Friday, December 28, 2007

The BCS -- "And the beat goes on ..."

I went and said a couple of posts down that I was done talking about the BCS. Apparently, I lied.

The reason is because I stumbled upon this on-line debate between Sunday Morning Quarterback (hereinafter SMQ) and Kyle King at Dawg Sports. Essentially, the two are taking opposite positions on the viability of the BCS system versus a playoff of some sort. The exact form a playoff would take is left somewhat open, but more on that later. What I will do is summarize their arguments briefly, with apologies and a guaranteed public correction upon notification if I get them substantially wrong. I have left out a few expansions in the interest of brevity that I consider to be relatively inconsequential.

Anti-playoff -- T. Kyle King:

  1. A playoff system will favor only top teams, while a bowl system allows teams at different levels to participate in the post-season;
  2. A bowl system favors tradition;
  3. Playoffs don't always produce a "best team" result;
  4. King raises the debate between Einstein and Heisenberg over the Uncertainty Principle as an allegory of the bowl vs. playoff debate, with the bowl system as the Heisenberg-based model of the atom (i.e. electron "cloud") and the Bohr model which shows electrons in discrete positions representing the playoff model.
  5. Argues that the accomplishments of the regular season would be diminished by a playoff; I.E. that a playoff system will not adequately differentiate between a perfect season an a season with one or more losses;
  6. "The playoff is the regular season";
  7. The controversy produced by the BCS is a good thing;
  8. The BCS is messy, like life is, and a playoff produces artificial certainty.

Pro-playoff -- SMQ

  1. Playoff determines a champion "on the field" by a series of competitive games;
  2. There is no such thing as a "best" team;
  3. There is no adequate standard to measure performance;
  4. Championships should not be awarded by committee;
  5. Bowls may be traditional, but as a means for determining a "national champion," they are ineffective;
  6. Interest in the regular season would not be affected by instituting a playoff;
  7. "Why should an opinion of performance have any official standing in sport?"
  8. Differences between the top teams are too minor to be measured by any system we currently possess.

As I said, there are more arguments, counter arguments and proofs of arguments offered in the posts of these two worthy men. Please read their posts for all of that. For me, and this post, I will deal with the main ones. Since I am a proponent of a playoff, and since SMQ and I both have a similar view of how a playoff should be arranged (i.e. an 8-team playoff using the upper tier bowls as the playoff sites, which would produce four winners. This would simply be a slight modification of the "plus one" model), I will simply address Kyle's arguments:

Argument: A playoff system will favor only top teams, while a bowl system allows teams at different levels to participate in the post-season

Response: Not if the current bowl system were used. All other bowls could proceed as they are now. In other words, only the very top teams would be affected at all.

Argument: A bowl system favors tradition.

Response: Change is the only constant in the Universe. Why should it not be so for college football? Nobody can argue that the current system satisfies the sense of fairness that Americans demand of their sports endeavors, primarily because the mechanism of choosing the two "championship" participants is utterly opaque to everyone, and the different ratings mechanisms involved produce wildly disparate results. From these ashes, a phoenix is supposed to rise that satisfies our sense of propriety, but it never happens. Besides, if we utilize the existing bowl format, impact on tradition is minimized if not totally absent.

Argument: Playoffs don't always produce a "best team" result.

Response: Neither do regular seasons or the BCS. The "best team" is at best an ephemeral concept. What a playoff does is attempt to give the best 8 teams, among which is a very high probability of the two "best teams," an opportunity to compete for a definitive result. Our forebears competed in tournaments in everything from running in the nude to jousting to every other imaginable sports endeavor, and none of those tournaments always produced the "best" whatever. However, they always had the virtue of producing a champion, something that Americans desire. If not, why did the AP start voting for a national champion out of the bowl chaos lo these many years ago? Americans want a champion -- even a champion who isn't objectively "the best."

Argument: The best teams can never be known (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle debate).

Response: Even if true, we can still crown a champion. A champion doesn't have to be the best, but to be a champion that most Americans demand, his claim to the championship has to be tested. That is an objective result obtained by trial on the field, and even if we have located the electron by forcing it into a certain place at a certain time, that is precisely what college football fans want -- a sense of certainty backed up by at least a modicum of credibility, which the current system cannot produce. The absence of credibility (which is a direct result of the Byzantine process used to determine the final game participants) is what galls college football fans. We do nothing by oligarchy here in America, except college football and figure skating.

Argument: The regular season's accomplishments would be diminished by a playoff.

Response: This is the appeal to tradition logical fallacy. A regular season's accomplishments would be validated by a playoff, especially if we used a seeding system. By seeding the teams, your regular season is the major determinant of your seeding. If, as has been argued, the teams are in fact so close together, the seeding will not dramatically impact the likely outcome of the competition, but could be used to provide a closer venue for fans of the higher seed, at minimum.

Argument: The playoff is the regular season.

Response: Then let the NCAA set the regular season so that every team plays a comparably difficult schedule. That way, there would be some confidence that the resultant representatives are not getting there by dint of scheduling weak teams. The strength of schedule is the most difficult variable to account for, and not doing so is one of the biggest sources of frustration among college football fans when it comes to selecting the participants in the "championship" game. Addressing this variable is the true purpose of a playoff system, as it tests the result of your season on the field before allowing you to ascend to the throne.

Argument: BCS controversy is a good thing.

Response: Would it go away if we instituted a playoff? Hardly. The controversy would be removed to a slightly lower level, but by doing so it would greatly enhance the chances of giving the top two teams a chance to win the championship.

Argument: The BCS is messy, like life is, and a playoff produces artificial certainty.

Response: Artificial certainty is better than none at all. The purpose of athletic competition is to produce a champion in every contest. If we are going to do that for the entirety of college football, should some semblance of credibility not be provided for the process? The credibility of the judgments of computers and men is the thing that drives the debate, and determining the national champion largely by some kind of scoring method rather than a playoff is fundamentally contrary to the very essence of team sport. Even if the tournament produces a flawed result, the process is unaffected by the result. In the current method, the process is the problem, not necessarily the result.

Ultimately, we are faced with a choice between an opaque, Byzantine process that few people have confidence in that may produce a correct result, and a tried and true process that allows competition events to produce what may be a correct result. In other words, the same uncertainty of result remains, but in the latter case, the process is transparent, and produces it's result by a method virtually everyone can agree upon from history immemorial -- tournament competition.

