In case you heard it, too, it was the sound of hundreds of sports “analysts” at ESPN collectively filling their shorts last night around 10:30PM. Or you may have heard it a little before 8PM. That’s about the time Florida started dismantling Ohio State last night in the BCS National Championship game in the FIRST QUARTER.
I take great joy in this, not only because I was for Florida, but because I wanted to see Ohio State humbled before a national audience. And it’s not even because I dislike OSU in particular. It’s because I’ve been waiting for ESPN’s team of the century to play someone other than its own cadre of similarly overhyped teams. And I love it when ESPN’s hype machine takes one on the chin.
Of course, there were a number of reasons given for their non-performance last night…everything from the fifty-plus day layoff to their losing their main offensive target in Ted Ginn, Jr. to the celebration after his touchdown runback to start the game (more on this in a bit). They even credited their own disrespect of the Gators as fuel that led to their taking apart of the alleged best team of the 2006 season, who were condescending themselves to entertain the notion of playing Florida.
Whatever happened to the far most likely scenario of “Florida was the better team and kicked OSU’s butt”? Oh, no, it couldn’t be that they were a far better team than previously believed! Maybe the SEC, even with a comparatively down year, is still that much better than its given credit for being? A weak Tennessee, reeling Alabama, and inconsistent Arkansas lost in the bowls…but Florida, LSU, Auburn, South Carolina (who I see going places in the next couple years) and motherloving Kentucky winning their games under no uncertain terms should deliver a timely statement. And that statement is, “to be the best, you have to beat the best. WHOOOO!” (No apologies to the Nature Boy)
And it really bugs the stuffing out of me that this outcome is now being used to further the goal of a national playoff. If OSU had won, it would have been vindication for the BCS, given the result in the Rose Bowl. But now with UF as national champions (not just at football, either: they’re also the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball champs, too…the first school to hold both titles concurrently), the yah-yah is now about how Boise State and Louisville figure into the championship (I’d personally rank it 1. Florida, 2. Boise State, and 3. Louisville). But despite BSU and Oklahoma playing what may have been the single most exciting, entertaining, and emotional game in my years of football viewing, I just don’t see how they can ask for a better year. The BCS championship is just a winner of a game; a poll is just a poll; they won their own championship, as did Louisville.
I still oppose the national playoff because I know what it’s all about. MONEY. Granted, that’s what college football is about, anyway, and I welcome any means of expanding the football season (September, October, November, and December are simply not enough for the King of games). But as I said in my previous missive on the subject, a team’s performance in a season should count for something other than submittal of win/loss stats for the BCS or construction of brackets in a playoff. Otherwise, the season itself would eventually have to give space for an invitational tournement, which in the end puts MORE power behind the pollsters and hype machines who would decide placement therein. And as much as I’d like to see college football on into February, it’d be way too hard on the men who play to manage.
So let’s just give credit where credit is due, and realize that the system really did work out a true champion this year. Go Gators! 41-14 will live in infamy.