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Thoughts On the Title Games

On the one hand, it was a great weekend of football.  Starting with Oregon-Oregon St on Thursday, college football finally gave us a terrific weekend of games.  As a football fan, I should be happy.  As an LSU fan, I'm disappointed by the result of the two marquee games. 

I've always been sort of agnostic to Alabama.  I enjoy Tuscaloosa and it's always been one of my favorite road trips.  I admire Alabama's program and let's face it, they are one of the most successful programs in history.  Sure, they may have a strong whiff of arrogance and not a little bit of corruption, but they have a pretty full trophy case.  I've always wanted to beat Alabama, but more as a measuring stick than a matter of hatred. 

Then, the Bama game happened and ever since, our little corner of the blogosphere has been overrun by Alabama trolls.  I'm not talking about longtime commentators like Gerry Dorsey, who may be a bit of a stick in the mud, but he's always up for honest debate.  I'm talking about the nonstop parade of trolls with nothing more intelligent to say then some variant of "BAMA RULZ! LSU SUX!"*  And my hatred towards Bama sort of came to a head this season.  We had more Bama trolls on here than Ole Miss fans after the Ole Miss game, which sort of speaks to the sheer level of trolling.  Alabama is the first fanbase that has ever prompted this site to post a general warning to an entire team's fanbase. 

*ED NOTE - If you are a troll and you have been banned from this site over the past month, I did it.  That's right.  Me.  My email is at the bottom of the page, send me your hate mail.  You suck, and I don't regret for a second banning any of you.

Which means I hate 2009 Alabama more than any team in the nation.  More than Tennessee and Lane Kiffin's big mouth.  More than the infuriating Rebels, who were overrated like I said in the preseason, but still beat us so I can't really talk smack about.  More than Auburn, who just suck because they are Auburn. 

But Alabama went out there and beat the snot out of Florida.  They deserved the title, no ifs ands or buts.  That was a thorough ass-kicking.  Congratulations, Bama fan fans.  You are champions, but it doesn't mean you still aren't douchebags. 

But the game that really got my goat was Texas-Nebraska.  I root for Nebraska in the sense that Husker fans have always been cool to LSU in Omaha and they have former LSU Defensive Co-ordinator Bo Pelini as their coach.  I would've rooted for Nebraska against almost anyone in the Big 12. 

I have my problems with Texas this year.  Their OOC schedule is absolutely terrible, and they play in a conference that, through no fault of Texas, is probably the worst of the BCS conferences this season.  Yet they get to go to the BCS conference game despite the fact TCU and Cincinnati both have looked better against schedules that may have been tougher.  (Texas advantage in SOS over TCU is entirely because the dregs of their schedule are better than the dregs of TCU's schedule, which is no way to gauge a schedule).  The BCS is grossly unfair and it's excluding teams on simply a guess. 

The officiating in the game wasn't terrible, but it did seem every close call went to Texas.  It wasn't simply missing calls, it was just giving the benefit of the doubt to Texas.  The problem here is the idea of conference affiliated refs, raising the appearance of a vested interest of the conference to have one team win.  I don't think they called a bad game, but things like the pass interference call were borderline calls that went Texas' way.

Here's where my LSU fandom comes in.  The officials reviewed the last play of the Texas game, and put a second back on the clock.  Hell, you KNEW they were gonna put a second back on the clock by the way the officials were reacting to the Huskers celebrating.  I figure it takes a second for a scoreboard operator to stop the clock, and the ball went out of bounds at :01, which means that it was a perfectly reasonable for the clock to run out.

But my question is, where was the review in the LSU-Ole Miss game?  Terrance Toliver was down with 3 seconds left, yet the clock ran to :01.  I remember a little bit of kvetching from the Tiger faithful, but not a huge outcry (and certainly not like the Alabama game).  Hey, the clock runs an extra second or two on almost every play.  We're not going to review every one.  It would kill the game.

Here's the rub, the officials absolutely screwed up in one of these two games.  They cannot be right in both cases.  Either the officials in LSU-OM screwed up in not reviewing the play and putting those 2 seconds back on the clock or the officials in the Big 12 title game screwed up by putting the second back.  It's the same exact situation with completely opposite outcomes.  One set of officials was wrong because they both can't be right.  They have diametrically opposed outcomes from the same situation.  They cannot both be right.  All I will say, in one game, the conference had a vested interest in one team winning.

It's not impropriety, sometimes it's just the appearance of impropriety.  Because I know a conference would never favor one team over another if it were in the conference's best interests.  We know they are all paragons of virtue.  I trust them completely, don't you?