The nice thing about having a blog at the end of the college football season is that you can have your own football poll and your own reasons for doing it the way you want to. I’m sure no one is waiting with bated breath to see my top ten, and it will certainly not have any influence anywhere, but as a big fan of the game, it is an opportunity for me to express an opinion about the BCS farce, and it’s fun. As always, comments are welcome. Here’s my top ten, and my reasons why.
1. Kansas. Hey, you go 12-1, win one of the big four bowl games, have a better record than anyone else, and you win the mythical national championship. Or at least, that’s the way it used to be. Kansas did all that. Forget the strength of schedule nonsense, which is nothing more than Eastern press opinion, Kansas is one of two Div. 1 teams with only one loss, and the only one to win a major bowl, so as far as I am concerned, Mark Mangino’s Jayhawks are the national champs.
2. USC. Did you see the Trojans roar down the stretch after getting healthy? Is there any doubt they would have chewed up and spit out LSU and Ohio State on back to back, successive days? At the end of the season, they were at the top of their game and that’s when it counts.
3. West Virginia. So how is it that teams like Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, etc., can lose two or three games and not fall out of the top 10, but WVU loses one and drops like a stone in a pond? They were #2 before their last game with a rival, and with an injured QB, and they roared back and topped OU in one of the four major bowl games. This is what they deserve.
4. Missouri. The Tigers lost two games, but to the same team that essentially had the home field advantage both times. And see why I ranked West Virginia third to see why I ranked Missouri fourth. Fair is fair, and if “storied” programs don’t fall that far, up and coming programs should be treated the same. And based on the whole season, and not just the easy games, Chase Daniel should have won the Heisman.
5. LSU. O.K. They did win the farce of a national championship game, beating Ohio State. They’re good. But, gee, they lost a football game in Lexington, Kentucky of all places! And they lost to Arkansas. Sorry, but you can’t lose those kinds of games, plus play most of your conference contests on the weak side of the SEC and be a national champion.
6. Michigan. Yep, they opened with a staggering loss to Appalachian State, but they ended with a solid win over Florida in the Gator’s back yard. O.K. Florida was mediocre at best, but it put Lloyd Carr into retirement as a winner, and in a twisted sort of way, it means that Appalachian State is a better team than the Gators. And when it comes to the Wolverines, I’m biased.
7. BYU. Two losses. Mountain West conference champs. Beat UCLA in a bowl game. They are from the West, which is generally ignored by the pundits, but the #2, 3 and 4 teams from their conference (New Mexico, Utah and TCU) that played in bowls all won and the conference was 4-1 in bowls.
8. Ohio State. This is where they belong.
9. Georgia. This was probably the best team in the SEC, but didn’t get a chance to prove it because of early losses, but toward the end of the season, they were playing as well as anyone, including LSU. Mark Richt is a great coach.
10. Texas Tech. Why not? The end of the season weighs more than the earlier games, and the Red Raiders got pretty hot down the stretch, particularly in beating Oklahoma and then having a great comeback in the Gator Bowl against Virginia. Hey, I have to rank someone from Texas in my top ten, and since the Longhorns couldn’t beat Oklahoma, and the Red Raiders could, they are the best choice.
Other Comments, in No Particular Order
I was pleased that, out of the five teams from the state of Florida which made bowl games this season, only Florida Atlantic won their game. It would have been nice if all five had lost, but I’ll take consolation in the fact that both Florida and Florida State lost, and Miami didn’t make a bowl.
Most Over-achieving team: Illinois. There’s not a big-name player on the team, and it is made up of mostly three and four star recruits, but they beat Ohio State and got into the Rose Bowl. Ron Zook really turned that program around.
Most Under-achieving team: Arizona State. They finished 10-3, but didn’t rise to the occasion when they had the chance at Oregon, got blown out by USC and lost to an under-achieving team from Texas.
Best coaching change: Jones from Hawaii to SMU. After going 12-1 at Hawaii, and losing his star QB, the expectations in the islands will be mighty high. They will be virtually non-existent in Dallas.
Prediction for next season? Nope. Except that the BCS will still be a farce.