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The First 2013 BCS Standings and My Analysis

The initial 2013 BCS Standings are out and I was shocked. I never would have guessed the Oregon Ducks would drop below the Florida State Seminoles. Since the beginning of the season I have been impressed with FSU quarterback Jameis Winston but I never would have guessed he would lead his team to a #2 BCS ranking when the first polls were released. Oregon has done nothing but win easily yet they are behind FSU. Even though Oregon is #3 right now they still have the opportunity to move up. The Ducks will play both UCLA and Stanford in the next two weeks so their strength of schedule will increase drastically. The biggest loser in the initial BCS standings is Ohio State as they are stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

Ohio State and the BCS

It is very hard for me to feel sorry for Ohio State because I feel as if they would not be able to compete in the national championship game. Even if they go undefeated they will have beaten nobody. That is correct. They play in the B1G conference which is as weak as ever this year. I saw a tweet recently stating that the B1G Conference had four teams in the top 25. Interestingly, three of those four come in between #21 and #25. This means the B1G Conference has one team in the top 20. Obviously, that one team is Ohio State. Even if Ohio State runs the table and wins the conference championship game their schedule will likely be too weak for them to get into the BCS National Championship game.

I would have sympathy for Ohio State if they would schedule someone outside their conference. I know Ohio State fan will claim they scheduled a decent Cal team from the PAC 12. Give me a break. If you want to schedule a team from the PAC 12 why not schedule Oregon, Stanford, USC or UCLA? Heck, I would even accept Arizona State or Oregon State. Instead you go out and find a Cal team that has been struggling since the Aaron Rodgers days.

Also, the MAC loves you for handing them money but play someone besides Ohio University or Miami (Ohio). There is no reason Ohio State cannot schedule an SEC game. The academic department needs to suck it up and schedule a game at Auburn or at Florida. Even if they scheduled a game at Vanderbilt or Mississippi I would be impressed. Instead they find a way to get directional Michigan on the schedule. In the long run this really doesn’t help Ohio State in any way. If you think it does just go back and look at the BCS games in which they played an SEC school. Ohio State is going to have to step up their level of play in the regular season if they hope to compete with the big boys during the bowl season. That will definitely be the case when the college football playoff starts in 2014.

Does Florida State Deserve the #2 Spot?

When Florida State went into Death Valley and throttled the Clemson Tigers they proved they are one of the best teams in the ACC. That said, some are still wondering if they are really a contender for the national championship. Clemson was #3 heading into that particular game but Clemson has not exactly had a strong reputation for winning big games. Now that Florida State has brought Clemson back to reality it will be interesting to see how they play over the next few weeks. Up next is NC State before the Miami game. The NC State game is a definite trap game as the Miami game could be a top 5 matchup. This will be two top 5 matchups in three weeks for the Seminoles. If they can pull lopsided wins out in each of these games it is safe to say they have their swagger back.

The one concern I have about the Florida State Seminoles is their strength of schedule. Much like Ohio State, it may come down to the end of the season and Florida State has not beat anyone that good. If Clemson spirals downhill and Miami ends the season with a few losses, Florida State will not have had a big win all year. To conclude the season Florida State will take on the Florida Gators. At the beginning of the year this looked like a huge game; not so much now. The Gators have already lost three games and they are reeling. Some believe Will Muschamp is on his way out in Gainesville. Florida State needs to hope Florida gets it together before the end of season game.

The SEC and Alabama Remain Atop the BCS

The Alabama Crimson Tide keep on rolling. It is amazing to see them throttle team after team in the SEC. On Saturday, October 19th they did it again to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Other than the Texas A&M game the Alabama defense has been out of this world. Another shutout against Arkansas on Saturday and it looks like this Alabama team could be better than the team that won the national championship last year. If the offense continues to improve we might as well hand another BCS title to Nick Saban and crew.

As if the Alabama dominance is not enough now we have to look at Missouri from the SEC. Missouri and Texas A&M are the newest additions to the conference. Almost every SEC guru felt as if Texas A&M had the best shot to win the SEC as a new member rather than the Missouri Tigers. After seven games it is the Tigers from Columbia, Missouri that are in the drivers seat to head to Atlanta to play in the SEC championship in early December. When looking at their remaining schedule it looks promising that the Tigers will have a shot at the Crimson Tide. Missouri’s two road games are at Kentucky and at Ole Miss. If you know anything about Kentucky you know that should be an easy win; especially with basketball season having started when the game will be played.

The SEC had a weekend of turmoil recently as many of their top teams went down. As I have said many times, the SEC is amazing top to bottom so it should come as no surprise that some of the best teams take a beating. There have been years in which a two loss SEC team has gotten into the BCS National Championship game. I do not think that will happen this year but there is a strong possibility that a two loss SEC team could be better than an undefeated team from another conference. We won’t name conferences.

Early BCS Rankings Don’t Matter

It is very important for all sports fans to recognize that early BCS rankings don’t matter all that much. The BCS will figure itself out by the end of the year. The only thing the BCS is asked to do is to place the #1 and #2 teams in the championship game. When all is said and done that is exactly what will happen. Ohio State, Oregon and Baylor fans have no reason to complain. If we get to the second week in December and they are undefeated and not #2, then they might have a reason to complain.

I find it very interesting that college football fans will find a way to complain about almost anything. If their team were #1 in the country they would complain they did not receive enough first place votes. If a team is not #1 there must be something wrong with all those that are submitting a poll. Unfortunately, college football fans are some of the most biased people in the world. It is best to take off the tinted sunglasses and look at the big picture. While a college football playoff will be fun there is nothing we can do about it right now. Heck, there is nothing you can do about your team going undefeated. Enjoy college football for what it is and stop worrying about all the things you cannot control.

