Well, well well. Everybody's pick to win it all, Florida, lost to Alabama. Didn't just lose, got creamed, crushed, stomped and exposed for what they really are: A good to mediocre team at best. The same can be said for the entire SEC, the most overrated and over-hyped conference in the nation.
Now I can feel the blood boiling in Gainesville, Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa already, but hear me out. The dirty secret to the SEC's "success" is this formula: Schedule absurdly easy teams in your non-conference games, and make sure you play them at home. Never travel. Run up the score and stats on these cupcakes to "prove" your invincibility. Fool the sportswriters who are easily dazzled by 83-3 wins over Southwest Georgia Junior Teachers Academy For The Deaf and will vote you to the top of the polls. Then play the rest of your season with the knowledge that the SEC refs will go out of their way to protect the BCS bound teams and the millions it will bring to the conference.
Don't believe me? Take a gander at Alabama, LSU and Florida's out of conference schedule this year: Alabama played Virginia Tech (Kudos to Alabama), Florida International at home, North Texas at home and UT Chattanooga at home. LSU (to their credit) at least traveled to Washington where they barely hung on to beat the Pac Ten Huskies, played UL Lafayette at home, Tulane at home, and LA Tech at home. Big bad Florida dared to play Charleston Southern at home, Troy at home, Florida International at home and Florida State at home. The combined totals of all these out of conference games was SEC 517 - Suckers 106. Take away Va Tech and Washington and it's 457 - 62.
Everybody's All American and future NFL Hall Of Famer Tim Tebow threw or ran for 15 of his 31 touchdowns against Cupcake U. That's almost 50% for the year. And you are shocked that he got hammered by Alabama? If USC's Matt Barkley played the same schedule, he'd be in New York this week posing for his Heisman oil portrait. (By the way, the same day Super Tim was gutting it out against Troy State, Barkley beat Ohio State in Columbus.)
Now the Pac Ten on the other hand, goes out of it's way to play difficult non conference games because it has the disadvantage of playing way past the east coast sportswriter's bedtimes. Here are a few of this years games: Oregon at Boise State, Maryland at Cal, Stanford at Wake Forest, UCLA at Tennessee, USC at Ohio State, Utah at Oregon, Cincinnati at Oregon State, Kansas State at UCLA, Arizona at Iowa, Washington at Notre Dame, USC at Notre Dame, Washington State at Notre Dame and Notre Dame at Stanford. Texas and USC are already discussing a home and home series. Florida is probably negotiating with the Hofstra club team.
BCS teams make big money. They're good for the conference, so is was no surprise when Georgia scored the go-ahead touchdown against then BCS bound LSU in the last minute, a good ol' boy SEC ref did his duty and flagged Georgia for unsportsmanlike conduct for celebrating after the touchdown, handing LSU a major gift which they converted into the game winner. This was easily the most blatant example of the "Big Three" rules. Keep those rankings high. Excessive celebrations in the end zone are subjective penalties. You might call it a penalty. I call it cheating.
When Oregon's All American RB LeGarrette Blount sucker punched a Boise State player, Coach Chip Kelly suspended Blount for two-thirds of the season. When Florida LB Brandon Spikes tried to gouge out a Georgia RB's eye, Urban Meyer handed down a half game suspension against Vanderbilt. Class act, Urban. But then again, he was playing SEC rules.
Florida fooled everyone all year, sitting atop all the polls. Anybody with a modicum of football knowledge should have seen the smackdown in Atlanta coming. Florida just wasn't that good, yet they were voted #1 all season. What were the voters seeing that everyone else didn't? Perhaps the fact that the SEC has it's own in-house propaganda machine in CBS might help. To listen to the promos on CBS, games like Kentucky - LSU take on the status of the Red River Shootout. Personally, I think Percy Harvin was the key to the offense at Florida and when he left, the Gators were swamped. But with CBS's constant pimping, the nation assumed that Florida didn't even have to play the games. Just give them the trophy and call them the greatest team ever. Wrong.
Tebow, Mark Ingram of Alabama, Colt McCoy of Texas and Toby Gerhart of Stanford will probably be the Heisman finalists. Once again the eastern voters will get it wrong. It will probably go to Ingram or McCoy. No doubt McCoy had a Heisman worthy year, but the best player in college football this year was Toby Gerhart of Stanford, hands down. However nobody really saw him play, especially the folks in the SEC who avoid Pac-10 teams like the plague. If a back leads the nation in rushing and he's not on CBS, like the proverbial tree falling in the woods, it didn't happen.
So Alabama is going to play Texas in the BCS Title Bowl. I believe that Texas should have been ranked #1 all season. They'll beat Alabama. The best team in the nation over the second half of the season was Oregon. They'll destroy Ohio State and should be ranked second. Florida is going to play Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Cincinnati wins easily. Florida doesn't even belong in the BCS series, but old habits die hard and voters really don't care about anything west of the Mississippi.
Too bad really. The toughest conference this year was the Pac Ten. The best player was Toby Gerhart. The best team was Texas, followed closely by Oregon and Boise State. As for the SEC? Only nine more months till CBS trumpets the next Game Of The Century: Florida versus Miami... of Ohio. From "The Swamp," of course.