I just wanted to check in and make a look around after the slate of New Years Day bowls, but before I get to the rest of the games, I wanted to focus on the two BCS drubbings that took place last night in Pasadena and New Orleans.
In the Rose Bowl, the media-darling USC Trojans pillaged an over-matched and overrated Illinois team that shouldn't have been there in the first place to the tune of 49-17. This of course has led to roughly 6,000 articles this morning trumpeting the Trojans as the nation's best team and the one who should be playing in the NC game on January 7th, which only proves how big of dumbasses that most mainstream media writers are. I don't deny that lately USC has been playing extremely well since their loss to then-#5 Oregon (a team that has since been proven to be completely pedestrian without Dennis Dixon). To do so would be shortsighted on my part and unfair to the Trojans. But take a look at the Trojans schedule during that run, and to some extent, the wins they had in the non-conference slate as well. After the Oregon game, the Trojans defeated:
Oregon State (9-4)
Oregon State is a good team, and that's a nice win for the Trojans. But Cal obviously isn't the team they were publicized to be. ASU has lost 3 of their last 5. And Illinois benefited from playing in a conference that has only one standout team (Ohio State) and 6 high school squads. And the combined record of the Trojan's non-conference teams (Idaho and Nebraska)? 6-18. Oh, and let's not forget about the loss to 4-8 Stanford. Look, we all know I'm not a Trojan fan, but that doesn't mean that I can't recognize their incredible run the past 5 or 6 years. But the great thing about college football is that the regular season matters. You can't lose 6 or 7 games and still get into the playoffs, every game is a must-win if you want to be in NC contention at the end. And when you lose to a 41-point underdog AT HOME and your most impressive win is over a team that was proven to be a one-man show (Oregon), then doesn't that pretty much negate any right to bitch and moan? Sure, maybe if Booty hadn't injured his hand there for a couple games, you might have one less loss. But if you use that excuse, one could say maybe LSU wouldn't have been burned by McFadden if Glenn Dorsey was healthy the last three games. The fact of the matter is, whether or not you are playing like the best team in the country right now, it doesn't mean you deserve to be in the national title game. You have to look at the whole body of work and the manner in which you lost. That said, I'm legitimately terrified of this team next year if Sanchez can step in and play to expectations.
When looking at Georgia, there are a lot of similarities to USC. They've been hot lately, and they come from the most powerful conference in the country. Their two losses are to South Carolina and Tennessee, who finished the season 6-6 and 10-4, respectively. It's a shame that Georgia never played LSU, because then we wouldn't even be discussing this, but unfortunately the Bulldogs and Tigers never met, so we are left to debate the national title merits of a team who didn't even win their own division, let alone their conference. And after the beating the Huskers took from Miami back in '01 when they didn't win the Big 12 North, I think that winning your conference is a necessity if you are going to be playing in the national title game. How can you be the best team in the country if you weren't even the best in your conference? That being said, in my opinion the Bulldogs' case has more merit than the Trojans, with wins over Florida and Auburn (both 9-4), as well as an 8-5 Kentucky squad. Maybe if they had played someone better in their bowl game (Hawaii was unmasked as the fraud they are), we'd have a better idea as to just how good Georgia is.
Unfortunately, due to the Rose Bowl's outdated insistence on taking shitty Big 10 teams over more intriguing matchups, we'll never know what would have happened if the Bulldogs and Trojans had faced each other. I want to take this opportunity to thank Jim Delaney and Thomas Hansen, the commissioners of the Big 10 and Pac 10, for continuing to rob college football fans of better games because they still think it's 1902. Until they pull their heads out of each other's rectums, we'll continue to be subjected to USC beatdowns of inferior Big 10 teams and the subsequent Trojan media glorification that always results from them. Thanks guys, we really appreciate it.
One more personal comment about the Sugar Bowl: I can't think of the last time I enjoyed seeing a player get abused like Colt Brennan did at the hands of the ferocious Bulldog defense. I got so sick of seeing the puff pieces from ESPN on him and the island culture they have on Hawaii. The douche was always wearing a lei (even to the Heisman presentation), and his statistics are inflated from playing teams whose defense was on par with the Huskers'. Seeing the sack/fumble/touchdown recovery by Marcus Howard made me positively giddy, and the ferocity of the hit was fantastic.
Looking around the Big 12, the conference is currently 4-2 in the bowl season with two more games to go (Oklahoma vs. West Virginia in the Fiesta, Kansas vs. Va Tech in the Orange). The most impressive victory was Mizzou's drubbing of Arkansas in what was supposed to be one of the marquee bowl games but instead turned into a showcase for a BCS-snubbed team. What a season for the Tigers. We knew they'd be good this season, but if someone had told you before the season that they'd go 12-2 and beat an SEC team in a New Year's Day bowl game, would you have believed them? Nice job Tigers. Just don't get too comfortable with your division title, we'll be taking it back sometime in the next couple of years.
Meanwhile, the Big 10 is 3-4 with their supposed 2nd-best team getting annihilated by USC and their conference champion facing the same fate when they play LSU in less than a week. My hatred for the conference aside, give credit to Lloyd Carr and Michigan for their impressive victory over the Florida Gators in the Capital One bowl. This team probably should have won more games during the season, but it was still a nice moment for a guy who received way too much hatred and criticism following the Wolverines' 0-2 start. As much as I dislike Michigan, that was a great moment to see him carried off the field.
Back for more later this week after some more bowl games are played. Hope everyone had a fantastic New Years.