The only thing you can control when it comes to your team is being in the stadium cheering on your alma mater. If you are a diehard college football fan that wants your team to get to the best bowl game possible you should make it a point to attend every game. Teams that get the best bowl bids are often teams that have fan bases that travel well. There is a reason Clemson and Georgia get some of the better bowl bids even when they have not had the best season. Travel with your team, cheer them on and you will find a great location for your January 1st bowl. If you are unhappy with the teams performance do not go to the game and stop donating money. That is the only way a change is going to happen in the athletic department. That is another story for another time.

The B1G Conference is Really That Bad

Every year I hear B1G, formerly the Big 10 Conference, fans rant and rave about how they are just as good as the SEC. This comes on the heels of getting demolished in the previous bowl season. In 2013 it was more of the same. Some of my close friends that live in B1G Conference territory were talking up the conference from top to bottom. After seven weeks we can all laugh at them. The conference is just as bad as it has ever been. There is no way they can compete with the SEC. In fact, the B1G might be considered the fifth best conference in college football in 2013. It is a tough pill for many to swallow, but it is the truth. Sometimes it hurts to hear our favorite teams or conference is subpar but we need to accept it. Here are a few reasons the B1G Conference will continue to struggle in the years to come.

Recruiting Kills the B1G Conference

I entered college in 2000 and that was the changing of the tides when it came to recruiting. I can clearly remember sitting in my dorm room and having a debate with my roommate that teams north of Tennessee and North Carolina simply could not compete in terms of recruiting. Why would a high school senior want to go play in State College, Pennsylvania over Miami, Florida? He could enjoy the nice warm beaches and beautiful women in Miami or he could suffer through the cold winters in Pennsylvania.

Years ago, when travel was much more difficult, these northern schools could recruit because coaches would convince players to stay home. There is no more staying at home. Home is the entire United States. A college football player can hop on a plane and travel the entire country in less than a full day. In fact, if he is a very good college football player that has the ability to go pro he may be able to get from one end of the country to the other in just a few hours because of personalized aircraft. This was not the case in the 1980s and even early 1990s. It is also true that recruiters used to encourage kids to stay home so their parents could watch them play.

Today there are more games than ever on TV. If mom and dad cannot travel to the away games they will be able to watch little Johnny on ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 or the SEC Network. If little Johnny is going to a team that will compete in a BCS conference there is a very good chance that 90% of his games will be on television. Now that mom and dad can watch the games on TV there is no reason to worry about travel. This makes me ask the question, why would any high school student want to play in a cold weather climate?

I can understand the argument to play in cold weather if that is your brand of football. If you are the type of player that excels in cold weather climates it might be a good idea to play for Penn State or Notre Dame. Unfortunately for these schools, those types of players don’t really exist anymore as most high school football players want to run up and down the field and score 30 or 40 touchdowns a season. It is no longer the case that three yards and a cloud of dust is attractive like it was in the 1970s.

Where Do High School Players Want to Go?

As mentioned earlier, most high school kids want to go to the cool and exciting college campuses. When visiting South Bend, Indiana in late November there is going to be a chill in the air and most of the students will be bundled up. Take this same trip to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee or Miami and you are going to see a much different campus. There will be many students wearing jeans but tshirts or short sleeve shirts will be common. It may even be the case that some of the girls are walking around in shorts or skirts. The only girls walking around in shorts or skirts in the northeast or midwest will be considered crazy.

Trust me when I tell you that teenage boys are going to go where the girls are. I think we all have a story about one of our friends deciding to go to college because of that lucky lady. Most of the time that lucky lady never ended up with our friend but it did cause him to go to a specific school. With Facebook, Twitter and social media now being a huge part of the recruiting process high school athletes know where they want to go to enjoy the scenery. In fact, some universities have created groups of females to help show recruits around campus. This is just another attractive feature of a campus in the south. These female groups started in Texas and the SEC. It comes as no surprise as girls love their football in the south.

If young men want to go where the girls are and enjoy the beautiful weather why would they decide to go to Michigan, Penn State or Notre Dame. In the past these three school dominated in terms of recruiting and having teams in the top 10. These are three of the most storied programs in all of college football with more wins than any other teams. Why can they not bring in the big named recruits anymore? It is all about location. If Notre Dame were located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana you can be rest assured they would have a top 5 team every year. If Penn State were a university in south Georgia or Florida they would be in the BCS title game every other year. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do about their location. This makes recruiting very difficult and it may cause programs to change their mind when it comes to the overall direction of the football team. A good example of this is Oregon.

How Oregon Built a National Title Contender

The Oregon Ducks realized that playing traditional smash mouth football was not going to work because of their location. They could not recruit stud offensive and defensive linemen every year so they needed an alternative. The alternative was a very unique offense that was built on speed rather than on power. Oregon was more than willing to take players that normally would not play at the big schools like USC, Texas or Oklahoma. They used these smaller, faster players to develop a brand new style of offense. Instead of trying to run the ball on first and second down they decided to spread it out. The Oregon offense throws to set up the run. They also have a spread offense that rarely uses two tight ends. Heck, most of the time the single tight end is lined up as a wide receiver.

This new style of offense is very attractive to high school athletes that might be extremely fast but not that strong. When anyone watches an Oregon game during the fall months they can clearly see that most of the players are slim yet quick. This is something that Alabama, LSU and Florida would never had to do. These SEC schools can recruit five star offensive and defensive linemen every single year. This allows them to play a different brand of football. High school athletes will go to these schools just because of their location and history.

