The SECquel. The DEAUX over. The Greatest Game Ever (RE)Played.
As I write The Hybrid for the last time in 2011, it seems all we are doing is repeating history. Every college football season goes like this: your favorite team shows up, loses early or middle or late, then the SEC outdoes themselves with some sort of terrible escalation, and everybody goes home miserable and cold. Spring thaws us, summer warms us, and we're somehow ready to go right at it all over again when the next fall begins.
I vacillated between doing the doom-and-gloom complaining thing or just accepting everything for what it all was. I leaned toward the latter, until I read this Doc Sat piece. Summary: the BCS is a shitshow. He also reminded me of the time LSU made the national title last time with two losses to unranked teams. How does the SEC do it? I don't know, but they just do. My SBN colleague Ricky O'Donnell hit me with a tweet that said something about LSU fans clamoring for a game against the Green Bay Packers. So maybe that's where this goes. The SEC advances to the NFL to play some sort of Super Bowl National Title against the NFL's champion. There, they will with with their SEC speed, schematic advantages, and overall athletic superiority of them thurr ath-uh-leetes. Someone please pistol whip me off my feet.
Damn it, I veered.
Listen: I'm not happy, you're (maybe) not happy, but really, what can we do? The system is broken. It needs to change. I won't go any further than that. I'll be back in early 2012 to preview Alabama-LSU, and when that writing catastrophe goes down, we can start to deconstruct our actual fandom in the game. What a day that'll be.
1) LSU: I said it. Clay said it. We're looking at our national champs. They don't even have to play the game. Everybody's like "oh, well if Alabama wins by a little bit, they'll split the national title." Shit, if Alabama blows them out, LSU shouldn't even have to split the national title. This season was theirs in every way. Also saw some sick stat where, like, 80%+ of LSU's TDs were scored by freshman or sophomores this season. Forecast: DOOM.
2) Alabama: I'm not as mad at you as I want to be. I suppose you didn't really do anything wrong. You're like an honors version of Michigan with the breaks you caught, though. I'll do a lowercase "Roll Damn Tide" as a sign of minor respect.
roll damn tide.
3) Oklahoma State: Not even this cheers me up.
Seriously, not even a little. Maybe negative.
4) Stanford: After your epic loss against whoever that was (Oregon, right), it's gotta be a nice solace to finish the regular season in the Top 4. Sure, you squandered boring Andrew Luck's gift of a senior season, but all's well that ends 'meh'.
And yes, we have again turned on Andrew Luck. He was boring all year, didn't really have a memorable moment, threw some funny interceptions, proved he was NFL ready, and yet... wasn't even the best QB in his conference. I wish him nothing but the best in the NFL, but he's really going to have to do something to get me in his corner. For both our sakes, I wish I knew what.
5) Oregon: Top 5 finish for the offensive equivalent of the atomic bomb. Maybe there are small amounts of justice left in CFB.
7) Boise State: With Kellen Moore leaving, has the window finally closed?
/thought the exact same thing about Jared Zabransky when he left
8) Kansas State
9) South Carolina
10) Wisconsin: Montee Ball and Russell Wilson were the only QB/RB combo to each get 30 TDs. They were also the only QB/RB combo to be the COOLEST EVER.
11) Virginia Tech
12) Baylor: HEIIISMAN.
So Robert Griffin III won the Heisman, and we all agreed it was great and he's awesome. But you know what's kinda crazy? He's even more awesome than the awesome we already unanimously agreed he is. Hit me, Doc Sat!
Not that Griffin hadn't already accomplished more at Baylor than just about any player in school history: He enrolled in early at age 17, won a Big 12 championship in the 400-meter hurdles shortly after arriving on campus, returned from a major knee [injury] to smash every school passing record as a junior, graduated in three years with a degree in political science, landed on the honor roll in six straight semesters and had already made plans to attend law school. He obviously had the talent, the disposition and most of the numbers to hold his own against any quarterback in the country. Except that he played quarterback for Baylor.
