Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Weekly links … NCAA Tournament style

 

Reminiscing about last week’s NCAA Tournament games and I can’t help but think how fun it was to watch South Carolina defeat Duke.

Of course, it is fun anytime Duke goes home the first week of the tourney but it was especially fun because all the Duke excuse makers were out in full force.

You see, it was somehow unfair for Duke to have to play South Carolina in the state of South Carolina.

But for some reason, it never is unfair for Duke opponents to have to play the Blue Devils in the state of North Carolina. How many times has Duke had two quasi-home games in the NCAA tourney?

Yet somehow it was really unfair for Coach K and his team to have to play in a different state.

Duke couldn’t play in the home state this year because the tournament was pulled from North Carolina due to that weirdo transgender bathroom law.

Do they have guards outside the bathroom checking your gender before you are allowed in? What a dumb law.

Anyway, South Carolina and star guard Sindarius Thornwell outclassed Duke. And Frank Martin outcoached Coach K.

South Carolina became America’s Team for a night as most people around the nation enjoyed watching another Duke early exit.

Go Mercer! Go Lehigh! Go South Carolina!

Isn’t Duke an elite program? Well, elite programs should be able to win anywhere.

End of story.

 

Interesting tidbit I dug up: Wisconsin has won more NCAA Tournament games than anyone else over the past four years.

The Badgers are looking for their 14th NCAA win in that time span when they face Florida on Friday.

Normally, I wouldn’t care who wins a game like this. Especially since my bracket has already met the shredder (thanks, Villanova).

Oh yeah, it was Wisconsin causing my bracket to become full of red ink with its impressive victory over Villanova.

But I now realize it is time for the Badgers to go home. Not their fault but I learned that the slimy politician guy named Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin.

Ryan is the dingbat who is somehow coming up with a worse health care plan than the disaster known as Obamacare (the one time Donald Trump is right). I wouldn’t trust that Ryan clown to correctly put English muffins in the toaster. Heck, my mom calls him a jackass.

Go Gators! Make Paul Ryan have a horrible Friday night.

Here is the stellar preview — http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/wisconsin-looks-to-keep-run-going-versus-florida/

 

Thursday is the night that all of those Gonzaga fans will become really sad.

The Bulldogs don’t have enough ball-handlers to deal with the “Press Virginia” defense that West Virginia is famous for. The Mountaineers have forced 724 turnovers — nobody else even has 600 — and I see them creating havoc all game long.

Gonzaga also is the team with all the pressure on it. The Bulldogs have never reached a Final Four and even coach Mark Few admitted that the Final Four thing will continue to hang over the program until it reaches one.

Well, I don’t see Nigel Williams-Goss and his teammates even reaching the Elite Eight. I see Gonzaga’s season coming to an end on Thursday.

Here is the stellar preview — http://newsok.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/ncaab-preview.aspx?page=/data/NCAAB/matchups/g6_preview_19.html

 

 

 

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It was an abbreviated work week for me since Tooth No. 19 was called up to Tooth Heaven.

That added up to a lack of fun in my life and a diet consisting of yogurt, applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup.

Dang, I can’t wait to eat pizza again.

So it will be an abbreviated Weekly Links as well since I only had half a week to choose from this time.

It does make it easier that way with fewer articles to sort through. So we’re going with two conference championship games on the college football side and one also-ran NFL game from the professional ledger.

 

I’m still not sure why we must go through a College Football Playoff this year to determine the top college team in the nation.

The same team that was the best in September is the best at the beginning of December. And will be again when the season is over.

Alabama is the only truly good college football team this season. Actually, the Crimson Tide are great. And they didn’t miss a beat when they lost star safety Eddie Jackson with a broken leg.

The Crimson Tide meet Florida in Saturday’s SEC title game and there isn’t much of a chance that an upset will happen.

The Gators are without six defensive starters and using a backup quarterback. Heck, perhaps Alabama should play all their third-stringers to even things up.

