Saturday, February 07, 2004

We're No.1?

With as much as has been said, it seems there couldn’t possibly be anything left to say about the BCS results – the debacle of the system, the uncertainty of the outcome – yet, I think, impossibly, the three most obvious and vital oints remain unmentioned. So here they are:

1 – FRIENDLY CONFINES. Both teams that won, in solid but not at all overwhelming style, did so in defacto home games. Why has no one mentioned this? The crowds were overwhelmingly on their side and, maybe more important, the players from SC and LSU didn’t have to travel anywhere, could drive back to campus at night (or to get a CD or whatever), and didn’t have to worry about a single family member or friend springing for airfare. That’s a HUGE advantage in preperation. And I think you’d have to award both crowds at least a touchdown worth of advantage, the Sugar Bowl crowd probably a lot more. In fact, on an honestly neutral field – and certainly in, say, Dallas - OU would still be a favorite.
So there’s that.
2 – NO MATTER WHAT, NEVER USE THE ‘C’ WORD. As DeNiro put it in Ronin, if there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt. Well, if there’s any doubt, there’s no ‘Champion.’ A “champion” is a singular word - it’s one of those ‘by definition’ things. You have a Rose Bowl champ and a Sugar Bowl champ (and a Humanitarian Bowl champ) and two teams ‘voted number one.’ Why ABC appears terrified to call this spade a spade boggles me – do they think one less person would watch if they were LESS cynical and LESS hypocritical? The on-air consistency of ABC’s entire staff using no other words but “national champion” – even in sentences actively referring to two teams – has been GOP-like in its message discipline. Still, it’s incorrect. Throw ‘national champion’ this year on the pile of ‘Words and Concepts I’d never put under my byline if I still had one’ (along with any mention ever of announced attendence figures or coverage of the Heisman).
(did anybody catch the forehead-slapper news that – NO WAY!- this was the largest Sugar Bowl crowd ever?!?!??! Can you BELIEVE IT?!?!?!)
3 – ONE MORE GAME? HOW ABOUT 8? Oklahoma and Michigan, in their respective 4th quarters, both faced 4th downs in their opponent’s redzone with a chance to tie (OU) or pull within a score (UM). In both cases, they threw a pass into their opponent’s endzone that was both tipped and bounced off the hands of a receiver. So that’s two damn-near-catches away from two entirely different games. NO WAY such games can be described as decisive or convincing – which is great, right? I do not think any team in America would beat USC (shutter Lienhart AND score on that defense AND win the special teams? Not likely), but I have less evidence now to support that claim than I did a week ago. Since it remains a ‘vote’ and not a competition, to eliminate OU, Michigan or, for that matter, KSU (who also threw into their opponent’s endzone late looking for a tie), from discussion of who is the nation’s ‘best’ team is absurd (though we can safely scrap the dreadful efforts put up by Miami and Florida State – yuck).
In short – nobody knows.
I mean, if you’re uncertain of the uncertainty here, consider: ANYONE want a piece of Cal tomorrow?

Here’s what we Know:
SC’s unbeaten women’s volleyball team won the “National Championship.”
SC’s football team won the Rose Bowl.