Fiu's Cavalcade of
Frank Costanza's Festivus Airing of the Grievances
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2006 Season | Preseason
Part Two |
Week 9 |
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Week 11, Part 1
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances
followed by the feats of strength
It’s not about what you believe, it’s about what you can prove. When it
comes to the BCS and the national championship, it’s about who
deserves to be in and not who everyone thinks should be in.
Fact: Prior to January 8th, 99% of the population outside of the greater
Gainesville metropolitan area assumed there was no need to play the 2006
national title and mentally handed it to Ohio State.
Fact: ESPN, among others, were comparing the 2006 USC team to every
great dynasty in the history of mankind before Vince Young had something
to say about it.
Fact: Most believed Ohio State didn’t need to bother showing up to Tempe
on January 3rd, 2003 to face a Miami team considered to be among the
greatest of all-time.
1983 Miami vs. Nebraska. 2000 Oklahoma vs. Florida State. 1992 Alabama
vs. Miami. The list goes on and on of upsets that few believed could
possibly happen. So with that in mind, forget about what you think you
know, and what you think is right. Here are ten national title
contenders who are still in the hunt, what they need to do to get a top
two spot, and most importantly, how much they deserve to be in the
Every conversation about the national title seems to begin with the
phrase, “Hawaii isn’t realistically in the discussion …,” or something
to that effect. Why not? Boise State didn’t have a chance against
Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, right? Appalachian State and Stanford
are just a few of the teams who have proven that the wacky and
unpredictable can happen this season, so in a one-game shot, if Hawaii
is the lone unbeaten team, shouldn’t it get a chance at the big prize?
Remember, this isn’t 1984 BYU playing a lousy Michigan team in the
Holiday Bowl. This would be an unbeaten FCS team playing a big-time foe
on the game's biggest stage.
What has to happen: Work with me here and you’ll see I’m not all
that insane. LSU loses to a three-loss Tennessee in the SEC Championship
game. Oklahoma gets bombed on at Texas Tech, loses, but wins the Big 12
title by beating a Missouri team that thumps Kansas. Michigan beats
Ohio State, West Virginia loses at Cincinnati, Arizona State loses to
USC, and Oregon loses at either Arizona or UCLA or in the Civil War
against Oregon State. If all that happens, then Kansas would be the only
team left with fewer than two losses, and it would be out of the
theoretical debate since it wouldn’t have even won its own division
title, much less its conference championship. Even if one of those
things doesn’t happen, then that team is in the national title, while
Hawaii, as the only unbeaten team in America, can make a claim that in
this wild year, if the college football world isn’t going to acknowledge
the unbeaten little guy in the national title picture, then it never
The Deserve Factor: On a ten point scale, a 1. Hawaii might
finish the year unbeaten, but its schedule strength so far is 117th
in the nation, meaning it’s dealt with the third easiest slate. That’ll
change after playing Nevada and Boise State, but still, that’s not like
beating LSU and Virginia Tech.
Georgia would fall under the late-season hot-team theory. There might
have been problems early, but the Dawgs have become unstoppable in
recent weeks with tremendous performances against Florida and Auburn
hanging a combined 87 points on the two big boys. If Tennessee loses a
game and Georgia beats Kentucky and Georgia Tech, it’ll be in the SEC
title game against LSU.
What has to happen: The Bulldogs have to beat a No. 1 LSU like a
drum, or at least by double-digits. They’d need a ton of help and
several upsets, but if they’re the SEC champions, they’ll likely get the
benefit of the doubt in the national title discussion over a one-loss
Ohio State, a one-loss Arizona State, and a one-loss Kansas.
The Deserve Factor: The one positive about the computers in the
BCS equation over the humans is that they take the entire year into
account. The early season home loss to South Carolina isn’t pretty now,
while the 35-14 thumping at Tennessee is still relatively fresh. Even
so, beating Florida, Auburn and LSU would be amazing, and don’t forget
about the thumping of Oklahoma State. Kansas is currently living off its
win over the Cowboys.
