I had the time to take a peak at the college football scores this morning and once again it has been an utterly amazing week. The year of big upsets continues. Why? One theory is that the NCAA rules regarding the number of scholarships, which changed some years ago, is leveling the playing field more than ever. Another is the simple fact that players mature differently at this level and non-traditional football power schools, without great tradition, can build programs faster and better than ever. Whatever the reason no dominant team will walk off with No. 1 in 2007. This week two top five teams fell: Oregon and Oklahoma. Now we have Missouri playing undefeated Kansas this next week and the winner will play for the Big 12 conference championship and a likely shot at number one. This means Mizzou is really in the hunt and Oregon is now out. Who would have thought that in August? Since I have a lot of Tiger fans who are very good friends, and I have been to Columbia many times and seen several Mizzou games, I confess that I am rooting for the Tigers. It would be a magical season if Missouri won the national title.
LSU seems to have a lock on playing the big game but the SEC championship game still looms on the horizon and Arkansas could upset them this week in their last regular season game. So one thing is certain—nothing is certain at all. The BCS system is still a disaster. If ever we needed a simplified playoff system this year proves it. There are surely going to be eight teams worthy of playing for No. 1 but of course it will not happen because the NCAA is so hypocritical in their approach to this mess. The appeal to academics and a longer season is a joke.
To top if off my Crimson Tide laid one of the biggest eggs in memory, losing to Louisiana Monroe 21-14. A Sun Belt Conference team, with a 4-6 record no less, beat an SEC team for only the third time in all the years the SEC has played these weak schools as "warm-up" games. I have no hope that Alabama can rebound and play a good game at Auburn next week, no hope. But then in such a crazy season who knows. Which Auburn team, or which Alabama team, shows up next week? If Auburn wins it would be six in a row and would bring them within five wins of Alabama, their storied arch rival, in the all time series. Auburn fans have every reason to be confident and much reason to enjoy this long streak over the hated Tide. For their sakes I hope they do not lose Tommy Tuberville. He’s a good coach and a good man.
And yes Notre Dame did win, beating Duke, a one win team itself. I promised two weeks ago to say no more. Congratulations ND. Poor Duke. One win in nearly three seasons is not looking good right now. There is also basketball season.
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A Kansas State Univ, grad school grad with many family members and friends who went to KU (including a niece who is presently there) I can’t tell you how much I’m rooting for Mizzu. If KU wins they will be insufferable.
One added problem with the traditional system is the effect pre-season or early season polls have on the outcome. Where a team is ranked at the start of the season has a big effect on where they are ranked later on. I’ve followed the rankings each week and it also seems that if a team falls early, it has a chance to redeem itself, but if it falls late, it doesn’t have quite the same chance.