Oregon vs Ohio State

Oregon recognized that location was not in their favor so they went a different direction. We are seeing something very similar going on in Columbus, Ohio right now. Urban Meyer has brought the read option to Ohio State and he is recruiting more speed players. This will allow him to get enough speed on the field to compete with the big boys from the SEC. Something interesting about Ohio State is they do have the history to get some great five star recruits. If you can combine five star recruits with a unique offense the sky is the limit.

The only problem that Ohio State has right now is the location. Columbus, Ohio is not the most attractive area for high school athletes. When you think of vacation hotspots Columbus is not at the top of the list. Although this could cause problems in recruiting Urban Meyer knows how to get athletes for specific roles in his offense. Over the next two or three years it will be interesting to see if the location of Ohio State holds them back when it comes to a national championship run.

Something that will likely hold them back from a national championship run in 2013 will be their conference. The B1G has shown they are not ready to compete with the SEC and other power conferences. Until the B1G has several good teams (in the top 15) it will be the case that no one is willing to give Ohio State respect. They are not playing the toughest conference schedule so they may not be worthy of a spot in the BCS National Championship game.

Are College Football Uniforms Getting Out of Control?

Sometime in the early 2000′s college football programs decided it was time to ditch the traditional uniforms and go with something completely different. It started as a single alternative uniform. Sometimes it was all black and other times it was all white. Then a few programs expanded their helmet selection. Matte black got popular and then came chrome. Before we knew it, almost every university in the country was wearing crazy colors. Some teams were wearing colors that weren’t even their school colors! In the last two or three years it has gotten completely out of control. Teams will do anything to get attention even if this means they have to grab a bucket of paint and throw it on a helmet to see what happens. When it all comes down to it, the only reason teams are doing this is to be the “cool kid on campus” that gets the recruits.

Recruiting and Alternative Uniforms

The Oregon Ducks were one of the first teams to try out alternative uniforms. There is a very good reason for this. The creator of Nike, Phil Knight, is an Oregon graduate so he is willing to let the Ducks become the test case for all kinds of crazy uniforms. During some of the bowl games in the early 2000′s the Ducks would wear “throwback” uniforms that were all yellow with a huge Duck on the helmet. This garnered tons of interest which caught the eye of the Oregon football administration. Getting attention is very important in college football as there are well over 100 programs. If it takes a unique uniform to get attention there are many teams that are willing to go that route.

College football recruiting has changed drastically over the last three decades. Years ago high school students were not recruited until their senior year and many of them wanted to go the university in which their parents received their degree or to the school they grew up cheering for. That is no longer the case. In fact, some recruits will change their mind three and four times during their senior year just because they want to do something different. High school football players are attracted to the shiny object. Sometimes that shiny object is a brand new helmet worn by Arizona State or a unique pair of cleats worn by Notre Dame. This sounds a little bit superficial but it is the reality of recruiting in 2013 and beyond. There are a large number of high school athletes that will choose a college based on the glitz and glamour of the school rather than the education.

High school athletes also get caught up in the moment. If they are on a recruiting trip and the team runs out in alternative uniforms they see the reaction of the fans. This might entice them to sign their letter of intent to that particular school. Strong recruiting coaches know when a team will be coming out in an alternative uniform. They schedule all the big recruits that weekend and hope to show them a unique experience. Prior to the proliferation of the alternative uniform, recruits would come during any given weekend out of the season and just watch the game. My how things have changed.

Traditional Football Uniforms

When I was at NC State from 2000-2004 I can remember making fun of teams like Notre Dame, Alabama and Penn State for being too traditional. Penn State has worn the same uniform since the beginning of their program. They have a white helmet with a blue strip down the middle. This has never changed. The same is true with Alabama. They have a crimson helmet with the players number on each side. No matter what year you watch an Alabama game you are going to see the exact same helmets. At the time it was very boring. Who wanted to wear the same thing every single week? Well, now the traditional uniforms are the new “cool” uniforms. With Maryland and Texas Tech wearing different uniforms every single week some fans have forgotten what their traditional uniforms look like.

The University of Maryland has gone above and beyond to avoid being traditional. The creator of Under Armour graduated from the University of Maryland and his goal is to put the craziest color combinations together when it comes to the Terrapins uniforms. They have worn everything from all black to camouflage. Their helmets are sometimes a completely different color from their uniform. Their cleats are a complete joke. Everything from red to yellow to neon colors have been worn by the Terrapin players. I know the ultimate goal is to get attention but they have taken it too far. In the next few years I would expect to see the Terrapins tone it down a notch rather than spending all of this money on a uniform that will last for about three or four hours.

I am glad to see some teams wearing traditional uniforms today. This does not happen very often. My alma mater, NC State, has given into the alternative uniforms and they look terrible. They have even worn pink uniforms. While the cause was great I feel as if a ribbon or a sticker can be worn to support a cause. Once again, when I was in school things were much different. NC State had two sets of uniforms. At home, they wore white pants and red jerseys. On the road they wore red pants and white jerseys. This was tradition and it rarely changed. During a very important game or a nationally televised game the Wolfpack would come out in all red uniforms at home. This got the crowd pumped up and it was something the players enjoyed. It is important to note that all the equipment staff had to do was set out away pants with home jerseys. They did not have to come up with a completely new outfit.

One of the defining moments of my NC State career, as a football fan, was when the Wolfpack came out in all white versus UNC in Chapel Hill. I still have several pictures from this game. It was one of the biggest games of the year and the coaching staff realized that all white would get the team fired up. Maybe once or twice a year the team would come out in all white or all red. Unless it was a very important game, the team wore traditional colors. That is not the case today. On any given Saturday NC State and other teams will wear alternative uniforms just to get a little bit of attention. This makes me cry inside. The big games are no longer big because the unique uniforms are worn every single week.

