Riddle me this. Since the great writers here at BON have already laid out the case for Texas, analyzed the BCS, broken down the head-to-head debate, and refuted the arguments of rivals, there isn't much room left for analysis. But I do have one significant question. The Harris poll voters have both SEC teams, Alabama and Florida, ahead of Texas and Oklahoma. How does that happen? Alabama is fine at the top, that's to be expected. But Florida in front of Texas? The team that lost to Ole Miss at home? Against a team that lost on the road on the last play in the biggest game in the opposing program's history?
Florida's defining victory was their smashing of Georgia, but the best team the Bulldogs have beat is the increasingly pathetic LSU. Sure, Florida beat two teams that were in the top 10, but neither of those teams looks particularly worthy of those rankings now. Texas owns victories over three teams that are legitimately in the top 12 in the country. If voters are punishing Texas for the more recent loss, they should consider that it came after the toughest four-game stretch any team has played in college football for 60 years. I don't get it.
This is all a little ridiculous. Not just Florida being ranked in front of the Longhorns, which is certainly a debatable question. The whole system. Dan Wetzel's characterizes the absurdity of the voting system in the following way:
Should Texas get the nod because it beat Oklahoma? Should it be Oklahoma because it put together the most impressive performance of the season in blasting Tech 65-21? Should Tech be considered because a voter likes its coach? How about strength of schedule? Or margin of victory? Coolest mascot? Color scheme? Does it matter who's played the most recent TV game? What if a voter missed one team's impressive performance because he went fishing? A voter's alma mater has been known to come into play. And doesn't he owe the conference that got him a vote in the first place? What about the coach who's still bitter about losing a recruit to a certain school?
Wetzel's repeated rhetorical questions highlight a principle problem that writers and bloggers across the country are racing to address: What is the criteria for the polls? This isn't exaclty a new question, but having three of the six or seven best teams in the same country in the same conference division, that competely personal and nebulous set of criterion exposes the flaw in the current system. Then each team ends up with one loss, chaos results, and multiple teams get screwed. Think about it: UT, OU, and Tech are all deserving of BCS bids. But the current system could leave two on the outside looking in, while mediocre squads like Cincinnati and whatever team emerges from the mess that is the ACC, conferences that don't deserve bids this season.
As Wetzel goes on to note, the system also results in members of the Texas sports information department propagandizing sportswriters on Saturday before even Tech knew what had just happened. Didn't work, apparently, but it increasingly politicizes the game of college football. It's only a matter of time with this system before Sports Information departments around the country morph into sophisticated purveyors of propaganda. How long is it until sportswriters look up from their desks to see a beaming Matthew McConaughey asking them to do the right thing? Don't mess with Roger Clemens, he might have some leftover, uh, rage, you know. If the BCS is worth millions of dollars, the Joneses (yeah, I'm talking about Texas) can afford to employ professional lobbyists on their behalf, afford the relentless advertising, research advanced brainwashing mechanisms. Hell, what about out-and-out bribery. That's all about as unsavory as pretty much everything Scott Boras does. Gotta be time for a playoff.
Mack Brown's take on the BCS. Perhaps the most famous lobbyist in the history of college football, Mack Brown will decline to make the BCS case for the Longhorns until after the Aggie game. He spoke with the team about it on Sunday, before he and the team made the decision not to talk about it, telling the players that they have more impact on where they play at the end of the season than anyone else. Brown is correct in his assessment, especially considering the flat performances against A&M the last two seasons. If ever there is a time for "style points," it's Thanksgiving day against the Aggies.
As much emotion as may be present in the game coming from the maroon side of the field, this Longhorns team has shown all season that they play hard every week. It started after the loss in College Station last season and now the team has the chance to bring that edge full circle and unleash all that frustration on the poor Aggies. There will not be a flat performance on Thursday--the seniors and the junior leaders on the team like Colt McCoy will not allow that to happen. Will Muschamp will not allow that to happen. And Mack Brown, despite his Mr. Clappy side, will not allow that to happen. As if they need any more motivation after two straight losses, one former Aggie is providing some serious bulletin board material...
Martellus Bennett has diarrhea of the mouth. Martellus Bennett is running his mouth about the Longhorns, callilng Texas "yellowbellies" and noting that the Aggies "always beat Texas." Let's go to the all-time scoreboard, Martellus. Okay, let's see here. Oh yeah, Texas 73, TAMU 36, with 5 ties. That's the big-boy scoreboard (unless you want to talk about national championships, where Texas leads 4-1). So no, the Aggies don't always beat Texas. In fact, for the mathematically challenged (and Aggies), that means that Texas wins about twice for each Aggie victory. Even with victories in the last two meetings between the teams (as if Texas fans need a reminder), the Aggies would need to beat the Longhorns 37 years in a row to tie the series--it couldn't happen until 2044. Since Martellus no doubt couldn't shut his mouth long enough to learn anything in history class, let's take a step back in time: 2003, Texas wins 46-15, 2002, Texas wins 50-20, and 2000, 43-17. Bennett went on to predict an Aggie victory and some more hits on Colt McCoy (or Cart McCoy, quite poor taste there Martellus) by his brother, Michael. Considering that Michael Bennett only has two sacks on the season, that doesn't seem likely.
That massive vortex of suck? That would be the Aggie football program. Don't stand too close because you could get sucked in. There are few things more frustrating in life than Aggies who can call scoreboard. Even worse when they manage to lose to Arkansas State and get blown out by Baylor. How bad was the blowout to Baylor? The Bears lead 41-7 going into the fourth quarter, having allowed the Aggies 233 yards, while forcing five turnovers (including four picks by freshman quarterback Jerrod Johnson) and giving up third down conversions on only 2 of 9 attempts. And no one is likely to confuse Baylor's defense (94th in total defense and 110th in opponent's third down conversions, at 47.5%) with a good defense.
After a good start to the season, with 18 touchdowns to only four interceptions, Jerrod Johnson has struggled in the last two games, throwing six interceptions against two touchdown passes. The offensive line isn't helping things. They weren't any good to being with and injuries have further slowed the unit, resulting in 33 sacks on the season, three per game. On the other side of the ball, the Aggie defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks only 13 times. The inability to pressure the quarterback has lead to 36.4 points allowed per game, which ranks 113th in the country, right behind lowly Iowa State and 114th in total defense, giving up 455 yards per game. Even when they do manage to stop the opposing team on the first two downs, they allow opponents to convert on 52% of their third downs, edging only lowly SMU in that category. You have that going for you Aggies. In other words, the window for Aggies having scoreboard bragging rights is rapidly closing. Time for a beat down. No more scoreboard. The proper alignment for the universe.