Is Florida-Alabama the biggest regular-season college football game of the BCS Era?
First, I'm not even sure it should be considered a "regular-season" game. It's a conference playoff game. That said, it counts within the "regular-season" record. Let's assume it is.
Next, the affirmative evidence: The winner (presumably) goes to the national-title game, making it the closest thing to a national semifinal in the final week of the season. Plus, it's 1-vs-2.
That said: What about Ohio State-Michigan in 2006? That was winner-goes-to-the-BCS-title-game. That was 1-vs-2. That was the teams' final game of the regular season.
Where that game had the "Best-Rivalry-In-College-Football" vibe, this SEC title game feels like the grown-ups' table. Conference title games aren't everyone's taste, but they can be a Big Deal.
(Especially in the SEC, where -- at least for the last 3 years running -- the winner has gone on to the national title game.)
It probably does a disservice to both game to try to rank-order them. We can all agree that UM-OSU '06 was a Big Game, and that Florida-Bama '08 is a Big Game.
It certainly boosts the stakes for a fan of the teams involved, like me. But I can't tell you how many folks have either emailed or stopped me around my neighborhood (seeing me in Florida gear) who have mentioned that they aren't really big CFB fans, but are excited in today's game.
It's a Big Game.
Meanwhile, there is the little matter of Oklahoma having to take care of business against Missouri tonight. All signs point to that, but it is precisely the conditions where upsets thrive. By the way, Burnt Orange Nation is calling this the BeatByTexas.com Bowl, appropriately.
Unbeaten Ball State lost -- lost -- to Buffalo in the MAC title game. Going undefeated is hard. The Cards were a great story, but this just underscores the idea that they were the No. 12 team in the country -- No. 12?! -- was ludicrous, the product of simply going unbeaten, no matter who they played. (Under that logic, a mid-level big-conference team might as well go independent and schedule the easiest 12 teams possible, stringing together their own "unbeaten" season.)
That said, let's not take away from Buffalo. Turner Gill is one of the great young head coaches in the sport, and he should have massive opportunities going forward. Syracuse would be insane not to look just a few miles away in the state and try to bring Gill over. He turned Buffalo into a winner -- Buffalo!
OJ gets anywhere from 6-16 years in prison: Karma is a beeeee-otch, ain't it, Orenthal James?
Greg Maddux retiring: I would argue that pound-for-pound he is the best pitcher of our generation -- and one of the Top 5 pitchers of all time.
Leach gets offer from Texas Tech: 5Y/$12.1M? My reaction: That's all? For turning the school into a telegenic Top 10 program? That's like $2.5M a year. I can't believe that Auburn -- or any other big-name school -- couldn't top that by at least a half-a-mil a year. In college football, it is all about the head coach. Just look at the two teams in the SEC title game. Not sure how Leach isn't worth top dollar.
NBA: The red-hot Blazers -- currently tearing up an East Coast road swing -- got a reality check against the defending champs... If the Wizards can stay within 2 points of the best team in the NBA (Lakers), they should be winning more games than they are... Fantasy Stud: Paul Millsap (17 pts, 11 reb, 7 ast, 3 blocks)...