I hate when people attribute things to luck in college football. A linebacker failing to recognize a pulling guard is just as lucky as a DB knocking a desperation heave up instead of down. There are an infinite number of lucky occurrences in every game, so to posit that you can determine what is skill and what is luck, is ignorant at best.
I learned this in 2008. UB forced a lot of turnovers, people called it luck. As I recall it however, most of the turnovers were ripped out of the hands of athletes who are taught from day 1 to protect the football with their lives. Taking the ball away didn't seem like luck to me, it was a skill, one taught and reinforced in practice everyday. The Bulls practiced the tip drill and balls rigged with strings were used to practice ripping the ball out from the ball carrier.
So when I look at the Seminoles vs the Tigers tonight, I don't see a lucky team against a dominant team. In fact, I question the dominance of the Seminoles. When there were four top teams, FSU, Ohio State, Baylor and Alabama, FSU had by far the worst resume of the four. With quality wins over Clemson and Miami, a bad ACC schedule that saw the Noles face Duke in the Conference Championship, and a soft OOC schedule FSU hasn't shown me without a doubt that they are number 1.
So if I was in Vegas, I'd put my money on the Tigers, reluctantly because I'm not sure how good the Tigers are, but I know they've gone through a lot more than FSU.
That said, my heart really really wants SEC comeuppance.
It started in 2004, somehow LSU escaped playing USC, which had shut-out #6 Auburn in Auburn to start the season. LSU would have lost to USC that year, they got lucky to get a Oklahoma team who lost in their conference championship game.
Then 2006, a game that makes me wish for the time when the championships were handed out BEFORE the bowls. I was in Columbus when #1 Ohio State beat #2 Michigan and it was great game and a magicial moment for two proud and good midwestern teams. The 41-14 beat down by Florida started this narrative that midwest football was no good...SEC Speed. The narrative spread and now Texas and California football is no match for the SEC.
You can't talk about 2006 without talking about 2011. Where a less entertaining version of the 2006 game of the century occurred. LSU defeated Alabama, but Alabama was granted a rematch. The SEC ought to be ashamed for that one. OSU/UM in 2006 occurred in the final week of the season and the home team won by 3, 42-39. LSU/UA in 2011 played with a month to go in the regular season and the road team won by 3, 9-6.
2011 is where what the people want, and what makes sense and what you demanded in the past, and reality all just crashed. The playoff will come next year, and two SEC teams will get in almost every year. But I hope this year, the last year of the system that created the monster, the SEC finally gets their comeuppance. Like LSU in 2011, and Notre Dame in 2012, Auburn won a game or two they shouldn't have won, and find themselves on a stage they shouldn't be in. I hope they lose and lose badly, as a warning to the pitfalls of blind ambition.
Prediction: Auburn 31- FSU 19 Ess Eee See. Ess Eee See
The MAC Needs Dynamic Schedules
After a year where only 7 conference games were played between teams voted in the top 3 of their division.
1) NIU over Toledo2) NIU over WMU3) Toledo over WMU4) Toledo over BGSU5) BGSU over Ohio6) BGSU over Miami7) Miami over Ohio
The MAC returned to their average of 9 games between top teams. In 2012 Miami and WMU played in 4 of the 7 big games of the year, but their season's failed to live up to their preseason hype. This year, Ohio and Kent played in 5 of the 9 big games of the year while failing to live up to expectations.
MACtion has never been bigger, with major attention in November, the dominance of NIU, the BCS bid, and the major stars. Yet the MAC finishes the year winless in bowl games for the first time since 2008. Since expanding to 12+ teams, this is the third time the MAC has sent multiple teams to bowls and come home winless, they were also winless in 2007.
2007 is the year the MAC went to 13 teams and in the 7 years of uneven play the MAC has had 3 potential BCS busters, 1 BCS bid and a 9-26 bowl record, with 3 winless-in-bowls seasons.
I wish the MAC would create better MACtion with dynamic scheduling. I think the drama of the Clash at the Ralph helped propel Bowling Green into a MAC Championship, while NIU finished their season with a primetime snoozer against Western Michigan and then never woke up for the championship game. Likewise a dynamic schedule would help enhance the BCS chances for MAC schools and help prepare programs for bowl season.
How it would work.
1) Each team will play their first 4 MAC games within their division.
3) 3 weeks of inter-division play will pit the top 3 in the MAC East vs the top 3 in the MAC West
4) Final week for intra-divisional rivalries.
The schedule isn't perfect, but imagine the difference this makes:
Instead of starting with EMU, WMU, UMass and Kent, four blowouts that Buffalo won by a combined 148-38, Buffalo would have played Kent, Ohio, Miami and Bowling Green to start MAC play. If Buffalo still went 3-1 in those games, they would find themselves on the top of the table for November MACtion games against NIU, Ball State and Toledo. Buffalo would then finish the year with the "rivalry" game against UMass.
If UB was only good against cupcakes, this schedule would probably make the Bulls a 6-6 (4-4) team and put them at risk at losing a bowl bid. However, there would be no if, to end the season on. Buffalo would have either earned their position or not. There are three bowl bids up for grabs, and Buffalo at 6-6 would have lost their opportunity for one of those bids by losing to MAC teams.
I think a dynamic schedule would be one of the most exciting ways to end a season it would help offset the unfairness of a 13-team schedule and it would strengthen the strength of schedule of top MAC teams and help generate buzz in November which should help those teams in the polls.