Thursday, January 05, 2006

USC/Texas and a Playoff system

USC/Texas was all it was billed to be. My prediction of a Texas win turned out to be true sadly. So much has been written I will just list big observations....

1. The stars all came out to shine, Bush, Leinart, Young and LenDale White. All stepped it up, which does not happen in most bowl match-ups.

2. USC gave that game away with 3 red zone turnovers. Bush's lateral was a major WTF moment. Leinart's INT was an outstanding play by the Texas Safety. The 4th down was a goof with Leinart's slip (the turf was definitely slippery last night).

3. The 4th down go for it or punt decision was a good call. All night they were running up the gut on Texas and why not go for it. Even if they punt it gets them an extra 20-30 yards which means Vince Young would have to scramble maybe 2 times to make it up. USC needed one yard to win the championship, Carroll believed in his guys.

4. The review of the Texas fumble that got called an incompletion was BS, and already has my dad (USC fan representative for Maine) screaming conspiracy. If everyone in the stadium, the player who 'fumbled' it, and Dan Fouts all see it, why can't the review guy see it? BS. End of the game right there.

5. Every single bounce went Texas way from the get go (excluding the punt fumble). Every fumble on offense was right at their player's feet, and they got the bounces. That vibe told me it was Texas' game to lose.

6. I called this even before the game, but Boston Sports Guy jumped on the first chance to rip on Pete Carroll he got. Let's not forget that it was Bush's lateral or Leinart's slip or countless things on the field that USC players did incorrectly, no, it's Carroll's fault. This is the Boston Sports Guy's major problem. He writes through a Boston prism waaaay too much for non-New England readers, and like any New England homer, he makes his mind up about something and finds the evidence to back up only his point. He will never give in and say "Maybe Pete Carroll's 'player's coach' attitude is perfect for 18-24 year olds". Glad he's just a regular guy "spoiled prep school kid from the Metro West Suburbs cough cough" writing about sports "Holy Cross Grad who never played anything cough cough" and being super cool "let go from Kimmel's show cough-haha-cough".

7. Vince Young was superb, and on a side note, looks and sounds like the missing Wayans brother. I don't think he will be a great pro QB unless he works on his mechanics big time. He needs to sit one year and learnt he pro game like Culpepper, Palmer, even Eli for half the season. If the wrong team feeds him to the Lions, he's going to fail and get discouraged. He had no real zip on the ball, became erratic when he saw any pressure, and will not outrun defenses in the pros. In the pros, every team has LBs who can spy a QB (Derrick Brooks, Urlacher). In the pros, the safeties can tackle you (Ed Reed, Roy Williams). Vince Young could ask Mike Vick about the change. The Saints will be dumb and pick him; if not them, the Titans.

8. LenDale White ran himself into the middle of the first round. Wow, some serious power despite running through huge holes. He's a forgotten prospect, because the guy has the tools but might fall in the draft since Bush and Leinart shine so bright. If he posts a great 40 time, he could be at pick 10 (Arizona Cardinals).

I've thought about the playoff so much that I think I have a good way to keep all games relevant. The major argument that BCS fans give is that no playoff means that every regular season game matters. What they should do is have a 6 team playoff. The top two teams get a bye. This would mean there are 5 games. You have the 4 current BCS games be games in the playoff system and the new game is just called the national championship game. The polls won't have to be absolutely correct because the margin of error is now to find the top 6 not the top 2. Football is different from college basketball, truly only the top 4-8 teams can compete with one another on neutral sites. The problem of being the 3 team is "you don’t get a bye" but you still get a shot at the title. You could have the rose bowl be the game where the Pac 10 or Big Ten champ is in the playoff seeding, one is bound to be there. First round of games is on new years day. The semis are the next week, the week after that is the championship. The games would be played virtually all during winter break. It would prevent the early season/shocker loss (Penn St.) or the injury loss (Georgia) from destroying championship hopes. On top of that, the regular season would still matter for everyone because even the top 2 teams would want the first round bye. You couldn't rest starters because seeding would matter so much because of the bye possibility. The championship game is played on the off week before the super bowl. The ratings would be huge, and January Madness would be born. It's win-win. Money still goes to conferences, ratings are high because every BCS game matters, and fans get a true champion.