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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
12/02/2007 03:12:00 AM

Who Should Be No. 2?

It's the question everyone's going to be debating for the next several days (and maybe longer than that). To find out who I think should face Ohio State in New Orleans, read my Inside College Football column.

In the meantime, some closing thoughts on this most apocalyptic of Championship Saturdays:

∙ If you didn’t stay up until 3:15 a.m. EST to see the final, climactic minutes of the 2007 regular season, you missed some high drama. Hawaii, playing for a Sugar Bowl berth, fell behind 4-8 Washington 21-0, battled back to finally claim a 35-28 lead with 49 seconds left, watched Huskies QB Jake Locker complete a 49-yard pass down to the Warriors’ 4-yard line with 20 seconds left -- then picked off Locker on a deflected pass in the end zone in the final seconds to seal the win.

Give Colt Brennan and the 12-0 Warriors credit: They never give up. They’ve had some ridiculous comebacks this season. And now, barring an unexpected drop out of the BCS Top 12, they’re going to be rewarded with a New Year’s Day bowl berth.

∙ West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez looked like a family member had died during his postgame press conference as he tried unsuccessfully to explain what can only be described as a Mountaineers “choke job” against rival Pittsburgh. I’ll never quite understand the Mountaineers’ offense – 10 games out of 12, they come out and absolutely steamroll their opponent, the other two they can seemingly do absolutely nothing. There’s no middle ground with them.

The good news is, they’re still going to a BCS bowl game, but they likely blew their chance at an Orange Bowl date with Virginia Tech. I’m guessing that game will now use its at-large pick to select 11-1 Kansas.

∙ Oklahoma’s defensive performance against Missouri on Saturday had to be one of the most impressive of the entire season. The Sooners held a team that had yet to score fewer than 31 points all season to 17, and held 4,000-yard passer Chase Daniel to just 219 yards. You could definitely notice the return of previously injured DE Auston English, but this was an all-out team effort by Oklahoma, including incredible coverage from its secondary.

∙ The season-ending implosions of Cal (6-6) and Oregon (8-4) are complete. The Bears’ first loss in six years to hated rival Stanford (4-8), 20-13, marked their sixth loss in their past seven games. The Ducks, meanwhile, fell to 0-3 since QB Dennis Dixon’s injury but did not go down without a fight, taking rival Oregon State to double overtime in the Civil War before falling 38-31.

∙ It’s time to get some sleep. It’s been a late, eventful night – and I have a feeling tomorrow night’s going to be no different. The BCS pairings do not get released until 8:30 p.m. EST, though we should get a better sense how they might turn out once we see the final coaches poll early Sunday afternoon.

Suffice to say, there’s never been more final-day suspense -- or confusion -- than this.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 4:29 AM   by MJD
I think the thing most lacking in the "LSU for No 2" arguments, particularly the ones citing that both LSU losses came in triple overtime, is that they overlook the LSU *wins* that came by similarly slim margins. If you are going to make the argument that "LSU could very easily be 13-0", you have to accept the equal and opposite argument that "LSU could very easily be 8-5."

The fact of the matter is, LSU is not 13-0, 8-5, or any other record in between except for 11-2. And vaulting a team from No 7 to No 2 on the strength of a lackluster one-touchdown win over a three-loss team turns my stomach a bit.

If people thought LSU was deserving -- more deserving than Georgia -- they should have ranked them higher last week. You don't get to be hypocritical, one week justifying a team's high ranking by simply bumping it upward from a preseason poll ranking, and the next week utterly changing your ballot because you think LSU is "almost 13-0."
Posted: 4:38 AM   by TheDukester
How's that SEC Kool-Aid, Stewart?

Yes, by all means, let's give LSU a third chance to play in the national title game. Why not? The whole landscape is so incredibly tilted in favor of the SEC anyway; why not just give one of the spots to a team that lost twice to two laughably overrated teams and got blindly lucky on a last-second pass that was the worst coaching call in the history of organized sports?

Eventually someone in power will catch on to a truth that is completely self-evident to all football fans who don't live in Louisiana or Florida:

1. SEC teams begin every season completely over-valued;
2. Non-conference home games against Florida International and Gardner-Webb and other powerhouses ensure a 4-0 record, causing these rankings to become even more inflated;
3. Then the fun starts: all of the teams in this mediocre league start beating each other ... yet they get credit for beating "ranked teams." See point #1 ... most of these teams had no business being ranked in the first place.
4. The media whores and so-called "experts" jump on the bandwagon, basically guaranteeing that the SEC will get every imaginable break from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1.
5. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What a farce. If LSU somehow weasels its way into the big game, I'll be buying about $200 worth of Ohio State gear. And I used to live in Ann Arbor.
Posted: 4:41 AM   by TheDukester
And vaulting a team from No 7 to No 2 on the strength of a lackluster one-touchdown win over a three-loss team turns my stomach a bit.

Amen.

And not just a three-loss team, but one that got smacked in the mouth by Cal, which just wrapped up a 6-6 season and finished seventh in the Pac-10.
Posted: 5:33 AM   by jason
i agree with everyone above. how can you vault LSU from 7th to 2nd??? how is it that LSU is "most deserving" stewart??
how many breaks do we have to give this team? if they were the second best team, then why werent they ranked 4th last week? it sets a dangerous precedent to just let the voters choose from a pool of 2-loss teams. i am so sick of the SEC and LSU in particular getting free second chances. if we are going to move them up, why stop at 2?? we might as well move them up to number 1, because thats what everbody wants. and, while we are at it, lets just move georgia up to number 2, because OBVIOUSLY, any teams from any other conference would lose every game they played were they in the SEC. its such horse $h!t mandel.
Posted: 5:43 AM   by sprawlnuts
At this point, why not let Hawai'a play OSU? Seriously, this year is so screwed up what's the difference? If OSU doesn't win, is the team that faces them and wins the true nat'l champ?

That being said, I don't think Hawai'i is that good, but we really don't know. At least Boise last year had proven themselves against a 10 win BCS league team by this point. What if that was the case with Hawai'i this year? It would be a mess if you left them out.

I think we need to get used to these debacles from now on until we get a playoff. There is too much parity in college FB right now.
Posted: 6:29 AM   by Gary Chou
Let me clear some myths:

1. Play-off system is better than the current BCS: False.

A playoff system gives an easy winner, but does it guarantee the winning team would win against an unranked team? In other words, if we put OSU, USC, LSU, UGA, OU, etc. into a playoff system and they beat each other, some teams are destined to come up on top, and one team is destined to win at the end. This is mathematically certain.

However, this mathematic certainty only ignores the possibility that any team in this playoff system would beat an unranked team, or in the same regard, beat its opponent in the playoff system twice.

In the current system, we say USC is better team than Stanford, but USC lost to Stanford. So how do we really reconcile that? Is LSU worse than Arkansas? Is Michigan worse than A. State? Is OSU worse than Illinois? Certainly not, but they all lost for one reason and another which we just have to attribute to chances.

A great team that is favored to win simply has a high likelihood of winning, but there is no guarantee. Any freakish thing could happen. I think we all understand this.

So because a great team loses to a lesser team due to chance, so we are saying the BCS system is flawed? Well, how does a playoff system avoid that problem exactly? To me, it simply hides from the problem, but the problem is still there.

Look at this argument from another angle. Doesn't it take discipline and dedication for a team to win every game? Shouldn't a team give its 100% when playing against an unranked team? If a team simply beats top 10 teams but plays lazily to an unranked team, that team does not deserve to be a national champion material.

Therefore, yes, it's important to win big games, but it's also important to beat unranked teams. It takes talents to do the first, but discipline to do the second.

2. OSU doesn't deserve to be #1: Really?

I agree that OSU has a weaker SOS than LSU-the SEC champion, but if you compare the two, they both beat the same amount of teams with winning record (5). If you look at their scores, OSU won almost every game by double digit or often more than 3 TDs. Look at the Michigan game, OSU even gave up a TD at the end because their coach wanted to show his class. LSU on the other hands won many close games. People said LSU lost to good teams in TRIPLE OT. Sure, but did LSU not WIN IN OT? Did OSU win any game in OT?

My point is, sure OSU has weaker schedule, but it also beats it opponents consistently by a large margin.

Lastly, conference championship games are not required, it is not OSU's fault to not have a conference championship game, or its SoS being weak.


By the way, I think this year OSU has a more complete team than last year. There are only a few returners from last year, so you really can't compare the team who lost to Florida under Troy Smith with the new team they got. Speaking of the old team, I think it's telling to note that the absence of Ted Ginn really had an impact on that outcome. After all, when he was in the game, he scored more than a TD every minute, when he was out, they were just screwed. LOL.
Posted: 6:49 AM   by jason
to everyone that is saying, "OSU does not deserve to be in the title game" you can eat $h!t. i dont know how any sane person can at this point say they do not belong. admittedly, OSU may not be the best team, but that is a completely different argument than deserving. you base your belief on strength of schedule. if you argue that LSU should be there, at the end of the season, look at OSU's 1-loss to LSU's 2(!) losses. what is illinois ranked at the end of the season compared to arkansas and kentucky? thats right, eat it and stick your foot in your mouth after youve swallowed. im an OSU fan that has been quiet all season, but the hating has become ridiculous. im the first to admit that OSU is NOT the best team in the country, however, we are the most deserving team.
now i have to read jerk-off comments about osu getting raped in new orleans. all i have to say is keep talking trash and keep fueling the fire. if anything is to be learned from this season its that on any given day, the less-talented team can come out on top.
Posted: 7:12 AM   by MJD
Play-off system is better than the current BCS: True.

