Alright, gang, former fellow Seminarian, Jonesy, is back in the house with his take on this week's games and the state of college football with respect to conference re-alignment.
Greetings and Salutations,
With each week the games seem to be getting better and better. Last weeks Stanford’s 3OT win over the Trojans was the best game of the year. Throw in Georgia Tech upsetting an undefeated Clemson team, a “Hail Mary[i]” win by Ohio State over Wisconsin and the last minute drive by my Nittany Lions[ii] and you had the best day of the season. It seemed like momentum was building towards another outstanding weekend of football. Especially with the de facto BCS Championship play-in game between #1 LSU & #2 Alabama.
Unfortunately, aside from that game, not much else on the docket excites me. I’m not all that interested in seeing Oklahoma State demolish a plucky Kansas State team. Nor am I all that excited about seeing a depleted South Carolina team play an over-rated Arkansas.
Or am I? Maybe, just like my beloved Lions, I’m waiting in the weeds as higher ranked teams fall this weekend. Maybe on my trip to Vegas I will lay down some money at 100-1 odds that PSU will run the table and, through numerous happenstances, get to revenge its early season loss against Alabama in the BCS Title game. Stranger things have happened[iii].
Non Football Football Thought
I decided to take a little tangent from covering the games on the field and spend some time coving the games off the field, i.e. the continuing conference musical chairs. Here is my take on the winners and losers of this latest (but surely not last) round.
Winner: The Big 10+2. Who would have thought this conference would become the big winners just a couple of months from nearly imploding. I’d trade the perennial over-rated Texas A&M (4th best team in the state) for TCU (2nd best[iv]) any day of the week. Further, with Missouri’s seemingly suicidal intent to jump into the SEC[v], the Big 10+2 gets a huge upgrade with the far superior (in both football and hoops) West Virginia addition. Yes, it makes little geographic sense to add WVU to this Southwestern & Midwest based conference. However, WVU[vi] had little choice in the matter with the ongoing collapse of the Big Least. All in all, the Big 10+2 came out way ahead.
Loser #1: SEC. Yes, you heard right. The SEC lost this round. Sure A&M “opens” up the Texas market. But really, the badass SEC had to settle for this program. Getting UT or Oklahoma would be big, A&M, not so much. And don’t even get me started on Missouri. These Big 10+2 rejects don’t belong playing Florida, Georgia, Alabama etc. Basically, the conference picked up a couple of homecoming opponents that should quickly settle in the bottom tier along with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
Loser #2: The Big Least. Why couldn’t they just fold up their football operations and concentrate on basketball. Even with the loss of Syracuse and Pitt, they are still the premier hoops conference in the country. But no, they had to go for the leftover scraps like Central Florida, SMU and Houston. These teams are afterthoughts in their own cities and states. And don’t get me started on Navy and Air Force. Listen, like most normal Americans, I love the Academies. As a graduate of one myself, I know how hard it is to handle both football and the heavy academic and regimental workload. But football wise, they don’t really add much of anything to this conference. Finally, we get to Boise State. A top program that can play with anyone. I just think it’s ridiculous that they are going to be playing multiple games each year in Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida. It makes no sense.
Games I’ll be Watching
LSU at Alabama: These are the two best teams in college football this year (by a wide margin) and I can’t wait. Like most occasions, I have no idea who is going to win. I’m pulling for Alabama primarily because I usually root for the home team and I’d like to see a team that beat PSU finish #1[vii].
Oregon at Washington: I simply will watch to get a feel for next weeks Oregon at Stanford game. Seeing Oregon play against a decent common opponent might provide some insights into who will win next week in the battle of Top 10 teams. Besides, there is always the chance of an upset.
Texas Tech at Texas: Like I said, slim pickings this weekend. I’d like to see this matchup of high scoring offense verses rugged defense. Plus, for some reason I take pleasure in seeing Texas, with all its resources, struggle this year to stay relevant and keep its alumni happy.
That’s about all I have this week. I hope you enjoy the games. Next week, I plan on covering the new and exciting world of watching games I bet on legally from the sports book in Vegas.
[i] Is it really a Hail Mary if there is still time on the clock, the losing team only needs to get into field goal range and the pass play that won the game was the result of a horrible blown coverage by a weak-ass defense? I’m just asking.
[ii] Actually, the PSU-Illinois fumble-fest might have set the Big 10+2 back a few years. It was not as bad as the infamous 6-4 Iowa win over PSU but it wasn’t good. At least the good guys won this time.
[iii] Not really. But I am going to lay some money down on this bet just to show my faith.
[iv] I’d rank the programs Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and then A&M. That’s just me. Tech has had more recent success than the Aggies have had in years.
[v] Still pending but looking like a foregone conclusion.
[vi] West Virginia also made the smart hire with their head coach who has strong ties to the Texas and Oklahoma recruiting region.
[vii] This provides me with the completely unjustified idea that PSU could be the 2nd best team in the country.
(ed. note: That's right folks, as you read this, we're coaching up Jonesy on the finer points of legalized gambling. No more bookies or shylocks, for this weekend, at least.
We're absolutely baffled as to why the SEC decided to pick up A&M and Missouri. The SEC, because of their dominance in football over the rest of the country, was the only conference in the nation that could afford to set back and do absolutely nothing... zip, nada, zilch with respect to conference expansion. Those two schools bring nothing to the table with respect to football and the SEC loses a bit of its regional identity along with it. There was nothing to be gained by bringing aboard those two schools. Dumb move.
Gambling advice: Alabama vs. LSU. This game is going to come down to a late field goal. Take LSU getting 5 points at Alabama.)
* Alabama running back, Trent Richardson
** Oklahoma State wide receiver, Justin Blackmon
*** Oregon running back, LaMichael James