This post will make no sense to people who don’t follow college football (American version).
For the second year running, I switched on my computer in the morning to find that Ohio State was trailing an SEC opponent in the BCS national championship game. They eventually lost after making tons of personal fouls and mistakes that are uncharacteristic of a Jim Tressel-coached football team.
For the second year running, we’ll hear about how the SEC is the dominant conference and how the Big Ten is a weak conference and how Ohio State has no speed, athletes, blah blah. Yes, they don’t have any speed or athletes–all the players in the NFL are from SEC teams. Oh wait.
There’s one argument that consistently gets forgotten in all these kinds of conference comparisons. The SEC plays in the warmer Southern climates, whereas the Big Ten plays in the harsher climates of the North, which are subject a little more to the vagaries of the weather. I’m not saying that this makes the Big Ten teams tougher, just that the SEC team this time around didn’t come up to Cleveland for a bowl game, they went to New Orleans. I’d like to see an SEC team playing in Cleveland in January or in any cold Midwestern town, when weather dictates the game plan of your game. Brrr.
This is not an excuse, just an observation. The decision on which conference is the best is never going to be settled unless every team in conferences play non-conference games against the other. Even then, it’d be a case of a conference being better that year, nothing more.
The one thing that would settle the national championship debate would be a playoff system, which is something the cash-rich bowls don’t really want it seems. No one seems to want it except the fans, some media folks, and the coach of the team that loses out on a title game spot. I’d say shorten the regular season and have a playoff but I’ve no say in the matter.
Enough of what-ifs though. The reality is that Ohio State, for the second-year running, is second-best. That hurts and will continue to hurt, even if it is a dead kind of pain years from now. You see, the sports fan never forgets the hurt just as he never forgets the triumphs.
But, there is a silver lining in all of this. For two years running, Ohio State has been among the nation’s elite. They are an established national power. They’ve won a national championship this decade and played for the championship twice more. They’ve beaten Michigan four years in a row. They made the best out of a season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year. It’s not a bad time to be a Buckeye.
Plus, for sports fans, there’s always next year.