Is it perfect? No. But at least it lets a bunch of hard-to-tell-apart teams settle their rankings on the field, instead of tossing it to a bunch of voters, some of whom will vote based on a hierarchy stretching back to a meaningless preseason assessment, some of whom will vote on personal preference, some of whom will vote on late-season performance, and who knows what.

The best team isn't guaranteed to win a playoff. But they have a better chance of actually being crowned champion under a playoff system than rolling the BCS dice and hoping they come up with a "1" or a "2".
Posted: 7:49 AM   by Redtails
Not only did LSU have a few slim margins, look at head to head. LSU beat Florida at home by 4, LSU beat Auburn at homne by 6. Georgia beat both teams on the road by 12 and 25, respectively. LSU lost to Kentucky in triple OT, while Georgia held Kentucky to only 13 points in Kentucky just 2 weeks ago...late in the season...when it matters most. Sure, LSU beat Tennessee and South Carolina, Georgia's only losses, but what does this all mean? That Georgia is #4, now they should be #2.
Posted: 8:21 AM   by rob
Wisconsin is the best win OSU has had all year. No matter who they play on Jan. 7th, they will lose. So we should know today who the voters are crowning this year NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.
Having lived in the South for a while, I've learned that praising one's opponent to the skies is a tactic that very seldom works. This is primarily because no one in the Big 12 or the SEC, apparently, expects such pre-game accolades to be taken too seriously (and probably distrust their opponents enough to disregard, out-of-hand, compliments from such an unlikely source). The tactic worked, however, in the case of West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh. After you, Stewart, and rest of the national media pundits picked up on the "WVU powerhouse" theme, the Mountaineers apparently came to believe that they could "mail in" a win against the battered, inexperienced, and unranked Panthers.

In the end, it didn't make for a great night for the Big East, but it was a great night for Pitt football. As rivalries go, Pitt-West Virginia is one of the historic ones. It's an especially bitter one, too, because no matter how good a team WVU has fielded over the years, they just haven't seemed to be able to win that one important game, of which last night's is just one of multiple examples. Pitt has not only enjoyed a commanding lead in the series -- their 'upset' wins have come at more inopportune and damaging times vis-a-vis West Virginia's [potential] post-season aspirations.

I recently caught an interview with Mack Brown, the University of Texas coach, who was describing a conversation between a Longhorns coach and "Spike" Dykes, the Texas Tech coach from 1987 to 1999. The Red Raiders had suffered a lot of injuries and, prior to the UT-TTU game, the Texas coach asked Dykes what kind of shape his players would be in for the upcoming game. Dykes's reply pretty much sums up the motivation a great rivalry can provide: "They could be sick and [playing] you [UT] would make them well." Pitt had been 'sick' for most of this season, with early, season-ending injuries at several key positions. Emotionally, at least, last night provided some healing balm and constituted a giant step toward the kind of team I think these young Panthers can become. Go Pitt!
Posted: 8:39 AM   by Kelly
Yesterday was a clear and undebatable reason why a playoff is not needed. Think about it, had there been a playoff of either eight (without automatic bids, with them, it would be just as flawed as the BCS) or sixteen teams, yesterday would have been meaningless. This is the greatness of college football. All that excitement, would have simply been gone making it like the average NFL Sunday, boring. Real college football fans know that a playoff is not needed. Let us all hope the presidents continue to do what it right and not fall prey to the ESPN nation, the people who do not really care about the game, they do not matter.
Posted: 8:46 AM   by dk10
Stew-

Your column has been increasingly frusterating all year long. You will not give any other conference the light of day, it is SEC or nothing. Looks like your National nightmare rang true-the Buckeyes are back.

In making a case for the now 11-2 LSU in your Inside College Football column, you argued that both of LSU's losses came to teams with winning records. Didn't Ohio States ONE loss come to a team with a winning record? A better record than either Kentucky or Arkansas, I might add. Why is it that the Buckeyes do not deserve a shot at the title?

It doesn't matter. As the only major-conference team with only one loss, regardless of what everyone else in the country thinks, the Buckeyes cleaned up on the field and are headed to New Orleans.

I only can hope LSU will be seeded in front of us.
Posted: 9:03 AM   by PSUfan
There is one argument for a playoff which those of you arguing against seem to forget. Next month two teams will get a CHANCE to play for the national championship. No one, at this time, can assure that those teams will include the "best" team in the country. However, a playoff system with four/eight/sixteen teams has a much greater probability of at least allowing the best team to have a CHANCE to play for the championship. That's no guarantee that the best team wins...only that they get a CHANCE.
Posted: 9:21 AM   by Dink
Stew, the title of your column says it all:

GIVE, GIVE, GIVE, GIVE

I thought teams earned the privilege to play in the NC game.

You media people lack integrity and make me sick at my stomach.
Posted: 9:27 AM   by aj
I'll start with I'm a huge UGA/SEC fan, but I'm not here to say that the Dawgs or LSU definitely deserve the spot. Also, I'm not going to argue overall SOS; I think most of the major teams in college football have similar schedules. They all have a share of strong teams and cupcakes whether in their particular conference or out. So how did the teams near the top handle their schedules? I'll look at who they lost to as the first descriminator. USC - Stanford (a cupcake) and Oregon (outstanding at the time): out due to Stanford loss. OU - Colorado (not Baylor, but close) and TT (ditto): out even though they're playing well now. UGA, LSU, Va T even. UGA - Tenn (ranked) and SC (excellent at the time). LSU - KY (excellent at the time, in OT) and Ark (rivalry game, in OT). Va T - LSU (blowout, but early in the season) and BC (ranked). Looking at these, it is hard to pick from these three teams. Is UGA out because they didn't win their division? They were actually co-division champs and were not SELECTED based on a tiebreaker. What if the tiebreaker rules were different: higher ranked BCS team or better overall record (UGA goes)or better in division record (UT goes? I'd like to think UGA would have beaten LSU in the CC. Is Va T out because they lost to LSU. I think that's a hard ruling because the game was so early in the season. I think they are playing better than LSU now and would beat them on a neutral site. Finally, what about LSU? They lost late to Arkansas, but it was a rivalry game, and D McF had an outstanding game. Plus, they had several ugly wins. To wrap it all up, let me say I'm a traditionalist and don't like the BCS or its predecessor the bowl alliance, but I don't want a playoff either. I like anything that makes the BCS look bad so I've really enjoyed this season. Taking the bowl tie ins of the 80s, it's interesting to see how that would have led nicely into a plus two scenario.

Rose: P10/B10 - USC vs OSU
Sugar: SEC/at large - LSU vs WVA/UH
Orange: B12(B8)/at large - OU vs Va T
Fiesta: at large/at large - UGA/KU
Posted: 9:32 AM   by aj
fiesta - UGA vs KU.
Posted: 9:46 AM   by matthewdenny
Heres my take after BCS 1 &2 fall.

#3 OSU -- IN
#4 Georgia -- Didn't win confrence, if this isn't important let them in.
#5 Kansas -- also didn't win conf.
#6 Virginia Tech. -- Won confrence
#7 LSU -- Won confrence

So if winning the Conf is important put the highest ranked team to do that VT. If not take the highest in general Georgia. LSU and Kansa should not be in the discussion.
Posted: 10:13 AM   by blog
BOYCOTT THE BCS! In my view, this is the perfect year to try to pressure the BCS powers-that-be into establishing at least the "plus-one" playoff format which would allow for a 4-team playoff. We were close to that three years ago. Whatever matches are announced this evening, there will be more than half of the college football fans in the nation who will vigorously disagree.

Instead of watching the BCS games next January, spend that time writing letters to the BCS powers and the BCS television networks and the major sponsors whose names are on each of the BCS bowls. Let Allstate, Fed-Ex, Frito-Lay (Tostitos), and the Fox network all know how upset you are with the current system and how you are going to vote your dollers for their competitors. Tell them that you will gladly watch your DVD of "Its A Wonderful Life" in preference to this year's bowl games. If they see a measurable drop-off in product purchases and TV viewing audience, then our point will be made.

Besides, my Gators will not be in a BCS bowl, so I don't have a dog in the BCS fight.
Posted: 10:15 AM   by Sooner63
Anyone but LSU because of the "THUG" factor. Anyone who has played LSU or attended an LSU game knows that LSU has the greatest group of thugs both on the field and for fans.

I am a realist and know that top tier college football isn't for choir boys. But there are limits and LSU has exceeded them. There are strong cases to be made for Georgia, Oklahoma, USC, and WVU. Any of them would be a better look and sent a stronger message for civil boundaries than LSU.

Don't reward a system that needs to have more boundaries--not fewer.
Posted: 10:16 AM   by Sooner63
Anyone but LSU because of the "THUG" factor. Anyone who has played LSU or attended an LSU game knows that LSU has the greatest group of thugs both on the field and for fans.

I am a realist and know that top tier college football isn't for choir boys. But there are limits and LSU has exceeded them. There are strong cases to be made for Georgia, Oklahoma, USC, and WVU. Any of them would be a better look and sent a stronger message for civil boundaries than LSU.

