Why isn’t tonight’s college football national championship game between Florida State and Auburn getting more buzz. It is, after all, the right match-up. The BCS did get this one right, if not much of anything else over the years. Still, there’s not much being said about this game. Maybe I missed the hoopla, but I don’t think so. And here are some reasons why this game doesn’t seem to be striking a chord with America, if I can speak for America.
1) It’s being deluged by the NFL playoffs. Most sports are deluged by the NFL these days and college football is no different.
2) There has been no build-up. FSU and Auburn were determined to be the teams in the national championship game weeks ago. Without a playoff system, there are no new story lines. We’ve been forced (at least those of you who bothered watching) to try and muster some enthusiasm for bowl games, but good luck with that. Outside of a couple, can anybody even remember these bowls?
3) Auburn’s win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl was probably the most dramatic moment of the college football season. Florida State? The Seminoles don’t have a dramatic moment. This game has anti-climax written all over it. Nothing can top Auburn-Alabama, especially with no playoff system to prop up the sport. How great would it have been for Michigan State, Oklahoma, Central Florida and Clemson (OK, maybe not Central Florida or Clemson) to have had another game on the table after their BCS wins. Instead, their seasons were over.
Fortunately, next season, there will be a four-team playoff to determine college football’s national champion. You’ll see and hear a lot more hype for that set-up. And someday the powers that be in college football will understand that an eight-team playoff is the way to go. It has been for a long time. Sometimes it just takes us some time to learn, apparently.
* Wait, I thought Texas was going to hire Nick Saban as its new football coach. Or Jim Harbaugh. For a minute there, I thought the Longhorns were chasing Bear Bryant and Vince Lombardi. Instead, UT settled on Charlie Strong, hardly a household name. Which goes to show you, not everything is bigger in Texas. That doesn’t mean Strong can’t succeed in Austin. He very well might. But he’s not a slam-dunk hire and the way the Texas folks were talking, I thought they only did slam dunks.
* The Chiefs. I really don’t have anything new to say about the Chiefs. I do know that I felt bad for Chiefs fans Saturday and that might be a first. On the bright side, Alex Smith was more than anyone could have hoped for in his first season. And if Jamaal Charles stays on the field against Indianapolis, the Chiefs surely nail down that game. Right? But there’s still a lot of work to be done in Kansas City, as the team’s 2-6 record to close the season indicates. Chiefs fans didn’t want to hear the naysayers question their schedule during the team’s 9-0 start. Well, the naysayers turned out to have a point.
* I think San Diego could get Denver again this weekend. And the San Francisco-Carolina game will be fascinating, since it’s being played in Carolina. I like Seattle to beat New Orleans again, though it won’t be as easy as the first time. And Andrew Luck and the Colts are a complete mystery to me. Indy is the most unpredictable team left in the playoffs. I can’t imagine the Colts would go to New England and knock off the Patriots, but I wouldn’t put it past them.
* As well as the Shockers are playing, it’s interesting that sophomore guard Ron Baker is slumping. After averaging 16.1 points in his first seven games, Baker is averaging only 9.7 points in the Shockers’ last eight games. And his shooting has taken a stark downtown, from 55.3 percent in the first seven to 31.5 percent in the last eight. Baker surely will get it going again. And imagine what Wichita State would be with Baker, Fred VanVleet and Cleanthony Early all clicking offensively.