Honorary Citizens – The Ohio State Buckeyes

January 8, 2008

This picture pretty much sums up the night for Ohio State. The play from which this photo is derived – a  Buckeye 4th and 7 from LSU’s 34,  with the score 31-17, and still early in the 4th Quarter – is a mirochosm of their evening. Seemingly close to making this game, but then revealed as vastly overmatched.

I welcome the Buckeyes as honorary citizens of Losersville, only because they’ve now lost two BCS Title Games in a row, in ignominious fashion, to SEC schools. It would be unfair to do it solely because of last night’s performance, because, really, we all saw this coming.

Somehow, in the month leading up to this game, many of us forgot the crowing we had done all year about how weak their schedule was, how many players they’d lost from last year’s team, and how they didn’t deserve to get to the Title Game again if the opportunity presented itself.

We rejoiced when they lost to Illinois, what we didn’t count on, of course, was every team in the country that superceded them in the polls losing in often shocking fashion (including their executioners, LSU).

Thus, I can’t blame them for being in this game – they did would any actual Losersville team would do – stumble, ass backwards, into a golden opportunity, and then come up very, very, short.

The most interesting thought I had from last night, though, is this: With the advent of the BCS system, and the apparent coming of some sort of playoff system in the next decade, when will a Big 10 team win a National Title again? If this system was in place in 1997, would Michigan have even been able to stay on the field with a mid-90s Nebraska team that many regard as one of the best of all-time? I will give them ’02 Ohio State over Miami, woefully late interference penalties notwithstanding.

Nonetheless, before those 2 titles, you have to go all the way back to 1968 to find a Big 10 National Champion, and back to 1965 (Michigan State) to find someone other than Ohio State or Michigan (Granted, ’95 Penn State when undefeated, and did not share the title with equally undefeated Nebraska).

In that same span, 5 different SEC schools have won or shared 10 National Titles. Additionally – Auburn has twice gone undefeated, but been prevented from playing for a championship through either probation (1993), or daft pollsters (2004). 

That is to say, the idea of The Big 10 being the 2nd best, or even best, football conference is a myth that was created by that league being able to avoid playing schools from the Southeastern United States in meaningful football games, thanks to the Rose Bowl.

If not for Ohio State, Michigan, and relatively recent addition, Penn State, you could even argue that it is the worst of the BCS Football Conferences.


Honorary Citizens – The Hawai’i Warriors

January 2, 2008

First off – a special nod to the brilliant BCS Selection Committee. I’m totally piling on here – but they gave us 2 unpalatable appetizers yesterday on the way to The National Title Game. Another 2 are likely on the way tonight and tomorrow, barring Oklahoma pulling their perpetual Major Bowl Game Disappearing Act (they are winless in their last 3 trips to the BCS).

I thought healthy debate about who the best team was is one of the supposed beauties of Bowl Season? Would it have been that hard to put the aforementioned Sooners, Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Southern Cal in a hat and pull out 2 great match-ups? Couldn’t you then have another pool of West Virginia, Kansas, Hawai’i and Illinois, Missouri and, I don’t know, Appalachian State, to set up the other 2 games?

I’ve pretty much resigned myself that this system isn’t going anywhere, but at least we can improve the selection process to leave out participants-by-default like the 2 losers we saw yesterday.

Now, onto Hawai’i. They get Honorary Citizenship because, much like the FBS team here in Losersville, they looked really bad in losing to Georgia. In a rare moment of lucidity, everything I thought I knew about Hawai’i was proven correct. I thought Colt Brennan was a fraud, and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrel should have gotten way more play for the Heisman for putting up better numbers in a similar system. I was right. Get used to your name being preceded by this phrase, Colty – “Now entering the game for the Edmonton Eskimos…”

I thought Georgia’s D would give up a fair amount of completions, but very few yards. 22-39 is not a bad line – but having that only go for 169 yards, and 3 INTs, is. I thought the Dawgs would run the ball at will. I was right.

Don’t worry – I probably won’t be right in this way more than 20% of the time. Remember the name of the blog. Nonetheless, if we are forced to accept the bowl system as a way for determining the National Champion, I at least want to learn something from each bowl game. All I learned from the Sugar Bowl was that an elite SEC team could dominate a suspect WAC team at will. Not much of a newsflash there.

I sat up until 3 on the final night of the season, begging Washington to put the Warriors away, but as they are Washington, they could not. I knew this would doom Georgia to playing a game where they would get to toss the slight Brennan around like a ragdoll and submit us to 4 hours of Thom Brenneman’s continuous exhibition of idiocy.

Well, I didn’t know Brenneman was doing the game – but as soon as I found out, I wept. This is the guy who was amazed at all the Cubs fans who “travelled” to Atlanta to watch their beloved Cubbies in the 2003 NLDS. If, by travelled, he meant drove down from Alpharetta or Duluth. Must be nice having a Hall Of Fame broadcaster for a Dad. Apparently, that’s all you need to get a job at Fox Sports these days.

I want to personally welcome Hawai’i to the Losersville fold. You guys filled one of the most crucial components of citizenship here – getting so close to glory, only to be exposed as a fraud and fail spectacularly in the end (see: The ’94 Atlanta Hawks).