The court of public opinion can be a hard place to make your case in the fickle, oft-hypocritical, and usually doublethink heavy world of college football. We can say one player is Heisman-worthy one week, dismiss him two games later, and give the trophy to someone in NYC who ended up with worse stats. We hold entire conferences in high esteem even though one of their members could very well be the worst BCS conference team. We do this while also dismissing and insulting entire other conferences even some of their members are genuine, top-10, BCS caliber teams. We even say everybody's got a shot, then we shut the door on them. And, once they convince enough people to give them access, we want to punch their ticket blindly, not really weighing everything that might have gone into their 12-0 record. It's with that in mind that I want to talk about recent trends and strength of schedule.
Five or six years ago, a mid-major didn't have a chance to get any BCS bowl invite, much less THE BCS championship game. Well, a few years of Boise State success later and we now consider the Broncos true contenders if they make it through their week one qualifier (Oregon in '09, VA Tech last year, and UGA this season). But why? We have overcompensated for the mistreatment of mid majors by almost codling them now. Certainly they were unfairly kept out of big games in the past, but is the correct response to auto-punch their championship ticket in the preseason just so we have to scratch out their name after a late loss? I don't think so. But the millions have shifted and now it's just a taken for granted opinion and as long as the Broncos make it through week one, it's theirs to lose in a weak conference slate.
|The Poster-Boy for Mid-Major Respect|
Let's take a look.
|Neither one's a real murderer's row, but that's kinda my point.|
Now, before I get called out otherwise, I am NOT advocating that Virginia Tech is better than Boise - the Broncos took care of that last season. And I am NOT saying VA Tech's schedule is truly that difficult. I've just been thinking about what triggers our willingness to accept some teams compared to others. And, yes, I know, SoS comparisons have huge flaws of their own; technically, Boise's opponents had more wins in 2010 than Tech's did...but we have to consider what earned those W's out west and if those teams are truly superior to some of the L's these ACC teams pick up. I guess what I'm dealing with here is the true depth of the schedule wat should qualify as a sked that earns a team a spot in the BCS title game? I think we would all say an SEC schedule is proof enough of belonging, even a Big-12 or Pac-12 dancecard. But, we hesitate when we think of the ACC or Big East. I'm not necessarily saying that this is inherently wrong, I'm just saying that IF it's wrong, then why is it OK to give Boise a hall pass? Could they have beaten Oklahoma in '06 if they'd played a Big-XII schedule all year? If they beat Georgia in week one, could they really make it through seven more SEC games and a title game unscathed?
|How is this Georgia team really supposed to be measuring stick of greatness?|
I guess all I'm asking for is a little cognitive dissonance. But, then again, the world of college football is not known for that - and that little spice in the always adversarial dialogue just might be one the things that makes the sport so great.