I hope I am wrong about this. On the morning of the big game I am seeing all of the earmarks of a blow out. The first clue I get is when certain people in the media are straining real hard to sell us this game. In spite of all the ballyhoo, tonight's game may not even be between the two best teams. I know, I know, it is heresy to say so. Auburn has at times perhaps been the best team in the land. At other times it was Oregon. Right now for all we know it may be TCU. But timing is everything and without a playoff system tonight's game is all we've got.
Here is the problem. With a 36 day layoff, or whatever monstrous amount of time it has been, either one or both of these teams is a mere shell of its former self. When Ohio State beat Arkansas they were not playing the same Arkansas that was matching Auburn play for play up until a key injury put the game away. The dropped passes and stupid penalties of a rusty Arkansas team doomed them from the start. Sitting around waiting for a bowl game can hurt the timing of some teams more than others. Oregon's offense is especially susceptible to this. Auburn is more like Ohio State, having a gifted quarterback who can make things happen even on a busted play.
Let me offer this disclaimer one more time. Tonight's game may be like the classic Southern Cal vs. Texas national championship game of a few years ago. If so, I will happily eat my words. Nothing would thrill me more.
But here is what I fear. I fear yet one more year in which we end up not quite sure that the right teams played each other, or at the very least, that they did not play each other at the right time. Answer this question honestly to yourself. How many bowl games this year did you actually consider good games? Most were the kind of games that had they occurred during the regular season you would have turned them off and gone out and walked the dog. Only because someone tells us these are bowl games and therefore they are important do we bother to watch at all.
So when the carnival barker starts hawking a game like it is the super tonic for hair loss I instinctively put my hand in my back pocket to see if my wallet is still there. Somebody is selling us something and, this morning at least, I am not buying.