Best and most meaningful regular season. Every game matters. Those statements, like most of the traditions of college football, are in the past. The one thing that remains is voting, and voting that continues to reflect an old mentality.
One of the reasons, Alabama will get a second chance to beat LSU, this time with much more on the line, actually, that was a stupid intro…clearly there wasn’t anything on the line, the winner and loser of that game would have met again. This much we know now.
So back to the top, one of the reasons Alabama is getting a second chance is they are Alabama. Voters, as they always have, give the benefit of the doubt to the big, popular, historic program. If Oklahoma State was Oklahoma, or USC, or Texas, or Ohio State, they would have gotten their shot. That is one of my opinions. The Cowboys suffered because they are Oklahoma State.
Two, although I think preseason polls are fine, because voters have the ability to hit redo at any moment, the reality is they don’t. Voters go back to the well. Back to what they thought before the year began. CBS’s Gary Danielson repeatedly said after Alabama lost, everyone else had a chance. Well, the fallacy of that statement is that everyone should have had a chance before Alabama lost. Alabama had no more right to move back ahead of teams that lost after it except that’s what voters do. They go back to their preseason ballots and opinions. The fact Oklahoma State started behind Alabama is another reason they are behind them still today.
Third, in college basketball we have a selection committee that picks the at-large teams for March Madness. They compare the resumes of the competing teams for entry, and for seeding. Often times, leading into the Big Dance, the networks and websites do a practice called, “blind resumes.” The purpose is to take any prejudice of school or conference out of the equation. Simply put, it’s just a bunch of numbers side-by-side.
Top 25 wins: Bama- 2 OSU-5
Top 50 wins: Bama- 5 OSU- 7
Wins over teams with winning records: Bama- 3 OSU- 7
Wins over bowl eligible teams: Bama- 7 OSU- 9
Loss: Bama- home to LSU 9-6 in OT OSU @ Iowa State 37-31 2OT
If a blind resume was done between Alabama and Oklahoma State, no sane individual would pick the Tide over the Cowboys. I’ve been pointing to these numbers for the last two weeks following the Cowboys loss, and I still had them ranked #2 because of their accomplishments, which they only added to by hammering Oklahoma. Reality is that there are no blind resumes. We see everything. We see the name on the jersey and know the history of the schools and conferences. That built in prejudice was too much for the Cowboys to overcome.
The presentation CBS did on Alabama versus Oklahoma State was something you’d expect a politician to do. While they quick to point out that Oklahoma State’s defense ranked #107, they ignored that that was yards allowed. The Packers are 30th in the NFL out of 32 teams in yards allowed. Anyone writing them off from winning a title? Didn’t think so. They also didn’t bother to point out that a lot of those important yards were picked up by opponents against second and third teamers in blowout wins by the Cowboys.
Also, CBS ignored that Oklahoma State is actually a more reasonable 60th in points allowed. That’s not good, but middle of the pack isn’t bottom of the barrel, especially when you consider they also boast the #1 offense in the country. They also ignored point differential (Alabama 36-8.8) and Oklahoma State (49.3-25.8) being about the same (27.2 vs. 23.5). As well as ignoring that the offenses the Cowboys faced scored many more points than the same one’s Alabama faced. Omission is just another way of lying. Of course Alabama’s defense is better than Oklahoma State’s. The Tide have one of the more impressive defenses of the last 25 years. CBS did it’s best to make you think Oklahoma State’s defense was one of the worst in the country. If you watched Bedlam on Saturday night, I think you could tell they aren’t after holding a team in Oklahoma averaging almost 44 a game to 10, 7 of those coming in garbage time.
Finally, the BCS is the target. It is the bulls-eye. Truth is, it’s just the face, the cover, and the representation of the problem: the voters. The AP, Harris, and Coaches all had the Tide #2. What is fascinating is how so many of them backtracked to try to correct a wrong while others held firm to their beliefs, or preconceived notions. Not enough of them had a change of heart.
The truth is their is no fair answer to the question, “Who is #2?” I don’t have a problem with someone thinking Alabama is the 2nd best team. They very well could be the best team. My problem is how they got voted the #2 team.
Tuck’s Top Twelve (+13)
2. Oklahoma State
5. Kansas State
12. Boise State
13. South Carolina
17. Michigan State
18. Virginia Tech
21. Southern Miss
23. Penn State
24. West Virginia
A few final thoughts:
1) I think Alabama can beat LSU. It doesn’t mean I think LSU should have to prove it can beat Alabama again.
2) A lot of people feel Alabama outplayed LSU earlier this year. I am not sure you can miss 4 FG and turn it over twice and feel good about yourself. But for those people: Oklahoma State missed a field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game at Iowa State. I am still not sure the kicker actually missed. Replay sure makes it look like it was good. Probably the biggest non-controversy of the season.
I can only imagine if Alabama lost a game on a similar play.
3) The Cowboys lost a road game where they made mistakes. 4 turnovers and the missed (?) kick. Why do they have to be perfect, but it’s okay that Alabama was not?
4) I think we’ll have a great national title game. But there will argument afterwards regardless of the outcome. If Alabama wins, LSU may think they have a claim to a split title, and may get it. If LSU wins, then those that said the Cowboys deserved their shot will say, “Why did Alabama get two chances and we didn’t get one?”
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE:
I do not think this is how the Heisman race will finish. The Heisman, much like the polls, are based a lot on preseason hype. That is why either Andrew Luck or Trent Richardson will win. They are both deserving, but I don’t think either was the best player in the country this season. There are another handful of guys, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, LaMichael James, Case Keenum, Tyrann Matheiu, Mo Claiborne, and Justin Blackmon that all had great seasons, and in some cases, careers. Here are my final 5.
1) RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin- 38 touchdowns. That is more than any player but Barry Sanders in college football history. He had 32 rushing TD. Only 8 teams had more rushing TD this season. He also leads the nation in rushing yards, had 20-255-6 receiving, and was 2-2 passing with a touchdown. The Badgers won the Big Ten title.
2) QB Colin Klein, Kansas State- He has 26 rushing TD this season, one short of the all-time record for a QB, held by Navy’s Ricky Dobbs. He rushed for over 1000 yards. He has 4 second-half comebacks to his credit this season for this year’s biggest surprise, the 10-2 Wildcats. He also accounted for 70% of K-State’s yards and 86% of their touchdowns as a one-man wrecking crew. Beat my #3 guy head-2-head.
3) QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor- He has the highest QB rating in America, and holds the highest QB rating in the history of college football for a season. He has Baylor sitting with 9 wins! He has them in back-2-back bowl games for the first time in 20 years, and he is the only QB to get them to a Bowl game since joining the Big XII.
4) RB Trent Richardson, Alabama- 5th in rushing yards and 6th in touchdowns this season. More importantly was the heartbeat of the Tide’s offense. The defense maybe the reason they are 11-1, but without Richardson there is a good chance they could have lost a couple more games. He meant that much to their offense.
5) QB Kellen Moore, Boise State- 4th in passer rating, 2nd in completion percentage. Loses his top two WR to the NFL, and still throws for 41 TD to just 7 INT. 11-1 this year, most career wins in college football history with a record of 48-3. Never lost to a BCS school, just twice to TCU and once to Nevada. Total margin of defeat in the 3 losses: 5 points.