10 Questions, Week 14: Loving Missouri, Not Daniel

After another No. 2 goes down, Tigers will get BCS love, but not Heisman

Nov. 26, 2007

By Eric Sorenson

Special to CSTV.com

 



ERIC SORENSON

Eric Sorenson is a regular contributor to CSTV.com, covering football, basketball & baseball. E-mail here!

Yep, the end is nigh.

 

It always amazes me at how quickly the college football season can go. It seems just like yesterday that Appy State was like the punky little brother running around the Big House in their peejays saying "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" to all the Maize and deep, deep blue.


 

 

 

But one more weekend and all this madness hits the pause button for three or four weeks. Then, it's the bowl games. After that, it's the all-star games. Then, that's it. Well, unless you consider there's still that time of the year when Texas goes out and wins another recruiting "national title" in the first week of February.

 

Man, this season has been both crazy and quick. Doesn't seem like the two should go hand-in-hand, but for college football junkies like us, it does sadly.

 

So while wondering if Mack Brown gets a ring for all of those recruiting titles, here's this week's 10 Questions.

 

Question 1: So, did you pay attention to my article last week about how tough being No. 2 is this year, and how tough being No. 9 throughout the years has been?

 

If you need a refresher, go here:

 

http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/stories/112207aad.html

Kansas provided further evidence about the perils of being ranked No. 2 this season as their 36-24 loss to Missouri makes this the sixth No. 2 to lose in 2007. And, in case you didn't notice, Oregon became the sixth No. 9 ranked team to lose this year (to UCLA, 16-0) and the 127th No. 9 ranked team since 1968 to lose. That's the most losses in the regular season for any ranking in the modern era.

 

By the way, with Kansas, Oregon, No. 1 LSU and No. 6 Arizona State all losing, that brings this year's total number of losses by Top 10 teams to 30, which ties 2003 for the second-most Top 10 regular season losses in a single year. With No. 1 Missouri playing No. 9 Oklahoma, there's going to be at least one more Top 10 loss still to come. And if No. 2 West Virginia, No. 5 LSU or No. 8 USC loses this Saturday, it would tie the 1984 season for the modern era record of 32 losses in the regular season for Top 10 teams.

 

Question 2: Missouri vs. West Virginia for the national title?

 

I'm sorry people, but I love the idea.

 

Chase Daniel vs. Pat White. Tony Temple vs. Steve Slaton. Jeremy Maclin vs. Darius Reynaud. Owen Schmitt vs. Mizzou's dual tight ends, Coffman (if he's healthy) and Rucker.

 

I'm not just warming up to the idea, I'm licking my chops over this anticipated score-fest. Of course, anything would beat that snore-fest from last year's BCS title game, but these two high-octane offenses will make this a track meet. And won't that just be a microcosm of the season anyway? Bring it on!

 

Question 3: After his remarkable performance in the 36-28 win over Kansas, why won't Chase Daniel get enough positive love to crash the Heisman party?

 

Because it came against Kansas.

 

Not that I agree with that "logic" at all, but the national media is really looking at Kansas with a jaundiced eye now. It was their only game on the big stage this season and they blinked. So Daniel's 40-of-49-for-361-and-no-picks performance gets greeted with a shrug of the shoulders instead of the jaw-dropping wonder it really was.

 

But keep in mind, now the Tigers are on track to stake a claim to the national title. And raise your hands if, back in August, you thought this was even possible? So if Chase has a wicked-huge performance against Oklahoma this week, that late surge will at least solidify his trip to NYC. But winning the Heisman? Mmmm, I still doubt it.

 

Don't worry though, winning the national title will take that sting out in no time.

 

Question 4: Who was the most impressive this weekend?

 

West Virginia.

 

This had all the makings of a trap game in a late-season collapse - especially considering the Mountaineers' recent history. But West Virginia taught No. 20 UConn what it took to be a serious contender for the national title with its 66-21 woodshed job. Pat White continues to be one of the biggest difference-makers in college football, carving the Huskies with 186 yards on the ground and another 107 in the air. His decision-making has also been impeccable as the season has gone on.

