LSU 38, Ohio State 24...and it wasn't really that close (after the first quarter)

January 8th, 2008

Well, this game wasn't as close as I'd thought it would be. The issues with talent at the skill positions...wasn't really rectified in the last 365 days by Ohio State. Yes, they got through the Big Ten and to this point, but when you get to this stage you've got to bring something more to the table. Unfortunately, even in what was supposed to be a year in which the Bucks built towards 2008, people are going to look at this result (along with the other results during bowl season) and render a final verdict on Ohio State and the Big Ten.

Receivers couldn't get separation from LSU defensive backs on a consistent basis, with the most success coming against Tiger reserves in a final touchdown drive to give us the 38-24 final. Todd Boeckman was under siege for much of the evening, resulting in three Buckeye turnovers to LSU's one. And, the penalties...unbelievable. Ohio State came into the game averaging around forty yards in penalties per game, and tonight they put up seventy-five in personal fouls alone.

Now, the perception becomes that Ohio State lucked into this game thanks to their long layoff and teams ahead of them losing; that the Big Ten isn't worthy of competing on the same field as the elite of the SEC. Yes, Michigan did beat Florida, but the conference's only other bowl win was Purdue beating Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. There was a lot on the line tonight, and not just for the Buckeyes, and public opinion will most likely say that the Big Ten lost an awful lot in the Louisiana Superdome.

LSU becomes the first school to win two BCS national titles, and I don't see them having to worry about not finishing atop the AP poll when that comes out. And how about safety Harry Coleman, who saw a lot of action due to the injury suffered by All-American Craig Steltz? Two fumble recoveries and a pressure that forced an interception on the night; to be frank the man was just about everywhere. The Tigers put together their best performance since the rout of Virginia Tech, but I was expecting them to swing for the fences on that first drive of the second half.

Of course, when you get two personal fouls (one for roughing the kicker on a punt; the other for after the play nonsense), you can afford to do the routine and watch your opponent procede to self-destruct. And, unlike Fox's Charles Davis, I think the attempt by Austin Spitler came because of someone failing to block him instead of OSU calling for the block. I know there are different types of punt formations out there, but I've never seen one where they allow a man a direct path to the punter. Unfortunately for Spitler, he missed the ball.

The above story is about league commissioners discussing the possibility of a "plus one" format to the BCS. Of course, four leagues (ACC, Big East, Big 12 and SEC) are open to conversation. Two (Big Ten and Pac-10) are not. I understand why the Big Ten isn't in favor of it, especially after watching tonight's game. You can get a team to roll through the regular season then take your chances in the title game. But at this point, going through with the hope that the SEC champ isn't there seems a tad cowardly to me. The Pac-10's position baffles me to be quite honest, especially when you consider the success USC has enjoyed.

The program that seems willing to play anyone anywhere at any time (Pete Carroll seems to make the same comment after every Rose Bowl win) is literally being given the "one-fingered salute" by their own conference. The question is this: what's the point of the college bowl season? If it's all about making sure as many kids as possible enjoy the experience and get to play one more game, just go back to the way it was. If it's the goal of determining a national champion, then the "plus one" model should be instituted. Or better yet, a full playoff. The "plus one" looks to be the best compromise in regards to the current system, but at this point it should be quite clear that tradition can no longer be the only factor in deciding the course of college football in the future.