What We Learned From The Final Weekend Of College Football

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Well, before the bowls, anyway.

Barring any sort of BCS calamity or complete disregard by the human polls, Florida and Oklahoma will meet in the BCS Championship Game, and everyone and their mother will be picking the Gators, likely with good reason.

Florida had to find another way to win against Alabama, who looked like they were ready to take over in the third quarter by running the ball and controlling the clock. But Florida pulled off an interesting trick in the 4th quarter. Most of the time, Urban Meyer's offense is perceived as one designed to put points on the board quickly, and it's usually really good at that. But after Florida took a 24-20 lead in the 4th and stopped the Tide up, Tim Tebow led a drive that killed 5 of the 6:30 or so left, and added another touchdown on top of it. They played like a different team that what was expected, and that ability to produce long drives and score quickly led to the 31-20 victory. The Crimson Tide, although disappointed, should see this season as a major improvement. What they might be able to do next year is in question: they will lose QB John Parker Wilson, although this may be addition by subtraction -- he threw backbreaking picks sometimes.

Now, the Gators will likely face a team that refuses to take its foot off the gas. Oklahoma now owns the NCAA single-season points record after zooming out to a 38-7 lead over hapless Mizzou, and finishing with a 41-point beatdown. We're not sure if there's a defense that can stop the Sooners; much of the Big 12 has now tried and failed, save Texas (which is still nursing the wounds of the conference's tiebreaker.) The Sooners will hope that DeMarco Murray's knee will be better in a month, because they'll need all the weapons they have available in order to tangle with Florida.

Despite Rick Neuheisel's big talk, the football monopoly in Los Angeles remains. USC fumbled early in the first, leading to a trickeration touchdown on a pitch to a receiver, who hurled it to RB Kahlil Bell. USC then scored 28 unanswered points, and that was all, as UCLA continued to struggle with a young O-line and a mediocrity in Kevin Craft at quarterback. Mark Sanchez kept battling, throwing for 2 TDs and getting back up after some rather regular late hits by the Bruins' defense. If UCLA fans are to take solace in anything, it's that they will be better next year -- if they can avoid the bad injury luck. This sends USC back to the Rose Bowl with Penn State coming to Pasadena.

If given a back-up or mediocre quarterback, Virginia Tech can be counted on to be VT and eat him alive. This is what happened to Dominique Davis, who was under center for an injured Chris Crane once again as the Hokies battled the Boston College Eagles in a near-empty Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for the ACC Championship. VT QB Tyrod Taylor did enough to get the Hokies back to the Orange Bowl, running for two TDs.

It's a weird thing to think that after seven turnovers, Tulsa would be in any sort of form to win the Conference USA championship. Such is college football, though, and it took a late drive by East Carolina's Patrick Pinckney and a field goal with 1:40 left to ice a good season for Skip Holtz, even after ECU's status as giant killers early on (beating VT and West Virginia) died soon after at the hands of N.C. State.

West Virginia's season seems to be one of a squandered senior season -- namely that of Pat White. The QB led the Mountaineers to a 13-7 win over South Florida, but even the 'Eers 8-4 record and bowl bid can't mask that coach Bill Stewart was a mistake of a hire, with the WVU administration falling in love with the rebound after the ex left him for a better looking woman.

Cincinnati already locked up its Orange Bowl bid as Big East champion, and had to struggle a little in a road trip to Hawaii against the Warriors, coming back in a frantic fourth quarter to get their 11th win, 24-20. However, it's probably safe to say that it's a miracle that the Bearcats are even in the Orange Bowl, weak as their conference is -- could any of us expect a team that has gone through five quarterbacks this season, including one who played with a broken non-throwing arm, to win its conference and make a BCS bowl game?

The young men of the University of Washington have suffered their final indignity after being walked on by Cal RB Jahvid Best for 300+ yards and 4 TDs. Now, USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian gets to walk in and clean up a mess of a team that finished without a victory, and honestly, Week 2 against BYU was the closest they ever got, and if Ty Willingham's name and reputation as a head coach at the college level has not been totally destroyed, it would be a shock. The Sonics are stolen by Land Thieves, the Mariners sink to the cellar of the American League, the Seahawks have lost their 12th Man and their mojo, and U-Dub has found the bottom of the barrel. Seattle sports fans, you deserve something positive, but if U-Dub admins were serious about really being good, they would have money-whipped Mike Leach instead of leaving the work to a man entering the head coaching ranks for the first time.

More on the BCS and the bowl match-ups later today after the final standings and the selections have been made. Oh and Frank Beamer can take a heck of a punch....



Frank Beamer Takes A Punch Like Don Flamenco (SbB)

Posted by Signal to Noise at 11:30 AM

13 Comments:

It's gotten worse for Seattle! http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/seattles_disastrous_sports

The Onion has a very good sports section.

Pip said...
Dec 7, 2008, 12:08:00 PM  

What is the deal with Dennis Dodd, and how was I not aware of how much he *really* sucked until very recently?

He "projected" *Georgia* Tech vs. Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl and then stated that "This isn't a BCS matchup, its an Astro Bluebonnet Bowl from 1984"...(please tell me someone has the original screenshot)...

First of all, Cincinnati's program was never of a stature to reach the Bluebonnet Bowl (1959-1987), and arguably, neither was *Virginia* Tech's...and second, it was very rare that the Houston-based game ever featured a contest in which neither opponent was from the Southwest Conference...

