published Monday, December 9th, 2013

5-at-10: College football rewind, bowl matchups and decisions

Title-game ticket packages on ticketcity.com start at $943 for two tickets and escalate into the six figures. Seriously, there is a 20-ticket suite listing at $107,151 — plus the website service charge, which is a touch more than $21K — that runs about $6,000 ticket when the purchase is finalized. Hello big timers like Burt Reynolds and the Yella Wood fella.

So there's that, and yes, if you have any spare change to donate to the 5-at-10 campaign drive to get to the BCS title game, let us know. We're not sure it's tax deductible per se, but it will make all of us feel better.

From the "Talks too much" studios, here's saying college football will come up during Press Row today from 3-6 on ESPN 105.1 FM. Hey, did Tre Mason just run for another TD?

BCS shakedown

So, did anyone expect anything other than the BCS nailing its final title game with the matchup of the season's most dominant team and the nation's hottest team, and the BCS did it with it's typical flair for the dramatic and inalienable sense of timing.

Before we get rolling, let' tip the 5-at-10 helmet to Mr. StuckinKent, who not only nailed Central Florida's mixed motivation in a closer-than-expected win at SMU but also absolutely hammered Michigan State as an upset special in the Big Ten title game. We thought Urbie and THE Ohio State had too much skin in the game to let it slip away. We were wrong, and considering THE stumble by THE Ohio State allowed Auburn to springboard into the BCS title game, well, we've never been more overjoyed to be 100 percent wrong. We went 2-3 last week, as we limped across the line with a 50-40-1 record, far below our expectations.

Hey, Tre Mason just scored another TD.

The SEC title game was a shootout, and that was not that much of a surprise. That Auburn ran for a country mile and that Tre Mason powered his way toward a Heisman invite with 304 rushing yards on a hot tub-worthy 46 carries, had to catch everyone's attention in Auburn's 59-42 win over Missouri.

This wild and crazy Auburn ride could only have ended this way, right? Swimming in the confetti on the turf of the Georgia Dome, waiting to learn if THE Ohio State could finish its drill. Destiny has smooched a lot of teams and athletes over time, but it's hard to remember a group that has the power of belief and the appearance of a predetermined plan than this Auburn bunch. From the miracle tipped pass to luckily beat Georgia to the greatest ending in college football history to beat Alabama to an overpowering ground game that left Missouri shaking their heads and wondering if anyone got the tag number of the truck that rolled over it. (It was No. 21, and hey, Tre Mason just scored again.)

Of course THE Ohio State was going to gag. It was how this had to end.

And with it, the BCS exits on arguably the perfect stage. Especially considering how a four-team playoff would have opened the door for more controversy and heartache this morning.

There are no arguments that FSU is the No. 1 team of the regular season. The Seminoles were dominant from start to finish and have not trailed since September. There also is little argument that Auburn is the best one-loss team, considering the Tigers beat the nation's best team by topping Alabama and won the nation's best conference by topping Missouri last Saturday.

Now consider that a four-team playoff would have created havoc.

FSU would be the No. 1 seed and Auburn likely would have been the No. 2.

If Alabama is the No. 3 seed, and considering that Vegas has said all year that the Tide would be favored by at least a field goal against every team in college football, including FSU, that would be right. But, by making Alabama-Auburn one of the semifinals, that would mean the Tigers' miracle to end the regular season would have the shelf life of a gas station hot dog. And if the four-team playoff is going to damage the best regular season in all of sports, it's flawed from the core.

  • photo
    Auburn running back and SEC MVP Tre Mason (21) celebrates with teammates as they hoist the SEC Championship Trophy following the victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Beyond the Iron Bowl Redo, part deux, the real controversy and campaigning would be for the fourth and final spot. Would Michigan State get it after winning the Big Ten, which was viewed as only the fifth best conference? What about Baylor and its high-flying offense whih won the Big 12 and lost only to Oklahoma State? Or Stanford, which has the best wins among those that would be mentioned for this spot considering it beat Oregon soundly when the Ducks were healthy and rolling and just won the Pac 12 title game at Arizona State to secure the crown of easily the nation's second-best conference.

That hodgepodge of heartache can wait 12 months, and we all know how much difference a year can make in college football — well other than Georgia and Nebraska, who are going to reunite and run it back in the Gator Bowl for the second time in a year.

