Funny how time skews perception, isn't it? Something so polarizing often gets blown out of proportion simply because it occurs in the present, yet it isn't until later when we understand that perhaps it wasn't all that grandiose. Life occurs this way in cycles, as an eternal struggle between David and Goliath, and college football is hardly the exception.
Alabama was the team to beat, the victory machine, and it was so clear that they were better than anyone else that it became common knowledge, like something kids are taught by their parents at a young age. They were going to win back to back titles and create a dynasty out of 3/4 years of being college football's champions. They would be immortal in a football landscape of 18-22 year old kids, and their accomplishments would be timeless for future generations of college football. Nick Saban would be one of the most lauded coaches of all time.
But are the Tide of 09-12 really all that great? Their current streak ended at 13. In the young 21st century, Miami and USC have each gone 34 straight, Texas has a stretch of 21, and Florida pieced together 22 in the almighty SEC. Since 2000, Bama is just the 4th team to win 2 titles, and was very close to being an undetermined 5th.
Take the two signature wins of the program: A stumble into fortune when one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time is injured in the 1st quarter, and an unjustified rematch against a team who finished with an equal amount of wins, won Bama's conference and who the Tide failed to beat the first time. Add to that a loss to an undefeated Utah squad in the Sugar Bowl in 2008, and only 1 conference championship and Bama's BCS resume over the past 5 years has question marks all over the place.
Not to take away from their accomplishments, mind you, 2 titles is 2 titles, and Alabama won both of them when it counted. But, assuming that K-State beats Texas in December, and that Oregon or Notre Dame runs the table, this could mark the end of an era for the Nick Saban version of Alabama. Will it? The Tide still have a shot next year and the year after, and they always will, but with Florida returning to former glory, and a 14 team SEC dominating regional recruiting, A&M and LSU's performances in 2012 will have greater significance than the scoreboard shows. When we look back, Alabama from 2009-2012 won't even be one of the 10 greatest dynasties of all time (or a dynasty at all, for that matter) and they will always carry the burden of the-team-that-killed-the-BCS.The Aggies and Tigers reminded us how cruel of a sport college football is, and that quite often David beats the spread.
In other news, not much went on this weekend in college football. Georgia whipped Auburn, Oregon toyed with Cal before blowing them out, Notre Dame had a boring win over BC, and K State handled business on the road against a TCU team better than its record (just like every team in the Big 12 not named K State, Texas or OU).
Because the Fantastic Four has been disbanded, I will return to the model of naming the best 10 teams in the country.
Impressive Showing of the Week: Way to go, Aggies. Just don't tell A&M fans that the SEC is comically overrated as of 2012 (which is a shame, because it was a great conference for the past 5 years)
1. Oregon- Cal played the Ducks tough and gave reason to worry for Oregon fans down the stretch. The Golden Bears made it a one score game, 24-17, and had the ball as they looked to tie it up. Oregon then just escaped a good Bears team-- wait, what am I writing? Oregon was up 7 without the ball in the 3rd quarter, then hustled Cal like a shady guy in a pool hall with 5 consecutive touchdowns to make it 59-17 at 0:00 in the 4th.
2. Kansas State- Probably the only team remaining with a legitimate shot at beating the Ducks, K-State went on the road and conservatively beat a good TCU team 24-10. We will see if the #1 BCS Ranking leaves the Cats full of themselves, but I don't think Bill Snyder even knows what the BCS is (or the internet, for that matter) so I wouldn't count on it. A win next week at Baylor will clinch the Big-12 for K-State, if the Bears pull off a miracle Oklahoma can win out for the title, if Oklahoma loses another game, the winner of K-State/Texas will take it.
As a side note, of the Big 12's 37 losses only 4 are out of conference (The SEC is 7/55, the Pac 12 is 10/53): 2 by Kansas, 1 to Notre Dame, and 1 to Arizona on the road. Round Robin is brutal.
3. Notre Dame- Something has to be said for being 10-0 against a decent schedule, no matter the point differential.
4. Texas A&M- In their 2 losses, the Aggies outplayed the competition for most of the game. A&M is the only complete team in the SEC when they are playing well (Yes Bama, if you had of gone down 20-0 to Oregon Taps would be playing on the loudspeakers before Puddles could finish his pushups)
5. Alabama- Being the 2nd best team in the SEC has its merits. Bama will still represent the West in the SEC championship game, and have somehow managed to avoid Florida on their schedule twice now. If the Tide doesn't feel the Bulldog bite, I will like them in virtually any BCS matchup.
6. LSU- Les Miles is crazy enough to take LSU from average to dominant in the middle of any game. The Tigers will be a tough bowl matchup.
7. Oklahoma- Looking back at OUs schedule, the Sooners have lost to 2 of the best 3 teams in the country, and were competitive in both. Landry Jones might not win any big games for OU, but his supporting cast is excellent.
8. Winner of Florida/Florida State- This should be a great game.
9. 2nd best team in the Pac-12 (I vote for UCLA)- The Pac 12 has snuck up as being a legitimate 3rd in conference ratings, well above the abyss that is now the Big 10, ACC and Big East. The Bruins and Cardinal are both great teams when things fall in place.
10. Texas after DKR's passing with a simple 4-3 defense- Why Manny Diaz thinks he needs to over-scheme to compensate for a lowly defensive roster with top 5 talent is beyond me. Fortunately, Mack asked himself this same question and has done his best to fix the issue. Texas could actually make a BCS bowl this year if they upset the Wildcats.
Unranked: Texas with Mack coaching for his job after a Texas Tech loss and Manny Diaz doing whatever the hell he wants