Saturday, September 10, 2005

No more cupcakes - Play the big games...

College football is a great game - it's hard to beat its theater week in and week out. But here's how to make it even better: don't reward the cupcake schedules; especially in September.

Take Notre Dame - year in and year out they play the toughest schedule in college football. They have to as an independent. Everybody wants to beat Notre Dame and that's why they are the most liked and disliked program around. Everybody wants to play Notre Dame.

That's why the early -season matchup between Texas and Ohio State this year is so great. We need more of these and not less of them. Teams like this should be rewarded, even if the loser in a close well-played game. These games are good for the players, the programs, the game, the fans, and yes for TV as well.

Programs should be 'punished' for close victories over cupcake teams. Look at Oklahoma this year with its loss at home against TCU. If you are a big-time program and don't win easily at home against a cupcake be prepared to fall in the polls. Oklahoma should have won by at least 25 points. And today, even if they win, they are struggling early at home against Tulsa. They don't deserve a TOP 25 ranking at this point in the season.

Then there is Notre Dame, up big at halftime on the road in the big house. Wow! Even if they loose, they should remain in the TOP 25 and maybe even MOVE UP in the polls if this remains a close game and goes to Michigan. Look at what they did last week against PITT.

So - I say; let's put an end to those cupcake games. At least don't play as many of them if you are a big-time program in a power conference. We need more Texas / Ohio State matchups and not fewer. They're great for the game (now, and going forward).

If you have the honor to vote in the major polls (AP, USATODAY, COACHES) you need to do your homework especially early in the season. Don't be afraid to drop a team like Oklahoma out of the TOP 25 if they don't look good - especially against cupcakes. Don't be afraid to reward teams like Notre Dame even if they loose a close road game. And don't rule-out a national champion like the loser of the Texas / Ohio State game in September. Reward those teams, especially if they are close games. Somebody has to loose and somebody has to win. But the real winner is college football.

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