Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Semi-annual Free Pass Not Yet Issued to Big 12 - Journalist Stunned

The Big 12's suspiciously good fortune in this bogus BCS system has rankled me for some time. It probably all goes back to 1990 (the nexis of my college football experience) when the then Big 8's Colorado got 5 downs to beat Missouri, and a questionable clipping call, levelled against Notre Dame, in the Orange Bowl...erasing the game winning Irish touchdown.

This allowed the Buffaloes to share the National Crown with an undefeated Georgia Tech squad that had demolished Nebraska (the 2nd place team in the Big 8) 45-21 in The Citrus Bowl earlier that day. Not to mention the fact that I haven't heard of a modern team before, or since, winning a National Title with a loss and a tie (obviously not possible anymore) to their name.

Since then, The Big 12 has had a team win a share of the National Title by campaigning to the media (Nebraska '97), and two teams play for the title without even winning their conference crown - '01 Nebraska and '03 Oklahoma. Shocking to no one, neither won the BCS Title Game.

That's why when I happen to come across an article decrying the lack of respect given the conference by the recent BCS Poll, I do something I rarely do - fire off a terse response to the writer:

Date: Oct 16, 2006 11:47 AM
Subject: Let's Review The "Big" 12...

The Big 3, Little 9's Last 4 Trips to the National Title Game: 1 Win and 3 Bad Losses. You're right, Big 3, Little 9 (Henceforth, "B3L9") teams can score...against other B3L9 teams. Arguably the two biggest out-of-conference games of the year netted the two likely participants in the B3L9 Title Game (Their elite?) a grand total of 17 points. (USC-Nebraska, Texas-Ohio State)

That's how the B3L9 measures up to the top BCS teams. 2 TD's Better than Notre Dame? Maybe...but you're talking about a team that had to scrape and claw to beat woeful Michigan State. They will be exposed again.

You can complain all you want about Auburn, but the fact remains that they have beaten LSU and Florida without much offense. That is much more impressive than hanging 63 on Baylor...who scored fewer points against Army. They got caught looking ahead, and a coach like Houston Nutt will make you pay for that.

Meanwhile, B3L9 Teams like Kansas have to figure out how they lost to a bad MAC team in Toledo, how Texas Tech's mighty offense scored 3 points on a middling TCU team, or how Oklahoma State lost to a Houston team currently on a 3 game losing streak. Yes, the SEC has Mississippi State, but the B3L9 has several teams that inspire about as much confidence in their fan-bases as Starkville's Bulldogs.

Why is that? Well, I personally think it's because the B3L9 is down. You can call it whatever you like. Don't worry, the time will come again where a B3L9 team gets blown out in their final regular season game, keeping them out of the B3L9 Title Game, is dismantled by a lesser team in said Title Game, and still gets to play for the National Championship, or gets to play ahead of a 12-0 SEC team, only to fail to show up for the Orange Bowl. It is because of that history that any B3L9 apologist whining about "their" 1-loss team being excluded makes my skin crawl. They deserved it last year, they don't this time...nor did they in '01, '03, or '04...

Atlanta, GA

I'll let you know if I hear back from the guy. It's doubtful, though. As good of an argument as I feel I made, I wouldn't be surprised if his ill-conceived piece received numerous missives like mine.


krossfader said...

In 1997, Nebraska should have been considered the ONLY champion, as the only reason UM & NU couldn't meet was the Big 10's refusal to join the Bowl Coalition at the time. Every other conference (except Pac-10 & Big 10) agreed to rules to match 1 vs 2, but the Rose Bowl was apparently more important.

Eric said...

Yes...the system back then was imperfect. I did feel like Nebraska had a good team back then. It was more the way they openly campaigned for the trophy that irked me.

Now, in 2001, they had no right to be playing Miami. Not after the stinker they put on against Colorado.

krossfader said...

absolutely agree in '01... Oregon got jacked.

Anonymous said...

In 97 Nebraska begged for a share of the title -- in 94 they couldn't conceive of sharing the title. Amazing what being #2 does to your sense of right and wrong...

Eric said...

Totally forgot about that...

That old Bowl Coalition robbed us of two good match-ups - Nebraska/Penn State & Nebraska/Michigan

Anonymous said...

No reason to blame a team for campaigning to be #1. Every good team should do that. It was up to the voters to decide in '94 and '97, and if they were swayed by a PR campaign, then the guilt is on them.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nebraska Fan,

Michigan played and beat 7 top 25 teams that year, how many did Nebraska beat? Your crybaby QB got on his knees on national TV and begged like a depression era relative for the title so Tom Osborne could go out on top. It would have been a great game and it was a shame that they couldn't decide it on the field but please know that Michigan was the better team that year they just didn't cry hard enough in the interview room.

Anonymous said...

questionable clipping call? please. sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

That Penn State squad would have shredded Nebraska. 41-17 seems about right.

Eric said...


Were the 5 Downs sour grapes? What about the 1 loss and the 1 tie? Colorado shouldn't have even been at the point where that clip mattered...but it was the icing on the cake.

dw said...

