UCF-KnightsA few random observations about college football leading up to the final week:

I have been a critic of the uniform-of-the-week phenomenon in college football. What really gives me fits, though, is when the “alternate” uniform looks absolutely awesome. Or at least better than the “regular” one. A case and point, UCF’s regular uniform is nothing to brag about. Their alternate helmet, though, looks really cool The black and gold contrast is remarkably better than the gold-and-white. A couple years back, ECU adopted their alternate helmet on a permanent basis. UCF should do the same. Also, North Carolina State’s red helmet works a lot better than its white one, though I cannot put my finger on why, precisely, that is the case.

Speaking of UCF. It’s interesting to me that ESPN refuses their honor to be called UCF. Unless there is a reason not to, universities typically do get to be called what they want. UNC-Charlotte decided to go by Charlotte and has been called Charlotte ever since. The University of Central Florida decided some time back that it should be referred to as UCF on a permanent basis the same way that UCLA is called UCLA and Texas Christian University is called TCU and not Texas Christian. For whatever reason, ESPN continues to call them Central Florida in the long-hand. I suspect this is related to their rivalry with South Florida, which goes by USF and South Florida. Perhaps ESPN refuses to shift gears on Florida directionals.

In Louisiana, the battle goes on between Louisiana-Lafayette and the other universities in the state. Louisiana-Lafayette desperately wants to be called Louisiana and nobody else (Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, LSU, and Tulane) wants this for one reason or another. Legally barred from referring to themselves as the University of Louisiana (without the city modifier), they’re trying to be Louisiana the same way that UCF wants to be UCF for athletic purposes. The difference between watching a game run by ULL’s TV production network (RCN) and ESPN is remarkable. In the case of the former, you never hear the word Lafayette unless they are referring to where the game is being played.

Now, on to the stuff that people actually care about…

The big question is whether or not the SEC champion, either Auburn or Missouri, each with one loss, will leapfrog the undefeated Ohio State team to play in the national championship game against Florida State, assuming that Florida State wins. This, of course, assumes that Ohio State wins. I think that underestimates Michigan State, whom the networks are pretty much rooting against at this point.

My view is that the Big Ten is a ridiculously weak conference and has been for some time. When I ran my analysis a few years back, they were actually weaker than the Big East and even the Mountain West Conference by a few of my 14 metrics. And who can forget Ohio State getting embarrassed two years in a row by SEC teams. But you know what? I don’t really care. Ohio State wins, Ohio State should be in.

This is in contrast to my view in time’s past. The SEC burned up my good will when they got the SEC-only championship game a couple years back. I believed, and believe, that the SEC is the best conference in college football, but that only takes you so far. They get the tie-breaker, but they don’t leapfrog other major conferences. Including the Big Ten. With the possible exception of Florida, every team in the SEC is there because they want to be there. Every one of them except possibly Kentucky or Mississippi State could, probably, snag an immediate invite to the Big 12 or ACC if they were to ask. But they want to be in the SEC because it’s the best conference there is. Well, that has its cost.

Relatedly: Complain all you want about Boise State’s weak schedule, but they are in the best conference that will have them. Provided that they are scheduling the best games they can, penalizing BSU for their schedule overlooks the fact that they want to play a tougher schedule (and indeed signed on to a conference across the country to try to make it happen). On the other hand, Northern Illinois got their shot last year and did not do well. It is my hope that Bowling Green puts an end to their repeat. This is partly because I would like to avoid another Kiddie Table Bowl like the year they matched TCU and BSU.

In the unlikely event that FSU and Ohio State both lose, an Alabama vs Missouri championship game becomes someone likely because SEC and because nobody respects Michigan State. I can live with that easier than I can live with 2011 because at least those two teams didn’t play one another in the regular season. Even so, I must confess I am getting a kick out of the deck being stacked against the SEC to continue their streak as an antidote to the previous stacking in favor of. Any SEC school that has a problem with that should give the Big 12 or ACC a call. Yet I still can’t bring myself to root for Ohio State, so in effect I suppose I am rooting for either Auburn’s or Missouri’s inclusion.

