The Wiz Of Odds: It's all over but the crying

Dec 1, 2009 |
The Wiz Of Odds: It's all over but the crying

Jay Christensen covered college football, among other sports, for the Los Angeles Times and produces the popular college football blog TheWizofOdds.com.

The college football season is effectively over. The Florida Gators are going to defend their Bowl Championship Series title and stamp themselves as not only the team of the decade, but one of the greatest in the history of the game.

Forget the hype surrounding Saturday's Southeastern Conference title game. Alabama isn't in Florida's class, and Texas will be an even bigger pushover for the Gators in the BCS title game.

I'm here to tell you to bet Florida and give the points the rest of the way. You'll be laughing all the way to the bank. Remember me when you're filling out that deposit slip.

It’s not that the Gators have upped their level of play this season. Simply, the rest of the college football world has regressed.

One by one, big-name contenders have been reduced to pretenders. Oklahoma, which lost last year's BCS title game to Florida, was No. 3 in the Associated Press preseason poll. But the Sooners had only 29 combined starts returning in the offensive line and it took less than a half for Sam Bradford to get hurt. A few weeks later, Bradford was done for the season and so were the Sooners, who at 7-5 have their worst team in a decade.

USC was No. 4 in the AP poll, simply because everybody thought the Trojans would be the Trojans. Forget about a defense that had to be rebuilt, this was a program that only had to reload.

In the middle of fall camp came the curious decision by Pete Carroll to start Matt Barkley, a freshman, at quarterback.

By midseason, the cracks were showing. Oregon took advantage by scoring 47 on USC and two weeks later Stanford put up a jaw-dropping 55, with Barkley throwing gasoline on the fire with four turnovers.

Ohio State was No. 6, but the athletic Terrelle Pryor was out of position as a starting quarterback. His inability to be a consistent threat as a passer doomed the Buckeyes in losses to USC and Purdue.

Virginia Tech, at No. 7, was thought to be the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hokies, knocked woozy in Week 1 by Alabama, failed to advance to ACC title game. The teams that did— Clemson and Georgia Tech — were slapped around last week by mediocre SEC teams. That tells you something about the quality of the ACC.

Mississippi? The Rebels were No. 8 before being exposed as a fraud by South Carolina in Week 3. They stand 8-4 after last Saturday’s embarrassing loss to Mississippi State. Two of the victories have come against Division I-AA teams.

We were told that Oklahoma State, at No. 9, was going to make the Big 12 South a three-team race. Then Houston visited Stillwater in Week 2 and stunned the Cowboys. As for the three-team race stuff, Oklahoma State lost by a combined 54 points to Texas and Oklahoma.

It could be argued that Penn State's most notable victory came in Week 2 against Temple. It failed to defeat a team of merit in the awful Big Ten and has been left begging for BCS crumbs.

Texas Christian and Boise State don't figure in this discussion because each plays in a non-BCS conference. Sorry, but those are the corrupt rules of the BCS.

Florida, meanwhile, kept plugging along, needing only a little help from SEC referees to get past stubborn Arkansas.

The Gators are slightly better on defense, not as good on offense and about the same on special teams when compared to the 2008 squad. Add Tim Tebow, the greatest player in the history of the SEC, and this team is simply unbeatable.

Two challenges remain in Alabama a


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