A Series of Unfortunate Events
The year-long march to a Florida-Texas National Title Showdown of Heisman QBs came to an end Saturday in the Georgia Dome and almost was destroyed in the Jerry Dome.
First came an absolute destruction of the reigning National Champion Florida Gators at the hand of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The stats for this game are staggering for Florida. Florida averaged 442 yards per game on the season, 225 on the ground and 217 through the air, and allowed an average of 253 yards per game, 102 on the ground and 151 through the air. On Saturday Alabama gave up 335 yards, 247 through the air in mostly garbage time and 88 on the ground, and gained 490 yards, 251 on the ground and 239 through the air. The offensive numbers for the Tide and the rushing stats for Florida are what you should really look at to understand what happened in this game. Alabama just lined up and smacked Florida in the mouth offensively and they never recovered as a team. Of those 88 yards only 26 came from players other than Tebow, and the Gators abandoned the run early as they only rushed the ball four times with anyone not named Tim Tebow. The only question that really needs to be asked is if Florida was afraid to run the ball? I really ask it now as I review the stats and realize how thoroughly Florida avoided running the ball. So for all the talk about the Gator D playing poorly, the offense did little on their end to play the typical Florida defensive game.
It was so bad that the words were never as poignant.
....and just when you thought you were shocked then Big XII happened. Texas racked up a walloping 202 total yards of offense, were intercepted three times, gained 18 yards on the ground, and scored a grand total of 13 points. Still those stats were enough to beat a Nebraska team that has quite possibly the country's best defense paired with an offense that might be the worst in the history of football teams that finished above .500. Nebraska gained 106 yards. They also threw three interceptions but I just wanted the total yardage to stand as its own sentence and statement of how putrid the Huskers are when they have the ball. Not only does Nebraska have a great defense, but their kicker has a 57-yarder to the credit of his huge leg. Everyone saw this game and therefor I won't go into much more detail.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Nebraska offense!
BCS BS Display on Fox at 8PM Sunday Night
We all knew that with the Texas survival went not only the hopes and prayers of thousands of Cincinnati and TCU but also those of every college football fan who wants the BCS to die and saw its mortality in those waning moments of Nebraska's lead. It was all at that point dead. A match-up between Alabama and Texas is something no one will complain about since they are traditional powers who were expected to contend. For the record it should be noted that Cincinnati would have faced Alabama had Texas fallen. While I know it's tough to compare Texas to TCU given conference affiliation, but if Cincinnati with no defense and in the Big East had surpassed TCU to play for the National Championship I'd lead the march on Indianapolis to abolish the BCS. It would seem not to matter who plays Alabama given how they played on Saturday but five weeks is a long time for things to change and no games to be played.
BREAKING: Finalists Announced
First a straight statement of facts regard the Heisman finalists as announced today:
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford (1,736 yards 28 TD rushing, both lead the nation)
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (82 tackles including 12 sacks, best defensive player in nation by far)
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (1,542 yards 15 TD rushing, on #1 team in country)
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas (3,515 yards 27 TD 12 INT passing, 348 yards 3 TD rushing)
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (2,413 yards 18 TD 5 INT passing, 859 yards 13 TD rushing)
Breaking Down the Candidates
Gerhart is the guy with all the stats on a team that went 8-4 and won't play in a big-time bowl game. He might be the best offensive player in college football right now and has at least the statistics to show that. What helps Gerhart is the geography of voting and his being the only west coast player of note in the race, but what hurts him is Stanford went 8-4 and will face Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl.
Suh is the guy who made the biggest splash on the last day before most voting took place. His 4.5 sacks and overall dominating performance against the Longhorns gave Suh the game by which we can all measure his greatness. What helps Suh is that he is the best player in college football and had a great stage to show off on vs Texas, but what hurts him is he plays defensive tackle.
Ingram is the guy who is the best individual player on the best team in the country. I really can't find much of a rationale other than that because it doesn't seem to matter who runs behind that offensive line in the scheme they run. Trent Richardson looks just as good when he comes in. What helps Ingram is he will be on the field for the national championship game, but what hurts him is his stats leave something to be desired by comparison.
McCoy is the guy who had a great season on a great team. He is the only player we can reasonably associate with the Texas Longhorns the last couple of years. What helps McCoy is that he is a quarterback playing for a national title who has twice missed out on the trophy despite good seasons, but what hurts McCoy is his worst game came this past weekend in the Big XII title game vs the best defense he's seen and one of the few defenses of any note.
Tebow is the career achievement invitee. This one really steams me given that there is no rational reason to invite his to the ceremony. What helps him is that apparently he is the second coming, but what hurts him is his season wasn't that good and Florida won't be in the national title game.
As I would have had it:
1. Toby Gerhart - I think best player is how the award should work
2. Ndamukong Suh - Since the trophy doesn't have an "offensive" qualifier I can't vote him any lower
3. C.J. Spiller - I hate Clemson, but know he's a greatplayer and Clemson is garbage without him
4. Colt McCoy - Great player, and his not having won it yet helps his case for me
5. Mark Ingram - I don't think he's that good really, but it's hard to put anyone else here
The Kids Table
"Reservations for two, please." "Ah, I see you're with the Frog-Bronco party, right this way."
I'll make this point as quickly as possible.
Having TCU and Boise State play each other in the Fiesta Bowl is the equivalent of letting someone into a restaurant and seating them at the kids table. "Yeah, you can eat here, but you can't sit with the big people." is what the BCS said yesterday when they announced the match-ups. Don't get me wrong, it will likely be the best game of the five BCS games, but still there is not chance for either team to prove anything. The big boys of the BCS and their conferences were afraid of the thought that there could be two undefeated non-AQ with wins over BCS conference teams in bowl games. Any possibility that TCU could pass up to #1 with a Texas win over Alabama are gone, and you know that was on their minds.
They say "It's the best system," much like Communism in Russia, right?
There's an easy way to fix this, here's my schedule for a play-of this year:
First Round- Saturday, December 19th
Noon: Orange Bowl = Georgia Tech (ACC) vs Cincinnati (Big East)
3:30: Sugar Bowl = Alabama (SEC) vs Boise State (#2 non-AQ)
7:00: Rose Bowl = Oregon (Pac-10) vs Ohio State (Big Ten)
10:30: Fiesta Bowl = Texas (Big XII) vs TCU (#1 non-AQ)
Second Round- Saturday, January 2nd
3:30: Eastern Semi-final- Orange Bowl Champ vs Sugar Bowl Champ in Jacksonville, FL
8:00: Western Semi-final- Rose Bowl Champ vs Fiesta Bowl Champ in San Diego, CA
Championship Game- Saturday, January 9th
8:00: Eastern Semi-final winner vs Western Semi-final winner in Indianapolis, IN
Three Parting Shots
Best Team Spirit Movement of 2009
Runaway winner here:
They've got a website with shirts, hats, signs, and even new gear with a tire added for their bowl game.
Best Ending of 2009
I was one of eight people watching this live, but was greatest ending since Stanford-Cal band pass:
The game included 105 points, 964 total yards of offense, 47 first downs, the obligatory 2 INT for Juice Williams, and 1.5 millions reasons a year Illini fans are going to continue kicking themselves through 2014.
Coach Flip-Out of 2009
Another game I watched as it happened, Lynch gets bonus points if I found out the gum stuck the landing
I chose this particular clip to further illustrate Lynch was completely within his rights to flip-out. It was still early enough in the season to know Michigan was getting some help from the Big Ten, who desperately tried to prop up the Wolverines. For more on that, here's a bonus fourth parting shot with Rivalry Moment Caught on Tape of 2009: