Defending my stances on 'Bama-Texas, TCU-Boise State and more
After poring through 1,087 unread e-mails, I now know I'm not a very popular man in Austin, Texas. And apparently I'm not among the 99 percent of the population that seems to feel the TCU-Boise State Fiesta Bowl is nothing short of a crime against humanity.
But this being America, I know I the have a right to defend myself. Some of you are coming after me like a scorned Swedish supermodel.
Randy is absolutely, 100 percent correct. However, he also affirmed the very point I was making. If you look at the two teams' bodies of work, there's a gaping disparity.
It's true that Alabama had its own "one second left" moment with
Conversely, Texas' closest thing to a "statement" victory was a 41-14 win at Oklahoma State, a team that lost its last regular-season game 27-0. If the Longhorns had some equivalent to Alabama's Florida win -- or even its Virginia Tech or LSU wins -- I'd be more likely to chalk up the Nebraska game as a fluke. As it is, the Longhorns basically faced two elite defenses the entire season, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and
I've covered enough championship games to know anything is possible. While I will proudly note that
But as long as I'm being honest (because I certainly don't need anyone coming at me with a 9-iron), I can't escape this sneaking suspicion that the 'Horns are in much the same boat as Florida. They were the two prohibitive title favorites coming into the season, but once the games began, it became increasingly evident that Florida had some serious flaws. Its offense wasn't explosive. It had trouble protecting
Unfortunately, Texas may be in for the same awakening. Over the first half of the season, when McCoy didn't look like McCoy, we heard all about how he was sick, his receivers were inexperienced, etc., etc. They kicked it into gear after the Oklahoma game, but then they get to Nebraska and all those same issues came back. Quite frankly, Texas' offensive line and non-
While I believe the Fiesta Bowl's intentions were pure, there's probably nothing I can say here that will change the minds of all you conspiracy theorists. The Fiesta Bowl turned itself into a major bowl due almost entirely to a renegade approach and its CEO,
First of all, let's analyze the situation in a realistic context, not some fantasyland where the BCS would suddenly adopt a playoff (or even
Therefore, the only realistic matchups available to these teams were TCU-Georgia Tech and Boise State-Iowa -- or TCU-Boise. They got the better game. Where there seems to be a real disconnect between myself and most of you is this notion that the non-AQ teams would "earn respect" by beating any possible AQ team. Anyone who believes that is still stuck in 2006. If Boise State beating Oklahoma was an earthquake and Utah crushing Alabama was a hurricane, TCU beating Georgia Tech would be like a steady drizzle.
Look at how much respect these teams have already gained just in the past 365 days. A year ago, Utah went undefeated and still finished behind five one-loss teams. A year later, TCU went undefeated and came within one second of playing for the national title. I'd say the Horned Frogs are pretty respected. And Bob's line about "everyone's questioning" Boise State's ranking -- who's "everyone?" The only time the Broncos' ranking ever came into question was after Oregon crushed USC, and those arguments were coming almost entirely from the state of Oregon.
Considering Boise State beat the Pac-10's champion, what more would it prove by beating the Big Ten's runner-up? Considering TCU went on the road and beat ACC division champ Clemson, what exactly would a win over that league's other division champ affirm? If anything, I would
Because Hawkeyes fans travel well. End of discussion.
So just to recap, the Fiesta Bowl went for the better team while the Orange Bowl went for the $$$, and the Fiesta is the one taking all the heat. Go figure.
It's amazing, isn't it? Just think, over the past three years we've seen one, and now possibly two of the most longstanding and archaic Heisman-voting barriers come down. It only took 71 years, but finally an underclassman won the thing (Tebow), followed by yet another one (
What happened? Did somebody write a book in 2007 that implored voters to rethink their criteria? (And was it Chapter 3?)
I first jumped on the Suh/Heisman bandwagon after his stunning Thursday night performance against Missouri and remained fairly loyal the rest of the way. In the weekly top-five ballots I submitted to HeismanPundit.com's
Heading into last weekend, I tweeted that my top five were
How's 4 1/2 for you?
