Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 9:04 AM
Saturday Night's battle between Oklahoma and Florida State is being hyped like it's a national championship game. The mainstream media has taken a leap of faith with both schools...setting up a telecast that will either launch a future title holder...or will look really embarrassing in about six weeks.
Is Oklahoma really the #1 team in the country? Seriously...the SEC has established beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's the best conference in the country. And, whoever's best in the SEC should be considered best in the nation until they prove otherwise. Couldn't everyone agree on that? Can we at least agree that the SEC is a lot better than the Big 12 top to bottom? The SEC wins national championships. It's been awhile for the Big 12...who saw Texas and Oklahoma lose to Alabama and Florida respectively with all the marbles on the line. Should me make pollsters watch a re-run of LSU-Texas A&M from last year's bowl games?
Even leaving the SEC aside, hasn't Oklahoma established that they're not all that great when playing away from home? Sure, they have some very good results here and there. But, THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IN THE COUNTRY shouldn't be doing things like this:
Oklahoma (-14) wins at Cincinnati 31-29
Oklahoma (-3) loses at Missouri 36-27
Oklahoma (-4.5) loses at Texas A&M 33-19
Yes, this was last year's team. But, last year's team was undefeated and #3 in the country heading into that Missouri game. THIS year's team has 8 starters back on offense and 6 on defense from last year's team. It's the same coaching staff...and the same schematics...and, frankly, probably the same tendency to run up the score at home but look mortal on the road when they run into somebody who knows what they're doing. That's a Bob Stoops trademark. (We should also mention that the win in Dallas over Texas 28-20 looked much worse in retrospect than it did at the time...and a 23-20 neutral site win over Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game was a non-cover).
Oklahoma is certainly a power program. You're going to put them #1 in the nation over everyone else? Over the best teams in the SEC? This has a chance to really blow up in pollster's faces this week or down the road vs. Texas in Dallas, at Baylor, or at Oklahoma State.
Is Florida State really the #5 team in the country? This may be a much bigger leap of faith. There's no tangible on-field evidence yet that FSU deserves this kind of respect. They only ranked 60th in the nation last year on offense even though they had a quarterback who was drafted by the NFL and a backup who was supposed to be just as good. They ranked only 42nd in the nation on defense, despite playing in a conference...the ACC...that plays a lot of low tempo defensive battles.
But, because recruiting has supposedly been so good (as evaluated by the same guys who said Texas would be loaded last year), that NOW, Florida State is a top five team. Hey, we've seen the videotapes. There are definitely some athletes on the field for the Seminoles. Are they ready to jump from"on the move" to"clearly a superpower" that quickly?
Early season polls are notoriously soft. For awhile, everyone kept sticking Iowa and Michigan in the top five until they stumbled through some poor Big Ten games and fell down to something more logical. Last year's Week Three Top 10 looked like this:
1...Alabama (finished 10th)
2...Ohio State (finished 5th)
3...Boise State (finished 9th)
4...TCU (finished 2nd)
5...Oregon (finished 3rd)
7...Oklahoma (finished 6th)
8...Nebraska (finished 20th)
Not horrible. But, Texas, Iowa, and Florida finished all the way out of the top 25. Nebraska might have too if the Big 12 North hadn't been so soft. You see Auburn anywhere? The eventual national champion hadn't even cracked the top 10 yet at this stage of last season.
Maybe Florida State is the next Oregon. Maybe they're a 2011 version of the Texas and Iowa teams from 2010. It's a leap of faith to put them in the top five.
So, Saturday Night's nationally televised meeting is going to be very interesting indeed. It probably doesn't deserve the hype it's been getting. But, when the season is in the books, it might well have been as important a game as the media now thinks it is.
Another interesting prime time game is Ohio State at Miami. Before offseason soap operas, this was building up to be a top five program visiting a top 15 program in a showcase game. Both teams lost stars to misbehavior. Ohio State lost a head coach too! New Miami coach Al Golden inherited some problems he hadn't counted on, but is hoping to make the best of things.
Ohio State barely made it past Toledo last week at home in a game that was a dead heat statistically.
Miami lost to Maryland in a national TV game that exposed a few weaknesses while reminding everyone that there's still some talent here.
Would you be excited about Toledo at Maryland? Probably not. That chance that this has just become the equivalent of Toledo at Maryland has dimmed the spotlight considerably. (That's one reason ESPN won't shut up about Oklahoma-Florida State!).
We may or may not be releasing either of these prime time matchups at JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK. We can tell you for sure that some big TV games are part of our mix on this Saturday. Our weekly TV Triple Crown is loaded because of all the good matchups. And, our much anticipated SEPTEMBER SHOCKER could be in one of those national TV spots.
Among the nominees:
Auburn at Clemson on ABC (high energy tilt)
Tennessee at Florida on CBS (blood rivalry renewed)
Michigan State at Notre Dame on NBC (Will Irish avoid 0-3?)
Texas at UCLA on ABC (Revenge-minded Horns)
Washington at Nebraska on ABC (tough test)
Navy at South Carolina on ESPN2 (don't sleep on this one!)
Utah at BYU on ESPN2 (emotional battle)
Stanford at Arizona on ESPN (danger spot for Luck)
What a card! Oklahoma at FSU, OSU at Miami, AND all of those other big games!
You can purchase our SEPTEMBER SHOCKER, our TV TRIPLE PLAY , and all of our regular service plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about NETWORK packages, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. Our service games were strong last week in the colleges. We hope you kicked off the new week with us Thursday Night with a winner on the Under in LSU/Mississippi State. It was 9-6 starting the fourth quarter! Talk about easy money.
We'll be back with you in the NOTEBOOK on Sunday to preview the much-hyped Philadelphia at Atlanta prime time game on NBC. Michael Vick is returning to Atlanta for the first time as a starting quarterback. He'd love to put on a show in his former home city. The Falcons are already in a must-win spot after having lost last week at Chicago. Don't forget about Sunday's Pro Stunner that is very likely to be an upset call on a very live underdog.
In the colleges...in the pro's....in the TV games...or in matchups that only a mother could love...DON'T YOU DARE MAKE A MOVE UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT JIM HURLEY HAS TO SAY!