A door has closed on another season of college football. Actually, like an angry atheist responding to a hoard of Mormon missionaries, it has emphatically slammed shut. Thus, we can conclude perhaps the darkest year in the history of the sport known as college football.
It started this summer, when USC had to have it's national title from 2005 stripped, its wins removed from the record book, and the Heisman award given to Reggie Bush returned. There is now, officially, no national champion for that year. There is also no Heisman trophy winner. Logic would dictate that the Heisman should be given to Vince Young, the highest vote getter among ELIGIBLE student athletes that year, but it is apparently better to claim there was no best. Likewise, there was an undefeated SEC champion in Auburn sitting there in the same year at number two, but since they did not win the BCS sanctioned championship game, there is no champion. However, don't give Auburn too much sympathy for this.
This season was the worst sports debacle I have ever seen.
Auburn ruled their own quarterback ineligible as result of Cecil Newton being found to have solicited money for a signed letter of intent from his son Cameron. Minutes later, the NCAA said "nah, that's fine, let him play." Luckily he was eligible, because otherwise Auburn would have to be left out of the BCS and, gasp, TCU would have to be in the title game.
After bowl games were underway, it was also discovered that several Ohio State players recieved improper benefits during the season, so naturally they were suspended for the first five games of NEXT season. Of course, if the punishment had been similar to what they did for USC (Reggie Bush was found guilty of the exact same thing), the wins for the season would be stripped and a bowl ban would have been in place.
Instead, the Buckeyes won the Sugar Bowl on a game winning interception by one of the future to-be-suspended player, and the Tigers won the National Title.
The Buckeyes story is done, the investigation is over, the punished delivered, and the bowl won; however, the Cam Newton story is far from dead. The investigation lives on, and rest assured that nothing he accomplished will stand. All that is missing between another lost Heisman and a blank spot nest to National Champion for 2010 is proof that Cam Newton knew his about his fathers intentions. Keep in mind that nothing substantial was found in the Reggie Bush scandal until about two years in, Newton's controversy is missing only small ingredient to total collapse after three months. The link will be found.
However, the NCAA DOES. NOT. CARE.
Simple, they already made their money. Auburn got a higher TV rating for their participation over TCU, and having the Tigers and Buckeyes in the best bowls saved the BCS from needing to take ratings-clunkers Michigan State and Boise State.
They made their money, they don't care what is in the history books in 2013.
Enjoy the unsatisfying flavor that this leaves in your mouth, and enjoy it again next year, when a 1 loss Oklahoma gets into the title game ahead of an unbeaten Boise State.
And enjoy it in 2012 when someone on Texas is allowed to play in a bowl game with a positive steroid test.
And enjoy it again in 2013 when Cam Newton loses all his accolades and an undefeated TCU team is told "no, you are still not national champions."
The system sucks, try to ignore it, you can't fix it. Enjoy the regular season, and recognize the bowls for the fraud they are.
Here are my final rankings and awards, and don't expect Auburn, Ohio State, Chizik, or Newton to be anywhere on it.
I'll see you in August for another year of disappointment, until then raise a few middle fingers to the system, and tell yourself it'll be better next year.
1. LaMichael James
2. Justin Blackmon
3. Kellen Moore
4. Andrew Luck
Coach of the Year
1. Chip Kelly
2. Mike Gundy
3. Gary Patterson
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Nick Fairley
2. Patrick Peterson
1. Virginia Tech loses to James Madison
2. Boise State falls to Nevada
3. The NCAA lets the suspended Buckeyes play the Sugar Bowl
Worst Play Call of the Year
1. Wisconson calling a throw on the two point conversion to tie the Rose Bowl
1. New Mexico
2. New Mexico State
2. Big Ten
3. Big 12
5. Mountain West
6. Pac 10
8. Big East
11. Sun Belt
Most Annoyingly Overplayed Video Clip
1. Cam Newton dancing in front of the Auburn student section like some kind of god twirling a blue towel around his head like a complete tool.
Most Overated Team
1. Michigan State
Most Underated Team
Game of the Year
1. Rose Bowl: TCU vs. Wisconsin
2. Boise State vs. Virginia Tech
3. Nevada vs. Boise State
25. San Diego State - Brady Hoke has really accomplished a lot this season, unfortunately for San Diego State, Boise State is coming to the MWC to fill the void that BYU and Utah left unfilled.
