Light the Tower

Light the Tower

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roll Tide: Take Two

Every summer, college football teams gather in camps across the country to ready themselves with the hope of achieving their goals. Most teams have goals that build upon one another. I imagine they look something like this:

  1. Win Division if member of conference with a championship game
  2. Win conference championship game (if Big 12, win conference)
  3. Win BCS title game/bowl game
Logically, these goals build upon one another. It makes sense that a team needs to accomplish an earlier goal to acquire the opportunity to achieve a latter goal. Essentially, you cannot head out and run a marathon without obtaining some smaller goals leading up to the main event. Enter Bill Hancock, the BCS, politics and the above is not necessary any longer. 

This is not a piece to bang the drum on how Oklahoma State was screwed out of a MNC appearance. We all know the shortcomings and pitfalls associated with our current system. The fact remains that Alabama benefitted from pedigree this season while Oklahoma State was punished for not having it. It has been my position since we learned of the rematch that if Oklahoma State were Texas or Oklahoma, Alabama might have been watching the game from Tuscaloosa last night. 

In the world of maybe, perhaps, what if, that position is not far fetched. But, the bottom line is Oklahoma State lost to Iowa St. albeit under very rough circumstances. However, a loss is a loss. Unless of course that loss is on your own home field to the #1 team in the nation. For some reason, that loss is forgiven. Think of it this way, Because of LSU's ineptitude on offense, which was clearly on display last night, Alabama was granted the rematch. It wasn't enough that LSU beat them on November 5th, they needed to beat them handedly in order to "eliminate" them from future consideration. 

Yes, Oklahoma State lost on the road to a .500 football team in Ames, IA. They should have won that game. A missed 37 yard field goal is all that stood between Pokes vs. Tigers for what would have been the first true undisputed champion in college football since the 2005 season. But, shouldn't have Alabama won the first game? That is all I heard. They were the better team and the scoreboard was not indicative. Couldn't the same be said of that scoreboard at Iowa St. on that fateful Friday night? That line of thinking must not coincide with what the media prefers to see on the field. It goes back to pedigree and preconceived notions. And that is what is wrong with college football. 

Oregon had to do it. Boise State had to do it (still doing it). Now, Oklahoma State has to do it. Pedigree is part of the good ole' boy network. You have to earn your stripes to achieve BCS riches. The Pokes took a major step forward this year by trucking OU, winning the Big 12 conference outright, going undefeated for the 2nd year in a row in the state of Texas and winning their first Fiesta Bowl in a thriller over Stanford. Which game did you all enjoy more? Last night was a snoozer of a game. Just like the previous meeting. Was that the "big boy" football that Les Miles was touting? LSU looked horrific last night and dare I say they would have lost to Stanford AND Oklahoma St. last night. Their offense was completely out of sync. Partly due to Alabama's defense, also attributable to the fact that they do not have a running game to speak of. The LSU offense has lived off of special teams field position, turnovers and opponent mistakes. Alabama did not provide those opportunities last night. 

Oklahoma State offers an opportunistic defense which led the nation in takeaways. Their offense also led the nation with 48 scoring drives that took less than two minutes, with 42 of those drives ending in touchdowns. Now, THAT would have been compelling to watch against LSU's defense. I would also reckon that the game would have delivered a higher rating than 13.8 which is the second worst rating in the BCS era. Listen, this system is so far from perfect it is laughable. It must luck out to offer a conclusive end to the college football season. This is what so many of us seek on an annual basis. Once again, the season will end prematurely with the following:
  1. Alabama 12-1 (BCS/MNC Champion, 3rd place SEC)
  2. LSU 13-1 (SEC Champion)
  3. Oklahoma State 12-1 (Fiesta Bowl Champion, Big 12 Champion)
I do not know how anyone with a clear conscience could look at the above list and proclaim one of those teams the champion of college football. Those who clamor on and on about SEC dominance and they know for a fact that LSU would have beaten Oklahoma State are simply not being honest with themselves. If the LSU team that showed up last night were to show up against Oklahoma State, they would lose that game. They are not built for comebacks. The Pokes are built to come from behind and did it more than once this season. Sadly, we will never know how the Pokes vs. LSU would have turned out and that seems to be OK with Bill Hancock and his gaggle of misfits. Chalk another season up as incomplete. The string of seasons ending prematurely is six and counting. Mike Gundy and company deserved their shot. Simply, Alabama didn't deserve a mulligan. Yet, they capitalized on it as every team before them has in the BCS era (4-0). Every. Game. Counts. Yeah right. 

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