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One of the things I love about college football is that you can never know for sure what is going to happen. Most of the the time the “experts” and pundits get it right, but the underdog is alive and well, especially at this time of year.

When I ponder the game this weekend, I think about something I heard last week: “Auburn cannot beat us, we can only beat ourselves.”

I don’t think a truer statement has been made.

There is a lot of talent at Auburn. Their defense is stingy and they have good athletes on offense, and their return games is probably better than average. Even if they haven’t been able to put it all together, they still have the ability to win any game they play. But…

If both teams line up and play mistake free ball, based on the evidence of the season almost completed, Alabama will win the contest ninety-five times out of a hundred with the teams they have this year. Just like Southern Cal would win out against Oregon State. They are just a better team.

The crucial element to almost every single upset is mistakes by the better team.

To that end, if Alabama comes out Saturday and shoots itself in the foot, Auburn can and will win the game.

I don’t like the double-digit line, but Alabama should win the game.

From the beginning of this blog, for the most part, I have always tried to be somewhat reasonable and stay away from the types of things I consider to fanatical one-sided ranting with complete disregard for logic and the consideration of others. I’ve tried to be honest, with a decidedly pro-Alabama slant, without the mindless name-calling and unintelligent drivel I read on a few other blogs; my team and its fan base are not infallible. Just because I love the Crimson Tide and root for them without exception, that does not mean that everything their coaches, players, administrators, boosters, and fans do it above inspection, criticism, or reproach.

Furthermore, I have many good friends who went to and support Auburn. It is a fine institution that is full, for the most part, of fine individuals. I see them in the business and social worlds. I sit by them at church, I wave to them in the neighborhood and I am truly glad to see them when our paths cross. They are my brothers and sisters in this fine state that we all call home. There I feel better for having said all of that and that will continue to be the company line come next Sunday. But starting today…..

All that is out the window. We have officially started Iron Bowl Week. And do you know what that means?

It means that until the conclusion of the game this coming Saturday I hate the Aubs.

I hate their colors. I hate their mascot. I hate their big-eared, egotistical-dress-up-as-friendly-good-ole-boy head coach. I hate their former snitching-ass offensive coordinator. I hate their new offensive coordinator that was too stupid to be an offensive coordinator and is now the offensive coordinator again because the aforementioned head coach was too stupid to figure all this out ahead of time.

I hate Tigers. I hate Eagles. I hate Teagles.

I hate Plainsmen. I hate villages. I hate the Plains. The fact that these bumpkin-ass slack jawed yokels think they live on the plains is proof positive of how dumb they are. They’re pastures, people. Pastures. The plains stretch for thousands of miles. You can’t swing a dead cat (or bird- would you please make up your freaking minds?!) in Auburn without hitting a pine tree. That does not constitute plains. Pastures. You live in pastures.

I hate little brothers. I hate sociology degrees. I hate the Department of Animal and Dairy Science.

I hate people that besmirch one of my childhood heroes by claiming that he was a mumbling drunk and then name a field after Pat Dye. Have you heard Pat Dye lately? I’m pretty sure Coach Dye doesn’t even know what he’s saying.

In short, and in closing for now. I hate Auburn. And other than the few short moments in which I participate in the blessing before my Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, I will let that hatred consume me for the next five days. And in case you didn’t think I was serious, Picture Me Rollin will be known as “Go to Hell Auburn” for the next six days.

After one of the best games, and overall experiences surrounding a game, this past weekend in Baton Rouge, I’m not sure why all the negativity I’ve been reading and hearing this week has gotten to me, but it has.

Finebaum, amongst others, thinks that LSU and their fans are scum. I’ve read and heard a few comments from some Alabama fans echoing the same thing.

Doug thinks that, between the two, Alabama fans are “douchier” than Auburn fans. First off, you’ve got a problem if you use a form of the word douchey to describe anything. That’s tantamount to saying assier or dickeyer, or any other word that works perfectly in one form only to be bastardized by someone trying to sound cool.

