Now let's be clear, right off the bat. What happened, happened. Nothing we can say or do can change that.
Now that we're clear on that, let's begin.
Big 12 Mess
The biggest news from last week actually happened after everything was finished on the field. The BCS rankings decided the Big 12 South Division, putting Oklahoma in the Big 12 conference championship game and excluding Texas from it.
Numbers and phrases had been thrown around everywhere...45-35 (Texas over OU)...Neutral field...39-33 (Texas Tech over Texas) and 65-21 (OU over Texas Tech)...28-24 (Texas over OK State) and 61-41 (OU over OK State).
In the end, it all amounts to a fundamental problem with the system. Even though I'm happy with the outcome (I'm a native Oklahoman and a Nebraska fan; there's no love for Texas in there anywhere), I can still admit that something has to change.
Texas beat Texas A&M (4-7), and Oklahoma beat No. 12 Oklahoma State (9-2). As an admittedly-biased Nebraska fan, that speaks enough for me.
And the No. 1 team in the country is...
Though there's a struggle for No. 2, America's No. 1 team asserted its authority and made it clear it deserves that ranking (and earned them the picture for this article, for my friend Cameon).
Top-ranked Alabama shut out bitter rival Auburn, 36-0. The defense was stifling, forcing three turnovers and keeping the Tigers from evening finding the end zone with just 170 total yards allowed. The offense was consistent, led by senior quarterback John Parker Wilson and powerful runners Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram. The duo led the team to 234 total yards rushing, making things simple for Wilson, who was 8-of-16 for 134 yards and a touchdown.
The Tide controlled the ball, holding it for more than half the game, only getting one penalty for four yards, and not having any turnovers.
The game was thought to be a possible trap game for the Crimson Tide, but Alabama eliminated any doubt in voters' minds that it belongs at the top with a decisive victory. 'Bama showed why it's the only legitimate undefeated team in the country.
Bring on Florida.
Speaking of the Gators, they crushed cross-state rival No. 20 Florida State, 45-15.
Florida amassed 502 total yards of offense, crowned by Tim Tebow's performance of 260 total yards and four touchdowns (three through the air, one on the ground).
The Gators forced four turnovers and dominated the Seminoles the entire game, allowing Florida State to convert on only three of their 14 third-down situations.
Nevermind that most of Florida State's talented wide receivers were either in jail or on the way, the Gators did enough for the "unbiased" news media to fawn for another week as the Gators sustained their No. 2 spot in the AP poll (No. 4 in BCS).
Which begs the question: Why did the sportswriters vote Florida No. 2 in the first place? My thought: marketability.
How nice is it going to be for ESPN and the other various respected sports outlets to market a No. 1 versus No. 2 SEC championship game? It opens doors upon doors of possibilities for creativity.
They could talk about every other No. 1 vs. No. 2 game that's happened over the years (three of those belonging to Nebraska and Oklahoma). They could theorize how, if Oklahoma got beat by Missouri in the Big 12 championship and Florida beats Alabama in the SEC championship, the national championship could be an SEC title rematch game (because Texas likes to be forgotten, anyway). They could just make an ad that says: "NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO. SATURDAY." and everyone would watch it just because.
This love fest must stop. Yes, the Gators look great. Yes, they are a very deserving team because of what they've accomplished. But what about the Big 12 teams?
Boy, wouldn't things be nice for Florida and the media if those pesky Big 12 teams weren't there?
The "Sophomore Barrier" is already broken
With his performance against Oklahoma State Saturday (30-of-44 for 370 yards and four touchdowns, four carries for 16 yards and a touchdown), Sam Bradford is the favorite for the Heisman trophy. But wait, doesn't he play for one of those pesky Big 12 teams?
With his performance against Texas A&M Thursday (23-of-28 for 311 yards and two touchdowns, 11 carries for 49 yards and two touchdowns), Colt McCoy is the favorite for the Heisman trophy. But wait, no, he also plays for one of those pesky Big 12 teams. And it played Texas A&M, so that can't even count.
With his performance against Florida State Saturday (12-for-21 for 185 yards and three touchdowns, 16 carries for 80 yards and one touchdown), Tim Tebow is the favorite for the Heisman trophy. But wait, isn't he just the biased media's favorite?
With his performance against Kansas Saturday (25-for-41 for 288 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, 9 carries for 103 yards), Chase Daniel is the...but wait, nevermind; his team lost that game and now it's 9-3. He can't win the Heisman with a record like that, not even if Mizzou beats Oklahoma Saturday.
With his performance against Oregon Saturday (seven carries for 56 yards and no touchdowns), Jacquizz Rodgers...but wait, he was injured, so his team lost, 65-38, giving USC the lead in the Pac-10. Poor Beavers. I wanted you to win, too!
They won't ever go away
Which brings me to USC and the Pac-10.
Why can't the Trojans just go away for a while? Why must they continually pop up everywhere? They play Washington (0-11) and Washington State (2-11) every year and half of their conference is sub-.500; OF COURSE their defensive numbers will look awesome! Put Texas Tech in that conference and the Red Raiders would win the conference five times in a row, at least.
So tell me, why are the Trojans ranked fifth in the country? I guess for the same reason Utah (and probably Boise State) will get a shot at a BCS bowl.
All I know is that I'm a Bruins fan this week.
Nebraska won Friday
BOO YAH. My Huskers beat rival Colorado and only lost the Big 12 North Division title due to Missouri holding the tie-breaker. We finished 8-4 (5-3). Nice. Read it.
Mediocrity has become standard issue
What is up with the ACC? At least Boston College and Georgia Tech squeaked out wins this weekend to assure there won't be a four- or five-way tie (boy, wouldn't that make the Big 12's situation look easy).
In the end, the conference is the real loser. Of the 12 teams in the ACC, only four have winning records in conference play. Four. The Big 12 has that many that are ranked in the top-14 of the country and half of the 12 teams have winning records in conference.
The ACC is kind of like the SEC (only four of the SEC's teams have winning records in conference), except that the teams at the top of the SEC are at the top of the country and the teams at the top of the ACC have been consistently in trouble of dropping out of the rankings.
There has got to be a solution to the absolute mediocrity that's plaguing the ACC. When somebody figures it out, distribute it to Duke, Virginia, NC State, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Clemson. Maybe they'll follow Georgia Tech and Boston College and be good enough to be ranked next season.
Speaking of Clemson, it's story has become the only bright one I can see from the ACC this year. Interim head coach Dabo Swinney has been offered (and has accepted) the head coaching job with the Tigers.
Swinney led Clemson to win four of their last five games, capped off by a victory over rival South Carolina, and the Tigers are bowl-eligible.
I didn't get a chance to catch Clemson play all season until Saturday, but I was impressed with what I saw of Swinney. He seemed like a logical fit for Clemson, and I'm sure Oklahoma is glad it gets to keep defensive coordinator Brent Venables for another season or so.
I'm glad Clemson made the right choice.
So much more to say, so little time. Actually, I've got all the time in the world, but this article is getting too long.
Thoughts? Comments? Anything else of note that should have been included with the week's notes?
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