 

Another thing to love? How about coach Rich Rodriguez and his willingness to embrace the Mountaineers' position? Most coaches spurn talk of any titles or shots at a national championship, but not Rich. He's more like, "Well, it's great to see these other teams above you lose, knowing that you've got a chance to win it. We're not there yet, but we're one step closer."

 

Thank you, coach, for not sounding like a coach.

 

Question 5: With the bowl game matchups about to be set, we're probably going to hear "the BCS got it right" a lot in the next few days. But really now, how often does that truly happen?

 

Let's review the BCS title game matchups in descending order.

 

2006: Florida vs. USC would've been a better game than that nasty rout we got in Glendale. We all know that. But hell, if you remember, Ohio State-Michigan should've been the matchup if not for the pollsters doing their best to prevent it, and that would've been a better game too.

2005: Okay, Texas-USC was the best exception to the rule. The two best teams all season long.

2004: Don't you think the fans of unbeaten Auburn believe that the Tigers had to be better than the Sooners, who lost to USC 55-19?

2003: Hell, the No. 1 team in the country wasn't even allowed to play in the BCS title game. That's the first indication that the system sucks.

2002: Ohio State-Miami were the only unbeatens. Fair enough.

2001: Good Gawd! Worst BCS example ever. Don't get me started about how Nebraska didn't belong here. Once again, the Pac-10 gets shafted with 11-1 Oregon getting locked out.

2000: No. 3 Florida State gets the nod to play No. 1 Oklahoma. Meanwhile, No. 2 Miami - who had beaten FSU - didn't get the chance to play.

1999: Florida State and Virginia Tech were the only unbeaten teams in the top 10. So not bad.

1998: Tennessee faced off with Florida State in the title game, but just because Ohio State lost later in the season, they didn't get the chance to play for it all.

 

So, doing the math here, the BCS "got it right" three out of the nine times since the BCS was forced upon us in 1998. You could say a fourth time was pretty close in 2004 and maybe - possibly - 2006. But even then, that's just over half the time. Sorry, but a grade of anywhere near 50% is a failing grade in most colleges and universities. (I should know.)

 

BCS= 44-56% accurate.

44-56%= grade of "F"

 

Question 6: What were the knee-jerk reactions to that epic LSU-Arkansas game on Friday?

 

1) How many times during the LSU-Arkansas game did you say to yourself, "What was coach thinking on that play?" This game was fraught with some curious decisions.

2) Was that Ali Highsmith-Darren McFadden matchup wicked or what? Incredible collisions, man.

3) Why does LSU bother to agree to daytime games in Tiger Stadium? As announcers Lundquist and Danielson pointed out that place was dead most of that game.

4) Man, I think everyone changed their minds about McFadden for Heisman. That was one incredible performance, 206 yards rushing and 34 more passing. Only problem is, where has THAT been all season?

5) We finally won't have to hear any more talk by those media schleps about how LSU is "obviously the best team in the nation." It's more like they were the most talented team to ever play down to the level of their competition.

6) This loss sure makes that whole Les-Myles-to-Michigan thing easier for Tiger fans to take, right?

7) With this win, does it save Houston Nutt's job?

8) Yes, I'll say it... though it's probably already been said 50 million times, but you KNEW all those white knuckle-wins were going to catch up to LSU eventually. There's room for only so many rabbits in that hat, you know.

9) Jacob Hester is still a lot of fun to watch. But I bet LSU fans would've wanted to see more of Keiland Williams in that game.

10) Again, this overtime system is warped.

 

Question 7: This could be an article all in itself, but since this is the rivalry part of the season, what are the best rivalries in college football?

 

Here's the top five:

 

1) Army vs. Navy

I don't want to hear any arguments. Hands down, this game is still what college football should be all about. Great atmosphere, great history and truly a throw-out-the-records kind of game.

