I know we have a lot of foolish pride in the South, and sometimes maybe a bit too much of it is tied up in how well we play football, but tonight was more proof of why we have that pride. Now, during the regular season, most of us wouldn't piss on Florida if it was on fire, but tonight, I was a Gator fan, and I was proud of how well they performed and how well they represented the SEC.
I simply don't understand why the rest of the country can't figure out that DEFENSE is what makes winning teams. In the SEC, all the athletes are on the defensive side of the ball. We've always taken pride in it. Until the Big 12, the Big 10, the PAC 10, and all the other guys figure that out they will continue to put up big scoring numbers in the regular season, and get their butts kicked by the SEC in the last game of the year.
The most obvious and glaring thing to point out is the supposedly vaunted, unbeatable, automatic Big 12 offenses that all the sportswriters and ESPN commentators were blaring about all year. Once the bowl games came around, they were EXPOSED. The huge Big 12 offensive numbers this year were more of a product of terrible defense then great offense. The proof is in the Bowls. Look at the numbers:
1. OU vs FLA. Florida wins, and Oklahoma's offense, which Skip Bayless (AKA the only person on the planet that might possibly be dumber than Paul Finebaum) called "The greatest offensive unit ever in college football" was held to a mere FOURTEEN, that's right, FOURTEEN points by the 3RD BEST DEFENSE in the SEC. Let me repeat that. THE THIRD BEST. There were two teams in the league that were better. On the offensive side of the ball, everyone is raving about Tim Tebow and how fantastic he was. He was fantastic in the second half. He played a POOR first half. Nearly every time that Florida was stopped in the game, Florida stopped themselves, either with penalties or Tebow throwing interceptions. Now fast forward to the 4th quarter......the unbeatable, automatic, greatest offense in college football history gets the ball with about 3 minutes left, where they HAVE to score, supposedly in their best element, (the hurry up offense), and get OWNED by the Florida defense. Need I go on? Insert the "Boomer Sooner" band music here, except you can sing "Overrated, Overrated."
2. Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss. Wow, what can you say about this game? Texas Tech was a JOKE. They were taken to the woodshed and embarrassed by Ole Miss. So what happened here? Another one of those supposedly amazing Big 12 offenses. Ole Miss was even below Florida. They were the 5TH BEST defense JUST IN THE SEC. Texas Tech gave up 47....that's FORTY SEVEN points to the 3rd best offense in the SEC. They managed 34 points against the #5 defense in the SEC, and 2 of those touchdowns were in Garbage time in the 4th quarter with Ole Miss way up.
3. OSU vs Oregon Another Big 12 loss. Gave up 47 points to a team that averaged 41 points per game in a no-defense, down league (the PAC 10). They folded like an accordian when playing against good competition, though, for the most part.....losing to USC 44-10. Not exactly a bell-ringer in my opinion.