As to the other arguments about travel, classes, number of games played, lucre ... Well, I'll just let SMQ speak for me in response to those: "Canards all!"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh, Dear ...

Just bumped into a couple of posts over at the Wizard of Odds. Seems that upper body painting is all the rage for women these days, especially where sports teams are concerned.

I will present to you two different models:

  1. Alabama fan lady
  2. LSU fan lady
Submitted for your approval.

Sorry, Bama fans ... Geaux Tigers!

Looking at the SEC bowls

The first bowls in which SEC teams are involved are coming up this Saturday. The lineup looks like this:

Bowl Date Time TV Satellite Radio Matchup Payout / Team My Pick / Confidence
Liberty 29-Dec-07 4:30 PM ESPN and ESPN-HD X140 Mississippi State vs. UCF $1,700,000 UCF / 60%
Independence 30-Dec-07 8:00 PM ESPN and ESPN-HD XTBA Alabama vs. Colorado $1,100,000 Alabama / 60%
Music City 31-Dec-07 4:00 PM ESPN and ESPN-HD XTBA Florida State vs. Kentucky $1,600,000 Kentucky / 75%
Chick-fil-A 31-Dec-07 7:30 PM ESPN and ESPN-HD XTBA Auburn vs. Clemson $2,915,000 Auburn / 60%
Outback 1-Jan-08 11:00 AM ESPN and ESPN-HD X140 Tennessee vs. Wisconsin $3,100,000 Tennessee / 55%
Cotton 1-Jan-08 11:30 AM FOX-HD XTBA Arkansas vs. Missouri $3,000,000 Missouri / 70%
Capital One 1-Jan-08 1:00 PM ABC-HD XTBA Florida vs. Michigan $4,250,000 Florida / 85%
Sugar 1-Jan-08 8:30 PM FOX-HD X144 Georgia vs. Hawaii $17,000,000 Georgia / 55%
BCS Nat'l Championship 7-Jan-08 8:00 PM FOX-HD X144 LSU vs. Ohio State $17,000,000 LSU / 55%

The SEC being involved in a total of 9 bowls including the BCS championship game is a testament to just how good the league was this year, and in my mind, validates Les Miles' pre-season comments about the league. Obviously, that validation could be mitigated by a poor performance by SEC teams, but we'll just have to wait and see.

As you can see, I am not nearly as confident in some of the outcomes as Vegas appears to be, but I do pick more SEC winners. To be honest, I was tempted to pick OSU over LSU -- it is a very close call. OSU's defense has been excellent, and I agree with Mergz at Saurian Sagacity.

I'm going against the grain on the Auburn/Clemson game. Clemson has many more injuries/suspensions for this game than Auburn, and with the exception of the thrashing at Georgia, Auburn's defense has been very strong the second half of the year.

I wanted desperately to pick Arkansas, but I just can't. With a coaching change, the turmoil they have endured, the lack of a true passing game, the fact that they only beat 3 winning teams all year, the question marks in their defensive secondary against good passing teams (of which they only played one all year, and lost). Missouri just seems like a much better team to me, but when you have Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, anything, including this, is possible.

Overall, though, I pick SEC teams in 7 of the 9 games in which league schools will participate. If that were to come about, it would be a very strong showing by the SEC and, in my mind at least, a validation of the pre-season hype.

Over the next few days, I will be linking to team blogs as they begin to evaluate their team's bowl appearance.

The Tide Druid also has SEC Bowl picks over at his site.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas is over, time to clean up the BCS mess

The Capstone Report recently mentioned that I might have a thing or two to say about the BCS now that, in his words, "the apocalypse has arrived." If only that were so.

Before I go on, let me explain what I was hoping for. I was hoping for the kind of situation that would force conferences like the SEC, who are top-heavy but not nearly as much as conferences like the Big Ten and the Pac 10, force change. I wanted to see Hawaii or Kansas playing for the Mythical National Championship, and I wanted to see the SEC shut out of it by weaker teams playing weaker schedules. I wanted a genuine apocalypse, a cataclysm that would force a change in the way people see the BCS, like Hawaii or Kansas playing in the BCS championship game. I'm not demeaning either one of those fine teams, but you can't compare the schedule they played to that of, say, LSU or Georgia or even Arizona State or USC.

But alas, it was not so, and as a result, we must face at least one more year before an outcry will reach sufficient volume to produce changes. Despite the reasoned arguments of Henry Gomez and Mergz at the excellent Saurian Sagacity, Jai Eugene at Loser with Socks, and Senator Blutarsky of Get the Picture, nobody will listen, and there will be little outcry. Thanks to MSM pundits like Teddy Greenstein (who's inane arguments against the BCS set new records for sports pundit lunacy) and Jason Whitlock. After reading these articles, you might think that these guys were actually watching some other sport, like maybe soccer, and occasionally writing about football by perusing box scores. What is even more disturbing is the fact that the official BCS website lists these defenses of their flawed scheme as "News". As Henry Gomez of Saurian Sagacity points out, what other sports governing body shamelessly plugs media defenses of their setup. It is unseemly, unfair, and should probably inspire conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately, the outcome of the BCS has produced a result that will appear to most football fans as only slightly flawed, and arguably not as flawed as many other times in it's history. What that means, my friends and neighbors in the blogosphere, is that change has been delayed yet another year. Outcries will be poo-poo'ed by the likes of ESPN and others in the established sports media, who seem for all the world to have a vested interest in the current setup. "Fairness" doesn't appear to be the most important thing, and that should be frightening to every sports fan. Nobody likes playing a rigged game, but college football teams do it every year, and what we get are indefensible defenses of the BCS, all lined up neatly as though ordained from above.

This will be my last lament of the BCS this season, as fans will quickly move on to other things. But trust me, we will revisit this again next year, and hopefully we will get a little help from a benevolent God (whom I am convinced is a football fan) who must sometimes feel the need to intervene and supply the impetus for change our BCS system so badly needs. I thought it might be this year, but alas and alack, we are to be denied even the least of that.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Giving back to my friends in the Blogosphere

From time to time, I like to check to find out who is linking me. The links are often a bit slow to appear, and I really don't get around to checking it that often.