There are mass comments about how Florida is way better than Alabama and the Tide doesn’t really have any big wins, especially now that Clemson’s season is officially in the toilet. Alabama has only beaten four teams with a winning record -although they usually miscount or give the overall record of Alabama’s opponent (as if that is that much different for any team at this point in the year) and use that as justification that they are no good. Then they throw the fact that both Florida and Georgia hung half-a-hundred on LSU and since it took Alabama overtime to win the game they must not be that good.

These same people seem to forget that Florida lost to Ole Miss, at home. The same team that Alabama went to sleep on in the second half and still won against. These people forget that football is a game played on a field and regardless of what the stats say you still have to compete. I don’t give a damn how good Florida looks now. They lost a game. You don’t get do overs. Saying their playing the best football now is like a guy bringing rubbers to his girlfriends house six weeks after he knocked her up. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are now, the damage is done.

This Alabama team will never set any records. Offensively or defensively. They just aren’t going to set anyones hair on fire. But what they will do is play physical football for sixty minutes. A little more if need be. Alabama looked as bad in the first half in Baton Rouge as they have all year. They turned the ball over three times. One of those resulted in seven points and the other two kept ten to fourteen off the board. Alabama tied the score up by halftime and never trailed the rest of the game. Despite the worst performance of the year by the rush defense and the three turnovers they still won the game. Isn’t that the sign of a good team; you put forth less than your best effort and you still win?

Out in Lubbock, Texas Tech, who I will add is impressive, puts it on an Oklahoma State (a two-loss) team whose biggest win is to a two-loss Missouri team, and all of a sudden their the gaining style points and first place votes. Mike Leach is the best thing since sliced bread and all the quaterbacks in the Big 12 are just so awesome. Not saying they aren’t good but John Parker Wilson would look like a Heisman candidate against those defenses. Of the four teams from the Big 12 South that are soooo good, the best defense (total yardage) belongs to Oklahoma, who slides in at 51st  in the nation. The other three, Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma State, check in at 57th, 60th, and 84th respectively. Those stats are compiled against more FCS teams (4) than BCS conference schools (3) out-of-conference -two of the three BCS teams were Washington and Washington State who are a combined 1-18 and the other against Arkansas who is in a dead heat for worst in the SEC – and exactly one Top 25 team in TCU.

Again, I’m not saying those schools are bad, only that their body of work shouldn’t give anybody any reason to declare them the best in the country. Remember Missouri and Chase Daniels’ run to the Heisman? That should be notice to all that putting up a gazillion points is not the mark of a great football team. Only one that can put up a bunch of points.

Back to LSU and Baton Rouge. I’ve been there for games a half-a-dozen times and believe it or not, I have never been beaten up and left for dead in the swamp. And that includes a visit to the student section wearing a crimson pullover.

I sat in an LSU section the other night and had a blast. When the game was over almost every single person that was sitting near me and and I had spoken with shook my hand. Granted, I didn’t act like a jackass and there were a few, “Florida is gonna beat the hell out of y’all” type comments offered up but no one threatened me with bodily harm.

Some of the best experiences around the sport of college football, win or lose, have taken place at LSU. I will definitely be going back.

So I’m always puzzled when people talk bad about Baton Rouge. I thought about it a lot and I have come to the following conclusion:

If you go into a place, and this goes for any stadium in the conference, and either expect to be treated badly, so much that you are defensive about everything that happens, or you are a jackass and invite reply, scorn, and ridicule by your jackassy actions, then you are not going to have a good time.

Yes, if you go to Tiger Stadium and you wear colors of the opposing team someone will yell “Tiger Bait” at you. Your personal feelings on the appropriateness of that have no bearing on the situation. Your reaction does. Smile and yell “good luck” or even better, “Is that Jambalaya y’all are cooking?” and everything will be fine. Shoot them the bird or tell them what you think of cajuns and things will go badly.

Here is another example. If you live in a state where the predominant fan base pulls for one of two schools from that state and you spout off about being the proud fan of a school from another state and people will give you a hard time or act “douchey” to you. Mainly because they don’t give two continental dams about your school, especially if your school holds any type of streak over theirs and all they read from that fan base reminds them of not only that streak but also how inbred everyone from your state believes them to be.

