Football overloadWritten by Dave Woolford | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you watched top-ranked Texas defeat then-No. 7 Oklahoma State 28-24 on Oct. 25, or No. 2 Alabama rally to defeat Tennessee 29-9, or No. 4 Oklahoma outscore Kansas State 58-35, or No. 5 Florida roll up 63 on helpless Kentucky, or No. 8 Texas Tech rip No. 19 Kansas 63-21, or even No. 9 Georgia knock off No. 11 LSU 52-38, you were probably exhausted. Maybe dawg tired.
You got to see leading Heisman Trophy candidates, such as quarterbacks Colt McCoy of Texas, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Florida’s Tim Tebow and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell, along with Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno at their best.
Did you gasp so much that you all but hyperventilated?
You probably needed a self-imposed timeout, maybe an adult beverage to calm your jangled nerves or a little yoga or tai chi to defuse all the fuss. Other options could have included knitting a sweater, crocheting an afghan, challenging Grandma to a game of Parcheesi, pulling taffy or, better yet, taking in a big-time Big Ten game in primetime that would in no way interrupt any of the above.
Ohio State and Penn State slugged it out like two giant, overzealous snails; the goal was to see which team would win the game on a one-yard plunge.
It was sooooo Big Tenish. It was Bo versus Woody, field position favored over the forward pass, defense over offense. Punch and counterpunch, bob and weave. Wait for a break, depend on your special teams, don’t throw over the middle, too much chance for an interception. No pitch-outs or reverses or trick plays of any kind; too many hands touching the ball creates more opportunities for fumbles. Play not to lose until you get a chance to win.
It surely kept you on the edge of your seat wondering if you needed to change the filter in your coffeemaker or take out the garbage, even though it was three days before pickup, or groom the cat, even if you didn’t own a cat.
No matter. The undefeated Lions of Nittany fame wait in their valley, happy. They remain No. 3 in the country and are just waiting for No. 1 Texas or second-ranked Alabama to lose so they can leap into the BCS National Championship picture.
All of a sudden it’s all about wins and losses. Period. It’s not who you played but whether you won or lost. If Penn State wins out and either Texas or Alabama loses, it appears to be surefire no-questions -asked entitlement. JoePa and his kids will be in the BCS title game.
Penn State, under Joe the Wonder, has gone unbeaten on four other occasions and was left out of the national championship hunt. This could be the fifth time if Texas gets past No. 7 Texas Tech and Alabama keeps rolling, having outscored its eight opponents 184-26 in the first half.
If Texas, Alabama, with a tough game at LSU, and Penn State all win out, the Nittany Lions should be odd man out, no questions asked. Both Texas and Alabama must also survive conference championship games. The Big Ten, very content with 11 teams and just one division, doesn’t have a championship game.
Texas will have played four top-10 teams following the matchup at Texas Tech. If Alabama goes undefeated playing in the tough Southeast Conference, enough said.
The computer portion of the complicated and often inequitable BCS formula is supposed to include strength and schedule. That being the case, how does Penn State survive so unpretentiously as the third-best college football team in the country? Its four preconference foes, Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Syracuse and Temple, had a combined record of 12-19 entering the weekend of Nov. 1, Coastal coming off a 28-24 loss to always-dangerous Stony Brook.
Then came four Big Ten opponents, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin and Michigan, with a combined conference record of 4-14.
Penn State’s one-game season on Oct. 25 at then ninth-ranked Ohio State was against an OSU team that failed to score an offensive touchdown for the third time this season. The Nittany Lions, after a week off, play at 2-2 Iowa, where a total of 20 players, including coach Kirk Ferentz’s son, James, have either been arrested or ticketed since last April. That’s followed by home games against 1-4 Indiana and 4-1 Michigan State.
The nation’s top teams are defined by at least one outstanding player, in most cases that being the quarterback. The Big Ten has no marquee quarterback. PSU quarterback Daryll Clark is about the best the conference has to offer and he ranks 67th in passing. Illinois QB Juice Williams has some glowing statistics but also some glaring inconsistencies. Three of his total of 10 interceptions this season came against previously winless Wisconsin on Oct. 25 in a 27-17 Badgers triumph.
At the end of the regular season, a one-loss Texas team would be better than an unbeaten Penn State squad based on the level of competition each will have faced. The same might be said for Alabama, Oklahoma, Southern California and the winner of the Florida-Georgia contest.
Add 2008 to 1968, ’69, ’73 and ’94. Those are the four other years that Penn State went undefeated and got left out of the national championship picture. Letting wins and losses be the sole indicator of supremacy is superficial at best.