Other Ways to Get Attention

Rather than coming up with the craziest color combinations possible there is one way to get interest from high school recruits – win! The Alabama Crimson Tide have never had alternative uniforms. They wear the same uniforms week in and week out yet they still have some of the top recruiting classes in the country. They have won three of the last four national championships. All they have to do is continue to win. If the Alabama Crimson Tide continues to win they will never had to worry about wearing some crazy looking uniform to get the attention of high school kids.

Unfortunately, some programs have struggled to produce a consistent winning product on the field so they feel as if they have to go in a different direction. Many of these programs will come up with the “hottest” colors possible when it comes to a helmet or uniform. They will also hire coaches that are a little bit out of the ordinary. They may run a unique offense or dress in an unusual way. We have often heard that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. After my four years of undergraduate studies at NC State I can confirm that any publicity is better than no publicity. Just last week the NC State Wolfpack lost to Wake Forest and no one cares. Apathy is the worst thing for a college football program. It is better to have fans that are up in arms about the success of the program rather than fans that could care less what happens on any given Saturday afternoon.

One of the reasons the SEC continues to be the best conference in college football is because their fans. Some would argue that SEC fans care too much. Well, this is the exact reason SEC schools get some of the best coaches in the sport. The athletic departments are willing to pony up the cash because they know fans will pack the stadiums every Saturday. This is not true in the ACC and PAC 12. Getting fans to a stadium is like pulling teeth in some other conference. Rather than trying to do it through crazy college football uniforms it is best to just win.

Can UCLA Win the PAC 12 in 2013?

After the first few weeks of the 2013 season the UCLA Bruins are the front runner in the PAC 12 South. Part of this is their good play and part of it is their cross town rivals, USC, are falling apart quickly. Lane Kiffin has been let go by the Trojans and they now have an interim coach. If that isn’t funny enough, the interim coach is allowing the offensive linemen to eat cookies while on the training room tables. I kid you not. That is another story for another time. Now that USC is basically out of the picture in the PAC 12 South it looks as if it is going to come down to Arizona State and UCLA. My personal opinion is that the team that doesn’t lose the silly game(s) will end up being in the PAC 12 championship game in early December.

Losing Silly Games

When I refer to silly games I mean games in which the ranked and/or favored team should easily win. In many of the conferences not named the SEC some of the contenders will lose game they should dominate. If UCLA is picked to beat Arizona by two touchdowns they should not lose that game. Unfortunately, both UCLA and Arizona State fans have seen their teams lose these silly games time and again. They will beat a top 10 Stanford team and come back and lose to an unranked Utah or Washington State team. The PAC 12 South team that can avoid this bad loss will likely come out ahead in the division. Getting past Utah on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 was a very big deal for the UCLA Bruins. This was a road game on a Thursday night and they are never easy. Being a Thursday night road favorite is a recipe for disaster.

The Bruins had to travel to Utah to play the Utes and they knew they had to return to Los Angeles the next morning to go to class. This is often quite difficult. In fact, this is one of the reasons we see so many Thursday night home dogs winning games against teams that are much better. Even though UCLA barely pulled this one out it is still a W in the column and that is all that matters. In fact, this might be just what UCLA needs to get over the hump and get into the top 10. Unfortunately, teams often get ahead of themselves and do not play for the game that week. This is very true for teams that reach the top 10 that have not been there in the recent past.

After watching endless weeks of college football I can remember numerous times when a team finally gets into the top 10 and they subsequently lose two or three straight. The old phrase, “act like you have been there” is extremely important when it comes to college football rankings. Trying to keep college football athletes grounded is like trying to drink watch from a fire hydrant. It is not that easy and some people end up making a fool of themselves. If coach Jim Mora, Jr. can keep the UCLA Bruins grounded for the entire 2013 season I will be extremely impressed.

Winning the PAC 12 This Year

Since the PAC 12 has split into two divisions the North division has been much stronger than the South division. The same is true this year. Both Oregon and Stanford are in the top 10 while the only major contender in the south is UCLA. I know Arizona State has played very well to start the season but they will need to prove themselves over time. UCLA has been stable since Jim Mora, Jr came to town so I can honestly say they could be a top 10 team by the end of the year. Winning the PAC 12 South will be much easier than winning the PAC 12 North.

Something interesting about the PAC 12 Championship game is it is played in the home stadium of the team with the better record. That means Oregon could be ranked #5 in the country and have to travel to Los Angeles to play a lower ranked UCLA team if that UCLA team happens to have a better record. I do enjoy the fact that this game is played in the home stadium of the team with the best record. I think other major conferences should consider something similar. One of the most interesting dynamics of this type of setup is the weather difference in December. I can promise you that the weather is much different in Eugene, Oregon as compared to Tempe, Arizona during the first few weekends in December.

The PAC 12 conference is very large geographically. Especially when it comes to north and south. No matter which team wins the SEC it is going to be the case that they come from the south. That said, there is no other conference that allows the team with the best record to host the championship game. I do wonder how this works when it comes to tickets and preparing for the event. The SEC knows they must prepare the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. They have all year to prepare. The same is true when it comes to the ACC. They know the location so they do not have to worry about all of the logistics. When it comes down to it, the PAC 12 just has one more home game for the best team.

Tickets for the PAC 12 Championship Game

Getting tickets to most conference championship game means fans will have to order well ahead of time. With the PAC 12 Championship Game fans will have no idea where the game is going to be played. This makes it harder for fans to make an early decision. When going to Jacksonville, Florida for the ACC Championship or Atlanta, Georgia for the SEC Championship it is not all that hard to book the trip ahead of time. When planning the PAC 12 Championship you may end up in Eugene, Los Angeles or Tempe. Heck, you could even end up in Pullman, Washington.