First of all, Razorbloggers responded to my rant about Bobby Petrino a couple of weeks back:

Razorback fans need to understand…Petrino is a hired gun…and a good one. His job is to win football games and graduate student athletes. He isn’t a cheerleader. He won’t direct the band after a win. And he probably won’t score big points on the Razorback Club circuit.
What I am glad to see is that Razorback fans are looking at this situation in the right way. I do have concerns about what will be left of the program when Petrino leaves, but Razorbloggers seems to be looking at this with a sense of reality. No matter the low regard I hold for the man, the fact is that he is a good coach, a "good gun," as RB puts it. I can't argue with his reasoning, and wish the Hogs the best.

I also received a link from the Capstone Report for the same story, which I appreciate. Also, NCAA Hoops Today, a blog I have read for a long time, discovers us:
We just discovered a new SEC blog called Best of SEC, think of it as the Sportscenter of SEC blogs. There you'll find all sorts of coverage of the weekend games from a variety of blogging sources!
I'm not sure I can live up to that, but as we transition from football to basketball, there will be a lot more to cover. Football has the advantage of a long time between games, but basketball is fast and furious, and not only on the court.

So to all who have linked me lately, thank you. I appreciate your visit, and I look forward to navigating the world of sports with your help.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jumping in while the water is warm

The big news around the football world, of course, is Florida State's mass suspensions due to academic improprieties. Because Florida state is playing Kentucky in the Music City Bowl, I'll have to write this piece from a bit of a Kentucky-centric perspective.

First of all, Kentucky has known many years of football futility and many years of basketball success. Today, the fortunes of the two sports at Kentucky seem oddly reversed, as Kentucky struggles to integrate a new coach into their basketball program, and the football program prepares for the culmination of two of its most successful years in memory. It is a strange juxtaposition, but good fodder for commentary.

Comes now Florida State with some 36 players suspended for the Music City Bowl, some of them several games into next season as well. The reasons for these suspensions include the academic cheating scandal, violations of team rules, injuries or "other reasons," leaving the Seminoles with a total of only 43 scholarship players available for the game. The list includes a total of 13 players who had started games at one point or another in the season for Florida State, and the lines seem to be the biggest sufferers of attrition.

As most watchers of football know, the lines are often the difference between bad teams and good teams. Lots of bad teams have good skill players, but without the lines, they are very limited in how far they can go in any given season. Florida State's biggest and perhaps only advantage over Kentucky has taken a thunderous hit, and it is unclear if the remains will be enough to make FSU competitive for the game.

From a Kentucky standpoint, this is a disappointment. UK fans always wanted to face Florida State at it's best, mainly because an opportunity to play and perhaps even defeat one of the great college football programs in the nation is good for our program. Unfortunately, the Music City Bowl will now be all about the FSU suspensions, and Kentucky must face the fact that they will be playing in a no-win situation. If the Wildcats win, it will be because of the the suspensions. If they somehow lose, it will be proof that Kentucky football is still the same as it always was, and can't even beat a team that has 25% of its best players missing. That will be the story line, true or not.

But the reality is, Kentucky has always been a destiny-blasted football program. How can we truly complain if that gets thrown in our face yet again just when things start to look up? As a Kentucky fan, I don't blame Florida State -- if it hadn't been them, it would have been someone else. The one positive in all of this is that Kentucky, who has a long record of compliance issues with the NCAA, actually winds up looking like good guys for once. At least, that is the silver lining I have found. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Besides, why should Kentucky fans blame Florida State when there are so many Florida fans to do it for us? I must have truly must have lived a sheltered life for the last 20 years, because I had no idea of the visceral hatred the Gators have for the Seminoles. I knew they were rivals, but I had no idea it was almost as bitter as Alabama and Auburn. I suppose the fact that they play in different conferences mutes the rivalry a bit, like Kentucky vs. Louisville or Indiana in basketball. The rivalries that get lauded as the "best" always seem to be in the same conference.

But back to the Gator schadenfreude at the expense of the Seminoles. Mlmintampa, writing for Alligator Army, gives us perhaps the archetype of the disgust Florida fans feel for FSU:

When we first wrote about the FSU cheating scandal in September, it was limited to 23 athletes in several sports. But, St. Nick has given us an early Christmas present.

As many as 20 Florida State football players will be suspended from playing against Kentucky in the Dec. 31 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, as well as the first three games of the 2008 season, for their roles in an alleged cheating scandal involving an Internet-based course, a source with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday morning.

Excuse me for a moment.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!

Wait, Mlm -- now tell us how you really feel. But I gather that this is just typical of the kind of joy that Gator fans have felt at the troubles of their rival. Orange and Blue Hue also engages in a bit of schadenfreude. But all that taken together doesn't match this post from Chris at The Gator Blog:
I hate Florida State. So much that I can barely get through writing out the school's name. I would rather see the entire school disband and Tallahassee be swallowed by a sink hole, if it weren't for the fake that I wouldn't get the satisfaction of beating them once a year.

I hate Chris Rix, Geno Hayes, Sebastian Janikowski, Thad Busby, Mickey Andrews, Jack Childress, PK Sam, Lorenzo Booker, DeCody Fagg, Peter Warrick, "The Choke at Doak," jump passes, flare passes to the RB, Samari Rolle, Chief Osceola, his dumb flaming spear, the FSU flag boy, Chris Weinke, Leon Washington, "the echo of the whistle," Darnell Docket, Greg Carr, and especially you, Bobby Bowden.

I hate that they changed their foundation date so they can "beat out" us. I hate that they count 31-31 a win, I hate that they altered the record books to count a 21-19 "win," I hate the Swindle in the Swamp, I hate that they give free rides to Seminole Indians to prevent being sued. I hate the Warchant, I hate the website Warchant, I hate everyone who posts there, I hate Dot, and all their delusionole (ha!) fans. I hate that they talk "band smack."

I hate that they make me root for Miami once a year, and that they made me root for Tennessee and Georgia. I hate that Tallahassee is the capitol of this state. I hate that FSU is so crappy that we get downgraded to noon ESPN2 games (like last year).

You know Navy's losing streak to Notre Dame? I want that against Florida State...only 40 years from now, I want to still be beating them.
Now that, my friends, is an impressive rant against a team. That is loathing of a character I can barely comprehend, and I can comprehend quite a bit. That is visceral, it is active and it has the vitality of hot battery acid.

