As the content on this website has a lot to do with Star Wars, gaming, up and coming movies, and new gear and gadgets, (all excellent topics), I thought I’d hit the sports angle a little more, with the emphasis at the moment being on college football and bowl season, as it’s that time of the sporting year.
While I like the NFL, and follow it somewhat closely–more so come play-off time–I’m more of a fan of the college game. Even though I think it’s pretty ridiculous that there isn’t an eight team play-off in place in Division I-A, (Sorry, I refuse to refer to it as the “Football Bowl Subdivision”) the action is pretty fast and furious all season long if you’re a fan of the sport in general, and especially so if you follow one team above the others.
I’m a big fan of the Unversity of Texas Longhorns. While I’m neither from Austin, nor did I attend UT, some of my family members went there, and beyond liking the school in general, I think Austin is a great place, set in a part of the state where the town is still small enough, one can get out and about to the hill country/other natural attractions in a small amount of time. That can’t be said as much for Houston.
But back to football, as any Longhorn fan knows, this season came within one dropped interception by freshmen DB (or is he a safety?) Blake Gideon of UT being 12-0, and likely earning the berth in the BCS title game, instead of arch-rival OU. While I don’t think Bradford winning the Heisman is terribly unjust, his claiming the award is just one more way for OU, be it an individual player or the whole team, to slightly edge out a just as deserving UT athlete or the entire squad.
What I just can’t overlook is that no matter how many millions of points OU was hell-bent to score late in the season, it doesn’t change the fact that UT was still on the right side of the 45-35 margin up at the Cotton Bowl, mid-year. Yes, yes, OU fan, I hear you: “but hey Longhorn honk, look how we destroyed a team that beat you.” Yes, you did. But as I recall, that game in which you certainly demolished a very deer-in-the-headlights looking T Tech team, was played in Norman. Texas lost to T Tech at their place, and with one second left to go in regulation. Don’t get me wrong, great, great win for T Tech; I just don’t see OU steamrolling the gang from Lubbock by six TDs if the game had taken place on the South Plains.
Anyway, I have to give OU props for looking scary good. And even though it’s irritating–especially given Texas finishing in the “runner-up” spot in the final BCS standings–I have to hope OU just manages to beat FL, and Texas can take care of OhSU handily in the Fiesta Bowl. If that scenario does unfold, no doubt UT will get a lot of first place votes in the final AP poll, as its voters are under no obligation to elect the BCS title game winner as the national champion. It’s very likely that in that instance, AP voters would certainly remember that Texas beat OU by ten on a neutral field.
So take heart, Longhorn fan. As long as Texas shows up with a lot of fire and intensity, and is ready to prove to the CFB world how deserving they are of being ranked as a # 1 team, you might see some interesting developments in the final polls. While I’m not saying UT will earn a split national championship like USC did in ’03, Texas should at least seriously challenge for some # 1 recognition in the AP poll–which is still likely the most legitimate of any of the polls since, presumably, its voters are actually watching and scrutinizing as many games as possible throughout the season.
So let’s get a big Fiesta Bowl performance against OhSU! If so, things will be interesting. However, should UT stumble against the Buckeyes, I will be the first to say Texas deserves absolutely no recognition as being one of the top two or three teams at season’s end.
Now, somewhere out there, T Tech fan is saying: “hey Longhorn fan, what about us? We beat you in Lubbock, so what happens if we smoke Ole Miss right out of the Cotton Bowl? Do we get any national champion recognition?” My humble answer to that question is, unfortunately for T Tech fan: not really. And here’s why, in my opinion: first of all, last year’s KU team thinks Tech’s non-conference schedule this season was weak. Secondly, despite getting by Texas, which certainly is a signature win for the Red Raiders, when the lights were brightest on them at Norman in late November, they folded like a card table. Sure, that was a big-time game; but Tech looked like a HS team for much of the contest. Getting destroyed by 44 points late in the season pretty much knocks you out of national championship contention–hence the Red Raider’s plummeting in the BCS rankings following that huge loss. Finally, through no fault of their own, (as I believe T Tech should also be in the BCS with UT and OU, they were just the odd man out due to the stupid no three teams from the same conference rule), Tech is playing a markedly inferior opponent in a second-tier bowl game. Not that the Buckeyes are that amazing this season, but UT will enjoy a bigger bounce if they vanquish OhSU in a major bowl game than Tech will get from soundly defeating an albeit up and coming Ole Miss squad, but still one with four losses on its resume.
I wish Tech could either swap places with UT in the Fiesta Bowl if it meant Texas then went to play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl; or if Tech could play ‘Bama in the Sugar. Tech fan, I’ve got respect for your program, especially this year. I wish you were playing in a big bowl game, too.
Speaking of the BCS bowl match-ups, who is already pre-partying furiously for the big Orange Bowl showdown between vaunted Cincy and Virginia Tech?! Yikes. Well, at least VT will likely win its first BCS bowl game. Other than that, not a whole lot to look for in that match-up. Fortunately the other big games pack more interest. I’ve already mentioned the UT vs. OhSU showdown in Tempe. Beyond that, we’ve got a great Rose Bowl match-up in store between Penn State and USC. Very old school college football; though I think ‘SC won’t have much trouble dispatching the Nittany Lions. However, should Joe Pa and the gang from Happy Valley prevail, wouldn’t it be nice to see Paterno head off into the sunset of retirement, as he almost certainly will if Penn State somehow manages to beat Southern Cal.
Turning to the Sugar Bowl, you can bet that Alabama will give Utah a whole new look than what the Utes have seen so far this season. The game should actually be pretty entertaining. Look for Utah to at least show up a lot better than Hawaii did last year in the same game. Yikes! Don’t tell me Colt Brennan and the rest of the Warriors’ pitiful performance against UGA last season didn’t wash away the last hopes Boise State (also a WAC team) had of getting its second BCS at-large bid in school history.
So enjoy the big bowl games. They’ll be here in just a few weeks. And even though I’m somewhat against the ever proliferating number of bowl match-ups out there, it is kind of cool that we’re able to start watching the “lesser” games this Saturday, with a steady diet of what should be increasingly captivating competition over the next several weeks, culminating with the big national championship showdown between OU and UF. I’ll break that game down a little more, as well as comment on the other bowl results, early next month.
Any college football fan knows to start binging on as many bowl games as possible between Saturday and January 8th, because as silly as the International or St. Petersburg bowls may seem now, you know you’ll miss any sort of college football action during the long, long, long off-season that follows, in what in my opinion, is one of the best sports around.
Until next month, then…