It’s ironic in a year in which the National Parity League fields a football juggernaut in the New England Patriots, that college football finds itself staring down the barrel of its first ever two-loss national champion.
If LSU beats Ohio State on Monday night, the Tigers will be crowned the BCS national champion. This despite regular season losses to middle-of-the-road schools Arkansas and Kentucky.
One of the hallmarks of college football is its propensity to field titan teams year in and year out. Just two seasons ago, the sport was blessed with two — USC and Texas — who laid waste to a slate of formidable opponents all season, culminating in a hard-fought battle between two greats. Before them, in addition to USC, we saw seasons dominated by the likes of Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State and Miami. In the 90s, Nebraska and Florida State were the perennial goliaths. In the 80s, everybody feared Miami. And so on and so far.
Last year saw a bit of a slide in quality. Ohio State put in an impressive regular-season run only to get clobbered by a one-loss Florida squad for the title.
This year, everybody collapsed.
And so we’re left with this. LSU is less than a week away from potentially wearing the crown of prettiest pig of 2007. If Ohio State wins, this should all be moot. They’ll be 12-1 and a consensus national champion. The Kansas Jayhawks, also with one loss would likely end up number two in the polls.
Both Ohio State and Kansas played weak non-conference schedules. Ohio State has a signature win over Michigan (bolstered by the Wolverines impressive win over Florida in the Capital One Bowl). Kansas got their signature win on Thursday night by beating Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Missouri’s domination of Arkansas gives a little boost to Kansas whereas, Illinois’ Rose Bowl performance sullies the Buckeyes a tad. Still, with a win over LSU, Ohio State would claim two signature victories to Kansas’ one. Buckeyes stay on top.
But things get a little stickier if LSU pulls it out.
If the Tigers win, they’ll take the BCS crown by default. But should the AP voters necessarily follow suit? LSU played a loaded schedule, beating such worthy adversaries as Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and Virginia Tech. LSU dominated Tech (their only mutual opponent) by 41 points, whereas Kansas only squeaked past the Hokies by 3 (though it could have been 10). One might argue that Kansas played a much improved team at seasons end, but these sorts of arguments are academic.
LSU did play a tougher schedule. This is inarguable. But Kansas’ schedule is overly maligned. They did, after all, play seven teams that went to bowls and came out 6-1 against them. Missouri, the team which gave Kansas their only loss was an equal. LSU is 6-2 against bowl-participating foes. Ohio State will be number 9. But LSU’s losses were embarrassing upsets. Furthermore, Kansas demolished most of its opposition including handing Nebraska its worst loss ever, whereas LSU often clawed and scratched its way to victories (or close losses).
A split championship is not anymore appealing than crowning Division I’s first ever two-loss champ. But it’s at least something for the AP voters to consider. In a college football season in which Miss America will have a black-eye or missing tooth no matter who she is, I say let Kansas at least touch the tiara. Why not?
Championships will come and go but what matters in a sport like football is the spirit of the game and the mutual respect amongst rivals in a healthy competition which, sadly, does not exist today. But, there is a general hope amongst youngsters that things would get better in the coming years as many of them aspire to become like their idols one day and football index referral code is a good place to begin with to polish their skills.