As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere above you making the phrase “flyover states” a reality, and heading back to the left coast. As such, this week’s review will be a bit shorter than previous ones, but know that I’ve only got one song on my mind as I write it
And now, we know the form of our destructor. Notre Dame has finished the season undefeated, and will play for the National Title, most likely against an SEC team of some semblance. Who knew that the Holy See was so closely connected with Tikal? We said early on that it would be an amazing accomplishment for the Irish to finish the year undefeated- and yet, here we are. Granted, they faced a down Southern Cal, a “choke-prone” Oklahoma, and struggled against Purdue and Pitt, but they stand atop the polls as our nation’s finest team. So, let the “Oh, I’ve totally been a Notre Dame fan forevah” crap begin- they’ve deserved it.
And, in an eerie way, they’re similar to a team that we just honored on Saturday in The ‘Shoe- unranked, under the radar, winning with great defense/limited mistakes/a lot of luck. The expectation is that they’ll get clown stomped in their bowl match up, but who’s to know? Any one, any where, any time… isn’t that what our flawed “single elimination Bowl Championship Series” has taught us?
One of the more controversial aspects of the Irish resurgence has been the Heisman candidacy of linebacker Manti Te’o, seen here getting really excited about seconds of sweet potato pie on Thursday. His statistics are pretty similar to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who may not win B1G first team honors, minus the fact that Notre Dame’s scheme has allowed Te’o to achieve seven interceptions this season.
From all that I’ve read, Te’o is an incredible human being and strong leader for his top ranked team; the Heisman trophy would not be dishonored by his name on it (unlike certain other Trojany folks we might mention). That being said, there’s still a lot of controversy on whether he should be a finalist for the award, and I can see arguments either way.
The fact of the matter is that, in addition to his play on the field, Te’o is benefiting from the National Broadcasting Corporation. By this, I’m not only referring to NBC’s deal to broadcast as many Notre Dame games are are possible, I’m also eluding to the Peacock’s impact on sports coverage as a whole. NBC, as you may know, has television rights to the Olympics, and has chosen to shape their telecasts of those events in a way that tries to reach the broadest audience possible. So, they’re less concerned with the actual results and scores and game achievements and more interested in establishing narratives and storylines for the “casual” fan to connect with and appreciate. As if being the world’s best was somehow not interesting enough.
This isn’t limited to NBC by any means, ESPN’s continual decision to push narrative over fact has significantly impacted their coverage of sports for the negative, as most Buckeye fans can relate to. However, NBC was, along with ABC’s “Wild World Of Sports”, one of the first to mainstream this philosophy- being great is not as intriguing as being great AND having a powerful “story”.
Which brings me back to Te’o: As you may know, he’s overcome some incredible tragedies in his life recently, including the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend just this season. These are horrible events, and it’s remarkable that he’s been able to perform at a championship level in the face of them; I’d probably be up to my ears in a bucket of Cracklin’ Oat Bran in a similar set of circumstances. But the question remains: Does “Solid numbers on a great team with a powerful personal narrative” override “Amazing numbers on a good team that totally relies on you“, particularly when the award has been acculturated to represent the “best” college football player in the nation (who’s most often an offensive skill player)?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
The Pirate of the Paloose has finally made land, and has done so at the expense of the Washington Huskies. While I totally still want to party with Leech, I’m not sure I feel the same way about some of the Cougars’ fans.
Well, this is interesting- for the second straight year, there’s a good chance that an SEC team that doesn’t even play for it’s conference title makes it to the National Championship Game. Yup, the Florida Gators, who managed somehow to overcome the salted earth and bare cupboard that their former coach left for them, are sitting just outside the SEC championship game, hoping for a computer to create the chance for them to meet the Irish. I’ve read that a close Alabama win over Georgia might do the trick; there are those who still aren’t impressed with the Tide’s schedule. I can’t argue against the Gators, particularly after their win against the Florida State Seminoles… although I’m still waiting for someone to point out to me how FSU was rated where they were (insert comment about pre-season polls being ridiculous). Florida put on the boosters and blew the doors off of FSU in the second half of a huge rivalry game- something that somehow resulted in another team we know actually losing votes in the AP poll. But I digress- Congrats to Coach Muschamp for taking his 7-6 team last year to a likely BCS bid.
