Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Asking Some College Football Questions

After another crazy weekend in the Big 10, some folks might have found some answers. Me? I just have more questions- lots and lots of questions…

First a couple for your Gophers…

Is Eric Decker the most valuable player in the Big 10 this year?
The Goph’s offensive offense hadn’t exactly been lighting the conference afire since the end of September, but I mean, did you SEE them Saturday without Decker? If you did, and you weren’t traumatized by the awfulness, you’re a brave, brave man.

Would the Gophers have just been better off punting on first down and hoping the defense would score?

Does Gopher offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar realize there are actually pass plays in existence that go further than four yards downfield?

How amazing is Coach Brewster for being able to land THREE stud prospects after a performance like that?

Ok, ok, ok I’ll lay off for now…other questions then…

Was Penn State’s loss to Iowa really a good thing for the Big 10?
Of course not. What a stupid question. Nobody would think that…oh wait, except SI.com’s Stewart Mandel.

A third straight blowout on the big stage might have gotten the Big Ten blackballed. Even worse, even if Iowa had missed that field goal, Florida might have surpassed the Nittany Lions in the polls Sunday. To send a one-loss team to the title game over undefeated Penn State would be like saying the Big Ten is no different than the Mountain West. As strange as it sounds, the best way for the conference to begin restoring its reputation is to steer clear of the title game for now.

Um, Stew? What happens next year if/when a Big 10 team gets to the National Title game? Will everybody suddenly forget the “Ohio State Effect” and believe the Big 10 is as good as the SEC or Big 12 again? Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, the conference is going to carry this stigma of not being good enough until they actually win the National Title and/or some BCS games? Let’s hope Penn State starts knocking down these ideas with a strong showing in the Rose Bowl this year.

I hate (to bring up) Iowa, but didn’t it seem like only yesterday that the Hawkeyes had lost three straight games and looked to be in serious danger of either playing in the Motor City Bowl, or not going bowling at all?
Now they’re 6-4 and are looking at another New Year’s Day bowl. Again. I hate Iowa.

Ok, so The Team We Hate has established itself as the Big 10’s fourth best team: but who exactly is fifth?
No really, who? We know it’s NOT Indiana, Purdue, or Michigan. Here’s your other candidates:
Minnesota (3-3 record in the Big 10): lost a home game they should have won for the second week in a row. This is probably the last time they’ll be in the top half of the conference this season.
Northwestern (3-3): got blown out by Ohio State, but then again so has everybody else. Had a bad loss to Indiana a few weeks ago, but also has a couple of quality wins against Iowa and Minnesota.
Illinois (3-3): just got beat AT HOME by Western Michigan a week after notching a huge win against Iowa. With Ohio State and Northwestern to finish the season, they’re inexplicitably in danger of not being bowl eligible.
Wisconsin( 2-5): how much emphasis should we put on blowing out Indiana? The Badgers, for one of the few times all year, looked like the Big 10 title contender they were pegged to be when the year started, doing whatever whenever they wanted against the Hoosiers. I fully expect to see this kind of performance again on Saturday, but I’ve been wrong before about Wisconsin (pretty much all year). Still, right now, today, they get my vote for fifth best team in the conference.

Could the BCS gods give me the “Plus-One” game I asked for last week?
Looks like it’s possible with just a few weeks to go. If an undefeated Alabama plays one-loss Florida in the SEC Championship (looks very, very probable) and undefeated Texas Tech and/or a one loss Oklahoma/Texas/Texas Tech plays Missouri in the Big 12 Title game, that could be the closest thing we’ve ever seen to a football National Championship semi-finals with the winners of those games playing in the BCS title game.

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