ASK CFN ... S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C ...
Posted Jan 11, 2008

Why does LSU winning the national title really matter to the SEC? Will Virginia Tech ever play in another national title game? Will Missouri get to a BCS game next season? These questions and more in the latest ASK CFN.

By Pete Fiutak
Fire over your questions to me at I might not be able to answer them all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise. (Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the questions short ... it makes my life easier.)

Past ASK CFNs ...
- Bowl winners & losers
- Can a two-loss team play for the title?
- The five worst recent champions 
- The Flakiest Teams
- A little BCS history
- Should USC be in the title hunt?
- The best RB you don't know
- What's wrong with Texas A&M? 
- How bad is the Big Ten?
- Will Miles run to Michigan?
- Supersized Season Premier of ASK CFN
 The most loved & hated teams
- Is Miami still a power?
- CFN's West Virginia ranking
- Is Booty Heisman-worthy?
- The USC Schedule
- The Big Ten Network
- The most underrated head coach
- The Top Ten NFL receiver prospects 

- Why did Brady Quinn slide?
- The Virginia Tech situation

- Creating a MWest-WAC super-league
Mid-majors who should be in the bigs
The potential new superpower
The 5 best coaching jobs
March Madness for football?
Potential Bowl Shockers
Tim Brewster?
Fox's BCS broadcasts
- Is Brady really better than Russell?
Hot & Cold Bowl Programs
- How ineffective was Reggie Ball?
- A 2007 Top 10 Mock Draft
Can Michigan win a national title?
- BCS possibilities for several teams
- West Virginia schedule, BCS rules
- Toughest coaching jobs
- Hidden Heisman 5

- Is Temple worst ever?
- Oklahoma-Oregon fiasco
- Has Bob Stoops lost it?
- Is Colorado done?

Will the Hokies ever over-achieve enough to put them over the edge and into another BCS title game? – KC

A: There’s a theory college basketball coaches go by when it comes to the tournament and getting to the Final Four. As long as you keep taking good team after good team into the dance, eventually it’ll be your turn. The same goes for college football, to a point. If you keep fielding good team after good team, and as long as you’re good enough to win your conference championship first, you’ll eventually get the right breaks. This year, Virginia Tech wasn’t that far off. If it had held on against Matt Ryan and Boston College in Blacksburg, and had it gone on to win the rest of its games like it did, it would’ve played Ohio State for the national title. So sure, playing in the ACC, and not the SEC, Virginia Tech could certainly play for the whole ball of wax again in the near future.

Remember, though, it’s really, really hard to play for the national title. Look at all the big name teams like Penn State, Michigan, Auburn, Georgia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Clemson and Notre Dame that haven’t been in a BCS No. 1 vs. No. 2 championship game in the new era. You need to be really good, you need a lot of luck, and you need everything to go the right way.


A: YOU MUST HAVE BEEN REALLY UPSET ON BCS SELECTION DAY. Remember, only two teams from the same league can be in the BCS, so your beef isn’t with Illinois, it’s with Kansas. At least the Jayhawks proved to be worthy with the win over the Hokies. With Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman back, the nucleus is there for the offense to keep on rolling. A running back has to emerge to replace Tony Temple, and some key replacements are needed on defense, but the Tigers will likely be the favorites to win the North. The key, obviously, is the schedule, and it’s not that bad. Opening up against Illinois in St. Louis will set the tone for the season, while the rest of the non-conference slate, SE Missouri State, Nevada and Buffalo, is a breeze. In conference play, it’s at Nebraska, Oklahoma State, at Texas, Colorado, at Baylor, Kansas State, at Iowa State, and vs. Kansas in Kansas City. The road trip to Austin is the only bad break, but playing Baylor makes up for it. A team as good as Mizzou is supposed to be should be able to go 6-2, at worst, in conference play. I don’t think the team will be good enough to get an at-large bid, but if it can get to another Big 12 Championship, it’ll obviously have its chance to earn its way in.

How is it that six years ago, most outside of Nebraska found it blasphemous that an NU team that "didn't win their own division" could be selected to play for the championship, even considering that NU's regular season's resume was arguably better than Oregon's, yet now there's all this fervor that Georgia got "screwed" out of a title shot even though they "didn't win their own division"? – SE

A: Georgia didn’t lose 62-36 to Chris Brown and Colorado on the final game of the regular season. Oregon’s regular season was certainly comparable to Nebraska’s, with the one loss coming to a very good (yes, that’s not a misprint) Stanford team that went 49-42 while beating a Washington State team that went 10-2 in Pullman, and beating good Utah and UCLA squads. The Ducks weren’t dominant, but they were on a four-game winning streak going into the bowls, while Nebraska’s only win of note came in that classic game against Oklahoma. If you remember, the Huskers got absolutely destroyed by the Buffs right after Thanksgiving, and that’s what caused the uproar as much as not winning their division. Georgia getting “screwed” is mostly coming from Georgia fans who seem to have forgotten about the blowout against Tennessee and the loss to South Carolina. The uproar is more over USC not getting in.