Crimson Tide defensive end Jonathan Allen (seven sacks, two fumble return touchdowns) is the top defensive player in the nation and he and his teammates don’t look capable of losing at all this season.

But first, they look to win the SEC title.

Here is the stellar Alabama-Florida preview — http://www.usatoday.com/sports/ncaaf/event/2016/67487/preview/top25/

 

I keep hearing it said that Ohio State and Michigan are the top two teams in the Big Ten.

But when asked to write the national preview for the Big Ten championship game, I didn’t need to visit either team’s websites.

So maybe Ohio State and Michigan are the third and fourth best teams, huh?

Kind of complicates things that Wisconsin and Penn State are playing for the Big Ten title when it comes to the CFP selection committee. We are looking at the possibility of a Big Ten team that didn’t play in the conference title game making the national playoffs?

Nothing makes it more clear how worthless your conference championship game is than that fact.

Penn State won the division that Ohio State is in and if it wins the conference title game, perhaps the Nittany Lions are the Big Ten team that should be part of the CFP.

The problem, though, is that Ohio State is currently the No. 2 seed. So for Penn State to get in, either Clemson or Washington gets bumped out. Sorry, that isn’t how this whole deal is supposed to work.

But know this: If two Big Ten teams make it this season, we will quickly move closer to the eight-team playoff.

Anyway, here is the stellar Wisconsin-Penn State preview (note: that isn’t my prediction at the bottom but going with this entity’s copy because they didn’t strip off my byline) — http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/College-Football/2016/12/02/Penn-State-vs-Wisconsin-prediction-preview-2016-Big-Ten-football-championship/3371480706731/

 

I didn’t write about any NFL teams headed toward a championship game this week.

The Philadelphia Eagles still have a chance to make the playoffs but does anybody really think that is happening with six losses in eight games after a strong 3-0 start?

And the Cincinnati Bengals? Not mathematically eliminated but even quarterback Andy Dalton is already trying to figure out what went wrong with five games still to go.

The Bengals made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons before this year’s miserable campaign.

The Eagles are revamping under first-year coach Doug Pederson and his tune has changed from talking about the playoffs to talking about the process.

Coaches who talk about the process typically aren’t doing much winning in the present.

That’s a fact.

Here is the stellar Eagles-Bengals preview (in the New York Times again!) — http://nytimes.stats.com/fb/preview.asp?g=20161204004&home=4&vis=21&action=click&contentCollection=football&region=supplemental&module=sports-stats-module-nfl&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

Remember all those years when I covered San Diego State football and the program couldn’t even make one of those lousy bowl games few people care about?

Remember how awful some of those teams were? Remember how they lost in the ridiculous Kibbie Dome to Idaho? Remember when they lost at home to Cal Poly? (and lost to the Mustangs again after I was no longer on the beat).

Hard to forget what a pitiful program the Aztecs were but guess what happened this week — something truly, truly remarkable.

I was writing the national preview about San Diego State playing a game as a ranked program for the first time since 1995.

You know, back when Bobby Ross was coach of the Chargers and Ken Caminiti of the Padres was in the process of juicing his way to stardom. Back when the basketball Aztecs were losing games under a former junior-college coach named Fred Trenkle (true, you can look it up).

The football Aztecs didn’t last long as a ranked program way back then as they lost to Wyoming and disappeared from the rankings for 21 long years.

They play South Alabama this Saturday and one word of caution: The Jaguars defeated the Aztecs 34-27 in overtime in San Diego last season.

One other notable thing is that senior running back Donnel Pumphrey is just 129 yards away from becoming the 21st player in college football history to reach 5,000 career yards.

That is kind of impressive, don’t you think?

Anyway, here is the link to the stellar preview — http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/no-19-aztecs-seek-revenge-against-south-alabama-092816

 

OK, on to some other links.

