As if the Southeastern Conference needed any more reason to influence college football‘s postseason, the SEC is adding another bowl partner. This one wasn’t created out of thin air like the Champions Bowl though, it’s a real, live, Louisiana gambling experience with an excuse to watch a football game.
The Independence Bowl, held in Shreveport, will match the SEC against the ACC in a battle of mega-titans who probably finish the regular season with seven or eight wins. The game itself won’t engender much interest but rest assured one-half of the fan base intends to claim their appearance had a direct correlation on a possible seventh consecutive national championship for their conference. As for the record number of bowl tie-in’s, that’s a result of SEC expansion to fourteen teams. Ten bowl partners, thirty five bowls overall, what the hell is Mike Slive doing batting .285?
Duke football doesn’t get a ton of run in these parts but that’s not for a lack of respect for David Cutcliffe‘s program. I dug the guy at Tennessee, thought he should have been handed the Volunteers head job twice and his work with Peyton and Eli Manning showed how gifted he was as a teacher of quarterbacks. But this, this is perhaps the Blue Devils’ finest hour.
Having not played high school football, I’m not sure Cougar’s son finishes fall camp. But his boxing hands mean he won’t quit for fear of physical punishment. Were I in Cutcliffe’s shoes, it’d give me a reason to play Jack & Diane on repeat every Tuesday at September practices. I’d also resort to calling “Hud” by his name whenever possible because come on, his name’s Hud. That’s awesome. It’s not Duke making a bowl game awesome, however since that’s unlikely, you accept what college football gives you.
Urban Meyer‘s discipline record at Florida had many questioning his treatment of higher-profile players when Gators were arrested. His initial test in Columbus seems to have provoked a more stern embodiment of the head coach. Jake Stoneburner, tight end and Jack Mewhort, offensive tackle, earned indefinite suspensions after both obstructed official business near the golf course where the Memorial Tournament occurred. Both were penciled-in as starters this fall and as long as the charges remain misdemeanors, getting their jobs back isn’t impossible. But Meyer, who presided over an era at Florida where 30-plus players found themselves in handcuffs, knows he can’t allow the same leniency at Ohio State. For the time being, it’s his way or the highway. Once the Buckeyes start winning, make sure you’re a starter if the police come calling.
The Big Ten conference call produced a variety of reactions, none more vitriolic than their ranking of postseason preferences. The decaying corpses that moonlight as campus presidents prefer the 1. BCS status quo, 2. Plus-One system and 3. Four-team playoff. They are open to the four-team option because that’s the one heavily favored and it’s too late to turn back now. The posturing, that’s all it is, keeps the Big Ten from agreeing with anything the SEC supports and by proxy, fulfills some by-law likely written in 1798. Strangely enough, commissioner Jim Delany remarked toward the end of his comments that he was in favor of the “best four teams” earning places in a Final Four. What? Those thoughts aren’t in line with his bosses but perhaps they’re the furthest the Big Ten can go in extending an olive branch to the SEC in this negotiation by media. While four conference champions is probably off the table, three and one wild card seems more and more inevitable as the process of overhauling college football concludes.