AEM at SEConds to Victory has another impressive rant against FSU. Now, I don't know his partisan affiliation, but he berates the Seminoles for moral turpitude:

I have just one little thing to say: Are we kidding? When is it going to be enough and when is someone that can do something about it, such as the NCAA, going to show us that the people making a paycheck for doing nothing are actually making a paycheck because they are doing something? Don’t get me wrong, I blame a lot of people for this mess. The kids that need to understand the true meaning of “student athlete”, the school for not having the guts to send these kids packing and setting an example once and for all, and of course the NCAA for not delivering a harsher punishment to the players, while having no problem that the tutors have been sent away.
He makes a strong point. It is a bit short of compassion, but I can't say that he doesn't have it right -- spare the rod, spoil the child and all that. NCAA institutions are utterly guilty of self-interest in their lopsided application of the rules, and the NCAA itself is a willing accomplice. At the end of the day, the pursuit of lucre will always triumph over moral integrity, even in the hallowed halls of the academic institutions and the Association itself. This may seem a cynical view, but given the discordant history of responses by both the schools and the NCAA itself, it's hard to ascribe any real moral authority to those worthies.

Finally, Ian Cohen at Fanhouse wins the "Best FSU Lede" contest with Did You Get Suspended by Florida State?:

Seriously, check your voicemail: Florida State's gone on a suspension spree two weeks out from their Music City Bowl tilt with Kentucky, with as many as 20 Seminoles missing out on Nashville in December and possibly the first three games of next year. This all stems from an alleged online cheating scandal that's already claimed the jobs of two academic assistants (they were only trying to assist!). I mean, all things considered with online classes, I'm amazed this doesn't happen more often.
Ah, well. At Kentucky, we have to take life as it comes. We are still looking forward to playing Bowden & Co., and hopefully beating our second ACC team in a row at the Music City Bowl. It will be a less than perfect ending for Kentucky's seniors, win or lose, but it is surely better than sitting home and watching others play football during the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's a basketball post!

Yes, it is getting that time, and transitioning from football to basketball with all the coaching changes and general furor around the football programs, it has been a bit hard to get into the grove. But I'm groovin' now.

Fanhouse had this post linking to a blog post by Ken Pomeroy observing that Vanderbilt may not deserve their current lofty #17 AP ranking.

What I found remarkable about Vandy over at Pomeroy's site was two things:

  1. Despite Pomeroy's critique, Vandy is #1 in Ken's RPI (hat tip: Vanderbilt Sports Line)
  2. Compare Vandy's offensive efficiency and pace of play to the last few years. All I can say is ... wow! When did Roy Williams decide to give his playbook to Kevin Stallings?
Good on the 'Dores for being so good early. It's a fair question to ask if they are legit, though -- every time they have played a top 100 team, it has been close and they struggled against DePaul. Still, they are a force to be reckoned with in the SEC this year, but we won't really know much about them until they get into conference.

Since You've Been Gone ...

Remember that old song from the 1970's by Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow? Great tune, and it's applicable to yours truly -- I have been gone all month, practically.

But now I'm back, and I'm fixing to be blogging again. Ain't life grand?

First of all, what about all this Saban to WVU crap? Seriously, I think the whole country goes a little psycho during coaching searches, and it really shows.

For example Ryan Ferguson at Fanhouse warned us all that coaches can desert your program, anytime, anywhere. He's right. If the conditions are right, almost any coach will change, and a few of them will leave notes in your locker room.

But really, Saban to WVU? Nah. I don't care how many emails get sent hither and thither. That would make Tubby Smith leaving for the frozen wastes of Minnesota look like a lateral move. The Mountaineers have a nice program, but they are no Alabama. I don't think Alabama fans are too concerned about this rumor.

Then we have this piece by Fanhouse essentially suggesting that Ohio State should beat LSU because of one statistic. According to a poster over at the Miami Hurricane's Rivals site:

The Buckeyes own the advantage in the most vital stat, Yards Per Pass Attempt Differential. They are +3.1 to +1.7 for LSU, a decisive edge.

The leader in that stat invariably wins the title game, including so-called upsets by Florida and Texas the past two years.

Heh. Kentucky owned that stat all year against everybody it played, and they still finished 7-5. Maybe that stat doesn't tell the whole story after all.

Jai Eugene at Loser With Socks says that Spurrier's hiring of former Georgia Bulldog and Atlanta Falcons linebacker coach Brian VanGorder means one thing -- the end of the line for VanGorder. Funny.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Regarding Petrino ...

Tens of millions A billion billion pixels have been spent discussing the Bobby Petrino hire by the University of Arkansas, and even though I am chiming in on a subject that has been flogged mercilessly for the last two days, I really do want to say something about this guy. Why? Because I live in Louisville, Kentucky, and I know more than I ever wanted to know about Petrino.

There have been endless regurgitations of the fact that Bobby Petrino is nothing if not a nomadic mercenary. This something everyone has mentioned, and there are many people who have impugned Petrino's character. Unfortunately, few of those people have impugned his character enough.

Not only does Petrino lack a personality (unless, that is, you can call a perpetual state of anger a "personality"), he also lacks an identifiable soul. Looking into his eyes is like looking into the eyes of a reptile -- there is nothing there but killer instinct, with nothing even remotely resembling a moral compass to interfere with decisions. This man reminds me of the comic book character Galactus, except instead of devouring living planets, he devours all the good out of a program. When he moves on, he always leaves them worse than he found them no matter how much success he had while there. Programs that Petrino passes through have a foul residue left behind like you would expect from some kind of snail, tumescent with persistent nastiness that his successors must try to clean up. As Kragthorpe has found, it is not only disgusting, but it's hard to get rid of.

Petrino, as we have seen by his now-famous note to his Atlanta Falcon players, has nothing resembling courage of conviction or moral fiber anywhere in his "personality." Unctuousness is his stock-in-trade, and he isn't the least bit abashed about that. At Louisville, he was as despised for this characteristic as he was beloved for his success on the field.

I have only one story about him which I haven't seen related elsewhere lately, and that is about Kentucky offensive lineman Brad Durham. Petrino offered Durham a scholarship, which Durham accepted. It was a verbal, and a handshake deal, just like most football scholarships until signing day. Petrino then withdrew the scholarship offer and told Durham he wasn't good enough to play for Louisville. Of course, the Louisville press defended the act, claiming it was probably best for both parties, because trust them, if Petrino said he wasn't good enough, you could take it to the bank. Others further away from the problem saw it for what it was -- a harbinger of what was to come.

Of course, Kentucky was happy to take Durham off Louisville's hands, and he is now UK's second-string right tackle as a true freshman. Need I note that Kentucky beat Louisville this year? No? Well, I think you see where I'm going with this. This is truly despicable behavior in a coach, and the fact that he was defended for it by anyone is absolutely an indictment of every one of those defenders. It's understandable, if not desirable, that 17 and 18 year old kids break their word. It is downright unacceptable for a college coach to do so.

