Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rooting for Chaos

It’s time for my annual mid-November guide to watching the rest of the college football season.  As usual, I’m rooting for chaos – not because I hate the BCS (that’s a moot point, anyway), but because I like for as many games as possible to have a bearing on the debate that makes looking at “the big picture” so much fun.

The best thing that can happen would be for Auburn to keep winning, and then upset Alabama on Thanksgiving weekend.    That opens up all kinds of possibilities; including, unfortunately, the possibility of Alabama going to the national championship game anyway.  That would be absurd and chaotic.   So that’s another reason to root for it.

If the goal is to keep Alabama out of the championship, then we need for Missouri to win out as well.  That way, the winner of the SEC championship game – Missouri or Auburn (who would have predicted THAT in August?) will be 12-1.  No way an 11-1 Alabama team that didn’t make the league title game leapfrogs that winner.  On the other hand, if Missouri loses to Texas A&M, and South Carolina wins the SEC East and then beats Auburn in Atlanta, so that both those two teams end up 11-2 … which SEC team has the best shot at a national title invitation?  Sure enough, it would be “third place,”  11-1 ‘Bama.   Bet on it.  And wouldn’t that piss off fans of every other team in the top ten?

This year, I don’t think that a one-loss SEC  team will get to jump over an undefeated team from another “power conference” – and it’s frankly hard to see Florida State losing a game at this point.   Unless Ohio State turns the ball over four times and loses to Indiana 67-63, the Buckeyes aren’t going to be tested until the Big Ten title game against Michigan State.  But we’re rooting for chaos, so give that one to Sparty.

Baylor’s a great story, but they still have three of their toughest games ahead of them … and even if they win them all (against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Texas), those teams all still play each other, too … so Baylor NEEDS to win out to make the championship game; because otherwise, they could be an 11-1 team with no wins against anyone who finished in the top 25.    But, undefeated Baylor vs. undefeated Florida State for the national championship?   Yeah, I’d watch.

But I’d rather root for chaos.  So, sorry, Baylor.  You’ll need to lose one.  How about to Oklahoma State, so you both end up 11-1?   Along with Oregon, Clemson, Central Florida,  Louisville, and Alabama?  Tucked right in behind 12-1 Stanford, Ohio State, Michigan State, and either Missouri or Auburn!   And, oh yeah, let’s let Fresno State and Northern Illinois finish undefeated, just to tie up some BCS game slots and make it more chaotic.

Oh, what the heck.  While we’re trying to make all this happen, let’s go ahead and imagine Florida State losing an ACC title game rematch against Miami.   Now we’ve got chaos!

Think next year’s four-team playoff system would take care of this mess?   Nope.  I think we’ll always have debates about national championships settled the old-fashioned way:  by drunks arguing in bars!