Now, brace yourself for the semifinals:
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oregon: The Tigers are clearly the best team in the U.S. at the moment. However, we’re talking about one game here. While LSU has been consistently excellent throughout the season, the Ducks have been a little more mercurial: shaky on Sept. 3 in a 40-27 loss against LSU; terrific in a win on Nov. 12 against Stanford, 53-20; slightly off at home Nov. 19 vs. USC, a 38-35 loss. Still, I’m picking the shocker. In revenge for the season opener, the Ducks spoil the Tigers’ season 31-30 as they baffle LSU with a frenzied and efficient mixture of run and pass.
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State: Two more of the most accomplished teams in football. The separation is that ‘Bama lost only one game, to No. 1 LSU, in overtime 9-6, whereas OSU stumbled in two OTs, 37-31, on the road against an Iowa State team that finished 6-6. This will be a splendid battle between the Cowboys’ productive offense led by QB Brandon Weeden against one of the best Ds in the nation. OSU peaks at the right time, and it wins, 34-28.
Whew! What a tournament! See? This is why we need a playoff system. Now on to the grand finale:
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Oregon: The Cowboys rank third in the nation in total offense, the Ducks sixth. Neither ranks in the top 50 in total defense. Therefore, let the pyrotechnics begin, and continue for four quarters. When the dust settles, Oklahoma State will prove to have more firepower. And Oregon will commit too many turnovers. Oklahoma State, 52-42.
How are you feeling about that? Overjoyed? Outraged? Satisfied? Irritated?
Whatever your emotions, you’ll agree that letting it play out on the field is more in keeping with the spirit of competition than letting computer geeks match wits. LSU and Alabama certainly are deserving, but I’d rather seem them get there with brawn than with math.
In football, goons are better than geeks any old day.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
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