There are 92,000 fans at an Alabama game and other than a love for a football team I share genuine similarities with about 100 of them at absolute best. Almost half of them voted differently than me. More than 90% have different views on faith, what to do on a first date, what type of beer is best, what vehicle they drive and how they feel about gay marriage (well OK, everyone in Alabama hates queers – I’m kidding, just 99% of them). So to sit there and say that ,”all Alabama fans are,” or even “most Alabama fans are” is just asinine. Let’s face it somewhere right now there is a wife-beating, child-abusing, meth-dealing lunatic wearing something with Alabama on it and talking about how much he loves the TIde. He does not represent me nor I, him. But we are both Alabama fans. Now you can extend that analogy to every school in the SEC, except Vanderbilt.

The son of my grandmother’s next door neighbor was the biggest, sorriest redneck loser I have ever seen. Although he never failed to address my grandmother as ma’am, he was a sorry human being by almost any definition imaginable. He love the Georgia Bulldogs. I could choose him as my image to personify everything Georgia related. I don’t – because I know that there are many things better to associate the Bulldogs with.

The point is that folks need to stop using absolutes when discussing college football. LSU is a different experience, but that does not make it bad and there are assholes in every fan base. There are also quite a few gracious ones too. They are the type that no matter how bad you dislike a school, demand your respect. I’d prefer to focus on them. Then again, I’m an optimist.

I just got back from Baton Rouge a few hours ago. I want to do a write-up that is worthy of the greatest place to experience college football in the country, but for now I’m going to focus on my ballot and do it just a little bit different this week. Without further ado:

The Top Five:

  • Alabama – (10-0) Ended a five-game, series losing streak in Baton Rouge in overtime. Overcame three first-half turnovers, two missed field goals (one blocked as time expired) and the worst rush-defensive effort of the season to win the game in overtime. In the process they punched their own ticket to Atlanta and the championship game. This is a gritty, physical football team. They don’t look pretty but they found a way to win this weekend, which in all fairness, is the first time this season they have had to do that. They have Mississippi State up next weekend and Auburn on the last weekend of November. Neither of the final two opponents have winning records but sport streaks over the Tide. Alabama can expect the effort they saw from LSU from the next two opponents. They should be unbeaten when they play Florida in the championship game, but then again Penn State should still be undefeated as well.
  • Texas Tech (10-0) Beat up on Oklahoma State Saturday night and now get a week to rest up and get ready for Oklahoma in Norman. The Red Raiders defense gave up 368 yards and 19 points but their 38 points and 629 yards of offense were more than enough to keep the game from being close. After the game in Norman they finish with Baylor. Win both of those and they play in the conference championship for not only the Big 12 title but also a shot at the national title.
  • Florida (8-1) Routed Vanderbilt this weekend and host former coach Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks from South Carolina this weekend. Then host the Citadel before traveling to Tallahassee for their annual intra-state showdown with the Noles. Will play Alabama in Atlanta the first week of December regardless of what happen the next three weeks. Might be the most complete team in the country right now with excellent defense and special teams play to complement their offense that seems to be hitting on all cylinders. Just like Texas Tech people want to see what other teams defenses can do to stop their offense. My thought is that it takes a good, time-churning type offense in unison with a good defense, to keep their excellent offense off the field and out of rhythm if there is a chance for them to be beaten. They are playing at a high level. Can they keep it up? I expect that should they win the last three they will be a favorite, by at least a touchdown, over Alabama when they meet. I believe that the national pundits will side with the few sore-loser Tiger fans we saw last night that won’t give Alabama a chance in that game.
  • Texas (9-1) Hammered Baylor 45-21 yesterday and close out with a trip to Kansas and by hosting Texas A&M in Austin. If Tech slips up they might get back in to the conference title but that seems unlikely at this point. They are still a good team and deserve a real good bowl game.
  • Oklahoma (9-1) Destroyed Texas A&M yesterday. They close out with Texas Tech in two weeks and at Oklahoma State for the bedlam game. Like Texas they are a good team but look to be out of the big-time title hunt by virtue of their loss to Texas.
  • I really don’t like having three teams from the Big 12 South in the top five. The more I look at this the more I think it is a product of weak early-season scheduling. The only quality win that any of these three teams have – including Oklahoma State, who now has two losses that both game from the three teams in the top five – is Oklahoma’s win over two-loss TCU. That’s it. Their wins over each other are what is giving them the appearance of quality. My only real hope to solve this is some good bowl match-ups.

