14 October 2008

Sports, for a change of pace.

I'm getting kind of sick of hearing about how tough the SEC and Big 12 are. For starters, the Big 12 is a joke of a conference. Texas v. Oklahoma was supposed to be a major game, but these two teams have combined to beat a who's who of Palookaville. Excluding Oklahoma, here's a list of the powerhouse teams Texas has beaten this year: Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Rice, Arkansas, and Colorado. Those teams' combined record? 12-17. As for Oklahoma, they ascended to #1 whooping it up on teams like Chattanooga (?), Cincinnati, Washington, TCU, and Baylor -- a sorry group that might seem a bit more respectable at 15-16, until you realize that TCU (6-1) has played only one team from a major conference, and that was Stanford.

Also in the Big 12, Missouri supposedly was good, but Missouri has exactly 1 win against a decent team (Illinois), and that win is getting less respectable with each Illini loss. South East Missouri State? Nevada? Buffalo?

Now why are all the columnists ragging PSU about its schedule? Sure it hasn't been stellar, but I'm not seeing anything in the Big 12 that looks as good, let alone better.

As for the SEC, lately we've been told by the ESPN talking heads that the SEC is too good for its own good, that it cannibalizes its teams through the season, etc. Just because crappy conference teams are beating the good conference teams does not mean the conference is difficult; it means the quality of play is inconsistent. That's true of nearly all conferences. Auburn, which was supposed to be so damn good according to the pundits, is a colossal flop. Tuberville most likely is done after this season. LSU was revealed to be a paper tiger (though we're talking cardstock, not tissue paper) by Florida this weekend. Perennially overrated Tennessee has at last sunk into utter incompetence. Only Alabama remains, and they've not been tested except by Georgia (Georgia failed that test miserably); they're not likely to play another halfway decent team until they play LSU.

When Big 10 teams beat each other up, it's because the conference is weak; when SEC teams do it, it's because the conference is strong.

Make no mistake, the Big 10 is down this year, yes indeed. Michigan lost to Toledo at home. Toledo. In the Big House. Ohio State, in the midst of running through its schedule of teensy tiny schools in Ohio, got pounded on national television by USC. Only one Big 10 team remains unbeaten, and that's Penn State. I can't defend the strength of schedule with Coastal Carolina, Syracuse, and Temple on the schedule, but my point is not so much that PSU's opponents are so much tougher, but rather they're on par with the so-called "tough conference" leaders. Penn State's victims are a combined pathetic 17-27, so there's no gloating there.

I'm not happy with the Big 10 this year; they should be pounding non-conference opponents, at least the ones who are from little baby conferences. However, you've got losses to Utah, Toledo, and Notre Dame from Michigan; to Notre Dame from Purdue; to Ball State from Indiana.

I don't care that Ball State is ranked at this time; a Big 10 team should not lose to Ball State.

That being said, here are a few predictions:
1. Alabama will lose to LSU.
2. Texas will not lose to Missouri; they'll lost to Oklahoma State.
3. Notre Dame will go 7-5 and be invited to a BCS bowl, where they'll get their overmatched asses handed to them.

4. Florida will win the SEC.

5. Missouri and Oklahoma State will play each other for the Big 12 title.

6. Penn State will win the Big 10.

7. USC will win the PAC-10.

8. No other conferences matter. BYU will get waxed in their bowl game, which will be the first time they play a decent team.

by the way...Penn State's two national championships? Playing as an independent, the Lions suffered through years of complaints of "weak schedules" etc to beat Georgia and heisman winner Hershel Walker in 1982 and Miami and heisman winner Vinny Testaverde in 1986.


JES said...

No other conferences matter.

I'll let that pass only because I can hear the implicit "...this year." :)

in Tallahassee

cuff said...

Oh no...you're not a florida stater are you? Maybe you haven't read my rants about Florida (the entire state, that is...).

JES said...

In truth, I'm relatively a newcomer here. So my loyalties to the state go no deeper than to the people I know (which is pretty deep, true).

Fact is, I'd just about never paid any attention to college ball until I *did* move here. But it's hard to escape the influence. And if you have the slightest interest at all, and it just happens that the first fall you're in town is the autumn of the team's first national championship, and your first glimpse of the team in action is a HUGELY entertaining Charlie-Ward-to-Warrick-Dunn pass play...

...Damn. It is hard to resist. I probably would have had the same experience if I'd moved to Gainesville down here, or to -- oh, say -- State College PA for that matter.

However, I'm strictly armchair. Never been to a game or, for that matter, watched one from a sports bar. I like to think this marks me as a more cerebral sort of fan but, really, all it says is that I'm anti-social.