8. Arizona State
It’ll be interesting to see what the spin is like if the Sun Devils
beat USC with ease. Oregon has a great win over Michigan to point
towards, but it’s been getting the most mileage out of wins over USC and
ASU, both coming at home. If the Sun Devils beat the Trojans, and
considering they beat Cal, and Oregon didn’t, a case could be made that
they deserve the same one-loss benefit of the doubt that the Ducks are
What has to happen: In a bit of a hole, ASU must make a big
statement against USC, get LSU and Oregon losses as soon as possible, a
West Virginia slip, and hope for the three Big 12 teams need to somehow
cancel each other out. There’s a slight chance this could be one of the
few one-loss teams at the end of the year.
The Deserve Factor: The final score against Oregon, 35-23, looks
worse than the actual game was, but ASU gets a wee bit of a break since
it came on the road. However, outside of a possible win over USC, the
other big wins just won’t be there. The Pac 10 has started to stink, and
ASU will turn out to suffer the most because of it.
7. Ohio State
It was almost like the world was waiting to crush the Buckeyes in the
rankings to punish them for playing in the Big Ten. It seems a little
odd to be the clear-cut, unquestioned number one, and then after one
loss against a good team, get thrown under the bus being ranked seventh.
Because the loss was so late in the year, and because Michigan is seen
as damaged goods after the loss to Wisconsin, and because the college
football world is still holding a grudge for the clunker against
Florida, it’ll take a miracle to end up in New Orleans.
What has to happen: Look at the Hawaii scenario and apply it
here. Not only do the Buckeyes need everyone else above them to crash
and burn, they need Arizona State to lose, and they might even need
Tennessee or Florida to win the SEC title.
The Deserve Factor: The Big Ten is better than it’s being given
credit for, especially compared to any other conference other than the
SEC. Even though the schedule is currently the 31st toughest
in the nation, there isn’t a signature win. Beating Penn State and
Wisconsin, and possibly Michigan, are fine, but those wins don’t carry
much national weight. The non-conference wins (Youngstown State, Akron,
Washington and Kent State) are a joke.
6. West Virginia
Totally hosed because the Big East has turned into the Big East
again, at least perception-wise, the Mountaineers are getting unfairly
pushed aside in the national title talk. It’s about style-points right
now, and needing a last-minute dash from Pat White to beat a lousy
Louisville team doesn’t count. If they want to get into the picture,
they have to wake up the voters immediately by hanging up some huge
numbers on Cincinnati, Connecticut and Pitt.
What has to happen: Even though the train has left the building when
it comes to Big East respect, the Mountaineers are in a better position
than it might appear. Out of the five teams ranked higher, two are
certain to lose again between Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, so moving
up to the four-slot shouldn’t be an issue. Forget about beating LSU,
Oregon, or one of the Big 12ers with one loss in a national title
debate. WVU must get more losses out of the top teams to have any shot.
The Deserve Factor: The strength of schedule, currently 56th, is
nothing special, but not enough credit is being given to a nice,
dominant road win over Maryland, and a blowout over a Mississippi State
team that’s giving the SEC a world of trouble. The South Florida loss
came on the road in an all-timer of an atmosphere, and with White
missing a good portion of the game hurt. However, the No. 4 ranked
defense is overrated. It faced one team with an offensive pulse,
Louisville, and had problems.
Missouri is like Kansas but with an actual good win to point to,
beating Illinois 40-34 in the season opener. It’s been a bit of a
wait-and-see attitude for the Tigers, with nice wins over Texas Tech,
Colorado and Texas A&M, but there hasn’t been the signature splashy
victory to get everyone excited. A win over Kansas would certainly be
What has to happen: Kansas has to destroy Iowa State to come into
the showdown in Kansas City sky high. Oklahoma has to be impressive
against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to be built up more for the Big 12
championship. If Missouri can get by Kansas State and then beat the
Jayhawks and Sooners, two BCS top four teams, then the résumé would be
enough to get a good debate going with the Ducks. If LSU or Oregon
loses, and the Tigers are 12-1 with a Big 12 title, they’re in.
The Deserve Factor: Beating Kansas State and going on to win the
Big 12 championship, combined with the win over Illinois, would be more
impressive than what Oregon has done, considering none of the big wins
will have been in Columbia. However, it’ll realistically take an
impressive showing against the Jayhawks or Sooners to get the voters to
push them ahead of Oregon in the final rankings.
