Unfortunately for me, I've lived for the last five years in SEC country, and had to sit back and cringe in embarrassment as Florida and LSU have cleaned Ohio State's clock in back-to-back national championship games.
This season, the jokes and snickers started anew after the Conference Momentarily Known as the "Legends and Leaders" League laid a nasty 0-5 egg on New Year's Day (thanks for not much, Rich Rod).
So, when Ohio State finally pulled a win over a school from the SEC (they're a whopping 1-9 now), especially in a BCS game, there should be much rejoicing among us Big Ten lifers, right?
No, not so much. Why not?
Simply another case of the tail wagging the dog.
The Sugar Bowl looked like it was going to be a convincing beatdown with 19 minutes left and tOSU up 31-13. Then, the Buckeyes tried their best to choke the game away...and this was WITH the Yard Sale Five on the field striving to make plays.
Imagine if Pryor, Posey, Herron, Adams, and Thomas hadn't played at all. Because if the NCAA was actually still in charge of anything involving college football, they wouldn't have.
Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan is perfectly up front in admitting that he wants nothing other than what's good for the game:
"I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year's game, we would greatly appreciate it...That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I'm extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution."Remember, when he says "integrity of (the) game," he's speaking of the Sugar Bowl, not college football in general. For that matter, we can substitute the word "ratings" for "integrity" and be much more on point.
My questions regarding the BCS are often born out of wonder. Why does the NCAA refuse so steadfastly to sanction its own championship? Why does it continue to put itself at the mercy of a system that leaves it subject to possible Congressional scrutiny? Is it really all in the name of "tradition"? Who's running this Mickey Mouse operation, Topol?
The NCAA says, "These guys aren't playing," then a BCS boss says, "Suspend 'em next year, they're playing in my game," so the NCAA's response is something like, "Duhh, okay, boss." Congrats, NCAA, you're roughly on the same level as this guy.
If you're suspending someone, it's immediate. Did Georgia's A.J. Green have his suspension's games cherry-picked? The Sugar Bowl should have no input into this process, and should have been put down with extreme prejudice when Hoolahan started raising a stink. That is, if the NCAA had any balls other than the ones that get carried into the end zone.
Interesting question #1 about the entire mess: Where's Jim Delany's high-handed moralizing now? Attempting and failing to acquire improper benefits is less of an offense than actually doing so, right? So, if Cam Newton should have been shut down, why not the Buckeye Bazaar Boys?
Interesting question #2: Would Boise State or TCU have gotten as lenient a treatment from the NCAA? Or would the godfathers have seized on a golden opportunity to once again point out the inadequacy of non-BCS teams and conferences when a depleted squad got drilled by Wisconsin or Arkansas?
Interesting question #3: What kind of enforcement is available for the pledges that the Tattoo Twits allegedly made to return for next season? None of them are projected first-round picks, although there are serious doubts that Terrelle Pryor's gotten that memo. Still, what exactly is there to stop these guys from bailing? Did they pinky-swear?
I do have to applaud the NCAA for at least being consistent. They let the Mafia sanction the championship, so why not let the Mafia decide how the rules are enforced?
As a bonus, Ohio State's looking to appeal. Give it until about March, and the NCAA will try to keep lopping one game off the suspension as quiet as possible. Get Ohio State back to full strength before the Michigan State game and pretend it's all about "giving the student-athletes a chance at redemption," rather than "giving Ohio State a chance to get back for another pimp-slapping in the National Championship Game."
Meanwhile, cue the SEC supporters telling all us Big Ten homers that Ohio State had to get their own personal set of rules to win a game. The sad part is...there can be no argument here.