So the difference in this process a year from now could be as different as the Auburn Tigers this time last year, when they were preparing for a bowlless holiday and looking to spring practice and wondering if Gus Malzahn could succeed as a head coach in the SEC.

Yeah, that worked out pretty good. Did Tre Mason just score again?

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Bowl schedule

We are planning the fourth annual "Bowling for bowls of Bowl game goodness Contest" which ranks right behind the Mastering the Masterful Masters pick 'em challenge.

We'll trot out the rules later this week, and we'll try to come up with some high-quality prizes — pool or a pond, pond would be good for Spy.

That said, let's examine the good, bad and ugly from these bowl match-ups:

GOOD

The Bowls kick off on Dec. 21, and that Saturday has a sneaky good one when Fresno State faces USC in Las Vegas.

Miami plays Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28. That means Miami-native Teddy Bridgewater will get the chance to spank Florida and the Hurricanes in back-to-back bowl seasons, and midway into the season, when each of these teams were 6-0, this had the look of a BCS game.

The folks at Chick-Fil-A have a fine product and we all know they are tight with the Man upstairs. Maybe that's why they almost always get a fun bowl matchup. This year is no different as Duke and coach of the year candidate David Cutcliffe play Texas A&M in what likely will be Johnny Football's final college game.

BAD

Vandy has won eight games for the second consecutive year, a mark that raises eye brows and deserves a golf clap from fans across the country. The 'Dores reward was being the final SEC team selected — even behind a 6-6 Mississippi State team — and heading to Birmingham for the Compass Bowl. That makes no sense, directionally or otherwise.

UCF earned a BCS bid by winning the AAC PDQ, and other than alphabet soup, the Knights landed a date with Baylor. Two things: If Baylor is motivated, it will hang 70 on UCF; second, here's saying the Knights will have several thousands tickets to eat considering the 3,000-mile, one-way trip to Arizona.

Yes, it's almost a full month away, but it's tough seeing how THE Ohio State will be motivated for an Orange Bowl dance with Clemson considering THE Buckeyes were a flawed fourth quarter away from playing for the BCS title.

UGLY

Nebraska-Georgia in the Gator Bowl. Again. It's a rematch in the same locale from 12 months ago. Was it so good that we needed a second one? Yeah, like Weekend at Bernie's II.

Oregon fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl, where the Ducks will play Texas on Dec. 30 in San Antonio no less. So the Ducks, who would have been an awesome Sugar Bowl date against Alabama, will be in a meaningless bowl as a decided road team. If Oregon is motivated, it will smoke Texas, but this hardly unites the troops.

Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, two teams that had their seasons ended with disappointing losses to bitter in-state rivals, are not exactly heading to Nashville's Music City Bowl with a head of steam.

—————

Difference in decision

Watching Peyton Manning dismantle the Titans on Sunday — in temperature in the teens by the way — it was hard not to wonder what would be if Manning had picked Tennessee rather than Denver two years ago.

Seriously, the Titans would be every bit the Broncos right now, considering the way Manning's playing and rookie Justin Hunter would be a front-runner for offensive rookie of the year.

With Manning, the Titans are a legit Super Bowl contender.

Side note: Former Vols and current NFL rookies Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson, Da'Rick Rogers and Mychael Rivera each had big days Sunday. Hunter had four catches for 114 yards and a TD. Patterson had five for 141 and a TD. Rogers had six for 107 and two TDs. Rivera had five for 21 yards and a TD. And yes, Rogers was not around last fall, but considering what that could have meant for match-ups, you would have to figure that Rogers being with the Vols would have been worth at least one more win right? And would one more win and a bowl game been enough for Derek Dooley to have kept his job? That's quite possible.

So is it fair to surmise that Rogers being dismissed from the team for failed drug tests was actually the call that downed Dooley.

Interesting no?

————

This and that

— Kobe Bryant returned to the floor Sunday, and he was pleased with how he held up physically just seven-plus months since tearing his Achilles'. He was less than thrilled about his play after scoring nine points and committing eight turnovers in 28 minutes.

— As he prepares for his final week on the job, TFP UTC ace Johnny Frierson tells us about a trio of Mocs commits here. Gang, McCallie's C.J. Fritz has an extra gear.

— Zach Johnson rallied to beat Tiger Woods in overtime. (Can we call playoff golf overtime?) And yes, it was more or less an exhibition, but there was a time that Woods losing to anyone in overtime was unthinkable. Just another example of Tiger's aura of invincibility is forever changed.

