enlightened conflict college football 2011

Every year I seem to get motivated to enlighten everyone on college football.  This year it is the bowl games where I feel it is time to enlighten.

Let me begin with some assumptions:

–          Oregon will be Pac-12 champ (beating a 6-6 chump UCLA)

–          LSU will destroy Georgia (assuming they don’t decide to just go directly to New Orleans and forget there is a game in the Georgia Dome)

–          Virginia Tech will beat a dangerously good but seemingly lost Clemson

–          Wisconsin is gonna thump Michigan State for ruining its season earlier in the year with the luckiest play of the entire NCAA season

–          Oklahoma State will beat Oklahoma because it won’t come down to their field goal kicker.

–          Louisville wins the Big East (which is absolutely irrelevant because I am not sure they are even a top 20 team)


I am going to ignore the BCS and polls (because I have never understood how some teams end up where they are anyway … oh … sure I do .. the polls are based at the beginning of the year on how you finished the year before … and name brand status) and suggest that there is LSU and then a bunch of teams who are good enough to win an important game against a very good team.

And there are some teams in the top 15 teams who will are not on my list of teams that could do the “win the big game”.

Georgia, Stanford, South Carolina, Oklahoma and a couple of others are good teams but using the “eye test” they just aren’t that good. All teams this year seem flawed (even LSU on offense) but some teams, even though they have a good record, are really just not that good.

I also believe if you don’t win your conference you shouldn’t play in a BCS championship game.  That unfortunately knocks out 2 teams, Boise State & Alabama, from contention (although I will also point out another reason why Bama should go somewhere else and play with someone else).

Regardless.  Let me enlighten you …

1. No one outside of Alabama wants to see LSU play Alabama (that includes LSU people).

    No one wants this game.  Why would they? LSU has won … in Alabama home stadium … in one of the world’s most boring ugly games of the century. This game would prove nothing more than what we already know … they are both good teams. They both have good defenses. They are both offensively challenged. They both have 2 of the best coaches in college football.

    Let them now go out and really prove it. Take on the best of the rest and if they win we know they are the top 2 and that LSU won when they played.

    Alabama had their chance and blew it (or maybe they lost to a better team). Sorry.  No do-overs.  No mulligans. Go take your game elsewhere and take it out on someone else.

    Plus (ok … here comes some heresy). Is Alabama really that good?  Maybe they need to give us some more proof. Other than a good win against a flawed Penn State team in UnHappy Valley the best thing on their resume is a loss … to LSU. Now. Just to prove I haven’t completely lost it I am not suggesting Bama isn’t a very good team.  I am simply enlightening people to the fact that they really haven’t beaten a bunch of very good teams (uh oh, here is where all the SEC lovers come out of the woodwork and start giving me some good ole fashion conflict whoop-ass). Maybe instead of begging for a rematch they should just go out and beat someone on a neutral field.

    2. Broncos. Oh.  That is the Denver Broncos not Boise State.

      What the heck.  Let the Denver Broncos play LSU.  They are playing a college offense with a college quarterback with an NFL-like defense.

      The Broncos last game? The special teams got three field goals and a 31-yard punt return that setup their lone touchdown. And they have no offense other than the fact it is heavy on Tebow. Last game Tebow carried 22 times (a record for a quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger) for 67 yards. He is not an overly skilled quarterback.  Look. I bet he is a great guy and he is certainly a great leader.

      But. I have one stat for you. 0-4.

      That is what he was at half time one game. Huh? My quarterback was 0-4? Yup. I swear to you that this is really the Air Force Academy (or Georgia Tech) in NFL uniforms. The NCAA should be questioning some players on what they are doing with their Sundays. That’s why all those Broncos players are wearing those Darth Vader visors … it’s a cover up. The Broncos are clearly a top 5 BCS contender. Let Tebow play another season. Bring on LSU.

      3. Teams with losses (or maybe I should call this the teams you don’t want to play for just one game because they are really really good even though they have lost some games)

        There are some really dangerously good one game teams this season. Their records may not be the best but no one really would want to play a one game season with them.

