Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shut - Up Already, Chief is Worthy of the BCS ...

I mean, enough is enough already. All I've been hearing about since Sunday night (with the announcement of this year's Rose Bowl between USC and ILL) is how ILLINOIS is not deserving of a BCS bid. And, in general - the BIG 10 is down this year and shouldn't be sending two programs to the BCS. Sure, I feel for Missouri and Arizona State - but the CHIEF didn't make the rules. He just plays by 'em. Hell yes, I'm calling out Stewart Mandel (CNN/SI), Pat Forde (ESPN), and Andy Gresh (sp? - ESPN). These guys are normally on the mark, but all missed it big time in their assessments of this year's BCS games, especially the Rose Bowl. Sure, we may get blown out by USC - it's been a crazy season afterall. But know this, we will compete for 60+ minutes in the upcoming remake of 'David Vs. Goliath'.

The worst of the worst has to be Pat Forde. I mean, based on his writings, you can't draw any other conclusion other than the fact he's an idiot. He shredded, I mean ripped, Ron Zook back in August and September - along with the rest of the ILLINI nation for rallying behind its coach. According to Pat at the time, Zooker was little more than an over-glorified recruiter. I'm still waiting for the apology - and now this of late:

Forde: I anticipate seeing USC pole-ax BCS interloper Illinois in the Rose Bowl the way UCLA once demolished an overrated Illini in the '84 Rose 45-9. And I hope it rains on the Rose Parade as well. The Rose deserves it for clinging to outdated ritual instead of trying to set up the best possible game.

Really, 'interloper'? To some in this great land tradition still means something. And just for the record, no team has a better winning percentage at the Rose Bowl (75%) than Illinois. USC (with far more appearances, is just at 66%). Honestly, it's the tradition in the game that helps to differentiate CFB from the entertainment version played on Sundays. I for one love the debates, the polls, the controversy, and the 'human-factor' of the game. The BCS is far from perfect, but it is the current state of the game. Deal with it. Pat, tone down your hatred for the BIG-10 my friend. Try to be an objective journalist at least now and then if you can. ESPN is paying you big dollars for your pie-hole. Use it wisely.

The Rose Bowl could be the best of the BCS games. Think of the many storylines: ILLINI spread-option versus the Trojan Defense, Juice versus the SC linebackers, line versus line, etc......It's not like we're talking ECU and Boise State or Cincy and Southern Miss. These are two great programs representing their conferences in front of the nation. Come on Pat, I'll give you another chance. Try to say something nice next time.

Now for the case (as if I need to lay it all out there for you). Seriously, and you've heard it here before, we played 12 games this year and won 9 of them against some pretty tough competition. Name another team with two top-5 wins (Wisconsin and Ohio State). Who else did that this year? And the three losses are all quality defeats in my book: to Mizzou (barely), at Iowa (barely again), and at home against a pretty good Michigan club at the time. With 9 wins and a 13 ranking in the BCS we qualify under the current system. Enough said, welcome to reality.

I know we're going up against the winningest program of late in USC. They're a dynasty from the left coast, men amongst boys in most cases. I know as well as you do that there's more NFL talent on this club than 50% of the teams that play on Sunday. There's the AFC, the SEC, USC, and the NFC - in that order. And nobody gets his program ready for the BIG GAME like Pete Carroll. Still yet, they lost two games this year (Stanford and Oregon) and are not the same dominant team as the 2003, 4, 5 squads. But for all their success / praise this year, the men from Troy have only beaten two teams with winning records (ASU / OS) with a #32 SOS while the Chief has amassed six such wins with #41 SOS. This just in, Zook can do more than just recruit. He's also a finalist for the LIBERTY MUTUAL COACH OF THE YEAR. Teams and programs win games, not individuals. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Pat. I hope Ronnie wins it for ya!

No other team is hotter in the BIG-10 right now (4Ws in a row leads the conference). And for all this crap I've been hearing all year about how 'great' the self-proclaimed 'conference of champions' (SPCoC) is this year, they only come in at #3 behind the SEC and BIG EAST (of all conferences) in the latest Sagarin conference rankings. And when you look at the bowl matchups this year, you can't help but notice that the BIG-10 has (8) clubs against just (6) from the SPCoC. Should be an interesting BIG-10 / PAC-10 challenge for total bowl wins this year.

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