The PAC 12 is a very unique conference in that they have some of the best teams in college football but the fans do not show up to the games. During the 2012 PAC 12 Championship in Palo Alto (Stanford University) the stadium was half empty by the time the game kicked off. Everyone that is watching on TV sees this and it makes them feel as if the PAC 12 is not big boy football. Even during top 25 matchups this year I have noticed that some of the PAC 12 stadiums are not full. One could make the argument that they are not full at the kickoff of the games but I can assure you they are not full at the end of the games either. Until the fans start to show up to some of these games I do not think the PAC 12 will get the respect it deserves.

One way to gain that respect is to sell out the PAC 12 Championship game almost immediately. Unfortunately, the only way they will likely do that is to have the game in Eugene as Oregon fans will gobble up the tickets. If the game is in Los Angeles or San Francisco it is highly unlikely the game will sell out quickly. In fact, if it happens to be in these California cities there is a good chance the game will not sell out at all. West Coast fans complain they get no respect but it comes with the territory if you are not willing to go to the games. These athletic departments are willing to pony up millions of dollars to improve facilities yet the fans are not willing to spend $100 a week to go to the games.

When the economy was struggling it was completely understandable that fans did not want to pay the extra money to go to these games. Now that the economy has improved and many people are doing well financially it stands to reason that these games would be more highly attended. SEC games in the south are almost always packed. Even if the team is not that good fans will still pay to go watch their team play. This is not the way it is in the PAC 12. The bottom feeders of the PAC 12 see attendance rates below 50%. Never would an SEC team consistently see attendance rates below 50%. There have been years in which South Carolina has only won a single game but 70,000 fans still fill Williams Brice Stadium.

When PAC 12 fans start to attend games the east coast will take notice. Until then, the PAC 12 will be known as a flashy conference with bright colors and crazy offenses. Something else that would help the PAC 12 tremendously is to win a national championship. When this happens maybe fans will actually come out to the games.

By Jesse Wojdylo

An Undefeated Oregon vs Ohio State

After four weeks of the college football season most fans feel as if an undefeated SEC team is a shoe in for the 2014 BCS National Championship game. This isn’t really up for debate as the SEC has won the last seven BCS titles. The bigger debate is who will play the SEC champion if several teams go undefeated. The major contenders right now include Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson. Clemson has a propensity to lose a game they should not so I will save that argument for last. The more interesting argument is Oregon vs Ohio State. If these two teams go undefeated who deserves to play an undefeated SEC champion in the title game this year?

The Argument for Oregon

Undefeated Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks


The Oregon Ducks have been a stellar program over the last five years. Even though they lost head coach Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles after last season the offense has not skipped a beat. Oregon has been known as having a new age offense that moves the ball up and down the field quickly. The “Quack Attack” has revolutionized the way some teams play college football. Instead of snapping the ball with less than 10 seconds on the play clock teams are trying to snap the ball as quickly as possible. The Oregon offense doesn’t even get into a huddle. This is much different from traditional football which is to huddle after every play and take time to work down the field. The traditional way to play college football usually keeps possessions at five to eight minutes. Oregon often scores in less than two minutes.

Oregon has played in a national championship game in the last five years. There is little argument that Oregon was the most competitive team to play an SEC team in the national championship game. In fact, Oregon had a very good chance to win the 2010 National Championship. Other teams like Texas and Notre Dame were blown out in the national championship game by SEC teams. This matters to voters because they want to see the best possible game in the Rose Bowl on January 6th, 2014. Last year the college football world was burned when Notre Dame was dominated by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship game. A team from the midwest did not match up well with the dominate SEC champion. This is one of the reasons some diehard fans feel as if Ohio State should not get a chance in the BCS title game. Oregon has a much faster paced offense and they have competed well against SEC and southern teams in recent years.

Another argument for Oregon is the entertainment factor. The Nike creator, Phil Knight, graduated from Oregon and he has a field day creating their uniforms. You never know what you are going to get when Oregon runs on the field. From personal experience, watching an Oregon game has a lot to do with the uniforms and the off the field antics from the Duck mascot. Entertainment is now a very important part of college football. After a 2013 BCS National Championship game that was not entertaining at all voters will want to put in a team that will keep eyeballs glued to the TV. The ratings for the championship game last year were terrible because Alabama had it wrapped up by the middle of the second half.

Oregon may not be the second best team in the country by the end of the season but they might be the best choice to play Alabama, or any SEC champion, in the BCS national championship game for entertainment purposes alone. Even if Oregon goes does 14-0 or 21-0 you can almost guarantee they will continue tossing the ball all over the field as quickly as possible. If other teams get down by more than two touchdowns the game is all but over. Even though this did not matter in the past it does today. Advertisers want eyeballs on the game and one way to keep eyeballs on that particular channel is to put Oregon in the game knowing they will not slow down and never be out of it.

The Argument of Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes BCS

Ohio State Buckeyes


Ohio State has been in a national championship in the last decade and they were blown out by an SEC school. In 2006 the Ohio State Buckeyes went into the BCS National Championship game undefeated and heavy favorites versus the University of Florida. Interestingly, the current Buckeye head coach, Urban Meyer, was the Florida head coach in that national championship game. Some people may remember the game because Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown but ended up hurting himself on the play. After that play the game was all but over because Florida dominated. There was nothing Ohio State could do to compete with the speed of Florida. When all was said and done Florida defeated Ohio State 41-14.

