College Football Mailbag (cont.)
Posted: Thursday January 3, 2008 12:19PM; Updated: Thursday January 3, 2008 3:12PM
How much do you think that Sugar Bowl performance by Colt Brennan will hurt him in the NFL draft?
It certainly didn't help. Much like Troy Smith's nightmarish bowl game last year, I'm not sure how much fault you can truly place on Brennan when his blockers provided him absolutely no help. He was under siege the entire night, and Hawaii's offense broke down accordingly. That said, the biggest questions surrounding Brennan were the system he played in and the competition he faced, and Tuesday night's game provided no positive answers.
Prior to the game, I'd heard that Brennan's stock was somewhere between the mid-second round and third round. Perhaps he drops a rung in the current projections following the Sugar Bowl. But ultimately, as is the case with most quarterbacks, his fate will be determined largely by how he performs at Senior Bowl practices, the combine (if he participates) and individual workouts. There are no shortage of current NFL quarterbacks (Tavaris Jackson, Cleo Lemon, et. al.) who faced lower-level college competition than Brennan. If the NFL types like what they see when they get Brennan under their microscope, I don't think that one game will cause much hesitation.
I saw that West Virginia gave back a bunch of Fiesta Bowl tickets and had to eat the cost. Are bowls going to punish West Virginia in the future for their lack of support?
Not necessarily. I think Fiesta officials -- whose only available choices by the time they picked were the Mountaineers or Hawaii -- were cognizant of the unique circumstances surrounding West Virginia's situation. Getting your hopes up for a national-title appearance only to have them crushed on the last night of the season by your 28-point underdog archrival, then losing your coach to Michigan a week later, is generally not a good recipe for bowl-ticket sales. If anything, I think the Fiesta was surprised they sold as many tickets (about 10,000) as they did.
In general, however, both East Coast and West Coast bowls are always going to be leery of taking a team from the other side of the country unless it's an elite program with a huge fan base (Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, etc.). West Virginia will always be a much safer pick for the Orange or Sugar bowls than the Fiesta or Rose bowls.
Stewart -- did I miss something? Since when does beating Arizona State and Illinois get you crowned likely national champs and the hottest team in college football? Oh, I forgot ... USC was the only team with injuries this season. Do you crown these guys too?
No, I'm as puzzled by the continued USC infatuation as you are. Even before the Rose Bowl beatdown of Illinois, there seemed to be a huge segment of the public and media that still believed the Trojans were the best team in the country, despite almost no tangible evidence to support that. This is a team that beat two -- I repeat, two -- teams with winning records during the entire regular season and lost to a team (Stanford) that finished the year 4-8.
Yes, I understand USC -- and John David Booty in particular -- was banged up in that game. You know who else suffered a boatload of injuries this season? Oregon. The Ducks were playing without three of their top four receivers and their No. 2 tailback when they beat the Trojans on Oct. 27. If you want to argue that USC could have won the national championship if it had stayed healthy, I'd counter that they might not even have won the Pac-10 had Dennis Dixon stayed healthy.
No question, USC, once healthy, was one of the top teams in the country by the end of the season, but there are still at least three other teams -- Ohio State, LSU and Georgia -- I'm more impressed with based on their seasons as a whole. As far as I can tell, the continued perception held by those who still believe USC as the top team in the country is based primarily on their track record (six straight seasons of at least 11 wins is pretty darn impressive) and the fact the Trojans were picked as such before the season. (Which is itself amusing, considering all the complaints I hear about preseason polls).
The fact is, USC did not look remotely like the No. 1 team in the country until the 11th game of its season, Thanksgiving night against Arizona State, and the Sun Devils wound up getting crushed by the two other best teams (Oregon with Dixon and Texas) it faced. The Trojans then beat up on what we figured all along would be an overmatched Illinois team. If you want to ignore their first 10 games and anoint them based on their final three, be my guest, but I personally tend to favor those who show consistency over a slightly longer period.
Remember your comment that USC was nowhere near the best team of all-time? I bet you do. But guess what, you simpleton? That distinction is not earned in one season, which you obviously thought it was. Guess what? USC is the greatest team of all time, and we just proved it again.
Gosh --- it's hard to argue with that logic. I guess I better take back everything I just said.
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