Bobby Petrino is a man who has no concept whatever of loyalty, or anything that might cause him to have to sacrifice something of his for the greater good. The man isn't just selfish, he is the living, breathing definition of ends-justify-the-means narcissism, almost to the point of mania. I don't characterize many people as "evil", but Petrino surely qualifies for consideration. Arkansas, I really do hope this works out, but trust me, the odds are against you. I know for sure that you have just made it very hard for anyone who knows this guy to pull for your team. As I say, good luck with that -- you are going to need it. I'll be there for you even though I am a fan of another school, but don't expect your new coach to be -- it's way too much to ask of him.

Now for a couple of reactions from around the SEC bloggers.

Arkansas bloggers are understandably elated, and I don't blame them, really -- Petrino, whatever his faults, is a successful football coach, and the Houston Nutt tenure had become a 3-ring circus. Razorback Expats concludes:

Even factoring in the cons, this is a great hire. Here at Razorback Expats HQ we’d been feeling down about the football team…with D-Mac and the other stars leaving and the uncertain coaching prospects for next year it was looking like a return to the “glory” days of the early 90s was inevitable. But no longer…we are officially very excited about the 2008 season. Go Hogs!
I understand your excitement, guys. I wish you luck, but most of all, I pray that there is something left of your program after he leaves in a few years.

The Hog Blogger is also ecstatic:

15 hours later and we’re still in shock. After dealing with ineptitude and downright clownery in the football program for the last 15 years, finally something happens that makes us think this program could be truly great.

For all our harping on Lane Kiffin for the past two weeks, leave it to Jeff Long and Chuck Neinas to go out and land a coach even better than the man who orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in the history of college football. Petrino’s offense next year won’t be what it was in his final two years at Louisville, but it will be considerably better than what we and most other Hog fans were anticipating following the departure of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

As a Kentucky fan, perhaps no one can understand better than me how it feels to hire a coveted coach after you have grown tired of the old one. Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.

But here is what the Hog Blogger says to people like me, from the same post:

Now, to the jealous detractors warning Hog fans of Petrino’s indiscretions:

We. Do. Not. Care. Sure, Petrino may leave in 3-4 years. We have reasons to believe he won’t. Regardless, for the last few years it’s been very difficult to be 100% behind a program whose leader we couldn’t support. Now, that isn’t a problem. Going to games just got a whole lot more enjoyable. The offense is (eventually) going to be exciting, balanced, high-scoring, and a lot more fun to watch. That’s something we can get behind. After dealing with Nutt for 10 years, we’ll take a few years of actually having a professional (by that, we mean in the way he carries himself, not the fact that he coached in the NFL) coach who can actually string together a complete sentence and not make an idiot out of himself in almost every situation. If we don’t have to hear the words heart, special, winner, or fighter ever again, it will be too soon.

Well, he's right about one thing -- Petrino won't make an idiot out of himself, but I don't know if the Razorback fans will be proud of what they have left after he leaves. Euphoria is a wonderful thing, and far be it from me to rain on the Razorback's parade, but Petrino leaving is not the worst thing that can happen -- maybe it's the best. I know this man a lot better than you do. Be careful what you wish for.

Kyle King at Dawg Sports has thoughts about the Petrino hire:
Coach Petrino reportedly phoned in his resignation to the Atlanta Falcons. I am torn between the obvious joke ("Coach Petrino appears to have phoned in his entire N.F.L. coaching career!") and the observation that this guy is about as smarmy a self-interested weasel as you are liable to find anywhere. He left Louisville in the lurch when he bolted for the City Too Busy to Hate, then he cuts and runs before the Falcons' season is even done. (Officially, I mean. Technically, the Falcons' season has been done since August. Or 1966. Really, it's all in how you look at it.)
And continues with this:
How big a target does this guy have on his back from day one? Over the course of the last year, the Razorback fan base has developed such a reputation that Kentucky basketball fans look at the Arkansas faithful and say, "Those guys take this just a little too far!" Coach Petrino's honeymoon will be over by his third loss, if not before. Add to that the fact that the man he replaced (Houston Nutt) and the man he would have replaced had that man been fired (Tommy Tuberville) both coach in the Hogs' division, and it becomes clear that a lot of folks are going to be gunning for Coach Petrino. Games against Kentucky aren't liable to be a picnic for the former U. of L. coach, either.
Regarding Kentucky vs. Petrino, Kyle could not be more correct. I only wish Brooks was not such a professional, and had a Spurrier-like mean streak in him, but only for the Arkansas game. But alas.

Next, Third Saturday in Blogtober argues that Petrino wasn't unjustified in leaving Atlanta:
Before we slide into full argument mode, we need to get one thing clear: I do not fault Bobby Petrino — aka Pignocchio – for tossing aside the Big Peach for all its worms. When you enter a situation with one of the most exciting, entertaining (albeit underachieving) and marketable superstars in Michael Vick, and he ends up stabbing your franchise in the back, all bets — and contracts — are off. When superstars on the team publicly question your decision-making and personnel moves and vehemently attack you in the press, what can you do? The river of loyalty flows both ways.
I can't argue with that, because it is absolutely dead-on true. But this? I mean, seriously, the very least one can expect from a coach leaving is a speech, or a video, for God's sake. But a typewritten letter left in the locker room? I have no words, and that is saying something.

Finally, GeauxTigers at And The Valley Shook gets this one absolutely right:
I think even the vast majority of the Saban-hating LSU populus (of which we are not a member, we're part of the "Saban's still okay but Bama sucks anyway" populus) would have to agree that we now have an even more monumental prick in our division. Bobby Petrino, kick 'em while they're down why don't ya? I'm certain every big name recruit will take your word when you tell them that you'll be there to see them through all four (er, three) years of their careers. Anyway, Geaux Saints for destroying that rat bastard in his final game with the Falcons, and now as a Saints fan I have to say, as much as I hate the Falcons I can't help but feel sorry for the franchise's fans. I won't wish them success, not while we share the division, but I do wish 'em SOMETHING better ahead. Good riddance to bad rubbish, and I'll love LSU beating the tar outta the Hogs henceforth (although it might be difficult if Petrino actually does manage to get some talent with which to work). Anyway, head over to The Falcoholic for their grumblings over the whole ordeal.
I had to find somebody who would call Petrino a "rat bastard" -- I'm just too damn prim and proper for my own good, I guess.

