Eulogizing The BCS

bcs_national_championship_trophyOffering Perspective From the Southeastern Conference
The Bowl Championship Series began in 1998.  The Southeastern Conference won seven straight BCS titles from 2007-2013.  In addition, the SEC claimed ten of the 16 crystal balls handed out in the BCS era.  I must admit to rooting for Florida State in the final BCS Championship game, but the positioning of the SEC as the dominant conference in college football cannot be denied.

Next season marks the debut of the long-awaited College Football layoff.  Affectionately known as “Mr. College Football”, Tony Barnhart offers a very comprehensive and honest view of how the CFP (College Football Playoff) will change the landscape of college football.

For what it is worth, Tony Barnhart is a passionate Georgia Bulldog football fan.  According to his website, he has authored four books on the subject, including From Herschel to Hobnail Boot, The Life and Times of Larry Munson.

Fact or Fiction: Georgia Bye Week

Nine weeks into the college football season and Bulldog Nation has been reduced to the following math equation:  Questionable targeting calls + a loss at Vanderbilt = the following image…

fair_weather_uga_fanThe Georgia Bulldogs get a week off before their annual gridiron war with the Florida Gators.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, what is normally a pivotal SEC East game has become the “World’s Largest Outdoor Pity Party”. Georgia and Florida have combined for six losses before the end of October.

As a result, it is time for a round of fact or fiction to ease the pain.

The Winner of the Georgia-Florida Game is Still a Factor in the SEC East.  Fiction.  No matter which team wins in Jacksonville, the Florida Gators still have to play the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Georgia Bulldogs must contend with the Auburn Tigers.  New Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn, has the Tigers at 6-1, and they beat Texas A&M in week eight.

 Alabama Will Earn Their Third Straight BCS National Championship.  Fact.  Nick Saban has proven discipline leads to dominance.  There is not a team in college football more consistent than the Crimson Tide.  Alabama does not have many more hurdles to overcome to get to Pasadena, California.

Ohio State Will Challenge the Tide.  Fiction.  Ohio State is a great offensive team, however, the Buckeyes do not have much of a defense.  Even if Ohio State gets through the regular season undefeated,  Buckeye fans must root for both Florida State and Oregon to lose.  Keep an eye on Urban Meyer folks, he is likely to start beating the opposition by as much as possible to rack up style points.

Florida State is Back.  Fact.  The Noles destroyed Clemson, and left the Tigers laying in Death Valley.   Quarterback Jameis Winston may not be ready for the BCS stage yet, but Florida State is talented enough to beat anyone, including Alabama.  Unfortunately for FSU, if they do play Alabama for all the marbles, Nick Saban will have plenty of time to prepare for Famous Jameis.

Long Live the BCS!  Fiction. The notion that anyone will miss the Bowl Championship Series is almost as ridiculous as the claim that a playoff would adversely affect a student athlete’s ability to study for an exam.  The playoffs will make money, the television ratings will be phenomenal, and the passionate fans of college football will finally get the finale we deserve.

2013 Opener: Georgia – Clemson August 31, 2013

Brief Historical Perspective
The Bulldogs and the Tigers waged their first gridiron battle in 1897. UGA and Clemson have played a total of 62 games against each other, with Georgia leading the series by an all-time count 41-17, with four ties.  At present, Georgia owns a five-game winning streak over Clemson. The two teams last met in 2003, when the Dawgs mauled the Tigers by a score of 30-0.

The Weight of Expectations
It is critical that Bulldog Nation does not still see UGA as being five yards away from a national championship.  It is always fun to dream big, but what happened in 2012 is largely independent of what is to come beginning this Saturday night. Conversely, Clemson carries the weight of being the highest ranked team in the Atlantic Coast Conference to start the season. The much maligned ACC will be roaring for the Tigers this weekend, just as the much ballyhooed SEC will be cheering for the Bulldogs.

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney Has Much to Prove
Dabo Swinney has a history of getting very emotional following Clemson wins.  He has never won a BCS bowl game, but his Tigers did win the ACC Championship in 2011. The purveyor of Howard’s Rock parlayed that victory into one of the most embarrassing losses in the history of the BCS, falling to the West Virginia Mountaineers by a final score of 70-33.

The Georgia Bulldogs Must Prove Themselves, Too
The game against Clemson kicks off what will be an extremely challenging stretch for the Bulldogs. Three of UGA’s first four football games are against teams that are ranked in the top 15 according to the preseason polls. Georgia could probably absorb one loss and still accomplish all they set out to achieve  this season.  Even so, starting the new campaign with a defeat at the claws of the Tigers would let a lot of air out of a Bulldog Nation balloon that is pretty high on itself.
Picking a Winner
The defensive issues that both of these teams face have been well documented. When  looking for an edge in this contest, look no further than the conference that each team is representing.  The mighty Southeastern Conference has ruled college football by hoisting the Bowl Championship Series trophy for seven straight seasons.  Conversely, the Charlotte Observer notes that since the BCS was created in 1998, the Atlantic Coast Conference has one BCS Championship to their credit.