This also the same man who complained that the ACC expansion was "about the money," while in the same breath intimating that the expansion--err "creation"--of the Big 12 was not...

I'm sure that Rice, TCU, and even UH and SMU would surely have agreed with him amidst the relative devaluations of their traditions only to see the standings of Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida artificially enhanced at a later date...

Please feel free to contribute related anecdotes...I mean, is he just the Big 12's version of Colin Cowherd or is that an overstatement or possible misinterpretation?

At least CBS would update their bowl projections more than once a week (and update them daily as invites were being extended)...if not, I would not have been "re-introduced" as it were...

Anonymous said...
Dec 7, 2008, 12:36:00 PM  

http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs/view/6270202

Anonymous said...
Dec 7, 2008, 12:37:00 PM  

Oh, I apologize, I should have referred to ESPN's resident Pac-10 homer as "shrutebag," as said precipitating incident first introduced me to this site...

Anonymous said...
Dec 7, 2008, 12:38:00 PM  

The Big East's BCS bid should have gone with Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech. It only became a football conference when the U decided to join.

As for the ACC playing to an empty house in Tampa, it was dumb when they did that for the basketball tournament and dumb for doing it in football. The middle of the conference is located somewhere near Charlotte or Greensboro, North Carolina. Play the games near there.

Secor314 said...
Dec 7, 2008, 1:28:00 PM  

Secor - ACC championship is headed to Charlotte in 2010. Unfortunately, next year is still in Tampa, and thus the conference better pray that Miami, Florida, or Georgia Tech comes out of the Coastal in 2009 or it's going to be worse.

Signal to Noise said...
Dec 7, 2008, 1:38:00 PM  

They should just hold the game in Charlotte and realign the divisions so that at (the very least) BC and Miami are in the same division to ensure that at least one of the championship game's participants is within a day's drive, not to mention that the current bowl arrangements would not allow an ACC runner-up to play its bowl game there. Ask the Gator Bowl how it liked hosting Virginia Tech (2005) and Georgia Tech (2006) twice in about a one-month span (esp. GT)...

It sounds good in theory, but how great could an FSU-Miami rematch really be on a semi-regular basis? The Blockbuster Bowl tried to enhance its stature amidst the probability of its being excluded from the Bowl Coalition's Tier I (Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar) by staging an annual contest matching the champions of the ACC and the BIG EAST. Needless to say, while the money would have been good, the respective leadership of the two conference's was not thrilled at the prospect of regular-season rematches being a semi-annual occurrence. However, the two conferences held the Blockbuster Bowl offer as a trump card to guarantee that one of their champions would not be shipped off to the Fiesta Bowl unless it involved a national-title game.

If FSU and Miami manage to become head and shoulders above the rest as they were in the late 80s/early-mid 90s (sorry Clemson), than so be it...I'm sure the conference would appreciate a second BCS berth (which isn't really saying a whole lot since the advent of the double-hosting model) much more than an FSU-Miami rematch that would eliminate the loser from BCS contention...just make sure that Virginia Tech (and Clemson?) are not in that same division...

Anonymous said...
Dec 7, 2008, 2:05:00 PM  

Anon, I don't mean a rematch per se, I just mean that the ACC brass obviously put the first few championship games in Jacksonville and Tampa because it expected a Florida team to make up one half of the game at the time.

The conference championship needs to stay in Charlotte for sure once it gets there in 2010.

Signal to Noise said...
Dec 7, 2008, 2:11:00 PM  

When Temple got kicked out from the Big East, VaTech, miami and BC egressed to the ACC.

JamesCraven said...
Dec 7, 2008, 3:37:00 PM  

Agreed that the ACC was definitely counting on at least one (or both) of the Florida schools being in the championship game...that being said, could Jacksonville/Tampa really bank from a game featuring Miami against anyone other than Clemson or Florida State?

I doubt that Maryland or NC State would bring enough fans, much less BC or Wake Forest...now as for a possible local sales boost in Tampa to see "The U" (c.2001-2002), I'm not sure...

I still can't believe the BEAST coddled Notre Dame like it did--and still does (ask Virginia Tech why it couldn't join when Rutgers and West Virginia did) and still had the audacity to so loudly decry the ACC expansion knowing full well it would soon be decimating C-USA...

Anonymous said...
Dec 7, 2008, 4:16:00 PM  

It would have made sense to align the ACC by north and south division. Miami, FSU, GT, clemson, UNC and Duke in the south and WF, NC State, UVa, Va Tech, Md, and BC in the north. With the championship game in the beautiful city of Charlotte permantly, it would be the most centralized location. Only Miami and BC are more than 8 hours away.

walnuts said...
Dec 7, 2008, 5:14:00 PM  

I agree, that game needs to be in Charlotte permanently.

JFein said...
Dec 7, 2008, 6:26:00 PM  

Miami and FSU were intentionally put in separate divisions, for the previous reasons stated of them being expected to play for title every year. And there is no way you can drive from Boston to Charlotte in less than a day.

The obvious geographic split would have been North/South, you could do East/West and keep Miami and FSU in separate divisions the dividing line would be pretty crooked. Splitting this conference geographically is hard since 7 of the 12 teams are in three states.

I say if the SEC title game ever leaves Atlanta ACC should go there, otherwise title game should be in Charlotte or DC.

jg said...
Dec 7, 2008, 7:03:00 PM  

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