Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Works, scarlet devil's advocate-style

You would think images like this one would have endeared the Buckeyes to SEC fans.

Public Enemy No. 1, considered disarmed and undangerous. If you've been a consistent lurker around the SEC-flavored corners of the Interwebs over the past few months, you'll have noticed that should one particular non-SEC team once again have the disgusting audacity to qualify for the BCS championship game, they will, apparently, be sentenced to Hell to eat naught but burning hot coals and drink naught but burning hot cola for all eternity ... or until Vandy qualifies for a bowl game, whichever comes first.

That team is, of course, Ohio St., whose latest ANYONE BUT YOU Southern-fried blog-lashing has come courtesy of Erik at Deep South Sports. Not too long ago Auburn-affiliated CFN blogger Barrett Sallee also gave voice to SEC fans' frustration towards the Buckeyes in a piece I'm sure a certain brand of Michigan fan will find rational, even-handed, and well-argued.

There was always going to be some northerly-directed vitriol after the Buckeyes got pantsed a second time, but I have to say I'm surprised said vitriol has taken on quite this level of intensity. First, it's not like either set of Buckeyes were the second coming of fishily-selected 2001 Nebraska or 2003 Oklahoma--each was a clearcut No. 1 with fewer losses than any other BCS team in the country. Second, I'm afraid SEC fans can't exactly crack on the Buckeyes' schedule credentials when--sorry, guys, I know this won't be the most popular point to make--the Big 10 teams those credentials have been built upon have gone 3-1 against the SEC in their bowl games. If LSU gets credit for beating Florida at home, I think we can afford to give the Bucks a little bit of credit for beating the team that beat Florida in Florida. By all means, have a good, hearty larf at the thoroughness with which OSU soiled themselves on the big stage, but it didn't mean they didn't deserve to be there. And if they finish 2008 with fewer losses than any other BCS team in the country--again--they'll deserve to play for a crystal football--again. Sorry.

That--the possibility of the SEC champ getting the championship-game shaft in favor of another paper-tiger OSU team, even one with a better record--is, I think, the rub. I agree wholeheartedly that given the SEC's track record in BCS bowls vs. the Buckeyes', the SEC should absolutely be given the benefit of the doubt should OSU and the SEC champ finish with the same number of losses. Trust me, I'm as fervent as anyone in wanting my second-least favorite non-SEC program as far away from the BCS title game as possible. This is the same program who nearly escaped an upset bid at Wisconsin by choking the opposing quarterback out of the game, the same coach who sat the linebacker responsible for a single game. I hope they go 0-11 and Tressel winds up selling vacations at a strange travel agency that only books trips to Ann Arbor. On commission.

But hoping is not the same as expecting. What I honestly (and depressingly) expect, looking at how obscenely loaded the Buckeyes are and how obscenely mediocre the remainder of the Big 10 should be, is that they escape from L.A. with a win and cruise to the title game. Should they face an SEC team there, guess which side the Buckeye backlash will have made the prohibitive favorite--and guess which side will be hellbent on disproving two years' worth of Southern doubt, arrogance, and as we've seen, outright bile. As an SEC fan, this is a scenario that worries me.

Ironses more successful off the field than on at the moment. It's been kind of cool to see Kenny Irons become a kind of blogging cult hero since joining the Bengals--the latest exhibit in Kenny's transformation into the NFL's Gilbert Arenas waits here--but it might have been even cooler to see him become a kind of non-cult hero on the football field. As TWER pointed out, that's looking less likely these days, and David's career doesn't appear to be on an upward trajectory at the moment, either. Too bad.

To answer your question, your question is stupid. Ray Melick pulled on his official Paul Finebaum mermaid-sighting goggles and delved into the Furr situation, with the result being that the guy who by basically every account was a) not happy to make a logical position switch for the team he committed to b) openly dogging it in drills c) "bristled," let's say, when called out for said dogging d) quit immediately is now suddenly e) a sympathetic figure. Please.

Say what now? Tide tight end Nick Walker on the Jim McElwain offense:
We're trying to make it as hard as possible for teams not to predict what we're going to do.
Strange strategy, aiming to become so obvious your opponent will know what's coming even if they're trying not to. But it sounds good to me. (I kid. Walker misspoke, no biggie. He just needs to be a little bit more motivated about communicating clearly, and fortunately Saban's all over it.)

And finally ... I really do hate to toss another log onto the raging wildfire that is the stereotyping of the 'Bama fan, and linking from a small-time college football blog like this one to anything linked already by EDSBS is a little bit like telling the cashier at the movie theater there's a new Batman movie out ... but on the off-chance you haven't already, you really ought to read who's living in the ninth circle of fan hell.

1 comment:

J.M. said...

Melick sums it up thusly: "Picking on someone because he's weak is just being a bully."

Furr: Height 6-3.5, Weight 217

Etheridge: Height 5-11, Weight 210

What?!?! Doesn't compute. Error! Error!