The fact that the Florida speed dominated the Big 10 champions makes many people wonder if this will happen again. Well, that argument is not necessarily valid as Ohio State is now coached by Urban Meyer who runs the spread option. The spread option was perfected at Florida with Tim Tebow. Meyer ended up stepping down from the University of Florida for health reasons. He took over the Ohio State coaching position last year and led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season. This has changed everything in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer has proved to be one of the best coaches in college football when his heart is in it. At this point in his career it looks as if his heart is still in it at Ohio State.

When Urban Meyer has his types of players on the field he can compete with anyone in the country. This is the main argument for Ohio State being in the championship game if they run the table. The other side of that argument is the depth of Ohio State. Every year there will be injuries. The fact that this is Urban Meyer’s second year means that many of the backups are not his recruits. One of the biggest issues with B1G football is the lack of speed. Urban Meyer recruits speed but he only has two recruiting classes at Ohio State for the 2013 season. If a key linebacker or defensive end goes down he may have to insert someone that was not necessarily his recruit. The lack of depth and speed is a cause for concern when it comes to the backups.

If Ohio State can remain healthy they can compete with any team in the country. In the second week of the season we saw a major injury to the Ohio State Buckeyes roster. Braxton Miller, the starting quarterback, has been out the last two weeks due to an injury. If these injuries start to add up in Columbus I personally feel as if we would see a national championship game similar to 2006 if the Buckeyes play the SEC champion. Urban Meyer is definitely an SEC style coach but it takes several years to fill the roster with speed. Ohio State is still a year or two away from having the potential to go two deep with any team in the country. Their starters are very talented but it is the backups that I worry about.

The Argument for Clemson

Crimson Tide BCS

Crimson Tide


An interesting player in the 2014 BCS National Title race is the Clemson Tigers. Clemson has a huge advantage over Oregon and Ohio State because of their non conference schedule. If Clemson runs the table this year they will have beaten two of the top SEC teams – South Carolina and Georgia. If Clemson can go undefeated they have every right to be in the national championship game. They will have victories over South Carolina, UGA and Florida State this year. That is enough for me to say they are the second best team in the country behind any undefeated SEC team. No other team, outside of the SEC, will have beaten schools of this caliber.

That said, Clemson is known for losing games they should never lose. In past years they would beat the great teams and turn around and lose to Virginia or Wake Forest. Some people feel as if Clemson is over that hump but I will believe it when I see it. I really do hope that Clemson runs the table because I live in the heart of ACC country. It would be nice to see the ACC well represented in the national championship game. It has been too long since the ACC has had an appearance in a big time game. When they have appeared in a BCS game they often lay an egg and make the conference look bad. Let’s see how Clemson plays the rest of the year and we may address this conversation again. At this point, I have to see Clemson win the games they should to put them in the national title talk.

By Jesse Wojdylo

Who Will Win the 2012 Heisman Trophy?

Matt Barkley, the USC Trojans QB who decided not to enter the NFL draft and return for his senior season, will not win the Heisman Trophy this year, that much is sure. But, who will accept the Heisman bust this December?

Late in the season it appeared that Kansas State Wildcats do-everything QB Collin Klein might be the guy. However, an ugly 52-24 upset loss to Baylor on Nov. 17 leaves Klein’s possibility as a finalist looming. Mante Te’O, the Notre Dame LB, has had an amazing season (tied for the FBS lead in interceptions with seven) under a fair amount of duress. Te’O lost both his girlfriend and grandmother earlier in the season, not to mention the stress of having to face every opponent’s best shot week in and week out as the Irish finished the season unbeaten.

The front-runner, however, for college football’s top award is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manzeil. The redshirt freshman has led the Aggies to a remarkable 10-2 record including an upset win over then top-ranked Alabama. Manziel, or “Johnny Football” as he has become known, is one of just a handful of quarterbacks who have thrown for over 3,000 yards and ran for over 1,000 in the same season. He leads the SEC in rushing with 1,181 yards and has run for 19 touchdowns.

When new head coach Kevin Sumlin took over, it appeared that the Aggies would be rebuilding while they entered the mighty SEC. After a season-opening loss to Florida, Texas A&M reeled off five straight wins and the legend of “Johnny Football” began to rise. If anyone needs validation that Manziel is deserving of the Heisman, watch the game film of the Aggies’ win over ‘Bama. Manziel was 24-of-31 passing for 253 yards, two touchdowns, and he did not throw an interception. He also rushed for 92 more yards against arguably the nation’s best defense.

Along with Klein, Te’O, and Manziel, the other finalists may be Oregon Ducks speedy RB Kenjon Barner who has rushed for 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns, and USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, who has hauled in 112 receptions for 1,680 yards and 14 scores. This year’s winner will be announced on Saturday, December 8, live from the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.

College Football Midseason Report

Halfway into the 2012 college football season, let’s take a look at some of the big surprises, some not-so-surprises, and biggest flops yet so far. After winning a national title and losing four players to the first round of the NFL Draft, Alabama was thought by many to have lost just a little too much to continue their dominance. At the midpoint of the season, the Tide is clearly the best team in the country with a bruising running game, solid QB play from A.J. McCarron, and the nation’s best defense.

Surprisingly, the Florida Gators are not far behind and are looking to make a run through the SEC East in order to take the Tide for the SEC title come December. Coach Will Muschamp, in just his second year, has brought the Gators back into the national title picture with a strong dose of RB Mike Gillislee and what may be the nation’s second-best defense. In a 44-11 blowout win over then No. 7-ranked South Carolina, it was the Florida defense and special teams that forced four turnovers. The Gators are already 5-0 in SEC play, with three of those wins coming on the road against ranked opponents.

