Another week of rivalry games is in the books. As we are PSU-centric around here, the first order of business this weekend was to determine with whom the Nittany Lions would be squaring off in the January 1 Rose Bowl.
The winner of the Pac-10 conference gets the automatic bid. USC and Oregon State were both 7-1 in the conference going into today’s action, but Oregon State held the tie-breaker, having beaten USC. Thus, the Civil War, which is what they call the Oregon vs. Oregon State game would be a pivotal game with respect to the Beavers’ Rose Bowl aspirations. Unfortunately for them, in a game the announcers described by positing that neither team brought a defensive coordinator, the Ducks sank the Beavers, 65-38. This makes it look good for those of you who want to see Penn State play USC, although there is a small chance that the Beavers could still sneak in there if USC loses to UCLA next weekend.
UCLA was busy being kicked all over the field by Arizona State, 34-9, destroying the Bruins’ hopes for bowl eligibility.
Meanwhile, at the rivalry game that was the brainchild of legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, #5 USC was busy decimating the fighting Irish. The staunch Trojan defense put the clamps on Notre Dame, allowing only a fourth quarter field goal in a 38-3 rout.
The big game in the Big Twelve left more questions than answers. In another wild, offense dominated contest, the #3 Oklahoma Sooners prevailed over the #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys, 61-41. This leaves a muddled situation in the Big Twelve South, with a flat-footed tie between Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. As the three have identical non-conference records, some obscure tie-breakers involving points and BCS standings will kick in to determine which of the three get to play Missouri in the Big Twelve Championship game. Texas Tech is trailing by a large margin, but Oklahoma and Texas are neck-and-neck.
Meanwhile, the Big Twelve North picture became muddled when Kansas beat #13 Missouri 40-37. (Did anyone besides USC bring a defensive coordinator on Saturday?) Missouri is now tied with Nebraska for the lead in the North, but possesses the tie-breaker.
Alabama, ranked #1, maintained its status as king of the hill by blanking cross-state rival Auburn 36-0, breaking a six-game winning streak by the War Eagle.
The #5 Florida’s Gators chomped the Seminoles of Florida State 45-15. Florida and Alabama will battle for the SEC championship. From this Turkey’s perspective, if Alabama wins, there is no doubt that the Crimson Tide belongs in the SSMNC game. If Florida wins, it joins a can of worms replete with one-loss wannabes such as Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, and, of course, Penn State and non-BCS undefeateds such as Utah, Boise State, and Ball State.
In the ACC, Virginia Tech overcame Virginia 17-14 while #21 Boston College needed some last-minute heroics by another Flutie to beat Maryland 28-21. The Hokies and the Eagles will play each other for all the ACC marbles.
Last, but probably least, in the Big East, #16 Cincinnati–yeah, the Bearcats–wrapped up an improbable season and a Big Least championship with a 30-10 win over Syracuse. Cincinnati doesn’t have an in-state rivalry game because they couldn’t find anyone who wanted to come to Cincinnati, so they imported the Big Orange. For what it’s worth, Cincinnati gets a BCS slot. Isn’t she lovely?
If you need any more proof that the BCS system is ridiculously inequitable, you need another plate of Thanksgiving food, to let the L-tryptophan put you back to sleep. This Turkey has enough to worry about at this time of year without having disagreeable people hanging around.
The Big Twelve is loaded wih offensive juggernauts this year. Someone is going to be shunted aside, out of the BCS. Meanwhile, Cincinnati and some dubiously qualified ACC team will be in. And what of the undefeated teams in non-BCS conferences? Things change, conferences change, and maybe the Big West is more deserving than the Big East, but the BCS formula is fixed and flawed. The only thing the BCS does well is to promote enough controversy to provide fecundity for barroom and blogwise arguments. Aren’t we getting tired of hearing all the arguments?
Of course, there’s no going back. Once you load up a system with bureaucrats, the bureacracy only expands. It does not go away.
Penn State might possibly move up to #7 in the BCS, after #7 Texas Tech struggled to get past 4-8 Baylor. It doesn’t much matter whether PSU is #7 or #8. They’re going to the Rose Bowl. I’m happy with that.