Don't reward a system that needs to have more boundaries--not fewer.
Posted: 10:22 AM   by dk10
Seeing as my Buckeyes are in a BCS game, I could not possibly boycott.

I have always been strongly against a playoff. Even the new BCS title game dirves me crazy. It is too separated from the rest of the games, and breaks from a longstanding college football tradition.

The great thing about the BCS is that every game matters. If I wanted to see a bunch of worthless regular season games against "Cupcake" teams, I would watch the NFL. Which I don't, exactly for that reason.

If we were to get rid of the BCS, we are not only getting rid of the essence of college football, but we are getting rid of the Stanfords, Colorados, Pittsburgs, and Appalachain States of the world.

Those games mean something. Upsets like this leave every non-BCS team with the hope that they can totally trash one teams entire season in 60 minutes of football.
Posted: 10:27 AM   by Marcus
dk10-
you missed the point of Stewart's column. the entire argument is based on the assumption that Ohio St is in. he's making the case for LSU to be their opponent.

matthewdenny-
as stewart said, how could anyone in their right mind pick VT over LSU? LSU beat them by 41! "early in the season, different team since then, blah blah blah" They shouldn't have been ranked ahead of LSU last week and the voters shouldn't have any problems correcting that issue.
Posted: 10:27 AM   by Dink
Playoff, plus a plus, plus a plus plus a plus, plus a plus. How many chances do you want to give your favorite team/conference to prove themselves???? Hilarious!


Personally I think 11 to 12 opportunities in a matter of 3 months is plenty of opportunity to prove yourselves. You either do it or you don't, quite simple.
There's no clear cut top college football team in America, so people are going to be splitting hairs to pick two to play for the national title. The one thing that should not affect the pollsters decisions, though it most surely will, is strength of schedule.

Sure, playing harder teams might indicate a "better" (the least defined, most subjective term in college football) team, but guess what - the schedule is the one thing the players and the coaches don't control. Other than a coach possibly speaking with an AD about an opponent several years in advance, there's nothing you can do about your schedule except win or lose your games. So LSU played against a bunch of SEC teams who beat up (or in Tennessee's position - lost to) crappy out of conference teams. The only way we have to judge a conference is to then see how teams play against each other (and a conference magically always appears to win half of its intra-conference games). So, the SEC has a lot of bowl game eligible teams thanks to beating up on the likes of Gardner-Webb and Northwestern State. Good job - it must mean that you're the toughest conference around.

People will argue that team A could have been undefeated with team B's schedule, but must I remind everyone about certain HOME games involving Stanford, Appalachian State, Pittsburgh and even Arkansas? What team A would have done in the same place as team B is a bunch of garbage - there's no basis for it and it only further screws with peoples understandings of what "better" actually means.

If you want to have a true strength of schedule that matters, you'll have to disband conferences and have teams play NCAA defined schedules where teams play a sampling of all teams in America so that a statistical analysis can actually be done. Until then, steer clear of the SOC debate focus simply on how teams performed with whomever they stepped on the field with. If you pull out the SOC card you're just going to trying to pound in a square peg in a round hole.
Posted: 10:31 AM   by CGator
I would honestly prefer that the national championship trophy not be awarded this year. No team, including OSU, deserves to be selected as one of the two best teams in the country. OSU only proved what has been obvious since this idiotic system started, that playing the crappiest schedule that you can in a major conference is the best way to get to the national championship game. Let everyone else lose to those quality opponents and keep the loss total down. The fact that two teams are going to be selected as the best two teams in the country after this season is preposterous. Without a playoff, no one can make a valid argument that almost any of these teams is actually better than another. I'd bet that Florida would be favored over Ohio State again in the national championship game and they have 3 loses and are ranked 10th. Obviously someone is going to get the crystal ball, but it won't be worth anything more than a bunch of crystal in the shape of a football. And btw, if VT makes the NCG I think I'll vomit on the floor.
Posted: 10:32 AM   by dk10
Marcus-I understand, just reading between the lines a bit.

It is obvious many people do not find Ohio State worthy, Stew included. They may not be the best team in the country, but right now, short of Hawaii, they have the best record.
Posted: 10:35 AM   by Hyde
Answering Kelly's post at 8:39, which claimed a playoff system would have made yesterday meaningless:

I see your point, but instead of focusing on what would be lost (the excitement of yesterday), why not focus on what would be gained? Under the current postseason system, there are basically 2 games that the average fan will really care about: the BCS championship, and whatever game the team you follow happens to play in. But under a playoff system, every game is part of the process of deciding the eventual champion, and therefore every game is potentially interesting to every fan, like we have now in March Madness or with the NFL playoffs.
Posted: 10:47 AM   by renb2
What is great about this is next year it will be OSU and ?.. no matter what happens in this year's OSU-? game. Almost all their players come back and we will be hearing the same whining by SEC fans next year. I can't wait.

Instead of SOS, let's put in a NFL draft potential index. Gets more to the talent of the team to who is played, since you can't control this if the schedules are done years in advance.
Posted: 10:47 AM   by Dink
SEC fans:

You're saying the same thing a lot of other people were saying about Florida not deserving it last year and look what happened. Likewise, you should be careful about what you say about other conferences and how strong their schedules are because you made the same claims about other conferences last year and only managed to win 1 out of 3 games against the Big 10 last year in head-to-head competition.

Y'all lost to the Big 10 last year. Live and learn.
Posted: 11:06 AM   by Randy
Another great year of College Football. I enjoyed every minute of it. Congrats to all the Conference Winners.
I'm not predicting or bashing any team or Conference, but since 1 & 2 lost yesterday, I can't see LSU jumping to # 2, it would just expose the voters as being bias, and under the spell of Corporate America, i.e. (Money, Money, Money)
It all comes down to who's going to rake in the most cash.
Lets throw out all the fancy running Quarterbacks, spread offenses and let's see some real football.

Ohio State vs Oklahoma
Posted: 11:18 AM   by Rocky Top
I think Mandel's comparison of last year's Michigan/Florida debate to this year's fiasco is completely off-base. He argues that if voters considered the 'best team', Michigan would have gotten the nod. However, the knock against LSU, just like it was with Michigan last year, is that both teams are going into the National Championship with a recent loss. Besides, is Mandel ignoring the fact that LSU has been average as of late? They gave up huge chunks of yards to Ole Miss and Arkansas (obviously the Ark game was a loss) and looked unimpressive in beating Tennessee.

At this point in the season, we have to look beyond limiting factors like "must be a conference champ". I truly believe Georgia should get the opportunity. They finished with the same number of losses as Tennessee and LSU, but didn't get to play for the championship due to the tie-breaker. In fact, they were only a blocked Kentucky field goal away from getting that chance. No other team has both as impressive of a resume as Georgia and has displayed the championship-caliber form that Georgia has over the last two months.
Hope this will clear up the confusion:
The voters actually have two responsibilities today: 1) to rank the top 25 teams; and 2) to pick the two teams that will play in the national championship game. While the former is weighted towards recent performance (as it is all season long), for the latter all that goes out the window, and the voters look at the season as a whole. Note that this second responsibility - choosing who will play in the NC game - only comes up once per year.
This explains why LSU will "vault" from n°7 to n°2. If voters could become schizophrenic and split the rankings in two, LSU would finish no.5 in one of their polls and no.2 in the other. They can't, of course. That's why, almost by default, they will rank LSU no.2. Hope this clears up some of the confusion.
Posted: 12:13 PM   by Kelly
hyde, when you look at the shear complexity of the issue of a playoff, the potential consequences, it becomes readily apparent that the negatives that go along with it greatly outweigh any positives, unless the playoff is of extremely limited scope. The use of a situational plus one where an additional game could be implemented after the bowl season plays out on its own should the need arise. For example, say OSU plays LSU in the title game and wins and Kansas loses to whoever they play. There is no controversy. No additional game would be needed.
Posted: 12:18 PM   by JW
This is the one time in the season that voters are likely to rank teams according to their season as a whole, and not just up or down from last week's rankings. LSU has the best argument among the two-loss teams based on both losses in OT to good teams playing their best games of the year. They also won the SEC, which has to count for something even if you think the conference is overrated. The other two-loss teams each have at least one blowout loss or a loss to a bad team. Kansas would be there with a better schedule, but you can't blame the players for that.
Posted: 12:23 PM   by tbhull
If LSU leaps over Georgia then why shouldn't OU leap over both? I wish the absurdity and BS brought to us by the BCS comes to an end after being highlighted this year.
Posted: 1:00 PM   by War Eagle
To the SEC haters,
Here is a breakdown of the number of NFL players on 2007 opening day rosters by CONFERENCE.

SEC-267
ACC-238
BIG 10-234
PAC 10-183
BIG 12-176
BIG EAST-84

Also of note the SEC has 5 of its schools with over 30 players in the NFL. No other conference has more than 2.
Posted: 1:07 PM   by Jason
Why isn't Oklahoma getting any BCS NC love? They just beat the #1 team in the country. And they have the same schedule as LSU, VA Tech, and Georgia.
Posted: 1:10 PM   by War Eagle
On a neutral field LSU would be favored against any team except maybe USC. Why, they are talented and battle tested. Remember those numbers. Five SEC teams with over 30 current NFL ballers while no other conference has more than 2. USC belongs in the discussion too because they will play anyone, anywhere.
Posted: 1:12 PM   by War Eagle
Yawn, the NFL's on.
Posted: 1:20 PM   by deepsouth12
I still cannot believe what has transpired. Geaux Tigers. Justice will be served if they make the big game. To all the haters, stop all this stuff about LSU 'squeeking by', 'struggling', etc... The object of football is to have more points at the end of the game. It's not about 'flair'...this isn't dancing with the stars. LSU's D is incredible. The only reason the D has took the blame at times is becuase we keep them on the field too long. With Flynn in the game, our offense is about as sexy as Rosie Odonnell...doesn't stretch the field and therefore can't move the chains enough until the second half, when we start blowing up the line of scrimage.

