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Tiger pause

Give it a rest, Auburn fans. USC and OU deserve the title game

Posted: Thursday November 18, 2004 3:41PM; Updated: Thursday November 18, 2004 4:57PM
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You can never please college football fans. They take Murphy's Law to the next level by following their yearly motto: "Anything that can be complained about, will be complained about."

For nearly two years, college football fans have been salivating over a possible USC-Oklahoma meeting in the national championship game. It's the sport's lone marquee matchup and would litter the field with superstar players and coaches on both sides of the field

It's Pete Carroll vs. Bob Stoops, Matt Leinart vs. Jason White, Reggie Bush vs. Adrian Peterson, Shaun Cody vs. Dan Cody, Matt Grootegoed vs. Lance Mitchell.

It's perfect.

Well, not quite.

As we learned year in and year out, nothing is entirely perfect in the world of college football. This season is no different. Thanks to the Auburn Tigers, we have a love triangle to determine which teams should play in the title game. That threatens to break up the lovely tango USC and Oklahoma have been performing since August.

The Tigers, after years of being nothing more than an overrated and inconsistent program, now has fans fawning over them like adolescent girls at an Usher concert.

Craving a juicy new controversy and another excuse to kick the already down-on-the-turf BCS, some fans are clamoring to have Auburn as the No.1 team -- or at least have them in the Orange Bowl.

Every year around this time, we hear how the system should be tweaked. Get rid of the preseason polls, get rid of point differential, get rid of strength of schedule, get rid of the computers, get rid of the humans ...

Ah, just get over it.

It's not happening. There will never be a playoff system, at least not one that will please everyone, and there will always be a team that gets forgotten quicker than a New Year's Eve resolution.

This year's team is Auburn and as much as the Tigers would be slighted if they go undefeated and are left out of the Orange Bowl, they aren't going to get much sympathy from USC. Compared to the Trojans' snub last season -- being locked out of the national title game as the consensus No. 1 team -- Auburn's slight seems laughable.

In the end the Tigers have only themselves to blame. Many of the players on Auburn's current team, including quarterback Jason Campbell and tailbacks Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, played a large part in the team's underachieving past and overrated label, which made voters less likely to put the Tigers in the top 10 until they proved their worth. But more important, Auburn is getting killed in the computer rankings for a non-conference schedule that included home games against The Citadel, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe. What, was Louisiana Community College too busy?

Say what you will about Oklahoma and USC winning a couple of squeakers, but they've been the class of college football for the past two seasons and have earned the right to play in the title game. Unlike the Tigers, they didn't take any shortcuts in their non-conference schedules. The Trojans went on the road to play No. 15 Virginia Tech and BYU and will play Notre Dame at home next week. Oklahoma invited No. 25 Bowling Green and Oregon to Norman before it began its conference schedule.

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And speaking of conference schedules ... can we please pipe down on giving Auburn a pass to the title game because they play in the big, bad SEC? Is the SEC the best conference in football? Probably. But is it that far ahead of the Pac-10 and the Big 12? Hardly. The Pac-10 and the Big 12 each have two teams ranked in the top five of the BCS. The SEC only has one team ranked in the top 10.

So take off your Oliver Stone caps and calm down. We finally have the national championship game we've been hoping for since Week 1. It's USC. It's Oklahoma. It's perfect.

Week Sauce

Let's open up the bottle and pour out the week that was.

Friday -- What's up with Florida and Internet postings? First, the University of Florida posts an opening for their football head coaching position where anyone can download an application and submit their resume. Then a woman in Ft. Lauderdale tries to sell a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich with the picture of the Virgin Mary on it for $70,000 on eBay. Only in Florida, kids, only in Florida.

Saturday -- Nebraska coach Bill Callahan calls Oklahoma fans "hillbillies" after losing to the Sooners 30-3. Maybe the Chicago-native should first look at the "Cornhuskers" written across his chest and his environs in Lincoln, Neb., before he decides to fire insults at opposing Big 12 fans.

Sunday -- 15-year-old soccer phenom Freddy Adu, attempting to seek advice from a former child star, has lunch with Jaleel "Urkel" White in Los Angeles. White was apparently called after appointments with Emmanuel "Webster" Lewis and Gary "Arnold" Coleman fell through.

Monday -- Monday Night Football receives heat from viewers for a risqué opening scene featuring Desperate Housewives actress Nicollette Sheridan getting naked and jumping into the arms of Eagles receiver Terrell Owens. At least Sheridan didn't disrobe and hug T.O. in the end zone after one of his three touchdowns, which was the original plan.

Tuesday -- Still looking for that perfect stocking stuffer? How about a calendar from the MIT swimming and diving team?

Wednesday -- A stenciled image of Boston Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon has been popping up across Brooklyn public property, prompting City Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Cocola to vow that Damon's image would be scrubbed away. Now if only Cocolo can do the same with Damon's beard.

The Six-Pack

In honor of the passing of one of my favorite artists and one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol' Dirty Bastard, our weekly six-pack, brought to you by Arrogant Bastard Ale (San Marcos, Calif.), gives us The Top 6 Ol' Dirtiest Bastards in Sports History.

6. Steve Wisniewski, Oakland Raiders -- Opponents despised him. His teammates? One offered up this assessment of the offensive lineman. "Wiz is probably the dirtiest offensive player of all time"

5. Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Pistons -- The poster child of "The Bad Boy" era, "Cry baby" Laimbeer was dirtier than a Christina Aguilera music video as he served as Isiah Thomas' bodyguard on the court during the 1980s.

4. Marty McSorley, Boston Bruins -- Crossed the line from dirty to criminal when he blindsided Vancouver's Donald Brashear in the head with his stick, giving Brashear a concussion and all but ending McSorley's career in the NHL.

3. Bill Romanowski, Oakland Raiders -- When you've won four Super Bowls but are more famous for being sued by your teammate for a sucker punch, spitting in an opponent's face and breaking another's jaw, then you know you're dirty.

2. Roy Keane, Manchester United -- The captain of the Red Devils was famously kicked off the Irish national team before the last World Cup. He's never seen an opponent's face he wouldn't like to introduce to his forearm.

1. Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers -- Easily the dirtiest ol' bastard ever, and that would be a compliment compared to what teammates and opponents said about Cobb, who sharpened his spikes before games and always slid feet first so, as he put it, "If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault."

The Last Word

Hugs and hand pounds to the winner of ESPN's Dream Job, David Holmes, a guy who made it on the show as the "Wendy's Wild Card," which should win him points with Dan Patrick. As much as I was pulling for Holmes, I can't imagine seeing his nervous mug on ESPN. Then again, I couldn't imagine seeing another season of Dream Job and watching pompous columnists and reality show has-beens giving kids broadcast journalism advice, so what do I know?

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