Two other quick comments from the FSU/Gator game… one, FSU fans never cease to amaze. Two, the game gave us “the hit of the week that didn’t involve Braxton or Boren”:
Bonus hit from the game:
Uniform update- in their blowout win against The Other OSU in this year’s “Civil War”, the Ducks of Oregon ended up going total highlighter. While I thought the stripe on the Ohio State gear was a bit too pink for my taste, I’ll add “We don’t look like Oregon” to the list of things I’m thankful for this holiday season. Another team that won’t even get to play for it’s conference title, I still believe the Ducks are one of the two top squads in the nation… at least, until the NCAA dings them and their coach pulls a Carroll and heads to the NFL.
Today in “why copy editing is important”, this unfortunate headline following South Carolina’s win in their cross state matchup with Clemson. The Clemson response is, as you might guess, measured and well thought out.
Catch of the week, part one. from LSU’s close win against Arkansas-
Well, after “Black Friday”, College Football’s “Black Sunday” was like dramatic moments of The Godfather, with numerous coaches getting the axe. Including Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee, we now know that the following programs will be seeking new leadership: Auburn, North Carolina State, Colorado (after two seasons, when his predecessor was given five), Purdue, Boston College (although the answer is clear). In addition, we’re hearing that Illinois may fire Tim Beckman after one season, that there are folks who are significantly frustrated with Lane Kiffin’s work at Southern Cal, and Alumni frustrated with Mack Brown’s inability to win consistently at the level that the Longhorns deserve. It will certainly be interesting to see what the coaching search process looks like this season, and if the small numbers of minority coaches in BCS conferences changes.
Speaking of Mack Brown, let’s have this sad turkey feller take us through a quick rundown of the week’s games: Texas fell to TCU in the Frogs’ first season in the B12. Nebraska clinched a bearth in the B1G Championship with a victory in Iowa City, and Wisconsin did the same by losing their last two games in their division. Well done, Bert!
Kent State moved up to #17 in the BCS with their season ending win over Ohio- Brady Hoke is happy to hear that someone beat Ohio. Rich Rod still doesn’t have that whole “Defense” thing figured out, nor does he quite know what to do in rivalry games just yet. Alabama and Georgia got ready for their matchup by rolling their Auburn and Georgia Tech, respectively. Stanford beat UCLA in round one of the PAC12 Championship… wonder if they’re going to go with a best of three format?
Ranked Rutgers and Louisville both dropped conference games, B1G Brother-to-be Maryland fell to the Tarheels, and the Bedlam matchup in the Sooner State ended up with Bob Stoop’s team winning in overtime against T. Boone Pickens University. It also gave us our second “Catch of the Weak” winner:
Northwestern beat Illinois, stoking the Beckman rumors. Rob Harley’s team beat Minnesota for whatever trophy it is that they exchange- after the game Coach Kill struggled with another seizure, raising concerns that the University may seek to go another direction in order to protect his health long term. Oh, and Purdue’s pounding of rival Indiana was not enough to save the Mustache- as we said, Danny Hope has been let go. In this week’s “Dead Men Walking” game, Tennessee beat Kentucky, amidst the most Kentucky moment that we’ve seen in a while.
And since I know you’re dying to know- Webster’s Grove beat Kirkwood in the annual Thanksgiving Day matchup, although this one was another JV affair with Kirkwood’s varsity playing for and winning the Missouri 5A title on Friday. Also, the Purple Raiders of Mount Union won a 55- 13 game against John’s Hopkins- the Raiders are ranked #1 in the country, as it should be.
Next week will be the TWTW finale, and will get you up to date on the conference championship games, Texas/Kansas State and the rest of the B12 season closing events. We’ll shift into hoops coverage here at tBBC and will get you ready for Duke on Wednesday night.
For this week, though, my hope is that instead of drifting into post-holiday depression, you find a way to live as fully as this guy: