it, then, that you insist on under performing against lesser opponents? You know, like that Oregon State loss in Corvallis or that dreadful showing against Arizona? These sorts of things should not be happening, just like there's no way Kane should ever lose to guys like Rey Mysterio who are half his size.
Imagine this realistic scenario: Alabama and Texas Tech pick up losses before season's end, and Texas is left to battle out the final BCS championship spot with a one-loss team from the SEC. What happens then? Enter the Mack Brown Self-Promotion Campaign! I'm giddy.
The question is not whether this will occur, but rather to what extremes Coach Brown is willing to go. The Longhorns are obviously an elite-level team which could potentially eke its way back into contention; however, it's most likely that they'll need some help. And as you may know, Brown has been known for his shameless acts of self-promotion in the past. So, would anyone be truly surprised if he resorted to Mr. Perfect's tactics of shooting promotional footage, touting his Longhorns as the superior choice? You know, because DVDs of Quan Cosby hitting a hole-in-one would influence the computers and all.
Penn State has become synonymous with Joe Paterno. And Paterno has clearly become synonymous with "wait, he's still coaching?!?" There's just no way around it. The story of a soon-to-be 82-year old man leading a team to a BCS championship would be as much a novelty as it would be riveting and heartwarming. Likewise, did you have any idea that Flair was still wrestling? The guy is 59-years old and still playing a prominent role in major pay-per view events. He did as much at this past WrestleMania. How is this possible?
The Nittany Lions also represent a different style of football than that of the Big 12, SEC or Pac 10. It's knock-'em-down, drag-it-out football in Big Ten country, where team records don't delineate between glamorous, offensive victories and defensive wars. And while Penn State may not have any smoke-and-mirror tactics like Flair's testicular claw or eye rake, it does have the tenacity to grind out a close, sloppy game just like the Nature Boy himself.
Oh, and their uniforms match Flair's peroxide-white hair. Just sayin' ...
The thing about Florida is that it has elite caliber talent capable of leading the Gators to a national championship. The problem, though, in light of Tim Tebow's sophomore campaign, is living up to the expectations set forth before the season. And by expectations, we're talking about Tebow curing cancer and solving world hunger. No exceptions.
This has been the issue with Cena as well. Obviously, he's got the square-jawed look and outgoing personality to succeed both inside and outside the ring -- let's not forget, he's also helped edge out Jared Fogle off those Subway commercials, for which we should all be thankful -- but wrestling critics have overhyped him to the point that he cannot possibly raise the bar. And it doesn't help that he's wrestling in an era with some of the best talent ever.
The Red Raiders, like the Rockers, are noted and admired for their pyrotechnic aerial attack, but the verdict is still out on whether they'll be able to sustain their current level of success and mount an assault on Miami. Last Saturday's win against Texas is sure to go down as one of the best games in college football this season, but in order to make it truly worthwhile, Tech will need to run a very difficult slate of games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and a Big 12 North opponent to be named. And that remains the question.
You might remember a similar story about The Rockers, who originally lit the professional wrestling world on fire, developing a fan base and establishing themselves as an energetic duo. The formula worked for a while that is, until they started losing their appeal and Marty Janetty's personal problems became a little too burdensome. Then the whole thing kind of exploded with a nasty break-up and they were never heard from again. And while nobody's hinting that the same will happen to Texas Tech, well, we've seen this storyline countless times in college football.
There's no question that Boise State has been living off the spoils of its run at the BCS in 2006-07 when it finished second in the final polls and upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Likewise, you could say Crush's career peaked after a squabble with Doink the Clown -- or should I say, TWO Doink the Clowns -- at WrestleMania IX. Both kind of have a little one-hit-wonder in them. And since you could argue that the BCS and Doink the Clown are blood relatives, well, do the math.
The struggle for both Boise and Crush has always been about credibility. Both have managed to steer along after their crowning achievements, but unfortunately, it seems like nobody cares. There's just not a magnetic niche for either. Boise's put together a solid year, but amid the loud drums of the BCS, it's likely to become nothing more than background noise. And Crush somehow found his way into an uncredited role in a Bollywood flick titled Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi. So, yeah, go figure.
The Sooners are a big, strong, explosive team that is virtually unstoppable during the regular season. However, when it comes time for the bright lights of a BCS bowl, things haven't quite gone according to the master plan.
Whether this team knows it or not, it is college football's version of the "Samoan Bulldozer," a massive, extremely nimble WWE talent who chews up and spits out opponents on RAW every single week. Just like Umaga, Oklahoma has become a "jobber" during pay-per-view events, seemingly helping opponents (read: Boise State and West Virginia) solidify themselves as more established college programs.
Just like the Crimson Tide, Shawn Michaels had fallen off the map for an extended period of time due to serious injury. For Michaels, it was his neck that kept him from being a headliner. For Alabama, well, it was like 10 straight seasons of stomach punches during the vaunted Dubose-Franchione-Shula era. An entire generation of Alabama fans was born heartbroken kids.
Against all odds, though, the Crimson Tide has reversed course and become a major player in the BCS championship picture. However, a mode of caution is to be exercised. As was the case with Michaels, it is unclear as to whether Alabama has fully regained its championship swagger. With a pivotal game this weekend in Baton Rouge and a looming SEC championship game, doubts remain about how far this team can actually go.
Well, well, well... here we are again. Last year, you lambasted me with e-mails and blog postings and message board pin-ups. You had me on your radio shows to further explain myself. You put me on the defensive, and I even considered changing my locks. But, nearly a year later, I'm relieved to say that I was absolutely right about Georgia all along. Just like the Ultimate Warrior, this team remains unable to get over the proverbial hump.
To reiterate, Hulk Hogan once described The Ultimate Warrior as a "flat character." Naturally, you wouldn't think this to be true of the unanimous preseason No. 1 with some of the flashiest talent in the country. But then there was Saturday's roll-over-and-play-dead showing against Florida, which handed the Dawgs their second, BCS-killing loss of the season, and effectively proved the point I've been hammering all along. When Georgia can finally become THE team to beat in college football, I'll personally wipe off the war paint.
USC's crushing defeat of Washington State has me thinking that you should consider betting against the Cougars in every circumstance, whether the line is 10 or 100. So, this week, I'm getting all mavericky and taking Arizona with an egregiously high line.
Arizona (-41) at Washington StateFlorida State (-6.5) vs. ClemsonLSU (+4) vs. Alabama
Last week: 2-1. Season: 7-5.
Ty Hildenbrandt writes Quick Slants ever week and offers a special thanks to his two consultants (Kevin and Tony), both of whom need reminding that professional wrestling is actually fake. Check out Ty's podcast at SolidVerbal.com or drop him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.