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Peter Brown Hoffmeister

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College Football: D-Lineman, Quarterbacks, Plus a Non Sequitur?

Posted: 11/17/11 06:49 PM ET

I'm biased. So get ready. I was an athlete at the University of Oregon. But I'll admit my bias and even point it out when it shows through. For example, the Oregon Ducks are playing the best college football in the country right now (biased) and LaMichael James is better than Trent Richardson (biased).

But this is not about bias. It's about differences and how to bring them together.

It is well known that the SEC conference is the strongest conference in the land. But why? Because defense wins championships, especially after long lay-offs -- say, before bowl games. It takes a while for offenses to get in game-sync. And if an offense is especially creative and flow-oriented, it can take half of a game. Remember last year's BCS title game as an example.

As much as people want to revise history now and say that Cam Newton and Auburn won that game, it's not true. The fact is, Nick Fairley and Auburn won that game. Nick Fairley who could beat triple teams, disrupted every play, dominated Oregon as he had dominated every team all season, and Nick Fairley who never met a facemask he didn't like (biased).

Cam Newton and Darron Thomas were even. Thomas had 100 more passing yards and a better yard average. Newton had one fewer interceptions. But Fairley, he had no equal in that game.

And Fairley points to the truth. The truth is that the SEC has the best D-Lineman in college football. SEC coaches recruit and coach with a defensive slant. To a traditional SEC coach, creative, quirky offenses are about as palatable as Tofurky on Thanksgiving.

But I can't remember: Do Alabama and LSU run the pistol or spread option?

Oh wait... LSU and Alabama can't run the pistol or spread option. Why? Because they have JV high school quarterbacks at the helm. "Mediocre" is the best word to describe an average SEC quarterback (biased? Or true).

Brian Bennett, Oregon's freshman, back-up QB, who started two games this year, would be the best QB in the SEC (biased). His 164.71 rating, 6 touchdowns against 0 interceptions, and 9.05 average per rush are better stats than anyone in the great conference of the SEC. But that's just the PAC-10, where another guy named Montana is hoping for his first start on Saturday.

Great QBs versus great D-Lines. That's it. That's the difference in college football. Do you think Brandon Weeden wouldn't be the best QB in the SEC? Or Casey Keenum?

So here's my suggestion: Let's recognize and celebrate the differences. Let's keep the bowls. All of them. But let the Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, and Orange be the quarterfinals of a Plus-Two playoff system. Semis the following week. The BCS championship game the week after. As the schedule stands now, that would only add one week. And only for two teams. So those two, only two, university presidents can handle the "major scheduling difficulties."

Yes, I understand that no one wants a title game rematch. But if it was part of a Plus-Two playoff system, no one would mind. Think of March Madness. Teams play conference rivals eventually in the NCAA tournament, and nobody minds there.

And Boise State could stop whining.

Oklahoma fans could stop worrying about the most godawful loss of the regular season so far. OK State fans could stop biting their fingernails right now.

Oregon and Alabama could stop pitching for a rematch.

A playoff, Plus-Two model.

Perfect.

 

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