        – Wisconsin

        I don’t know if it’s just because they play in Canada or because they only show their games on ESPN3 but no one talks about the Badgers (maybe if they were something different than a Badger?).  These guys are good.  Really good. And really big. And they could beat anyone on any given Saturday.  And maybe even some teams that play on Sunday. And unlike LSU or Alabama they have a real quarterback to go along with a Heisman worthy running back.

        – Virginia Tech

        Quietly Virginia Tech has won seven in a row. The team has gotten progressively better as the season has unfolded behind the play of an evolving defense and the maturation of the offense. These guys are rarely flashy. These guys never seem to have what it takes to sustain a season. Ok.  Maybe it’s that like some other teams they get dinged in the bowls for some early season struggles. I know I should always look at full season results but a part of me says … “look at the team at the end of the year and tell me what you think.”

        That said.  Right now. One game.  One day. Any field. They are very very dangerous.  And as long as they don’t wear one of their wacky uniforms they would never embarrass themselves in a big game.

        – USC.

        Ok. There is no doubt which team is the best in college football this season – LSU. But if there’s another team out there that looks scary to play right now … it is the one that is making being put in the NCAA outhouse look like a Port-a-Potty mansion.

        That’s the Trojans who have become the anointed “Team Nobody Wants To Play” (that is a direct pull from FoxSports).

        Of course, nobody has to because the Trojans are banned from a bowl. The reality is that since a miserable showing against ASU it has gone 7-1, beating Notre Dame in South Bend, Oregon in Eugene and UCLA in one of the most lopsided games in that rivalry and lost a multiple overtime game to a good Stanford team that they could have won if there had been one more second left in regulation.

        USC finished its regular season as one of the half-dozen or so best programs in the country and maybe the hottest team in the NCAA. An LSU – USC game would be awesome.

        – Air Force Academy (disguised as the Denver Broncos).

        Tim Tebow lost eligibility but has recreated the entire program in Denver (sorry … couldn’t resist bringing it up again).

        – Boise State (the real college Broncos).

        Say what you want about their schedule.  Say what you want about living in Idaho. Say what you want about playing on Smurf Turf. No one wants to play these guys in a bowl game. They win.

        Maybe because they actually play like a team. A complete cohesive team without any superstar (and they play with a chip on their shoulder).

        A dangerous team to play in a bowl game. In fact I would suggest that over time Boise and USC may be the most dangerous bowl game opponents of all time.

        4. Field goal kickers

          I am not sure anyone would ever call this “the year of the field goal kickers.”

          I haven’t done any research to confirm my feeling but I am not sure I can remember a year that has had more games, and important games, decided by missed field goals.

          It was not a good year to be a field goal kicker trotting out onto the field looking to be the hero.  Because many more were goats.

          If some of those field goals were made the BCS standings would look very very different. Okla State, Boise State, Oregon and maybe even Alabama has a different record.

          5. Good teams outside the SEC

            Could everyone remember that outside of LSU and Alabama the SEC doesn’t have any elite teams? Please? I would have rephrased that if Marcus Lattimore hadn’t been hurt. With Lattimore and that Gamecock defense South Carolina could have been elite. There are some good teams but it is those 2 and a cloud of dust.

            Oh. And there are some pretty horrible teams in the SEC this year. I am not claiming they are the Big East but playing in the SEC was no great shakes this year. And I am probably the only one in the country that doesn’t think Alabama is that good. Defense? Awesome. Offense? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm … they will struggle to run up the score on anyone (even Georgia Southern).

            My point?

            SEC fans just take a break on your elitism (this year).

            Your good is good.  Really good. But conference wise? C’mon.  Even you have to admit it was a down year.

            Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm … and if you do … does that mean that possibly you assess Alabama’s resume a little differently? Oops.  Another enlightenment thought that will generate some conflict.

            6. Heisman is for best player isn’t it?

              I get confused on this.

              I vaguely remember that the Heisman was for the best college football player.

              Period.  Regardless of the record of the team they were playing on (mostly because if you didn’t do it that way you would be penalizing kids who made the wrong college choice).

              Oh.  But we don’t do it that way.