The Next Five

  • Penn State (9-1) Fell from the ranks of the unbeaten by a last second field goal at Iowa in a game they were favored in. Texas Tech and Alabama, take note.
  • USC (8-1) Got by Cal on Saturday night 17-3. I learned something interesting this morning. Oregon State (6-3) who lost to Penn State, Stanford, and Utah, could win the conference by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Trojans if they win out against Cal, Arizona and Oregon. The Beaver are playing better ball and could conceivably do that. That would put them in the Rose Bowl, probably against Penn State. Where would that put the Trojans? Should they win out they would be a lock for a BCS game based on their ranking. Or would they? That would put two teams from the dismal Pac-10 into BCS games. The SEC will certainly put in two, as will the Big 12. That’s six teams plus one each, automatically, from the ACC, Big East and Big Ten. If Ohio State makes a strong case for admittance, what would happen to a Utah or Boise State. I forget the rules for this but Oregon State could make things tough on some team that thinks its in.
  • Georgia (8-2) Squeaked by Kentucky. Play Auburn this weekend before finishing out with Georgia Tech. The defense seem to be underachieving and I’m wondering if the loss of the pre-season goal of conference and national titles have taken the motivation away from the Bulldogs.
  • Ohio State (8-2) Hammered Northwestern. Will finish out with Illinois in a payback type game to avenge the loss form last year and what should look similar to clubbing baby seals with a finale against Michigan.
  • Pittsburgh (7-2) Beat Lousiville and have three games remaining to win the Big East. Thought about Michigan State for this spot but there is no way the Big Ten can have three of my twelve.
  • Utah (10-0) Beat TCU to earn their way back in after a weeks absence. Travel to San Diego State before hosting Brigham Young to finish the season.
  • Boise State (9-0) Punished Utah State to remain perfect. Close out with three relative cupcakes.

LSU and Oklahoma State dropped because they lost. I still think LSU is better than at least three of the teams in the bottom five, but they don’t have the record to prove it. I hate Boise and Utah, they are taking room that real football teams deserve.

Let the good times ROLL! I’m within fifteen minutes of heading out the door on my way to Baton Rouge. If you’ve never been, go. I love game at Bryant-Denny and tailgating on the Quad but there is nothing in this world like a football Saturday in Baton Rouge.

The bonus is that I’m so excited about the trip that I have forgotten to be nervous about the game tomorrow. I’m sure that will come back with a vengeance.

Gerry Dorsey has an especially great feature with his Love Thine Enemy serial this week.

New site, A Drug Called Tradition, has a great piece on Alabama’s football fortunes in relation to elections.

Ya’ll have a great weekend and whether you are in Death Valley or in front of a television, yell loudly.

Louisiana native and Alabama fan Gerry Dorsey, who edits the a standard weekly read, Love Thine Enemy, on his great site, Uncle Rico’s Time Machine, has chosen this week to host.

The questions and my answers:

1. what are your feelings on alabama’s current position in the polls? are they overrated? underrated? just right?

At some point Saturday night it became apparent that Alabama, by means of attrition, would ascend to the number one spot. While this is the constant goal of the vast majority of the Alabama faithful, my first reaction was, “No, not yet!”

I have always felt that a team that is ranked number one has a much larger target on their back and get the best effort of every team they play and that those teams at the pinnacle are more susceptible to hubris than other teams. Then again, this current Alabama team seems to be healthy, improving, and saving their best efforts for the biggest games. This team, I hope, is too workmanlike in their approach to get caught up in the rankings.