Mark my words, the next big story--if LSU gets the nod--is the Flynn vs Perilloux issue. Perilloux is a younger guy but DOES stretch the field. We LSU fans will begin to struggle with this in a big way in the coming weeks.

The only team out there that you can argue is about to get the shaft big time is Oklahoma. They are playing lights out right now and common sense tells you the Big 12 should be respresented this year. I feel for them.

USC fans, stop talking about how you once beat Auburn back during the cold war. People keep saying "it's not their fault Nebraska is terrible...that Notre Dame is terrible". I'm saying, yes, it is your fault. You schedule these teams that trade on name recognition and now here you sit.

Now, with all that said...I believe THE SHOCKER TONIGHT WILL BE VA TECH ending up in the #2 spot, unfortunately. Watch for it.
Posted: 1:23 PM   by Jason
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 1:47 PM   by Tom
It is just amazing how Stewart can be so out of touch and keep a job as an "analyst". HThe Editor at SI must be his uncle.

After #1 is knocked off, Stewart can only muster 1 paragraph in the middle of a column touting his beloved LSU. What happened, Stew - did LSU get you laid when you visited?

Stew says, "The Sooners held a team that had yet to score fewer than 31 points all season to 17....." without even acknowledging just *WHO* held them to 31 points earlier in the year. OKLAHOMA!

Didn't anyone point that out to you Stew?

You are inept. It's amazing that anyone reads your hacked tripe. I guess that's why almost none of the traffic in your blogs is about you or what you write.
Posted: 1:48 PM   by War Eagle
I never thought I would say this as an SEC traditionalist but...we need a playoff. There I got it out. That wasn't so bad. Even though it would lessen the importance of a few games, what we have today is insane. I am pretty sure that the BCS will put the most deserving teams in the game(OSU vs LSU) but every team has a valid argument for and against. Usually the BCS works out but not this year. Why couldn't my Auburn Tigers go undefeated this year like in 2004.
Posted: 1:51 PM   by Matthew
Kelly,

Because you are a diehard anti-playoff advocate, let me address my arguments to you on why a playoff is most definitely needed.

You state that the regular season would no longer be exciting with a playoff. False. If we had a 4-8 team playoff, teams would be fighting and scrapping for those spots. Think about it, we would have 4-8 spots for about 12 teams with comparable resumes this year (i am counting OSU, the 7 possible title contenders Stew mentioned, as well as some other two loss teams such as WVU, Mizzou, or a good three-loss team such as UF).

Had LSU lost the SEC chmp. game, they would have been out of the playoffs. Had OU lost, they would have been out also. In other words, teams would still have to play hard down to the last week of the season and would have been just as riveting. In fact, it would have been MORE exciting because more than two games would have been relevant (such as USC-UCLA).

In sports, we like to have clearly defined champions, and a playoff system moves us closer to a clearly defined champ. Yes, some teams would have to be left out of the playoff mix for practical reasons, but better to only leave a couple possible title contenders out than the SEVEN we are having to leave out now.

It is so much more fair to settle the matter ON THE FIELD than to have voters decide for us. UGA and LSU never played this year. Neither did Kansas or Oklahoma. So how can we really determine which is better? You can't. Yet voters will decide that one is better and give it a shot at the title. That is simply unfair to the teams that don't get selected.

If you like tradition, we can work it out such that the BCS bowls are the hosts of such playoff games and seed them according to their traditional bowls if possible. I, however, am tired of not really knowing who the best team in NCAA football is year in and year out. Because there is no playoff system this year, a shroud of illegitimacy will hover over the BCS champion, and it's never a good thing for any sport to have your champion questioned.
Posted: 1:55 PM   by mud4feet
Any system that denies the ONLY undefeated to have no chance to play for the championship is fatally flawed and unfair. Bad mouth Hawaii all you want, but NOBODY beat them! This year of all years, that should mean something. I think Boise St. proved last year what a farce the "BCS" selection process is. Are we all still deluding ourselves that it's not about the "money", but all about crowning a "True" National Champion???

The only sport on ANY level without some sort of playoff system.......what a joke!!!!

Go Warriors!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 2:05 PM   by MJD
A playoff does not make the regular season meaningless.

Any more than it does in the other divisions of college football... or the NFL... or college basketball... or the NBA... or the NHL, MLB, minor leagues, or college versions.... one could go on.

Heck, in MLB they play over 160 games in a season -- that ought to be enough to figure out who's the best, right? Oddly, I don't hear a huge clamor for a BCS-style poll ranking coming from that direction -- 160+ games aren't enough. Let's see more!

"But those guys are pros," you say. Fine. In NCAA basketball, teams manage to suffer through the indignity of thirty-odd games before the postseason. The last time I checked, despite there being nearly three times as many games in the basketball season as in football, there's still a playoff to sort things out at the end, and oddly, people still pay to go see regular season games.

A playoff doesn't obviate the regular season. It's true that a playoff *can* reward a team that becomes good only late... but, because even a playoff isn't perfect, earning a good seed and/or bye in a playoff is a valuable thing. The late-bloomer team might have a chance to win it all, sure, but they are going to have the most horrible path to the championship game -- while the teams that took care of business the most efficiently will have a much easier time in earlier rounds.

Just because a playoff isn't 100% guaranteed to find the One True Shining Champion, doesn't mean it still isn't orders of magnitude better than the nigh-Lovecraftian mess of the current system. Heck, this year I'm pretty sure there isn't any obvious true champion, but at least a playoff would let pretty much all the teams with a reasonable claim of deserving a shot to take it, and show what they've got on the field against each other.

Right now? We just don't know. And thanks to the BCS we aren't going to.
Posted: 2:12 PM   by mud4feet
to MJD........


Well said.
Posted: 2:15 PM   by Matthew Cush
Talk about a roll of the dice! Miles takes a huge risk in agreeing to LSU's contract demands before the SEC Championship game, but then has the luxury of looking his team in the eye, right before the big game, and telling them that he is staying. His team then goes out and wins the SEC Championship. His bet paid off, you might say.
But then WV and Mizzou both go and lose and Miles finds himself in the NC game! Either he made a deal with the devil, or Lady Luck is smiling on him. Either way, I want to go to Vegas with the guy.
I think an undefeated Hawaii should be in the Title Game over any of these two loss teams. I entertained the suggestion that one loss teams are better, but two losses??? Come on, give it to the undefeated team.
Posted: 2:26 PM   by Dink
LSU is the media and "expert" darlings and has been all year based on "talent and potential" rather than performance on the field. The only way for the media and "experts" to save face is to GIVE them a NC game berth and hope they win so that in the end they can say see, we were right. No other team in history has gotten such undeserved consideration and anyone saying otherwise is in denial and not credible.
Hey Warbeagle,

Your comment about more SEC players
in the NFL than any other conference...well that's a case of quantity over quality. If you look at the top 5 players from each of the 3 major offensive (passing, receiving, rushing) and 3 major defensive (tackles, int, sacks) categories, you would see that out of those 30 players only 3 are from the SEC. The NFL needs special teams and backup guys, so I guess they scout the SEC heavily in that area.
Posted: 2:28 PM   by Kelly
The biggest problem with a playoff, other than the fact that it will create many more problems that it solves, is letting the cat out of the bag. The university presidents realized the catastrophic mistake they made with the NCAA tournament and will not make the same mistake with football. The basketball argument is the most nonsensical of the bunch. The reason basketball is out of control is the tournament. Look at the graduation rates. In football, when you take out the top two teams of every conference and the one or two doing whatever they can to make it into the top two, football graduation rates are roughly 75% (in 2006). When you throw in the rogue schools, they are still higher than 60%. Basketball is not even close any way to manage the numbers.

While I do not want to see a playoff because of what it would do the tradition of the game, if it were permanently capped at a small number of teams, I would not necessarily be opposed to it, but we all know that will not happen. ADs are out of control. The money is too enticing when it is there to turn back. The presidents know this. Keeping a playoff out of college football is the right thing to do whether anyone likes it or not. Please remember, this not just about the top few teams, this is about all 119 teams as well as the students and alumni of those schools who will be negatively impacted by a playoff.
HAWAII!!!
Posted: 2:29 PM   by War Eagle
Here are why your teams don't belong

OU: You play in a weak conference with a bunch of undersized lineman. You should go 12-0, or 11-1 every year. The only team that recruits with you is Texas. Don't use we lost our QB as an excuse. LSU won without its QB.

KU: Don't make me laugh...Beat a team in the top 25. The Big 12 has forgetten how to play defense, thats why KU's offense was so good this year. Plus they never played OU.

VA TECH: Sorry, but any team that gets beat by 40 points in a conference where its 2 flagship schools are down and out should not play for the championship. That choke job to BC earlier this year hurts doesn't it.

USC: Almost, but not quite USC. Probably the most talented team and will play anyone, anywhere. They played too poorly the first half of the season to warrant a bid.

