The best and worst of college football
Yesterday was an epic day in college football. On rivalry Saturday, Auburn won the Iron Bowl in stunning fashion as a last-second field goal try by Alabama was returned for a touchdown. It was one of those jaw-dropping plays that will be replayed and remembered forever.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, another legendary rivalry game also produced an instant classic, as Michigan’s Brady Hoke decided to go for two at the end of the game, leaving Michigan with an unforgettable 42-41 loss against their bitter rivals in The Game.
Unfortunately, one of the greatest days in college football history immediately led to the inevitable and idiotic debate of who is more deserving of a spot in the National Championship game. What should be happening is both Ohio State and Auburn celebrating a spot in a playoff with these wins (assuming they win next week). The same is true of Missouri.
Instead we have to argue whether an undefeated Big Ten team should be jumped by a one-loss Auburn team. I have strong opinions about this, mostly because I’m biased. Auburn had a great miracle win against Alabama, but they also had a fluke Hail Mary win on their resume as well, while Ohio State has won 24 straight games!
But everyone is biased when it comes to this debate. Surely SEC fans have an argument that a one-loss SEC team deserves a chance to play for the national title. Still, if the SEC is so dominant, why is Missouri in the SEC title game?
Some will claim they aren’t biased and can make a logical argument for their position. But it’s just a subjective determination! College football will be forever tainted as long as opinion trumps the notion of deciding a champion on the field. The winners of the five power conferences should automatically go to a playoff. We can have some spot for at-large teams based on a committee, but winning a conference championship should put you in a playoff so you have a chance to measure yourself against another conference winner. This notion of winners playing other winners for the chance to call yourself a champion rules every other sport, other than Division I college football.
Today, we should be looking forward to possible playoff matches, and any argument between Ohio State and Auburn/Missouri fans could ultimately be settled the way it should be – by playing games. But we’re left with an absolute mess.
Baylor, Oregon and Florida suffer embarrassing losses
Where are all of the so-called “experts” who said Baylor would “crush” teams like Ohio State? We’ve seen this before with Oregon. Running up the score against weak competition just because you run a no-huddle offense through the whole game means nothing when you’re facing better teams. It’s particularly true when you face more physical defenses.
Baylor was embarrassed last night by Oklahoma State. After this game they shouldn’t even be in the top ten, let alone in the discussion for the BCS.
Meanwhile, the arrogant Oregon Ducks got embarrassed as well by RichRod’s Arizona team after several Oregon players said that the Rose Bowl was beneath them. Where will they go now? The Tangerine Bowl?
Finally, the once-mighty Florida Gators managed to lose at home to an FCS team in Georgia Southern.
Which team should be most embarrassed today?
Officiating controversies dominate this week’s NFL games
The photo on the right has everyone talking today, though the one on the left shows how holding is out of control with offensive linemen as officials will only call it from time to time when it’s blatant. The call at the end of the Patriots-Panthers game last night is highlighted in the photo on the right. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was mugged by Luke Kuechly in the end zone but the refs picked up the flag as the pass was intercepted in a spot where the refs said Gronk couldn’t get the ball. But Gronk had zero chance because Kuechly was all over him. At the very least there should have been a holding call.
The call in the photo below was also controversial, as the roughing the quarterback call against the 49ers helped Drew Brees keep a drive to win the game. I agree with many who feel the NFL is ruining the game with some of the pathetic personal fouls calls, particularly when defenders just barely touch the quarterback. But here, the defenders bicep directly hit the neck of Drew Brees. Brees could have been seriously hurt on that play, and it’s precisely the type of hit the NFL is trying to penalize, so I understood that particular call.
Chiefs run into reality
The Kansas City Chiefs have had a great season so far, but as many predicted they’re not quite as good as their record. The hard truth is that there’s a ridiculous amount of parity in the NFL these days, and a couple of breaks through the season can dramatically impact a team’s record. That’s been the case with the Chiefs, a much-improved team with an excellent defense and a risk-averse quarterback. But a 9-0 record built on weak opponents, timely turnovers and cautious quarterback play doesn’t help that much when you’re facing Peyton Manning. For example, KC was leading the league in sacks as they teed off on NFL backups, but they didn’t sack Peyton Manning once. Also, an offense led by Alex Smith suddenly looked like a liability when the Chiefs were down by several scores. You can’t dink and dunk your way to a comeback that often.
This doesn’t mean we should completely count out the Chiefs. Again, they’re good enough to win a lot of games if some breaks go their way. But let’s not pretend they have the same margin of error as Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Andrew Wiggins vs Jabari Parker: Round One
Round one goes to Wiggins, but get used to this matchup as we’ll be seeing it for years in the NBA. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker have taken turns being crowned the inevitable top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but now we’ll have a year of college basketball to settle the matter, though Kentucky’s super freshman Julius Randle may have something to say about it as well.
Both Wiggins and Parker were magnificent last night. Parker dominated in the first half and finished 27 points. He’s an all-around great player who can do everything very well from rebounding to draining three-pointers. Then in the second half Wiggins and the Jayhawks took over as Wiggins showed off his incredible athleticism that has people comparing him to Jordan and Lebron. The highlight above gives just a glimpse of what he will be capable of. Wiggins ended up with 22 points.
I had the opportunity to interview both Wiggins and Parker in the past as both of them won the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award for basketball (Wiggins won the overall award as well). Both are great kids and have a bright future ahead of them.
With these two and Julius Randle, it’s hard to imagine any team in the top three of next year’s NBA Draft being disappointed. In the meantime they can fight it out for the National Championship.