I. 2014 can’t get here soon enough
With just a month to go in one of the most exciting college football seasons in recent memory, four teams remain undefeated setting up a potential nightmare in the current BCS system. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is already a playoff format in place, but the geniuses that make college football decisions thought it would be better to wait until 2014 to implement it. Why? When the NFL solved the situation with the referee holdout a few months ago did it have to wait a couple years to get them back out there? When there is a rule passed by the NFL’s Competition Committee does it wait a couple seasons to impose the new rule? The answer to these question is obviously no, so that’s why we’re seeing the frustrations from many college football fans. The most direct corollary came this year in Major League Baseball, which changed the playoff system just before the start of the season and implemented it without delay. No one has been able to explain to me with good reason why we have to wait. I know there is some trepidation concerning the loss of bowls (and as always, revenue), but the new format seems to me to be a way we can have our cake and eat it too, keeping the bowl games but putting it within a system that can still have the teams decide who is the champion, not the computers. College football is missing out on a HUGE potential scenario, could you imagine an Alabama/Notre Dame semifinal with the victor taking on the winner of Kansas State/Oregon? But this will not happen until 2014… AHHHH!!
II. Kenjon Barner enters the Heisman discussion
The Ducks can’t play defense (more on that later) but with an offense like theirs, who needs it? Last week I watched Oregon RB Kenjon Barner rush over, around and through the USC defense with a five touchdown, 321-yard performance. On the season, Barner has 1,295 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 143.9 rushing yards per game is second nationally. I honestly think he can gain an edge over the front-runner – Kansas State QB Collin Klein – because he has more “wow factor” than Klein. Klein is efficient, tough and wins but today’s football is all about “exciting” and “electrifying” to the voters (think RG3). And there is nothing more electrifying than the Oregon Ducks’ offense right now and Kenjon Barner is leading the way.
III. Joker is out, who is next?
As I predicted in week 4 of Rocky’s V, Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips has officially been handed his walking papers, effective at season’s end. It is inevitable that Arkansas’s John L. Smith will be gone, but as for who will be next, my early favorite is Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. After a 14-0 season and BCS championship in 2010, subsequent Cam Newton-less years have not been kind to Chizik. This year the Tigers are 2-7 and a crushing 0-6 in SEC play.
IV. Why Oregon deserves to be ranked #3, jumping the Irish
If I’m being honest with myself, the real reason simply comes down to this: while Notre Dame showed championship resiliency in coming back to beat Pitt, no one can tell me that Alabama, Kansas State or Oregon would take three overtimes to beat the Panthers by three at home. This is what is on the voter’s minds and why they voted that way.
V. Why Oregon does NOT deserve to be ranked #3
The contrary opinion takes a little more examination. I watched the Oregon/USC game this past weekend and saw the Trojans run and pass the ball at will on their way to 615 total yards of offense against the Duck’s D. The biggest knock I hear against the Irish is that their defense is superb, but their offense is inconsistent, so subsequently they are not a “complete” team. But given the Oregon defense’s debacle last weekend, are they not just Notre Dame in reverse? A great offense paired with a sub-par defense. I get that voters like points, but this venturing to the extreme. Voters should be careful to remember the old adage: offense wins games, defense wins championships.
– Rocky Boiman
Rocky Boiman is an analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.