Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pac-10 Roundtable: End of Season Edition

Let's face it. We all REALLY wanted a December trip to frigid and windy AT&T Park for Christmas.

That's what the rumor is, folks. A win for Arizona State over Arizona this weekend will most likely lead to the much coveted bid to the December 27 game in San Francisco. It's a Pac-10/ACC matchup with the #5, #6 or #7 team coming from the woeful Atlantic Coast conference. That means ASU would probably take on the likes of Miami, Clemson, Maryland or Wake Forest.


On the flip side, a win for UA reportedly will garner Wildcat fans a short trip to Sin City for the Las Vegas Bowl. Frankly, I'd take a trip to Vegas over SF (ed. note: my hometown) any day of the week.

Which leads to the main question in this week's roundtable; the last fully football themed one of the season.

Onward ho!

1) Is it better suited for the conference as a whole to send the most teams possible to bowl games or only ones that have a legitimate chance at victory...AKA teams that won't further embarrass the Pac-10?

The obvious answer relates to the idea that less is more. The Pac-10 has seven bowl order of prominence, they go Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas, Emerald, Hawai'i and Poinsettia. The conference will have a maximum of six teams bowl eligible this season, leaving the lesser San Diego bowl in the dust and possibly the Hawai'i or Emerald in the cold as well if ASU loses on Saturday.

USC is more or less a lock for the Rose Bowl, Oregon will most likely be in the Holiday Bowl and Oregon State, after going belly-up against the Ducks, will find themselves in El Paso. California and Arizona could go either way for the Las Vegas and Emerald Bowls. A win for ASU pushes them into a bowl game as well.

But let's be realistic. I'll be very happy to see good matchups between USC and Penn State in the Rose and Oregon take on a game Big XII opponent, possibly Oklahoma State. However, I have my serious doubts that any other Pac-10 team can put up a fight in their bowl. If Oregon State were to play, say, Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl, LeSean McCoy would have his way with the Beavers run defense. Since Utah is going to the BCS, BYU would get the MWC autobid to the Las Vegas Bowl, and I don't think Arizona can run with the Cougars. California and Arizona State would get either Hawai'i or one of the middling ACC teams...and in the ACC's case, I think they would beat either the Bears or Sun Devils.

That's the long answer to a short conclusion: the Pac-10 is in serious danger of closing the 2008 season on a disastrous note, possibly even with the conference losing ALL of their bowl games.

2) What's the deal, OSU? Look, I get it, ruin your own season, that's fine. Nobody cares about that. But to ruin Cal's season? And to cost the entire Pac-10 millions and millions of dollars? What's up with that? I mean c'mon!

As you probably can tell, that question was authored by our great friends at California Golden Blogs.

Oregon State's loss to Oregon in the Civil War was disastrous and a blessing at the same time. With the loss (and an impending USC jackstomp of UCLA on Saturday), TV ratings and revenue streams go up for the Rose Bowl with the Trojans coming. On the flip side, obviously, is that an Oregon State trip to Pasadena would have more than likely led to a very undeserving double BCS bid for the Pac-10 and, as stated, left upwards of $14 million for the conference in the dust.

As for the Golden Bears...sorry Berkeley...instead of complaining about Oregon State losing, sending you to a lesser bowl and screwing the conference out of a treasure chest of cash, maybe you should be more worried about why your Bears fell behind by 22 to Maryland, forgot to play in the 3rd quarter in Tucson and left the offense in the Bay when you faced USC. Too harsh?

3) Arizona State is one win away from becoming bowl eligible with a tough game at Arizona this week. Can the Sun Devils pull it out and get to the post-season?

It's not going to be easy, but of course we can. The fun thing about the ASU/Arizona rivalry is that you never really know which way their game is going to go until foot meets pigskin. Look no further than the 2004 game when a roaring Sun Devils team looked confused, disoriented and downright bad against an Arizona squad whose only two previous wins were over FCS Northern Arizona and FCS-resembling Washington.

ASU needs to win this game for their youngsters. I know that it's usually the correct thing to say that you want to win your last rivalry game for your seniors, but let's be real. The freshmen and sohpomores need those extra three weeks of practice. A loss in Tucson takes those away. I'm not even worried about ASU's potential bowl opponent or where they're going in reality; I'm more worried that a loss to the Wildcats will deprive the Sun Devils of three very important extra weeks on the practice field.

4) Over the weekend, a number of USC Trojan comments appearing on the InterWebs made mention of how disappointed they were to be going to yet another Rose Bowl (UCLA game notwithstanding). Has the Rose Bowl game gradually lost its luster under the BCS format?

InterWebs (n) - 1) a series of tubes interconnected to discuss and complain about movies and sports; 2) a forum for people to share pornography

Thought I'd get that out of the way.

I think the Rose Bowl has definitely lost it's way in the 10 years they've been involved in the BCS. However, I'm 99.9999% certain that USC fans, and rightfully so, have their eyes on the crystal football. So, when they fall short as they have for three seasons now, the Rose Bowl is just a consolation prize.

(Note: It'll be the 4th straight Rose Bowl for the Trojans, but the 1st one was the National Title game vs. Texas, hence why I refer to 2006, 2007 and 2008 as "falling short".)

The allure of the Rose Bowl started to fall in 2000, when Miami met Nebraska in the BCS Title game. Last I checked, that was Big East/Big XII matchup...the first time since 1946 that a team from outside the Big Ten or Pac-10 participated (it was Alabama, and they beat USC) and the first since 1919 where the game featured neither. In a five-bowl span between 2001 and 2006, the Rose Bowl saw only one Pac-10/Big Ten game. In that time, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas all found themselves in Pasadena.

That coming after eight decades of featuring SOLELY the champions from the Pac-10 and Big Ten. THAT'S where the Rose Bowl lost it's way.

5) Oklahoma jumped Texas in the latest BCS poll. Is this an example of the BCS getting it right or does it add more fuel to the growing calls for a playoff system

Wait a second. Isn't this the PAC-10 roundtable? Do we have a Big XII mole somewhere in here? CougCenter, I'm looking at you...*fist shake*...

First off, there will never be a playoff system. You can hold your breath until you're blue in the face. Just forget it. As long as university presidents and athletic directors like money (and last I checked, money was not going out of style, we're all just running out of it), we'll have bowl games.

Let's go back to last season. We all bitched and moaned at the end of the season when a 2-loss LSU team and overrated Ohio State met in N'Awlins for the National Championship and the two teams where were inarguably the best in the country at the time, USC and Georgia, pounded their opponents in other BCS bowls.

This year, Oklahoma is CLEARLY playing the best football in the Big XII right now at the end of the season, but everyone is bitching and moaning because Texas beat Oklahoma on a neutral field.

Which leads me to this eloquent thought:


No one is right and no one is wrong here. The whole system is convoluted and disastrous but, frankly, it's the best we've got without a bracket, which we've already established will come when Western Kentucky plays for the National Championship. But in my mind, usually the BCS is designed to reward the teams playing the best football at the end of the season, and that's Oklahoma right now.

1 comment:

jamadeacs said...

Woeful ACC? We'll See! ACC is very strong this year and so much parity. Wait and see how woeful they look with they take out CAL...MD already did it to "woeful" Cal of the Woeful Pac-10 this early season!