I’m rooting for LSU to win the national championship (surprise, surprise). LSU is ranked number 3 in the BCS, so tonight I was pulling for Virginia Tech to beat number 2 Boston College. It didn’t happen, and I have two reactions to this game.
Reaction One: Boston College deserved to win this game. BC scored two touchdowns when it counted, and Virginia Tech’s only touchdown was not really a touchdown. They were given a touchdown because of an error in officiating. BC won. Good for them.
Reaction Two: LSU would crush both of these teams. The Tigers have already put the hurt on Virginia Tech, and they would do the same to BC.
I agree with you that LSU is better than both these teams, but I’d bet if LSU played VT again, it would be a *lot* closer than 48-7. BC definitely didn’t look National Championship-worthy, though.
While your reaction two is most certainly not out of line with what I would have expected you to proclaim, I can’t say that I agree with you. I’m sure many people thought that OU would crush Boise State last year. I’m sure many have thought several times this season that someone would crush somebody else (such as App. State v. Michigan, Colorado v OU, Stanford v USC, etc the list goes on this season).
Ultimately, until the game happens on the field, no one knows (otherwise gambling wouldn’t be as popular because everyone would always win). Which is perhaps why this season more than any other truly shows the need for a playoff system. Until then, I would be weary of predicting any type of rout by any team.
Ray Van Neste
I agree Denny! I too was pulling for VT last night. If just Ohio State of BC loses one and LSU canhave a chance at them on the field, I’ll be pleased. Nobody matches the SEC.
I guess “sports” would fit under the “culture” category…?
or should this say:
“A commentary on theology, politics, culture, and sports”?
Maybe you guys didn’t see the Auburn game where they played 59 minutes of better football than LSU. The Kentucky team that beat them now has three losses. They squeaked by against Florida (another three loss team). Lets not give this pretty good LSU team the status of great teams like ’95 Nebraska or ’01 Miami Hurricanes.
BC definitely didnâ€™t look National Championship-worthy, though. I think a lot of people are thinking that now. Too many voters make immature choices and several now have the common and unfortunate dilemma: “Hmm, BC didn’t look too good, but they’ve got a great record… so I can’t vote them any lower.”
All this talk about losing to 2-loss and 3-loss SEC teams is about the most non-sensical thing I’ve heard. Sure, the SEC boasts a less than impressive 64-37 record. Then again, there have been 32 SEC football games so far this year without a tie so, unless logic eludes me, it seems that the record of SEC teams vs SEC teams will be… 32-32. Hmmm, imagine that. (Maybe the SEC isn’t so dominant after all, if they can’t even beat teams in their own conference more often than not…)
So what is reasonable data from which to gauge the SEC? We’ve already discussed that SEC records against non-SEC teams (now 32-5 by my math, which is not always accurate) may not be the best determination of prowess. How about SEC records against top-25 opponents? Well, with 7 teams ranked in both polls (for a total of 8 ranked teams out of 12) it seems that such records are obviously skewed. Or you could reason with the knowledge that 11 of 12 SEC teams still have the opportunity to play in a bowl (though they still have to play some games between now and then).
Or you could just watch the games to determine for yourself which teams seem better or best. Sure, LSU hasn’t yet proven itself even as good as the ’03 Tigers, and certainly we who could not watch Oregon-USC are at a great loss, but watching the games closely can lead you to make some reasonable conclusions. One of mine is that LSU is indeed pretty good. I think their dominating final two quarters against a very good Auburn, limiting them to one productive drive, prove that LSU is, at least, pretty good.
I believe Bill Parcells said it first “You are what you are”. A 5-3 football team in a good conference is still a mediocre team. I think the LSU Tigers are a solid football team, but I don’t think they’ve seen the two toughest opponents in the conference yet (that would be Georgia and Alabama).
That may be a fair statement in a league like the NFL and even more appropriate in a league with greater parity of schedule like the other big three, but the reality in college football is that no team will face even 13% of the teams they are competing against.
Let me offer this analogy: you would not think it reasonable to grant a degree in engineering (which normally requires something near 120-130 hours of coursework) to a college freshman who has made good grades in his or her first semester (in which team that student has completed near 13% of the requirements). Likewise you should think it foolish to take a college freshman and enter them in junior-level engineering classes and, after watching them struggle to make c’s and d’s in every class, tell them after one semester that they aren’t ready for college.
While that suggestion should seem absurd to you, judging a college football team by record alone should seem like an equally absurd process. Every other sport judges based upon parity of schedule or competition opportunity. The latter happens mainly through conference, regional, and national championships in every collegiate sport at every collegiate level save one.
Or think of it this way: if you were to pick the remaining at large teams in a 24-team playoff (assuming conference champions enter automatically) which of these teams with similar records (all 5-3, 6-3, or 6-2 currently) would you prefer?
Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, Fresno State, New Mexico, Air Force, Utah, Wyoming, Tennesee, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Penn State?
I believe that’s 25 teams for which record alone does little to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses (or valor, as Kornheiser might say) of each. And that’s leaving out all prospective conference champions, all teams with better records, and the host of teams with 5-4 or 4-5 records (including the entire MAC).
You play the game to win, that’s an absolute. But saying one team is better or worse than another because of how many games they’ve won, considering the state of this broken system, is an absolutely unreasonable approach.
My point was simply that LSU isn’t the juggernaut many people on this blog would want you to believe. The SEC is not a super-conference of twelve teams that should all play in new years day bowl games. It is a good football team (with obvious deficiencies) in a tough conference. FYI…I think Boston College is a fraud and agree with Deny in thinking LSU would beat them.
Ooh, Billy! Now you’re getting close to heresy!