Bowl Thoughts - Part Two

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If Auburn doesn't get a share of the National Championship, they have only themselves to blame. OK, it turns out they can thank Oklahoma as well, but more on that later. Sure, Auburn won the Sugar Bowl. Barely. Narrowly squeezing past Virginia Tech. The Hokies are certainly respectable, but hardly an exclamation point on a championship resume.

Regardless of what was going to happen in the Orange Bowl, Auburn needed to win big. They needed to make a statement that would remain in coaches' minds. They came up well short.

Personally, I think that any SEC team finishing a season undefeated has earned a share of any championship, or at least the right to play for it. Which brings us back to the Sugar Bowl being Auburn's chance to plead their case on the field. If so, it was a scoreboard victory, but a moral defeat.

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And as I said, it turns out that Auburn needed a big win more than anyone realized on Monday Night. After USC man-handled Oklahoma, it will be hard for any voter, coach or writer, to deny them a #1 vote. Of the contenders, USC was the only team to step up and play like they wanted a championship.

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You know the game is desperate when the announcers start imitating the AFLAC duck (and they always do), to keep themselves amused (it always does). Yesterday this occurred in the second quarter, I believe. I'm sure it was a big hit with the male 12-14 demographic.

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The upside to the game being out of reach by halftime: much of the audience had already turned away and were spared sitting through Ashley Simpson. She didn't expose her breast or anything, but it was stil obscene in a "totally devoid of entertainment value" sort of way.

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*climbing onto soap box* Stop me if you've heard this one before. Big 12 team advances to BCS Championship Game. BCS Championship Game marks the first time said Big 12 team will play a significant non-Big 12 opponent. Big 12 team has their butts handed to them by significant non-Big 12 opponent so badly that you are left wondering what the heck Big 12 team was doing there in the first place! How many times have we seen this recently ... Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma.

I've said it before and I'm saying it now. Big 12 football is the most carefully crafted illusion in all of College Sports. Prior to USC, name one quality non-conference opponent that Oklahoma played (and really, to say that they played USC is generous ... they were the other team on the field). You can't because there aren't any. "But they beat Texas!" OK, name one quality non-conference opponent that Texas played. You can't. The best you can say for them is that they slipped by three-loss Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Oklahoma and Texas, the stalwarts of the Big 12, and annual fixtures in pre-season championship discussions, combined to give up 92 points in their bowl games.

When will the pollsters learn!? Not even the computers catch the Big 12's act because, once again, Big 12 teams only venture out of conference to pad their record with big wins over patsies. There are no common, quality opponents with which to make a comparison. So it's up to the pollsters to realize that time and again Big 12 teams which seem so powerful against each other get into bowl games and can't even compete.

Here come the "Texas Tech beat Cal, a team that was a whisker away from the BCS," arguements. Next to the Big 12, the Pac 10 was probably the next most suspect "elite" conference. The Big East doesn't count because there's no pretending going on over there.

The sad thing is, as these Big 12 teams are embarrasing themselves in the Championship Game, there always seems to be a more deserving team looking on.

When Nebraska (who made it to the championship despite being throttled by Colorado and not playing in the Big 12 Championship) was run off the field by Miami, fans were left wondering what might have been had Oregon had a chance.

Last year the failure of Oklahoma (who made it to the championship despite being crushed by KSU in the Big 12 Championship) only fueled complaints that USC deserved a chance.

This year, Auburn entered bowl season out of the SEC, far and away the nation's toughest football conference, undefeated. While the Tigers' Sugar Bowl win was less than impressive, it's hard to argue that they would have fared any worse against USC than Oklahoma did.

With their impressive win, USC did BCS proponents a big favor. So convincing were the Trojans that there won't be a lot of controversy surrounding their championship. It will be easy to foget that we go into the off-season with three teams still undefeated. It will be easy to forget that the BCS as a champion selector is on a several year failure streak.


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