Thursday, September 3, 2009

No. 1 with a Whimper

The 2009 college football season is finally here, and our undisputed No. 1 team, the Florida Gators, will storm into the Swamp by taking on ...

Charleston Southern.

Let me tell you something about those Bucs. Their school has about 3,000 students, not enough to fill up one section at Florida Field. The private Baptist institution was founded in 1964 and started playing football in 1991. But the most important number for this weekend is not that they're a 73-point underdog (that's hypothetical, since most Vegas books have this one off the boards, so fergettabutit!)

It's $450,000, as in how much Charleston Southern is taking home for this beating, so the school can fund some nice facilities, presumably including a rehab center to mend the wounded warriors in future engagements of this ilk.

But this travesty is hardly the only Body Bag game of the week, just one of the many. Of the 74 games to be played this weekend, more than half (38) involve a I-AA team. For all the talk about the passion and pagaentry of college football over the NFL, this is not it. In fact, this kind of mismatches for purely financial gains (for both sides) leaves a terrible stain on the sport.

While Florida isn't the only one, the Gators are one of the more guilty. They played a I-AA team in each of the two BCS championship seasons (2006 and 2008) and has a I-AA team on the schedule every year from now through 2012. For all the talk that the SEC is the "toughest conference" in football, it rarely seeks to prove itself during the regular season, opting instead to load up with extra home games against cupcakes.

On Saturday, Florida likely won't have Tim Tebow on the field much after the first series of the second half. But just to keep things manageable, Charleston Southern should make sure to send their fellow Christian a reminder. Tebow is fond of wearing Phil 4:13 (I can do everything through him who gives me strength) on his eyeblack patches, the Bucs should return the favor by writing Luke 6:36 on theirs:

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

★★★★★ GAME OF THE WEEK: The Florida-Charleston Southern game isn't it, sorry. The biggest game with BCS implications comes right out of the chute: Oregon at Boise State, tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

The Broncos are harboring grander thoughts than just crashing the BCS party. They want to go to where no Coalition team has gone before - play for the BCS title. It's still not going to happen, as their schedule after tonight contains not one ranked team for the rest of the season. But a victory will give them a leg up on the race for a BCS bowl berth.

★★★★ FOUR-STAR GAME: BYU vs. Oklahoma @ Dallas (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET). The Coalition team that has a shot (although a slim one) at a BCS title run is BYU, but it must pull off Mission Impossible - beating the Sooners in a virtual OU home game. Give the Sooners credit: In the Bob Stoops Era, they've played at least one, sometimes two, good nonconference opponent every season, sometimes not on their own turf. This game is a make-or-break for the Cougars' BCS aspirations.

★★★ THREE-STAR GAME: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech @ Atlanta (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET). It's the only matchup of the week that features two top-10 teams, but maybe it's just me, by the end of the season, both of those teams will prove to be overrated. The Hokies will get their shot at defending the ACC's honor as Clemson failed to do a year ago in what really is an Alabama home game.

★★ TWO-STAR GAME: Georgia at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET). The Bulldogs, one of the most travel-averse teams, venture out of Athens for a nonconference game for the second straight season. Mike Gundy's Cowboys have pretensions for the Big 12 throne and in Georgia, they will get an early test to see if all that T. Boone Pickens money is paying dividends.

★ ONE-STAR GAME: Nevada at Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET). It's pretty slim pickin's, but this game does offer some intrigue. For all the nonsense about how the Irish are back (Granny Lou Holtz has them going to the BCS title game), it can all go up in flames if somehow they choke against the Wolf Pack. Then Charlie Weis' internship will truly be over.


Clark said...

BYU doesn't have to pull off Mission Impossible, they just have to pull off Mission Almost-Impossible, which is beating OU in Dallas.

The game is being played in the Cowboys' new stadium.

Jams said...

Boise State has climbed to the top of every division and conference they've been in. I think it's only a matter of time (say, 10-ish years and a conference re-alignment) before they're considered a legit BCS title contender.

Can't believe we're finally getting some real football. And on my actual birthday, no less!

The Guru said...

Happy Birthday, Jams. ... And I'm going to sneak in the quick fix, Clark.