FedEx BCS National Championship Game (8 ET, FOX) After 33 bowl games, several major holidays, and the saturated fat content of more double chocolate cookies than you'd probably care to remember, the biggest day of the college football year is almost upon us. Seems kinda anticlimactic, don't it? I don't know about you, but a part of me almost seems to care less about the matchup between Oklahoma and Florida in Thursday's BCS National Title game. Sure, there's the intrigue with Oklahoma's key injuries, and yes, there is the potential storyline over what some are already calling a "split" national title, but as I look at a game like this I tend to wonder if it'll really live up to its billing.
For those of you who listened to the show last night (and if you did not, you can catch it here) you know that I brought up my reservations on this game in a fairly incoherent manner. I apologize for that, but with the excess of medication I've been taking for an untimely viral infection in my sinus cavity I've been somewhat "loopy" the past few days. In a nutshell though my feelings boil down to this; will this game be nothing more than a continuation of what we've seen the past two seasons with an SEC team taking a non-SEC team to the woodshed? Or can "Big Game Bobby" Stoops and his Sooners, already a somewhat controversial pick to even be in this game, overcome a Florida team which was operating with what can only be described as scary precision by year's end?
I bring up this question - our final in our series of bowl previews - because frankly I don't like the growing perception that this game is becoming irrelevant. That's right I said it, irrelevant. Between those who constantly push the idea of SEC domination and those who assert that a playoff is the only way to go it increasingly feels like the BCS National Championship does not matter. And the fact that we've seen SEC teams dominate non-SEC teams (albeit the same Big 10 team) the last two years, coupled with the fact that the Sooners have lost their last two attempts at a BCS National Title, does little to ease my anxiety. I'm not going to pretend to be unbiased in my hope for this game.
I think Tim Tebow is the greatest thing ever but for as much as I like the guy I want Oklahoma to win thursday, or at the very least play competitively. I've just seen too much in the breakdown of competitive parody in each and every pro sport to want it any other way, and with a Florida win tonight my fear is that we'll get back to this idea that anyone outside of the SEC (with the exception of USC) really does not matter when it comes to contending for a national title. Maybe this makes me a little paranoid, maybe this makes me slightly regionalistic in my outlook, but I actually like our system as it is, and frankly I don't want it to change.
But for that to happen we need good title games. We need the back-and-forth slugfest, the edge of your seat realization for the finale of four months of anticipation, debate, and controversy. In a nutshell we need the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, and we shouldn't be afraid to say so. So as I watch the game Thursday I'll be hopeful -cautiously so, but hopeful - that what I am viewing will one day be looked upon as a classic. Naive? Maybe. But for college football's greatest stage, should we really expect anything else?