Georgia: Almost, but like USC played poorly the first half of the season. Big time College Football is about a season long body of work.

LSU: If you look at all the arguments LSU is the most deserving. They lost to two pretty good teams in triple OT whose star players will be drafted early in the first round. Unlike Oregon and OU, LSU was able to get past its QB injuries. LSU plays in the most balanced, most phsical conference. They remind me of Florida last year. Very dangerous, but some times get in their own way.

OSU: OSU was the most consistent team this year. Yet its easy to be consistent against the soft schedule they had. Illinois exposed them. LSU will too. But I have a feeling the sweater vest will really coach up his boys and try to avoid another SEC beatdown.
I love SEC football and think they should have two BCS teams. With that being said, I don't think an SEC team should play for the title. LSU lost two games to mediocre Ark. and UK. They were lucky to beat Alabama (not good.) Had they not played at home, would have been lucky to beat UF or Auburn. Hardly a dominating team. You can make better arguments for Georgia since they are a young team who came together nicely as the season progressed.

The bottom line is in college football you have to win the games on your schedule to be a national champion. Hawaii did that, and should get the chance to show what they can do against OSU.
Posted: 2:37 PM   by Maconlaw
Two questions, and these are based on your SI article. If we are trying to pick, in your words, the "most deserving" team, and not the team that is the besr at the end of the season, what possible good will a playoff do? Wil that not only tell us who is best at the end of the year, more particularly on one day?

Second, if LSU is truly the best of the rest, why did they have to go to overtime on two occasions? Shouldn't the number two team handle most teams with ease?

If you want the best game, and you think it should be Ohio State & UGA, then that is the way to go. If you think USC or Oklahoma are better, then choose one of them. If you are curious about who is the best team in the SEC, ask Auburn.
Posted: 2:37 PM   by Dink
The pollsters and voters change the rules and parameters by witch (pun intended) they make their votes in order to manipulate the outcome. Voters are consistently swayed by announcers, commentators and so called experts (all paramount to lobbyist) to jump on the latest bandwagon instead of thinking for themselves.
Posted: 2:38 PM   by Hyde
I don't know why so many people like War Eagle assume OSU's record is merely a product of its schedule, when Illinois is better than the 4 teams LSU and Oklahoma lost to.
Posted: 2:46 PM   by Dink
If a 7-5 and 8-4 team are considered pretty darn good teams then what would you call a 9-3 team?
Posted: 2:46 PM   by War Eagle
Trojan Warrior,
The boring NFL is not always about stats. Look at the Tennessee Titans for instance. Since Albert Haynesworth has been hurt they have gone in the tank. The NFL is about lineman, defensive backs, and quarterbacks. Not always about stats. I've even defended your beloved Trojans who are always willing to go schedule good out of conference teams that offset their conference strength if the Pac 10 happens to be weak.(which is usually the case, which is why USC does this). I actually thought the PAC 10 was the best conference at the top this year until DDixon went down.
Posted: 2:55 PM   by Dink
Since when is the Pac-10 usually weak? Oh, I guess if you are a SEC fan that would seem logical just like last year when the SEC went 1-2 vs the "weak" Big 10 in head-to-head competition. You're (SEC's) supposed strength and superiority are not supported by the facts, only speculation, I.E. 1-2 vs Big 10 last year with the same old broken record claims being made last year.

Good luck in the bowls!
Posted: 2:59 PM   by Randy
You have to be kidding me......LSU over Oklahoma, give me a break.
Big 12 doesn't play Defense, give me another break.
What is transpiring before our eyes is in-excusable to say the least.
Count LSU in the # 2 spot tonight in the BCS, what a CROCK of !!!!.
Looks like politics have taken over College Football.
Pollsters are acting just like our government. Make it how they want it to be.
Kinda makes the polls useless.
Posted: 3:00 PM   by War Eagle
I agree Hyde that OSU belongs there because of consistency. LSU and OSU are the only arguably deserving teams that haven't gotten their arse's handed to them this season. I am saying though that week in and week out you don't have to play the calibre of competion that LSU or Georgia has had to play. Bottom line is Michigan and Penn State are the only teams that can consistently recruit with you. As an Auburn fan, I have to deal with Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Alabama all teams that consistently have top 10 recruiting classes and get their players in the NFL. The SEC is just tougher. Let me reiterate.

Here is a breakdown of the number of NFL players on 2007 opening day rosters by CONFERENCE.

SEC-267
ACC-238
BIG 10-234
PAC 10-183
BIG 12-176
BIG EAST-84

Also of note the SEC has 5 of its schools with over 30 players in the NFL(Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn). No other conference has more than 2.
Posted: 3:02 PM   by War Eagle
Has any team from the Big 12 not give up 70 in a game this year besides OU?
Posted: 3:13 PM   by knuckles
Mr. Mandel-
Just read your argument for LSU as #2. At the end you say trust the scores or trust your flawed instincts. What a crock. You mention LSU’s losses in OT as that somehow mitigates a loss. It seems the measure of a champion is the way they execute when the big chips are in the pot at the end of the hand. I also missed any mention of the two or three games LSU won by sheer luck. I think there are enough scores and facts out there that you could have written the article in defense of five other teams. Any of them would be just as valid and just as controversial. But make no mistake, your selection of LSU was nothing more than voter instinct that dictates, “When in doubt, take the SEC champ.” But as you admit, your instincts haven’t been so hot this year.
If any team from the SEC deserves a shot, it is LSU, not Georgia.

One year ago at this time, Urban Meyer was telling the country that the SEC Champion should be playing the Big 10 Champion, and that should be the case again this year. Georgia did not win the conference, and did not win their division.

Amazing that LSU will get another shot to become number one AT HOME.

This game is a personal nightmare. I don't know who to root for. I can't root for the Buckeyes, but I can't really root for Les "Mo' Money" Miles either. Maybe USC can play Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and we can have split national titles if LSU wins.
Posted: 3:24 PM   by War Eagle
Dink, the Pac 10 has been a one horse conference. Every once in a while a team like Oregon or Arizona State will rise up. Cal or Washington may be those teams next year. I think everyone will catch up to the SEC in a few years as the Big 10 and Pac 10 improve and try to bring down the beasts that consistently reside at the top of their conferences. The Sec just has more beasts in the middle and top of their conference.

Yes the Big 10 went 2-1 against the SEC last year. Fact is they should have. Arguably, last year was the Big 10's best year until the BCS bowls. OSU and Michigan were undefeated going into their game. Wisconsin was deserving of a BCS spot and Penn State had an excellent speedy defense.
Not all SEC fans believe that the Big 10 is slow. OSU and Mich have as much NFL talent as Florida. My argument is that there are more teams in the SEC with that type of talent which makes it a tougher conference.
"Georgia did not win their division."

Not entirely true. Georgia was a co-champion of their division. They just lost out on the tie-breaker to go to the championship game. Nonetheless, they are still the SEC East co-champion.

Regardless of that, Hawaii is UNDEFEATED and should play in the big game. Two loss teams should not be in that game.
Posted: 3:30 PM   by War Eagle
I agree Wolverine, they should split it this year, if they can get OSU/LSU, GA/USC, in the BCS and Rose bowl. I don't think OU and Va Tech are as deserving. If USC plays Illinois and wins, USC will have a tougher argument. I would bet on the two home teams LSU/USC in that scenario. It would be their second split title together, although LSU doesn't recognize it. LSU fans are still pissssed off about 03'.
Posted: 3:33 PM   by Geneo
I bet the SEC has the most water boys in the NFL since they invinted Gatoraid.
Posted: 3:40 PM   by War Eagle
Even if OSU wins there would be some sentiment for a split especially if, for example, Georgia kicked USC's arse in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl committee should realize this and schedule GA to play USC instead of Illinois, who is basically Arkansas w/o McFadden. That would give their beloved trojans a shot at a split and a shot at a hated SEC team in a home game.
Posted: 3:42 PM   by War Eagle
At least I can spell Gatorade.
Posted: 3:45 PM   by TheDukester
To all the haters, stop all this stuff about LSU 'squeeking by', 'struggling', etc... The object of football is to have more points at the end of the game.

This actually made me laugh out loud.

Little secret for you: it's the LSU fans who are CONSTANTLY reminding us all that their two losses "were in triple overtime to really good teams from our conference, which, as you know, sprung forth whole from the brow of mighty Zeus himself 75 years ago."

The rest of us realize that the object is to score more points ... we don't need the reminder.
Posted: 3:46 PM   by mud4feet
All this talk, "My conference is badder than yours, strength of schedule, OU, LSU, USC, UGA, VT, OSU....ad nauseum.....".......blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line - EVERYBODY lost at LEAST once except one - the Hawaii Warriors - and in all the talk I hear they are never even mentioned. If y'all are so bad with your BIG, BAD, BigCheeseSchool conferences, you should be SHOUTING....BEGGING.....DEMANDING!!!!!! BRING US HAWAII!!!!! We'll show them who's BAD!!!!!
Do I sense an "Islander" prejudice????

Talk is cheap. Settle it on the field. Down with the BCS!!!!!!
Posted: 3:47 PM   by Adam
To all Buckeye fans- The only thing that seems universally agreed at this time is that you are in. Please stop complaining about this. Some do think you'll get clobbered, but thats what happens when you were clobbered the last time around. Win this, and it will stop. Get spanked and it will not. Be glad that its that simple in the meantime.

