“Things Don’t Always Go The Way That You Planned”
After Alabama was toppled last weekend, the rest of college football world was looking forward to having something that it hasn’t had in six years: a none-SEC, BCS title game. Two of the top three BCS teams–Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame–remaining unblemished was the only obstacle preventing this reality.
As Oregon Ducks’ safety Brian Jackson put it (after his team was upset 17-14 this past Saturday), “Things Don’t Always Go The Way That You Planned.”
Nine words couldn’t have succinctly described one weekend of college football any better (or worse), depending on which side of the pendulum you swing.
Oregon wasn’t the only team that met their demise this past Saturday; Kansas State got embarrassed 52-24 by an unranked Baylor Bears team. To Kansas State’s Head Coach Bill Snyder’s credit, he took responsibility for the unexpected defeat by the Bears hands, saying, “Well basically that I take responsibility for not having them well prepared and that really the only failures in life are giving up, not trying and not caring. And I would like to think that none of the young people in that room fit that category.”
It leaves the “Golden Domers” as the number one team in the country, for the first time since they were ranked first in the AP (Associated Press) poll in 1993. Saying the “IRISH ARE BACK” could easily be described as an understatement. Heck, there is a generation of fans that only know Notre Dame as the school where “Rudy” played football. It’s sad but true.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame’s head coach, isn’t looking toward a possible national championship berth, yet, sticking to the one-game-at-a-time mantra. “If we don’t beat USC, there is no need to say whether you deserve it or not,” he said after the Fighting Irish’s blowout win over Wake Forest. “You have to beat USC first. You can ask me that question after.”
Naturally, Kansas State and Oregon losses put Alabama and two others SEC teams–Georgia and Florida back in the BCS title hunt.
This spoils the plans of those (ESPN and the whole national media) who tabbed USC and Florida State as SEC killers before the season. USC has been a major disappointment –losing their fourth game of the season this past Saturday, to cross-city rival, UCLA. Florida State succumbed to NC State midway through the season, effectively knocking them out of the championship contention.
Ironically, as Brian Kelly stated above, USC could affect the BCS title game if they beat Notre Dame in their annual rivalry game.
Lets just say, though, that the Notre Dame does finish the season 12-0. There are a number of scenarios that could play out.
First Scenario: Alabama wins out and faces Notre Dame in the national title game. This match-up would be an advertisers dream. It would be the first time the two teams have faced off in the national championship since the 1973 Sugar Bowl, which Notre Dame won. Although Notre Dame won the game, Alabama was named the national champion by the Coaches’ Poll (Preceding 1974, they selected their champion before bowl games). Notre Dame was named the national champion by the AP poll.
Second Scenario: Georgia wins out and faces Notre Dame. They have been pitted against each other once in a national title game, the 1981 Sugar Bowl, which Georgia won 17-10. This also would be a coveted clash, as both teams have large fan bases that would garner huge ratings.
Third Scenario: Florida wins out and Georgia loses this week. Notre Dame would square off with Florida for the second time in a bowl game (Notre Dame edged out the Gators 39-28 in the 1991 Sugar Bowl). See Alabama and Georgia as to why this would be desirable match-up.
With several one-loss teams, I’m sure there are other scenarios that are plausible. … And I’m sure someone will detail all of them, after reading this column. But, I think we all know what’s up, so to speak. An SEC team will be in the national championship game.
Or USC could very well spoil Notre Dame’s title hopes. And…all hell would break loose…with potentially seven bowl-eligible teams in the top ten sporting only one loss (Ohio State is ineligible for bowl contention–due to NCAA sanctions).
I’m sure, then, we will hear the BCS called BS, once again.
By Jeremiah Short
Follow This Writer on Twitter @DaRealJShort or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org