13) Michigan: What up, you lucky sons a guns? I'd complain about the unfairness of Michigan making the BCS if, you know, Michigan State fans hadn't been bitching about it for the last two weeks. God, Spartan fans really ratcheted up their terrible-ness this season. I've been so neutral on MSU for the last few years, it almost feels good to begin the process of re-hate.
15) Clemson: Gotten away from it the last few weeks. So, for one last time in 2011.... CLIMPSON!!!! Haha -- the ACC champs!
16) Georgia: Just go rock MSU so we can all forget.
17) Michigan State: That 'cheerleader getting maybe seriously injured' story had about the happiest epilogue possible.
Also: STFU, Kirk Cousins. As my buddy Adam would say, "this guy deserves a Rock Bottom."
19) Houston: Slim Thug and friends recorded a Houston fight song/theme song-type thing. Then they lost. This guy also got a haircut. Also before the loss. All in all a terrible week.
20) Nebraska: You know what my buddy Lebs reminded me of this week? Nebraska isn't just joining the Big Ten for football, they're joining for everything. Including basketball. Hahaha. As an Iowa alum, I don't have much room to talk, but the early returns on Nebraska men's basketball are not...bad? They have three losses, but they were to Oregon (Eh? No idea), Wake Forest (Used to be good?), and No. 22 Creighton. I began this paragraph with the intention of making fun of them, and while maybe they will flop in conference play, I'm not calling out a 6-3 team just to do it. Especially when Iowa lost at home by double digits to a school called Campbell.
21) Southern Miss: Made fun of you being ranked all year, backed off a bit, and then you ended Houston's season. I give you nothing but props, apologies, and best of lucks.
22) Penn State: This ranking feels about perfect. While I was wrong about you being completely terrible, you obviously never became elite, either. I will not mention off-the-field stuff, because y'all had nothing to do with that.
23) West Virginia
25) Auburn: The 2011 BCS National Champs.
No stupid jokes this week. Klosterman wrote a pretty solid piece on Tebow, and I think you should read it (though it is a little lengthy). If you really want to hear thoughts on the Tebow-Bears destruction, may I recommend a podcast I did with Z.W. Martin and Ricky O'Donnell? It's not bad.
Actually, this is the last Hybrid of 2011, so we have to end with a stupid joke. So, as our finale, I present to you.... Zombie Tebow.
I also watched this Tebow mic'd up segment on Dan Patrick's Football Something Show on Versus the other day.... and man, he's the nicest guy ever. I had a moment of weakness for about four minutes after it ended, but then Paige reminded me I didn't. It all comes back to The Promise, people. When you think you're starting to see the light, let The Promise ground you. It is so bad.
Note: Though few of these bowls are "sweet" in actuality, I've decided to list everything to keep this comprehensive. I will probably not write about many of them. Also, I only included the bowl name only if it was 1) a BCS bowl or, 2) a bowl sponsored by a company I like and/or support.
Saturday, December 17
Temple vs. Wyoming: No.
Ohio vs. Utah State: It's funny, because if you just switched which team had "State" after its name, you'd suddenly find yourself with a good game.
San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette: No.
Tuesday, December 20
Florida International vs. Marshall: No.
Wednesday, December 21
No. 18 TCU vs. Louisiana Tech: I am so, so sorry, TCU.
Thursday, December 22
Arizona State vs. No. 7 Boise State: I am so, so sorry, Boise. I know the system is completely corrupt and terrible and that there are a million fixes -- or total revamps -- that need to happen before anyone can take it seriously again, but here's a small change I'm offering up in the interim: if Boise and TCU don't make the BCS, just have them play each other every year. Least we could do.
Saturday, December 24
Nevada vs. No. 21 Southern Miss: Eh...no. Much respect to Southern Miss still, though.
Monday, December 26
Missouri vs. North Carolina: UNC!!!
Tuesday, December 27
Little Caesars Bowl -- Western Michigan vs. Purdue: Bleh. Go Western Michigan!
