December 20, 2004

Go Sooners, Longhorns, and Tigers (both of them)

Note to Texas Longhorn fans: Get over your rivalry with Oklahoma and root for the Sooners on January 4th.

That is what I will be doing. Having grown up in Baton Rouge, I don’t have a dog in the UT-OU hunt. Living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, I do root for the state school, and will be doing so when they go up against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. When it comes to the rest of the Big 12, however, well, yeah, I’d like to see them do well against their bowl opponents. Just as I like to see SEC teams win in their respective bowls. If your team isn’t in the game, can you not put your intraconference rivalries aside and root for your fellow conference members?

The reason I will be rooting against USC on January 4th is that I don’t believe they deserve to be there. The great and all-powerful computer averaging systems of the BCS simply cannot overcome the incredibly flawed, glitter-eyed voters of the ESPN/Coaches’ and AP polls. Despite these pollsters, if you used the rest of the BCS’s criteria, Auburn is the number one team in the country. You want to talk strength of schedule? Auburn beat three Top 10 teams during the season. Oklahoma and USC: one each. I think margin of victory is a bogus statistic; of course you’re going to have a higher margin of victory against lesser, lower- or unranked teams. That only stands to reason. This is why OU deserved a poll jump last year when it blew out Texas. USC doesn’t deserve that kind of poll jump when they beat the likes of Colorado State.

USC deserved its title shot last year against LSU. Oklahoma did not deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl, due to the fact they lost their conference championship game. The BCS fixed that particular idiom, but too late for the Trojans and the 2003 season. It sucks for USC and its fans, but there it is.

This does not entitle USC, pollsters, to an automatic bid to the championship game this year. Auburn deserves that shot, and Oklahoma does, too. I will put a 9-2 SEC or Big 12 team up against an undefeated PAC 10 team any day of the week. Your conference is weak, Trojan fans, just as the opponents of Florida State and Miami have been weak in the past when they won their many undeserved (in my mind) national championships.

I’m sure many of you are wondering, perhaps even aloud, Who the hell does this guy think he is? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is just an opinion. What do you think the votes by the pollsters are? Those are merely opinions by those individuals on who should be ranked what. Granted, they have certain criteria they use, and I feel I’ve been trying to play by their rules in my own analysis. USC fans simply don’t want to face up to the reality I’ve pontificated on, because they feel they’re getting their due from last year. And the pollsters have made sure to give that due, despite Auburn’s clear superiority on the gridiron.

So the Trojans don’t think I’m picking on them, I’m still wondering why an undefeated Utah team is ranked in the Top 10. Do you see another Mountain West conference team in the Top 25? No, you do not. Utah gets a pass because of their record, not because of their strength of schedule, margin of victory, etc. Likewise with Boise State—you won’t see another WAC team in the Top 25, and while Louisville also falls in to the Top 10, you won’t see another Conference USA team in the Top 25. These two teams are keeping worthy teams like LSU (yes, I’m very biased) and Iowa, the Tigers’ Capital One Bowl opponent, out of the Top 10. Either of these contenders would wipe the floor with the Broncos or Cardinals. The fact that LSU and Iowa are 9-2 speaks to the conferences they play in. The fact that BSU and Louisville are 11-0 and 10-1 equally speaks to the conferences they play in, and they don’t compare.

Unlike a lot of Texas fans out there, I have no such hang-ups on conference rivalries. I don’t believe in “I root for LSU and any team that plays Ole Miss.” That’s bunk. I’ll root for LSU when they play Ole Miss. I’ll root for the team that plays against Ole Miss so long as it helps LSU in the rankings. If that’s not at stake—if Ole Miss is ahead of LSU, or if Ole Miss is in a bowl game—then I’m rooting for my fellow SEC team. It’s that simple. You should want the rest of your conference to do well, because it makes your team look good, too. Your conference rivals winning in the post-season boosts your own team, especially when next year comes around.

So stomp those Trojans, Sooners! Hook those Wolverines, ‘Horns! Dine on some Hokie, War Eagles! And Geaux Tigers!!

Posted by retrophisch at December 20, 2004 09:30 PM | TrackBack