Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sour Grapes Bowl 

Could we form a Sour Grapes Bowl for the SEC teams with the most complaining fan base? We might need a supercomputer to sort out the rankings on that one, but still, I think it would enhance the college football bowl season.

LSU is apparently still in the title hunt after suffering its second loss in their final game of the regular season. (It was only their 7th game at Death Valley in 2007. They will get eight [?] next year.)

Here's an excerpt from today's T-P story:

The chance LSU may still play in the Bowl Championship Series title game in New Orleans on Jan. 7 is not completely erased.
Additional [SEC title game] motivation for the Tigers may come from what they believe is a slighting by the national polls. LSU is ranked behind Georgia (No. 4), which failed to qualify for the SEC title game, and Virginia Tech (No. 6), which LSU manhandled 48-7.

"Yeah, it kind of bothers you, especially when you see Virginia Tech up there and you had a good game and beat them," senior tailback Jacob Hester said. "But if we win the SEC championship, I feel like we'll be right back up there at the top."
"If you look at this team, we haven't lost a game in regulation," [Coach Les Miles] said.

Late season losses "hurt" more, because a team drops in the polls without much of a chance to make up ground and perhaps jump (inferior but higher ranked) teams who lost earlier in the season. That's pretty much how the polls work. You lose, and you drop. It's better to lose earlier in the season than at the end. The 1996 UF Gators lost their last regular season game, but snuck into the championship picture by winning the SEC title game, and then the Sugar Bowl over FSU. But they only had one loss, and had some unlikely help from the Suckeyes.

LSU believes that if they win out, they deserve to become the first 2 loss team to be crowned National Champions, because their two losses were in overtime. They played a tough schedule, see, and fought through injuries (without any national sympathy), and their two losses were very close contests.

And if everything doesn't break LSU's way this year, and if perhaps they end up with a strong top-5 finish when they actually believe they're the best team in the country despite a couple of close losses... well, as a longtime FSU fan I have no sympathy for people who can't handle unfavorable, close-but-not-quite outcomes without a little dignity.

If everything doesn't break LSU's way this year (and they don't become the first two loss team in college football history to become National Champs) I guess we'll get another year's worth of bitching about how the media is biased against the SEC, and doesn't give LSU proper credit, and the polls are biased, and the refs are biased, and the SEC championship is the only thing that really matters because the conference is too tough... etc. etc. This perpetual victimhood and excuse-making is all-too-rampant in the SEC (which is emphasizing "character" this year). They should save the complaints for the Sour Grapes Bowl, which might have a cathartic effect, and the rest of us wouldn't have to endure it... day in, day out.


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Les Miles: "We should be undefeated. It's just the... you know... overtime rules and all that."

Speaking only as a fan here. Getting the Tigers a (quite honestly undeserved) title shot somehow would be fine with me since it keeps the dream alive to watch LSU become the first school to win a national championship AND fire the coach in the same season which would be indescribably awesome.

By Blogger jeffrey, at 4:22 PM  

Your penchant for the twisted is alive and well.

By Blogger oyster, at 5:07 PM  

Oh, hell, you know, it's just Jeffrey and all that.

By Blogger Leigh C., at 5:47 PM  

We'll see if the prediction that I made at the end of the post doesn't come true, assuming Miles goes to Michigan. The ESPN made excuses for losses by other highly-ranked teams, but not for LSU. But we'll get an LSU fans drove him off with their unrealistic expectations slant.

LSU should be out of the hunt, so the lack of national sympathy is now irrelevant, except for what I expect to come. It mattered in October, when LSU, Oregon and USC were all one loss teams and the ESPN analysts were making the injury excue for those teams' one loss, but not LSU's.

No SEC team has caught the break that FSU got in 1993 since Bryant coached BAMA, BTW. And he only got a co-champioship as a make-up for earlier slights. But that's beside the point, I stand by main prediction.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 6:01 PM  

LSU had 7 home games, well multiple exclamation point on that Oyster. Seven or more home games seems to be the norm for BCS top 25 teams. I stopped checking at 15, because it is kind of a big political week, but that was an irrelevant fact. Only Missouri and USC had fewer, and Missouri was the visitor in a game in St. Louis. They also played Kansas in Kansas City, Missouri -- don't know if that's traditional.

I was pissed at LSU's schedule makers when I saw that the next two year's they're scheduling patsies instead a home-home series against a good opponent. If they had done that this year, they'd have lost one of their best arguments for being the top one-loss team earlier this this year.