UPDATE: Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal nails it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Duty calls ...

Unfortunately, the demands of work and the Holidays are going to keep me away from blogging for the next few days.

I should be back by Thursday or Friday.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mr. Touchdown wins the Heisman

So Tim Tebow was chosen for the Heisman trophy, breaking the sophomore curse. Congratulations, Mr. T. You definitely earned it with your play this year. I would have voted for McFadden, myself, but both men were certainly worthy, and Its wonderful that the Heisman is back in SEC hands.

So what is the reaction from around the blogosphere? Well, the first place I always turn for Heisman information is the Heisman Pundit. But today, there is a liveblog with HP doing the honors over at Orange and Blue Hue, and you can replay the entire liveblog from there.

But Heisman Pundit also has stats and pics on his own blog from the cermemony, which he attended. Very cool.

Ryan Ferguson, who also writes for Orange and Blue Hue, had this to say at Fanhouse:

What, you weren't surprised?

Oops. Sorry.

Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. He joins two former winners from the University of Florida: Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel.

When Tebow's name was announced, he made his way to the podium and took a minute to compose himself. The speech started slow, gained steam, and then started looping: the Gators QB thanked his Savior first, family second, and players/coaches/etc. third. Then he did so again. And again.
Great stuff. Tim Tebow is truly an amazing football player, and I cannot even imagine what kind of an impact he will have on the NFL when he eventually finds his way there.

Mlmintampa writing for Alligator Army is understandably as proud as if he were Tebow's papa:

It is impossible for me to express how proud I am of Tebow. As fans, we take ownership of these guys as if they were our brothers or sons, so to see our guy thanking offensive linemen by name along with Jesus was pretty great.

So true. Living vicariously through athletes is a kind of national pastime here in America like nowhere else. Tebow seems like a very humble and grounded young man. Florida fans should be proud.

Year2 has more Florida fanblog reaction:
Only 4 schools have more Heisman winners than Florida does - Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC each with 7, and Oklahoma with 4. Florida is tied for fifth with Army, Michigan, and Nebraska. When you compare Florida’s tradition with the rest of those schools (about 30 good years out of 101), that’s not too shabby at all.
No, indeed, that isn't shabby whatsoever. It's always great when an SEC school brings home the hardware, and this year we had both first and second place.

Speaking of second place, let's get some reaction from the Arkansas bloggers. TipsterHog, writing for Razorbloggers Network, has lots of links to the media reaction. Whole Hog Sports had this quote from D-Mac himself:
“I have no regrets,” McFadden said. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way. I love all my fans back home. I don’t think they are going to disown me because I didn’t win the Heisman.”
You were awesome, brother. I'll never forget the game you had against South Carolina, it was simply some of the most fantastic running I have seen. D-Mac will be an unbelievable NFL stud, in my opinion. He is a winner in every meaning of the word.

Now just a few quick reax from around the other SEC schools, starting withGeux Tuscaloosa:
Tim Tebow is an outstanding player who had an outstanding year. He did things that have simply never been seen before on the college football field. We've simply never seen a strong-armed quarterback who is also a power running back and also a natural team leader. Or at least, we've never seen it from someone playing at so high of a level as Tim Tebow does.

It amazes me how much responsibility on the football field this kid has. Almost every play runs through him. On 90% of the offensive plays, Tebow is either throwing the ball, taking the ball on a designed quarterback run, or running an option play that requires him to read defenders and choose to either keep it or give it to a running back.
Indeed. Add to that his amazing durability, and you have Larry Czonka (am I dating myself here?) with Bob Griese's arm.

Of course, Orson Swindle has a little ... err, different take on the Tebow Heisman:
Tim Tebow won the Heisman Trophy this Saturday in New York, an award all but ensuring an end to his lifelong streak of athletic excellence.


“I’ll follow the example of my boyhood hero Danny Wuerffel and help those less fortunate by preaching the word and working in the community. It would also really help if I didn’t have to throw anything ever again, since I couldn’t toss a sandwich wrapper into a wastebasket with any accuracy now. I would also appreciate not being jostled or bumped.”

A chorus of chuckles rose from the Heisman voters, who included Troy Smith, Gino Torretta, Chris Weinke, and Andre Ware.

Heh. No doubt, winning the Heisman is no guarantee of continuing success. I think, though, in Tebow's case, it is really hard to imagine that he is the next Gino Toretta. But you have to love this finish:
The only two-time winner of the award, Archie Griffin, was unable to comment for this story. Griffin has been on bedrest for 32 years following the awarding of his second trophy, after which he became so weak he could not stand or feed himself. He is said to be happy for Tebow and is also extremely fond of a nice, warm bowl of nutritious chicken broth.
Only Swindle.

Finally, we go to Third Saturday in Blogtober:
This year, several coaches who received a “vote of confidence” are looking for jobs and a few coaches who vowed loyalty have interviewed elsewhere. Also this year, an honest-to-God kid with no arrest record who blushes at the thought of girls won the Heisman.
Somehow, I doubt if Tebow blushes at the thought of girls. But now that I think of it, there was that man-kiss earlier this year ... ugh. Maybe TSIB is right about that, after all ...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Florida fan may cost Tebow the Heisman

Sometimes, the bizarro world of NCAA compliance is has more pitfalls and gotchas than even Federal tax or weapons exports. This is a perfect example:

GAINESVILLE - has listed an orange license plate which reads HE15MAN as one of its top Christmas gifts this year. The plates are being sold on the Web site, which is owned by Melbourne resident Brett Black.

There's only one problem.

The plates may be an NCAA violation that could put the eligibility of University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, a Heisman Trophy candidate, in danger. UF officials are certainly concerned about the unlicensed and unauthorized selling of products promoting the sophomore quarterback -- which has become rampant on numerous Web sites.
Look, Tebow wouldn't be my pick for the Heisman, but he certainly deserves consideration, and he is surely the favorite. I really don't blame the Florida fans for doing this, nobody in their right mind would think that selling licensed plates to fans hyping Tebow's candidacy would run afoul of NCAA rules.

If it does turn out costing Tebow the Heisman, I'm absolutely going to spare no aspect of the NCAA in series of diatribes -- it's just wrong to punish the young man for something clearly well-intentioned fans did.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The hogs are being called, but them pigs ain't a-commin'

Hmm, what can we talk about today? How 'bout them Hawgs? Yeah, the University of Arkansas is just having all kinds of fun and adventure searching for a new coach to replace the fired departed Houston Nutt. It has turned into a bit of a three-ring circus, really, and people are beginning to talk.

