Sunday, December 2

Buckeyes go back to the NC Game!

So this year has been the craziest College Football season ever. However, I'm here to dispute a few points in why I think the NC game will still be a good one, and who I think will play and why.

Ohio State will of course come up to the #1 ranking in the country. However, their schedule was weak in direct comparison to some of the other top teams in the country. Their main victories came against the majority of Big 10 teams that rank #20-30 in the polls due to the belief that the Big 10 is in a down year. They played a weak non-conference schedule, with the biggest win against Washington meaning little now that the latter lost to Hawaii last night.

How can a team that has played against Texas in the past two years have such a rotten schedule, and then play for the National Championship? Here's how - this is the down year prior to having home and homes against USC the next two years, and Miami (FL) coming in the two years after that. Of course, USC has won 6 consecutive Pac 10 titles, whereas Miami has fallen from the ranks the past two years. But how do you make schedules that constantly have strong non-conference opponents? You can't... because the schedules are made years in advance and it could come in a year that that specific opponent could be in a down year.

So let's talk about the conference schedule - this year Wisconsin and Michigan were supposed to be better than the Buckeyes, but both teams ended up being a mediocre national team, with the latter team losing to Appalachian state. In the end, even Penn State, who came on strong in the beginning of the year with their only big loss to Michigan, couldn't hold on. This creates the thought that the conference schedule is weak, which I won't defend. However, this hasn't always been the case, and when your conference teams beat up on each other, their records get worse and hence look weaker.

So then why isn't the Big 10 compared to the SEC as far as their power? It's because of weak non-conference play in the bowl games. Even after Wisconsin beat Arkansas, the Big 10 came away from the bowl games 1-5 last year. Should the Big 10 have a better bowl season this year, especially if partnered against the SEC, then they have a chance to reclaim some of the lost luster.

The second team that I see playing in the NC game is LSU. The voters will favor them after last night's performances, even by Oklahoma. They won the SEC which Georgia can't say, they beat Va Tech head to head, and they have played a much harder schedule than Oklahoma. LSU has played 6 teams ranked in the top 25 at the time, and lost to only one (Kentucky in triple overtime). Their only other loss came in triple overtime against Arkansas. Those two teams, Kentucky and Arkansas, are much better losses than Colorado and Texas A&M. In fact, the mere fact that Oklahoma lost to Colorado even WITH Sam Bradford should eliminate them from the NC Game.

LSU's performance in the middle of the season, however, was not of a championship caliber team. In the end though they did what winning teams do - they won, no matter how close it got. That is something that should be given credit, especially with the perceived difficulty that is the SEC schedule.

Let's look at LSU's non-conference schedule - it's not much better than Ohio State's non conference schedule. It is merely the fact that their conference is perceived as being better than the others that makes them a top ranked team.

This season has shown that nobody is really a top ranked team, and that everyone has a chance of falling. Regardless of how hard or easy the schedule, there are no guaranteed wins, and that these perceptions of greatness should be resolved into a playoff schedule where the winners are determined out on the field.

So when they announce the BCS matchups, I'm pretty sure we'll see Ohio State and LSU listed for the title game... and it will be one heck of a game.