I certainly don't think there's any question Oregon got robbed in 2001, thanks to a poorly built system. Even Colorado fans agree on that.

As for '94, having watched Nebraska and Penn State that year, I have a hard time seeing how Penn State would have beaten Colorado, much less Nebraska. If CU's best-ever offense could only muster seven points and the Heisman winner struggled to get to 100 yards 3 yards at a time, tell me how Collins, Carter, and Engram would have been able to.

And as for Colorado in 1990, honestly, the complaints are ludicrious. The bowl system back then was the way it was. CU should have played Georgia Tech. And even then, someone would have whined if CU had won. But the ugly blazered Orange Bowl idiots signed up Notre Dame for the guaranteed paycheck. And it was from the "gentlemen's agreement" between the bowls that followed that debacle that the BCS was born.

So, any time you raise up Tech as some wronged team, remember that you're defending the team that brought you the current messed up system that no one likes.

Eric said...

Couldn't agree less. If GA Tech had lost to Colorado on the field, I would not have complained...although I don't think they would have lost.

They also were left out of a Sugar Bowl trip for, as you mentioned, these Gentleman's Agreements whereby UVa was offered a bid to the Sugar after the 7th freakin' game!

No one else could have complained, considering that #3 Miami had 2 losses.

Furthermore, I do prefer the current system over what they had back then. And if Tech is partly responsible for that, then good.

That being said, the excuses for not having a playoff grow more absurd by the day.

Anonymous said...

"If CU's best-ever offense could only muster seven points and the Heisman winner struggled to get to 100 yards 3 yards at a time, tell me how Collins, Carter, and Engram would have been able to."

Heh, heh.


You smoke the stuff early in the day, eh? CU's best-ever offense was about the 3rd best team in the big 10. gg homer.

krossfader said...

"Michigan played and beat 7 top 25 teams that year, how many did Nebraska beat?


Final AP poll:

Michigan beat 3 ranked teams:

Penn State - 16
Ohio State - 12
Wash State - 9

Nebraska beat 5:

Washington - 18
Kansas State - 8
Missouri - 23
Texas A&M - 20
Tennessee - 7

Anonymous said...

I'm in Texas and a Univ. of Texas fan. Our team is not as good as last year and our schedule is pathetically weak and anyone who would say otherwise is just blind. I'd love to be ranked higher, but I don't think it's any sort of grave injustice.

The one problem I *do* have with the rankings is that USC does not deserve to be even in the top 5. They have barely won, having to come from behind late in almost every game, against very sub-par teams. How badly do you have to play against woeful teams, without actually losing, to drop a rank? The "inertia" or tendency to maintain a rank is quite unfortunate as most of the top 10 teams look far better than USC has this year, yet without a loss, USC will find itself playing for the national champsionship at the expense of far better teams. Even if OSU loses to Michigan, either of those two teams are better than USC and deserve the rank more.

Eric said...

Nice research. On that token...Nebraska demolished the #7 team in the country in the Sugar Bowl, while Michigan had to hold off Washington State, and got a little extra help from the guy working the clock.

Of course, you could see Nebraska's Media Campaign as Karmic retribution - considering the propaganda machine is what netted Charles Woodson the Heisman Trophy over Peyton Manning that year.

Eric said...

Most recent "anonymous" poster...I think what is helping USC right now (on top of being undefeated) is the fact that 2 of their non-conference games (Nebraska and Arkansas) were victories against teams that have far exceeded expectations this year.

If you are a USC fan, you have to be rooting for those two teams the rest of the way.

Anonymous said...

About 1990 - I'm a Nebraska fan, and we were soundly whipped by both CU and Ga. Tech that year (our 27-12 loss to CU was not that close, CU lost like 5 fumbles that day, it could have been 50-12). Just want to say CU was a much better team than GT - just look at the NFL players on CU - Joel Steed, Greg Biekert, Alfred Williams, Kanavis McGhee, Deion Figures, Bienemy, Mike Pritchard, etc. GT had one legit NFL player - Marco Coleman. I saw both teams and CU, despite tying a great Tennessee team and losing to a good Illinois team, was the best. GT tied a bad UNC team, don't forget.

Anonymous said...

No, but the free pass HAS been issued to the Pac 10 again. USC has no business being ranked #2 based on how they've played so far this year. But they'll lose at least one along the way here soon and (hopefully) drop from the ranks of the vastly overrated.

Eric said...

Anonymous Nebraska, of all people, should know that a player's success in the NFL does not equal a superior college team. If not, Tommie Frazier and Trev Alberts would like a word...because I am guessing your back-to-back National Champs put far fewer players in the pros than Florida and Miami in those years.

But, if that is your measuring stick, you forgot to mention that Tech had William Bell, Scott Sisson, Willie Clay, and Coleman Rudolph all go on to play multiple seasons in the NFL.

I notice you didn't mention that awful Missouri team that Colorado...ahem..."beat". Without inept officials, they are an 8-2-1 team at seasons end. That's the best team in the country?