Calling for five upsets (well, picking the underdogs) in my Top Five Picks probably wasn’t the safest thing to do…but, as they say, no guts, no glory. What we all should have learned about college football this weekend was this: during rivalry weeks, forget about picking games and just enjoy them.
Here are the 5 Things I Learned About College Football This Weekend:
1. Unfortunately, this coming weekend’s SEC Championship game and the Big 12’s Bedlam game won’t count for a thing in determining the BCS Championship game. It’s about as official as you can get, we’re getting a rematch between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama…this time in the Superdome in New Orleans. While LSU and Georgia will be playing in Atlanta this weekend for the SEC title, even if the Bulldogs pull an upset, LSU is very, very likely to return to the BCS title game. Alabama is off…and therefore will not drop below the No. 2 slot it occupies. Georgia, if they win, will get to the Sugar Bowl, and the SEC would get three BCS teams. Georgia is playing well (they thrashed Georgia Tech Saturday), but I don’t see them winning.
2. UCLA is a joke. A 50-0 loss in your rivalry game against a VERY GOOD USC team…disgraceful. It will probably cost Rick Neuheisel his job. Oregon will ROMP over the Bruins Friday night in Eugene (they opened as 31-point favorites) and will be the Pac 12’s representative in the Rose Bowl. USC is ineligible, which is too bad, because they have gotten much better as the year has progressed. I have been impressed with them over the past month and would have really liked to see them play Oregon again. But, to have a team like UCLA representing the South Division of the Pac 12 speaks for the poor quality of those teams. There’s only one decent team in that division…that’s Southern Cal.
3. Same Old Clemson. There…I said it. Once again, the Tigers fell FLAT ON THEIR FACES in a game with meaning…their annual rivalry game in Columbia against South Carolina. They were hideous…and if they play this way in Saturday’s ACC Championship game in Charlotte against Virginia Tech, the Hokies will run them out of the park. Va. Tech has opened as just 7-point favorites in this one. I don’t see this happening…but I see Va. Tech looking at this one as a revenge game for the beating they took in Blacksburg earlier this year. Mark it down…Va. Tech will, once again, be heading to the Orange Bowl as the ACC Champions.
4. Wisconsin could beat anyone at home…and would give LSU and Alabama a tough time in Madison. Too bad they had to go on the road this year. Saturday, as 15 – 17 point FAVORITES, not only did they cover against Penn State, but they made the Nittany Lions look like a high school team. I seriously wondered if PSU could keep up their fine play following the distractions they have been through. But, I really thought their defense could contain the Badgers…and boy, was I ever wrong! For two weeks they did play well…but not against the Badgers. Russell Wilson and Montee Ball were outstanding. Wisconsin’s offensive line just kept pushing and pushing…and PSU could not push back. They clearly were sending a message to Michigan State…THIS is the team you will see in the Big Ten title match in Indianapolis on Saturday (Wisconsin has opened as 10 point favorites). Despite the fact that MSU beat Wisconsin with a last-second Hail Mary pass in East Lansing earlier this season, I think Wisconsin comes into the dome and blows MSU away. Then again, it is a neutral site game…if it was in Madison, I’d bet the farm (small as it is) on the Badgers.
BREAKING NEWS: Urban Meyer has been named head coach at the Ohio State University and will return to his roots to coach the Buckeyes in 2012. Not really a surprise, but the university could have been shown a little respect for current interim coach Luke Fickell, who has done a good job. This is not really “news” as most people knew about this a week or two ago…and with Meyer NOT being in the ABC broadcast booth this weekend, well, that clinched it for me.
And speaking of the Big Ten, how about that GREAT Michigan – Ohio State game? Finally…The Game is back and is relevant. A 40-34 win over the Buckeyes…it had been since 2003 since Michigan beat “Ohio”…plenty of action and drama…And we now have a 10-win Michigan team that will go to a major bowl…not a BCS bowl, but a nice way to end the season for Brady Hoke and his Wolverines!
5. The BCS is flawed…and hopefully, sometime in my lifetime, there will be a tournament to determine the best college football team. Clearly, LSU and Alabama are the top teams this year…or are they? Let’s compare Alabama to Oklahoma State, whose one loss in overtime to Iowa State on a devastating day for OSU‘s athletic program has led to the probable SEC rematch in the BCS Championship Game on January 9. These numbers are what the NCAA Basketball Tournament Committee would be looking at, for instance:
- Wins over current BCS Top 25 teams: Oklahoma State: 5, Alabama: 2.
- Wins over current BCS Top 50 teams: Oklahoma State: 7, Alabama: 5.
- Wins over FBS teams with winning records: Oklahoma State: 6, Alabama: 3.
- Conference titles: Oklahoma State: 1, Alabama: 0.
- Losses to Iowa State: Oklahoma State: 1, Alabama: 0.
Wow…on paper it certainly looks like Oklahoma State has the better team…but we’ll never know. Alabama has legions of followers, and as well as the Cowboys‘ fans think they travel…the truth is SEC teams travel better and maybe that’s something to consider. But the truth is this…SEC teams win national championships, the Big 12 teams do not.
And undefeated Houston will have ABSOLUTELY NO SHOT at the BCS title game either. They were very convincing in their win over Tulsa on Saturday, and now will face Southern Mississippi for the C-USA title on Saturday (Houston is a 13-1/2-point favorite, by the way).
There are MILLIONS ($$$) of reasons to have a playoff…Let’s not talk about the relevance of the minor bowl games…I know they provide money for the communities in which they are located, but, I said it last year and I’ll say it again, I just don’t care about a game between the sixth choice from the Big 10 and the 5th choice from the ACC. Seriously…won’t pick these games either. There are the big bowl games that will have some great match-ups…and I will watch casually. But there’s only one game everyone will watch…the Championship game in New Orleans…a short drive from both participants’ fan bases. That will be a fun time!
I’ll be back with a look at next weekend’s action later this week!