It’s almost impossible to go “apples to apples” when talking college sports or Heisman winners, particularly with the diversity in scheduling we have in football. Unlike us kids who played in a Little League setting where everyone played each other, college football has no rhyme or reason to each team’s scheduling, even when they’re in the same conference.
The exceptions to this rule are the Big 12 and the new AAC, somewhat. They each play round-robins — or close to it. The schools in the ten-team AAC actually play only eight conference games and could play a ninth if they so wanted. The ten-team Big 12 goes the max with all of its teams playing nine conference games. Is Mathematics even taught in colleges anymore?
Either way, things are much more equitable within these two conferences than other parts of the country. The only departure, and it is vast, is the lineup of non-conference games that each team plays.
If you’re lucky and crafty, and don’t care about fan excitement, you’ve lined up teams for non-conference games like Georgia State, California, Hawaii, Air Force, Western Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico State, UTEP, Idaho, Southern Miss, Purdue or even North Carolina. Their phones are ringing off the walls (I just dated myself) for future engagements since they only have SEVEN victories total. Get ‘em while they’re COLD!
Hey, what a CONFERENCE these teams would be! The “Small 12” would be ideal for a quick text setting up a time and date at your place, wouldn’t it? Does anyone even know who they’ve played? Does it matter? Do we need the “Strength of Schedule Committee” to clue us in? Maybe this bunch is better than they look, but who would know…besides maybe Notre Dame?
And seriously, why risk getting your butt kicked by an FCS (1-AA) school (see McNeese State 53, South Florida 21) when you have all these FBS (1-A) schools to prevent any possible up-start embarrassment? They’re putty in your hands and great for building a statistical resume envied by all! Sure, they’ll cover some spreads but other than that, it’s a big ol’ W for the program!
Meanwhile, a vast majority of the conferences have two divisions and each team plays different opponents, on occasion, from the other division. As fate would have it, and trust me, it’s in fate’s hands; all opponents are not created equal. The whole statistical makeup as we now know it seems rather inadequate and ultimately misleading.
It’s difficult to compare teams with others that may only have five or six common opponents, tops. It may be a little simpler to objectively say which team is better, but you can’t say one is better than the other based on “statistics.” Stats lie big-time in college football.
There may be a couple of givens that are universally accepted, such as Kevin Sumlin can run an offense and Nick Saban can handle a defense. Years of consistency prove these points beyond a shadow of a doubt. But where do we go from here?
What if Charlie Weiss was calling the offensive shots for A&M this season? The self-proclaimed schematic genius’s current offense at Kansas ranks No. 118 in the 123-team FBS. His system would match up surprisingly well with A&M’s No. 118-ranked defense. Can you imagine the looks on everyone’s faces if Charlie and his offense took the field Saturday against Vanderbilt, only to be followed by the Aggie’s defense within 45 seconds? Doesn’t it sound like fun?
Those in Aggieland have feared “Johnny Bailout” (referred to as such because of his ability to score points and bail out the Aggie defense whenever necessary) couldn’t keep the ship afloat forever. However, they never imagined a 13-point underdog would come into their house and play some old-school WAC football–certainly not a team the Aggies led 45-0 at halftime the season before. It seemed mathematically impossible. That team was Auburn, of course, who stole from the Alabama playbook on several occasions and drove the ball right down the Aggies’ throats without even breathing hard.
So, with the defeat, the “Johnny for Heisman” bandwagon had a wheel come off, because his defensive teammates just can’t seem to play this game very well. The term “wheel route” just entered their dictionary, apparently. Sure, there’s no “I” in “Team,” but statistically, is 118th low enough? Is the defense TRULY better than five other defenses?
It’s just the Aggies’ luck they finally get an honest-to-God flamethrower at the same time there is not a single fireman anywhere to be seen on defense. No, you won’t find a first responder among them. Perhaps A&M could schedule a third of the Small 12 soon for non-conference match-ups. They could win ‘em all, 77-76. What fun!
You can’t blame Johnny, though. Strip him of his title if you want, but there are 117 other defenses out there that theoretically could have won that Auburn game and perhaps the ‘Bama game, too. With any defensive prowess whatsoever, the bandwagon and Texas A&M’s national championship hopes would be squarely on track traveling at break-neck speed.
Unfortunately for the Aggie Kingdom, it’s no mas for Johnny Bailout. Johnny Heisman, however, should remain at the forefront. He’s still “The Gladiator” of college football, and this constant carries with it no variables.