Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let’s stick it to them all

“Florida will lose to Arkansas”Mark May

They say it is not paranoia if they really are out to get you. And, from what I have been hearing from the college football sports media, they really are out to get the Gators. The blathering heads have decided that USC is to play Ohio State for the BCS national title, regardless of what happens in the Florida – Arkansas game. Among the chattering classes, the SEC game is essentially a lose-lose proposition for the Gators – if they manage to win, you can bet your last dollar that by Saturday night, Mark May will be talking about how much “more impressive” USC’s win over Arkansas was the first game of the year at Arkansas (Here is also betting there will be no mention that McFadden did not play in that game).

If we lose, however, we will all get to see Mark May’s smug face saying “I told you so”.

“If USC loses, they should build a fence around the stadium to keep Florida from getting into the national championship game”Bob Ryan on “The Sports Reporters”

Even if the miraculous happens, and USC loses to UCLA, the media has already set up the rematch scenario between Ohio State and Michigan. The virulence against Florida making it to the national championship game has been astounding to watch. Praise is heaped upon USC’s schedule, which, by all reasonable objective standards, is comparable to Florida’s schedule. Yet, the toughness of playing an SEC schedule seems quickly forgotten. USC’s loss to an unranked Oregon State team is simply brushed aside, while Florida’s loss to a ranked, 10-2 Auburn team at Auburn is somehow seen as “disqualifying”. I could go on, but the obvious point is this – for whatever reason, the sports media does not want to see Florida play Ohio State.

“Florida is a fraud”Dan Le Batard, on Pardon the Interruption

With Florida’s fate seemingly decided, there remains one thing we can do – go down swinging, and hopefully in the process, bring the whole rotten BCS system down with us.

I credit the idea of Florida winning over Arkansas, and prospectively destroying the BCS in the process, to Sports Illustrated writer Stuart Mandel in his November 26th blog entry.

Stuart Mandel November 26

Essentially, Stuart is suggesting that the affront the SEC will feel, especially in light of Auburn’s shunning in 2003, might be the difference that would make SEC commissioner and current BCS coordinator Mike Slive declare “enough is enough”. If the SEC, with its brutal schedule, can’t get a team in the national championship when all other things seem equal (win-loss) records, then it is time to change the system. But to do so, first Florida must win.

And not only the SEC Championship. To make the argument convincing, we need to win our bowl game too. In that way, whether Ohio State wins or loses, it can be said that Florida would have been a more worthy opponent. In saying so, we can, perhaps finally, expose the entire BCS system for the total piece of garbage it is.

Even without the national title as a prize, the Gators should be more than motivated to win out from here. There is an SEC Championship at stake, and a bowl game against what would be a highly publicized opponent. Here is betting that Meyer is using the comments of “experts” like those listed above to motivate the players.

If by winning out, Florida can demolish the BCS, then the Gators will have done a far greater service to college football than winning the national championship could ever achieve. And if you do not think it possible, know well that the discussion has already started, with Presidents T.K. Wetherell of FSU and Bernie Machen of Florida already talking about the idea of a playoff openly. All it will take is one conference with the clout of the SEC to say “enough!”

So, by winning out, not only can Florida stick it to all of its detractors. It could very well make winners of college football fans everywhere.

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