Frank shares his thoughts on the 2012 College Football Season

Frank shares his thoughts on the 2012 College Football Season

Greg Frank ('13), Eastside Sports Editor

The day after another National Championship game, the final AP poll is out and I couldn’t be more disappointed with the way this college football season turned out.  After Alabama beat up on Notre Dame 42-14 in South Florida to hoist the Coaches Trophy, I had nothing to say other than…What just happened?

Let’s start from the beginning.  In August, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, and Marcus Lattimore, were three of the hotter names in preseason Heisman discussions.  For the first couple weeks this seemed accurate.  West Virginia hadn’t played anyone in the Big 12 and was a top ten team, USC hadn’t played anyone in the Pac 12 and was also a top ten team, and Lattimore’s South Carolina Gamecocks were a top ten team atop the SEC and had an impressive early-season shellacking of Georgia.

Then the wheels fell off.  USC lost to Stanford, then just when it looked like they were getting back on track lost at Arizona, the following week to Oregon, and to make matters worse Matt Barkley would end up hurt and not playing in their regular season finale against Notre Dame and their bowl against Georgia Tech and a preseason top five team in USC ended up with six losses.

Speaking of six losses, West Virginia also finished 7-6 after a 5-0 start.  While Geno Smith could still wind up being a high pick in the NFL Draft, his Heisman candidacy was shot as was West Virginia’s hopes of getting to another BCS Bowl game after their Orange Bowl victory in the 2011 season.

South Carolina couldn’t back up their win against Georgia, losing the following week at LSU, and would then fall again the week after to Florida, and Lattimore would suffer a brutal knee injury later on against Tennessee.  With two losses and their star running back hurt, South Carolina was out of the mix.

By November, three of the preseason top ten teams were already an afterthought.  That made Alabama’s path towards a title defense much easier, Georgia was able to sneak back into the mix and recover from the South Carolina loss after beating Florida, and Oregon and Stanford became the kings of the Pac 12 once USC became irrelevant.  This is when we soon saw true colors of the BCS.

The first Saturday of November, Alabama gutted out a win against LSU on the road thanks to a big play from freshman T.J. Yeldon in crunch time.  It appeared as if Oregon and Alabama were the cream of the crop in College Football.  Notre Dame quietly continued to win but unimpressively at that. On that same Saturday Alabama took down LSU, Notre Dame needed three overtimes and a missed field goal by Pittsburgh in the second overtime to finish off the unranked Pitt Panthers in South Bend.

Just as it seemed an Alabama-Oregon National Championship come true, Johnny Manziel put the College Football world on notice.  The redshirt freshman took his Texas A&M Aggies into Tuscaloosa and stormed out with a win.  Texas A&M was up big right out of the gate and while the score indicates the game was close, the upset seemed inevitable the whole way.  Oregon would win that same week and the Alabama loss created an opportunity for Kansas State, a team longing for College Football supremacy.  Things only got worse on November 17th when Kansas State and Oregon would both lose to Baylor and Stanford respectively.

Before you could blink, Notre Dame was number one in the nation and had only one game left on their schedule.  Since they aren’t in a conference Notre Dame just had beat USC without Matt Barkley in order to secure themselves a spot in the National Championship.  At the time it was easy to evaluate Notre Dame’s body of work and think they belonged in a win and in situation.  Early season wins at Michigan State and home against Michigan got the Irish on the map since they started the year unranked.  Turns out Michigan State and Michigan would just be two more teams like West Virginia, USC, and South Carolina to enter the season with high expectations and fail to live up to them.

Anyway after a controversial win against Stanford, survivals against BYU and Pittsburgh, though they did play well against Oklahoma, it didn’t take long for the questions to arise about the legitimacy of Notre Dame.  They would beat USC and clinched their spot in the National Championship game.

The second spot in the title game was yet to be decided.  With Oregon and Kansas State losing it came down to the SEC Championship which featured Georgia and Alabama.  Georgia’s embarrassing loss to South Carolina had become irrelevant.  Aaron Murray had the troops moving on a two-minute drill to win the game against Alabama and send the Bulldogs to Miami.  But late in the game as Georgia was out of timeouts.  It was tipped pass that fell into the hands of an unintended Georgia receiver who was tackled shy of the end zone that ended all hopes of Georgia handing Alabama its second loss as Georgia could not stop the clock and ran out of time to potentially win the game.

I won’t even talk about last night’s game because it’s not worth talking about.  Let me be clear, I was not rooting for Notre Dame last night.  I have never cheered for Notre Dame and never will.  However, I was hoping the game would be close.  Last night and the entire season for that matter exposed a fatal flaw in the BCS the way the system is right now.

In a season where you couldn’t trust a single team in the nation, how is it fair pick two of have them play for the National Championship? Did Texas A&M beating Alabama all of a sudden mean nothing? Granted A&M had two losses this season but in the SEC you really can’t win em all.  I know the four-team playoff is on its way but an eight-team playoff is what is truly needed for College Football.

Somehow Georgia ended up out of the BCS but Northern Illinois did.  I’m still waiting for an explanation on that but I doubt I’ll get one that makes sense.  In the four-team playoff Georgia would have found its way in but isn’t it only fair to Texas A&M as well (who would not have qualified for a four-team playoff but finished fifth in the final AP poll) considering two-loss teams have made it to BCS bowls before to give them another shot at Alabama.  They made the most of their first opportunity.  If we saw an LSU-Alabama rematch for the National Championship last year why couldn’t we see either a Georgia-Alabama rematch or a Texas A&M-Alabama rematch this year?

About that Oregon-Alabama National Championship that might have been really cool? Well that didn’t happen either merely because Oregon lost to a very good Stanford team and then had to rely on the Max Wittek quarterbacked USC Trojans to beat Notre Dame.  Oregon lost it’s fate with one loss, but in the end Alabama’s one loss didn’t cost them anything.  Watching Notre Dame last night made it hard to not to want to see any of aforementioned teams get a shot at an Alabama team that was not as strong as the Alabama National Championship teams of years past.  It’s usually not good if you can make a case for a bunch of different teams to be in the National Championship.

I was waiting for a signature game this year and the eight-team playoff would surely provide moments like Vince Young and Texas rallying to beat the favored USC Trojans anchored by Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart to win a Championship.  Maybe we’ll never see something as crazy as the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl.  It’s hard to pull off a hook-and-lateral at the end of regulation and a statue of liberty for the win in the same game but the eight-team playoff would give us similar unforgettable memories.  What’s sad is if I had to pick a signature game of this season it would be Texas A&M’s win over Alabama.  Certainly a Heisman moment for Johnny Manziel, but the reason why it’s sad is because that win didn’t do a whole lot for Texas A&M.  They missed out on the BCS and had to watch Alabama win another National Championship after beating them the one time they got to play them.

The BCS Bowls were all bad.   Florida (who lost to Georgia yet ended up in the BCS and Georgia didn’t)  got embarrassed by Louisville, as did Northern Illinois by Florida State, Oregon made quick work of Kansas State, the Rose Bowl was perhaps the only BCS bowl worth watching, and we all know what happened last night.  And the season was over.  I look forward to the four-team playoff and one day hope to see an eight-team playoff.  One thing’s for sure, I’m happy this season is over.  Let’s not have that happen again.