To playoff proponents, I'm with you, but only if the regular season still counts, and only if the system has a rock-solid selection criteria that people can't whine about. Easier said than done. The only way I can imagine is either the four or eight highest ranked conference champs, in a world where all conferences have a title game or a format like the pac10, where everyone plays everyone. Conference championship requirement would help preserve the importance of the regular season. Seeding by something like the current system but including strength of schedule would encourage decent non-conference games, since top seed would mean an opening round against Hawaii instead of VT in an eight team format.

Sadly, it has now come down to this beauty contest. I hope the voters place emphasis on the whole season, rather than what have you done for me lately.
What will happen when Hawaii smokes their BCS league opponent?
Posted: 3:49 PM   by War Eagle
Regardless of what happens today, there has got to be some kind of playoff system enacted. As fans we have to trust the "unbiased" votes in coaches assistants poll and the AP poll to decide part of the equation. You know some of these guys are "homers" like the guy who voted Hawaii #1.
I can see why big league fans would take a one loss team over an undefeated Hawaii. I'd take a one loss LSU or UGA or WVU over them. But a two loss team??? Come on, that really is not impressive.
Posted: 3:56 PM   by War Eagle
USA Today Poll
1. Ohio State (46)

2. LSU (11)

3. Oklahoma (2)

4. Georgia

5. Virginia Tech

6. USC

7. Missouri

8. Kansas

9. West Virginia

10. Hawaii (1)


AP Top 25

1. Ohio State (50)

2. LSU (11)

3. Oklahoma (1)

4. Georgia (1)

5. Virginia Tech (1)

6. USC

7. Missouri

8. Kansas

9. Florida

10. Hawaii (1)

LSU is in pretty good shape.
Posted: 3:59 PM   by mud4feet
As usual, we see that the "voters" don't have a clue.
Posted: 4:08 PM   by War Eagle
Looking at those polls there won't be a split unless the AP voters give it to OU to make a point about this disaster this year.

I think OSU vs LSU would be a much better game than WVA and Mizzou would have been. I promise you the TV networks think so too. WVA is Jekyll and Hyde and Mizzou lost to the best team they played all year twice, and handily at that. Both could not handle the pressure which is what you expect from programs not used to the pressure cookers like LSU and OSU.
Posted: 4:15 PM   by War Eagle
The media will eat up LSU v OSU. LSU's coach is courted by Buckeyes archrival Michigan. Can OSU ever beat an SEC team in a bowl. Can OSU overcome the pain of last years loss. What if Michigan doesn't have a coach by then. Does that mean Miles is pulling a Saban? The media will eat it up. They are the happiest that WVU and Mizzou fell last night.
Posted: 4:21 PM   by TigerNation
Wow! I just don't understand how seemingly intelligent sports fans can ignore the fact that the SEC is, by far, the most powerful, intense, physical, and, week-to-week, emotionally draining conference in the country!?!?!

I'm from Boston, and I'm a realist. I lived/worked in the South (Building and maintaining nuclear power plants) for about 10 years --78'- 88' -- and I observed, studied, and realized the beautiful intensity which is SEC football!!!

Look, LSU WILL be the 2007 National Champions!! In this regard, I have no doubt. And, they deserve the chance to do this;

Just look at the conference "brawls" they've been involved in! The Florida game ALONE would have crippled (Physically and emotionally) many lesser teams like USC, OU, Ohio St., etc.. These are brutal games, and there are usually more than a few throughout an average season! Some say, 'Well, Alabama wasn't a good team!' This had DRAMA!! The Saban aspect of it, etc. Emotion and physicality to the nnnth degree!! That doesn't show up in the W's and L's column!!!!

LSU beat Tennessee w/o their starting QB, w/o the probable 1st Pick of the NFL draft, and w/o a few other starters!!!! They have 5 weeks to get healthy. Like Florida before them, they will dominate and embarrass Ohio State on January 7th. Thus, true journalists like Stewart will be vindicated!!! Geaux Tigers!!
Posted: 4:25 PM   by dk10
Adam-Amen, from a Buckeye fan here. In the end, the OSU hating and SEC dominance will once again come down to the field.

If my Bucks clean it up on the field, that will take care of the trash talking. If they don't....well, I'll crawl back into my little hole for another year, at least.

Please God, just give us a good game.
Posted: 4:32 PM   by mud4feet
Hawaii would kick LSU's arse!! Trust me. I live 30 miles from Baton Rouge....I've watched nearly all their games. They have no heart - they have "hype", "NFL aspirations", "SEC BS", and, of course the "history". I've also watched Hawaii. LSU has no answer for Colt Brennan. Nor does OSU!! But, alas, we'll never see it because we have the "BCS". Until we have a playoff, we'll have no true National Champion. We'll have a "Media" Champion once again.

This is still a "sport", isn't it???
Posted: 4:37 PM   by TheDukester
Wow! I just don't understand how seemingly intelligent sports fans can ignore the fact that the SEC is, by far, the most powerful, intense, physical, and, week-to-week, emotionally draining conference in the country!?!?!

Easy. Because it's not a "fact" at all. It's a completely subjective OPINION, fueled by the loudest, most obnoxious fans in all of sports and reinforced by annually inflated rankings and undeserved media hype.

Fact ... opinion ... two different concepts, SEC fans.

Still, I don't know what you're worried about. The farce is almost complete. Many analysts are checking in now basically saying that the word on the street is that it's LSU's spot. That includes Jerry Palm, a dude who is rarely wrong when it comes to the BCS.

So you got your wish, you incredible whiners. We're all looking forward to LSU losing in three overtimes and then having its fans tell us why the Tigers STILL deserve to be national champions.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by TigerNation
No wonder you're 'stuck in the mud'! You have no analytical skills. (And you don't live in Louisiana!!)
Posted: 4:45 PM   by TigerNation
Why do I need a media analyst to tell me? AP Poll and Coaches Poll already confirm Ohio St. and LSU as #'s 1 and 2!!!! It's done!!!
(In the Superdome on 1/7/08, LSU won't need overtime!!)
Posted: 4:59 PM   by R Gilson
Enough is enough. A 16 team tournament with representation from all Div 1 conferences is the only way. Give 2 seats to each of the top 4 conferences, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC in my scenario, have the 3rd best team of the toughest conference play the best independent for entrance to the tourney and seed the other conferences by strength and average of the past four years of bowl performance.

In my case
SEC 1&5
Big 12 - 2&6
Pac 10 - 3&7
Big Ten 4&8
ACC - 9
Mountain West -10
Big East - 11
WAC - 12
Conference USA -13
MAC - 14
Sun Belt - 15
Indendent/3rd seed - 16

Seed it out and run your tournament - I have LSU vs USC in the final with #12 Hawaii upsetting #5 Tennessee in the first round in honor of the long standing history of 12's over 5's in March Madness.
Cheers,
RG
Posted: 5:04 PM   by Hyde
Adam said: "To all Buckeye fans-...Please stop complaining about this. Some do think you'll get clobbered, but thats what happens when you were clobbered the last time around. Win this, and it will stop. Get spanked and it will not."

The only thing that bothers me as an Ohio State fan is that both USC and Oklahoma also lost "the last time around," and yet those losses don't seem to have damaged their reputations the way our loss damaged ours. USC still starts every season as the presumptive #1, and I'm sure it will be the same in 2008.

The Buckeyes have only lost 4 games in 3 years, and got back to #1 this year despite replacing all their "skill players" and having only 5 seniors who are significant contributors (and 3 of those seniors play one position, fullback). The lack of respect I'm seeing reminds me a lot of the situation 5 years ago. I get the sense a lot of people have never forgiven the Buckeyes for making them look like fools back then.
Posted: 5:16 PM   by TheDukester
Why do I need a media analyst to tell me? AP Poll and Coaches Poll already confirm Ohio St. and LSU as #'s 1 and 2!!!! It's done!!!

The AP poll is not part of the BCS, genius. We're still waiting for two-thirds of BCS components to be reported.
Posted: 5:27 PM   by mud4feet
To Tigernation:

Yes, I live in Louisiana. Hard to believe that someone lives here and doesn't bleed purple and gold????? I am a college football fan, unattached to any conference. I have no college football analytical skills because I don't need them - I build bridges. I work with numbers everyday, and 12-0 seems better to me than "anything"-1.....or -2.....or -3. If LSU's so bad, let'm play Hawaii and then we'll see.............as it should be - on the field.
Like I said before......blah, blah, blah, blah. Talk is cheap.
Posted: 5:34 PM   by Adam
Hyde-
True, at least with respect to OU in recent title games. USC has acquitted themselves well in bowl games, though Stanford should have no less of a shadow over their season than App St and UM. But my point is that no one questions your spot in the game, and if you win, no one will question your crystal football. No matter who y'all play, people might question their legitimacy, even if they win, so your position is too good to complain. A fair few posters out there are mad at the perception that you backed in, but but that will happen when you solidify a spot from the couch. Win, and there will be nothing but love. Best of luck, for that matter, I don't have a dog in this, I just want a good game.
Posted: 5:41 PM   by huntrbll
Random observations:
I am happy Miles is staying at LSU, after watching some of his calls during the season I would rather Michigan hire a coach that will give Tressel some competition.....

Ohio State is the only team which won a major conference and finished with one loss.