Because of his job – which is in no way affiliated with the University or Athletic Department – my father sees Javier Arenas, as well as several other players, on a weekly basis and gets the chance to chat them up. He has been a fan of Arenas since he got to campus and always speaks highly of him in that, “he’s a good kid, you can just tell – very polite, yes sir all the time,” kind of way. Anyway, Dad ssaw Javier on Monday and tells him, ” I would congratulate you on being number one but I now your coach doesn’t like that. Javi’s response, “Thanks, but we don’t even focus on stuff like that, we’re focused on LSU.”

There. You heard it here first.

To conclude, I’m tickled pick, or crimson as it were, with the current rank. It is a very rare thing and this team, at least for right now, deserves to be number one. Now they just have to hold onto it…

2. what aspect of the game did alabama control that shocked you the most? what aspect of the game was alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?

I am continually amazed, although I shouldn’t be considering Saban’s past, with the improved play of the defense. This is becoing a salty defense.

On the other hand, I continue to be concerned with pass protection. How does this team give up exactly zero sacks against Tennessee and then give up four to Arkansas State?

3.  name your player of the game on offense. also name one on defense.

Mark Ingram on offense and Rashad Johnson on defense

4. as we found out yesterday, with november comes the coaching carousel. what are your thoughts on phat phil and his legacy?   which realistic candidate, if any, scares the crap out of you?

I’ll paraphrase Paul Bryant here; watching the press conference on Monday, I started to feel sorry for Fulmer. But not too sorry. That fat son-of-a-krispy kreme doughnut, has dealt me a lot of misery. At some point Fulmer decided that it would be better for him to worry about getting Alabama in trouble than to focus on his own team and their ability to win. He was successful in the short term, because he was able to hang on to victories over his lifelong nemesis, but in that process he started forgetting how to coach. To be honest with you his demise has been fun to watch.

He put his mark on the rivalry and it is arguably the most controversial and ugly part of this long-standing traditional game. He made it not about the players or the contest itself. I hate Tennessee, but I have a feeling that as his imprint on that storied program becomes less and less apparent that the hatred will lessen and be replaced with the respect that the team and fans deserve.

I wish him well, only because I try not to harbor ill will toward anyone, but he has reaped what he sowed and you should never feel sorry when that happens.

I’m not too worried about a replacement… unless it is Nick Saban.

5. with all the hype of fowler, corso, and herbie in town, the #1 ranking, the unbridled (and unnecessary) hatred for saban (and most anything crimson tide for that matter) from the tigah faithful, just how ripe for for the upset is bama this weekend?? how do you expect the squad to react?

This team has showed the ability all season to rise to the occasion. They have been in at least two other match-ups this year where the eyes of the nation were turned to them. They have faced hostile crowds. They are well coached and should be prepared.

LSU is not the team they were a year ago. Their defense is somewhat soft and while they are still somewhat explosive on offense they are not as balanced as they have been in the past. They are very inexperienced at quarterback. What they are though is still a very physical team. They will bring the fight on every snap and as evidenced by the Georgia game, they never give up. They are very capable of beating Alabama. The fans will be as loud as they ever have and if the team stays in the game they will be there in the fourth quarter, when it gets dark, to cheer them on.

Alabama needs to take the crowd out of it early. They need to build, and maintain, a big lead so that the stands are devoid of purple and gold fans by the fourth quarter. They should be able to do that.

Am I nervous or worried. Hells yes. And that will only grow as kickoff approaches.

The LSU Tigahs play host to the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at 2:30 (central) this coming Saturday. CBS will air the game.

The idea of a playoff to decide the champion of Division One (bite me NCAA) College Football is one that seems to gain more popularity all the time. Here we are sitting at Week Ten of the 2008 season and I see two excellent examples of why a playoff is a bad… wait, let me restate that – a horrible idea for big-time college football. The as-of-right-now unbeaten, non-BCS conference affiliated schools Utah, Boise State, and Ball State, and the Big Twelve South. Stick with me a minute.

The premise here is college football is a great game because every game matters. The de facto playoff essentially starts in Week One and goes all the way to the end of the year with the stakes getting higher at every turn. It is not a one-loss format per se, but it certainly can be. A true playoff will degrade that, not in the sense that the games won’t mean as much, but in the sense that, in a an effort to make sure that their teams have the best chance to make the playoffs, the Athletic Director and Coach at your school will schedule worse and worse competition. The quality of the opponents and therefore the quality of the games you watch will decline.