I knew Sports Illustrated had a website but I had no idea my previews land there. The big showdown between Wisconsin and Michigan ended up there. We’ll see if the Wolverines continue putting up points in bushels when they face the Badgers for the first time since 2010. Here is that preview — http://www.si.com/college-football/game/1621711

The college football landscape of today means Oklahoma is finished after starting off the season with a 1-2 record. The funny thing is that the Sooners finally open Big 12 play on Saturday against TCU. Tells you how little conference races matter these days if Oklahoma truly has nothing to play for. Upi.com kept my byline on the preview so we will link to them — http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/College-Football/2016/09/29/TCU-vs-Oklahoma-Prediction-preview-pick-to-win-Big-12-football/9331475169451/

Interesting that at the bottom there is a prediction for that game. I didn’t make that prediction. I did make a prediction for another company with a different preview I wrote of that same game — and I picked Oklahoma to win. You can see that here — https://www.usatoday.com/sports/ncaaf/event/2016/52455/preview/top25/

Here is one for the NFL fans. Russell Wilson vows to play when the Seattle Seahawks visit the New York Jets on Sunday. While the Seahawks worry about the health of their quarterback, the Jets must be wondering about the psyche of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The guy committed eight turnovers (six interceptions, two fumbles) last Sunday. That is really hard to do. Here is the stellar preview — http://www.krdo.com/sports/seahawks-should-have-wilson-for-game-against-jets/99756764

And one final link for the baseball people. The St. Louis Cardinals posted a controversial victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday and here is my preview for their Friday contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The wild-card race between the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants will be decided this weekend. Shelf life is short on baseball previews but here is a stellar one — http://www.usatoday.com/sports/mlb/event/2016/399088/preview/

All that bluster about Philip Rivers being dealt to the Tennessee Titans turned out to be unfounded chatter.

Turns out it was allegedly started by a writer at UT San Diego – which is typically the first sign there is little validity to a report.

When you aren’t properly aligned with inside sources – and the general manager doesn’t trust you – you tend to swing and miss more often than Mike Trout in the playoffs.

The San Diego Chargers never intended to trade their productive quarterback for the No. 2 overall pick and the chance to draft Marcus Mariota. The Titans didn’t deal the pick at all and went ahead and selected Mariota.

The Chargers are on their way to Los Angeles and they really need to have a solid season before moving to the land of smog. San Diego has failed to make the playoffs in four of the past five seasons – a pitiful fact when you consider the talent the franchise has had – and relocating after a losing season wouldn’t help prompt the fickle Los Angeles area to rejoice over the team’s arrival.

So Rivers is badly needed to be at the helm and not a novice rookie that may or may not be prepared to start in the NFL. The tough part will be convincing Rivers to sign a contract extension but there is something about making $20 million a year that causes one to do something they might not originally be thrilled about.

Don’t think so? Offer me $200,000 a year and you’ll be surprised at the places I’m suddenly ready to call home.

That includes Arkansas and North Dakota … yikes, did I just type that?

Anyway, the Chargers kept their quarterback and moved up to No. 15 overall to select running back Melvin Gordon, the standout from Wisconsin.

The pick is solid – and will forever be known as the final first-round pick by the “San Diego Chargers” – but I don’t understand why the Chargers dealt two future draft picks to the San Francisco 49ers to move up two spots. Sounds like there was some fear the 49ers might trade the pick elsewhere and another team would land Gordon.

Regardless, Gordon should be a much better NFL player than the departed Ryan Mathews and also is a much better option than journeyman Donald Brown. Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry in his college career and rushed for a then-record 408 yards in one game last season against Nebraska, breaking a mark set by LaDainian Tomlinson.

You might recall Tomlinson. The Chargers haven’t had a bona fide back since the future Hall of Famer left town.

Gordon should solve that problem. There are questions about his receiving ability but let’s face it: The Badgers weren’t telling a guy averaging nearly eight yards per carry to go run flare routes. You hand the ball off to a guy like that.

There is a reason why the guy rushed for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He can play.

He should be a force over the next six to eight years. Of course, the question will soon become where he plays those games.

For now, he goes into the books as the final first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers. And quite a good one at that.

 

I don’t like John Calipari and I don’t like one-and-dones.

But now that Kentucky has won me money, it’s time to have some fun.

