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The Not-So-Great Debate

Posted by biggusrickus on December 7, 2009

Well, we’ve come to the end of another college football regular season. And so, the annoying jabber about fairness, playoffs, non-BCS teams, etc. begins anew. Some of these “takes,” to use a Rome-ism, will be rational. Some will be emotional. Most will suck. One will come from the keyboard of Dennis Dodd. It will be emotional. It will suck. It will be headlined:

Messy BCS: Longhorns in title game doesn’t seem right

I’m not sure that Texas, or Alabama for that matter, is better than TCU or Cincinnati. Statistically speaking, both certainly look better on paper than Cincinnati. The evidence is less compelling in TCU’s case. That said, both teams have been ranked ahead of TCU and Cincinnati all season, they haven’t lost, and neither TCU nor Cincinnati has played a particularly tough schedule. Cincinnati’s is ranked 63rd toughest by Sagarin, TCU’s 84th. Alabama (20th) and Texas (44th) both played tougher schedules. Sagarin is imperfect, but it does try to apply some scientific method to the process of deciding who the best teams are. So, it kind of seems right to me.

It just doesn’t feel right, not when the two happiest men in college football Sunday were Dan Beebe and Walt Anderson.

Ah, but does it feel right? I didn’t consider that in my opinion. I don’t know. I mean, I’m kind of curious about what sex would feel like, but I’m also kind of nervous. I mean, this is a big step. You want it to be more than just an awkward backseat encounter. Maybe if the mood was right and it was with the right person (Johnny is really dreamy), I’d be ready. What were we talking about?… Oh right, national title game participants. It feels wrong…because…two guys are happy. Um, huh?

It doesn’t feel right because the Big 12 commissioner (Beebe) and his supervisor of officials (Anderson) were just as much a part of Saturday’s furious finish to the season as was the football.

The commissioner and the supervisor of officials were a part of Satruday’s furious finish? Is Dodd insinuating a conspiracy? Defend this statement, Dennis.

It doesn’t feel right because half of the BCS title-game matchup was decided from the video replay booth. The commish and his supervisor had to put the final stamp of approval on Texas’ 13-12 non-loss over Nebraska. Yeah, they got it right even after Texas almost got it unforgivably wrong.

So, you’re blaming them for…getting a call correct in an immensely important game.
Many of you saw it and you still can’t believe it.
It was kind of amazing how nonchalant McCoy was on that last play, but I totally believe it happened.
Colt McCoy rolled out with eight seconds left with a timeout in his pocket and treated the play like it was a seven-on-seven drill. His leisurely pass out of bounds was flat enough — and Ndamukong Suh was a split-second late enough in sacking him — that it hit the ground with one second left. And as we all know, “The clock doesn’t stop until the ball hits something,” Anderson said.

Yes, we all know that, but do we feel it? That’s the important thing.

Cue the confetti streaming down from the rafters. Wait, first clear the field of celebrating Huskers. Given that precious extra second, Texas’ Hunter Lawrence punched it through from 46 yards for the winner.

Hunter Lawrence defines clutch.

That’s how the 12th BCS title matchup was decided — Texas not so much celebrating as exhaling. It was finalized only after Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini screamed at Texas, “You should be ashamed to accept that trophy,” at least three times according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Well, it was, you know, settled when the replay official made the correct call and Texas made a last-second field goal. You know what might also have made a difference? If Bo Pelini’s kicker hadn’t kicked the kickoff out of bounds after they’d taken the lead or Carl Pelini’s defenders hadn’t horse-collared a guy after a completion, setting Texas up at the 30. Shouting that someone should be ashamed to accept a trophy after you blew your shot at it defines sour grapes.

His brother, head coach Bo, dispatched legend/AD Tom Osborne to the middle of the Cowboys Stadium field to fetch Beebe. The commissioner had some ‘splainin’ to do. The pair talked out of earshot although the World-Herald reported hearing curse words.

Rumored cussing aside, they got the call right however much Nebraska wishes otherwise.

“BCS,” Bo was quoted as saying, “That’s why they make that call.”

Really guys, you lost. You melted down. It’s not a conspiracy.

In the fog of war we all say, do — and write — stupid things. No, it wasn’t a BCS call, Bo. If Texas would have lost, it would have guaranteed the Big 12 more money by getting two teams in the BCS.
You’re all over the place Dennis. You alluded to a conspiracy. Then you said the call was correct. Then you listed quotes and rumors about Nebraska feeling cheated. Then you come back and say it wasn’t a conspiracy. Jesus Christ, pick a side.
As it is, the conference has a team in the BCS title game for the second consecutive year and third time in five years. We’re going to be asked to celebrate a title game featuring grand programs with two brand names. But something doesn’t feel right because Texas is TCU is Cincinnati at this point. Might as well throw Boise State in there too because after Alabama, no one can convince me that the Longhorns “deserve” anything.