The example is the non-BCS conference unbeaten teams. Three this week – Boise State, Utah, and Ball State – and as many as five just two weeks ago. Let’s look at the most recent to fall form those ranks, Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane were unbeaten and ranked as high as 15th in the polls until they were beaten by Arkansas this past Saturday. The same Arkansas team who gave up about a billion points to Alabama, Florida, and Texas earlier this season and who is at most the the fourth best team in the SEC West. The 15th ranked team in the nation should never lose to a team struggling with bowl eligibility on Week Nine. How did Tulsa get the lofty ranking? They didn’t play any quality teams and beat them all. And that is how the other non-affiliated unbeaten teams are doing it. They are scheduling as weak a schedule as possible in order to position themselves with clean loss columns and lofty rankings come bowl selection time.

Obviously they aren’t doing that for the non-existent playoff. Instead they are doing it to place themselves in position to be undefeated at the end of the regular season and therefore be ranked high enough to be considered for a lucrative BCS bowl game. These teams can never have serious national title hopes but they can elevate their program in both prestige and revenue by having the appearance of being a quality team because their record is good and they get an invite to big paycheck game. Hawaii last year and Boise State the year before are prime examples. Don’t you find it a little odd that the number of the teams that are in this enviable position every season is on the rise? Hey, it’s good for them and I get that, but the overall quality of football suffers as does the reputation of schools that play tougher schedules both in and out of conference.

Let’s look at the three that still harbor a chance at a BCS bowl:

Utah is currently ranked 8th in the current BCS standings, 10th in the AP poll, and 9th in the Coaches Poll. They are 9-0 and boast victories over Michigan and Oregon State. This is the same Michigan team that isn’t going to a bowl for the first time in 33 years (granted they didn’t know that when they were scheduled to play one another) and Utah beat them by two points. The Utes also have a three-point win over a 5-3 Oregon State team that beat USC but lost to Stanford and Penn State. This is easily their signature win. The win over FCS team Weber State, not so much. Utah barely scraped by a 4-6 New Mexico squad this past weekend 13-10. They also have a big game against conference heavyweight TCU this Thursday night and a season finale against in-state rival BYU. Ohio State, Missouri, Georgia, and LSU are all ranked below the Utes and while they might run the table and have a legitimate claim for a good season, you can’t make me believe that they could beat any one of the four teams I just mentioned ranked below them.

Utah might run the table and at least they did schedule some so-called heavyweights but they don’t deserve a bid based on their overall body of work.

Boise State turned the football world on its ear two years ago by beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl but that might be the only prime-time worthy thing they’ve ever done. They currently sit at 10th in the BCS and Coaches rankings and 9th in the AP. The only praise worthy win they have is a five-point win over Oregon. FCS team Idaho State is on their list of victims. The only game against an opponent with a winning record the rest of the year is their last game of the season against 5-3 Fresno State. The Oregon defeat is a feather in their cap but their overall body of work is dismal. Once again, the four teams I mentioned for Utah, plus at least a couple others in the top 25 should beat them.

Ball State. David Letterman be damned, Ball State has beaten no one to make it to 8-0, 17th in the BCS, 16th in the AP, and 18th in the Coaches Poll. Their only game against BCS conference competition was a win over 3-6 Big Ten also-ran Indiana. Now, it’s obvious the voters are taking this into consideration, but you have to believe that any ranked team would take care of the Cardinals but the question remains. What are they taking space that others, who would punish them, are being denied?

The other example is the Big 12 South where , between the four teams that currently occupy the top eight (#2 Texas Tech, #5 Texas, #6 Oklahoma, and #8 Oklahoma State) , they’ve played four FCS schools (two for Texas Tech, none for Texas) compared to three BCS schools and only one team that is presently ranked and all of this coming before the first conference game. Someone touched on this earlier in the year and I apologize for not remembering who, but the point was that all of those teams front-loaded their schedules to play all of their out-of-conference games prior to conference play. The result was that they were all undefeated when conference play started and are now beating each other and getting credit for doing it, both in defeating ranked teams and not losing tremendous ground for losing to other ranked teams.