Hope you lose in Monday night’s national title game, Coach Cal.

Hope Kevin Ollie outcoaches you and you get to watch Connecticut cut down the nets.

Know how you use college athletes to pad your pockets with millions and millions of dollars without a single iota of care in terms of their academics?

Well, I just prospered by it too.

And I’m a sportswriter … you know, the type of person you despise.

The one group of people on the planet that has never sucked up to you – well, except for a few national writers with no backbone.

And it is always oh-so-painful for you control freaks when someone doesn’t bow down to you.

That 3-pointer by Aaron Harrison is what I needed to win the NCAA tournament pool I was part of. And I probably needed that small dose of cash more than you need a tutor for your players.

Ahhh, what am I thinking? You have no use for a tutor.

I bet half your players have never even met any of the university’s academic advisors.

You will start five freshmen on Monday night against Connecticut … and if all five apply to the NBA Draft, you will wheel five more high school All-Americans into the program and go after it again.

The names of the players don’t matter to you. As long as they are talented at age 18 or 19, what do you care if they are in the D-League instead of improving their game as college sophomores?

You put a lot of effort into controlling the message – Spin Doctor Cal fits – and image control. Let’s see you put the same effort into actually building a program.

I’d say like you did at Massachusetts but didn’t the program get stripped of that 1996 Final Four appearance due to some funny business with Marcus Camby?

We could talk about what you did at Memphis … oh wait, that program was stripped of its 2008 Final Four appearance under your leadership too? So how exactly did Derrick Rose pass that SAT test?

So win all you want Cal but the respect for your methods is never going to be there. Even if you win Monday night, the naysayers will be around.

When you gauge the pulse of the nation, an overwhelming number of people seem to want to Connecticut to win.

That has nothing to do with Julius Randle … or Andrew Harrison … or James Young.

It has to do with you Cal.

People aren’t fond of your methods. People don’t respect you. People just flat-out don’t like you.

Most of all, people want to see you fail.

It’s a bed you made.

By the way, I know exactly what a tantrum-thrower like you said to your five freshman starters when you called that timeout one minute into the second half.

You probably said this: “None of you get to go to the NBA if we don’t win this game.”

The ultimate one-and-done putdown – ha ha.

So thanks again for the adjustments you made in the second half against Wisconsin that allowed me to pad my wallet.

I needed to take about half a dozen showers after spending two-plus hours rooting for your team to win.

I promise not to let that happen again Monday.

I’ve been pondering whether or not to watch Thursday’s NFL Draft and have figured out there is a must-see moment that just has to be witnessed.

That would be NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walking to the podium for the initial time on Thursday night.

Just imagine the boos and cat-calls Goodell is going to hear after the poor way the NFL has dealt with the ongoing labor dispute. This will be the chance for the fans in attendance to express their opinions and I expect the paying customers are going to be vociferous in voicing their displeasure.

The NFL forced the work stoppage with a lockout and then whined when the courts in Minneapolis rightfully ruled against the league’s weak rationale. The fans aren’t fooled about who the bad guys are in the dispute.

Fans know the league and its 32 owners are the reason why the 2011 season is in jeopardy. The fans are well aware the players aren’t at fault.

The NFL has attempted its usual brand of spin doctoring and failed miserably. With Goodell being the leader of the richest sports league, he’s the easy and proper target of the fan’s dissension.

Federal judge Susan Nelson lifted the lockout earlier this week and the NFL had its stay rejected on Wednesday so the league is being routed by two entities right now – the NFL Players Association and the federal courts.

This is an ugly situation for one reason only – the arrogance of the NFL and its ownership.

That’s why it will be highly entertaining to catch the opening of Thursday’s draft.

Avoid Quarterbacks

I have some advice for any NFL teams looking to draft a quarterback in the upper portion of the first round:

Don’t.

There is no Sam Bradford among this year’s group of quarterbacks and I don’t see a future franchise quarterback among the candidates.

Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert are the top two-rated quarterbacks but I won’t be surprised if both turn out to be busts. Washington’s Jake Locker is a terrific athlete but results have never matched his skill set. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett represents a huge gamble.

The second-tier possibilities include TCU’s Andy Dalton. In my view, Dalton has been rising up the charts because the aforementioned foursome is one treacherous collection of quarterbacks.

Too bad the win-now pressure is always so intense for NFL general managers interested in keeping their jobs. The prudent decision is to take advantage of the surplus at other positions – for example, there’s a great group of defensive linemen available – than to take a gamble on a hit-and-miss quarterback proposition.

There will be at least one top-flight quarterback available in 2012 in Stanford’s Andrew Luck for teams who skip on committing to one of this year’s possibilities.

I remember when five quarterbacks went among the first 12 picks in 1999. I wasn’t the least surprised that Tim Couch (No. 1), Akili Smith (No. 3) and Cade McNown (No. 12) were huge busts. The two I liked among the five – Donovan McNabb (No. 2) and Daunte Culpepper (No. 11) — were the only two
to avoid the bust label.

I was also miffed that NFL teams rated Alex Smith (No. 1) over Aaron Rodgers (No. 24) in 2005, so I’m obviously not surprised that the San Francisco 49ers are again looking for an answer at quarterback while Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are sporting Super Bowl rings.

So print this out and save it if you like and hit me up in 2016 … or 2021. But none of this year’s group of quarterbacks are worthy of a Top 10 pick.

What will Chargers do?

The San Diego Chargers are in a pretty good position with five picks in the first three rounds so this would be a good year for general manager A.J. Smith to recapture his draft-day magic.

When I study the Chargers, I see a difference-making defensive end as the team’s most glaring need. Nice-guy Luis Castillo hasn’t come close to living up to that $43 million contract he somehow landed in 2008 and he isn’t suddenly going to go from an adequate NFL defensive end to a superstar.

There’s a reason why he has totaled 8.5 sacks over the past four years. It’s because Castillo is only an average player. Kudos to his agent for landing him such a good contract.

It appears to me that three pretty good defensive end prospects could be on the board when the Chargers pick at No. 18 overall – Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt, California’s Cameron Jordan and possibly Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers, who has slipped due to concerns about a knee.

Any one of those three players would be a worthy pick and a good fit for the Chargers.

The 2010 college football season will be forever recalled as the year San Diego State had a better head coach than Michigan.

We know the former Big Ten powerhouse school feels that way because Michigan has just hired Aztecs coach Brady Hoke to replace Rich Rodriguez as coach.

Nothing can describe how far the Wolverines have fallen than looking to San Diego State to find its new coach.

Hoke is just the second San Diego State football or men’s basketball coach to leave without being fired since legendary Don Coryell left for the NFL after the 1972 season. Only hoops coach Tony Fuller (for Pepperdine in 1994) had left the school by his own volition.

Hoke guided the Aztecs to a 9-4 record in 2010 and the school’s first bowl game victory since 1969. San Diego State hadn’t experienced a winning season since 1998 prior to this season’s breakthrough campaign.

But just as quickly as the Aztecs began building some momentum in a county of 3 million people who are largely apathetic towards them, Hoke is gone. Off to Michigan, where he served as defensive line coach from 1995-2002.

Hoke did a solid job turning the Aztecs around after the disastrous three-year Chuck Long era but he left before anyone could figure out if he was capable of building a program for the long run. He arrives at Michigan with that question hanging over his head after the Wolverines dipped to embarrassing levels under Rodriguez, who went 6-18 in Big Ten play in three seasons.

Rodriguez was 15-22 overall after the Wolverines lured him away from West Virginia.

Hoke had a 12-win campaign at Ball State in 2008 but the Cardinals went 6-18 in the two seasons since Hoke departed, leaving the impression that Hoke left a very bare cupboard.

He’ll now be asked to return Michigan to championship status and it’s unclear how long that might take or if Hoke is capable of such a task. Beating Ohio University, Akron, Colorado State and New Mexico is a slightly easier task then defeating Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa.

Hoke was third – if not lower – on Michigan’s pecking order behind Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. But you don’t always need to be at the top of the list to be the right fit.

San Diego State’s basketball program is enjoying unprecedented success under Steve Fisher but Rick Majerus, Fran Fraschilla and Dan Monson all turned down the job before Fisher rose to the top of the interested candidates list.

So how Hoke came to get the job is only a concern in the short term. How he fares on the field in the next two falls will begin to answer whether he was the right choice.

Michigan has been a mess defensively under Rodriguez but had productive offenses. It will be no surprise to see San Diego State offensive coordinator Al Borges follow Hoke to Michigan and one of the first tasks is making sure multi-dimensional quarterback Denard Robinson – a pro-Rodriguez guy – buys into the Hoke regime and doesn’t transfer.

As for San Diego State, the logical choice to replace Hoke is defensive coordinator Rocky Long, the former New Mexico head coach. If you’ve ever been to Albuquerque, you are likely amazed that Long had a nine-win season in 2007 and guided the Lobos to five bowl games in a seven-season span.

The Lobos football history basically begins and ends with Brian Urlacher. New Mexico has gone 2-22 in the two seasons since Long resigned.

Long might not be the sexy choice but neither was Hoke when the Aztecs hired him 25 months ago.

Hoke will be remembered for delivering a much-needed bowl victory but he’s off to a bigger stage and greener pastures (much greener, I might add). Production of “Brady Hoke University” T-shirts can end just as the ink was ready to get rolling.

We’ll eventually know the answer on whether or not Hoke was a good hire for Michigan, but here’s a date to mark down per Michigan’s 2011 season – Sept. 24.

The Wolverines host the Aztecs that afternoon.

Should make for one very interesting contest.

I just gave thanks for the first time in 2011 – thanks that the Rose Bowl is on New Year’s Day.

It will be the only college football game I watch from start to finish on the first day of the year.

Sadly, the contest between TCU and Wisconsin is also the only one that is worth 3 1/2 hours of my time.

Didn’t use to be that way. New Year’s Day used to be one of the top football-watching days of the year.

It was a day where you woke up, watched the Rose Bowl parade and then turned on the Cotton Bowl to set the tone that you wouldn’t be leaving the house all day. The back-to-back Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl matchups later in the day were always scintillating matchups with the Big Ten, Pac-10 and then-Big Eight champs always playing in the two games. The Sugar Bowl had the SEC champion.

New Year’s Day was saved for the elite. No exceptions.

Here in 2011, there are six bowl games on New Year’s Day. In the first four games, five of the eight teams  that played in them had 7-5 records. That’s one win above being a .500 team.

None of the six teams playing in the Gator, Outback and TicketCity bowls featured a team that even had a winning record in their own conference. Mississippi State, Florida and Penn State all went 4-4 in their respective leagues. Northwestern, Texas Tech and Michigan all were 3-5.

Purely pathetic for teams like that to be playing in New Year’s Day bowls. Period.

The Capital One Bowl – featuring Michigan State (11-1) and Alabama (9-3) – had the only matchup of deserving teams and it quickly turned into a Crimson Tide rout.

Interestingly, there was a Big Ten team playing in each of those first four bowls of the day. Hmmmm, now I understand why it was a mediocre day of football.

New Year’s Day is now like a run-of-the-mill college football Saturday. Full of middling teams that have no business playing on what used to be a day for elite bowl matchups.

Blame the BCS, blame greedy ESPN, blame the Big Ten … actually, blame them all.

Think about it, that Rose Bowl matchup that rates as the most intriguing contest of the day includes a non-BCS team in TCU, the undefeated squad from the Mountain West Conference.

As for the BCS, only that entity can turn the Fiesta Bowl into no-reason-to-watch TV. Oklahoma against Connecticut would be fine with me if it was a first-round playoff game but an 8-4 Big East team like UConn doesn’t excite me in terms of how to spend the initial night of 2011.

On the other hand, an undeserving squad is the perfect nightcap for a day now reserved for worthless bowl games.