Suh's performance last Saturday (12 tackles, 10 solo, seven for loss) was so astounding that he probably jumped from getting a handful of token votes to possibly finishing in the top three. It's truly a landmark moment. With all due respect to Gerhart, who led the nation in both rushing yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26), you could still argue that others at his position (Ingram,
There are any number of legitimate arguments the
And yet they
I know I've done this in past years, but it's a lot tougher this year because teams like TCU and Cincinnati didn't finish in the top four very often in the old bowl system. And that's not to mention, would this be Southwest Conference-era TCU or Mountain West-era TCU? Since Texas was also in the SWC, I'm going to treat the Horned Frogs as a bowl free agent for the purposes of this hypothetical.
Rose: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Orange: Nebraska vs. Florida
Sugar: Alabama vs. Georgia Tech
Fiesta: TCU vs. Boise State
Cotton: Texas vs. LSU
I tried to find a place for Cincinnati, but the Big East didn't come along until the early '90s when we were already into the Bowl Alliance/Coalition era. Under the old, decentralized system, I don't think one of these five would have taken them. The Orange Bowl, with its Big 8 ties, would have snapped up Nebraska, and with no two-teams-per-conference limit, the Cotton would be free to take LSU.
I don't think there's any question his legacy was tarnished a bit this season. That may seem a tad unfair, considering the guy still won another 12 straight games, ranks eighth in pass efficiency and produced another 3,272 yards of offense (slightly more than he had through 13 games last year) and 31 touchdowns (down from 42 last year and 55 his Heisman season). But clearly he wasn't quite the same dominant player, and he couldn't "will" his team to a title this time.
Obviously, that's not all on him. All you had to do was turn on a television Sunday and watch
At the end of the day, we're still talking about a guy with two national titles, a Heisman and two subsequent top-five finishes; a 34-6 record; the most total yards and touchdowns in SEC history; and a chance to finish with the second-highest career passer rating (170.4 as of last weekend) in FBS history. (Bradford's 175.6 will break the current record of 168.9). Any debate about all-time great players has to include Tebow, but last impressions carry a lot of weight.
I always figured he'd eventually reach this point, but I'm surprised it happened so quickly. It is, as you said, a match made in heaven. With all due respect to LSU, its football history prior to the start of this decade primarily consisted of
So clearly, the guy could coach and recruit with the best of them, and now you hand him the keys to one of the sport's all-time storied teams -- and, most importantly, give him complete autonomy over every last facet of the program -- and it seemed almost inevitable he'd get them to this point. I'll admit, I don't think I fully grasped his coaching persona while with LSU. Like so many others, I got caught up in his "angry" side perhaps jaded by his job-hopping. But listening to him talk throughout this season, there's no question in my mind: He's the
There are plenty of great coaches out there, each with their own unique approach.
I don't think there should be any "target" percentage of minority coaches the sport should be trying to reach, and even if there was, I don't think it should be based on that of the general population. According to a 2008 survey by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 30.6 percent of FBS assistant coaches are black. That leads to obvious questions as to why so few black coaches have risen to the top of their profession. And that in turn creates added scrutiny over schools' interview processes.
Obviously, schools should be free to hire whoever they deem the most qualified candidate. However, thanks to the work of groups like the BCA and more media coverage of the issue, more black candidates are actually getting interviews, and some of those interviews are now leading to jobs. The trend the past couple of years has been extremely encouraging, and hopefully it continues that way.
I'm sorry. I really am. If I were to give you some money out of my wallet ... would that help ease the pain?
As long as I get to eat at Trudy's while I'm there, I've got no problem with that.
I'm not aware of the Alabama tandem's current living situation, but I'll look into it and get back to you. I will say, McCoy and Shipley may have an unfair advantage. They get
Now that's just cold.
Just so you know, Austin happens to be one of my top-three favorite college towns (along with Eugene and Baton Rouge).
But I'll be sure to chew carefully.