Friday, October 14, 2005


Calling all Homers out there . . .

So I'm sitting here at the office, on a fairly blah kind of Friday. It's 80-some degrees and I can see the ocean from the office window. Not a bad day, no. But not a busy one, either. I'm a couple of days behind on the new script. I've got a busy weekend coming up.

And so what does my mind turn to? Well, college football, of course. What else?

I heard a really cool and compelling discussion on sports radio the other day. Now take a close look at that sentence - you're not likely to see it again.

Whatever. Basically, the host had been getting all these calls from college football fans, saying all the same things they normally do around this time of the season. Namely, proclaiming that the conference where their home team plays is the best, the strongest, and can beat all those mamby-pamby other conferences.

Now I'm a bit of a homer myself. I've been known to argue this very thing. Growing up, I didn't even know there was a debate about the college football national champion. To me, it was always the team that won the Rose Bowl. My reasoning was thus: The Big Ten is better than everyone else, and so whoever wins that (usually the winner of Ohio State-Michigan) goes to the Rose Bowl, and whoever wins that game is, without question, the best.

It never occurred to me that somewhere else in the country, there might be a Southwest Conference fan who thought the same thing about the Cotton Bowl champ. Or a Southeastern Conference fan who felt the same way about the Sugar Bowl champ.

Well, actually, the host said, all the big major conferences are exactly the same. Exactly. Sorry to burst the bubble. The SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac 10 are identical, more or less.

(Sorry Big Least fans, but your guys are a step below. South Florida? But I digress.)

How so, guests on the show asked.

It's like this, the host explained.

1) Every one of those conferences has an undefeated team that's head and shoulders above the rest: like USC in the Pac 10, Virginia Tech in the ACC, Georgia in the SEC, Penn State in the Big 10, and the mighty, mighty Texas Longhorns in the Big 12.

2) Each one has another good team that's just a notch below: UCLA, Florida State, Alabama, Minnesota or Michigan State(but probably Minnesota), and Texas Tech.

3) They all have one big name program that's a disappointment this year: Arizona State, NC State, Tennessee, my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes, and Oklahoma (heh heh heh).

4) Each has some junk at the bottom: Arizona, Stanford and Washington in the Pac 10; Duke, Clemson, and Wake in the ACC; Kentucky, Miss State, and Ole Miss in the SEC; Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue in the Big Ten; and Texas A&M, Kansas, and K State in the Big 12.

5) In the middle there for each of them are some decent, bowl-worthy but not championship teams: Cal and Oregon; Miami and Georgia Tech, maybe Virginia; LSU, Florida and Auburn; Wisconsin, Michigan State, even Northwestern or Michigan potentially; and Nebraska, Colorado, Baylor (!) in the Big 12.

Are there little differences this year? Sure. USC is probably the best team of all. Penn State seems a little weaker than the other big winning schools, but on the other hand, the Big Ten's worst is a little better than the other losers (Go Hoosiers!). Of the mid-level teams, Miami's probably the best.

Whatever. They're all the same. Some other time, we can debate whether the Big East is the same as any other mid-major.

Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

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