Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesday 01/06 A.M. Quickie:
Texas, Mack Brown, BCS, Pitt, Burrell

I don't know what is more ludicrous: The notion that anyone could possibly think that Texas is the No. 1 team in the nation anymore -- or that Mack Brown is STILL pushing that line, even after last night.

"Texas is NOT No. 1" leads today's SN column. The kicker of the column:

"But Brown's team did make a super case ... for No. 4. But, hey: Of the teams without a claim on the national title, they are first in that line."

Meanwhile, if you're looking for more evidence that perhaps the Big 12 style led to an inflated sense of value of the conference, how about Texas' struggles with Ohio State's defense?

I think it is fair to say that any lingering doubts that the Big 12 defenses are terrible are gone. (But I'm not quite sure I wanted Florida's Brandon Spikes to affirm that position publicly.)

And while I'm quite sure that Oklahoma has never faced a defense this season (including TCU) as tough as Florida's, the great equalizer is Oklahoma's pace on offense.

(The NYT's inimitable Pete Thamel -- the best college football reporter in the country -- has a must-read that traces the OU no-huddle back to its fascinating roots.)

I am not concerned about Florida's ability to score on Oklahoma. And while I am sure that Florida's D is an unprecedented challenge for OU, I am sure that OU will be able to score.

Anyway, back to Texas: They can sit behind the Florida-Oklahoma winner, Utah and USC -- in that order, btw -- in my final rankings. They simply looked too unspectacular, particularly when compared to the stylish way Utah and USC clobbered their opponents -- both tougher than OSU.

More in the column:
*Pitt is No. 1: As it should be.
*James Harrison as NFL DPOY: Agreed.
*The Spurs are hitting their stride.
*Rays pay for Burrell: They earned the splurge.

You can find it all here. Very special anniversary post coming at noon ET, prepared this past weekend.

-- D.S.

PS: Memo to all the Ohio State fans who hate that I hate tOSU. I just sent this out in an email to one of your peers, and I thought I'd share:

"It was a very good year, and you should be proud of OSU's effort -- particularly defensively -- against UT. I will question why (a) Tressel didn't unleash TP as a runner more, VY-style, and (b) what he was thinking not sitting on the ball until there was less than 1 min to go, then kicking a FG to win. I am usually sympathetic to Texas and you know how I feel about OSU, but I actually found myself rooting for OSU -- Mack Brown has made me sick."

Yes, I even surprised myself feeling that emotion about OSU. Alas, you probably delivered a best-case scenario for OSU-hating Florida fans: Ohio State lost (again), but played Texas tough enough to remove the Longhorns from the debate for No. 1.


Matthew said...

"Texas is NOT No. 1." Agreed. Oh, wait, but OSU has choked three thousand times in bowl games; their giving Texas a game of it doesn't really mean much because Texas isn't really that great, either; and blah, blah, blah...

Good Lord.

I'm not paraphrasing you, specifically, but that's about what I'm hearing around the net today. Love how it was a lose-lose for OSU (I promise if they'd held on for another 16 seconds, the story would be almost exactly the same, perhaps with fewer references to the title games).

I hope a resurgence of the Big Ten doesn't really take as long as I think it will. I'm just not holding my breath (because, you know, I don't have a death wish).

And from your column: "Come on: It's Ohio State in a BCS bowl game." Seriously? If you're going to tell jokes, at least try to make them fresh (or relevant, because OSU's performance in last night's game was nothing like the previous two title games). I'm just saying. For a this-minute-is-all-that-matters sportswriter (simplification, sure, but that's basically your schtick), that joke is prehistoric.

Appreciate the email, though I disagree with it being a very good year. The inconsistency made me want to vomit at times. Here's hoping Pryor keeps his pace of improvement, because if he does, we are going to be blown away next year. But I appreciate the email (because I hate Florida more than I can express, but I'll be among the first to defend the awesomeness of Tim Tebow, both on and off the field).

Unknown said...

Great post Dan. Mack Brown and Texas need to stop the national title talk. They (and by association, the entire Big 12) were exposed as overrated. Big 12 teams did not play defense all year, but somehow the pollsters ignored it. Ohio State was a good, but far from great, team this year; they won the games they should have won, and lost the 3 games they should have lost. Beating OSU by 3 in the final seconds is not a statement victory like Utah's win or USC's. Depending on the outcome of Thursday's game, UT finishes the season 4th or 5th.

This may be kind of silly/pointless, but I'm curious to see how the final AP rankings rate Penn State and Alabama. Both teams finished with 2 losses, and in their BCS bowls, both were down big early and lost by 2 TDs. But Penn State was expected to lose to USC (and their "best defense ever?") by 2 TDs, while Alabama was favored to win big. Overall, Penn State put on a better showing in their BCS bowl than Alabama did in theirs, but I doubt the AP rankings will reflect that.

Qwagmire said...

If Florida kills OU (heaven help the fellating here if they do) any mystique the Big 12 has will be gone.

Texas Tech got manhandled by the 4th best SEC team.

Texas barely beat what, if we are to believe all the smart people, is a mediocre Ohio team from a mediocre conference.

So if Florida abuses OU, not only will all of the big 3 in the Big 12 be losers, we are going to have to listen to Dan perform oral on Florida few a while.

Utah and USC look like they have a good complaint.

My 8 playoff teams? (in no order)
Ohio State
Cincinnati/Virgina Tech Play In Game (goes to the worst 2 BCS conferences of the year)

Michael W said...

I didn't have any interest in the winner between OSU/Texas, but as the game progressed and it became clear that both teams were quite inept, I started rooting for OSU. I mean, Texas did not look like a 1-loss team at any point in the game. Utah, USC, and Florida/OK winner are definitely better teams. Florida/OK *loser* might even deserve a ranking better than Texas. Texas at #4? Yeah, if they get lucky they're 4.

Unknown said...

"The poll is the BlogPoll, the most authentic college football ranking in the country — filled out each week by more than a hundred passionate and expert college football bloggers, covering every conference, team, region and rooting interest."

So passionate that many do not fill out their polls on a weekly basis and I believe there was at least one member who did not vote in a single week.

Dan, you are a blogger, and very good at it. With that said, not everything you are involved with is a big deal. I could find 100 friends of mine who are just as passionate (and unqualified) to decide a national champion. We would probably be more qualified given our vast amounts of free and (thanks to cable TV) the ability to watch more than a handful game each week, we also would all participate. We could do our poll, we could even post it on a website (gasp), and it would be as meaningless as the blogpoll.

I also find it hilarious you support a poll with the quote "It's more fun. No one really cares, so we can just vote" as a founding reason for it.

Statements like this reflect your credibility. If bloggers want to taken seriously, they can't continue to shoot off their mouths about every random topic you have a problem with. Well actually, you can, just you common sense and reasoning in your stance.

Reformation of the process is needed. The Blogpoll is not the answer.