Lesson’s Learned

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So we’re not exactly at the end of college football’s regular season. There is still another weekend of games and then one more weekend when the conference championship games will be played (for those conferences that have such a thing). But, considering the fact we already know one of the two teams who will play for the national title, we are at a place where I can do a little reflecting on the 2012 college campaign. So, away we go.

 

Brian Kelly is a really good coach. After a string of bums, it seems like Notre Dame has finally found its new Lou Holtz, or Ara Parseghian or Knute Rockne? Okay, so maybe Kelly will never be held in the same esteem as Rockne, but he certainly has done enough to earn comparisons to Holtz and Ara. In his third season he has taken a Fighting Irish team that few expected to go undefeated, and done just that. A lot of doubters will say Notre Dame has succeeded because of a bad schedule, but I’m not so sure about that. The Irish have a very strong defense and can do enough on offense to win. They will get their chance to prove all the doubters wrong when they play Alabama or Georgia in January.

 

However, that championship game brings me to my second point and that is, without a playoff, college football is a broken sport. This is especially well demonstrated this year when there are a host of schools with one loss (and a few with two) that I think could honestly run the table if a playoff were to be had. Take, for instance, Texas A&M. The Aggies seem to be playing as good a brand of football as any team in the country, but, because of early season losses to LSU and Florida, they have little chance of getting in a BCS game and no chance of showing they are the best team in the land. Of course the same can be said for LSU, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State … The list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. Until college football has a legitimate playoff (and I’m talking about eight teams or more in an honest-to-goodness tournament) then there will always be doubters about whichever team is called champion at the end of the year.

 

Just as there will always be doubters about who is handed the sport’s most prized individual trophy, the Heisman. The world seems to want to give the trophy to Texas A&M quarterback and media darling Johnny Manziel, but isn’t Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o just as deserving? The problem I’ve always had with the Heisman is it supposedly is given to the “most outstanding player in collegiate football” but it has never been given to a guy who played solely on the defensive side of the ball. How can this be? Are we really supposed to believe that in the 87 years since they first started giving the award that not once was a defensive player the best player in college football? I certainly don’t believe that. I also don’t believe that the best player in college football always plays for a major program. (No player from a small school has ever won the award either.) Manziel, however, has a strike against him too. He’s a freshman and a freshman has never won the award. So what will happen? Honestly, who knows? Seems like Manziel has a better chance the Te’o, but maybe neither one of them will get it, which to me seems just wrong.

 

Kind of like the multiple uniforms college football teams are wearing these days. I blame it all on Oregon and their multitude of outfits they don on any given Saturday, but, honestly, the trend of alternate uniforms needs to stop now. I was flipping around the channels on Saturday night and I saw UCLA wearing dark blue and black. Arizona decked out in red, Arizona State wearing god-know’s what and a lot of schools I didn’t really recognize at all. These schools, obviously, aren’t the only offenders. Most schools these days have at least one alternate uniform, many of them have more than one, which I just don’t get. I suppose jersey sales are more important than a clean, classic look and if you believe that, that’s great. I, on the other hand, will take tradition over flash any day of the week.