West Virginia V. Missouri: Good for College Football

by : Jeff Jackson

There is still a week left in both the seasons of Missouri and West Virginia and in that week Missouri has to beat a strong Oklahoma team and West Virginia has to avoid looking past Pitt. But if both teams win on Saturday they will finish #1 & #2 in the polls and the match-up for the national title would be good for college football much to the dismay of fans of others schools like Ohio State, et al who are bemoaning how they should be in the national title game even after losses to unranked opponents throughout the season and other pitfalls.

Why would WVU facing Mizzou be good? Because maybe, just maybe, it will get some of the people holding up an actual playoff system for the national title off the dime.

Every year I hear bitching and moaning from teams out of the national title hunt complaining about how they should be considered. But this year the pitch is fevered, fed by the vast number of discontented fans of other legitimate title contenders from OSU, LSU, USC to Kansas just to name a few.

Mizzou (then #4) beats Kansas (then #2) and Missouri moves to #1 while Kansas fans decry a drop to fifth and no hope at all of a national title? Hey, I've never liked the way that the voters punish a quality team for playing and loosing to another quality team. But it's not like the drop is that unfathomable and Kansas should be lower than Mizzou. What ticks Kansas fans off is that they are now behind the 10-2 Bulldogs of Georgia who weren't even "good enough" in their mind to make their conference title game.

Ok, maybe. Yes, the Bulldogs have two losses. One was to the Gamecocks who are always eager to play anyone in the nation and one tough team every year. The other was to then unranked, but now #14 Tennessee. They beat then #16 Alabama, then #11 Florida, then #18 Auburn, and then #23 Kentucky. They've earned that #4 ranking no matter what you believe.

LSU fans are tweaked because after loosing to Arkansas they fell from first to seventh behind Ohio State, Georgia, Kansas, and Virginia Tech and are so far out of title contention that the only way they are going to the game this year is to buy tickets. That drop isn't that awful considering both that it was their second loss of the season and came to an unranked foe.

Then there are the Ohio State fans are seething because they still believe the Buckeyes are the best team in the nation. That may well be, but the same was thought last year and it did not pan out quite the way OSU fans hoped. This year they lost to then unranked Illinois who, despite beating two top five teams also lost twice to unranked teams and also a very questionable Michigan squad.

Hawaii fans? I don't feel your pain that much but I think you should be higher than 12th. I'd put your team somewhere around 8th if I had a say. Listen, if the champion of Conference USA was undefeated would anyone who is sane say they deserve a shot at the national title? No. Well, the WAC is in that same league as that conference.

Mizzou's only loss so far came at the hands of then #6 Oklahoma who they have to play once again on Saturday. They beat an overrated #25 Nebraska team, a tough then #24 Texas Tech team (who beat then #2 Oklahoma) and also #2 Kansas. Remember this too, Missouri wasn't even ranked to start the season! That tells you that they made some serious impressions along the way. Missouri is probably the feel good story of the season pending the outcome of Saturday's games.

West Virginia? Well their single loss was to a ranked South Florida team who was unbeatable until their self destruction. Remember, this is an SFU team that debuted at #2 in the BCS after that victory. WVU also beat then #25 (and probably over ranked) Rutgers, then #22 Cincinnati, and most recently #20 UConn who is certainly not as weak of a team as some of the naysayers hope for you to believe they are. They also defeated Louisville who, despite not being a contender now, was picked very high in the preseason and whose aerial attack gives the best defenses in the NCAA fits.

So before anyone starts whining about who doesn't deserve to be where they are right now, just remember that we can go through all of the "so and so" lost to "so and so" who beat "so and so" who beat "so and so" scenarios you want. In the end it's just a wash however. You can sit there as an OSU or LSU fan and bellyache all you want about how neither Missouri nor West Virginia could beat you if you were in the national title game. And you probably thought the same about Illinois and Arkansas when they played you too. But we see how well that theory worked out huh?

So Mizzou versus Vest Virginia would be good for the championship series. And it would be even better if the "big boys" each and every year for the next five or six years are shut out and we see teams like these continue to end the season one and two.

If that happens? Well, you will see a lot of schools and conferences who are fighting against a playoff today getting on board with the idea of such a system. It's not fun to be on the outside looking in. Of course all you will hear from these people decrying a possible WVU Mizzou match up in the title game IF it happens will be about how the game is illegitimate and the BCS is busted ... but just this year. When they win it, it's legitimate of course.

But don't fret. Mizzou and West Virginia still have to win one more game each. But if they don't and a team like Ohio State gets back to the dance? Well it will just prolong the establishment of a real and meaningful playoff system.