Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM
Leave it to the Bowl Championship Series folks to make a major mess of the whole holiday season.
As if it's not bad enough that we are getting a rematch of that regular-season game between #1 LSU and #2 Alabama in next month's BCS Championship - more about that in a bit - but the whole bowl picture is out of whack!
Yes, we know all about league champions supposedly getting the bids to the Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar Bowls but why should mere "drawing power" push the likes of #11 Virginia Tech and #13 Michigan past other more-deserving teams - these two are playing one another in this year's Sugar Bowl even though there are other teams that should have gotten consideration for this particular bowl tilt (see Big 10 runner-up Michigan State, Big 12 power Kansas State and even #7 Boise State).
The fact of the matter is everyone keeps talking about futuristic plans of "playoffs" - which ain't gonna happen anytime soon - or silly systems like "plus one" (enough, ESPN's Kirb Herbstreit!) to save College Football's plans to crown a real champion.
We say take a step back into your past - make all the bowls more meaningful and you could wind up with a real dilly of a day should - let's just say -- #1 LSU loses in the Sugar Bowl (where SEC champs always went) and maybe #2 Alabama loses in the Fiesta Bowl and/or maybe #3 Oklahoma State loses in the Orange Bowl.
As it is now, if LSU beats Alabama for all the marbles in the BCS Championship Game on the night of Jan. 9th, it's a case of NBD - No Big Deal 'cause the Bayou Bengals beat 'em already.
And if 'Bama happens to turn the tables and wins in the rematch, you tell us the Tide's deserving when they already lost at home to LSU and than didn't even have to play in this year's SEC Championship Game.
And here's what we really find funny:
The mouthpieces of the BCS system say this worked out well - after all, aren't LSU and Alabama the "best two teams" in the country?
No question that they are but than shouldn't LSU be crowned the Associated Press and/or USA Today right here and right now because a potential season split with Alabama should get 'em some sort of title, right?
Maybe Oklahoma State blew it by losing a couple of weeks back at four-touchdown underdog Iowa State but at least the Cowboys won the Big 12 championship fair-and-square with last Saturday's rollicking 44-10 win against 3 ½-point underdog Oklahoma and it should be two conference champs that play for a title at year's end... not one legit champ and some palooka that did everything but beat their archrival when it mattered in early November.
Finally, a word or two about these other bowl games:
We know that it takes some imagination to fill out the dance card for some 70 bowl teams but we say anyone that finishes in the final BCS Top 10 should be playing a BCS bowl or in the best possible Jan. 2 bowl game and so include #6 Arkansas, #7 Boise State, #8 Kansas State and #9 South Carolina as clubs that got royally screwed here by this damn system.
Blow it up already - it doesn't work and rarely ever does (see history back to 1997).
Maybe it's "cute" that Ohio State is playing Florida in this year's Gator Bowl - Urban Meyer's new team against his old one - and that Florida State and Notre Dame will buck helmets while reviving an old rivalry in the Champs Sports Bowl later this month - but the fact that 6-7 UCLA is playing in a bowl (versus Cincinnati in the Fight Hunger Bowl) or that the likes of N.C. State and Arizona State nabbed bowl bids shows once and for all that mediocrity gets rewarded in this silly bowl system.
Whatta sham - and whatta shame!
THE NFL WEEK #13 WEEKEND UPDATE
Going, going... gone.
Could that be the punch line to the playoff hopes of both the Detroit Lions (7-5) and the New York Giants (6-6)?
No doubt that just weeks ago these NFC clubs appeared absolute locks to get into this year's post-season party but 'tis the season for major meltdowns for these two teams.
Okay, maybe it's tough to criticize the Giants here after they nearly knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion and still-perfect Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon in the Jersey swamps but the fact of the matter is Tom Coughlin's club tied that epic tilt at 35-apiece late and just needed one defensive stand to force overtime - and they couldn't do it.
The Jints surrendered pass plays covering 27, 24 and 18 yards to Pro Bowl QB Aaron Rodgers as part of a surgical five-play drive that was capped by PK Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal with no time left and thus NYG's losing streak hit four with two games against archrival Dallas still on the remaining menu. Maybe that will be the Giants' salvation - or maybe not.
All we know is that even with his fourth-quarter magic, Giants QB Eli Manning threw a "pick six" as Green Bay LB Clay Matthews raced 38 yards to pay dirt with the errant pass and it's gotta be heart-breaking to lose when the Giants' ground game finally awoke from its month-long slumber (100 yards rushes on 20 carries) as RB Brandon Jacobs (8 carries for 59 yards) and injury-prone RB Ahmad Bradshaw (11 carries for 38 yards) gave the offense a jump-start but the defense couldn't save 'em.
Sure looks like your typical second-half-of-the-season Giants collapse!
Meanwhile, here's a word to the wise with the Detroit Lions: Just behave yourselves and play ball!
In Sunday Night's 31-17 loss at 8-point fav New Orleans, there were the Lions getting brain cramps all over the joint with a slew of silly penalties (see 11 penalties for 107 yards in all) as WR Nate Burleson picked up three penalties for offensive pass interference and than there were those lack-of-self-control flags on TE Brandon Pettigrew (shoved an official), PR Stefan Logan (tossed a ball at an opponent's facemask after the play was finished) and WR Titus Young (he shoved a Saints player in the shadow of Detroit's goal line and really cost his club field position) - no wonder head coach Jim Schwartz doesn't discipline his players because he's so emotionally wrung out they probably take their cue from him!
The Lions were 5-and-oh to start off this 2011 season and now are in a major battle to get a playoff spot after dropping three of their last four games including that whacked-out 27-15 Turkey Day loss to Green Bay (no more replays of DT Ndamukong Suh stomping on anyone - we can't take it anymore!).
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to win big-time in NFL Week 13 action concluding with Monday Night's clash between the San Diego Chargers at the Jacksonville Jaguars and don't forget all the NFL Football & Basketball action all month long. Make sure you get all the Football and Basketball winners at our toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here as America's #1 Handicapper keeps up the winning beat!
That's right, there is Monday Night Football to wrap up NFL Week #13...
SAN DIEGO (4-7) at JACKSONVILLE (3-8) - 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
As long as we're talking NFL free-falls, how do you not mention the SD Chargers who enter this prime-time affair having lost five of their seven games this season by 7 points or less and so no wonder it's become public knowledge that fifth-year head coach Norv Turner will be shown the door at season's end - hey, QB Philip Rivers (16 TDs and 17 INTs) hasn't exactly helped Turner's cause.
Meanwhile, there's a new sheriff in town for Jacksonville as interim boss/defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has assumed command from the fired Jack Del Rio who somehow kept his job for eight-plus years despite the fact he commandeered just one single playoff win (see 31-29 at Pittsburgh back in the 2007 season). If RB Maurice Jones-Drew (1,040 yards rushing) can get 25-or-so rushes here than J'ville could be a real "live dog" here.
Spread Notes - San Diego's failed to cover its last six consecutive games and note the Chargers are 2-9 ATS (against the spread) overall this season. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is 4-6-1 versus the vig this year and note the Jaguars finished the Del Rio Era at 69-71-2 spreadwise, in case you were wondering about such matters.
NOTE: Lots of College Basketball goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez.