With my prediction winning percentage safely on the plus side this football season (I skipped those last two Cardinals games because, really, picking them to win a game that doesn’t count is like picking Oklahoma to land face-first in a Fiesta Bowl) I was ready to call it a year.
But then I heard all the chatter building up to the BCS title game. About how Ohio State was going to make up for last year’s embarrassment in Glendale and gain revenge against the SEC in its own backyard. About how Michigan’s Capital One Bowl win over Florida proves that the Buckeyes’ schedule wasn’t as pathetic as first thought and they are a worthy team to vie for the national title.
Wow, that’s a long trip down the rationale highway folks. Let’s pull in the reins a bit.
LSU is your national champion on Monday. In a walk. And since Ted Ginn Jr. isn’t around to run the opening kickoff back this year, things might get even uglier.
Not because the Tigers are a team of the ages or anything. Not only did they lose twice this year, they lost late in November. Any other year, they’re in a bowl on New Year’s Day that ends before you regain consciousness from drinking that stuff they use to clean combs the night before.
But this isn’t any other year — and this year, the Tigers are the best we’ve got:
• They won the best conference in the country.
• The two losses were on the road in overtime.
• They didn’t lose to Illinois, something no other BCS title game combatant can say this year. Did you catch the Illini in the Rose Bowl? USC gets big kudos for not letting cameras catch them laughing out loud on the sidelines.
• They are playing the BCS title game in New Orleans — where half of the residents of Baton Rouge used to live until two years ago. This is like Ohio State teeing it up in Akron.
Jim Tressel had his day in the sun when he caught Miami on the last gasp of its glory run here in the Fiesta Bowl. But against the SEC, the Buckeyes are like Jay Leno trying to do a monologue during the writers’ strike. LSU 41, Ohio State 17. Hope the boys at Fox have plenty of chatter topics for the second half.
WHILE WE’RE AT IT …
Let’s make it a full week of predictions with a look at wild-card weekend:
• San Diego 31, Tennessee 17 — I’m not overly impressed with San Diego’s late-season surge — its schedule was really easy and Norv Turner is still steering the ship. But the Titans have gone as far as they can with the Vince Young/Kerry Collins project.
• Jacksonville 24, Pittsburgh 14 — Beating the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in the same season is tough, but this is the only way we can keep alive the prospect of a Dirk Koetter/Scott Bordow reunion in Glendale. Com’ on Jags!
• Seahawks 30, Redskins 13 — Washington is a great story, but the Seahawks are still my dark horse — OK, dark bird — pick to keep us from being overrun by Packers or Cowboys fans around here. The only other worst-case scenario has been taken care of by Al Davis.
• Giants 24, Buccaneers 14 — I have this rule about playoff games: If I can’t remember off the top of my head who your quarterback is, I’m going the other way. Tampa won the worst division of the worst conference in the league. Nice going.
• By the time Bill Parcells is done cleaning house in Miami, the Dolphin logo might get canned in favor of a tuna.
• Bill Belichick has been named the AP’s Coach of the Year. Good luck explaining this to your kids.
• I love the NHL’s outdoor game in Buffalo, but how much more exposure would the thing have gotten if it had been played on a day when there weren’t 56 college football bowl games being played. I’m sure this was an NBC call, since it doesn’t have college football anymore (well, I guess you could count Notre Dame if you’re a purist).
• Now six points out of a playoff spot and with as many road wins as the Red Wings (13), you’d think someone would have taken notice of the plucky Coyotes by now. Right?