Permit me to begin by congratulating once again the winners of each and every one of the 2006 College Football Blogger Awards: The Dr. Z Award, The Trev Alberts Quits to Do Construction Award, The Keith Jackson Circa 1995 Award, Best New Blog, The Brady Quinn Award, The Job Award, The Jay Sherman Award, Best M.S.M. Blog, The Best Community Interaction Award, The Tyrone Prothro and His Amazing Catch Award, Best Regular Feature, The Jenn Sterger's Rack Award, Best National Blog, Best Non-B.C.S. Blog, Best A.C.C. Blog, Best Big Ten Blog, Best Big 12 Blog, Best Big East/Notre Dame Blog, Best Pac-10 Blog, Best S.E.C. Blog, and The Mythical National Champion Blog. (The award for Best Podcast/Audio Thing will be forthcoming, as the technical awards are always handed out in a separate ceremony.)
At this time, in a shameless bid to claim an early lead in the running for next year's Best Regular Feature honor, I am introducing a new segment here at Dawg Sports called "Can We All Agree?"
Sports fans are divided by any number of polarizing issues that lead us to wildly divergent conclusions based upon our passionately held beliefs. Some of these questions, such as the debate over a Division I-A playoff, are so fundamental in nature that they produce schisms as irreparable as partisan political disagreements. As to such subjects, common ground is seldom found and the competing sides are at daggers drawn, neither willing to concede an inch to the other.
Health care, foreign policy, and the allocation of B.C.S. bowl berths are just a few of the issues that separate Texans from Californians. (Image from WHDH-TV.)
The purpose of "Can We All Agree?" is not to settle any arguments or change any minds. It is instead to establish some first principles, so that we at least will be able to avoid haggling over red herrings, ancillary non-issues, and other chimeras and canards. Maybe we can't solve every problem or change the world, but can we all agree . . .
. . . that, if you lose, you no longer get to complain?
In a recent (admittedly unfocused) entry, College Football Resource referred to Paul Westerdawg's look at coaches who had gone the longest without attending a B.C.S. bowl game. In the process, CFR tossed out the following observations:
GSB's Paul Westerdawg also lists BCS appearances by conference teams. The Pac-10 leads the list, of course, with seven teams appearing in a BCS game. As noted above it should be eight but Texas two-stepped Cal out of the way in 2004. The Big 10 is tied with the Pac-10 but also has one more institution.
All right. Yes, Jeff Tedford would have gone to a B.C.S. bowl game, had it not been for Mack Brown's lobbying. Yes, Texas "two-stepped" around Cal . . . but can we all agree that it is sheer unmitigated nonsense to say that Cal should have gone to the Rose Bowl at the end of the 2004 season?
In this Holiday Bowl, he had a gripe; in the previous one, not so much. (Image from The Wizard of Odds.)
I understand the frustration a fan feels when he believes that his team or his league has not been given its due. I will cut a fellow some slack in the immediate aftermath of a disappointing outcome; I had a few choice words after Georgia's Sugar Bowl loss to West Virginia . . . but then I cooled down, wised up, and saw reason.
Boise State fans get to gripe that they deserved a shot at the national title in 2006, because the Broncos went undefeated.
As much as it pains me to admit it, Auburn fans get to gripe that they deserved a shot at the national title in 2004, because the Plainsmen went undefeated.
I hate Auburn.
Oregon fans get to gripe that they deserved a shot at the national title in 2001, because they went to a major bowl game and beat the Colorado team that beat the Nebraska team that took what would have been the Ducks' spot in the big game.
Georgia fans do not get to gripe about the illegitimacy of the Big East as a conference, because the Bulldogs went to the Sugar Bowl and lost to the Mountaineers.
Michigan fans do not get to gripe about the 2006 national championship, because Florida beat the Ohio State team that beat the Wolverines, who then turned right around and lost the Rose Bowl.
Cal fans do not get to gripe about the Rose Bowl. Say what you will about Coach Brown's politicking---which I freely admit that he engaged in on behalf of his team---but the fact remains that LD is dead right:
Texas beat 5 ranked teams that year.
It wasn't that "Mack Brown happened." What happened was that voters actually looked at the resumes of each team, and saw what ended up proven correct by the bowls: Cal was clearly overrated most of the year and didn't deserve a BCS bowl.
As usually is the case, LD's point undeniably is correct. Texas went to the Rose Bowl and won, while Cal---the team supposedly more deserving of the B.C.S. bowl berth---went to the Holiday Bowl, where the Golden Bears got it handed to them by a Texas Tech squad that had lost to the Longhorns earlier in the season.
Jared Zabransky is allowed to think Boise State was the better team. . . .
. . . Matt Leinart isn't.
Dislike the process if you like. Complain about the unseemliness of political machinations intruding upon a process decided by persuasion and voting if you will. Cal's unworthiness was proven on the field.
If you win, you earn the right to keep arguing, but can we all agree that, if you lose the game, you lose the argument, too?