Every Game Counts

 

Beauty Contest Standings (Week 12, 2011)

In college football, the whole season is a playoff. Every game counts. That’s one of the pretexts provided to cover for the silly bowl season that provides wonderful perks for the administrators who enable its continuance.

Barring more monumental upsets, we can toss that one out the window. Remember that Game of the Century between LSU and Alabama a couple of weeks ago. That 9-6 overtime “thriller?” It didn’t matter. After the Saturday from Hell, we are likely to get to see it again. Cue Beethoven’s Ninth, “Ode to Joy.”

Let’s take a look at the Top Ten. This is what a Beauty Contest gives you.

1. LSU beat Mississippi 52-3. What fun to watch! LSU took 4 consecutive knee-downs inside the 5 to avoid running up the score. You’d have to be a Nutt not to love that.

2. Alabama defeated an FCS team, Georgia Southern 45-21. There’s a test! But we must remember that Alabama also defeated Penn State and Arkansas earlier. Wow.

3. Arkansas is here by virtue of their 44-17 win over Mississippi State. And, presumably, their thrilling 42-38 comeback win over 6-5 Texas A&M.

4. Stanford eked out a 31-28 win over 6-4 Cal. I guess that puts them at the top of the non-SEC 1-loss teams, huh? Who knows?

5. Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State, 37-31. While I personally take some pleasure in a team essentially owned by some rich guy getting beaten out of a shot at a berth in the Mythical National Championship game, this is the upset that is likely to deliver yet another rematch for that MNC. Yuck.

6. Houston had GameDay in town and survived a Lee Corso f-bomb before throttling SMU 37-7. The best team Houston has played all year is UCLA, so what does its 11-0 record mean? It means Houston will play in a BCS bowl if it wins its last two games. Don’t laugh. The Coogs have a legitimate shot at beating an ACC champion and should be favored against anybody from the Big East.

7. Oklahoma–seriously, who else are you going to put here?–must have been channeling A&M. Or Wisconsin. The Sooners lost to Baylor after waking up and tying the game 38-38 with less than a minute to go. Unfortunately, they left almost a minute on the clock and had to put the ball in RG III’s hands. Forty-three seconds later, the Bears had moved the ball 80 yards. The last play was a perfect 34-yard cross-field, cross-body toss to a well-covered receiver for the winning TD with 8 seconds left. That play should be shown in New York, shortly before Robert Griffin III accepts the Heisman Trophy.

8. Kansas State defeated Texas 17-13. I saw it in person and still cannot believe it. Texas held KSU to 8 first downs and 121 yards of total offense. And lost. KSU is now 9-2 after playing a schedule that the computers believe qualifies them for the 5 slot in this list.

9. Oregon lost to USC 38-35 after a furious comeback fizzled on a wide right chip shot field goal as the clock expired. Shucks. I just hate it when millionaires’ college teams lose.

10. Virginia Tech managed a 24-21 win over 6-5 North Carolina. VT’s big win of the year, in case you’re wondering why they are ranked, was 37-26 over Georgia Tech.

Close?

Boise State (remember them?) defeated San Jose State 52-35. I’m sure we’ll be talking about this one for years to come.

TCU beat Colorado State 34-10.

I can’t even bring myself to make jokes about Penn State. The Panthers dropped Ohio State in Columbus 20-14.

Michigan earned some love by dealing Nebraska its second straight loss, 45-17. Could the ‘Huskers beat anyone in the Big 12 this year? Other than Kansas? We’ll never know. Oh wait! There is this thing called the Texas Bowl…

Michigan State wrapped up the “Legends” division of the B1G by hanging half a hundred on Indiana, 55-3. In case you’re wondering, yes, Indiana is even worse than Kansas and M’sippi.

Notre Dame defeated 3-8 Boston College 16-14, but the Irish are still unlikely to get a BCS bowl at 8-3.

The Voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, Larry Munson, passed away Sunday. The greatest playcall I’ve ever heard, Mr. Munson’s description of the Buck Belue pass that Lindsay Scott took to the house to beat Florida in Georgia’s MNC season, will live forever. I hope he got to see Georgia defeat Kentucky 19-10 and earn a spot in the SEC title game.

A lot of the good things about college football have died recently. A year ago, Joe Paterno exemplified the good in the game. A year ago, Jim Tressell had integrity. A year ago, Oregon wore the white hat in the battle against the team with the $180,000 quarterback. How things change!

Here in the state of Texas, this will be the last time that we watch Texas play A&M while digesting our turkey and pecan pie. I’m sure that this may not be as important to those of you in other parts of the country as it is here. But I’m getting old, and I cannot recall a time when it wasn’t important to me. It breaks my heart to see the game die.

There has been and will be a lot of finger-pointing regarding why this has happened. A&M will say that it’s not their fault, and they’re still willing to play but Texas refuses.

Here’s how it feels from my side. A&M has always been like a little brother. He may dress funny and pick his nose in public and giggle foolishly while producing sounds imitating flatulence, but he’s my brother and I love him. He’s family. That’s the way I’ve always felt.

How does it feel now? Now A&M feels more like the ex-wife who ran off with the motorcycle gang while I was away on a business trip. The one who later tried to burn down my house while I was asleep in it. And now, while we’re on the elevator coming down from the courtroom after the divorce, she informs me that there’re no hard feelings and she’ll come over and have sex with me every year on our anniversary.

I’ll pass.

Understand?

Photo courtesy UT Athletics

 

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