Fiu Final Thoughts: SEC Champ=National Champ
Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
Pete Fiutak's Final thoughts before the final weekend of the regular season.
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- Notre Dame has so overwhelmed the narrative over the last few weeks that college football seems to be glossing over the really, really big storyline.
Everyone, you do realize that the national championship is being played on Saturday afternoon on CBS, right?
I love this Irish team. It has the right make-up, the right level of talent and the right style to beat anyone in America, and of course it 100% deserves the chance to play for it all and is absolutely good enough to beat Alabama or Georgia. However, haven't we all learned anything from the last six years?
You don't pick against the SEC in a BCS championship. Ever.
Alabama stunk against LSU and Texas A&M, and Georgia was miserable against South Carolina and lousy against Florida, but with six weeks to prepare and with time to fully focus on finding ways to make Everett Golson's life miserable, of course the SEC is going to win it all again.
So with that in mind, enjoy the battle for the SEC championship and let it sink in. This might be far stronger a game than whatever happens on January 7th.
- But it's not going to be as good as the hype. After LSU-Alabama II, thank you, college football gods, for the 2012 Irish. Thank you.
- It's my annual whine – why is everyone voting for all-star teams and awards now? How can there be an All-Big Ten, MAC or Pac-12 team before the championship games are played? How can the Butkus be decided until we see what Jarvis Jones has to offer against Alabama?
Ah yes, Jarvis Jones. If he rocks against the Tide and is the big star in a win, I'm prepared to carry the flag in the Jones For Heisman campaign.
- The fun stat that no one likes to talk about at parties – for all the gushing everyone does over Manti Te'o's picks, because of the forced fumbles, Jones has as many takeaways and has been a far, FAR more dominant force in the backfield.
- College football, you have your Faustian bargain. You're getting Notre Dame vs. the SEC for the BCS championship in what should be the highest-rated sporting event ever televised on cable, but the price is way too steep.
No offense, Oklahoma, Florida State, Stanford and Nebraska, but it's time the BCS was taught a lesson. If last year's miserable ratings and zero interest turned into the spark that gave us a playoff, what would a horrible slate of BCS games bring?
This season could be a big, beautiful "Screw You" to the entire dopey system.
Oregon vs. Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl would be terrific, but just imagine the national yawn for a Florida vs. Louisville Sugar Bowl. UCLA vs. Wisconsin in the Rose would bring in the eyeballs, but a lot of them would be rolling at the idea of such mediocrity going at it on the game's second-biggest stage. And then there's the most epic of all potential disasters – Kent State vs. Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
125,000 total fans went through the turnstiles in the five Golden Flash home games this season - that's fewer than 20,000 more than saw the average Ohio State game. Meanwhile, as we speak, you can get a ticket for the 2012 ACC championship between Florida State vs. Georgia Tech for $2.95. If there was any cachet to an instant downloaded ticket, it would be worth getting simply as a souvenir.
- Sunday will be an interesting integrity test for the polls. It's in the hands of the voters in the Harris and Coaches' Polls to keep the MAC champion out of the BCS, however, to do that would take an active tanking of the ranking and a conscious effort to vote down Kent State or Northern Illinois.
KSU is 18th in the Harris and NIU is 19th, while the two are flip-flopped in the Coaches'. The magic ranking is 16th in the final BCS rankings, which would trigger an automatic invite. The winner between the two will certainly be no lower than 18th to start, and then if Coaches' and Harris No. 16 UCLA loses to Stanford, then it's going to be a hard sell to keep the MAC champion from being ranked higher. If BCS No. 18 Texas loses to Kansas State, all of a sudden, it could be really, really close.
- Kent State really is a great story. The program has gone to just one bowl game in its history – the 1972 Tangerine – and hasn't come up with a winning season since 1977. Think about that. There have been nine presidential elections since the 6-5 campaign that came down to the final day.
- Nothing concrete on this yet since neither one will start talking to anyone at least until after the MAC title game, but very, very soon, Kent State's Darrell Hazell and NIU's Dave Doeren are going to be doing what they did this season at much, much bigger schools.
- Pure speculation – if it's not Bobby Petrino, Doeren will take over Illinois.
- Again, speculation – Petrino will end up at Auburn.
- There will be no bigger Oklahoma Sooner fans on Saturday than ABC/ESPN executives. Considering the other key games going on later in the day like the Big Ten and ACC championships, there will be no reason whatsoever for anyone to watch Texas-Kansas State if TCU beats OU and K-State has the Big 12 title locked up.
- Texas, be honest with yourself. If you don't think Mack Brown is going to be able to win another national title, and if the game against Kansas State is worse than the clunker against TCU, it's time be honest with yourself. You're Texas. You'll have your pick.
- Tennessee, what are you doing considering Jon Gruden? I know no one seemed to want the job the last time it was open, but this is still giant job that demands a coach who's willing to be the next superstar to make it grow. The Vols need a young Bret Bielema/Chip Kelly-like star who can bring an instant attitude.
- Call it a gut feeling, but expect something very, very different out of UCLA this week against Stanford.
- By the way, Boise State is shooting for year another ten-win season. With a victory over Nevada, the Broncos can make it seven seasons in a row and ten of the last 11 with double-digit victories. How is it happening this season? The defense has allowed more than 14 points once – the loss to San Diego State – since beating New Mexico 32-29 back in September. The D is fifth in the nation in scoring.
- It's a tough season for Coach of the Year honors, and one name that isn't being mentioned is TCU's Gary Patterson. For all the gushing being done over Urban Meyer and Bill O'Brien, it's easy to forget that Patterson's club had its own adversity to deal with after an offseason of scandal and the early departure of starting quarterback Casey Pachall. In the first year in the new league, Patterson has managed to keep the team moving forward.
- Arguably the hottest player in college football right now is Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk with 515 rushing yards and five total scores in the last four games. He has turned into every bit the home run hitter the Bears were hoping he'd be. Just a sophomore, get the hype machine rolling for 2013.
- I know it's going to happen and I know the stats are going to be flying all over the place, but the 86.5 total points line in the Oklahoma State-Baylor game is just obscene. Think about it. A 45-43 shootout still doesn't get it done.
- Last year at this time we were all knee-deep into the Penn State nightmare. In 2010, all anyone wanted to talk about was Cam Newton – and not just because of his epic season on the field. A MAC team in the BCS? Is Notre Dame any good? Conference realignment? This is so much better.