Louisville vs. North Carolina State: No.
Wednesday, December 28
Toledo vs. Air Force: No.
California vs. No. 24 Texas: Pretty sweet on paper.
Thursday, December 29
Champ Sports Bowl -- Florida State vs. Notre Dame: I... love this game. Two unranked, traditional powers squaring off. Listen, Notre Dame sucks always and forever, but their team is mega-fun to watch this year, and if you can't see past your hatred of them to understand that, then you might be the crazy one. Go watch Michael Floyd play football. Special props to both teams involved for staying unranked. Imagine unranked Notre Dame playing, like, No. 23 FSU. Just terrible.
Washington vs. No. 12 Baylor: "Aright, guys, peep this idea: we take one of the most exciting team's, Baylor, and one of the most exciting players, Robert Griffin III, and have them play no one in a totally meaningless game!"
"I'm not totally sold on this idea."
"Did we mention he will have the Heisman by then? Seriously, try and process how bad of an idea this is!"
"You're right, let's do it!"
Friday, December 30
Brigham Young vs. Tulsa: No.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Rutgers vs. Iowa State: Is this the bowl played at Yankee Stadium?
It is! The Cyclones take Manhattan. I'd say having Rutgers in the game would help give it a built-in local audience, but as someone who lived in New Jersey for a few months and worked for a newspaper who covered Rutgers football, I can't imagine it will matter in any way.
Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest: Noooo.
Iowa vs. No. 14 Oklahoma: Love this bowl. Though I feel bad for Oklahoma -- a team ranked No. 1 for a stretch during the season -- and America itself for having to suffer through it, it's a tremendous opportunity for Iowa. If they get blown out, who didn't see that coming? If not? Upset, baby! Plus it's in December, so it's really not wasting anyone's time who doesn't want to see their time wasted to begin with.
Saturday, December 31
Texas A&M vs. Northwestern: Texas A&M spent a serious chunk of the year in the Top 10. Then they blew a ton of second half leads, their coach got axed, and now they're playing Northwestern in a bowl game. This might be rock bottom.
Georgia Tech vs. Utah: Triple option versus Urban Meyer's old, old school.
Illinois vs. UCLA: The We'll Send Off Your Coach Better Than You'll Send Off Your Coach Bowl.
Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt: My SBN Chi colleague Ricky pointed out the appeal of this game: maybe it'll inspire a bunch of great @NotJayCutler tweets.
Chick-fil-A Bowl -- Virginia vs. No. 25 Auburn: Do you get the feeling Auburn fans who opened 2011 with about as much joy as you can have will be saying "Did the Cam era actually happen here?" five years from now? That's not to take a potshot at the fact it might be vacated, but it's more just a commentary on the actual memory itself. Musta been a straight whirlwind.
Monday, January 2
No. 19 Houston vs. No. 22 Penn State: Should hate this game, but love this game. Arguably one of the nation's best passers against a proven, legitimate defense. Ready, set, go.
No. 20 Nebraska vs. No. 9 South Carolina: Good rankings, meh teams. Nebraska seemed to lose most meaningful games this year, so instead of thinking about the teams, this game probably boils down to the conferences. Big Ten vs. ESS EEE SEE. Remember: rooting against the SEC means you're rooting for the Big Ten. Loseloseloseloseloselose.
No. 17 Michigan State vs. No. 16 Georgia: Very cool game. Two fringey, elite-ish teams square off to prove who is definitively 'good', at the very worst. I feel like Nebraska-South Carolina is, like, a C- version of this game.
Ohio State vs. Florida: The Urban Meyer Bowl. I'm not going to bitch about Urban Meyer stealing other Big Ten teams' recruits, because college football is a dirty game, and you have to know that to succeed. So all of the "gentleman's agreement" crap you'll hear from Big Ten coaches who are mad they lost their 5-star is total bull. These are the same people who called Saint RichRod a "snake oil salesmen." Screw those guys. What I will complain about is Ohio State getting two coaching staffs approved by the NCAA -- one to coach the bowl (the old staff) and one to recruit (Meyer's new staff). How is that fair?! Especially factoring in the circumstances.
