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BCS gets credit for a New Year's well done

January 10, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Ever notice how the world is crawling with Monday morning quarterbacks?

Walk through practically any business or store, eatery or tavern, and someone is invariably breaking down some aspect of some game or spouting some opinion about a team, player or coach.

Yeah. I know. I write sports. My observations on this subject rank up there with a chemist trying to tell a bartender how to make a martini or a butcher giving a surgeon scalpel lessons.

But, hey, that's my job.

I'm going to take this opportunity to refine the MMQ ritual. This is the ultimate last word.

So for the rest of this column, I'm the Tuesday Morning, about a week later, but before the next payday, after New Year's and yet before Christmas observer.

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I have to admit that the Bowl Championship Series actually did a good job this year with the four games it set up.

While Texas and USC was the filet mignon of matchups - better than some of the grades that have been presented in the past - the undercard bowls, the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta, were great games, too.

All four games were compelling and had different storylines to stay interesting. It started with a powerful matchup of Ohio State and Notre Dame in the Fiesta, where tight play and momentum decided the outcome.

The Sugar Bowl introduced a fast start of West Virginia by imposing its style of play on Georgia in the first quarter. The Bulldogs were behind 28-0 before they knew what hit them, but took control to make a game of it. Ultimately, it took a gutsy fake punt in the last three minutes of play for West Virginia to preserve the win.

Then you had the overtime battle between Penn State and Florida State, with college football's two winningest coaches facing each other. It was a great game that probably made the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes cringe when they saw those kicks.

The Rose Bowl goes without saying.

The BCS committee put on a good show for once. Still, you have to wonder, if the BCS matched up the teams by rankings, what the outcomes of Penn State-Ohio State, Georgia-Notre Dame and West Virginia-Florida State - the matchups which would have been set by the progression of the polls - might have produced.

As great a team as USC had, there was no way they were going to win a third straight national championship.

Forget the Xs and Os and all the different strategies that went into the game. The Trojans weren't going to buck history.

There are reasons - some may even be cosmic - why winning three championships in a row is a rarity. Just like going undefeated in the NFL has only happened once.

You could say gods wearing leather helmets won't let it happen, but let's be a little more practical.

How about this? Media pressure, technology, long preparation time leading up to the game and players leaving early for the NFL draft all have a bearing deciding the outcome.

From the day the bowl pairings were announced, the bull's-eye was on USC. The constant reminders, along with all the time Texas coaches had to dissect the Trojans with film and practice, had a huge bearing on it all.

That entire game was a seesaw battle of power football vs. speedy football. Texas eliminated Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, sapped the effectiveness of 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart and withstood the best punches LenDale White had to offer to put the ball in Vince Young's hands to pull out the game with 19 seconds left.

Like they said in the original "The Longest Yard," it was His-tor-ree.

By the way, if anyone is looking for a sportswriter's advice on how to write opera, I'm available. Me-me-me-me.

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