As you can imagine, I have BCS on my mind in the lead of today's SN column. This weekend re-affirmed that college football's regular season IS a de facto playoff.
You can love or hate Florida, but you have to admit they are playing amazing right now. What I don't understand is how any fan outside Texas or Oklahoma could not unconditionally love Texas Tech.
They play the most telegenic brand of football -- college or pro -- in the country. Graham Harrell is rightfully atop the Heisman rankings. Michael Crabtree is arguably the best player in the country. And their defense is -- for the Big 12 -- tremendous; they did a better job on Oklahoma State than Texas did, and did a better job on Texas than Oklahoma did.
As much as I would like to see the Big 12 turn into a mini-me version of an epic BCS clusterf--- with Texas Tech losing in Norman to Oklahoma in 2 weeks, I really want to see Texas Tech make it to the national-title game.
If you believe, like me, that the champ of the Big 12 and the champ of the SEC meeting for the national title is the optimal outcome to this particular season, Texas Tech deserves it more than any other team in the Big 12. (I fear that if they do lose to Oklahoma, they will drop behind both Texas and Oklahoma in the BCS standings; I'm sure Texas fans are even more freaked at the outcome that Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, then leapfrogs Texas in the BCS standings.)
Anyway, thank you Penn State, for giving college football fans a true gift -- the closest thing to a 4-team, 2-game playoff in advance of the national title game as we have seen since the BCS was implemented. More on that scheduled to be posted at lunchtime, so check back.
Meanwhile, the Titans may still be unbeaten, but the Giants are the best team in the league. (It's sort of like once-beaten Florida being better than unbeaten Alabama. OK, so that's a stretch.)
I'm not ready to assign credit to Peyton for the Colts' win in Pittsburgh as much as I am ready to assign blame to Big Ben.
In the same way I ask how you can not love Texas Tech, how can you not love the Dolphins' Wildcat formation? It was arguably more successful yesterday than ever. Where are the copycats? The Dolphins -- the DOLPHINS -- are 5-4 and in contention for a Wild Card spot, in large part due to the innovation on offense.
Begrudgingly -- but absolutely fairly -- I would like to point out that I was quite wrong about Matt Ryan's fitness as an NFL QB -- particularly a rookie NFL QB. (I was slightly more bullish on Joe Flacco, and he has also proven to be a capable NFL QB.) Here's a question: Given how sickly the QB situation is in the NFL right now, where would you rank Ryan -- top half? Top 10? Right now, Ryan is No. 8 in QB rating among non-injured QBs. And, after all, he's just a rookie.
OK, two weeks into the NBA season, I have reason to re-think my preseason pick that the Rockets would upend both the Lakers and Celtics en route to the NBA title. Last week, the Celtics beat the Rockets; yesterday, the Lakers absolutely clocked them, particularly defensively. It was almost as if the Lakers took it personally that anyone would even suggest that the Rockets were in a position to dismantle LA from the top of the West. Consider me convinced.
Why I don't get NASCAR, Reason Nth: What's the point of a playoff system if the final race is meaningless? How much cooler would it be if 10 or however many drivers made the playoff, then each week, the guy who finishes last among the group is knocked out of the playoff? Forget points: Go for total elimination-style. It would make the final race meaningful, at least. One of you NASCAR fans out there needs to explain to me why this current system has yielded a good result in this case.
College hoops season tips off tonight: Duke vs. Presbyterian. No, seriously. I consider myself a pretty big CBB fan, and I have to admit I had never heard of Presbyterian as a Division 1 team.
Meanwhile, I put a challenge in today's SN column: You can have UNC to win the title if you give me the field. After the past 3 seasons, I have zero faith in Hansbrough's ability to lead this team -- however absurdly talented it might be -- to 6 straight wins in late March. The facts are on my side, aren't they?
Complete SN column here. More later. Did some posts early this morning that I have scheduled to post throughout the day.