Are these team from the Big 12 South actually good? We’ll we have to assume that they are for now and the truth may not be known until bowl season. But, regardless the perception will be there. One thing is certain, those school play offense. I just want to know what will happen when they face good defenses?

So, what I have concluded is that to have a decent season a team needs to play in a weak conference and still hope for a little scheduling luck. I’ll be the first to admit that luck plays an important role in any good season. But what I fear is that with a playoff and the prestige that will come with making it as the reward college football fans will see more and more team front-load their schedules with weak out-of-conference opponents with the goal of being ranked and having the fewest losses as possible. Sure, the playoffs will carry a lot of interest, but the regular season will be diminished. Not by value but by the level of competition. So, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

[Update – after reading the first few comments I add the following mea culpa]

Alright, this was never intended to be about Alabama. But, since y’all are going to dissect their schedule (which is only fair) I’ll do a little brief defending. First of all Kevin, I think you mistook Ole Miss (5-4)  for Mississippi State (3-6). Second, personally as an Alabama fan, I am extremely happy to be where we are and believe it or not somewhat humble about it. The Tide have certainly been the beneficiary of schedule luck – no question about that. But they have no FCS opponents on their resume and Clemson was a top-ten team (maybe not deservedly so, but ranked nonetheless) when they met. Alabama did defeat the Ole Miss team that beat Florida at home and also defeated the Arkansas team that just handed Tulsa its first loss. To this point they are perfect in what – even if it is in  a down year by conventional standards – is the top one or two conferences in the country. They may not be after Saturday. But in order for them to get to the championship game they would still have to defeat LSU, not to mention State and Auburn, and then beat Florida in the championship game. They will “play their way in”, if they can, and isn’t that what all you playoff fans want?
I concede that there are positives to a playoff, and I have seen the need for one more and more the last couple of years. My point however, is that there are negatives to it as well, don’t kid yourselves otherwise. College football is not other sports. It shouldn’t have to improve. I am glued to the TV or at a game every weekend because it is the way it is. And if a team loses to a La-Monroe then they should be excluded from the conversation, no questions. In a playoff situation, you could conceivably win your conference, lose to La-Monroe and still play and win the playoff for a national title. That isn’t right.
One final thing, the BCS isn’t perfect. Projections a few weeks ago were for Alabama to be in the Sugar Bowl against Boise State. I can’t imagine a worse reward for a good season than to play Boise State.

My Top Five:

Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech, Florida, Texas

The Next Seven:

USC, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Boise State

Dropped Out: Florida State, Utah

Moved In: LSU, Ohio State

Notes:

  • We lost Texas and Tulsa, to Arkansas of all teams, form the ranks of the unbeaten, leaving six. This should go to show that unbeaten does not necessarily mean a whole lot if your schedule doesn’t back it up.
  • Utah going down to the wire with the Lobos of UNM, and the loss of Tulsa dropped them. Boise State was the only non-con to survive this week. I considered dropping Boise but I had no idea who to replace them with.
  • At this point I am certain of the legitimacy of seven teams – Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and USC. The rest are absolute toss ups. If I could have stopped at those seven I would have.
  • Boise, Uath, and Ball could not beat the top half of the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC or Big East. I am certain that Georgia, LSU, and Ohio State would beat them.
  • There are still five one-loss BCS conference teams.
  • I wanted to rank teams from the ACC and Big East but they are really so schizo that there is just no way to reward anybody. Maybe the eventual champions will make the cut.
  • Georgia and LSU are certainly disappointments but I still think they are decent teams, certainly better than the rest of the conference.
  • USC is a good team but their loss at Oregon State coupled with the horrible nature of the Pac-10 are hurting them in the nation’s eyes. Well, at least mine anyway.
  • Look at Ball State, Utah, and Boise State all of you playoff proponents. These mediocre teams being unbeaten is what the BSC guaranteeing one spot to non-cons has created. They play a weak schedule to … screw it. I’m doing a separate post on it.

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