I’m going to channel my best Kirk Herbstreit and pick a winner based on what he might say, as a way of judging my own opinion versus the ESPN expert.  Unfortunately, Herbstreit probably will not pick the game because he likely has announcing duties on ABC.  As for Lee Corso, I think that guy started picking games based on which mascot head is more fun to put on years ago.

Georgia walks out of Death Valley a winner on the arm of Aaron Murray and the overall talent of the UGA offense.  The Bulldog defense will make enough stops to pull away from the Tigers in the fourth quarter.  Final Score: Georgia 45, Clemson 31.

College Football Outside of the South – ACC

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The ACC has not won many rings since coach Bowden retired.

The Atlantic Coast Conference Has Been Atrocious in BCS Games
The ACC has been one of my least favorite conferences to keep tabs on in recent years.  As a result, this post examining a portion of ACC football will center around the conference’s four most important games against the Southeastern Conference in 2013.

ACC Coaching Thoughts
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson may be a triple option guru, but when he loses he becomes an obnoxious oaf.  Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles have not won a big game since Bobby Bowden retired, Unless of course you are absurd enough to count the ‘Noles Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois at the end of last season.

I am looking forward to watching the ACC try to distance themselves from their own mediocrity in 2013. According to Mr. SEC the Atlantic Coast Conference holds a horrid record of 3-13 in BCS bowl games. Furthermore, if this is to be the year that the ACC reasserts itself as a power in college football, then there will be several roadblocks ahead.

Alabama-Virginia Tech
The Hokies are coming off an extremely disappointing year in which they finished 6-6 in the regular season, before defeating Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl to end the year with a winning record.  This year, Virginia Tech has the honor of playing the defending national champion, Alabama, to begin their campaign.

The Crimson Tide have been sitting atop college football for two consecutive years, and it is nearly impossible to believe that a fictional purple turkey is going to knock them off.  Luckily, college football is not played on paper. What a “Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game” it will be if the Tide forgets to roll in.

Georgia–Clemson
I will admit that my opinion on this game is totally biased.  With Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray coming back for his last chance at a championship, UGA has no intention of starting the season in an 0-1 hole.  There will be an offensive shootout in Death Valley, and Bulldog Nation will have the final bark.

Clemson may believe they will defeat Georgia, but history is not on their side.  mcubed, a sports history and statistics website, reports that the SEC went 6-2 against the ACC in 2012.

Georgia-Georgia Tech
Since Paul Johnson broke out his fish frier after his Yellow Jackets skewered the Dawgs for 45 points back in 2008, Georgia Tech has not been able to recapture that magic again.  Johnson was the ACC coach of the year for each of his first two seasons in Atlanta, but downright appalling defense has stung  Tech for a total of 19 losses in the past three seasons.

Georgia wiped the field with Georgia Tech in the final regular season game of 2012. The Bulldogs capitalized on a Georgia Tech fumble at the Georgia one-yard line to gain an early 14-0 lead and never looked back. It was a game that Tech head coach Paul Johnson called “a pretty good thumping.”  If the regular season pans out the way that Georgia fans are hoping for, a similar result should be expected in Atlanta this year.



South Carolina-Clemson
Steve Spurrier (thankfully) has had trouble winning the SEC East in the past two years. Consequently, the Ole’ Ball Coach has had to find solace in making life miserable for Clemson fans every year.  According to Clemson head coach, Dabo Swinney, the Tigers are knocking on the door to greatness, but how can that be if Clemson is not even the best team in their own state?

Despite their advantage of 65-41 (with four ties) in the series rivalry, the Tigers have not beaten the Gamecocks since 2008. The heat between the two schools figures to be kicked up a notch this year, as South Carolina and Clemson are ranked 7th and 8th in the preseason polls respectively.

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Alabama Losing is Not Good For the SEC’s National Championship Streak

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The phenom nicknamed “Johnny Football” has taken college football by storm.

Alabama Finally Falls
It is safe to assume that nearly every college football fan located outside of Alabama enjoyed watching the Crimson Tide taste defeat this past weekend. After two months of dominating the competition, Alabama has appeared uncharacteristically vulnerable for the past couple weeks. The Texas A&M Aggies utilized a near-flawless effort from their fantastic freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, along with timely defense to stun the Crimson Tide by a final score of 29-24. In all likelihood, the victory by Texas A&M on the road in Tuscaloosa will be remembered as the biggest college football story of 2012.

