On Friday night, Oregon crushed UCLA 49-31 to win the first ever PAC-12 Championship game, earning a spot in "The Granddaddy of Them All," the Rose Bowl. LaMichael James rushed for 219 yards, helping his team roll and giving himself a leg-up in the Heisman race. But this was all news to me. Tonight, I took my fiancee out to eat, came home, took the dogs on a jog, and then started preparation for my upcoming finals. It was a fruitful night. However, when I logged on to write this preview I noticed update after update of the UCLA-Oregon game. To my surprise, it was tonight. Like most my age, I have a fairly busy schedule. However, I still feel like I'm just as likely to hear about a game of this magnitude through word of mouth as I am to see a commercial (which I didn't, at least until the game was finished). I had no clue this was happening and even though I could care less that I missed it. (The fact that UCLA got in a conference championship with a 6-6 record, just 1 win more than the "sky is falling" Tennessee Vols, and a fired coach is laughable at best.) I do have a lot of questions; What went wrong with their advertising campaign? Was this on TV? ABC, ESPN, VS, Animal Planet? Am I the only one that had no clue this game was happening? I can't be, right? Am I developing an east coast bias? Whatever the answers are, we all know that the PAC-12 Championship Game is another reminder of why we should all be thankful for the SEC.
SEC Championship Game
(12) UGA v (1) LSU @ 4:00 on CBS:
Many are saying if LSU loses they are still a lock for the BCS Title game, which is impressive. Not quite as impressive as who they've beaten and how they've done it, but impressive nonetheless. However, if Georgia wins and locks-up the automatic bid, the SEC could get four teams into BCS games. LSU, Bama, and UGA would be locks; with Arkansas having a pretty good argument towards their inclusion. This has to scare the other conferences, right? If you add USC to the equation, five teams in the SEC are eligible for a BCS game (though, they have no shot at a BCS game). No matter how you feel about the absurdity of not having playoffs is, it's still an impressive accomplishment for a conference.
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VA Games of the Week
ODU v (3) Georgia Southern @ 1:00 & JMU v (2) North Dakota State University @ 4:00 on ESPN3/Game Plan:
While trolling the message boards this week, I saw one question that stood out to me: "Would you rather your school make it to the Final Four or win a FCS Championship?" As you would guess, most of the answers revealed what sport that poster preferred. However, it's a fairly good question. If your team makes it to the Final Four, they gain national notoriety for the school, boost admissions, boost athletic donations (simultaneously helping the non-revenue sports), and you get a month of lifelong memories. But, you don't even win a Championship and your teams' coach is probably going to leave in the near future (See; Larranaga, Jim). However, if you win an FCS national championship, your school wins the most legitimate National Title in college football, gains a possible catalyst towards a jump to the BCS, a boost (albeit smaller) to athletic donations, and you get a month of lifelong memories. But noone that didn't/doesn't attend an FCS school cares/knows and while it may be more legitimate than the BCS Title game, it still doesn't include all of Division 1.
For me, I'd take the championship. Only because ODU is on the verge of announcing a major expansion to Foreman Field and they're "this close" to making the jump. I believe a FCS Title would be all they need to speed up the process.
Once again, no picks, but I am interested in what other "mid-major" fans would rather have; Fourth Place or First? CBS, Sports Illustrated, & ESPN or ESPNU?