Clearly I was the only Irishman prepared to put up a fight.
Yep, I rooted for Notre Dame. Pretty sure I’ve never done that before (even at the end of Rudy a part of me wanted him to get pancaked), and pretty sure I won’t be doing that again anytime soon. Basically after last year’s debacle I really wanted an entertaining National Championship game and I am SICK of the SEC. Unfortunately we all saw this coming. A Notre Dame team that struggled to handle juggernauts like Purdue, BYU and Pitt at home against a loaded Alabama team that just boat raced the SEC for a 2nd consecutive year? As finales go, this was a letdown. Once again we would have to endure an avalanche of SEC domination chatter and there was nothing that could stop it. (Something tells me that Clemson and Louisville aren’t as awe struck by the dominance of the SEC as all the talking heads on TV are.) Oh well, there I was, dressed like a drunk idiot on St. Paddy’s day (mostly to needle our host for the evening who is from Alabama) without nearly enough Guinness and Jameson to make the game interesting. But was this the worst championship offering of the BCS era?
To be fair, this year’s matchup was not entirely the BCS’s fault. Notre Dame, by going undefeated, may very well have found their way into the title game in a non-BCS year, but the BCS certainly didn’t help. In the end, a lot of things had to fall into place for this to happen. Not only did the Domers get the benefit of a very iffy call at the end of their overtime win over Stanford (clearly Stanford had scored a TD), but they also benefited from a string of ineptitudes from Pitt to eek out a triple overtime win over the Panthers. I guess the throttling they took last night was their destiny, or something. But how about Alabama? After the Tide fell to Texas A&M at home on November 10, it appeared the path was clear for Oregon and/or Kansas State to make their own run at the title with lurkers such as Florida and Georgia also given new life. But it all came crashing down a week later as both Oregon and Kansas State fell to conference foes vaulting Alabama back into the #2 spot. Lets just call November 17 “Black Saturday”, shall we? The result was a Championship Game that can best be summed up by this honest sentiment… I wish I had gone to Les Mis instead.
"I had a dream this game would be, so different from the game I'm seeing…"
As we enter 2013, the final year before we institute a playoff in 2014, lets take a look back at some of the other stinkers we have been forced to endure over the years. Since it’s kinda what we do here, lets rank the top three worst Championship games of the BCS era after the jump…
USC Lowered the BOOMer on the Sooners in '04. Almost made the top 3.
First of all, honourable mention to the 2004 game which featured undefeated USC and Oklahoma who began the season ranked #1 and #2. By going undefeated, both teams probably would have played for the title despite the BCS, but again, the BCS didn’t help. USC blew the doors off Oklahoma 55-19, while undefeated Auburn, who had played a much tougher schedule than the Okies, was relegated to the Sugar Bowl and a win over VA Tech (their 4th win over a top 10 opponent that season!).
Third Place: I’m going to give this year’s title game 3rd place on this list. Sure, it was a terrible game and a matchup that almost nobody in the whole world was interested in. I mean how often have you watched Alabama and thought, “Damn, they look good, but I wonder what that Notre Dame offense could do against them?” Nobody has ever thought this… ever. The fact that we will never see this year’s Oregon and Alabama teams play each other is almost criminal.
Only thing more shameless than Oregon's publicity stunts… leaving them out of the Championship game in 2001.
Second Place: In 2001 there were a glut of teams vying for a spot in the title game and the last couple weeks of the season turned out to be absolute carnage. Nebraska, a pre-season favorite of many, was upset by Colorado, a loss that knocked them out of the Big-12 championship game. Florida was then in the catbird seat until they lost to Tennessee who in turn squandered their chances in a loss to LSU. Meanwhile Oklahoma had the inside track until they lost Bedlam to Oklahoma State. CHAOS! Somehow the BCS sorted this all out by snatching Nebraska out of the trash bin, dusting them off and placing them in the title game after all. Of course, they were blown out by undefeated Miami. The two teams who appeared to have (by far) the best claims to face Miami, Big-12 champ Colorado and Pac-10 Champ Oregon met in the Fiesta Bowl where Oregon (with Joey Harrington at QB and Jeff Tedford at OC) trounced the Buffs leaving everyone to wonder what an Oregon/Miami matchup would have looked like. Sound familiar? It was after this season that I began lobbying for a simple rule change that would have made everything better, not only in 2001, but also in the travesty that will occupy the #1 spot on this list. Quite simply, you should not be eligible for the BCS championship if you didn’t win your conference (or even your Division for that matter!). So simple. So effective. Never implemented.
Number 1. This honor goes to last year’s incestuous SEC on SEC boondoggle that was the sports equivalent of a crime against humanity. Watching LSU, with all world talent up and down their roster, attempt to run something that resembled an offense, was like watching the cast of River Dance perform their act blindfolded in wet cement. I am ready to give Alabama’s defense all the credit they definitely deserve as soon as they are forced to wrest the crystal ball from a team not running an offense inspired by Fielding Yost. The fact that the SEC extended their title streak with a game that featured only SEC teams was just the icing on this urinal cake. I was mostly ambivalent about the whole SEC vs. the rest of the football playing world thing until this game. It was a total joke and that crystal ball is the most meaningless championship trophy ever given out in the history of sports.
Save us Chip Kelly, you're our only hope.
For now it appears Chip Kelly is staying on at Oregon and next year I will be cheering on the Ducks in every game except when they play the Cougs. Its not a coincidence that the last championship game worth watching past the coin toss featured a Pac-12 team running an electrifying spread offense. The Ducks were a hair away from winning that title and I don’t expect them to squander the opportunity if it happens again.