Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Enjoy These Rivalries While They Last

Thanksgiving weekend is usually rivalry weekend in college football. All those ancient battles we've watched over the years renew and the hatred gets reignited.

With all the conference shuffling going on, we could see some of these rivalries come to and end this year (or maybe next). Some of these are over a century old but the lure of money combined with hard feelings are forcing these games to possibly stop.

TEXAS-TEXAS A&M: These teams first met in 1894 and is one of the more intense rivalries on Thanksgiving weekend. With Texas A&M's move to the SEC, this rivalry will be dead for a while. While the Aggies want to continue the series, the Longhorns say their schedule is booked through 2018.

This is a odd ending. While Oklahoma is a bigger rival to Texas than A&M is, this was still a bitter battle. But one of the big reasons A&M left for the SEC is that they wanted to get away from big brother's shadow. Now they'll have to go it completely alone.

KANSAS-MISSOURI: The Border War is named as such because of some Civil War bad blood between the two states. Since Halloween 1891, these schools have been battling on the gridiron. With Mizzou's move to the SEC, this heated rivalry could die out. As in the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry, Kansas is shying away from continuing the Border War due to Missouri's defection to the SEC.

PITTSBURGH-WEST VIRGINIA: The Backyard Brawl could be ending this weekend as well. The two schools have met 103 times and it is one of the more unique rivalries in college football. Pittsburgh will be moving to the ACC soon, while West Virginia is moving to the Big XII. With the Big East's insistence to keep all Big East defectors in their conference for two years, this game could have a couple of battles left.

Despite both teams changing leagues, I see this game continuing. The ACC has long been able to honor those final interconference rivalry games. We see Clemson face South Carolina, Florida State face Florida and Georgia Tech take on Georgia in the final game of the season (before Virginia Tech joined the ACC, Virginia did play them on the final week as well). The ACC wouldn't mind keeping this game on Thanksgiving weekend which could help keep this game alive. Plus, since both teams are leaving the Big East, there isn't the hard feelings that other rivalries have seen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BCS System "Flawed"? Really??? Here's Why ...

Stanford coach David Shaw says that the BCS system is broken. Well, of course it is. And of course it is for Shaw, whose Stanford team lost to Oregon and is now all but out of the BCS championship game.

Yes, Coach Shaw, the BCS is flawed. And this year could prove it more than ever.

LSU GETS SCREWED: First off, we could see LSU be the lone undefeated (well, other than Houston). This LSU team will have had to have win the SEC West division ... which right now owns the top three ranked teams in the BCS standings. Back in the day, if LSU won the Sugar Bowl ... no matter who it was against ... they'd be national champions. Now they'd have to play a one-loss team with the winner being named champion. How is the BCS better, again?

ALABAMA GETS REMATCH: The big winner of the LSU-Arkansas tilt Saturday could be Alabama. No matter who wins, Alabama is sitting pretty. If LSU wins, that means Alabama (provided they beat Auburn) would finish 2nd in the SEC West and NOT have to play in the SEC Championship game ... which could have been a loss ... and still get to play in the BCS Championship game.

We could get an Alabama-LSU rematch for the championship. If Alabama won that game, they'd be National Champions despite splitting with LSU (both teams only loss would have been to each other), not winning their conference championship and not even winning their division. Yep, our NATIONAL Champion was neither a conference nor division champion.

***Note, I do see the irony in the statements I make about "winning conference" and all of that. I do understand that our defending Super Bowl Champion (Packers), NBA Champion (Mavericks) and World Series Champion (Cardinals) all finished in 2nd place in their divisions during the regular season. But those sports have playoffs and those sports don't harp that "every game counts". The entire point BCS backers and college football fans say is that every game counts and your season makes your champion. ***

LSU LOSES TO ARKANSAS: If Arkansas beats LSU ... there is a huge mess. If Alabama beat Auburn and won the SEC West, they'd be in the SEC title game and (with a win) the BCS title game. This is despite Arkansas beating the team that beat Alabama ... who did beat Arkansas earlier this season. And where does that leave all those one-loss teams like Stanford? Where does that leave undefeated Houston?

Not wrap your head around this: Say Arkansas barely beats LSU and Alabama beats Auburn. Most likely the BCS rankings would be Alabama #1, Arkansas #2 and LSU #3. Alabama goes to the SEC title game and somehow loses it. That would move Arkansas and LSU into the title game despite NEITHER team winning their conference or division championship. Amazing.

And what about Georgia? In this scenario, they would have beaten Alabama in the SEC title game and would have actually been the champions of the conference that house both of the BCS championship participants. Wrap your head around that.

WHERE DOES HOUSTON FIT? Every game counts? Tell Houston that when one-loss teams are playing for a title. And you wonder why all this realignment crap is going on. The BCS has caused this entire mess.

FORGET THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME FOR A SECOND: Remember that the BCS runs five bowls ... not just the title game. While some good teams will not get a BCS bid, Louisville could. Louisville could become Big East champions with a 7-5 record.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Alabama Does Not Deserve A Rematch With LSU

One of the questions I have been asked after LSU's overtime win at Alabama is if the Crimson Tide win out, Stanford and Oklahoma State (and possibly Boise State lose) should they get another shot at LSU in the BCS title game?


No way. No how.

Look, Alabama may indeed be the second-best team in the country. They may be worthy of a shot at the national championship. But they shouldn't get one. Not after what happened last Saturday. It can't happen.

First off, Alabama likely will not win the SEC championship. To me, if you cannot win your conference, you cannot play for a national championship. The reason Bama won't win the SEC title is that they won't even win the SEC West division title. For the Tide to do so, they'd need to win out LSU to lose twice (not likely to happen).

Again, I don't see how a team can be national champions (*cough* Nebraska *cough*) if they cannot even be their conference or even division champion.

Part II? Right now Alabama ranks No. 3 in the BCS rankings ... just behind LSU and Oklahoma State. If the Okie State Cowboys lose to ... say ... Oklahoma, then Alabama would likely move to the second spot and would be in line to face LSU in a BCS title game. How in the hell is that fair to Boise State or Stanford? Or even Oklahoma or Oregon (who could be a one-loss team)? Seriously, how could Alabama pass up undefeated Stanford or Boise State?

Think about it: Alabama got their shot at LSU. Stanford and Boise didn't. Alabama got the opportunity to play LSU ... at their place ... and couldn't get it done. No matter how "classic" the game was, it isn't fair that Alabama gets two cracks at LSU when Stanford or Boise can't.

And best of all, what if Bama plays LSU in a title game and wins? Sooooooo Alabama would be National Champions because they beat LSU on a neutral field while LSU beat Alabama at their place? They'd be tied head-to-head ... with LSU winning on the road ... yet Bama could be title holder?

So let's recap. Alabama could be national champion despite not winning its conference, its division and tying the head-to-head meeting with the No. 1 team who the lost to at home ... meanwhile losing one more game than the Pac-12 champion or a hot Boise State team.