It was lining up to be a great Friday for college football. Then Ohio State president Gordon Gee opened his mouth and his wacky words began to overshadow the games.

That is one of the major problems with the BCS. The chatter about the system often does overshadow what happens on the field.

Three of the top four teams in the nation are playing pivotal contests on Friday that could decide who plays in the national title game. Auburn and Alabama meet in the afternoon, followed by Oregon and Arizona, followed by Boise State and Nevada (the stellar preview of the game in Reno can be found here http://prosportsdaily.sportsdirectinc.com/football/ncaaf-preview.aspx?page=/data/NCAAF/matchups/g8_preview_15.html).

Oregon and Auburn can take another step towards meeting in the title game if both squads win. A stumble by one or both teams opens the door for Boise State and/or TCU to perhaps end up in the championship contest.

That’s something Gee has a major problem with.

Gee’s opinion is that neither Boise State nor TCU is worthy of playing for the title.

The funniest thing – and perhaps also the saddest – was Gee’s comments about both teams regularly playing Little Sisters of the Poor.

Gee apparently doesn’t like the fact that Boise State played a nonconference game against Toledo from the Mid-American Conference.

Perhaps Ohio State coach Jim Tressel does a good job of hiding conference affiliations from Gee when talking about the Buckeyes’ schedule. Because Ohio State played TWICE as many MAC teams as Boise State did this season.

Yes, Gordon, your so-called powerful football squad played both Eastern Michigan and Ohio University. Rolled up 73 points on Eastern Michigan, too. Anyone ready to say Ohio State played Little Infants of the Poor?

Ohio State plays two MAC teams in 2011, too. Yeah, look it up – the Buckeyes open with Akron and follow up with Toledo.

Hmmmm, Boise State plays Toledo next season too. So Gordon, how did you classify Boise State’s schedule?

I’m guessing Gee had a problem with Boise State playing Wyoming of the Mountain Western Conference as well. Well, I covered San Diego State’s football program for seven seasons in the recently concluded decade and the Aztecs made THREE TRIPS to Columbus to play the Buckeyes.

San Diego State didn’t go to a bowl game the entire decade. Nice scheduling, Gordon.

TCU played Tennessee Tech this season, something that must have caused Gee lots of anxiety. But Arkansas of the SEC – the most powerful conference in the land – also played Tennessee Tech.

Why is it OK for major-conference teams to play the Tennessee Techs of the world but not teams from non-BCS leagues?

Since Gee feels Boise State and TCU are inferior foes and Ohio State excels at scheduling second-rate nonconference competition, then I suppose it’s only a matter of time before he orders coach Jim Tressel to get both teams on the future schedules.

I mean, there’s nothing to be afraid of, right Gordon? Hey, why did Tressel just run out the door?

The truth of the matter is that there are only four teams worthy of playing in this year’s title game and two of the four – Boise State and TCU – aren’t part of the BCS. You see, the system was set up to keep the lesser conferences out of the title mix as the power leagues won titles and made bushels of money.

A dimwit like Gee can’t grasp that two teams from outsider leagues have a chance at playing in the title game when his one-loss Ohio State team doesn’t. He also doesn’t feel that either Boise State or TCU could give a powerful SEC team a solid game.

Teams from the SEC have won the last four national titles. Guess which school got blown out in two of them?

Yeah, Ohio State. Perhaps you remember Florida pounding the Buckeyes 41-14 and LSU cruising to a 38-24 win over Ohio State?

So we already know Ohio State can’t compete with the SEC. Why not find out if Boise State or TCU can if it ends up that way?

Look, nobody is saying that the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West is a tougher league than the Big Ten. I don’t need anyone to explain to me that Iowa and Penn State – the two teams tied for fourth place in the Big Ten – would have better than 7-4 overall records if they were playing in the WAC or Mountain West. I get that Iowa wouldn’t have three conference losses in either of those leagues.

But aren’t there flaws in the debate when people get heated about how neither Boise State nor TCU would go undefeated in the Big Ten or the SEC?

