Though it pains me to admit this in written form, this BCS stuff’s growing on me. How could it not? This past weekend was the kind of wall-to-wall theatre that could turn even the most cynical of college football followers into Kool-Aid guzzling cheerleaders.
Wisconsin knocks off momentary No. 1 Ohio State? Kentucky defeats a Steve Spurrier-coached opponent (in this case South Carolina) for the first time ever, which also means the Evil Genius was 17-0 against the Cats prior to Saturday’s 31-28 stunner? Auburn hangs 65 on Arkansas and it wasn’t a basketball game?
One other point about Spurrier: Who would ever have imagined a time when the Ol’ Ball Coach would have eschewed a highly probable 37-yard field goal to go for the win against UK rather than take his chances in overtime?
Then again, as Spurrier used to love to say after his yearly whipping of the Cats, “Keep in mind, it’s only Kentucky.”
But it’s not just the traditionally bottom-feeding Wildcats that enjoyed glory at the expense of SEC royalty. But was Florida losing a third straight game when it fell 10-7 to visiting Mississippi State the biggest story in the Swamp? Or the fact that the Gators could muster but seven points against State coach and former UF assistant Dan Mullen?
Maybe Meyer should take his harried heart and opt for the slower pace and lower expectations of Starkville while Mullen assumes control of the Gators.
Or maybe this past Saturday was merely another indication of the addictive allure of the college game, right down to our own University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs’ upset of perennial Southern Conference power Georgia Southern before the largest crowd to watch the Mocs at Finley Stadium in 13 seasons.
No, UTC football isn’t SEC football. But you don’t have to park a mile from the stadium. Barring overtime, the game lasts far closer to three hours than four. There’s not a bad seat in the place and you can be home in 20 minutes instead of two hours.
And for at least one more season you can watch Mocs quarterback B.J. Coleman throw as pretty a pass as you’ll see this side of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton What’s-His-Name.
The other thing UTC fans don’t have to worry about is the BCS, the convoluted formula that most major college players can’t begin to explain and most fans would like to explain away.
Sunday night brought the first BCS standings of the season and smartly placed Oklahoma and Oregon atop its poll, followed by fellow unbeatens Boise State, Auburn, Texas Christian and LSU.
Do I think Oklahoma’s the best team in the country? No. What makes it worse is the fact that if the Sooners win at Missouri this weekend, their only dangerous game might be at Oklahoma State two days after Thanksgiving.
As for Oregon, if the Ducks remain undefeated for the rest of the season they will have won at Southern Cal, Cal and Oregon State to do it, which means they’d probably deserve a shot at a title.
After that, it gets murkier, however. Boise really only has one game remaining at Nevada on Thanksgiving weekend. TCU has one game period at Utah on Nov. 6.
All of which brings us to Auburn and LSU, who’ll meet this week at Auburn. If it’s LSU, look out, since defending national champ Alabama must travel to Baton Rouge on Nov. 6. If it’s Auburn, well, the Tigers must still visit Bama for the Iron Bowl, as well as face both Georgia and Chattanooga. Of course — no offense to B.J. — none of those schools has a quarterback to match Auburn’s Cam Newton, the Florida transfer who just might win the Heisman Trophy.
Think the Gators’ Meyer isn’t wondering why he didn’t look the other way on Newton’s off-field indiscretions right now?
Not that Newton’s executing a personal turnaround any more dramatic than Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose Dawgs just might go from 0-3 in the league to SEC East champs if South Carolina starts playing as it did in the second half against Kentucky rather than as it has most of the rest of the first half of the season.
Then again, as the Ol’ Ball Coach might say, keep in mind that it’s only October.
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...