24. NC State - A convincing win over West Virginia capped a surprisingly good season for the Pack and helped prove that the Big East is indeed unworthy of a BCS slot.
23. Maryland - If I can get on a soapbox for a second, it was just wrong what this team did to Ralph Friedgen. I hope he coaches somewhere else soon.
22. Utah - I know they finished 10-3, but the Carolina Panthers thought the offense looked inept in the three losses, and the early season win over Pitt ended up not being quite as impressive as the Utes hoped.
21. Nebraska - I wanted to drop them farther based on the humiliation at the hands of the Huskies, but the pickings are pretty slim from here.
20. Northern Illinois - Despite a letdown in the MAC championship game, NIU had a fantastic season that should be overlooked just because of their weak conference.
19. Tulsa - A surprising beatdown of Hawaii allowed head coach Todd Graham a chance to be the flavor of the week at Pittsburgh. Piece of advice, don't beat your wife and you'll do better than the last guy.
18. Texas A&M - The Cotton Bowl was undoubtedly a letdown for the Aggies, but they shold be proud of how the season ended, given how it looked after six games. The Aggies could very well be a BCS contender in 2011.
17. Mississippi State - No matter what shape the current team is in, it has to feel really good to deliver such an epic beatdown to the Michigan Wolverines. A big turnaround for the Bulldogs this year that the whole team should be proud of and a potential darkhorse for the SEC West next season.
16. UCF - Arguably the best team in the state of Florida this year? Yes, a surprisingly great season for the Knights, capped with an upset of the mighty Georgia Bulldogs.
15. Florida State - If you told the Seminoles in September that they would be without a healthy starting quarterback this season, I think they would have been satisfired to hear they beat Florida, Miami, and South Carolina, with a ACC title game appearance to boot.
14. Virginia Tech - Sadly for the Hokies, a season where they were undefeated in their conference will only be remembered for a memorable loss to Boise State and two embarassing ones to Stanford and James Madison.
13. Missouri - The loss to Iowa was a little embarassing, but honestly this team overachieved this year. The Tigers beat a number one team and won ten games, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
12. Michigan State - Okay, I'll give them a decent spot for their record, but I'd still take about 40 teams in the country to beat them on a neutral field.
11. Arkansas - A great season with a sad end. Another victim of the NCAA circus that always falls in favor of Ohio State.
10. Alabama - Okay, so I know I am breaking my own rule here by placing the Crimson Tide ahead of a Michigan State team with a better record, but you can't honestly tell me you think the Spartans are better can you?
9. Oklahoma State - The Cowboys didn't play a very good team in their bowl game. But that game was perfectly representative of the Pokes' season. Play whose in front of you and win the games you should. Not always impressive but the first 11 win season in school history is wuite the reward.
8. Oklahoma - So UConn was completely undeserving of a Fiesta Bowl trip, you can't hold that against the Sooners, who played one of the nations toughest schedules and still came out with 12 wins.
7. LSU - Given the complete offensive ineptitude that the Tigers showed all season, a 11-2 season is remarkable. LSU played a brutal schedule, facing two ranked teams outside of their SEC schedule, and they came up with a huge win against a red hot Texas A&M team in the Cotton Bowl.
6. Wisconsin - The Badgers played a very good game in the Rose Bowl. Despite the loss, Wisconsin was the pride of the Big Ten this year, and were the best team in the country to finish with multiple losses.
5. Boise State - The loss, while painful, does not erase the fact that the Broncos accomplished more than any team from most of the major conferences this season. Being from the WAC should not be automatic irrelevance for any team with a loss.
4. Nevada - I realize that most refuse to acknowledge the Wolfpack as a legitimate team, but they beat a top 5 team, and have only one loss, something only five teams in the nation can say. One of those (Ohio State) doesn't count, and another one (Boise State) the beat head to head. Accept it, the Wolfpack were for real this year.
3. Stanford - An emphatic win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl capped the best season in school history. Enjoy Cardinal fans, because even with Luck returning for another season, you still lost your coach and most of your offensive line, the Cardinal should cherish what they had in 2010.
2. Oregon - While I refuse to recognize Auburn wins, I do recognize the loss on the Duck record. It took a professional quarterback to do, but someone beat you.
1. TCU - As the only real unbeaten team in the nation, this is an easy choice. Patterson, I hope you care about the awards from my blog, because it's the best anyone will give you this season. I'll send you a certificate if you ask for it.