Daily Archives: January 4, 2010

Should I feel guilty for enjoying the Fiesta Bowl on its own merits?

If I had to list my five favorite college football bloggers, Matt Hinton would certainly take a spot.  And I know he’s an impassioned (in a sane way) proponent of a D-1 football playoff, which doesn’t detract from the enjoyment I take from his writing in the least.

But (you knew there was a “but” coming, right?), I can’t help admitting that it bugs me to see him succumb to the “kids’ table” dismissal of the Fiesta Bowl matchup and ponder how much more meaningful it could all be in the right kind of postseason.

… Imagine the interest, instead, if the Broncos and Frogs were squaring off in a national quarter- or semifinal. How do playoff opponents who tout “the most exciting and meaningful regular season” in sports justify the exclusion two teams that were barely challenged en route to perfect regular seasons from any shot whatsoever at the all-important crystal ball? By telling them “you had a great season”? TCU and Boise have had great seasons, obviously: The Broncos beat the eventual Pac-10 champion and scored at least 42 points in every WAC game; TCU beat eventual ACC Coastal champ Clemson and massacred two ranked Mountain West rivals, BYU and Utah, that closed the season with bowl routs of their own over Pac-10 foes to (probably) move both the Cougars and the Utes into the final top 20.

That’s as many wins over ranked opponents as Texas managed, neither of them nearly as harrowing as the Longhorns’ last-second reprieve to hold off Nebraska and collect their tickets to Pasadena. For any team in any conference, that’s a great regular season. But obviously it’s not BCS Championship great…

Notice there’s something missing there.  Doesn’t Texas have, like, an opponent or something it’ll be playing in the title game?

Pardon the snark, but that’s the thing about making a resume ranking argument here.  It cuts both ways.

Any way you look at it, Alabama, which has beaten five top twenty five-ranked opponents this season (including three in the top ten), has a resume that towers above every other school in the country.  The 13-0 Tide boasts Sagarin’s #12 SOS ranking; TCU shows up at #83 and Boise State is ranked an even more anemic #98.  (Texas checks in at a less mediocre #49.)  No remaining undefeated school is in Alabama’s class.  So why argue in essence that Alabama should have to prove itself any further in a multi-round tournament?



Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Let’s call the whole thing off.

After reading Mark Bradley’s latest, I have to admit I didn’t realize that the universe of defensive coaches better than Willie Martinez is so tiny.

And I bet that Mark Richt is conducting his search for Martinez’ successor with the overriding priority that the media’s perception of the hire be favorable.  Hey, that’s what he did in 2001.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The Cotton Bowl has a bad case of BCS fever.

The Cotton Bowl, which used to be one of the big four bowls, wants back in to the big time.

That was one of the reasons the Cotton Bowl became the Pete Best of bowl games. It was originally among the “Fab Four” of postseason games, along with the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls. But like Best – the original drummer of the Beatles – the Cotton Bowl was unceremoniously dumped from the group for a more appealing fourth member. Best was replaced by Ringo Starr; the Cotton was replaced by the Fiesta Bowl.

Inclement weather, a dying Southwest Conference, a plague of probation within that conference and a deteriorating stadium led to the Cotton Bowl being shunned by the BCS – and exiled into second-tier status – in 1998.

Saturday’s Cotton Bowl between Ole Miss and Oklahoma State was the first played in the billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium, which may be the finest football venue in the country. The retractable-roof domed stadium can seat as many as 111,000. Saturday’s crowd for the Ole Miss-Oklahoma State contest was 77,928 – the second-largest in Cotton history. The stadium already is set as the venue for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, the 2011 Super Bowl and the 2014 NCAA men’s Final Four.

It may be just a matter of time – four years, perhaps – before the BCS wants to stage one of its games there, too.

I have no doubt it’ll get it, the old-fashioned way:  it’ll buy its way in.  Nobody in sports shouts nouveau riche like Jerry Jones does.

And based on what I saw watching the Cotton Bowl this weekend, that will be a sad thing.  That was the most sterile environment I’ve seen a bowl game played in (and how weirdly appropriate was it to hear Pat Summerall calling the game?).  The crowd strangely muted and removed from the field (which reminded me of my first Spring Training trip to the Mets’ new ballpark that had the stands much farther away from the field of play and removed about 90% of the charm of being there).  Players and coaches constantly looking up at that monster of a replay screen.

Like I said, sad and sterile.  Kind of like the NFL.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

Monday morning buffet

It’s a new year, but it’s the same old buffet.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, The Blogosphere

Envy and jealousy: lack of institutional control edition

I haven’t had anything to say about the latest black eye to the Tennessee athletic program, for a couple of reasons.  First, it had nothing to do with Junior’s gig.  Second, I knew somebody would express my sentiments in a better way than I could.

Enter cocknfire.

Tennessee Athletics Director Mike Hamilton is still trying to decide what to do with the latest band of armed Vols: Basketball players Tyler Smith, Melvin Goins, Cameron Tatum and Brian Williams.

“My first reaction was anger, real anger,” Hamilton said. “But I’ve learned that you should always try not to make an immediate decision on emotion.” …

Coming less than two months after a gun-related incident involving UT football players, Hamilton is concerned about public perception.

“This is not an indication,” he said, “of what the lion’s share of our student-athletes are about.”

The University of Tennessee: Where only some of our athletes are armed and dangerous.

Very well-played, sir.

It’s too bad there’s no AD of the Year award, because nobody has had a year remotely approaching Hamilton’s.


Filed under Envy and Jealousy