Sports

We like our schools smug and egoistic

Congratulations, big boys, you're almost there.

The outcome of three exciting college football games Friday virtually guaranteed for the 26th straight season there won't be a champion from outside of the traditional power conferences.

OK, that's not quite true.

There's still a chance — a teeny, tiny chance — that either top-ranked Oregon or No. 2 Auburn loses in their final game this week.

Even if that were to happen, No. 4 Texas Christian is still at the mercy of the computers, the coaches and oh-so-knowledgeable Harris poll voters.

If you were a TCU fan, would you feel confident the Horned Frogs would get that coveted Bowl Championship Series national championship game spot ahead of any number of one-loss teams?

Certainly not if TCU had to compete in the prestigious Huge School President Defending the Status Quo poll that came out this week.

In case you missed those results, here's how Ohio State president Gordon Gee voted in that one-person ballot:

"Well, I don't know enough about the Xs and Os of college football," Gee said. "I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderers' row every week for these schools."

Referring to TCU and Boise State, he added, "I think until a university runs through that gantlet that there's some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to (be) in the big ballgame."

As for TCU and Boise State's schedules?

"If they're not playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, they're playing the Little Brothers."

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Gee on one thing:

The correct use of the word gantlet instead of the oft-confused gauntlet. (You "run the gantlet" but "throw down the gauntlet" — look it up, folks! And not in that dang Wikipedia.)

Aside from Gee's mastery of language, I take exception to his premise.

We understand that, in general, an SEC or a Big Ten schedule is going to be better than a WAC or Mountain West schedule. We get that.

But here's the dirty secret about all of college sports: all teams play crummy opponents at times.

Eastern Michigan and Ohio, two of Ohio State's tough nonconference opponents, combined for losses of 99-9 Friday.

Of course, Gee was really talking about the tough teams in the Big Ten.

Like Wisconsin — a team the Buckeyes lost to. Or Michigan State — a one-loss team Ohio State didn't play.

Maybe he was referring to Iowa, the one team Ohio State defeated that had a chance to finish the year ranked in the top 25. The same Iowa that lost to Minnesota Saturday.

In case Gee hadn't noticed, the team "up north" from Ohio State — you know, Michigan — has looked a lot like a charity case the past three years, too.

But Boise lost Friday night, one could rightly say.

Yes, to a good Nevada team. On the road. A good conference opponent.

Clearly it kills the Broncos' title chances, but there wasn't any shame in losing that game. (Oh, that poor, poor kicker...)

Just like Auburn's thrilling comeback at Alabama didn't mean Auburn is bad because the Tigers gave up the first 24 points.

To paraphrase recently-made-available-for-hire-and-birthday-parties Dan Hawkins, "It's college football!"

Not all conferences are great, but that doesn't mean we needed to discount the achievements of the truly great teams in mediocre conferences.

Gee's comments rang like the guy in Monopoly owning half the board chastising his opponent for failing to turn Baltic and Mediterranean into game-winning properties.

I'm fine with Auburn and Oregon playing for a title. They've had great seasons, and thankfully, they're not Florida or Ohio State.

But was it inconceivable that TCU or Boise could have matched them in a game?

It's not as if they were playing in a truly terrible conference — like the Big East.

Run 'n' Gun is The Eagle Sports staff's weekly look at the offbeat side of sports.

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