Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bowl Chaos Series - Don't Blame Me!

Don't blame me for the mess we now have at our feet after PITT upset WV (one of the biggest of the with so much on line in the Backyard Brawl this year) and OU took care of MIZZOU - as predicted by the Chief. No, don't blame me - I've been calling for a playoff system for yeaars. Go back through my archives and see some of those discusssions and my ultimate bowl-playoff solution starting with the Top - 12 in the BCS. It's been a while myself, I may actually have some more tweaks to make. But, if it isn't clear to even the most casual fan that we need a true system for determining our national CFB champion, then keep reading. You're about to jump in head-first not knowing the depth of the pool. For the first time in the BCS, both #1 and #2 go down on the final weekend of the season. Wow!

So who plays whom? My NEW TOP-10 goes as follows: 1) LSU, 2) Oklahoma, 3) USC, 4) Georgia, 5) VT, 6) Ohio State, 7) Florida, 8) MIZZOU, 9) WV, 10) KU / ASU / ILLINOIS.

Sure, no surprise that I place the Chief in the TOP-10 at season's end - I suppose. All of these teams have proved to us that they can lose, at least one game if not two or three. At some point we have to consider strength of schedule (who'd you play, where, and who'd you beat?). And who in this list is playing their best ball late in the year? Yes, no two wins or losses are created equal. It does matter when you win and lose.

Wtih that in mind, I put LSU #1 for one simple reason - they didn't lose a regulation game all year (and they play in the SEC - toughest conference in America). Doesn't hurt when you win your conference either. Same logic mostly holds true for Oklahoma, who won their conference by beating MIZZOU at the Alamo last night (and Santa Anna)? The Sooners are one of the most physical teams in the land on both sides of the ball and may feature the best defense when it's all said and done. They held a high-powered MIZZOU offense in check, twice this year. Clearly #1 an d#2 are a bit above the rest in the field. Both won their divisions. Both won their conferences. Enough said.

I have USC #3 followed by Georgia, VT, OSU, and Florida. USC may be the best team in the nation right now. But, that early upset at home to Stanford should keep them out of the title game. That had to be one of if not the greatest upsets in CFB history. Two losses in a relatively weak PAC-10 (victim of injury like no other conference) also help cement the Trojans as very good, perhaps great, but not worthy of a higher ranking. They only played two teams with winning records year (but did play Nebraska, Idaho, and ND).

Georgia is a solid football team that may have the best argument for playing in the BCS Title Game w/o having won their conference or division. But, they did take it on the chin to Tennessee earlier in the year who lost yesterday to guess who, LSU. VT is playing some great ball right now down the stretch now that they've found a rhythem on offense with Glennon calling the shots. This team looks scarrier and scarrier to me the more I see them. Ohio State and Florida, last year's BCS matchup, are both good clubs with some serious weaknesses. But snap for snap, they're better than the bottom three in my ranking.

MIZZOU, WV, KU, ASU, and ILLINOIS round it out. Here we have the Jeckyl and Hide Division of the list. How does WV lose the Backyard Brawl to 4-7 Pitt with so much on the line? And is Ohio State even worthy to be ranked this high with that soft conference and non-conference schedule (true, 1 loss to the Chief). Same for KU and its schedule. Both of these teams have been exposed against better competition. ASU is a typical PAC-10 team to me, great on offense at times but soft on 'D' against quality systems. And, they have this nasty habit of falling behind early in just about every game, costing them against Oregon and USC. Then there's the Chief!

There is not better three-loss program in the land. At 9-3 we're eligible for the BCS this year after 2-10 last season. What a turnaround. And when you look at the losses you have to be impressed: at MIZZOU, against Michigan when they were fairly good, and at Iowa on a crappy day for football at Kinnick. Granted, we should have and could have won all three games to be 12-0. Then there are the victories: over Wisconsin (#5), over Penn State, and over #1 Ohio State at Columbus (Beat the Best!). We closed the season on a four-game winning streak by taking care of business against a pesky NW club who has owned us of late.

So, w/o further fan-fare - here are my proposed BCS matchups:
  • BCS TITLE GAME should be LSU vs. OSU (yep, the BUCKEYS are back).
  • SUGAR BOWL GAME should be Georgia vs VT.
  • ORANGE BOWL GAME should be OU vs. WV.
  • ROSE BOWL GAME should be USC vs. ILLINOIS (BIG-10 gets two).

Chief recognizes the voting in the HARRIS and COAHCES' polls will make all the difference. But based on last-week's voting and rankings along with the outcomes of the games on Championship Saturday, these are the most equitable matchups. And I tried to maintain a semblance of the bowl alliances with the Orange (BE/B12), Rose (B10/P10), and Sugar (ACC/SEC). In so doing, I leave out KU, FLORIDA, and yes - Hawaii. First HI no way, not with that schedule and yesterday's squeaker over UW. At 142nd or so in the nation, the Warriors are not worthy of a BCS bid. Stay in HI and give us another great Sheraton HAWAII BOWL shootout. As for Florida, they didn't even win their division in their conference. This isn't last year's TITLE team.

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