Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday 11/30 Quickie: Texas over Oklahoma

Texas should be the BCS poll voters' pick ahead of Oklahoma.

Let's be clear: Deciding the 3-way tie in the Big 12 South by BCS ranking is NOT the BCS's fault. It is the Big 12's fault for putting their conference decision-making in the hands of (a) random Harris poll voters; (b) agenda-driven coaches from around the country; and (c) the computers.

No matter what the result, we should all demand transparency of the coaches' poll individual ballots, because you KNOW that without any accountability, there will be some shenanigans. (Wonder where Mack Brown is going to vote Oklahoma?)

So: Do you pick Texas or Oklahoma? (Sorry, Texas Tech.)

If you insist on eliminating Texas Tech from your reasonable consideration (as most people seem quick to do) and focusing only on UT and OU, that makes the choice clear: Texas.

This should weight most: Texas beat Oklahoma head-to-head on a neutral field, the closest thing we have to an actual playoff game between the two.

(If you want to give Oklahoma credit for hanging 61 on OK St, please assign a bit of a discount because they allowed 41. Let's not confuse Big 12 defenses for being stout.)

There's one factor that no one is talking about, and I'm not sure it should count, except that folks were more than willing to bring it up as a knock against Ohio State's inclusion in the BCS title game...

Look at Oklahoma's record in BCS bowl games the last two seasons: Arguably, worse than Ohio State -- the Buckeyes got pasted, but at least they got walloped by the national champs. Oklahoma got beaten by the non-BCS charity case and a West Virginia team that couldn't win at home against Pitt to secure its place in the national-title game. OU has been a BCS bowl embarrassment, the poster child for BCS unworthiness the past two seasons. (Let's not even count 2003, when they backed in and, naturally, got beat by LSU in the BCS title game.)

And in the biggest game of its season in 2008, against Texas, Oklahoma choked again. Let's not talk about these teams not having a chance to control their own destiny -- OU could have made this a non-issue by beating Texas head-to-head; they didn't. They were beaten solidly. Texas' only loss was on the road, after a brutal 4-game stretch, at a sizzling hot Texas Tech on a last-second TD.

As long as we're leaving it up to the human pollsters across the country to make the decision on behalf of the Big 12 (again: blame the Big 12 for setting up this ludicrousness!), Texas is the right pick as Big 12 South champs, and -- if they beat Mizzou in the Big 12 title game -- one-half of the national-title game.

(If OU is the pick, there is still a positive scenario for Texas: If Mizzou beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, I could see the BCS rankings shaking out that Texas is vaulted into the BCS Top 2 to play the Bama-Florida winner, even though they didn't even win their own conference division. I don't think anyone would complain about that, except USC -- and no one is arguing they should be in the conversation.)

Anyway, huge statement results from Alabama and Florida against their in-state rivals, setting up the best game of the season next week in the SEC title game -- a true, never-before-seen-in-the-BCS-era* "playoff" where the winner of the game goes to the national title and the loser merely gets a BCS at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl. (Not a bad consolation prize, but not the same as the NCG.)

* - Kudos to commenter Cannon for pointing out that, in fact, not only have we seen this before, but it happened a mere 2 years ago, when Ohio State played Michigan. Agreed. Of course, neither team really deserved to make the national title game that year -- see the bowl obliteration of both -- but that's another argument for another day.

You've got to feel sorry for Oregon State: With the Rose Bowl in its sights, the Beavers got blown out and now suddenly USC is going to the Rose Bowl to play Penn State and a BCS "at-large" spot opens for Ohio State -- oh, Boise State fans, did you really think it would go to you?

The At-Large Bids: (1) Utah (automatic); (2) Alabama-Florida loser (no way the Sugar doesn't take a team with regional appeal as its replacement for the team they lose to the BCS title game); (3) Oklahoma or Texas (whoever doesn't win the Big 12 South); and (4) Ohio State (even though Boise State would be the more deserving pick).

I feel no similar sympathy for Notre Dame, which got what it deserved for hiring Charlie Weis in the first place. (This is all a big fat karmic payback for tossing Tyrone Willingham, you know that right?) Weis keeps finding ways to set a new low for Notre Dame performance in an individual game. What are we at, like the 10th new low in the last 3 years? More?