Notre Dame (6-0) surely has surprised many sweeping Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, then destroying Miami and beating a very good Stanford team in overtime. And the Irish did all of this with some pretty shaky quarterback play. The Irish still have two big tests remaining on their schedule (Oklahoma, USC), but could find themselves in the thick of the BCS championship picture at season’s end.

Maybe the two biggest surprises are Oregon State and Kansas State. Both are unbeaten, but the Beavers are coming off a disastrous 3-0 campaign a year ago. So far, they have beaten Wisconsin, hammered BYU and have destroyed three Pac-12 opponents. Kansas State, which has always been good under Bill Snyder, has just been phenomenal. Quarterback Collin Klein may be the nation’s best player and the Wildcats play great defense and just don’t make many mistakes. KSU still has some big games remaining, but they are another team that could find themselves in that BCS title picture should they win out.

On the other end of the college football stratosphere is Auburn. Just two years removed from a national championship, head coach Gene Chizik finds his Tigers sitting at 1-5 with one of the country’s worst offenses. Their QB play has been horrendous and the Tigers may have trouble winning another game this season.

Right beside Chizik is John L. Smith at Arkansas. The Hogs were ranked in the preseason Top Ten and after former coach Bobby Petrino’s bout with motorcycle mayhem cost him his job, Smith walked in ready to ride Petrino’s wave to an SEC title. Five weeks into the season, Arkansas stood at 1-4 losing to mid-major Louisiana-Monroe, then getting trounced at home by Alabama the following week. The Hogs are now 3-4 with consecutive wins over Auburn and Kentucky, neither of which is very good.
With the recent success of school’s like Michigan State and Wisconsin, and even Michigan’s 11-2 season a year ago, one would have thought that the Big Ten might rival the SEC for college football dominance. Not so. Michigan and Wisconsin each have two losses thus far and Michigan State sits at 4-4 going into the ninth week of the season. Northwestern has been a surprise, rattling off six straight wins to start the season, but from top to bottom, the conference is nowhere near the SEC or even the Big 12.

With another eight weeks to go, there is still plenty of football left. What remains to be seen is how the BCS title picture plays out and, who will move to the forefront in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

How the BCS Top Ten Fared Last Weekend

NCAA College Football Showdown Saturday did not disappoint as the weekend was full of quality match-ups, including a Top Ten battle in Gainesville. The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators proved they are worthy of their lofty BCS ranking clearly outplaying No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks in a 44-11 victory. The Florida defense and special teams forced four Gamecock turnovers, three of which Gator QB Jeff Driskell turned into touchdown passes. Driskell, who continues to improve, threw for four touchdowns. Both Florida and SC played outstanding defense. The Gators managed just 183 total yards, becoming the first FBS team in history to score over 40 points without gaining 200 yards of total offense.

Alabama Crimsontide, ranked No. 1 in the BCS, had little trouble with Tennessee in a 44-13 win. Tide QB A.J. McCarron threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns. The vaunted ‘Bama defense gave up just 79 yards rushing to the Vols and held Tyler Bray, the highly touted Vols’ QB, to 184 yards on 13-of-27 passing and no touchdowns.

Prior to Saturday’s lineup feast, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks traveled to Arizona State and dismantled any hopes of an upset in the first 15 minutes of play en route to a 43-21 win over the Sun Devils. ASU scored on its first play, a 28-yard pass from Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier, to jump out to a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game. The Ducks countered with a Kenjon Barner 71-yard run and two Marcus Mariota touchdown passes to take a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Barner would run for two more scores and Mariota, an 86-yard run, as the Ducks built a 43-7 halftime lead.

In somewhat of a surprise, head coach Bill Snyder’s No.4 Kansas State Wildcats went to Morgantown and made it look easy against Geno Smith and West Virginia as Wildcat QB Collin Klein accounted for seven touchdowns in a 55-14 thrashing of the No. 13 Mountaineers. Klein established himself as a legitimate Heisman favorite with a career-high 323 passing yards, completing 19-of-21 passes, three touchdowns, and added 41 yards on the ground and four scores.

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish remained unbeaten fighting off a 14-7 halftime deficit to defeat Brigham Young, 17-14. The Irish rolled up 270 yards on the ground and George Atkinson III scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Running backs Theo Riddick (15 carries, 143 yards) and Cierre Wood (18-114) led the way for ND. Irish QB Tommy Rees, playing in place of the injured Everett Golson, completed six of his first seven passes, then only attempted three in the entire second half. Notre Dame’s defense limited BYU to just 66 yards on the ground.

After falling behind 12-0, No. 6 LSU scored 24 unanswered points and downed No. 18 Texas A&M, 24-19, in College Station. The Tigers started ugly but were able to gain some momentum going into the halftime break when Zach Mettenberger hit Kadron Boone with a 29-yard TD pass with 11 seconds to go to give LSU the lead for good at 14-12. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s dynamic freshman QB, was held to just 27 yards rushing on 17 carries and was intercepted three times. LSU RB Jeremy Hill ran for a career-high 127 yards on 18 carries and scored once.

The surprising Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 8 in last week’s BCS poll, took care of Pac-12 opponent, Utah, 21-7. OSU forced four Utah turnovers and Beavers’ RB Storm Woods rushed for three touchdowns. Oregon State is 6-0 and off to the school’s best start in 105 years after being picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North this preseason.

Oklahoma got ready for its showdown next weekend with Notre Dame by handing Kansas a 52-7 setback. The No. 9 Sooners were hardly challenged by coach Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks. Sooner QB Landry Jones threw for three touchdowns and Penn State transfer Justin Brown returned a punt 90 yards for a TD. OU has now won three consecutive games by at least three touchdowns.

