VETTEL: Week Eleven Musings

This is without a doubt my least favorite week of the college football season. It’s the week where the brain-dead BCS apologists point out that the “playoff system” many call for is actually underway. Some clown wrote how Michigan/Ohio State is one national semi-final and Notre Dame/Southern Cal is the other. What nonsense!

What we appear to have is yet another season in which the team that loses early gets the benefit of “finishing strongly” while teams that lose late (Michigan or Ohio State) will be excessively punished.

The new BCS standings show that Rutgers had the greatest week in the history of college football. The Scarlet Knights, who got an extra chance to kick a game-winning field goal because of an offsides penalty jumped seven places and are now right in the midst of the race for number two. Should they win out; can they pass all the one loss teams and reach the title game?

There is not enough information out there to fairly compare Southern Cal and/or Notre Dame to Florida, Arkansas or one or more Big East teams that finish with a single loss. Yes, Southern Cal beat Arkansas and that should serve as a tiebreaker, but the Razorbacks of November bear little resemblance to the Hogs of September. And while Southern Cal looks like they are in if they win out, keep in mind they have California, Notre Dame and UCLA still to play. The system stinks, but it’s the only system we got.

FSU quandary painful to deal with —– I know a lot of Florida fans are enjoying seeing FSU at 5-and-5 after the Seminoles’ worst performance in three decades. Still, you have to empathize with the situation that they are in. School President T.K. Wetherell has to figure out a way to convince Bobby Bowden to retire before it gets much worse; and he must do so as subtly and quietly as possible. It’s really not in Florida’s long term interests for FSU to slide into mediocrity, no matter how much you might enjoy it.

Sunshine State has two bowl eligible teams —– and neither of them is FSU or Miami. The South Florida Bulls have seven wins and are pretty much assured of post-season action. Not bad after consecutive losses left the Bulls 3-and-2. Good thing they have their seven wins already, because they finish the season at Louisville and at West Virginia.

Honors coming for the Razorbacks —– Houston Nutt is the hands down winner of SEC Coach of the Year. After consecutive losing seasons, Nutt was clearly on the hot seat when the year began. He took the bold and risky step of hiring an offensive coordinator (Gus Malzahn) from the high school ranks. It looked like a disaster when Southern Cal clobbered them opening day 50-14, but since then the Razorbacks have been perfect. One big reason for the success is sophomore running back Darren McFadden, who should be the SEC Player of the Year. McFadden has run for over 12-hundred yards and often takes the shotgun snap and runs the option. He even threw a touchdown pass last week. He’s likely to be top five for the Heisman.

Boise still making noisy —– The BCS almost freed up a spot Saturday night, but Boise State survived an upset bid from San Jose State to win 23-20 and remain unbeaten. Anthony Montgomery nailed a 37 yard field goal as time ran out for the victory, keeping the Broncos in line for a spot in the Fiesta Bowl (the non-title game version). They face one last major challenge, a very talented Nevada team in two weeks and if they win that one, some conference runner-up is going to be very disappointed. One big concern has to be the status of running back Ian Johnson who is still in San Jose after suffering a collapsed lung. Johnson leads the nation with 21 touchdowns and ran for 149 and a score Saturday. Boise State is a lot more vulnerable without their 14-hundred yard runner.

Tar Heel Butch —– There are many national types who think the hiring of Butch Davis by North Carolina is a bad one. Those people are dead wrong. Davis not only runs a disciplined program, he is a GREAT talent evaluator. He left the most loaded team ever assembled when he departed Miami and he did it without top five recruiting classes. Yes, he lied about the NFL in order to sign his final class and he was wrong to do so. Because of that, I would advise Carolina to sign him to a massive buyout to assure he stays put. With the assets and resources available, there is no reason for North Carolina to be a mediocre program. Davis will change that in short order.

Maryland is my new favorite team —– The Terrapins’ season has been impressive. They are 8-and-2, have won five straight and can win the ACC Atlantic division with wins over Boston College and Wake Forest. But all that pales in comparison to the Terps’ players voting to give their per diem for Saturday’s game with Miami to the family of murdered Hurricanes defensive tackle Bryan Pata. It was a remarkably compassionate gesture that is worth far more than the money. Go Terps!