Around the Nation Week 15
Keep the BCS National Championship Game.
Debate Texas and Oklahoma, USC and Penn State, Boise State and Utah all you want.
It’s almost certainly just noise because the two best college football teams in America will meet Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.
Alabama and Florida are ranked #1 and #2 in the Associated Press poll and the writers have it right.
All the handwringing over BCS rankings and the like is interesting to most, aggravating to many, and fun to some. In the grand scheme of determining the national champion, all the chatter may matter little this season.
After watching Alabama demolish Auburn in the Iron Bowl and Florida filet Florida State in a monsoon, it is difficult to see any other team beating either of these two squads.
When the Gators take on the Tide in the SEC Championship game, you will see contrasting styles but similar programs.
Bama pounds away behind a mammoth left side of the offensive line, and defensively relies on a dominant front to eliminate an opponent’s ground game and to pressure the passer.
Florida uses quarterback Tim Tebow as a hammer, then slices away with a fast fleet of backs and receivers. Defensively, the Gators emphasize speed over power.
Both programs are led by no-nonsense, dynamic coaches.
Nick Saban and Urban Meyer might not be the most humorous or gregarious guys around, but they were hired to win on the field, not entertain off it.
They are the best in the business and so are their teams.
Alabama and Florida cannot meet in the BCS National Championship Game, but determining an opponent in that game is (par for the course) causing quite the stir.
Oklahoma edged out Texas in the final regular season BCS rankings and will represent the Big 12 South in the conference title game. The Sooners are a healthy favorite to beat Missouri and reach the NCG in Miami against the SEC champ.
Texas, USC, and Penn State all have legitimate claims to the game.
The Longhorns beat Oklahoma head to head just over a month ago, but the Sooners racked up poll points by scoring 60 points per game since then.
USC has the nation’s finest defense, and a track record of playing well in big-time games, but the Trojans are going to the Rose Bowl for the fourth straight season courtesy of an early season loss at Oregon State.
Penn State and Joe Paterno, all but forgotten in the discussion, lost once all season, that coming on the last play of the game against an 8-win Iowa team.
Check back later this week for the SEC championship game preview.
The BCS bowls are shaping up thusly:
BCS NCG: Florida/Alabama winner vs. Oklahoma
Rose: USC vs. Penn State
Fiesta: Texas vs. Ohio State. It’s not out of the question that the Fiesta goes for a PR coup by taking Utah and then Boise State.
Sugar: Alabama-Florida loser vs. Utah. Unless the Fiesta pulls a surprise (leaving Ohio State or Texas for the Sugar), the SEC runner-up faces the same fate as Georgia last season … playing a non-BCS conference opponent.
Orange: Virginia Tech/Boston College winner vs. Cincinnati. The Bearcats will represent the Big East with hot coaching prospect Brian Kelly. ACC champ is not the league’s best – that would be Georgia Tech.
Enjoy the games and watch for our bowl previews later this month.
Around the Nation
Championship games and coaching changes are the talk of college football this week.
The Big 12 title will be decided in Kansas City on Saturday night. The MAC championship game is Friday night and pairs Buffalo and undefeated Ball State. The Army-Navy game is a national treasure for college football fans and will be played at noon ET on CBS from Philadelphia.
Charlie Weis could be in jeopardy at Notre Dame after the Irish lost big at USC.
Around the South
The SEC title will be decided in Atlanta at 4:00 ET on CBS. Also, Lane Kiffin is the new head coach at Tennessee, while Sly Croom is out at Miss State.
In Tampa, the ACC championship game matches Virginia Tech and Boston College … the winner goes to the Orange Bowl.
Tulsa hosts East Carolina in the C-USA title game with a trip to the Liberty Bowl on the line.
See you at kickoff!