It was a record-breaking day at USC Trojans as QB Matt Barkley threw three touchdown passes in the game’s first six minutes as the Trojans, BCS No. 10, beat Colorado, 50-6. Barkley’s second TD pass, a 39-yarder to Robert Woods, broke former Trojan QB Matt Leinart’s Pac-12 career touchdown passing mark. Barkley finished the day 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 102 TD passes for his career.

Never Too Early To Talk About The Granddaddy Of Them

Seven weeks into the 2012 college football season, we finally have our first BCS rankings and, with that, it’s time to project the biggest bowl of them all…The Rose Bowl. This year’s Rose Bowl, to be played on January 1st as usual, will feature the traditional Big Ten/Pac-12 matchup. But, who will represent each conference? Sure, it may be too early to tell, but let’s take a look at the possibilities.

Big Ten
With Ohio State and Penn State out of the Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl pictures this year due to NCAA penalties, the Leaders Division is all Wisconsin’s. Surprisingly, both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions are unbeaten in league play so far. Take away a poor half and a kicking debacle in week two and PSU might be unbeaten on the season as are the Buckeyes.

The Wisconson Badgers have five league games remaining, the toughest of which may very well be against Ohio State and Penn State. Regardless, the bottom three in the Leaders Division will most likely have at least three losses. Even if Wisconsin ends up with three league losses, they will hold the edge on Purdue and Illinois, and should beat Indiana in week 10.

Play in the Legends Division is much tougher with the Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers the favorites, although Iowa is currently 2-0 in league play. Don’t forget Northwestern, which ripped off six straight wins to start the season and Michigan State, last year’s Big Ten champ. The way it pans out in the Legends Division, though, is up to the Wolverines and the Cornhuskers. Iowa must play both and also must face Penn State and Northwestern. That doesn’t make it easy for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Michigan and Nebraska play each other in two weeks, but the ‘Huskers have Northwestern, a team they lost to last year, Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa. Michigan will face pretty much the same road to a division title and cap off the season with the year-end rivalry game at Ohio State.

Look for superior defense and the play of Denard Robinson to propel the Wolverines to the Legends Division championship and look for them to face Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.

Pac-12
The interesting thing with the Pac-12 is the Oregon Ducks. Currently the BCS No. 3 team, Coach Chip Kelly’s squad is projected to be playing in the national championship game and if current No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida win out, they will play each other in the SEC championship game. The loser is likely out of the BCS title game which would pave the way for…the Oregon Ducks, should they too win out.

Oregon still has USC and Stanford remaining on the schedule along with a Thursday night trip to Tempe, AZ, to take on a rejuvenated Arizona State team that is currently 5-1. And don’t forget the Civil War. Oregon must play in-state rival Oregon State, ranked eighth in the BCS, in Corvallis on Thanksgiving weekend.

Should Oregon head to the BCS title game, that leaves USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinals, and Oregon State. Todd Graham’s Sun Devils just won’t cut it this year as they head down the stretch. Of the three remaining teams, the Trojans will have the easiest road as their test will come Nov. 3rd when they face the Ducks. Even if USC loses to Oregon, which will be looking for payback for last year’s 38-35 loss, a two-loss Trojan team wins the South Division and the right to play in the Pac-12 championship. With Oregon winning the North, it’s either the Ducks going to the BCS title game or to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon plays for all the marbles, then USC steps in and represents the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.

Rose Bowl Projection

Look for the teams with the easiest routes to get to Pasadena and for the Ducks to be playing for a national title… Wisconsin vs. USC

USC Trojans, Still A National Contender?

USC Trojans

USC Trojans

To remain in the national title hunt, the University of Southern California football squad cannot afford another slip up.

Yet to exhibit the greatness predicted by college football experts before the season, inconsistency plagued the Trojans through the first five games. USC rolled over Hawaii and California, struggled mightily at various points against Syracuse and Utah, and lost to Stanford. The Orange, Utes, and Cardinal all lack the raw talent of USC, but they managed to keep each contest unexpectedly close.

Possibly the only unit outperforming expectations, USC’s defensive line exhibited dominance over the first several games. Junior defensive end Morgan Breslin ranks among the top players nationally in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.5) on a defense that yields fewer than three yards per carry. As the Trojans trudge through the high-scoring PAC 12 Conference, its opposition will likely try to beat them by way of air.
Cornerback has been a major point of concern for coach Lane Kiffin. The starters struggled so much the first few weeks, speculation surfaced that Kiffin might consider shifting wide receiver Marqise Lee to the position. Though he recently denied the possibility of moving Lee over to defense, safety Josh Shaw practiced at corner this week, confirming the staff’s lack of confidence in the secondary.

But it does appear the Trojans are trending upward in recent weeks.

In a 27-9 victory over in-state foe Cal on Sep. 22, USC was able to sack Bears’ quarterback Zach Maynard seven times. And for the first time since 2008, two running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark for the Trojans—Silas Redd racked up 158, while Curtis McNeal totaled 115.

Against Utah last week, USC dug itself out of an early hole to earn a valuable conference road win. QB Matt Barkley posted perhaps his best game of the season, completing 23 of 30 passes and three touchdowns. Equally impressive, the receiving corps displayed deep threat potential all game long as the Trojans prevailed, 38-28.

As USC plows deeper into the season, the schedule doesn’t get any easier.

With a trip to Seattle to play Washington on the horizon, as well as #2 Oregon Ducks and #7 Notre Dame coming to town in November, the Trojans have plenty of boulders in their path. Also laying in the weeds is crosstown rival UCLA, a squad foaming at the mouth to avenge last year’s 50-0 embarrassment. With one loss, a national title game appearance doesn’t appear as likely as it did prior to the season, but if the Trojans do find themselves in Miami they will most certainly have earned it.