Hope everybody had a Happy New Year. We’re heading towards the home stretch in the bowl season with the BCS championship game set for Thursday night. So what have we learned?
1. The SEC is what everybody thought it was. It became apparent after the first month of the season that the SEC had two great teams (Alabama, Florida), two teams that were pretty good (LSU, Ole Miss) but lacking in several areas, and a bunch of teams that were, by SEC standards, just okay. The bowl season has reflected that.
There have been some good wins (Florida over Cincinnati, Ole Miss over Oklahoma State, Georgia over Texas A&M, Auburn over Northwestern) and some really bad losses (Tennessee getting dominated by Virginia Tech, South Carolina not even showing up against Connecticut, and LSU once again having clock management issues in losing to Penn State). Arkansas, we have to say, was fortunate to beat East Carolina when the Pirates missed three field goals in the final 1:08 and overtime.
But if Alabama beats Texas on Thursday night the SEC will win its fourth straight BCS national championship. That trumps everything else.
2. Rich Brooks has done a great job at Kentucky: Kentucky coach Rich Brooks has called an 11 a.m. press conference today to announce his future plans. I hope he doesn’t retire because he’s one of the truly good guys in coaching. But what he has done at Kentucky has been remarkable. Three years into his run at Kentucky there was tremendous pressure to let Brooks go. But athletics director Mitch Barnhart and President Lee Todd stuck with the former Oregon head coach and Falcons assistant. They have been rewarded with bunch of “firsts” in the school’s history (four straight bowl trips) and some of the biggest moments (UK’s home win over No. 1 LSU in 2007).
If Brooks steps down today, offensive coordinator Joker Phillips takes over as head coach.
3. I’m looking forward to tonight’s the Fiesta Bowl: I lot of people have trashed the TCU-Boise State game because it didn’t create a David vs. Goliath matchup. And I’ll admit I would have rather seen TCU against Florida instead of against coach-less Cincinnati.
But this has a chance to be a very good game. I like TCU because I think the Horned Frogs are one of the best teams I saw all year. They have the nation’s No. 1 defense (233.25 ypg) and a defensive end (Jerry Hughes) who is simply unblockable. I just don’t think that Boise’s offense, led by QB Kellen Moore, is going to have time to breathe.
Here’s a question: If Texas knocks of No. 1 Alabama on Thursday and TCU destroys Boise tonight, do you think TCU will get some No. 1 votes in the final Associated Press media poll?
4. I’m not going to bet against Tim Tebow. On New Year’s Day I heard the experts tell us a million different reasons why the Florida quarterback will not make it in the NFL. I understand all the throwing motion stuff. I understand that the defensive backs are so good and that the passing windows for a quarterback in that league are microscopic. I know all the technical reasons why Tebow is not going to be a professional quarterback. But after watching him play for four years, are you going to bet against this guy?
5. Urban Meyer needs to make his plans, at least part of them, public: The Florida coach is going meet with his staff and school officials and decide what role, if any, he should play with the program during his extended leave of absence. While he doesn’t owe the public or the media all of the details of that plan, it would spare him some aggravation to at least share the outline of what he plans to do. According the various published reports, Florida has 20 verbal commitments and the Gators hope to hold that class together until national signing day. In the absence of any specific information, speculation fills the vacuum. Speculation caused this story to get out of control in the first place.
Please follow me on Twitter: