Moore's pro prospects; more mail (cont.)
Stewart you predicted LSU to be this season's biggest bust. Any reasonable evaluation of the talent and depth LSU has shown on a weekly basis has to make one wonder what you, and in fairness other prognosticators, missed. You weren't even close on this prediction.
-- John Yerger, Johnstown, Pa.
Hey now -- I still got half the BCS championship matchup right.
LSU's talent and depth were no secret. It's been a recruiting machine for years. What's made this year's Tigers so impressive is the obstacles they've overcome -- obstacles I (and others) thought would bring them down. First and foremost was the schedule, which included nonconference dates with Oregon and West Virginia and facing Alabama on the road. I didn't think that slate was conducive to a top-three finish. Secondly, LSU won a lot of close games last season. Generally those breaks tend to go the other way the next year. And finally, Jordan Jefferson, the quarterback Les Miles was so heavily banking on to improve by leaps and bounds and lead this team, was arrested and suspended 10 days before the season started. Again, not normally the stuff of champions.
And then there are the things no one could have predicted. If I had told you before the season that LSU, playing Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, would improve from 92nd to 19th in pass efficiency, would you have believed me? What if I had told you a redshirt freshman punter from Australia would emerge as one of LSU's most important players? Or that a cornerback nicknamed after a YouTube video would not only take over Patrick Peterson's number, but one-up him in terms of game-changing defensive and special teams plays? I can't say I knew the 2011 Tigers would be this ridiculously deep or loaded, but talent level only gets a team so far. You still need certain things to fall your way. I didn't think that they would. I was almost as wrong about that as I was about my surprise team.
What are the chances the Mountain West's request for BCS AQ status in 2012 and '13 gets approved? For the last few years, it has seemed superior to the Big Least, at least at the top end of the conference (pay no attention to New Mexico over there). What effect will the impending departure of Boise State have on the outcome?
-- Bob, Powder Springs, Ga.
It's hard to say, because it's a completely subjective decision. While the league met set criteria to be able to apply for a waiver, the BCS Presidential Oversight committee decides whether to actually grant said waiver. But my educated guess is that it won't be approved. The problem is, nearly all the accomplishments the league is touting from the past four years were achieved by teams that are either no longer members or about to leave: Utah, TCU and Boise State. It's essentially arguing that as a result of those teams' success, the BCS should reward San Diego State, UNLV and Air Force.
The only possible motivation for the BCS presidents to do so would be political correctness, extending an olive branch right before it's expected to eliminate the AQ/non-AQ distinction altogether, thereby making it even more difficult for nontraditional programs to play in the most prestigious games. Interestingly, MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson told the Idaho Statesman last week: "I would rather eliminate automatic qualifiers across the board over us getting automatic qualifier status for the next two years." Unlike some critics, he doesn't view the move as a threat to conferences like his. "I think our people are willing to take the risk and say you know what, let's go in the marketplace with this bunch." All the best with that. Six years in the sun, an 11-1 record and a top 10 ranking couldn't get Boise State a BCS berth this year. Maybe new member Nevada will fare better.
Do you think either Dayne (Crist) or Paul (Chryst) will help a Christ-like resurrection of underachieving programs next season at Kansas or Pitt, respectively?
-- Jeffrey, Cleveland
Dayne has a nice chance to resurrect his career by reuniting with his former coach, Charlie Weis, but this isn't Russell Wilson coming to Wisconsin. Crist was not a standout three-year starter at Notre Dame, and the 2-10 Jayhawks obviously had far bigger problems than their quarterback last season (like, say, running, catching and tackling). His impact will likely be more the level of Greg Paulus' at Syracuse in Doug Marrone's first season.
Chryst, on the other hand, is a perfect fit at Pitt. One of the most respected offensive coordinators in the sport (and Wilson's mentor this season), Chryst should bring an end to that programs 12-month nightmare that saw five permanent or interim coaches come and go. His offense is far more suited to the personnel Dave Wannstedt recruited than was Todd Graham's, and in light of the latter's text-and-run, the school couldn't ask for someone more humble and loyal than Chryst. It took some serious lobbying by Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez to sell Pitt on Chryst because he's so reluctant to market himself, but I did it for him a little bit in this feature from September on Wisconsin's offense.
Hey Stewart: Is being "banned" from a bowl game that big of deal anymore? If anything the university actually saves money not having to foot the bill for overpriced tickets, hotel rooms and a myriad other expenses. The schools getting "banned" are not really being punished by saving all kinds of cash and headaches are they?
-- Alan Hale, Omaha, Neb.
I see where you're going with that, but ask Matt Barkley or Jacory Harris whether it's "not that big of a deal" to be banned from playing in a bowl game.
Hi Stewart. I've been reading a lot about how wrong it is for a team that didn't win its conference to be able to win the national championship and I must say I agree. I mean, the ninth place Big East team (UConn) is the national champion? Really? Oh, they are talking about football and Alabama? Sorry, wrong sport.
-- Chris Anderson, Shreveport, La.
Touche. College football's unique postseason system makes for some unique pet peeves. Teams that didn't win their conference or division constantly emerge as champions in other sports. In fact the reigning NFL (Packers), NBA (Mavs) and baseball (Cardinals) champs did not win their respective divisions. UConn was ranked 14th in the final RPI standings last year. The BCS equivalent this year would be No. 14 Oklahoma -- fourth in the Big 12 -- winning the national championship.
But of course we accept these results without hesitation because they stemmed from a playoff. Given that only two teams get that opportunity in college football, I understand why some fans would find it uncomfortable that one of them did not even win its conference. However, it's not like in the NCAA tournament we make sure every conference champ is seeded before rewarding any at-large teams. If the two best teams in the regular season were ACC champion Duke and ACC runner-up North Carolina, they'd be given the top two overall seeds, thus ensuring the best possible chance to play each other in the title game. If the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils, no one would object to their being declared national champion. That's essentially what's happening here, albeit with five fewer layers between the seeding and the title game.
I was wondering if any of you sports writers realize that BAMA won every statistical category when they played for the first time in Tuscaloosa expect for the one on the scoreboard and yet "all" of you talk about how LSWho beat BAMA. Score wise, yes they did, but on the stat sheet they DIDN'T. For that very reson you are WAY off on your BCS Championship prediction. BAMA will Rolllllll into New Orleans on Jan 9th ranked #2 and ROLLLLLLLLL out National Champions!!!!!
-- Michael, Corinth, Ala.
I couldn't wait for the first game to get here because I so badly wanted to see the teams play. I can't wait for the second one to get here to put an end to 36 days of this.