With the Florida/Ohio State showdown still to come, the major bowl games are complete with the expected LSU blowout of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. While many claim there are too many post-season football games I strongly disagree. As far as I’m concerned any city that wants to have a bowl game ought to have one. Shoot, I’d love to see a game in Gainesville every year.
If schools don’t want to play, they don’t have to. If fans don’t want to go, who’s going to stop them? If you don’t want to watch, tune in to some moronic reality show like “who ate the cat”. Just let it be. With that I offer up some random thoughts on the goings on in college football.
LSU tops —– As far as I’m concerned, the LSU Tigers are the most talented football team in the nation. Top to bottom, nobody has more talent, speed, depth and balance than the Bayou Bengals. Florida’s 23-10 win in early October still stands as the Gators most impressive win of the season. If there was a playoff system, LSU and Southern Cal would be the favorites.
Notre Dame Bottoms —– No bowl team will enter the off-season more bummed out than the Irish, except for maybe the Dolphins. Notre Dame lost its ninth straight bowl game in a 41-14 drubbing in New Orleans. Now to be fair, the Irish had to play the nation’s most talented team in essence on its home field. Additionally, while people complain that the Golden Domers get better bowl bids than they deserve because of their name, (a valid criticism) the result is Notre Dame plays a better team than it matches up with. Still next year will be fascinating as Charlie Weis grooms a successor to Brady Quinn.
FSU Plan B —– The Seminoles were certain they were going to get Jimbo Fisher to leave Baton Rouge and run their offense with the lure being the possibility of succeeding Bobby Bowden in a few years. Now it seems if Fisher does move on it will be to join Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. Look for a new trend in college football to be multi-year deals for coordinators to keep them from moving to a rival.
SEC Pride —– The Southeastern Conference is sitting pretty well at 5-and-3 heading into the BCS Title game. The three losses were games that were very close in the fourth quarter. It’s a challenge for a league to have its eighth and ninth place teams in post-season, especially when they are generally playing the fourth or fifth best team from another conference. Solid performances from Kentucky, South Carolina and a great Georgia comeback were keys successes.
Rich Brooks stock soaring —– When the year began I thought the Kentucky Coach was the SEC head man most likely to be out of work at the end of the year. Instead Brooks led the Wildcats to a bowl victory and an eight-win season. While Brooks is on much more secure footing as a result, he has a new worry. For the first time in a long time, Kentucky’s best players have serious draft potential and are eligible to leave before the 2007 season. Quarterback Andre Woodson, receiver Keenan Burton, running back/kick returner Rafael Little and linebacker Wesley Woodyard are all good enough to attract NFL interest. If they all come back, next year’s game in Lexington could be incredibly difficult.
Two Dawgs moving on —– The first two SEC players to announce for the next level are a pair of Georgia players. The sensible decision comes from defensive end Charles Johnson who is a load for opposing offenses. Johnson, in my view does not have a super high ceiling, so leaving now makes sense. Plus he’s coming off a great performance in the comeback win over Virginia Tech. Also leaving Athens for the NFL is running back Danny Ware. It’s not often a good decision to turn pro because you can’t get enough playing time in college. Ware will be a late round pick because of his athletic gifts, but it’s a strange decision. Georgia got good news from cornerback Paul Oliver who will return for his senior season.
Rich getting richer —– The loaded roster at Southern Cal will be more impressive with the addition of Arkansas transfer Damian Williams. The talented pass catcher who originally committed to the Gators before reneging to join up with his high school coach and teammates in Fayetteville will sit out the ’07 season before suiting up for the Men of Troy. It’s a shame the kid quit on the Hogs after just one semester, but such is the demand for instant gratification so many young players make. Odd thing is they sit out an entire year because they are too impatient to let things evolve where they are. Oh well.