              So all of a sudden to win a Heisman your team has to be in a BCS game. What’s up with that?

              Andrew Luck. Yup.  He is good. As is Trent Richardson.  But what about Montee Ball (who they call MoneyBall because he scores so many touchdowns)? And Robert Griffin 3? And, yes, Case Keenum deserves discussion. And what about Tyrone Mathieu? Ok. I admit. The Heisman is tough. Comparing what Case Keenum has done to the level of his competition versus, say, what Trent Richardson faces weekly is silly. On the other hand Keenum is significantly more valuable to the Cougars than Richardson is to the Tide. What I mean is that if you take each player off of his respective squad for several weeks and check which team has the greatest drop-off. Both are terrific players …. but terrific in different ways.

              I say all that to give my enlightened vote (which will certainly generate some conflict).

              Kellen Moore.

              Does anybody think that Boise State is a top ten team without Kellen Moore? And with the overall stats he has how can he not be in the discussion?

              Oh. And I am probably the only person in America who isn’t sure Luck is the best quarterback in NCAA. Oops.  Different post.


              I have two words for everyone. Paul Hornung.  Only player to win Heisman on a losing team. And you now what? He was a fucking good player and best in college football and deserved the Heisman.

              7. The 2011 enlightened bowl line up

                So.  What would I do if I could ignore all the polls and BCS mumbo jumbo.

                BCS championship game:

                LSU.  Just give it to them.  Oh.  We can’t.  And Alabama is a no-go because they had a chance … and lost. Ok. Let LSU finish proving they are the best. Make them play either Wisconsin or Oklahoma State.  Ok. Wisconsin. I believe Wisconsin is better (I am not sure Oklahoma State could keep the Oklahoma high school champion out of the end zone).

                This would mean that LSU has already beaten the best of the Big Least, the SEC and the Pac 12 and this game would give them another ‘best’ to see what they do.

                Being biased I would put USC in this game in a second. Being practical I cannot. USC is sitting on a toilet bowl watching everyone and hoping Barkley stays in college so they can smack someone in next year’s BCS championship game.

                LSU versus Wisconsin. I don’t give a shit the Badgers have 2 losses. They are big & tough & have a quarterback & a great running back & an offensive line that could double as a herd of Herefords.

                Other bowls:

                Alabama versus Oregon. It’s the best Bama can do to find a comparison point against LSU to try and convince us they are better than LSU.  Oregon is better now than when they played LSU in game 1. Let the Ducks see what they can do against Bama. And what Alabama can do against another set of butt-ugly uniforms.

                Plus.  LaMichael James versus Trent Richardson is a nice matchup.  And Bama may be surprised when they play a team that actually has a real quarterback.

                Oklahoma State versus Virginia Tech.  I actually believe these 2 teams are slightly behind Wisconsin in talent.  But are very very good.

                Good defense against non stop offense. No offense against a defensive sieve.

                What a great match up.

                Stanford against Boise State.

                Ok. No matter what anyone tells me Stanford is not that good (unless all their receivers are healthy).  They are just not deep enough to have significant injuries.

                Ok. No matter what anyone tells me Boise State is better than TCU. In fact Boise State is better than pretty much anyone thinks.

                I would love to see Kellen Moore finish his career against Andrew Luck making a point that he is a pretty darn good quarterback in his own right.

                Houston versus TCU (or Oklahoma or South Carolina or Georgia or whatever quasi-top ten team you want to throw in here).

                No one will watch anyway.  No one will care. Houston can go undefeated and whine about never getting a chance to play one of the big boys.

                Oh.  But they won’t win. TCU is good. And will smack Houston around like a dead fish on the wharf (assuming TCU players even know what a wharf is).

                Note: insert any of the other team names I included above if you don’t like TCU.

                Uh oh. No Big East teams in a big bowl game? Yup. None deserve it.

                That’s it.

                It was an odd year of college football. And if it wasn’t for a rash of bad field goal kicking it would have been absolutely boring.

                An enlightening post? Heck.  I don’t know.  Fun to write. Sure to create conflict.

                Written by Bruce