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.

2013 – 2014 Bowl Game Thoughts

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Photo is from 2013.  Result resembles 2014.

24-19: The Dawgs Choke on an ear of Corn
Since the heart of this blog is Georgia football, I feel obligated to discuss the 2014 Gator Bowl. The Bulldogs turned in a slippery and sloppy performance, losing 24-19 in their season finale.  The Nebraska Cornhuskers deserved to win.  For Bulldog Nation, the Gator Bowl left one more stain on a season which started with so much promise.

Excuses and injuries notwithstanding, the Georgia Bulldogs have a long offseason ahead.  Mark Richt and company must work towards getting better on the field without getting in trouble off of it. On a positive note, The University of Georgia won eight games this season.

The Dawgs remained competitive despite an overwhelming number of injuries and bad breaks.  History may not smile on this particular team the way they had hoped, but the 2013 Bulldogs continued the winning tradition associated with Georgia football.

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Too Many Mediocre Bowls

There are too many bowl games.  The 2013 bowl slate featured 35 bowl games.   Despite ESPN’s promotional insistence, Capital One Bowl Week is far from the most wonderful week of the year.  Even die-hard college football fans must have trouble getting excited for the mediocrity that ensues early in bowl season.

Johnny Football is Money
The debate about Johnny Manziel’s off the field conduct may never end.  Still, there is no questioning his will to win. Manziel’s highlight reel performance against Duke resulted in a 52-48 win for Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.  By erasing a 38-17 deficit,  the Aggie comeback capped off an unforgettable two year run for “Johnny Football” at A&M.

The former Heisman Trophy winner will be a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  No matter which team selects him, Manziel is expected to be a franchise quarterback.  Love him or hate him, the legend of Johnny Football continues to grow.

The Bowl Championship Series Goes out With a Bang
With the 2014 BCS National Championship Game in the books, the Bowl Championship Series is no more.  Thanks in part to intriguing match-ups, the BCS went out in style. BCS festivities began with the 100th playing of the Rose Bowl game, which gave college football fans a 28-24 slug fest between Michigan State and Stanford on New Year’s Day.  That same night, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl culminated in a 52-42 shootout between UCF and Baylor.

The Orange Bowl produced another high scoring battle between Ohio State and Clemson.  Clemson picked up the victory while Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes finished the year with back-to-back losses.

Major college football has needed a playoff for some time.  With that said, certain aspects of the Bowl Championship Series will be missed.  The Rose Bowl will maintain some of its luster as a marquee athletic event, but I hate to think the Tournament of Roses will not be quite the spectacle when it is part of the playoff puzzle.

The Streak Ends
Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles for winning the 2014 National Championship Game.  My disdain for the Auburn Tigers would not allow me to pull for the SEC’s streak of championships to continue.  As a college football fan, I am pleased the better team won. Luck finally ran out in War Eagle country.

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.

What Does Georgia Need to do to Beat Alabama?

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The Dawgs will battle the Tide for Southeastern Conference supremacy.

Georgia Plays Alabama for the 2012 SEC Championship
Following the upset heard ‘round the college football world against Johnny Manziel and the Aggies of Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide are expected to put the Auburn Tigers out of their Southeastern Conference misery on November 24 to clinch the SEC West. Conversely, the Georgia Bulldogs dominated the aforementioned Tigers by a final count of 38-0 this past weekend. The victory earned Bulldog Nation a trip to the Georgia Dome to represent the East in the SEC title game for the second straight year.

The Bulldogs Are Not Satisfied With Just Winning the SEC East
Alabama will finish the regular season with a record of 11-1 when they punch their ticket to Atlanta. Led by head coach and master motivator Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide will be hell bent on making the strongest possible case to defend their national championship crown.  Meanwhile, Bulldog Nation is determined to attack the wounded Tide, and secure a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.  Let us examine what Georgia must do to catch Alabama coming in, as opposed to trying to hang on to the Crimson Tide when they are rolling out.

Avoiding Turnovers Will be Critical for Georgia
For Georgia to have a chance to defeat Alabama, the Dawgs must avoid turning the ball over. In the 2011 SEC Championship against LSU, Georgia doomed themselves by committing three costly giveaways, along with errors on special teams that translated to easy points for the Tigers. Alabama is the top ranked one loss team in the country for a reason, and the Bulldogs must avoid giving the talented Tide football team easy scores.



Georgia Has to Protect Quarterback Aaron Murray
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs gave up five sacks in the first half against Ole Miss. No slight against the Rebels, but if Ole miss found a way to exploit Georgia’s offensive line, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and company will be frothing at the mouth at the chance to hit the UGA signal caller early and often.

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The offensive line must be stout against Alabama.

UGA Needs to Be Balanced on Offense to Keep Alabama Guessing
Texas A&M was able to defeat Alabama as a result of mixing up run and pass play calls. The Aggies had 253 passing yards, and over 150 yards on the ground. Aaron Murray is not quite as mobile as Johnny Manziel but he can certainly move around well enough to avoid being a sitting target. Furthermore:

  • The Bulldogs must avoid negative plays on offense. If Alabama’s aggressive defense can force Georgia to be one dimensional it will be a long game for Bulldog Nation.
  • Todd Gurley must lead the Georgia rushing attack by being physical and picking up critical yards after contact.
  • Aaron Murray must make all the right decisions with the football. Stephen Garcia is the last quarterback from the SEC East to defeat Alabama, as the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off the Tide in October of 2010. Garcia completed 17 out of 20 passes for 201 yards in that contest. Those would be ideal numbers for the UGA QB to duplicate.
  • Georgia must keep drives alive by converting on third down. Texas A&M was 11 out of 18 on third-down conversions.
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Jarvis Jones is saving his best for the Crimson Tide.

Defense is Essential to Georgia’s Success
Jarvis Jones is the heartbeat of a Georgia defensive unit that appears to be peaking at the right timeJarvis Jones must lead the Georgia defense and wreak havoc against the Tide.  A dominant performance from Jones will give other players the opportunity to put pressure on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron. In addition:

  • No big plays. UGA’s defense needs to make Alabama go the length of the football field.
  • The Bulldog defense must cause as many three-and-outs as possible so that they are able to finish Alabama in the second half.
  • It is critical that Georgia forces A.J. McCarron to beat them throwing the football. When Alabama has to pass, they suddenly become a predictable football team. This observation is not questioning the talent of the Alabama QB, but the Bulldogs will increase their chance to win if Alabama has to abandon their potent running game.

A Win for the Bulldogs Over Alabama is Critical to the Future of Georgia Football Regardless of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, the Georgia Bulldogs have to beat Alabama to legitimize themselves as a championship contender. Consider this: Georgia’s signature win thus far in 2012 is beating a Florida team that nearly lost to Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend at the swamp. The Bulldogs do not need to try to impersonate Texas A&M, but they must be victorious in Atlanta. 

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!