Kansas State Versus Oregon For the National Championship?
Now that the college football world has recovered from the hangover of this exciting upset, the reality of what is left cannot be very pleasing to supporters of the Southeastern Conference. If the season ended today, the national championship game would feature the Kansas State Wildcats against the Oregon Ducks. The prospect of the fighting Collin Kleins taking on the quack attack of Oregon may appeal to other parts of the country, but it would be a hard pill to swallow here in Dixie.

The SEC Needs a Lot of Help to Compete For a Seventh Straight BCS Title
Fans of the SEC must root for both Kansas State and Notre Dame to lose. Oregon is exempt from this jinx because the Ducks have a good track record in Bowl Championship Series games. If Notre Dame and Kansas State both stumble, the SEC Championship Game becomes a winner-take-all war between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide for the remaining spot in the BCS title game.

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The SEC has been home for the BCS trophy since 2006.

There is Not a Southeastern Conference Bias in College Football
I freely admit being a Southeastern Conference homer. I have enjoyed watching the SEC dominate college football for the better part of the past decade. With that said, perhaps I should accept the fact that the Southeastern Conference dynasty may have an off-year. After all, the rest of America had to sit through a Southeastern Conference-only national championship game this past January. It would be fitting to some fans if the SEC is denied the opportunity to compete for a seventh national championship in a row after the Southeastern Conference hogged both spots in the title game last season.

Notre Dame Undefeated in 2012: A Sign of the Apocalypse?


The 2012 Doomsday Phenomenon

For the past few years, there has been a doomsday theory associated with the year 2012. This belief has to do with the Mayan calendar, but I have never been interested in the specifics, because I threw it into my mental junk pile along with Y2K, the existence of aliens, and the Loch Ness monster. The idea that the end of days is near had not crossed my mind at all until Notre Dame entered week ten of the college football season without a loss. Surely this is a sign that the apocalypse is indeed upon us.

This will be Brian Kelly’s expression if an undefeated Fighting Irish squad does not play for the national title.

Brian Kelly: Red Faced Bringer of Armageddon
If ever there were a face to signal the end of days, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly’s mug is certainly a perfect fit. Kelly is often beet red and screaming at his quarterback, placing the blame for an offensive miscue squarely in the lap of the signal caller. Brian Kelly has been throwing fits at his players long before he arrived in South Bend, as his success in Cincinnati was fraught with bulging eyeballs as well

Is Notre Dame’s Perfect Record an Aberration or a Trend?
Despite the satirical nature of this article, Brian Kelly has earned his reputation as a great football coach. Even so, the University of Notre Dame must have continued success and win a Bowl Championship Series game to prove that they are truly a national power once again. If the Fighting Irish do find their way into the national championship game on January 7, 2013, I might very well be seeking the safest shelter possible. That is unless of course the Georgia Bulldogs oppose the Fighting Irish on that night. In which case, I will be barking too loud to worry about the end of the world.

Will Boise State Ever Play For The National Championship?

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Boise State is a big fish in a small pond.

For the past two seasons, the Boise State Broncos have fallen one loss short of being in contention to compete for the BCS national championship.  Because of their perceived weak schedule, the Broncos must have a perfect season to be under consideration to play for a national title. Such is life for the soon to be Big East bound Broncos. Boise State will move from the Mountain West to the Big East Conference for football only beginning in 2013.

Focus On The Here And Now
While changing conferences remains a year away, the Boise State football team has to be concerned with their immediate future. The Broncos must put new faces in once familiar places on the offensive side of the ball. 2011 Boise State offensive leaders Kellen Moore and Doug Martin have both graduated and are pursuing careers in the NFL. Finding a new signal caller to replace Kellen Moore is the top priority for the Broncos this off-season.

Defensively the Broncos were stout in 2011, and that trend should continue as the blue field bunch recently hired former Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake to join their staff. Lake will reportedly be in charge of Boise’s defensive backs, and he will also  coordinate the pass defense in Idaho.  If the Broncos can get past the Michigan State Spartans in the 2012 season opener, then the Bronco defense will have some time to gel before they take on their conference foes. Continue reading

A Change Would Do The BCS Good

The underwhelming aftermath of last week’s BCS National Championship Game looms as the college football offseason is in full effect. Alabama shut out the LSU Tigers  by a final count of 21-0, leaving many fans to turn to the NFL playoffs in hopes of a more satisfying conclusion to football season.  While there is little debate that Alabama and LSU were the two best teams in college football this past season, the argument surrounding the BCS system that yielded that rematch has become just as important as the student athletes on the field.

