Friday, December 11, 2009

Has anything happened this week?

At least my internet doesn't go down at very inconvenient times. I've been without blogging capabilities for the last six days, and in that time I missed championship weekend, the BCS bowl announcements, Notre Dame's coaching change and more amusing anecdotes for the Lane Kiffin file.

I'll get to most of that stuff in separate posts, but the important thing is that Alabama solidified itself as the best team in the country while Texas required a freakin' miracle to sneak past an offense-less Nebraska team that consists pretty much entirely of Ndamakong Suh. The national title matchup is set, and while we do get two teams that are indisputably deserving of a shot at the title, three more will unfortunately never get that chance.

I'll be honest: I was pulling for Nebraska, if for no other reason than to see Cincinnati or TCU go up against Alabama. I'm still pretty excited about the Cincinnati-Florida matchup, but it's lost a lot of its intrigue with Brian Kelly's defection and the disappointing revelation that Florida isn't quite what I thought they were (insert Dennis Green joke here).

As I said just a few weeks ago:
We keep waiting for that crazy upset that throws everything into chaos or the surprising loss that knocks a contender out of the race, and it's become clear that those things just aren't gonna happen. ...

The yearly craziness that consumes late-season college football has given way to an obvious pecking order and the realization that the season will end just as everyone has expected since about three months ago: Florida or Alabama will play Texas for the national title.
I'd be singing a different tune if Colt McCoy had run around in the backfield for another half-second or if Hunter Lawrence had pulled that kick another 18 inches to the left, but alas. It just wasn't meant to be.

The shocking thing, of course, was the ass-whoopin' Alabama put on Florida. At least I didn't make any wildly inaccurate predictions about that one ...
... if you think Mark Ingram will be powering through Florida's defense for 150 yards and three touchdowns, I would like to wager heavily against you.
... errrrrr yeah. That's pretty much exactly what happened (it didn't help that I neglected to account for the absence of Carlos Dunlap from Florida's defensive line), so thank you for not wagering against me. It was shocking and terrifying to watch the Tide offense move the ball pretty much at will against a Florida defense that had been one of the best in the country all year, and on the other side of the ball, Tim Tebow looked more like a confused freshman than the guy who had lost one of his previous 26 games. There's no way anyone could watch that game and argue that Alabama isn't the best team in the country.

Colt McCoy's a hell of a quarterback with a lot of experience in big games, but he'd better play waaaay better than he did against Nebraska for Texas to have any chance in the title game. Alabama's defense is at at least as good as Nebraska's, and I'm pretty sure 13 points won't be enough against a team with Mark Ingram.

Speaking of Ingram, as impressive as Alabama's offense was overall against Florida, I'm still not entirely sold on him as a Heisman winner. Is he good? Yes, very. Is he a dominant player who deserves to have his name go down in college football lore? Eh, I guess I'm not ready to go that far. In fact, I'm not sure I can point to any player who was truly dominant this year -- at least not on the offensive side of the ball.

I'd love to see Charles Woodson keep his title as the only defensive player ever to win the Heisman, but man, if there was ever another defender worthy of it -- in a year in which we're all desperate for a truly deserving candidate -- I think we've found him. Watching Ndamukong Suh obliterate Texas' offensive line and toss Colt McCoy around like a toy was just amusing, and that pretty much sealed my hypothetical vote (now if I could just get the Downtown Athletic Club to turn that hypothetical vote into a real one). Toby Gerhart was awesome this year, but no more so than Mark Ingram (and he did it against weaker competition with a lot less impact in meaningful games). McCoy was very good too, but this might have been his worst year statistically. And there's just no way you can vote for Tebow after the disastrous SEC championship game.

It's a close call, but my pick would be Suh, with Ingram finishing a close second. In reality, though, I think the Heisman will go to Ingram, with Gerhart and McCoy close behind, Suh in fourth and Tebow a distant fifth.

As for the BCS games, I'm surprisingly satisfied with the matchups. It seems that one game (Georgia Tech-Iowa) basically jumped on the grenade and ended up with the two teams nobody else really wanted, which sucks for the Orange Bowl but benefits the rest of us. The other three games each pair an excellent defense with an excellent offense, and at the end of the day, all six of the top teams play one of the other six, so I really can't complain.

I would have loved to watch Brian Kelly go up against Urban Meyer and it would've been great to see Boise State's offense against Alabama's defense (rather than a rematch of last year's Poinsettia Bowl against TCU), but we're still left with three great games and one good one (Ohio State and Oregon in the Rose Bowl), which is a lot more than you can say most years.

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