As we look ahead to the 2014 college football season, our guest columnist sheds some light on the blather coming from lazy mediots telling us who’ll win it all.
1. The old adage “the best team doesn’t always win” is true. We all know it.
Tennessee was not better than South Carolina last year, but it won. Appy State was not better than Michigan a few years ago, but it won. Stanford was not better than USC a few years ago, but it beat top-ranked USC. Purists will say “they were the better team on that day,” and while that sounds good (and it’s what any good sport will say if he participated in the game), even THAT is not true.
A familiar example is the regular season game between Alabama and LSU in 2011. Alabama dominated that game in all phases save one. We missed 72 field goals. In addition, we threw that crazy as interception on the goal line — a brilliant play by Reid, but nevertheless a very odd thing to have happen in a game where a team also misses 72 field goals. Most objective observers, including Colin Cowherd, insisted that the better team lost the game. And we left no doubt about it when we beat the ever lovin hell out of them in NOLA two months later.
2. So, despite the mindless ramblings of the Mizzou softball coach, who wrongly insisted that the “best team lost” when our girls took two of three from his team, it is true sometimes that the best teams didn’t win.
That’s part of the reason why the NBA’s system is much better at finding a true champion than is the NCAA hoops tournament. Now, the NCAA tourney is the best thing going in the sports world as far as “television drama” goes. I love it, as I’m sure many of you do. But it does not produce a “true champion” with nearly as much frequency as does the NBA tourney. It’s not designed to.
3. Having said all that, I’ve noticed that the media, as well as many fans, tend to take the illogical, “easy” road when it comes to predictions of the upcoming season.
They will quite often say “so and so team won so and so league last year, and they have a lot of starters back, so they are the best team and should win it again.”
In the case of Florida State, that line of thinking works just fine. The ACC is a rather sad display of football talent, and the only other team in that pathetic league who has a good program — Clemson — lost their starting QB and their best receiver. Picking FSU based on last year, although lazy, gets you to the correct answer. But …
4. The SEC is different.
With apologies to our pessimistic fans, as well as the posers on this and other message boards who would rather make out with Gus Malzhan than shake hands with Joe Namath, the better team lost the Iron Bowl last season.
That was not the case, in my opinion, in 2010. I thought two remarkably EQUAL teams played that day, and someone had to lose. But in 2013, Alabama was the better team all year. And based on the game that was played in boogtown, the better team was wearing crimson. Bama outgained them. We controlled them for the most part. But like the LSU game in 2011, we missed a thousand field goals. That was not normal. That was an anomaly for Cade Foster who had a great season in 2013.
Give the boogs credit for hanging in there and being gritty. I mean damn. They WERE gritty. They DID play tough. They did NOT give up. But they also tied the game on a play we all know was illegal. And they won it on a play that’s only happened three times in college history. So the better team lost the game, which is why all you pessimists out there — and all you posers — need to clear your heads, take a deep breath, and see the truth.
5. Alabama is not only the best program in America. It has the best talent in America. Today. Right now. In 2014.
You knew it a year ago, but evidently you only knew it because we won it all the year before. The trick is knowing it now, even though we lost two games. The media and some reading this now…really needs to stop basing the future (or the present) on the past. It’s absurd.
Sure, FSU might be close to Alabama in talent. And because they play in a high school league, they’ll almost certainly get a shot at playing some real teams in January. LSU is close, too. Even the boogs at this point may be the third or fourth most talented team in the SEC, which puts them at least in the same zip code as Alabama.
But Alabama has more talent than all of them. It also has more depth, which means injuries won’t affect us the way it does a lesser team. The Tide also has the best coach in the business. And it gets the boogs at home this season. There is no way a rational, thinking, objective human being can predict the boogs to win the SEC in 2014. It MIGHT happen. It COULD happen. Because the best team doesn’t always win.
But to actually say the boogs are the FAVORITE is illogical; even laughable. They are not the favorite except in the minds of those who:
(A) think the best team always wins, which means (illogically) that the boogs were the best team last year; and
(B) think last year has a bearing on this one.
6. Alabama is the clear favorite in the SEC this year.
If Bama played in any other conference, Las Vegas would have Alabama as the favorite for the national title as well. Mark it down. The minute Vegas releases theoretical betting lines, Alabama would be the favorite over Oregon — who at the moment has better odds of winning the national title than does Alabama.
This is about schedule, not about individual team strength. There’s only one team who might — MIGHT — be a Vegas favorite over Bama, and that’s FSU. And I’m here to tell ya. Winston is only marginally more nimble in the pocket than Mettenburger was. We would beat that team. Well, unless the better team happened to lose.