If the "seven home games" is out-of-context meaningless spin (sorry, but it is), quoting players who are trying to get fired up, or else are listening to their coach's motivational speech isn't much better. I know it's hard to find obnoxious fans quoted in the paper, but that's the kind of thing every coach tells his players.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 7:02 PM  

Oyster, this is your best sports post ever.

By Anonymous bigshot, at 7:44 PM  

Will Hawaii be invited to join "The Sour Grapes Bowl"?

We can even have an all time Sour Grapes classification. It will include every team in every major conference that came out second place in that conference, but wasn't ranked higher than 4 in the final polls of the college football season. All those guys and the 1998 Tulane Green Wave (not sure about the year, there).

By Anonymous ricky p., at 9:35 PM  

Hawaii is the likely candidate to face LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Which is another thing I am hoping for just so I can hear the bitching and moaning from the tourism moguls who seem to be operating under the illusion that this game exists solely for their benefit.

By Blogger jeffrey, at 10:39 PM  

The reason I stress the 7 games is because FSU went the entire 1990's without finishing lower than number 4 in the AP poll, and yet they never played more than 6 home games in a season. In fact, in five different seasons during the nineties, FSU played only FIVE home games (including the championship year in 1993, where they played 5 at home and 7 on the road).

Such disadvantageous scheduling is unthinkable nowadays in the SEC. Let me know the next time an SEC school plays 5 home games in a season and finishes in the top four, much less wins the national championship. And if that were ever to occur, I'd certainly give that team a ton of credit, and wouldn't take potshots about why their championship should be attributed to a lucky "break".

If 1993 was purely a sympathy vote for Bowden, why did all the computer rankings also have FSU number one that year?


Quite simply, it's a lot easier to win at home. For example: FSU is 7-2 all time against LSU, and I think only one of those games was played in Tallahassee.

By Blogger oyster, at 10:44 PM  

I think you're wrong. I assume that first game at a neutral site was the kickoff classic or something, because 11 games was the norm back then. I wasn't one of those SEC fans that thought FSU joined the ACC because it was afraid to compete in the SEC because I knew that ACC basketball revenue was greater than SEC football revenue. Still, it joined a league of football pansies, but I digress. In the eighties and most of the nineties, the norm was 11 games half at home, half on the road -- with some exceptions. I could be wrong about when the teams in the power conferences started playing so few road games, but now it's the norm. Look at the schedules of this year's BCS top 25. If a political commentator threw out something like that 7 game stat with no context and an obvious implication about it being unusual, you'd be all over it.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 11:38 PM  

Good catch. In 93 it was 6 home games and 6 road games for the Noles, not 5 and 7, as I boasted. Warchant.com's database had a rare error, there.

I'm glad you weren't one of those SEC fans that thought FSU was scared. There's never been any evidence that FSU ducked anyone, ever, during the Bowden era. In fact, most of the nonconference patsies FSU scheduled in recent years was due to teams like Nebraska or Auburn dropping out of the bargain. FSU's never dropped out of a scheduling agreement during the Bowden era to my knowledge-- certainly not to a good team.

I thought FSU should've remained a quasi-independent, myself. Because so-called superconferences where every team doesn't play every other team every year are lame in my opinion. Having an easy or hard "conference schedule" just doesn't seem natural to me.

Btw, the current membership of the "pansy league" boasts nine national championships since 1980, to the SEC's six. But I digress.

By Blogger oyster, at 12:24 AM  

Miami won its championships when it was independent or in the Big East. I said the ACC was a pansy league, in football, when FSU joined it.

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 12:47 AM  

"LSU believes that if they win out, they deserve to become the first 2 loss team to be crowned National Champions, because their two losses were in overtime."

Wrong, only if Mizzou and WV lose would the above quote be correct.

By the way, you're in Louisiana now, not Florida, so fuck off.

By Anonymous el stevo, at 10:42 AM  

Sorry, I got here late.

Blame it on the Jews!

By Blogger Drive-By Blogger, at 4:50 PM  

Ohhh, yeah. It's all 'cause Chanukah is earlier than Christmas this year.

By Blogger Leigh C., at 5:34 PM  

I do find it rather silly that Georgia is ranked higher than both teams playing in the SEC Championship Game. But there is a simple answer why LSU is in the position they are.... they lost two games that they should have won. Period.

By Anonymous Daniel Z., at 8:59 AM  

we're in.

By Anonymous el stevo, at 7:57 PM