Thanks for following this mini-series. The previous entry can be found here.
So this thesis has reached its natural conclusion, the top end of each division. The dregs and mediocre collide in a compelling way, and things only get more intriguing. We were inundated through the first two months about one match up. Actually, the battle of these two division champions might have been the BCS Championship had the ACC proven themselves a viable major football conference in 2013. That being said, we were treated to neither, though either would have made the college football illuminati mess themselves with anticipation.
Oregon vs. Alabama
Way to go, BCS, you gave us a great title game (we’ll revisit that in a sec), but missed the chance go give us what was promised in August: this game. Oklahoma probably traveled well to the Sugar Bowl, and New Orleans was spared the Eugene Faithful, but come on, this was what we were clamoring for, were briefly hopeful, and then . . .
Ah, who cares we all know what would have happened, right?
No, we don’t. That is why we should still be collectively exasperated about a system that was inherently flawed, but that is a discussion for a different day.
Anyhow, Alabama made a bold decision a few years back when scheduling perennial ACC power Virginia Tech, however their bold move paid off when a team on a precipitous decline greeted the Tide in Atlanta. They followed the Hokies with (I’ll get to that, I swear), future Husky opponent Georgia State and FCS Chattanooga in November. Yes, an appalling number of SEC schools schedule November FCS opponents. This should be significantly frowned upon by the playoff committee next year, for as when Florida State was playing Palouse Powerhouse IDA-Fing-Ho, Oregon was losing to ASU and Stanford was matching up against arch-rival and dominant . . . well, nevermind it was Cal. You get the point. Yes, we do not want to bash CSU. At this point, our collective gut has been sore for over a month, it will continue to be so, and we will not speak of this again.
Two things about Oregon’s scheduling for 2013: They went toward power conferences for FBS teams, and as far down the list as they could for their FCS opponent. UVA and Tennessee should have been tough opponents (like VT for Bama), but Nicholls State has won three conference titles, well interspersed, in more than four decades. Either way, a prepared FBS Major team (I’m looking at you Oregon State) should annihilate any FCS foe.
There is no simple way to put this, other than a game between the Tide and Ducks would have been intriguing, but we missed it. Oregon players were too enamored with themselves and lacked the humility to play well following the Stanford loss. NFL draft evaporators: Pay attention.
Bama is attempting to pull as many Appalachian schools onto their schedule following the victory against VTech last year. West Virginia is following their mountain brethren to the Georgia Dome in 2014, but they have not released a comprehensive scheulde of future opponents. Wisconsin in 2015 is their (astute readers will again gasp “On, Wisconsin”, as the Badgers revisit this list), but a continued dinner/punishment invitation appears to be present with Colorado State.
Folks who love to root against Oregon will have a horse in the race each season for the forseeable future. Michigan State (the Green “State”, Coug Fans) has a home and home with the Ducks, followed by some pissed off Cornhuskers (hey wait, we thought we joined a teir 1 conference?), TAMU and then Ohio State. The last is the most interesting because widespread legend puts Eugene and Columbus as the worst places for teams and fans to visit. So, Duck fans, keep that in mind when you greet the Buckeye faithful. That Aggie match up in a few years might be interesting, it may not, Oregon could be down, or TAMU may have shown that they were not ready for SEC play.
Stanford vs. Auburn
Everyone who is reading this has concocted a half baked playoff scenario. I will make the bold prediction that if we had been blessed with an exhaustive and equitable one five months ago, we would have seen the War Eagle running against some hungry boys from the Farm. Stanford was bit by the same bug that found Oregon (the indifference blight bit the Ducks but continued with Stanford as they entered the coliseum), but they still could have made a reasonable playoff system.
Auburn knows who they are, and are playing with reckless abandon which is predicted for the better part of whenever Malzahn decides to depart. They played a tough Wazzu D in game one (then Stanford helped provide us with this), but managed to slog their way through the SEC with two miracles. The first was an underthrown pass which was only completed with the help of under-taught defensive packs. The second was a lazarusian resurrection, in fact, if you push play at the right time, mid-way through Clapton’s “Layla”, just when Chris Davis takes the ball in his hand, you can see a perfectly synced step by step with the Dominoes’ pianist. Auburn deserved to get to the BCS title game . . .
. . . but for a weak ACC and a dead-man-walking USC, we could have seen this.
Stanford marched through a season with a certain knowledge, almost righteous indignation, for they were the divined ones. Hey, Manning left the Vols, then they won, why not us? A hiccup at Utah, fine, we’ll smash the Ducks. Done, Okay, hey wait, Trigger, come back with our NC. Yeah, the Cardinal possess (along with SC) the compulsory non-conference game with Notre Dame, along with the in state San Jose State along with academy Army, most shouldn’t argue with that scheduling.
Rolling on out with the last of our future HOPES for these guys to start a measuring stick for the future between what will likely continue to be a theoretical power argument, Auburn has not tipped its hand much. Kansas State will host the Tigers next Season and Louisville will travel with Auburn to Atlanta in 2015. I have a varied, sordid, and limited knowledge of southern culture, (I have been chastised for naming my dog Sherman), so I wouldn’t guess at the home field advantage in 20 months.
Lastly, Stanford begins its march through the schools with the highest SAT averages in D1 football. (I am not citing stats here, I’m just making a broad generalization.) In the next decade (largely mapped out, if you want Stanford in 2024, SEC West, you better book now), the Farm Boys will play Notre Dame repeatedly, Army, Northwestern, Rice, UVA and BYU. With the exception of UC Davis next year there is not an FCS team on the horizon, so hats off, Cardinal, you win our hearts with your guts.
Our proposal to eliminate this problem will follow tomorrow.