— Heisman votes are due today. Don't think there's going to be much drama this year, considering Jameis Winston is a 1-to-30 favorite, meaning you have to bet 30 dollars to win $1.

————

Today's question

Who won the weekend?

Other than the title game, which bowl intrigues you the most and why?

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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chas9 said...

War Dam Eagle! Has there ever been a team that better fits the "team of destiny" idea?

I have to agree with Weeds' take on all the bowl games. Though odds are the SEC won't actually sweep ALL the matchups (except for the FSU challenge). I wish Bama could have a stronger foe. The Tide will Roll!

The Bear-Cat fight in the mostly-empty Dallas igloo was a classic. Quadruple overtime, most points ever (133-130) in a women's game. Second win over a top ten foe in five days for the Lady Kats, and Baylor is still very good without Griner. Jennifer O'Neill tallied 43.

In a game that started way too late, the Kentucky men were revealed to be what they are: a team that will be terrific, but has yet to learn nonstop defense and intensity. Baylor's frontline giants seriously out-rebounded UK, and the Cats couldn't hit their free throws, an area that must be improved. On the bright side, the Harrison twins each had six assists.

December 9, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Well congrats to Auburn ! However, Jay, Auburn fans in Pasadena ? In the big city of L. A. ? ? can you imagine ? Imagine the posibilities ? here are some things Auburn fans will be asking the fine citizens of Los Angeles and Pasedena

"Hey, where did they film Dukes of Hazard ? "

"Why are there no Waffle Houses here ? "

"Do they serve chinese food at that famous Chinese Theatre ? "

"I just shouted War Eagle at that 6-ft blonde model and she looked at me funny "

"I just told that guy on the corner, No we are NOT the Beverly Hillbillies "

" I am NOT going to the Playboy Mansion if i can't wear my Bo Jackson jersey"

" I wonder if I should have brought my Corn Flakes with me ? they might not have them in California"

" This really is different than Hollywood, ALABAMA "

" I wonder if they hate Nick Saban in California ? "

December 9, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
mcpell3 said...

"I just shouted War Eagle at that 6-ft blonde model and she looked at me funny " and her voice was deeper than mine!

What a ride on the Gus Bus! Guess I need to get a kickstarter going so I can go to Pasadena.

Not sure who won the weekend, but Oklahoma lost by winning. Oh look Tre just scored again.

December 9, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Good to have you and David back on the air...only comment I can think of is you are selling the second largest university in all the land (UCF) short...they can compete...book it...

December 9, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Is the Fiesta Bowl becoming the kids table of bowls? Remember when Boise and TCU were relegated to that game, rather than giving each a shot at a big boy? And now it's UCF and Baylor there. Good times?

Vandy in the Compass Bowl? Wow. Until you told us where it was played, 5, I didn't know where it was played. Yes, an Oregon-Alabama game would have been fun. I think an Ohio State-Alabama matchup would have been awesome. Oh well.

Duke and A&M in Atlanta also will be fun ... provided Johnny Football isn't lured by Hotlanta's, um, charms.

Last year, Alabama needed to give a thank you card to the Columbus tattoo parlor. This year, Auburn needs to send flowers and chocolates to Mark Dantonio, who doesn't get near the credit he deserves for being a good coach. Guy can do work on the sidelines and in the film room.

Aside from title game, the most intriguing matchups are Oklahoma State and Mizzou and Ole Miss-Ga Tech. Whole lot of "I'll watch because it's on" bowl matchups. I'm looking at you, Nebraska and Georgia.

December 9, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Just for the sake of clarification, the Georgia-Nebraska game is not in the same locale as last year's dust-up between Hairy Dawg and Herbie Husker. We played in the Capital One Bowl last year and will square off in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl this year. If the check from the folks at Tax Slayer bounces, this could become the OnlineBootyCall.com Gator Bowl.

Jacksonville and Orlando, very different cities. Orlando is where you hear unhappy theme park patrons saying: "What the &^%$, there's no way I'm paying $56.92 for a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke!" Jacksonville is where you hear unhappy motorist saying: "What the &^%$, I just got off the interstate, why can't I get back on!" Same state. Different flavors.

December 9, 2013 at 2:57 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

5, whither Ned Ryerson goest?

December 9, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
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