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Friday, October 31, 2003

Weekend Sports Preview Post

I've been doing a Friday post on college football for a while now, so I'll just go ahead and make it a regular feature. I'll try to come up with a more catchy name for it.

Before I get on to the college football, I have a few quick notes on other sports. ESPN's college basketball preview is up and the preseason top 25 is out. Connecticut is #1, and Jim Calhoun says he doesn't want to play BC in the future because he's angry BC is joining the ACC. The crap Boston College has been taking for changing leagues is totally hypocritical (especially from Syracuse, which wanted to go just as badly) and hopefully reason can prevail and we can maintain some regional rivalries.

The NFL is good this weekend, as noted in my picks post. Jets-Giants, Cowboys-Eagles and Packers-Vikings help spice things up. HBO also has boxing tomorrow night between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Phillip Ndou.

On the college football front, I would be remiss not to note this Easterbrook post from the other day about the Senate hearing on the BCS and whether it's an illegal system. Easterbrook acts as though Tulane's complaint about not being in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee is the only valid alternative to the current BCS mess. Then there's this misinformed graf:

It's also true that the BCS was designed to freeze out schools like Tulane, by guaranteeing most places in the major bowls to members of the Big Ten and other football-factory conferences. This, in turn, guarantees most bowl money to the football-factory conferences, leaving little for outsiders. But that's just life: Sometimes there's a party down the block and you don't get invited. For Tulane and other schools that play second-tier schedules to complain that they are not treated by the BCS as if they had played a top-tier schedule (Brigham Young University is another perennial complainer on this point) is like the CFL complaining that its champion should meet the NFL champion at the Super Bowl.

The problem here is that the smaller schools want the chance to play schools from the major conferences but they rarely get that opportunity. A playoff fixes the problem by allowing every year's Tulane/Texas Christian a shot at winning a few games and being the national champ at the end of the year. This isn't on the table because the big conference mafia is against it.

Fortunately for them, they still have a damn entertaining product. Last week's Tennessee-Alabama tilt went to five overtimes and was fantastic. Verne Lundquist was wondering aloud how many times the Vols' band had played "Rocky Top" and every time Shaud Williams ran for the Tide I was reminded of his appearance on Da Ali G Show. Good times. Even though they lost, Alabama has to be the best 3-6 team in the country.

This week we get "Survival Saturday", brought to you by the marketing people at ABC/ESPN/Disney. Whatever you call it, it's a hell of a slate of games. Boston gets Michigan-Michigan State followed by Oklahoma-Oklahoma State on ABC tomorrow afternoon. CBS has Georgia-Florida and ESPN has Miami-Virginia Tech tomorrow night.

The Georgia-Florida annual contest is called the "largest outdoor cocktail party in the world" by fans. Not only do I think it's lame to brag about drinking a lot, I think it's inaccurate to call a bunch of football fans downing beers a "cocktail party." The term evokes images of people sipping martinis to me at least.

Georgia and Oklahoma both have revenge on their minds. The Bulldogs' perfect season was spoiled by the Gators a year ago. The Sooners have had their dreams smashed by the Cowboys two years in a row.

I'll be looking for which one of the one loss teams can separate itself from the pack as "the team" that will get the nod for the Sugar Bowl if Oklahoma or Miami should lose. Georgia could pull this off by blowing out Florida, and a strong win by either Washington State or USC in their game could accomplish the same thing. I leave with the latest BCS standings for the data geeks.