When will the other shoe drop? College football fans have long
memories, and the last time the Sooners got the benefit of the doubt,
they were obliterated by USC in the 2004 national championship. This is
still the program that lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, and lost
the last two times they played for the national championship. That
should have no bearing whatsoever on this year and the 2007 Sooners, but
subconsciously, it has to.
What has to happen: Step one is to win the Big 12 title. Considered
the league’s most talented team, it would be a big plus if it flexed a
little muscle in the championship victory, and it would be a huge help
if the North opponent comes in on a huge roll. It might sound strange,
but Kansas or Missouri could leapfrog Oregon by winning out, considering
that one of the wins would come against a more respected Oklahoma. The
Sooners will need an Oregon or LSU loss to get in.
The Deserve Factor: It would help a bit if Kansas was the North
champion since the Sooners already beat Missouri. The blowout win over
Miami is absolutely no big deal anymore, so the big wins have been over
Texas and Missouri. Throw in a Big 12 championship, and OU has three
nice pieces to play with, but it won’t be enough to get into the top two
without a loss up top.
As the only unbeaten team from a BCS conference, KU is being given a
certain measure of respect, but there's still work to be done when the
best win is over Oklahoma State. The schedule is currently ranked 72nd
in the nation, but the big boys are coming up with a chance to make two
big statements late in the game. For good or bad, it’s almost all about
what happens at the end.
What has to happen: Win out and they’re in. The Jayhawks have a shot
at beating two top five BCS teams in the final weeks of the season, if
they beat Missouri to get to Oklahoma in the first place. In this wild
and wacky year, if they’re 13-0 and the only BCS conference team, and
maybe the only team, without a blemish, then there’s no way it’ll be
kept out of New Orleans.
The Deserve Factor: Let the debate begin. If you think the
unbeaten factor is a big deal, then you’ll think KU deserves a top two
spot. If you’re skeptical because the schedule wasn’t that great, then
you’re probably in the Oregon camp. Would wins over Missouri and
Oklahoma on neutral sites be enough to overcome the Ducks’ wins over
Michigan, USC and Arizona State? Again, it would make for some lively
The Ducks have the attention of the nation and have been solid when
the lights have been on, and now it might be up to style points. Forget
about LSU. Despite what the talking heads might have you believe, this
won’t be a Ducks-Tigers showdown for a BCS spot. LSU is in if it wins
out. The question will be Oregon vs. the Big 12 champion, but since it’s
already in the number two spot, it’ll take a crowbar to get some voters
to make a change if things go to form.
What has to happen: Kansas has to lose. Oregon probably has
enough ammo to beat Oklahoma or Missouri in a debate, but it probably
doesn’t have a leg to stand on against Kansas. If LSU loses, then
there’s no question or concern; an 11-1 Oregon would play for the
The Deserve Factor: Only LSU will have a better résumé if the
Ducks win out, but the Big 12 champion will scream and yell about a home
loss to a Cal team that turned out to be ridiculously overrated. With
the 15th toughest schedule in the country at the moment, a
blowout win over Michigan, and wins over USC and Arizona State, it’ll
take something big to push them out of the top two.
Don’t believe what anyone else is telling you. If LSU wins out, it’s
in the national title game. Period. End of story. Go take a steam. If
the Tigers beat Arkansas and end up winning the SEC title, there’s no
way, no how that they’ll fall out of the top spot. If by some miracle
they do, like if Kansas beats Missouri by 40 and Oklahoma by 50, they’re
not going to fall further than two.
What has to happen:
Beat Ole Miss. Beat Arkansas. Beat the
SEC East champion. Get on the bus and go down the road about 80 miles in
the first week of January. Style points won’t even matter. There’s no
chance of LSU not finishing in the top two if it wins out.
The Deserve Factor: Forget about the 32nd ranked
strength of schedule. No other team can come close to touching LSU’s
résumé if it wins out. If the Tigers go 12-1, that means it’ll have
beaten Mississippi State by 45, Virginia Tech by 41, Florida, Auburn,
Alabama, Arkansas, and either Tennessee, Georgia or Florida. The loss
was in triple overtime on the road at Kentucky; that’s not all that
Week 11 Cavalcade of
Whimsy, Part 1