Now that the bowl season has run its course, why do we have to have FOX broadcasting the big games when they have not done one college game all season? (I think) It was just as bad as TNT doing the baseball play-offs.  I suppose it's who will pay the most, but aren't networks and broadcasters who have called Big 10, SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, ACC, and so on games all year more likely to do an accurate broadcast? Just curious. – FS

A: Obviously I’m not going to rip hard on Fox since that’s who we work with, but if I really didn’t have anything nice to write, I simply wouldn’t say anything at all and would’ve kept my tongue to myself. I don’t think Fox was a problem as much as it was that they had nothing to work with. If the games were better, the broadcasts would’ve been better. Watch a replay of the Boise State Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma from last year and you’ll notice the broadcast was fantastic. Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis were more than solid this season, while Kenny Albert and Terry Donohue were fine. Barry Alvarez wasn’t as good as he was last year, I was totally lost by the Jumper thing, and I could’ve done without the endless shots of the bands, but overall, Fox was more than fine and was certainly better than TNT’s broadcast of the baseball playoffs. Again, the games weren’t exactly riveting theater.

Will LSU hand back the AP (and possibly the Football Writers & Grantland Rice) national champion trophy they received this morning since only the BCS/Coaches trophy really matters?  I highly doubt it.  They’ll find a spot in their trophy case as well. – RF, USC Alum

A: There are a lot of bitter USC fans coming out of the woodwork looking to chirp after LSU fans pooh-poohed the Trojans’ 2003 AP title. The AP, FWAA, and Grantland Rice polls crown a national champion, but it isn’t the national champion. The problem for USC fans from 2003 is that the AP national championship is hollow and empty and there’s nothing that can be done to change that. It’s a frustration that Auburn fans felt the next year, with no national title of any kind coming their way. Utah fans felt it too. Georgia and USC fans are dealing with that this year. Until there’s some sort of a playoff, there are always going to be grouchy fans at the end of the year.

I would like to know your opinion on what it will take for WVU to be considered an elite team? Every sports writer out there still looks at us like we are division I-AA (who cares what it is called now) any time we are playing an "elite" school in a bowl game. Winning is obviously not enough to convince you all that we have just as much talent as the teams that you consistently blow the trumpets for. If winning was enough have we not earned respect yet being BCS Champs 2 times the last three year? Winning over UGA in their back yard? Winning over Calvin Johnson, possibly the best overall athlete last year in college? Winning over Oklahoma this year, a team many thought was the best in the land prior to the BCS games? What does it take? When will WVU be looked at and included in the group of "elites"? – JK

A: Didn’t West Virginia get ranked third in the preseason AP poll and sixth in the Coaches’ Poll? How much more “elite” in the respect department do you get than that? You have a ton of respect, but that Georgia team of three years ago was the SEC Champion and red-hot. At that time, West Virginia had won exactly jack squat when it came to big bowl games and didn’t earn its way into any national love. Georgia Tech was a big underdog without Reggie Ball, its starting quarterback, and this year, no one picked the Mountaineers against OU because no one had won a bowl game with an interim head coach and everyone assumed the Sooners would be jacked up after what happened in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. Yes, WVU played well and certainly earned those huge victories, but you’re dead wrong when it comes to talent level. 2005 Georgia and 2007 Oklahoma were far, FAR more talented from top to bottom. WVU certainly has a few great college players, but pro prospect-wise, it’s not even remotely close to the other top teams. For example, the Mountaineers didn’t have anyone drafted last year and had one player drafted in 2006, Dee McCann, and he didn’t get taken until the sixth round. By comparison, Georgia had 11 players drafted over the last two years.

It will be a CRIME if Ohio State or ANY Big 10 team plays for the BCS Title game next year. You would have 5 SEC teams (At least) that would go undefeated if they played in the Big 10. The Big 10 is a complete joke. – CY

A: SEC fans keep ripping on the Big Ten, like it owes them money or something, without spelling out exactly why. You’re saying the Florida team that lost to Michigan would’ve gone unbeaten in the Big Ten? No. The LSU team that lost to mediocre Kentucky and Arkansas teams would’ve gone unbeaten in the Big Ten? Unlikely. Auburn, with that offense, certainly wasn’t a world-beater. Georgia was totally beatable early on, and Tennessee was flaky over the first half of the year with a defense that would’ve been tagged by someone in the Big Ten along the way. No one, NO ONE is saying the Big Ten is close to as good as the SEC, but you’re blowing out of proportion what happened in the high profile games, just like you probably did last year. USC would’ve likely beaten anyone but LSU in the Rose Bowl. LSU would’ve beaten everyone in the BCS Championship. You’re dogging the Big Ten for losing to two of the three best teams in America (assuming Georgia is the third)? LSU and Florida were national champions for a reason. Losing to them isn’t a crime.