There are 23 teams playing as members of those two conferences and only one – Auburn – is undefeated this season. So if co-Big Ten leaders Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State can’t go undefeated in the Big Ten, why should that be the expectation of a Boise State or TCU?

If Alabama, LSU or Florida (4-4 in SEC play this season) couldn’t go undefeated in the SEC this season, than why would the Broncos or Horned Frogs need to?

What Gee’s comments really do more than anything is help the argument of the non-BCS leagues that the BCS violates antitrust laws. All I know is that the politicians of the states of Idaho and Texas need to join Orrin Hatch of Utah in creating a major fuss after the season.

It is time for the non-BCS schools to make a major stand. And not settle for anything less than the plus-one model (a playoff game after the bowls) becoming part of the college football landscape.

Gordon Gee has provided an opportunity for the little guys of college football. All by not having a clue of what he was talking about.

Unfortunately, he has been also receiving more publicity than any of Friday’s three marquee games.

If you haven’t already figured this out, the college football establishment can’t wait for Boise State to either be upset or trampled by a traditional power in a BCS bowl game. The power brokers certainly don’t want the Broncos anywhere near its so-called national title contest.

They would be elated and popping champagne corks if Louisiana Tech could somehow upset Boise State on Tuesday night.

The latest example of “Boise State can’t win by winning” is comments by ESPN college football analyst Robert Smith.

Smith, a former Ohio State star, isn’t impressed with the little boys from somewhere out West. His dig was that he doesn’t think Boise State could beat Virginia Tech if the two teams were to meet again now. I’m still trying to figure out how that is even relevant to the national title discussion.

This isn’t a comparison between two teams that didn’t play – the main reason all these meaningless analysts have jobs in the first place. Boise State and Virginia Tech actually played each other. The Broncos won.

Since this is college football and not an NFL home-and-home division rivalry, I don’t understand how a non-BCS team beating a ranked team once in a season isn’t good enough.

All I know is Boise State and Virginia Tech played under the same exact circumstances in terms of a season-opening game and time to prepare. In fact, the game was held close in proximity to Virginia Tech where Boise State had to fly 2,000-plus miles to play in front of a largely pro-Virginia Tech crowd.

Seriously, Smith couldn’t come up with anything better to analyze Boise State’s BCS chances?

Making the situation funnier – or perhaps sadder – is when October began, all we heard over and over from the shallow folks at ESPN was that Virginia Tech wasn’t that good this season and Boise State’s victory over the Hokies was no longer impressive.

Yeah, Boise State can’t win for winning.

On the other hand, I’m glad to know Smith is suddenly such a deep thinker. Can’t wait until two or three weeks from now when he says things like …

–“I’m not so sure South Carolina could beat Alabama if the two teams played today…”

–“I’m not so sure Kansas could beat Georgia Tech if the two teams played today.”

–“I’m not so sure Mississippi State could beat Florida if the two teams played today…”

–“I’m not so sure Iowa State could beat Texas if the two teams played today…”

–“I’m not so sure Missouri could beat Oklahoma if the two teams played today…”

And of course, the one you know the former Ohio State star can’t wait to say:

“I’m not so sure Wisconsin could beat Ohio State if the two teams played today.”

One thing I learned long ago as a sports reporter, anytime an athlete or coach begins a sentence with “I’m not so sure,” they usually aren’t so sure. In other words, they weren’t prepared to answer the question or hadn’t done their homework.

If Smith is going to accept money to be an analyst, it would be nice to see him develop his abilities to where he could actually enlighten people. Perhaps doing a little homework before a show would help.

But remember, ESPN hires these guys because they were big-name football players – Smith was a fabulous NFL running back with the Minnesota Vikings – and not because they spent years developing their craft or are experts in what they are discussing.

Since Virginia Tech is rolling now with six straight wins, I can’t wait until the eve of the ACC Championship Game when ESPN requests Smith to break down the game. You just know this famous line will roll off his tongue.

–“I’m not so sure James Madison could beat Virginia Tech if the two teams played today.”