NCAA, probably: "We know Ohio State egregiously violated our terrible rules, so how about we 'vacate' their enjoyable 2010 season of success, which really means nothing. From there, they can lose their coach but gain a much, much better coach. And we'll take that already huge advantage and give them an even bigger advantage with an inside track on recruiting."
Rose Bowl -- No. 10 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Oregon: Maybe not the best bowl, but definitely the coolest. Probably Top 3, overall. Oregon is great always, Montee Ball won't stop scoring, and I'll bid my tearful farewell to one Russell Wilson. What a long, strange trip it's been.
Fiesta Bowl -- No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State: Killer rankings match up, but what's the fun of watching two great offenses go at it? Oh, right, everything. While it woulda been fun to see both of these squads face off against SEC defenses, we'll have to take what we can get with this game. And what we can get is supreme offensive talent on both sides of the ball. The one problem? If Justin Blackmon or Andrew Luck put up gaudy numbers, context will elude us because neither team has what we at The Hybrid would call a "stalwart defense."
Tuesday, January 3
Super Sugar Bowl -- No. 13 Michigan vs. No. 11 Virginia Tech: Pretty awful game, by all accounts. For me, I'm mostly excited to see Denard and say goodbye. V-Tech has played no one this year, so if they beat Michigan? Terrible. Reminder: Michigan opens with Alabama in Dallas next year, so this will be their first of two games down South.
Wednesday, January 4
Orange Bowl -- No. 23 West Virginia vs. No. 15 Clemson: Arguably the worst bowl, only not really. Certainly the worst BCS bowl. My goal for this game is to turn it on with Climpson up by, like, 10 with four minutes left in the game, and then they'll have to avoid blowing the lead when WFV scores a late TD and attempt an onside kick. That'd be nice.
Friday, January 6
No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 6 Arkansas: So weird this isn't a BCS game. Did both of these teams not just have amazing years?
Saturday, January 7
Southern Methodist vs. Pittsburgh: How did super boring Pitt and Purdue both find equally boring, non-BCS teams to play them? College football is a weird mesh.
Sunday, January 8
Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois: Love NIU.
Monday, January 9
BCS National Championship Game -- No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 LSU: Because USC is still banned from bowls, I'll end with this: Lane Kiffin -- one of our top people.
Housekeeping note. I have another podcast with Z.W. and Ricky going up Friday, 12/16. We did a game-by-game preview of all the bowls. It's basically the same thing you just read here, except for, like, 50 minutes.
Just for fun, here's how a plus-one would look this year:Delany thinks a plus-one format for a college football playoffs (played with a final four tournament format) would be a "slippery slope." To what? More enjoyment? Cue up Bennett again.
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Stanford
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State.
Yeah, who'd want to watch those games?
As for the slippery slope argument, that's a bogeyman. You can use that to support your objection to anything (I'll prove it: "If I eat this piece of pizza, it's a slippery slope toward eating all the pizza in the world and needing to go on 'The Biggest Loser' in six months."). The conference commissioners still control the game, and if they don't want a full-fledged, larger playoff system, then it won't happen.Sure would be. But until then, all we can do is take pithy shots at him in this Internet column until he wises the fuck up to actual progressive thinking.
Realistically, the plus-one model is about the best we can hope for in the near future, and there's very little reason to stop it. It would be nice if Delany and the Big Ten got on board.
Wrapping It Up...
Thank you to everyone who supported the column this year. I came into this season with no intentions of writing it, and it only existed because of a strong kick in the ass from some very good friends. If you read this and got mad at anything, I am sorry we don't (ess eee) see eye to eye.
/resiting urge to end column with "PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST"
Happy holidays, people. I'll see you in January.
Bobby Loesch is the assistant editor of Tremendous Upside Potential and a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. He can be reached at bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.