If only there were some way to compare these teams in a dispassionate, scientific way using some sort of “thinking machine” that compiles a bunch of different statistics and takes this “data” to rate the teams accordingly. Boise’s schedule is ranked 98th. Texas has an overall rating two points higher than TCU, about three-and-a-quarter higher than Cincy and nearly five higher than Boise. So inasmuch as anyone “deserves” to play for a college football national title, Texas does.

Their best victory is over an Oklahoma State team that couldn’t beat Houston. Please, hold your applause. Their closing statements were anything but convincing, giving up 39 points to Texas A&M, then having Anderson clear up any misunderstanding about how they mismanaged the clock. Texas was one silly second from making Chris Webber’s timeout in the Final Four look like a mere oversight.

Per Sagarin, their best win was over Oklahoma (no. 23),  Nebraska (no. 24), then Oklahoma State (32).

At least TCU went on the road twice in the ACC to win. The Frogs beat two other ranked teams. Cincinnati beat three teams ranked in the top 20. But Texas is in and when Saturday blows over we’ll spend most of the next month flogging its honorable place in that brand-name final.

TCU went on the road to beat Virginia (no. 70) 30-14 and Clemson (no. 21) 14-10. Cincy beat Oregon State (no. 15) 28-18, Pitt (no. 18) 45-44, and I think, maybe he means WVU (no. 27) 24-21. Did I mention that Cincy’s schedule was 63rd and TCU’s 84th overall while Texas’ was 44th?

Texas’ biggest advantage it turns out is starting higher in the polls. TCU and Cincinnati finished a fraction behind in the BCS because they are Holiday Inn Express to Texas’ Ritz. If you want to celebrate, look beyond January to a year when one of the non-traditional schools playing for the title. Soon. We came within a second of it happening this season.

Well, yes, that was good for them, but they also rank higher in at least one of the computer rankings, the most well-known one, and probably most others.

That’s why it doesn’t feel it right. It’s the same feeling we all got in 2001 when Nebraska lost by 26 at Colorado, didn’t win so much as its division and still played Miami for the national championship.

Look, I’m on record in this blog saying that the Nebraska championship game year wasn’t nearly the travesty people make it out to be, but the two situations are not comparable at all. Texas won their division and their conference. They are undefeated. They have played better competition overall than the other undefeated teams except Alabama. Not. The. Same. But, then I’m not really using my feelings here. Let me just emote here…. Oh, wow. He’s right. It totally feels the same.

Something is missing.

That something? Love.

Drama, maybe? The whole season seemed to be a prelude to Florida/Alabama winner vs. Texas. When it actually happened it was a huge letdown for me, at least. What looked like a good game on paper a few weeks ago now looks like Alabama 27, Texas 14.

And who can forget the drama everyone felt heading into 2008 Championship Game between LSU and Ohio State. It was palpable.

I was just as intrigued about the Fiesta Bowl when it began considering Boise State and TCU. The Sugar Bowl is giving us Tim Tebow’s final college game against Notre Dame’s next coach (Brian Kelly) who may or may not be in attendance with Cincinnati.

Yes, those are pretty interesting games. I will watch them. They are not more compelling than a national title game.

The end doesn’t feel right because there are voters in the Harris and coaches polls who can’t give me a good reason why their No. 2 is the right choice.

Unlike every other year when it is set in stone. If you’re reading this Dennis, and I’m sure you are, you have plenty of reasons why Texas should be number two. Of course, I’m not a voter, so fuck me, right?

They still can’t tell me how to separate Longhorns from Horned Frogs from Bearcats from lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

I bet some of them can, not that I really think you’ll ask.

Something bothers me because those coaches have been hiding in anonymity all season. That’s what the coaches do with their votes. For all we know some voters have had Kelly’s next team at No. 2. We’ll know this week when the coaches go legit and release their final ballots.

Maybe some did. They would be foolish to have done so, but it’s possible. And why are you whining about secrecy when the final ballots are about to be released, you dummy?

Until then we’ll have to rely on the text of one Gary Patterson. He’s the TCU coach who I asked Sunday if he was upset at the prospect of being left out of the championship game.

You mean, the coach of one of the teams in question? I bet it will be completely unbiased.

“I don’t know about upset,” Patterson wrote, “but I did vote us No. 2. I had voted us No. 4 up [through] the games of yesterday. I watched all of them and this is what I thought.”

Dick Cheney, 2000: “I have considered all of the potential candidates for Vice President and determined that the one who is best qualified, gives us the best possible chance at taking back the presidency for our party, is the sexiest man alvie is…me.”

Gary Patterson, 2009: “Having watched college football games one weekend this year, I have decided that the second best team in the country, the team most deserving of playing Alabama is…mine.”

After a strange, strange finish to a strange, strange process, that feels about right.

Too bad we have to rely on feelings, because I think if there were some way to quantify these teams objectively we might really know who should be ranked second.


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