Not to be ingrates, but . . .
Baylor (9-3) thinks it should in one of the five BCS bowls, and Washington thinks it shouldn’t have to face Andrew Luck twice in a season.
Actually, the Huskies aren’t facing the Stanford quarterback again. They are facing someone better — Robert Griffin III (a k a RG 3), who might beat out Luck for the Heisman Trophy next weekend.
The way the Huskies play pass defense — like water birds against a surfacing alligator — Griffin’s anticipation for the Valero Alamo Bowl match-up may cause him to spontaneously combust. That would seem to be Washington’s primary, if not only, hope.
Griffin is the nation’s pass efficiency leader who was considered by college football panelists on ESPN’s BCS show to be the greatest athlete in college football this year as well someone who can heal the sick, sanctify the profane and have the correct change for the bus.
He throws deep balls well to one of the nation’s premier receivers, Kendall Wright. The Bears’ running back, Terrance Ganaway, won the Big 12 rushing title with 1,347 yards. Baylor won its last five by averaging 46 points a game. The Huskies scored more than that just once this season.
The primary reason Baylorlost three games (to Kansas State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State) was because of a defense almost as bad as Washington’s. The Bears felt they were deserving of a Cotton Bowl berth that went to K-State (10-2), but a 36-35 loss in Manhattan to the Wildcats Oct. 1 turned out to be the decider.
But the Alamo Bowl has the redemptive quality of being in San Antonio, just a three-hour drive south of the Baylor campus in Waco. It will be a home game of sorts, and the first bowl game for the Bears since 1992, which suggests the bowl thirst of nearly a generation of Baylor fans will be slaked by filling up the Alamodome’s 65,000 seats.
Meanwhile, in Montlake, there is happiness over a second bowl appearance, but besides the apprehension over Griffin, there’s also a little disappointment that the opponent isn’t Oklahoma, the early favorite for the Big 12 entrant. Then there is the issue of figuring out what a Valero is. Turns out it’s a large petroleum company with a small presence in Washington. Next time you’re on Beacon Hill, check out the C&C Mart. It’s the only Valero store in Seattle.
But the mystery sponsor is only a trifle in the thoughts of the Huskies, especially compared to the concerns of other programs nationally and regionally. Washington is not changing coaches — as did four Pac-12 schools this year — or conferences, nor begging the Legislature for stadium renovation money, because school officials wisely decided to make rich people pay for it.
Nor does Washington have a dawg in the hunt for BCS malfeasance, an annual ritual of many nationally. This time around, the selection of LSU and Alabama as title combatants has drawn groans and some epithets because it is a rematch of a game LSU won 9-6 in overtime.
So much for the argument offered by the dwindling crowd of BCS defenders that say every regular-season game counts.
As with rerun, repose and revulsion, rematch is a word that should not be repeated in describing a championship game in a sport that is not based on a playoff system, but opinion. As long as we’re throwing darts regarding qualifications, in my opinion, Oklahoma State would have been a better match for LSU.
The previous LSU-Alabama match (Game of the Century!?) turned out to be meaningless, as far as getting into the BCS’s top game. Losing was as meaningless to the ambition of Alabama (11-1) to a national title (even though there is no such thing national title the top tier college football), as was the win was to the same ambition for LSU (12-0).
The BCS had a worthy alternative in Oklahoma State (11-1), which won the Big 12 title Saturday over Oklahoma 44-10 in such a persuasive fashion that many football fans would prefer to see the Cowboys in the final game.
But no. The Cowboys finished a close third in the BCS poll, as well as the Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll, even though they might be the best team aside from LSU and ineligible USC. The fact that this year’s SEC intra-conference, intra-division rematch for the quasi-title blows away the BCS’s last fig leaf, will not keep the BCS from insisting it has a system at least as valid as the Republican presidential primary. Fair point, grim analogy.
But for the Huskies, the harangue is only a distant echo. They concern themselves with only one thing — defending a team that averages 571 yards of offense per game. That is enough. Defensive coordinator Nick Holt is tasked with avoiding the first thousand-yard game in college football history, and it will fill his days and torment his nights for three weeks.