4. Texas vs. Ohio State. Ahh.....THE Ohio State University. The second most perpetually overrated team in the country, next to USC. They were epic fail this year, but they could actually play a little bit of defense. Of course, Ohio State deserved to lose that game 24-21 because of the STUPID defensive play they called on the last play of the game. Texas was the only team in the Big 12 that actually has a decent secondary, which is why they were able to beat Oklahoma. However, another of the vaunted Big 12 offenses manages 24 points against a middle-of-the-road nationally defense. Their defense gave up 21 points to Ohio state, who was ranked 45th nationally in scoring offense, and who played the majority of their games in an EXTREMELY WEAK Big 10 conference. Another strike
Of course, now all the talking heads are mouthing off about how Utah and/or USC are deserving of a share of the national championship. I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing it. Let's break it down:
Every single year, Pete Carroll does the SAME DAMN THING. He plays in a weak conference, loses at least one game that he has no business whatsoever losing, beats up on a pathetic Big 10 opponent in the Rose Bowl, and then comes out and says "Well we're the best team in the country, nobody can beat us right now." Well, Pete, if you are the best team in the country, then DON'T FRICKING LOSE!!!!!!!! Don't lose to STANFORD AT HOME!!!! Don't lose to Oregon State!!!! USC managed to play 4 ranked teams this year. They beat Ohio State, who lost a bowl game, lost 3 games this year, and was winning games in a conference that was widely regarded as the weakest in FBS this year. Stop me when you're impressed. Next, they beat Oregon, who finished the year 10-3 and beat OSU in a bowl game, which we already discussed. Quality win. Next, they beat Cal, who is a mediocre team at best. Cal beat an underperforming Miami in a bowl game, sure....but they have JOKE losses to Maryland and to Arizona. Good teams don't lose 2 sure-win games. Finally, they beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Penn State was a mediocre team at best, grossly overrated, that managed to take advantage of a PATHETIC Big 10 this year. When your conference goes 1-6 in Bowl games, it sucks. A victory over Penn State, to me, means almost nothing. Penn State wouldn't have won 6 games in the SEC this year. Oh yeah, and mighty mighty USC lost to Oregon State this year early. OSU could only manage 3 points against Pitt, although they did win the game. USC was a decent team this year, true. But a loss to OSU and a complete lack of any tough games down the stretch doesn't speak loudly for a national title share. Perhaps Pete should play somebody other than the Big 10.
This is the team that pisses me off the most. Now don't get me wrong, there are fewer things in life more satisfying than watching Alabama get humiliated. But I was actually pulling for Bama in the Sugar Bowl because I knew, if they lost, we'd have to listen to an entire year of CRAP about how Utah got robbed because they went undefeated on a pathetic schedule and should be national champions. JUST SHUT UP. Utah, I have a message for you.....if you want to be a national champion, you need to STEP THE BLEEP UP AND PLAY A DECENT SCHEDULE. Get out of your pathetic conference, stop calling Boise State and BYU quality wins, and PLAY SOME REAL FOOTBALL TEAMS. You say you beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. I got news for you......you didn't. You beat a shell of a non-caring team that was out until 1am drinking the night before and was missing it's best player. John Parker Wilson was sacked more times in that game then he was all year, because Andre Smith was not playing. Congrats on beating Alabama. But.....I have news for you....you wouldn't have beat Alabama 7 weeks ago. Of your other 3 'ranked team' wins, I consider 1, MAYBE 2 of them quality. You beat Oregon State, a middle-of-the-road PAC 10 team, but everybody knows the PAC 10 was down this year. You beat TCU by 3 at home, who managed to squeak out a 1 point win against perpetually overrated Boise State in a bowl. Then you beat BYU. How in the hell did BYU ever get ranked?????? HOW?? They played 2 ranked teams ALL YEAR, (1 of the Utah), lost both of those games, then got thumped by an unranked, 7 win Arizona in a bowl game!! I say again, HOW ARE THEY EVEN RANKED?? The point is.....you played 1 quality game all year, an eight win ranked team from a BCS conference at home and managed a 3 point win. That was your BEST WIN ALL YEAR up until the bowl game. PLEASE shut the hell up. You are NOT the national champion. You are NOT the best team in the country. You are NOTHING more than another Hawaii, except you happened to get lucky and played a BCS bowl team with nothing to play for. Just SHUT THE HELL UP. You want to be recognized? Step up and PLAY A SCHEDULE. Play USC. Play Florida. Play Auburn. Play Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, ANYBODY. You beat a couple of those teams, then we'll talk. Until you do, just keep your little mouth shut and have fun beating up weak teams.
Amazingly, all the stuff I just typed can be summed up into 2 sentences: 1. Florida is the National Champion. 2. The SEC is the best conference in college football. Anyone that thinks otherwise can be deferred with one final little statistic. The SEC is now 5-0 in BCS title games. That's right. NOBODY has beaten an SEC team in a BCS title game. If we're there, we win it. Oh yeah.....we've now won the last 3 in a row. Might have been 4 in a row had Auburn not gotten the great screwjob of 2004-2005. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.