Are "conference bragging rights" ruining college football?  I couldn't help but note that fans were chanting "SEC" more than "LSU" when the title game was wrapped up.  In all the BCS games, teams were referred to as "insert-conference-here" teams nearly as often as by their own team names, which was kind of disgusting to me. Roaming internet message boards, fans of most SEC schools are bragging about the LSU win.  Ummm... ok.  Didn't LSU ruin your own title hopes by winning the conference?  To top it off, prior to tonight I found a Michigan fan pulling for OSU, UCLA fans hoping USC would win, Bama fans pulling for LSU, and several Georgia fans rooting for Florida.  What.  the.  hell. What's your take? – CP

A: Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum … SEC fans have always chanted S – E - C whenever one of their teams wins something big. There are two schools of thought on this. I used to work with a die-hard Michigan fan who hated it whenever another Big Ten team did anything positive since it might have meant one good recruit would be taken away from his beloved Wolverines. If LSU is really, really good, doesn’t that mean more top players might want to go there? As far as the conference brotherhood, just because LSU won the national title, that doesn’t mean Vanderbilt or Ole Miss are any good. That doesn’t excuse Arkansas from getting whacked by Missouri. I take a different approach.

By Florida winning last year and LSU winning this season, the SEC will always get the benefit of the doubt in the polls and in the BCS debates. If you’re a Michigan fan, you should hate Ohio State with every fiber of your being, but for your own self-interest, a Buckeye win over LSU would’ve helped the Big Ten down the line. If Georgia, USC and Michigan go unbeaten, take a wild stab at the two teams that’ll play for the national title.

Another year, another few hours of my life spent wasted watching countless plays reviewed by officials. So, 1) Have officials become worse since replay was introduced, and 2) Any ideas how to cut down on the time it takes? – Brad

A: Considering the officials aren’t professionals and are stepping in from their jobs as lawyers, insurance salesmen and mid-managers at a widget factory, they could use all the help they can get. Replay is a good thing. It’s a very good thing. There’s an easy way to remedy a lot of the problems as far as time, efficiency, and accuracy. Make the replay official more powerful. Instead of going through the process of bringing the on-field officials into the mix, running to and from the phone to discuss, etc., let the replay man always be able to make the yeah or nay call by himself. If he needs to consult another official on a really, really big play, fine, but if you make the replay man more powerful, the process will be sped up.

I worry that the money in college ball is so outrageous that it is ruining the sport. I used to love collegiate sports far more than the pros - mostly because kids played for their schools... coaches taught their players more than just how to win by doing whatever it takes... and fans cheered their teams even when they lost. Or maybe it was just me. Maybe I was a fan of my favorite school, even though they weren't really successful. So is there a cure? Could we just take all bowl money for all bowls and divide it equally amongst all NCAA schools? No? – DC

A: Yes, and back in the day a nickel would buy you a steak and kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake and a newsreel, with enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the polo grounds. Today, 90% of the players still play for their schools and for the love of playing college football. While there will always be a segment outside of the true pro prospects with an overvalued sense of self-worth, and with delusions of playing at the next level, most play for the love of the game. That hasn’t changed. Yeah, fans of the average football schools cheer no matter what, but the big-time places have always had expectations, and more so. You might hate the money aspect now, but compare that to the rampant cheating when it came to recruiting that went on throughout the sports’ history up until the last decade or so. Of course it still exists, but it’s not even remotely close to as bad as it was before, say, 1990. At the end of the day, the money side of things has made the sport better. Better coaches, better facilities, better players, better stadiums, better TV coverage, and a better all-around product.

If Rich Rod would have won the Pitt game and WVU would have played in the BCS Title Game would Michigan have waited for Rod until after the title game? AND If Rich Rod would have played in the title game and lost to OSU would Michigan still want Rich? – ST

A: I don’t know any of this for sure, but from the people I’ve talked to, this is how things likely would’ve played out. Michigan wouldn’t have gone after Rodriguez if West Virginia was in the national title game against Ohio State, and losing to the Buckeyes wouldn’t have mattered. Les Miles, who was out of the running after the miracle happened and LSU made it to the BCS Championship, would’ve worked things out with Michigan and would’ve taken the job after the Sugar Bowl. After LSU got in to the big show, Miles couldn’t go after his dream job, Michigan had to move on, and Rodriguez is now in Ann Arbor. Had it been Miles, Rodriguez would’ve stayed at West Virginia, would’ve been in a dogfight with the administrators about facilities, bonuses for the assistant coaches, and a variety of other things, and the Mountaineers would be a preseason top five team in 2008.


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