Is Jim Crockett running this show?

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State were going to be the BCS playoffs. That was as certain as the outcome of a Ric Flair-Dusty Rhodes wrestling match from the 1980s (held at Park Center in Charlotte, of course). Cause the BCS is about the SEC, the ACC and the Big 10. And the Pac 12 or Big 12 occasionally. Just like the NWA was about the Nature Boy and the American Dream.

The Group of 5 conferences (American, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American) will never get in the playoff. Neither will any of the independents, other than Notre Dame (note BYU, Liberty and Army are a combined 30-4 so far this season). They will always be on the undercard. Never the main event.

At the end of the day, the BCS committee is just like Crockett Promotions. It’s all about selling tickets. So they give us the same matchup(s). Over and over again. We get that Ali-Frazier 3 was a classic, but once in a while, can’t we just give Rocky a shot at Apollo Creed? With all that has gone on, why couldn’t it be this year?

Why not Cincinnati? The Bearcats are 9-0 and outscored their opponents 354-144. Why are they not as deserving of a shot as Notre Dame (or Ohio State)? Now we know all the arguments. They just don’t have the level of talent of Alabama or Clemson, so it would be a blowout. (Meaning no one would watch). Probably. But let’s look at this another way. 

Vegas currently has Bama as a 19.5 point favorite over Notre Dame. Alabama’s line against Florida closed at 16.5, but with a 52-46 final score it probably should have been closer to 11. Currently Vegas has Cincinnati as a 7.5 point underdog to Georgia. So, if you do the math (assuming Georgia and Florida are equal – and we think UGA is better than the Gators), that would put the Tide as about a 20 point favorite over Cincy. Not a lot different than the Notre Dame line. 

If the outcomes are predictably the same, why not give Rocky a shot? We know he lost to Apollo. But we also know that the 1983 N.C. State basketball team beat a more talented Houston Cougar squad to win the NCAA title. And that once in a decade upset is what sports fans remember. 

Let’s break out the dartboard and look at this week’s games (We are writing this column on Sunday so we are picking games on Tuesday and Wednesday that will have already finished by the time you read this…..):

NOTRE DAME VS. ALABAMA: The Irish are in because they are Notre Dame. We’ve already said enough for you to guess our thoughts on this one.…. Alabama 49, Notre Dame 17.

CLEMSON VS. OHIO STATE: Last year in the semi-finals, the Buckeyes lost 29-23 to the Tigers. With only six games under their belt so far, we aren’t sure if this year’s team is as good. We do know what Coach Dabo thinks of Ohio State. He has them rated 11th on his ballot for the top 25. (None of the other coaches had them lower than 6th). This one comes down to how Buckeye QB Justin Fields plays. If he outplays Tiger QB Trevor Lawrence, it will be close. If he doesn’t, the Tigers win easily. Our money is on TL…. Clemson 35, Ohio State 24

MIAMI VS. OKLAHOMA STATE: The big news here is Miami QB D’Eriq King announced this week that he is returning for another season in Coral Gables. That will make the Canes (along with Carolina) favorites in the ACC Coastal. In this one we think it’s a toss-up…. Miami 28, Oklahoma State 27.

WAKE FOREST VS. WISCONSIN: This one comes down to Wisconsin’s defense against Wake Forest’s offense. Deacon QB Sam Hartman gets to play in front of his hometown fans in Charlotte (virtually of course).  An ACC homer pick from us here. Upset Special… Wake Forest 27, Wisconsin 21.

N.C. STATE VS. KENTUCKY: The Wildcats finished the year 4-6 but made it to a bowl in the COVID season with a losing record. With all six of their losses against SEC bowl teams, Vegas has Kentucky favored to win here. The last time the Pack played in the Gator Bowl they got whupped by Texas A&M 52-13. This one won’t be that lopsided, but we don’t see an upset win either. A good season for the Wolfpack ends in a close loss…. Kentucky 24, State 21.

NORTH CAROLINA VS. TEXAS A&M: A win in the Orange Bowl would have equated to a Top 10 start for the Heels next year. A&M thought they should be in the playoff, so there was a chance for the Aggies being flat. But then Carolina’s offense opts out of the game. Dyami Brown, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams all will not play. We don’t think Sam Howell can carry the Heels to victory against a Top 5 BCS team without those three…Texas A&M 35, North Carolina 24.

OTHER WEEKEND BOWL GAMES: Georgia over Cincinnati, Florida over Oklahoma, Iowa over Missouri (cancelled due to COVID), Northwestern over Auburn, Indiana over Ole Miss, TCU over Arkansas, Tulsa over Mississippi State, Texas over Colorado, San Jose St over Ball St, Army over WVU, Iowa State over Oregon.

TOFF TOP TEN:   1.  Alabama, 2. Clemson, 3. Ohio State, 4. Notre Dame 5. Texas A & M, 5. Georgia, 6. Florida, 7. Oklahoma, 8. Iowa State, 9. Cincinnati, 10. North Carolina.   

Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2020.