These are some of the random thoughts that have been floating in my head since the beginning of the new year that I’ve been waiting to get down in a format such as this. Just fair warning ahead, this may turn into a particularly giant rant, so don’t say you weren’t properly warned.
(1) Who was the real national champion this past college football season?
Before everyone jumps on me as an unabashed Georgia fan thinking that the whole purpose of this topic is to tout the Bulldawgs as some deserving team and they got screwed, then you are highly mistaken. I feel, as most rational Bulldawg fans, that we had no business in a national title game. (You can’t get your lunch handed to you by Tennessee on the road and lose to a Cackalacka team that doesn’t make a bowl game and have no right to complain. Win all your games, get skipped over, then you have a beef with the system.) Although I will admit if Kentucky, South Carolina, or Vanderbilt could make a field goal, LSU would not have been able to stay on the field with Georgia in the SEC title game. Alas, congrats to the Vol fans out there as your team did what it needed to do to get to Atlanta.
I think that’s Stafford Speak for “Ouch”.
Back to the topic on hand. Was there really a true national champion this year? Surely, I will admit that LSU was the most deserving team. They beat everyone they needed to and won it fair and square (I think everyone will agree that USC has absolutely no argument here. When you lose at home to a 41 point underdog, you deserve no national title). But frankly, was LSU the best team out there? Was there even a dominant team this year? I can’t remember another time in recent history where one team didn’t just stand out where everyone could say with a clear heart that there was clearly one team better than everyone else during the year. Sure, we had teams that were hot for stretches, but no truly dominant team. Also, can we all agree that Les Miles needs to shove it when he kept admitting that his team was undefeated in regulation? I agree that overtime may be an unfair measure of a team as it only takes one score to win. But I also know LSU fans that refuse to admit that USC won a national title in 2003. Well folks, that USC team was undefeated in regulation, too. So, if LSU fans are going to hang on the premise that they were a great team because they were undefeated in regulation then they must admit that USC won a national title in 2003.
Was the last season proof that college football must have a playoff system to determine its champion if it wishes to maintain its integrity? I don’t have the answer to that. People that get paid lots more money than I do make those kinds of decisions. The one thing I do know is that if we are going to rely on voters to determine the champion of the sport that so many of us hold near and dear, then we must get more consistent methods of voting (this is where I will show up as the annoyed Georgia fan). My biggest issue with how the end of the season played out was the voting that last week after all the conference championship games. I do think Georgia is a great example to show how ludicrous the voting system is right now. Once again, in no way do I think Georgia should have played for a national title. I am a firm believer that the only thing you can control is winning your conference. So if you don’t win your conference, you have no business playing for a national title. After the last week of the regular season for most teams (Thanksgiving), the voters felt the Bulldawgs were better than LSU at that point by voting the two fourth and seventh, respectively, in the polls. The key point to remember is that this was where the voters put each of these two teams knowing full well that the Bulldawgs had no chance to play for a conference championship. Clearly, in the opinions of the voters, they thought the Bulldawgs were the better team at the time.
After all the conference title and final week games play out, doomsday happens. Both #’s 1 and 2 lose that week, giving the nod to Ohio State and a team to be determined. Immediately the talking heads (I’m looking at you Herbstreit) say Georgia should not be in the national title game as they did not win their conference (which I agree with). So, after all plays out, it is decided that LSU and Ohio State will play each other for the mythical national championship that year. My question to the voters is, what changed to make you think that LSU was better than the ‘Dawgs? Was it the fact that LSU only won the SEC title game because Erik Ainge decided to pull his best Reggie Ball impression in the 4th quarter? I don’t have these answers. So apparently the voters decided this week that they were going to vote for who they felt most deserving to play which in all cases, pointed to LSU. If the voters felt the most deserving teams should play for the title, then they got their matchup right. My problem is they didn’t vote like that the week before. All I ask is that the voters are consistent from week to week. I think changing the method of voting diminishes the integrity of the national championship. Do we want the most deserving team to win, or the best team? Sometimes, those two aren’t the same and I hope this is something the voters address before next season.
(2) Why are the Mets all of a sudden the team to beat in the National League?
Okay, you got Johan Santana. That’s wonderful. He’ll give you close to 20 wins a year and probably contend for a Cy Young. Good for you, Mets fans. Please tell me how adding a guy that plays once every five days automatically makes a team the handsdown favorites to win their division and league. Is he also going to drive in another 100 runs? Will he get on base 4 out of every 10 at-bats? Granted, if the Mets do make the playoffs that is one scary tandem with Santana and a healthy Pedro. As we all know, playoff baseball is won by great pitching. The Seattle Mariners won 116 games in 2001, but were underdogs against the Yankees because they had no dominant pitching. All I’m saying is that the Mets have a good team and Santana is a great player. What have they done to improve their lineup or their bullpen? I’m not saying the Mets aren’t going to be good, but to quote the great Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction, “let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks yet”.
Ain’t he suave?
(3) Dennis Felton…..
Okay Coach Felton. You’re in year 5. I get it, you’re a hardass. It’s your way or the highway. You’re doing it the right way. You know what, Ray Goff did it the right way and he still got fired, too. In the age of big time college athletics I think it’s admirable that you want to run a clean program and make sure your players are quality members of society and I hope that Georgia basketball always has great young men playing for it. In the end, you have to win some games though. Baylor is three years removed from one player killing another and the coach trying to cover it up. They’re on the cusp of the NCAA tournament. We are five years removed from the most embarassing moment for Georgia athletics since Jan Kemp. We are under .500 in a lackluster SEC and we may not make the NIT this year. We’ve also wasted the senior year of one of the best players to ever take the court for the Bulldawgs in Sundiata Gaines. I hate to say it, but I think it’s time for Coach Felton to go, and I wish him the best of luck elsewhere. He was thrown into a crap situation without a lot of help, and he did the best he could. Once again, you still have to win some games.
Thanks for everything Coach. Now it’s time for everyone to move on.
(4) The Atlanta Falcons
This post has already gone on long enough, let’s save this one for tomorrow because I could speak for hours on this one.
(5) Mike Woodson
Well, if it weren’t for that Bibby trade, this item would be co-titled Billy Knight/Mike Woodson. Coach, it’s time for you to go. Until this year, I have laid the blame at Billy Knight’s feet and given you a pass. Seeing as how the Hawks have clearly lacked a point guard for the last few years and Mr. Knight conveniently drafted Marvin Williams instead of Chris Paul (when he said he wanted to be a Hawk, for crying out loud) and took Shelden Williams instead of Deron Williams or Rudy Gay. But Billy saved himself for at least another year by giving this team a chance. I find it hard to believe that this team would be out of the playoffs at this point in the dreadful East even without Bibby, if they had, say a Larry Brown or a Rick Carlisle leading this team. There is way too much talent accumulated on this team to be playing this poorly. At some point, it has to come back to the coach. Now I know many think that Billy Knight is the problem and prior to the Bibby trade I wouldn’t have disagreed with you. If not for Isiah Thomas or Matt Millen, Billy Knight is clearly the worst GM in professional sports. But now, the onus is at Mike Woodson’s feet and I’m afraid he hasn’t led this team to half its potential. Sorry, Mike, it’s time to go.
That’s it for today folks. We’ll be back to talk about the Falcons plight at some point in the near future. Break it down Verne.