First there was Tommy Tubberville, then there wasn't. Then, there was Tommy Bowden, and then there wasn't. Then, there was Jim Grobe, and then there wasn't. If this is beginning to sound like one of the "begats" from the Bible to you, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

There are post-mortems aplenty but let's look at what Razorback Expats has to say about the abortive Grobe hire:

1. Negotiations hit an impasse when the Razorback Foundation wouldn’t give him a cell phone plan with unlimited text messaging.

2. Was promised that his name would be displayed on banners all over the state…then he found out what that meant.

3. Beck Campbell wouldn’t sign off on the hire until Grobe could talk Pete Carroll into guaranteeing playing time for her Mitchy.

4. Read some Razorback message boards and realized that, by taking the job, he was denying Jimmy Johnson the opportunity to come home and fulfill his lifelong dream. Being a noble guy, Grobe didn’t want to stand in the way.

5. Learned about the unbreakable voodoo curse that Houston Nutt put on the program before leaving…like Davis, Tuberville, Bowden, Fisher and countless others, he didn’t want to deal with that.

I think the real reason is #5. Houston Nutt is just the kind of guy who would have left a Zuni Fetish Doll around to wreak murder and mayhem on the next head coach. Fear the doll. Oh yes, I'm afraid we must do video:

Well, I'm sure you get the idea. Better tell Nutt to come back and get his lil' friend, Razorback fans.

Bill Maloney at Fanhouse says the ACC coaches are just using Arkansas to get themselves raises:
Tommy Bowden almost said yes...only to stay at Clemson with the predictable contract extension. Still coachless, it appears the next thought was "if you can't have Tommy Bowden, how about hiring a coaching who actually won the ACC." Enter Jim Grobe. The Wake Forest coach seemed like the better fit. Grobe is a guy who has won at schools with limited resources. His ground-based scheme would work with the talent Houston Nutt left behind. He was ready to take the next step. Yet, you know how the story ends. Grobe left Arkansas at the alter and is staying at Wake Forest. No immediate announcement on a contract extension but I would guess that part of Wake's plea for him to stay included future compensation.
Heh. Not just the ACC, Bill. Tuberville got one too, and he is an SEC coach. In fact, some might say that Tubby almost overplayed his hand. Almost. Kevin Donahue at Fanblogs says that the Hawg fans are getting a little karmic payback:

It bears repeating that the way Nutt was... basically abused... by the Razorbacks fan base poisoned the pool at Arkansas.

If you're going to have fans digging through your personal life, blasting you in the media, booing you at public appearances, and running banners calling for you to be fired during games -- all while your team is winning -- then why would any coach in their right mind willingly step into that environment?

The Arkansas fans are reaping what they sowed and until they own up to that... it may be a long couple of years for the Hogs.

Ouch. I seem to remember another school (who shall remain nameless), somewhere east and south of Fayetteville, who had a rather interesting coaching search last year. Some were suggesting the very same thing. The difference is, that school would seem to have much deeper pockets.

The Hawg Blawg is starting to wonder if Sesame Street characters might be up to a stint of SEC coaching:
So, Grobe isn’t coming. I think we’ll end up hiring Big Bird before this is all over.
You think he'd take the job? Well, if Big Bird can't reach a deal, you can always consider Karl Dorrell or Chan Gailey. They've been almost as successful as Tommy Bowden.

But of course you remember that Arkansas is rather famous for difficult coaching searches, as TipsterHog reminds us. Still, this is bound to be a bit frustrating to Razorback fans, as I'm sure they figured to have a fish in the boat by now (well, Grobe technically made it to the boat, but he jumped back in).

Look at the bright side, Hawg fans. The basketball search turned out all right, despite some ... uh ... adventurous moments. This one will probably be fine also.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Awards, rewards, and searches around the SEC

Well, I guess the biggest news so far today (or actually, yesterday) is that Tommy Tuberville finally signed his extension with Auburn, thereby largely ending the Tubby-to-Arkansas and Tubby-to-A&M speculation that has been percolating on the Plains. War Eagle Reader says, "Fear the extension:"

Tommy Tuberville is the grandfather who doesn’t know what a blog is, the Dad who talks to the media on his cell-phone while at the mall (telling them things, oh, like that he’s never been contacted by Texas A&M) while his son is buying a game for something called a Playstation.

Tuberville is the football coach who has repeatedly accomplished what no other Auburn coach has accomplished. Tuberville is the man with the 9 trillion square foot new Auburn house (it is beautiful) who loves Auburn, who’s aging Mom is reportedly in love with the place, and Tommy Tuberville is the man who cried at the thought of leaving (or from the joy of staying).

Hmm. Well, okee-doakee then. I guess all is good down in Auburn, and the Tiger fans can sit back, relax and enjoy the bowl season. Meanwhile, Arkansas is still without a coach, and the search continues. Whole Hog Sports reports that Tommy Bowden doesn't want the job:

Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden apparently had an overnight change of heart, declining an overture from Arkansas to succeed Houston Nutt as the Razorbacks’ head football coach.

A source close to the negotiation said Arkansas was ready to present Bowden a multiyear contract worth more than $ 2 million per year, but in a news conference announcing his acceptance of a raise and contract extension at Clemson, Bowden said he was “never offered” a job by Long during talks Monday night.

The Hog Blogger says Bowden was a crappy choice anyway:

Jeff Long scours the entire nation, and he comes back with Tommy Bowden? Really? If Long is foolish enough to think he can wow fans with a big name who isn’t actually a good coach, (Dave Wannstedt?) this is not the job for him. We’re all for giving guys a chance, but this offer makes absolutely no sense. There’s a reason Bowden has been on the hot seat for what seems like forever. People may have given Nutt a hard time for only winning ten games once, but Bowden has pulled it off in a grand total of zero seasons. In Mike Leach’s case, at least he plays in a division with three of the premier programs in college football and has an excuse for never winning anything.

He has a point. Tommy Bowden has been anything but impressive at Clemson, and you all remember that lil' ol' UK beat them convincingly in last year's Music City Bowl when the Tigers were heavily favored. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Tommy Bowden's coaching prowess.

Heisman Pundit wonders if there is a Tebow backlash building for the Heisman:
For the record, I don't think there is a Tebow backlash going on. I do think that what we are seeing is a race that is not a landslide, like we have been used to in recent years. The voices rising up against Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Troy Smith were few and far between. In a relatively close race, there is going to be a variety of opinions. In a chaotic race like this year's, even more so.
So what does this mean? Well, HP goes on to say he thinks Tebow will win comfortably, but McFadden is still an issue. Senator Blutarsky is on point:

Ladies and gentlemen, Knowshon Moreno is your SEC freshman of the year. Unanimously so.

As a sidenote, it’s interesting that McFadden was named offensive player of the year and not Tebow. Could that be a foreshadowing of the Heisman vote?

Hmm. Sophomores are known to have difficulty winning the Heisman. McFadden had an incredible year, as did Tebow. Part of the reason Tebow's was so incredible was his relative youth. Will this work against him in the Heisman voting? I note that Heisman Pundit's final straw poll showed only a 2-vote differential between Tebow and McFadden, 23-21. Tebow has been holding in the 20-23 range for 3 weeks and has apparently topped out, while McFadden has lately been moving up dramatically. This one could be close. And in another late development, McFadden has won the SEC offensive player of the year award.

And in case anyone didn't notice, Sylvester Croom strikes again, taking Coach of the Year honors. Kyle Veazey has the goods:
Back from The Hump, where I spoke with Ben Hansbrough.

But you guys probably don't care too much about that right now, seeing as how Sylvester Croom has just been named Southeastern Conference coach of the year by his peers.

More to come on
Congratulations to Coach Croom on his well-deserved recognition. Mississippi State has really improved this year, and Croom has shown that he is a better coach than many gave him credit for. [UPDATE] Croom also won the AP Coach of the Year award.

That's all for now.

Some administrative notes

Sorry about the long absence. Life happens, Internet outages happen. But I'm back in the saddle again.

I have changed the news box on the right a bit. Mostly what will appear there are the days best blog posts from SEC bloggers. As I update the box throughout the day, we will see some scroll off. I am trying to figure out a way to get better news as well, but the mission of this site is the Southeastern Conference bloggers, not promote big media. But I would like a better newsfeed than we currently have. I'm working on it. For now, really important stories will appear in the box as well, but mostly it will be great blog posts.

You will notice I maintain very few tags on this site. That is by design -- I currently have one for each SEC school, plus a couple more. I will probably be changing that just a bit over the next few weeks, but you can expect the tag list to be kept to a couple dozen at most. I hate big tag clouds, and I can never make sense of them, so I'm going to keep it short here.

The site will also be transitioning over to basketball coverage. I know there is still a lot going on in the football realm, and I am not going to ignore that. But basketball is now in full swing, and there will be gradually decreasing football news of note in the interregnum between now and the bowls.

Over the holidays, I hope to make a few small changes to our rather Spartan design, but not too much. I don't do pictures (I consider that to be a copyright violation without express permission) and don't do many graphics. This blog is all about content, and it is all about the hard-working SEC bloggers out there bringing us the great angles and insights on the news of the day. I know many of my readers have their own blogs, and I want this site to be about the great work they are doing.

Which brings me to another point -- What makes a great blog post? Well, like beauty, that is pretty much in the eye of the beholder. What I like is a fresh take, or some clever humor combined with real insight. I know that is vague, but bottom line, I like blog posts that are either:

  • very informative
  • very entertaining
  • very insightful, or
  • a combination of all three
If you think you have written something particularly good, or know of a great post I haven't listed or commented on, drop me a note and I'll look at it. I have to skim quite a bit. As you can see from the blogroll on the left, ther are lots and lots of SEC blogs, and every one you see is in my feed reader, and I go through that thing every day. So it is way more than possible for me to overlook something good.

As always, thanks for visiting the site and reading my drivel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blogging? You mean I have to actually write stuff here?

Contrary to popular belief (and the fact that I haven't posted in like 4 days), I am not dead. Nor am in jail, or kidnapped. Merely a victim of excessively demanding customers and AT &T's DNS, having been without Internet service for over 24 hours.

Well, life can be frustrating. But on we go.

So LSU is the pick to play in the BCS championship game. Meh. I was hoping for carnage, and I got so much of my wish that everything worked itself out. My crusade against the BCS is likely to be futile until next season at least. Life is like that sometimes -- first you can't blog, then your best-laid plans go in the toilet. Oh well ...

Let's just see for a second what is interesting out there in the SEC blogosphere? What could possibly be interesting ... hmm, lessseee ....

Garnet and Black Attack has an interesting post today, musing over the second best team in the BCS right now:

So by wins alone -- and by the cumulative strength of their schedule -- the Sooners should get the second spot on my ballot. But wait. Close margin or not, injuries aside, Oklahoma lost to a mediocre Colorado team and an above-average Texas Tech team. Ohio State, on the other had, lost to a team currently headed to the Rose Bowl. Yes, commercial considerations played into it, but if Illinois were not regarded as a good team, they wouldn't even be eligible to go to Pasadena.
Hmm. Well, I couldn't figure it out either. I say, flip a coin or something.

I just knew this crap was coming:

But, really, Hawaii was the only team that could summon a no-spin argument for engaging Ohio State in the championship game.

Sure, you'd like to see a tougher nonconference gantlet than Northern Colorado, Charleston Southern and UNLV. And, yeah, Hawaii used its overwhelming home advantage against Boise State and Washington, and if the officials hadn't mistakenly flagged Jake Locker for an illegal pass, the Huskies might have won.
Well, sure, if you throw strength of schedule out the window. How do you suppose the Rainbows would have done in the SEC? About like Kentucky, I figure, and nobody is arguing for them to have a shot at OSU, who itself can't point too many fingers at Hawai'i schedule-wise.

Look, I love Hawai'i. Love it. I am going there next year for vacation, and I have been there many times. But playing football in paradise comes with a cost, and if the WAC is the best comp you get, you just can't get into the big game. Sorry.

Jai Eugene at Loser With Socks wonders why Ohio State gets to go to the BCS championship:

LSU is a very decent team but tOSU just fucking blows, but OSU played in a weak Big 10 and struggled in games they shouldn’t have, and LSU is lucky they don’t have 4 losses. It sure is gonna be interesting to see what happens when the Failboats match up with the athleticism of a top-tier SEC team. WTF did I just say? Every team in the SEC, with the exception of Ole Miss, is top tier.

Heh. You'd have to say that getting 10 teams bowl eligible in one conference is one hell of a thing.