After this year, of course, the question of “which two teams?” should play for the title is replaced by the question of “which four teams?” should. Which will prove every bit as successful at avoiding controversy of ties as would be moving first base to 89 feet instead of 90. One can imagine that with the current lot of teams, the SEC would be arguing that the four playoff teams should include Alabama, Auburn, and Missouri. Because as we know, the SEC is such a bulletproof conference that two mediocre Big 12 teams that tried to play in it (let’s say, hypothetically, Texas A&M and Missouri) would get their clocks cleaned week in and week out. (Yeah, that’s me still being bitter about 2011.)


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11 Responses to As CFB 2013 Comes To A Close…

  1. Peter says:

    UCF doesn’t have much meaning, if that makes any sense. It’s more like a jumble of initials. UCLA* and TCU have decades of use on their sides and their initials seem more like real names. If that makes any sense. I see nothing wrong with “Central Florida.”
    Calling Louisiana-Lafayette just plain Louisiana is way too confusing. Everyone will think it’s just a different same for LSU.

    * = there is no truth to the rumor that UCLA actually stands for University of Caucasians Lost among Asians.

    • trumwill says:

      I don’t think that Louisiana would be confused with LSU, though LSU does make that argument. Ohio gets to be Ohio, even though Ohio State is the big dog of the state.

      UAB gets the initials, though (they’re almost never referred to as Alabama-Birmingham). I think you may be on to something with there being nothing wrong with Central Florida (not as clunky as Alabama-Birmingham. I think they don’t like it because of it being directional. I’m not sure why, but I understand the direction being more of a problem with Central or Middle (Tennessee) than North (Texas), South (Florida), or East (Carolina).

      Of course, I think UCF should have gone with the name University of Orlando. I think a lot of Florida schools should be named differently (FIU should be Miami State, FAU should be East Florida). FIU is another one. They don’t want to be “Florida International” but get called that anyway.

      • Peter says:

        If any Florida university urgently needs renaming it’s South Florida. Tampa is obviously not in the southern part of the Sunshine State, and in any other context the term “South Florida” has a very specific meaning (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties).

      • Peter says:

        I think UCF should have gone with the name University of Orlando

        BAD choice. Orlando University might be okay. But University of Orlando, or for that matter University of [any city name], has been tainted beyond redemption thanks to the University of Phoenix.

        • trumwill says:

          I disagree. Partly because I think that’s the name that they should have taken in 1978, so they’d have had time to establish themselves. But even now, I think there are enough other University of City cases for it to work: University of Miami, University of Louisville, University of Cincinnati, University of Houston, University of Memphis. I’d definitely take University of [City] over [City] University (over [City] State University). It’s also a case where having an athletics program would prove to be a huge benefit. People would think of the Orlando Knights, rather than the University of Phoenix.

          (The same could be said of Florida International and Florida Atlantic, the former sounding like an airport and the latter like an airline, except that they only started their football programs pretty recently.)

  2. Kirk says:

    I’m surprised college teams wear more than one helmet. It’s something the NFL has banned.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9690232/buccaneers-throwback-helmets-deemed-unsafe-wear

  3. superdestroyer says:

    What is also amazing is UCF is the second largest university in the U.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_university_campuses_by_enrollment#2012.E2.80.932013_enrollment

    For a school with 60k students, it cannot get 40k people to show up to a home football game. The Thursday night game where they locked in a BCS Bowl game was pathetic.

    I would suspect that most of the students at UCF who grew up as college football fans were fans of UF or FSU well before enrolling at UCF. I would suspect that more UCF students would claim to be fans of Florida than of their own school.

    UCF is the type of school that should drop its sports program rather than try to compete with the big time schools.

    • trumwill says:

      When I think of the programs that might ought to reconsider their football program, UCF is pretty low on the list. Well, not on it, really. A lot more people have heard of UCF than had heard of them a few years ago. Without a football program, they’re… Georgia State University.

      Georgia State has a football program now, of course. They’d be much higher on the list of schools that don’t. On the other hand, it depends on what progress they make. On the other hand, compare their success to that of UTSA and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

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