AN IRREVERENT LOOK AT ALL THINGS SAID, CONSIDERED, TWEETED, POSTED, PHOTOGRAPHED, PLAYED AND OTHERWISE GONE AMUCK IN COLLEGE SPORTS
My worst college football fears were realized Tuesday when the selection committee released a ranking that could be trusted.
What happened to the sport I've loved and ridiculed all these years?
Say what you want about the Bowl Championship Series, which ran roughshod for 16 years, but it was way more entertaining than the bank account statement the committee released this week.
Just look at how different the committee ranking was compared to the AP and USA Today coaches' polls, which used to help determine our champions as part of the BCS standings "formula."
The polls have Alabama at No.1--the committee selected Georgia, which has played a more formidable schedule.
The polls have Ohio State ranked ahead of Oklahoma while the committee, instead, used common sense to understand that Oklahoma beat Ohio State this year--in Columbus.
The polls have Wisconsin ranked No. 4, which would put the Badgers in the playoff right now. The committee looked at Wisconsin's weak schedule and backed the Badgers up to No. 9.
Part of the joy of college football has been the utter nonsense it has created during its regular season and the fact it was NOT like the cold, calculated NFL.
Let's hope the committee just got lucky this week because it has shown signs of lunacy in the past--remember that first year with Baylor and TCU? Or even last year, when it left the Big Ten champion out of the playoff but delivered the Big Ten East division runner up to a 31-0 semifinal loss to Clemson.
Nothing, however, will ever touch the madness of a BCS system that left USC out of the 2003 championship despite being No.1 in both polls. Or what about Nebraska, in 2001, getting to the championship game after a crushing loss at Colorado? Or Florida State edging Miami for the No.2 spot in 2000?
A stodgy committee back then would have said, "No way, Miami beat FSU on the field."
To borrow from Alabama Coach Nick Saban, Tuesday's first CFP reveal was "rat poison" to those of us who lived for chaos, controversy and bickering.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Back of the Pac
My prediction came true. The Pac 12 barely got noted by ESPN's selection show. It had to mention Washington because the Huskies popped up at No. 12 in the first ranking. I think I saw Chris Fowler try to mouth the word "Washington" before getting cut off by his producer. For what it's worth, the Pac 12 did have five teams ranked in the CFP ranking top 25, but they were all between 12 and 25.
The only good news for the Pac 12 is that there have been big comebacks in standings history. ESPN even noted this with a graphic. Ohio State rallied from the No. 14 position in 2014 to WIN the national title while Oklahoma, in 2015, made the playoff after starting at the No. 15 launch point.
The biggest rally of all time, though, had to be Louisiana State's surge in 2007. The Tigers were No. 7 in the BCS rankings the week of November 25. In 24 hours, though, on the final weekend, LSU jumped five spots to No. 2 and went on to win the national title as the only two-loss champion in BCS history.
The biggest "reverse" comeback of all time remains UCLA, which was the first No.1 in the history of BCS standings on Oct. 26, 1998. The Bruins dropped to No.3 the next week and have never been back to No. 1.
Happy Bama Birthday
Nick Saban turned 66 on Halloween and is seeking national title No. 6 this season. Witch doctors in Baton Rouge can have fun with the 6-6-6 numerology as LSU prepares to play Alabama this weekend in Tuscaloosa. There isn't a long line of famous people who celebrate birthdays on Oct. 31. This list includes Christopher Columbus, Vanilla Ice, John Candy, Dan Rather and director Peter Jackson, who may be the only man on this list who can match Saban's set of "rings." Harry Houdini wasn't born on Halloween, but he died Oct. 31, 1926.
Money for Laundering?
The bizarre firing of Florida Coach Jim McElwain took another turn this week when the Denver Post revealed that McElwain still owes Colorado State money from his buyout from that school. McElwain coached at CSU for three seasons before taking the job at Florida in late 2014. The terms of that departure required McElwain to pay CSU $2 million of his $7 million buyout. The Post reported McElwain still owes three more payments of $333,333 for a total of $1,000,001. And get this: Colorado State is using some of McElwain's buyout to help pay for student cost-of-attendance stipends. McElwain and Florida are trying to negotiate the terms of his $12.7 million buyout in Gainesville. Florida is trying to withhold paying McElwain the full amount. If Florida wins that argument, though, does that mean students at Colorado State won't get their laundry money next month?
Punch and Judy
Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school, had to issue an apology this week after one of its assistant coaches punched a hole in the press box window during last week's game at Harvard. Dion King, a defensive quality control staffer, shattered the window after a Dartmouth player fumbled. Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens, in a statement, said King "let his emotions get the best of him."
The punch didn't help Dartmouth, which was leading 14-0 at the time. Harvard rallied to win, 25-22. Teevens, you may remember, made Stanford fans want to punch out walls when he coached in Palo Alto more than a decade ago. Teevens posted seasons of 2-9, 4-7 and 4-7 at Stanford before being fired in 2004.
Big 12 Deal
Baylor plays at Kansas this week and here's the good news: under overtime rules, one of these teams has to win. Baylor (0-8) and Kansas (1-7) have yet to post a win this season against major-level competition. The only victory for either team was Kansas' win over Southeast Missouri State. Match-up box: Kansas ranks No. 114 nationally in total defense, allowing 458 yards per game, while Baylor is No. 124, allowing 503 ypg.[/membership]