Congrats to Cincinnati for winning the Big East's BCS bid -- they are a very very good team that gets little national credit because they aren't a "traditional" program. Brian Kelly is probably one of the Top 1-3 coaches in the country available to move to a new program. He would be a good fit at Notre Dame, because he's a -- y'know -- college football coach, not an NFL assistant coach pretending to be a college football head coach.

Speaking of coaches, it's too bad that Sylvester Croom is out at Mississippi State. His 2007 season was incredible, particularly in the most competitive conference in recent college football memory. (Compare the SEC from '07 to '08...yeesh, what a difference.) There is zero diversity in college football coaching, and it's not like there aren't great minority candidates out there. I cannot believe that this is the state of things heading into 2009.

Anyway, all eyes on the BCS rankings later today.

My initial BlogPoll ballot looks like this: (1) Alabama; (2) Florida; (3) Texas; (4) Oklahoma; (5) USC; (6) Penn St; (7) Utah; (8) Boise St; (9) Texas Tech; (10) Ohio St. That 1-2-3 follows logically that I think the winner of Bama-Florida should play Texas (presuming UT beats Mizzou in the Big 12 title game) in the NCG.

Meanwhile, how about that Plaxico Burress? He shot himself in the leg? The guy has just defined his career as the guy who shot himself in the leg.

NBA: Yeah, the Warriors' D is terrible, but Chris Duhon had 22 assists and David Lee had a fantasy-crazy 37 points and 21 rebounds (both career highs) and the Knicks rolled... meanwhile, Kevin Durant had 30 in a very very very rare Thunder win...

5 comments:

ajb said...

I read your column to think about different points of view regarding college football that I often disagree. Most significantly, the concept that which ever team wins the Big 12 Game of the Week (of the Year) should immediately be voted #1 regardless of their complete resume (see Texas Tech). What I am most curious about this morning, is how you would have felt if Okla St had won against Oklahoma last night. Would you feel that Texas should be out of the national championship picture? You clearly state in your Saturday post "... if they (USC) can't win their own conference title, how can they deserve the national-title game?" discussing the merits of an Oregon State win. And yet this morning you are driving the UT bandwagon as well as stating that if Oklahoma plays Mizzou for the Big 12 Championship: (I am paraphrasing) "there is still a positive scenario for Texas: If Mizzou wins, I could see Texas vaulted into the BCS Top 2 to play the Bama-Florida winner, even though they didn't even win their own conference division." I would hope you would vehemently campaign against this scenario since Texas did not even win their own division (Big 12 rules, not mine). I am curious to read what thoughts you have regarding this glaring inconsistency.

xcdannon said...

i just have to say that this "never-before-seen-in-the-BCS-era "playoff" where the winner of the game goes to the national title and the loser merely gets a BCS at-large bid"

happened in 2006. Ohio State vs. Michigan. Sorry, but it's happened before.

Randvek said...

Dan, USC isn't guaranteed the Rose Bowl yet. They still have to beat UCLA.

Hahaha, yeah, I know.

As a Pac-10 fan, I'm sad to see USC win it. Again. But on the other hand, OSU had no chance against Penn State, and this opens up another BCS slot for a more worthy team.

I agree with you that Texas is the cream of the Big 12, though my reasoning is a bit more simple: Texas looked the best. Even in its lone defeat to Texas Tech, I watched that game and walked away with the feeling that Texas was the better team and that a little luck threw it to Tech. I have zero doubt, zero, that Texas is the best in that conference. It's too bad, it really is.

James said...

Dan,

The problem with just ignoring Texas Tech and focusing on the head to head between UT and OU is that it penalizes OU for beating Tech by so much. If they'd played a competitive game and Tech was still a legit title contender, the OU/TX game wouldn't be as important. And to me, that doesn't make much sense. But whatever, the BCS is out, so I just hope OU doesn't choke like they did against K-State in '03. Finally, even though I'm an OU homer, if Florida beats 'Bama I expect they'll beat OU in the title game.

Andy Roberts said...

The Weis fiasco is karmic payback for the 10-year contract. Dumping Ty was unequivocally the right thing to do. The way he recruits, ND would be looking at 2007-type teams every single year.

But lord, the 10-year contract. Notre Dame is run by idiots, I swear.