Monday, January 07, 2008

Laissez les bon temps roulez.

More or less instant reactions to the college football season just ended.

A fitting end to the craziest football season I've seen in my 43 years. Don't buy the hype about how this is the new paradigm; this year was exceptional in the purest sense of that word (not great necessarily, but merely very different from the norm), an outlier, unreal, even insane at times if a season can be to said to have something akin to consciousness.

Yes, I know that the game has changed (longer kickoffs, no tearaway jerseys blah blah blah), and scholarship reductions are bringing about some semblance of parity. But c'mon a D I-AA (excusez moi NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and doesn't THAT phrase just mellifluously roll of the tongue) team goes to the Big House and lays smack down in a pre-conference=schedule "fluff" game; o.k., Appalachian State WERE 2-time defending national champions at their level and, after a mid-season blip, became thrice national football championship subdivision champs.

Speaking of famous I-AA defeats of their higher brethren in football (Maine over Mississippi State par example), I do remember the FAMU Rattlers knocking off the Miami Hurricanes the year they won the inaugural Division I-AA championship behind the brilliant Tallahassee Godby High Product, Albert Chester, Sr, winning the first football national championship for the state. Yes folks the 1970s were something of a football wasteland in the Sunshine State. It's really Miami's first win in 1983 that sets the table for the ersthwile big three: UF, FSU, Miami to dominate until at least the 2000 Sugar Bowl and BCS Championship for FSU. But in 1978 Miami was mediocre at best, although their 6-5 record was only their second winning record in over a decade. You get the picture: Definitely Not the Cane's of 4 national titles in a legendary nine-year-run (1983-1991).

So back to this peculiar college football season, where #1 teams seemed to lose weekly. A historical season and one like no other. If I was picking on merit at the end of the season, National Champion: LSU! The weirdness of this season surely deserves a legitimate 2-loss National Champion. 2nd best team: UGA Bulldogs—putting an exclamation point on the year that the SEC had. Sorry USC: you lost at home in the L.A. Coliseum to a frankly terrible Stanford Cardinal (my graduate alma mater my prerogative to call 'em out), and your schedule was generally weak. For an alpha and omega thing: how about my MSU Bulldogs winning 8 games including the Liberty Bowl after beginning the season with a crushing 45-0 home loss to those same LSU Tigers. Maybe it wasn't such a crazy year after all . . . Will you Big 10 apologists please just shut up!

P.S. My undergrad alma mater ultimately had a fine year too, says the proud 1982 inductee of the Harvard Varsity Club! Undefeated in the Ivy League, champs with a crushing and somewhat unexpected 37-6 away victory over the hated Eli—"Yale: They make locks, don't they?"

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