Well, the CFB season has come and gone. And now begins the long, almost eight months before the ’09 campaign kicks off. Even with the seeming 50 bowl games these past several weeks, it would be nice to be able to watch a few more. Somehow, the vaunted East/West/NE/SW/South/North and Senior Bowl games just don’t quite have the same magic, huh?
But I do imagine the CFB fans out there enjoyed the postseason. And while, again, I do think having 68 teams play in bowl games is more than a little ridiculous, I must admit there were a some pretty decent games, contested between 7-5 and 6-6 teams.
As always, the action started to ramp up as the New Year approached, and the major bowl games began. I wasn’t surprised to see ‘SC dominate Penn State, but the Nittany Lions did give the Trojans a go of it, late; although it’s also likey that Southern Cal had kind of taken its collective foot of the throttle at that point. Regardless, the Rose Bowl set the stage for the other big games. And while, as I mentioned in my last post, that the Orange Bowl would probably be the least entertaining of the BCS games, it was somewhat engaging, though not exactly riveting.
And while there may have been some out there (who don’t live in Mississippi) who weren’t that surprised to see Ole Miss upset T Tech in the Cotton Bowl, I was definitely among those who were somewhat shocked. Looked like the Red Raiders didn’t really want to be in that game, which may be somewhat understandable. But you need to come out and play a little better than that. Exit the big talk about how T Tech is right on the cusp of a NC. Not if they can’t beat an 8-4 team in a second tier bowl game.
But who was to think that the Ole Miss upset was just to be the “shocker” matinee for that day. I guess when Nick Saban said that Utah ran the table in a league that wasn’t a “real BCS conference,” yeah, who knew, but the Utes did kind of take that a little bit personally. Having Utah take the field, charged-up and ready to go would have been one thing, but 21-0 before the end of the first quarter?! That was crazy. Serious props to Utah. They have nothing to apologize for after being the only “FBS” CFB team (sorry, UF fan) that doesn’t have to explain away a loss. But I’m jumping ahead a bit.
Anyway, after Utah’s mugging of ‘Bama and the resulting cries out of Salt Lake City that no matter what happened in the last two big games, no team still playing was going to be able to finish 13-0, the stage was set for an interesting Fiesta Bowl and BCS title game.
Of course, as mentioned in my first post, I’m a Texas fan, so although the ending of the Fiesta Bowl was very dramatic and must have been exceedingly entertaining to a more objective viewer, I was going pretty nuts with the clock winding down in the 4th quarter, and Colt McCoy seeming to channel the “spirit of” Vince Young as he led the Longhorns down the field for the winning score in the final moments. Great game. Awesome finish! But as for UT’s perceived domination of an inferior OhSU opponent in that game, I think not. While OhSU has a lot to apologize for over the past few NC game appearances, they came ready to play last Monday night, and looked to be the hungrier team for most of the game.
Anyway, another thrilling BCS game win for UT nation, but the way that contest played out, gone was the idea of Texas getting a piece of any AP national championship or any other serious first place consideration. Especially coupled with Utah’s now 13-0 mark.
So, that took us to last Thursday night’s BCS title game. Though I can’t recall the build-up to a NC showdown seeming less big of a deal, or that there was already so much doubt as to which team could really claim to be # 1. Of course, getting the championship game in before mid-January would also probably help that cause, NCAA scheduling guy!
This post is already getting away from me, so I’ll just comment that while I felt that was rather an ugly, penalty-ridden title game, OU and UF did look pretty evenly matched, and I grudgingly have to give the Gators their props for its SEC style defense effectively suffocating OU’s vaunted Big XII offensive attack.
As far as the final rankings are concerned, ‘SC just edged Texas out for the runner-up and # 3 spots in the Coaches and AP polls, respectively, which is fine, I guess, considering that the Trojans dominated Penn State (that had already beaten OhSU) while Texas struggled in its BCS game, and had to pull out all the stops to come out on top. But it’s always great to finish a season with a better record, a huge bowl win, and a ranking ahead of OU!!!
I’m glad to see Utah get # 2 in the AP poll, but I honestly think they should have gotten some more consideration for a piece of the national championship. When you consider the Utes vanquished about as many top 25 opponents as excellent teams from the BCS conferences generally do, as well as handily defeating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, a team that had been ranked at # 1 for several weeks, this is not the same type of situation as say last season’s 12-0 Hawai’i squad, a team that was soundly exposed by UGA for being the fraud that it was, fattening up on easy victories during a down year in a weaker conference.
I’m no big non-BCS conference honk, but I think Utah’s finish this year will push the play-off talk, or at least the notion of a plus-one format, a little further into the off-season BCS debate among the powers that be in CFB.
Well, please feel free to comment on any of that noise or anything else that interests you. The ’09 CFB season should certainly be a good one; a campaign that will likey feature the usual suspects: UF, UT, ‘SC, and possibly OU, ( largely depending on Sam Bradford’s NFL plans) near the top of the polls again come the preseason rankings in August.
I can only hope that Texas manages to go undefeated through its relatively easier schedule this next season, and who knows, maybe end up back in the Rose Bowl, playing for another NC, against…Florida? USC? ??
Or something entirely different could happen with Texas no where among the title contenders. Who knows. Those questions will be answered when, in my opinion, one of the best sports out there resumes its season much later in the year.
Next month, I’ll shift my focus to looking at the upcoming Houston Astros season, as spring training will be getting under way in just about five weeks. How will the Astros fare this year? I’ll explore some ideas on that in February.