SOS. All the teams schedule patsies early in the seaon. If you look at SEC schedules they are no different. Ohio State did play Washington and Texas, and since games are scheduled in advance it is not Ohio State's fault these two teams were weak this year.

Hawaii finished the season undefeated with a quarterback who is phenomenal....and who is not even getting looked at for the Heisman. 41 of 50 against Washington and more than 15,000 career yards? I hope Hawaii gets a BCS game, and if they win are crowned number one.

Is the SEC the strongest conference? Maybe, but not by that much of a margin. Fact is, no team in the SEC did what had to be done to have an undisputed claim to the title game.

Ohio State's loss was by one touchdown and a bad call to one of the strongest finishing teams in college football. In the last couple games of the season I didn't see an SEC team play as well, so Illinois would give anyone in the SEC a good game right now.

LSU seems to be everyone's darling team, with great talent but inconsistent play, who is now going to get a chance to play again for number one with the home advantage. Go figure.....

I'm hoping OSU kicks LSU's butt, and Hawaii beats a well-respected team and wins the championship....
Posted: 5:43 PM   by TheDukester
Hyde, I agree completely. The backlash the Buckeyes have faced this season has been nothing short of mystifying ... as if they were the first team to ever play poorly in a football game.

Just keep in mind that a huge percentage of that backlash has come from either loud-mouthed SEC fans or half-wit media "experts" who have to fill up air time or column inches by saying something.

Neither of those two groups is worth taking seriously.
Posted: 5:58 PM   by TigerNation
I respect everyone's opinion here, let me get that straight! It's only sports.
But, "Talk is cheap?' lol. Come'on. You can't disregard the fact that LSU beat 6 ranked teams this season!!! USC, for instance, beat ONLY 2 teams with winning records this season!! That's pathetic!

(Oh, and, I realize the AP Poll doesn't count towards the final BCS Standings. The "Harris Poll" does.) Here's the Harris Poll as of last week, this week's hasn't been released yet:

1)Mizzu (History!)
2)West Virginia (History!)
3)Ohio State (#1 Now)
4)Georgia (History since LSU won SEC!)
5)LSU (Obvious #2 Now!!)

8)Oklahoma


(Update: After checking around the net, and ESPN, etc., it is pretty much a no-brainer now that Ohio State and LSU will play in the 2007ALLSTATE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!!
Posted: 6:00 PM   by David
LSU is getting what they deserve. Theyre only losses was against Kentucky State when they were good and Arkansas State and the man who should win the Hisemin Adrian Peterson. Two loses in the SEC is like 10 in the little 10 (ha ha). Maybe ohio State should bring bak Mo Claret to help them.
Huntrbil, Ohio State did not play Texas this year.

Fine, Georgia tied it's division and lost the tiebreaker. They got blown out by Tennessee, who lost by two touchdowns to the 7th best team in the Pac-10.

The problem I have with this whole process is that the Coach's and Harris Polls are the deciding factors. Coaches have pretty much admitted that they don't always fill out their own polls. The Harris Poll includes guys like Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson, who both cover the NFL for a living. How can we take these polls seriously?

If the NCAA refuses to go to a playoff, at least set up a committee of individuals to determine the BCS matchups. The plus one system sounds nice in theory, but it's not always needed. There are many years when the top two teams actually make the title game, so having a plus one would not help.

I hate seeing college football coaches being reduced to politicking for a spot in the game, as both Les Miles and Bob Stoops did last night. The results should be settled on the field, and no where else.
Posted: 6:10 PM   by pcdavidw
Stewart, you're usually WAY better than the crap you get, but here I have to agree that you're drinking the SEC & LSU Kool-Aid again. How come no SEC-lover defends their conference's out-of-conference schedules? If they're so great, why won't they prove it during the season? If they have the most BCS conference regular season games, great; if they have the best won-loss record, great! Let's hear it--where are the stats? As mentioned, as easily as LSU could be 13-0, they could just as easily be 8-5. OU is 11-2, and could easily by 12-1, and at the worst, 10-3 or 9-4. Stewart did you watch the Championship games? Tenn. LOST that game LSU didn't win it (deja vu!), while OU smacked down the #1 team in the country by 21 points. I know this is chaos, but true objectivity could easily dismiss yet another campaign by slack-jawed, backwoods, gap-toothed yahoos from the deep south who have nothing else to beat their chests over outside of their football teams. Disgraceful!
Posted: 6:13 PM   by TheDukester
LSU is getting what they deserve. Theyre only losses was against Kentucky State when they were good and Arkansas State and the man who should win the Hisemin Adrian Peterson. Two loses in the SEC is like 10 in the little 10 (ha ha). Maybe ohio State should bring bak Mo Claret to help them.

You really need to stop drinking before noon, my man.

I suppose you actually meant Kentucky (no "State"), Arkansas (no "State") and Darren McFadden? Adrian Peterson plays for an entirely different team ...
Posted: 6:14 PM   by War Eagle
Part of this is a repost for the SEC haters, I've reposted it because numbers don't lie. If you don't believe me then Vegas will prove. I bet most if not all the SEC teams will be favored in bowl games. The only other school that could handle the rigors of the SEC and come out on top is USC because of its superior physical talent. Vegas proves that too as LSU would be favored on a neutral field against anyone, except maybe USC. Vegas is there to make money, it has no bias. LSU will be a double digit favorite against OSU partly because of the home field advantage. I am sure buck fans will complain that LSU has a home field advantage in this game. Yet I've never heard a Big 10 team complain about playing USC or UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

Here is a breakdown of the number of NFL players on 2007 opening day rosters by CONFERENCE.

SEC-267
ACC-238
BIG 10-234
PAC 10-183
BIG 12-176
BIG EAST-84

Also of note the SEC has 5 of its schools with over 30 players in the NFL. No other conference has more than 2.
Posted: 6:17 PM   by TigerNation
Just noticed the above posts.

To the guy/girl who snidely called me "genious"! I posted the AP and USA Today Polls to point out the fact that THESE MATTER because humans are voting in the Harris Poll!!! It can and does influence opinion when you see that EVERYONE (As far as Polling goes) agrees on the fact that Ohio State and LSU deserve to play for the National Championship!!

(I also agree that we need an 8 team playoff!)
Posted: 6:19 PM   by TheDukester
Here is a breakdown of the number of NFL players on 2007 opening day rosters by CONFERENCE.

SEC-267
ACC-238
BIG 10-234
PAC 10-183
BIG 12-176
BIG EAST-84


You know, we all saw this the first 20 times you posted it.

And it has no relevance anyway. We're not talking about schools sending players on to the NFL ... that proves absolutely nothing here. It's an entirely different subject.
Posted: 6:20 PM   by TheDukester
To the guy/girl who snidely called me "genious"!

You spelled "genius" wrong. There's nothing I can actually add that would be funnier than that ...
Posted: 6:26 PM   by TigerNation
Funnier? Are you anal or what? I don't proof-read posts on an SI message board, sorry! (Oh, and I see you're ridiculing others too! lol. You must be a Republican shrub-licker!)
"They got blown out by Tennessee, who lost by two touchdowns to the 7th best team in the Pac-10."

UGA also beat Alabama who happened to crush Tenn. That really tells us very little about the current UGA team.
Posted: 6:41 PM   by David
Stop the hatin dukester. big deal about no state? No body could of stoped Darin McGavin that game. The SEC is called the cream of a crop for a reason. Dog fans shut it. You had you're chance against us and blew it. you couldnt even beat Tennessee.

We are goingto kick the luck Eyes all over the superdome rug. when was the last time Tresel won a bowl game. Michigan doesn't count they couldn't even beat Apalachen St.
Posted: 6:44 PM   by TheDukester
No body could of stoped Darin McGavin that game.

Two tries now ... and that's still not his name. Put down the bottle, man. Seriously.
Posted: 6:52 PM   by David
I predict LSU 45 - OSUcks 6. When was the last time a little 10 team beat an SEC in a bowl?? 42 - 7 ring a bell last year luckeye fans??

I only wish we could have a shot at Troy Smith this year...can you say overated???

If the Big 10 had a championship Ilinois would have beat them again.
Posted: 6:52 PM   by War Eagle
The SEC and PAC 10 have the best records in BCS bowl games. The SEC is 9-4 since the BCS inception in 1998 and 7-1 since 2002. The PAC 10 is 7-4, with USC alone being 4-1. The BIG 10 is 8-7, but are only 4-7 since 2001. The BIG EAST is 5-4, but MIami was responsible for 3 of those wins and i of the losses. The BIG 12 is 5-7 with OU accounting for almost half of these appearances. And last and certainly least, The ACC is 1-8 with FSU being 1-5 in these games.
Posted: 7:01 PM   by War Eagle
Here is another repost for the Dukester

Here is a breakdown of the number of NFL players on 2007 opening day rosters by CONFERENCE.

SEC-267
ACC-238
BIG 10-234
PAC 10-183
BIG 12-176
BIG EAST-84

Also of note the SEC has 5 of its schools with over 30 players in the NFL. No other conference has more than 2.

And yes this is relevant, it shows how week to week in the SEC you play much tougher teams, wheras the other conferences have only 2 or maybe 3 quality teams that can really beat you up. Football is physical.
Posted: 7:10 PM   by Leif
This is crazy!!!! OSU vs LSU!!! In the NC game!!!

Its funny how the pollsters and the media like to use this ridiculous logic when trying to justify why teams should play for the national championship.

