Week Six - A Few Afterthoughts...

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Week Six - A Few Afterthoughts...

This college football season is definitely shaping up to be one to make a DVD about...

Who is a better coach than Les Miles at the moment? NO ONE. Les Miles > Meyer, Tressel, and Carroll combined right now. Why? How many risks did he successfully takeIcon in the Florida game to save his team's title hopes? Exactly. Call after call, especially on the final drive, he got it right. Again and again, when everything was on the line, he made the call, and it came through. I don't think any coach has been tested so many times in one game, let alone in one drive. But in the end, he did everything right, and LSU prevailed. The Tigers didn't beat Florida; Miles himself did. Amazing for a coach who still lurks in Nick Saban's lingering shadow, and who had yet to be accepted by the entire fan base. Miles has sustained heavy criticism for not "getting it done" when it counted most, and not taking his ultra-talented teams to the next level. Well, his critics can shut up. In one game. One quarter. One final drive for the win, Miles got it done in a stunning fashion. One for the ages... 

After this latest stunning lost to a severely over-matched team the Trojans should have beat, handily, the magic seems to be running out in Trojan Land (or at least dwindling, the Trojans are too talented/deep to just completely fall off the map...). I began to think this after last year's loss at Oregon State, until USC romped through its remaining schedule and right back into national title contention. Then came what I found to be a STUNNING 9-13 loss to UCLA,Icon and in turn, the loss of a berth in the 2006 title game—and a vastly over-praised UCLA went on to lose 44-27 to an offensively anemic Florida State. Around rolls 2007, and the Trojans are Lords of College Football again. Untested, until a little trip to Seattle. No worries, and after a few moments of silence and breathlessness, everyone can breathe again; the Trojans are the Trojans, and do what they do best, win. Whether by 50 points, on the last play, or with the grace of God—whatever it takes, they win these types of games.

But oh my, the college football gods must have forgot to send down their blessings last night. USC lost to Stanford, at home. I think I agree with Kirk and Brent on this one—this is bigger than Appalachian State's victory over Michigan. First, Michigan's program is not at the level of USC's right now, as the 2006 Rose Bowl proved. Second, Appalachian State, though a level down from Michigan, has a winning tradition. This was Stanford and USC - clearly two programs on opposite ends of the spectrum the past few years. Not to mention USC's 35-game home winning streakIcon, which had lasted since...oh, the Cardinals came into town in 2001. For all the USC advocates steaming about their injuries as the underlying cause: Stanford, a 41-point underdog, was playing without its starting QB. Need I mention the story of the receiver who caught the winning TD? Within the previous 48 hours, he had lost his father.

My point: USC needs to realize that the football gods look after others than just USC. Early in the year, many people said the only thing that would beat this team is itself, and they are doing just that—with their arrogance.

But this is just my humble opinion. After all, I could be wrong. The slow fall of this mighty football dynasty could have began long ago, when they played Texas for the 2005 national title. Carroll and company were one first down from a second consecutive BCS title; yet, in one play, a call explicable by nothing but sheer arrogance, they...well, we know who won that one, don't we? Bottom line: The best teams do NOT always win, all the talent in the world doesn't guarantee you a conference crown or a national title berth, and yes, all good things come to an end, sooner or later...

After watching Alabama struggle at home against Houston (hardly a power) tells me that it'll take time, patience, and recruiting for this Nick Saban thing to work. I wonder though, will the Crimson Tide faithful let this one play itself out, or jump the gun for the next big name that comes along...

The BCS Committee has to be on the edge. This season will surely end in controversy if it continues on its current path. Yet, being a proponent of the BCS, I have to say so what? I dislike the idea of a playoff; I like the essentially "one-and-done" theory and how it makes every game count. Furthermore, the idea of a several-loss team making its way into a title Icongame situation doesn't suit me, when a two-loss team has never won a title in NCAA history. So what if a team gets screwed here and there—like it wouldn't happen with a playoff? You'd just have lower-ranked teams bickering over who deserves the 8th or 16th slot. I don't care; the BCS has anointed nine different teams in it's era—excluding 2003's debacle, which wasn't ALL the BCS's fault. Auburn got looked over in 2004, so what. If the old system was in place, AU, USC, and OU would have likely all played different (and likely "lesser") teams, and won accordingly. Then what? Three-way title? Doubtful (see: Who is #1, stays #1 theory). Furthermore, if a playoff was in place - none of these teams even know they would have made it to the title game—aka, MOOT POINT. In both situations, the best team was crowned champion. LSU in 2003, USC in 2004. Moreover, I think the controversy adds a little interest to our sport anyway; what other sport do you know gets coverage JUST on the way it crowns its best?

When Florida and LSU play for the SEC Championship later this year—as they should, (barring a major catastrophe), my money will be on Florida. After their performance at Death Valley, I would have them at least a six or seven point favorite on a neutral field; and they are young and will only get better asIcon the year goes along.  Addendum: if LSU is undefeated and loses this game, will it have accrued enough along the way to still earn a national-title berth? I'm inclined to say yes—similar to 2003 Oklahoma, who melted DOWN in it's conference title game yet still received a title-game berth. Against the (gasp) LSU Tigers—a game which the Tigers won for the 2003 title. We all know how karma rears its ugly head, so what if something of that flavor happened to LSU itself? Strange, because I figure Oklahoma to be one of the few remaining teams at the top that can win out. Payback really CAN BE a (insert expletive), because trust me, as dominant as these Tigers are—those '03 Sooners were that and THEN some, so never say never... 

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