— It’s time to round up Turner Gill and Irving Fryar, Dean Steinkuler and Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier and Rich Glover, and of course Tom Osborne. There’s a big game to be won, and given what’s at stake, we just can’t leave it to the current Nebraska Cornhuskers to pull it off.
Let’s all say it together, say it loud: We need Nebraska to beat Texas in the Big 12 title game Saturday and throw college football into complete chaos.
Nobody’s being a Texas hater here. On the contrary. Colt McCoy is easy to like and admire. Texas deserves to be undefeated. Sixth Street is the place to be. Austin is awesome. All that. But Texas just happens to be standing in the way of progress. So for the sake of a shakeup in college football, these ’Horns need to be hooked.
The Longhorns need to lose and open the door for Cincinnati or TCU to bum rush the national championship game and become the worst nightmare of the BCS. You with me?
See, a true Cinderella story will never happen in college football until a team nobody wants in the title game actually makes the title game and, heaven forbid, wins it. As long as at least two predictable college football powers safely navigate through the season and reach the summit, you will never see the college football equivalent of Gonzaga. The crystal trophy will just keep circulating through USC and Florida and about a half-dozen typical football kingpins and never land on the blue velvet field at Boise State.
It’s going to happen eventually. A small program with big hopes will reach the Big Game. Why not now? While the country would understandably be interested in seeing Florida (or Alabama) against Texas, McCoy vs. Tim Tebow, haven’t we all been there and done that already? Wouldn’t college football history be enriched if a traditional powerhouse is knocked batty by someone like Cincinnati?
Cincy and Boise State are undefeated and will join TCU in the BCS series if they win out. That’s great, because these non-qualifiers will enjoy a healthy measure of exposure and receive a nice cash payout at the end. If you placed their hands on a Bible, they’d all admit to being happy just to get this far. TCU and Cincy have never been in a BCS game and these opportunities don’t come often. Even if none of the above make the title game, they can state their case by winning their bowl game, as Boise State did a few years back against Oklahoma, and go home happy, with lifetime memories.
But TCU, No. 4 in the polls, would benefit in the event of the Nebraska win and find itself in a once-in-a-lifetime position, for a school of its size and football budget. You know what? The Horned Frogs are good enough to possibly do against Florida what Boise State did to the Sooners, only this time, it would be for a prime place in history.
College football needs this, if only because it’s been a rather bland and routine year. Florida is undefeated, Tebow is a god, Bobby Bowden is on the way out, Notre Dame was exposed as a fraud, Nick Saban has ’Bama on the right track, but we knew all of that. The only real surprises developed at Cincy and TCU, and it would be thrilling to see one of those schools take their magic carpet ride all the way to the championship game.
Obviously, there’s a flip side, the possibility of TCU, for instance, being pummeled by Florida and the much-anticipated game boring half the country to death. Well, that also happens when two BCS schools are matched together. Even with the risk of a blowout, you accept it because of the chance of history happening instead.
The easy way to settle this is with a playoff system, the only way to fix a broken model. The current bowl system is outdated and the vast majority of bowls are played just to fill air time on ESPN. Does anyone know who won the International Bowl last year? Thought so.
A playoff system would destroy the weight given to preseason rankings, which always insult teams like TCU, making them start 10 yards behind the big boys in the season-long sprint. It would eliminate the bogus bowls and replace them with a suspenseful tournament where every game has meaning. Obviously, there would be a fuss over seeding and who gets left out. No system is perfect. But it would be better than this. And if the TCUs and Boise States are for real, they’d prove it on the field and we wouldn’t be juggling five undefeated teams, which is possible this season.
But that’s an argument for another day, or make that another several years from now, when college football wakes up and gets current. For now, Pipsqueak U. has a shot. It is undefeated and showing some confidence and believes in itself. All it needs is for Nebraska to beat the Longhorns and make it happen. So let’s round up the right ’Huskers for this important job.