Happy New Year! The family and I enjoyed a nice couple of days up in Virginia visiting with family and friends over the New Year holiday. After a couple of days off, I am back at work. However, to be perfectly honest, football is on my mind.
Driving in to work today, I was listening to a sports radio talk show host announce that last night's Sugar Bowl proved that Hawaii had no business being in a BCS bowl. I think, more than anything, last night's game said little about Hawaii and more about how messed up Division 1-A (or whatever they are calling it now) college football's postseason is. If I may:
1) Hawaii finished the regular season 12-0, the only fooball program at this level that can say that. People want to take shots at their schedule because they play in the WAC. Hawaii played 3 bowl teams in their last 4 games of the season - Fresno State, Boise State, and Nevada. Their last game of the season was against Washington, a Pac-10 team. And before anybody yells that scheduling Washington is not necessarily a big deal, please be reminded that Hawaii was originally scheduled to open the season against Michigan, but Michigan backed out of the game to schedule instead ... Appalachian State. My point: Hawaii's schedule is probably the best schedule they could play. Added difficulty: they knew they had to win every game to play in the BCS. One loss, and it was the Hawaii bowl for them. Must be nice for the OSU and LSU of the world to know you can lose 1 ( or 2) and still play for it all.
2) Rather than proving that Hawaii didn't belong, I think last night's game proved what everyone has been saying for weeks: Georgia is playing some of the best football in the country right now. They have been playing lights out for the last month of the season, and one could tell from the emotion and power Georgia displayed last night that the layoff had not hurt them one bit.
3) Did anybody say last year that Ohio State didn't belong in the BCS, let alone the BCS title game because they got blitzed by Florida - a Florida team that, by the way, was a heavy underdog entering the game? No. I do not believe that the results of 1 game (after several weeks of not playing) necessarily defines the quality of a team for 1 season.
4) Was Georgia and Hawaii really the best matchup the BCS could come up with? Besides Georgia, the other team supposedly playing the best football in the country was USC - who, by the way, lit up Illinois yesterday (anybody saying Illinois didn't belong in the BCS? I am. Missouri had the better season by far and deserved far better than the Cotton Bowl). Why were USC and Georgia not playing one another? Can you imagine the attention that kind of matchup would have gotten? That might have overshadowed the national title game. I know the BCS main job is to choose the teams for the national title game, but it is also about money. How much money could have been made, how high a ratings could have been achieved, from a USC-Georgia matchup? And if Illinois had to be in the BCS, wouldn't a Hawaii-Illinois (or Hawaii-Missouri) game have been a better game than either of the two BCS bowls we got yesterday?
My point in all this: Hawaii deserved a chance to play with the big boys. Last night, Georgia proved to be the far superior team, a fact that probably suprises few. However, don't tell me that Hawaii didn't earn the chance to try to prove themselves.