OSU by virtue of playing practically nobody gets to go into the championship game again. May the lord keep the score under 40pts this year.

LSU jumps from #7 to #2 when #1  lose!!! While #'s 4,5, and 6 drop behind them? Was LSU not better than them last week? Well LSU lost in 3 OT's on the road. Well they Lost in 3 OT's at home too! Needed 5 fourth down plays, a fake field goal, 2 over video overturns and tipped int, to beat FLA!, A miracle to beat auburn. I dont know how many calls went their way against ala. yeah I know they killed va tech. But honestly, how can you justify giving them a 3rd shot at the NC? Rivalry game or no rivalry game, please stop with that lame excuse and reasoning. b/c it only comes into play when a team loses!!!! Just get rid of the rankings, keep them a secret and then release them at the end of the year. That way people wont be asking "what the $*^*"

I love how all of sudden Kansas is a nobody. Few weeks a ago they were #2 and the media darling. they lose a game and all the talk of their SOS comes up, like when they were #2 their SOS was different!!! It was still 107...btw way oklahomas is 98th!!! yet we dont seem to hear anything about that!

I would love a playoff but I know there is no way we will ever get it...To much money at stake...The BCS makes money and its here to stay.

If the NC game was anywhere else but NO, LSU wouldnt even be mentioned!!!

I hope Hawaii gets their invite to the BCS!! Stewart said this would been the perfect year for a UTAH or BSU, to creep into the NC Game!!! Stew, you know thats a load of crap!!! There is absolutely no way at team outside the big conf has a shot at the NC game, so please dont insult the fans of Utah and BSU, by saying that thier is. B/c I'm sure you and your colleagues would come up with a million reasons not to let that happen if that was the case and you know it. THe BCS is still reeling from Oklahomas lost last year. They blew the Pitt lost as a bad team winning a bad conf. But there were no excuses this time around and Im Hoping Hawaii pulls it off again.

Keep an eye on the ratings for the NC game this year. Its going to be the lowest ever....
Posted: 7:34 PM   by Tyler
I find this whole thing disgusting.

The AP and Coaches vote LSU #2 -- was there some big conference call late last night to arrange it? Or did everyone just decide that, despite Georgia not losing, LSU was magically better (because they beat Powerhouse Tennessee by a lucky pick-6)?

I'm a huge USC fan. USC doesn't necessarily deserve a spot in the NC game -- extenuating circumstances aside, they did lose to both Stanford and Oregon. But LSU doesn't deserve anything over USC, and they certainly don't deserve anything over Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas or Hawaii.

People point to USC's Stanford loss as being the main reason to keep them from the game. Well, had that been USC's only loss, USC would be in the game no matter what. It wasn't Stanford, per se, that keeps USC from the game; it's the fact of having 2 losses. If OSU had 2 losses right now, no matter who the second loss was to, they wouldn't be in the NC game. USC's second loss came, by a touchdown, to a team that, had it not lost its Heisman-QB, would be guaranteed a slot in the NC game (and would win it much like they blew up Michigan earlier in the year). With USC, it honestly isn't the quality of their losses that matters so much as the number of their losses. And they have the same number as LSU.

So does Georgia. The main reason that people have for keeping Georgia out of the NC game is that "they didn't win their division." So what? Not only have other teams who haven't won their division gone to the NC game in the past, but the AP had Georgia ranked ahead of LSU as recently as last week. Georgia, so far as I know, hasn't lost since then. In fact, they haven't lost as recently as has LSU -- *last week*. Also, the reason why Georgia didn't win their division is due to SEC "head-to-head" rules, and an incredibly lucky Tennessee. According to my understanding, had Florida had one less SEC loss, then Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee would all have been tied... and Georgia, per the SEC's rules, would have gone to the SEC title game, not Tennessee.

In other words, Georgia *did* tie for first in their division, but didn't play for their conference title because Florida didn't manage one less loss. So, yeah... despite having the same amount of lossess as LSU, and despite most everyone agreeing that they're the "nation's hottest team," and despite having lost less recently than a fading LSU team, it makes a world of sense to *jump* LSU in the ratings over Georgia.

Of course, in order to preserve his call for LSU to make such a jump, Stewart Mandel assures us that the timing of losses has no real relevance this season.

Really?

Then how do we keep 1-loss Kansas out of the title game? Had Kansas picked up that 1 loss *any weekend* other than last weekend (which is the same weekend LSU lost), they'd be in the game. In fact, both LSU and OSU's final records over their last two weekends are 1-1. The reason why OSU is in the title game is because they have only 1 loss; the 1 loss they have is to a Missouri team that everyone has in front of the team that beat OSU -- Illinois. Did Kansas have a weak schedule? So did OSU. Either timing matters, in which case neither Kansas nor LSU deserve to get in over Georgia... or timing matters, in which case we take Kansas, who made it through a BCS conference schedule with only 1 loss.

Or, if we're still pesky about that "didn't win the conference" thing, then how about the team that came out of the Missouri/Kansas conference with a title -- Oklahoma. OU's losses were longer ago than LSU's... OU's most recent win was much more impressive than LSU's... I guess that the rationale is that, well... er... I don't actually think that there is one. Voters put LSU over Oklahoma just 'cause. (Because OU lost to Colorado? Really? LSU lost to a mediocre Arkansas, that only has a somewhat impressive record due to fattening up on a non-conference schedule that almost any other school would be embarrassed to have (and the Mississipi schools). (Compare Colorado's schedule to Arkansas', and tell and tell me what *you* see.)

Honestly, we should just have done and throw Hawaii in the NC game. I bet they'd give OSU a run for their money. Hawaii did all that they could this year, which is more than *any other team* can say. Weak schedule? Tell it to OSU supporters. Scrapped by with close wins over inferior programs? Tell it to LSU supporters. Hawaii managed to go undefeated in a year when Appalachian State beat Michigan in the big house, Pittsburgh beat WVU at WVU, and Stanford ended USC's 6-year+ win streak at the Coliseum.

Hawaii deserves a shot at the title more than does LSU.

But for that matter, so do Kansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and USC.
Posted: 7:38 PM   by will
Well, before this season I really thought a play-off sounded like a great idea. Now I wouldn't really mind one but I don't care much either way. What I would really like is for the NCAA to institute some kind of rule forcing BCS schools to play at least two (maybe even three) non-conference games against other BCS schools so fans could have a decent idea of which teams are the best.

A play-off would do some of this...but this season has shown to me that even a play-off isn't going to determine a best team or even a most deserving one. I've enjoyed the many great games I've gotten to see and that's all I will hope for this bowl season and in the coming seasons.

Most of this thread is pretty silly to me. The criteria for the NC and for the polls are not clearly defined (and thus lacking legitimacy in my opinion). There are a lot of compelling reasons why any of the teams does not deserve to play in the national championship this year. That's the funniest part of this thread: most of the arguments involve processes of elimination whereby one team is left rather than that team distinguishing itself on the field (OU lost to a 6-6 team, UGA didn't win its conference, USC lost to Stanford, LSU had alot of close games, KU didn't win its division, Hawaii didn't play anyone, VT has the best abstract resume but got blown out by LSU which makes it hard to put them ahead of them).

Personally I think the LSU-OSU game will be the most interesting. It's too bad App. St.'s not eligible -- they at least deserve to get some votes in the final AP poll assuming they take care of Delaware.
Posted: 7:50 PM   by will
Also, to all the SEC bashers out there, I just thought of something that might make you feel a little better: imagine if somehow Michigan had pulled the upset over OSU this year and LSU hadn't lost to Ar-kansas in 3OT...with the way the rest of the games played out, we could have ended up with an LSU-UGA championship game!
"I predict LSU 45 - OSUcks 6. When was the last time a little 10 team beat an SEC in a bowl?? 42 - 7 ring a bell last year luckeye fans??"

When was the last time the Big 10 beat the SEC in a bowl? I can't believe it - it was last year!

Capitol One Bowl:
Wisconsin 17, Arkansas 14

Outback Bowl:
Penn State 20, Tennessee 10

Shocking, isn't it?
Hawaii has gotten no respect.
I got off the SEC bandwagon when Bama lost to LA-Monroe and USC lost to Clemson. The SEC is strong, but really not that much stronger than anyone else.
Posted: 8:33 PM   by Eugene
I agree with the above, Hawaii - LSU would make a more interesting NC game.
Not sure the winner of the BCS game is the best team in the nation, but the bowl line-up has some great games. Sit back and enjoy!
Posted: 8:43 PM   by TheDukester
... and the farce is now officially complete: LSU gets another home game to play for the national title. It looks like we'll have to put an asterisk next to this one, too, just like in 2003. And, just like in '03, LSU should be glad it doesn't have to face USC.

There's a big Karma Missile headed your way next season, LSU fans. Your team won't be converting all those lucky fourth downs next year.

I'll be boycotting the so-called national championship game. Watching Hawaii run circles around Georgia will be fun, though.
I hope if Hawaii pulls the win over UGA that some of the polls consider them for #1.
Posted: 8:18 AM   by Aurora
I'm sorry, but I can't subsidize this nonsense anymore with my "patronage", i.e., participation--as in watching the game. I'm not going to watch this "national championship" game. The only way to effect change and get a playoff is to cut off the funds. If enough of us boycotted this farce in New Orleans, perhaps the NCAA would take notice, take charge, and remedy this ridiculous system.

Playoff now!
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