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Let's All Agree Not To Wake Up Beano Cooke And Tell Him About South Florida, M'kay?

South Florida is worse than the Nazis.

So seems to be the thinking of many
college football pundits who feel the current state of parity in the rankings is the death knell of the sport and of our very existence. Reading the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke this morning (which is not something I can normally stomach doing), it really drove home the fact that most college football fans, and especially those in the "mature" age bracket, really hate change.

This college football season, I really miss college football.

Are you kidding me? Every BCS conference is in the midst of a war of attrition, with at least 3-4 teams battling for the conference title. We've seen three monumental upsets that shook the sport (Appalachian State, Stanford, Syracuse). Traditional powers (LSU) are mixing it up with brash newcomers (USF) and multiple programs making "the leap" (BC, Kentucky, South Carolina).

But because Notre Dame isn't ranked, it's a disaster???

If you've ever wondered why we still continue to rely on out-dated and criminally-biased voter polling, frustrating bowl games that don't do anything to determine a true champion half the time and a BCS system so horribly flawed the mere mention of it to sports fan elicits laughs at best and shouting matches more often than not...look not further than the college football pundits of America.

Billy P, Bob Davie, Beano Cook, Jimmy Johnson, Kirk Herbstreit...the list goes on and on. They all have in common this desperate notion that college football is broken and needs to be fixed. That South Florida is ruining the integrity of the game by being better than Nebraska. That it's South Florida's fault LSU couldn't beat Kentucky. They are literally spending dozens of man-hours proving to you and everyone they know that this is a travesty of justice and they will not rest until the country is inundated with the sounds of the Notre Dame fight song and images of FSU fans doing the chop.

I haven't listened to Colin Cowherd recently but I'm sure he must be on the verge of a mental breakdown looking at the top ten.

Oh, and if you didn't know, this is all Boise State's fault. Quite possibly the dumbest thing I've read in a long time, Plaschke goes to try and prove his point by claiming that Boise State's Fiesta Bowl victory was nowhere near as exciting as LSU's win over Notre Dame in the Sugar.

Boise State's win over Oklahoma last winter was wonderful, but it couldn't compare to the shock of Florida's stomping over Ohio State, and the awe of LSU's crushing of Notre Dame.

Bill, I will give you the national title game. But are you seriously, honestly, truthfully going to sit there and tell me that 25 years from now, people will be talking about the 2007 Sugar Bowl where a very good LSU team defeated an overrated Notre Dame team in a blowout? Or do you think they might still be talking about the Fiesta Bowl which featured one of the most exciting finishes in the college football history? Do you even remember the score from the Sugar Bowl? Does anyone?

What is it about college football that makes us hate underdogs? Any other sport, we love them. Hell, college basketball's tournament is based on the idea of underdogs beating the traditional powers, at least at first. But when it comes to college football, if it ain't USC or Miami or Oklahoma, it ain't right. And shame on a school like South Florida for trying.

I suppose if it were up to the "experts," there would be about 20 teams in college football. And they'd all just played each other every week. And then no matter who wins or losses, whoever the voters decided in the pre-season was the two best teams will probably end up playing for the national title anyway.

Oh, and for the record, here's one more swipe by Plaschke against USF, this time based on their opponents:

And how can anyone feel passion for a school called South Florida that isn't actually located in south Florida, a No. 2-ranked team that has played half of its season like a Division II team, with wins against Elon, Florida Atlantic and Central Florida?

Yeah, because Ohio State (Youngstown St, Akron, Kent St), Texas (UCF, Arkansas State), Miami (FIU, Marshall), Michigan (App St, Eastern Michigan), Oklahoma (North Texas, Utah State) and LSU (Middle Tennessee, Tulane) would never stoop to playing teams outside of their stature. Damn you South Florida and your cheating ways!!!

ANYway, all of this was a lead-in to tonight's game between South Florida and Rutgers. The shame of all of this is that South Florida could lose this game and that wouldn't be such a horrible thing in the long run. But never before have I seen a team so inundated with hateful and spiteful wishes to lose by the national media. There are reporters like Plaschke and "experts" like Herbstreit who are salivating at the thought of the Bulls losing so they can puff out their chests and claim all is right with the world. As if USF needs any more pressure...

The best thing that could have happened to Rutgers in the past few weeks was losing twice and dropping out of the rankings. They will be granted no more courtesies and if they want back in the rankings, they're going to have to earn it. I'm sure they're a hungrier football team now than they were three weeks ago.

If recent history is an example, Rutgers will win this game. Bigtime Big East games seem to go to the underdog or the team that needs the win more the last two seasons but I think South Florida may just buck the trend here. The Bulls haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 14 games (not since Ray Rice last season) and their defense has stepped up tremendously. It's gonna be a dogfight for sure but in the end, I think South Florida eeks it out 30-28.

That won't be good enough for most of the college football world. Flash in the pan, lucky, long as they aren't the Michigan Wolverines or the Nebraska Cornhuskers it won't be good enough. Least not for a few years. Remember when Virginia Tech came out of nowhere to play for the national title against FSU? They were in a similar position as the ruffian newcomers crashing the party. Now they're considered the old guard. It doesn't take long to make that leap...

But it's a helluva initiation process.