Popularity Contest. The popularity of college football has soared in recent years, landing conferences such as the SEC billion dollar television deals. Along with the Longhorn network, the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference each have their own television network. As a result of more money pouring in, the NCAA is being pushed to make changes to the BCS format as reported by ESPN.com  

Television ratings were brought to the forefront by TheBigLead.com when ratings were universally down for the bowl games in late 2011 and early 2012. Viewership was  down for the Bowl Championship Series as well, and the rating for the much ballyhooed BCS title game narrowly missed being at an all-time low according to USAToday. Continue reading

Alabama-LSU – The Rematch for the BCS National Championship (January 9, 2011)

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The Southeastern Conference continues to dominate college football.

The BCS reaches its epic conclusion on Monday night, as the LSU Tigers take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2012 All State BCS National Championship Game. The regular season match-up was a great movie with a forgettable ending. Now that the much hyped sequel has arrived, it will be up to these two juggernauts to deliver in the Bowl Championship Series’ grand finale.

National Appeal?
There is an interesting subplot developing for tonight’s all SEC West Championship showdown. Television ratings. Thebiglead.com reports that TV ratings for this year’s BCS games are noticeably down. If Monday night’s game continues that trend, it may put an end to any possibility of a no other conference allowed title game. Alabama and LSU are clearly the two best teams in college football this season, but there is no denying the polarizing nature of this contest around other parts of the country.

May the best team win
Regardless of how many people watch, the game should be fantastic. Nick Saban has had two months to stew over his defense having trouble with the option. On the other side, it would be quite a feather in the purple and gold cap of Les Miles to get two wins over tricky Nicky in one college football season. The focus of the night will be on the special teams for each squad, as well as the total amount of points scored during the game. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary- December 3rd 2011 conference championship edition

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BCS Championship implications surround Saturday.

Saturday’s college football conference championship games begin with a BCS bid on the line for the Houston Cougars as they face Southern Miss. A loss by the Golden Eagles would be for the greater good of Conference USA, as Houston needs a win to crash the BCS party.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum has put up fantastic numbers against lackluster competition, but If the Cougars are able to win a BCS bowl game it would go along way in raising the sixth year senior’s draft stock. Houston may be exposed as a sheep in Cougar clothing under the bright lights of the Bowl Championship Series, but they will finish the regular season unbeaten. Houston 48, Southern Miss 34

The Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies is the first of two rematches for conference supremacy.  Virginia Tech has not lost since they got bushwhacked by the Tigers in Blacksburg on the first day of October. Clemson won their first eight games in 2011 but they have been on the losing end in three out of their last four contests.

Virginia Tech has one more chance to improve their resume as they audition for the part of the best one loss team in college football. While a lot would need to happen for the Hokies to find themselves in the national championship game, Frank Beamer and company have been hoping for a chance at redemption for their lone loss this season. Hokies win, and add an interesting variable to the BCS Championship debate. Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 20

The inaugural Big 10 Title Game features the other rematch of the day. Wisconsin battles Michigan State in a game that has a lot to live up to. Even though the Big 10 chose hideous names for their respective divisions (Leaders and Legends) the first meeting between the two teams was one of the best games of the year. The Badgers are eager to get revenge against Michigan State after the Spartans were victorious on a walk-off 44 yard  touchdown on the final play of regulation in the first contest. (After a controversial official review)



Wisconsin gets pay back on Sparty and the Badgers find themselves in a second straight BCS bowl game. Wisconsin 31 Michigan State 21

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meet in the Bedlam game Saturday night. A win for the Cowboys may result a birth in the national championship for Mike Gundy and the Pokes. It is unclear whether or not Oklahoma State has recovered from their road debacle at Iowa State. As for Oklahoma, the two loss Sooners need a win to salvage a trip to the BCS after they began the year as the #1 team in the country.

Oklahoma wins on the road. I can’t bring myself to pick the Pokes after they lost to a 26 point underdog. Oklahoma 41, Oklahoma State 24

For the Georgia Bulldogs, Dome day has finally arrived. Not many outside of Athens believe the Dawgs have a chance to catch the LSU Tigers by the tail.  LSU is loaded on both sides of the ball, as the Tigers are the latest team in a line of Southeastern Conference juggernauts. Isaiah Crowell is a game time decision which will likely leave the Bulldogs with limited options at running back once again. Richard Samuel is not expected to be available for the game either.

If Isaiah Crowell does not play then it will be a huge blow to the Dawgs’ chances to pull off the upset. Georgia must play mistake free football against the best team in the country to stay in the game for four quarters. Since I am a homer, I will pick Georgia to pull off the biggest upset in college football this year. Georgia 20, LSU 17.



Enjoy the games. GO DAWGS!