 

2) Alabama vs. Auburn

Not a more hate-filled rivalry out there. This game splits neighbors, families, even political allies. And the loser of this game? Welcome to your 364-day stay in Hell.

 

3) Ohio State vs. Michigan

All you have to do is watch the HBO documentary. My only regret is that the show wasn't two-hours long.

 

4) Texas vs. Oklahoma

Once a great pre-conference barometer, this is usually the game that decides the Big 12 champion. Sometimes even the national champion.

 

5) USC vs. Notre Dame

I love the historical origin of this series. Plus, in this day and age of cupcake non-conference schedules, it's great to see this non-conference rivalry continue unabated. Add in the occasional national ramifications and it's even better.

 

Question 8: I'm sorry, but don't you think these ridiculous buyouts in coach's contracts should be outlawed?

 

Oh, hell yeah.

 

Because of contract buyout clauses, Nebraska now has to pay Bill Callahan $3.125 million AND his assistants will also get a collective $1.8 million more until January of 2009. And then there's that special "You can't go to Michigan" clause that will cost the Wolverine administration something in the neighborhood of $2 million if Les Miles moves on to his alma mater. And Dennis Franchione will reportedly get paid his big buyout from A&M for his mediocrity. Is that friggin' insane?!

 

Face it, I doubt any of you reading this article out there in real world-land have any kind of contract stipulation like that, so why should they? (And if you DO have something in your contract like that, why are you wasting your time reading my articles? Get back to work!)

 

Question 9: Speaking of losing, who had the most to lose this weekend?

 

Tom Osborne.

 

I'm not saying this is a no-win situation for the Nebraska demigod, but this is another one of those deals where his well-shined sainthood could take another P.R. blow with the wrong hire here. Of course, Bill Callahan needed to be put out to pasture (what kind of a coach says to the media, "I think I'm doing an outstanding job" just a week after losing a game 76-39?). No problem there. Just like T.O. said, "It would be different it he had won eight or nine games, but it's different when we're talking five or six wins."

 

But Osborne should be careful with his next move. Remember that this whole Husker mess started with his own faux pas of naming Frank Solich as his hand-picked successor. He turned out to be another one of those textbook situations where you have a great assistant that is just not cut out to be a head coach. Had Athletic Director Bill Byrne been able to pick his own coach, things may have turned out differently... then again, Byrne went on to Texas A&M, where he hired Dennis Franchione. Damn.

 

No pressure, Tom.

 

Question 10: What should be done with the championship games this coming weekend?

 

The Big 12: Missouri vs. Oklahoma

 

Doesn't need to be played. Mizzou finished 7-1, OU finished 6-2. The Tigers may have lost to OU, but they had the better Big 12 season overall. End of conversation. Besides, does the Big 12 really want to risk having their "championship" game ruin another national title run?

 

ACC: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

 

Like the Big 12 above, no need to play it. Tech finished with the best record in the conference at 7-1. Title decided. Although the quirk is that these two already played as well, with the Eagles winning 14-10. But the Gobblers had the better season, so they're the champs.

 

SEC: Tennessee vs. LSU

 

Okay, here's the one situation where the championship game might need to be played. Both teams finished 6-2 in the conference and they haven't already played this year. Tee it up, boys, this should be a good one.

 

MAC: Miami vs. Central Michigan

 

Okay wait a minute... waitafreakinminute! Miami goes to the MAC title game with a record of 5-2, while East division mates Bowling Green finished 6-2? So who is the schedule-maker on THIS one? Anyway, these two didn't face off in the regular season, so I guess they should play the title game. (But this conference is still freakish.)

 

C-USA: Tulsa vs. UCF

 

Excuse me, but didn't we already see the Knights lambaste the Hurricane by a 44-23 count a few weeks ago? And isn't UCF the only one-loss team in the conference? Just skip this one, people. Who are you going to impress anyway?

 

The 11th Question: Screw it, I'll say it. Dear CSTV, I want a buyout clause added to my contract, okay?

 

Thank you. Now I can go out there and slouch around like the Maytag repair man, do a crappy job and have no worries.

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