Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re fortunate that – regardless of how bad the Washington Huskies are, year-in-year-out – we get an ever-rotating choice of visitors, and they almost always include Oregon, USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Oregon State, or maybe even just two of those. And, if you’re one of those rare people who enjoys a good, old fashioned rivalry, there’s always the Washington State Cougars. In those games, either team’s stadium is within driving distance.
And so, even though the USC Trojans end up dashing your favourite team’s chances for a national championship almost every year, you still root for them. Because, after all, you have this sick desire to always see the PAC-12 properly rep’d.
Enter the Alabama Crimson Tide, the defending national champions and the team that stole USC’s No. 1 ranking only two weeks ago.
But, which team is better? A ranking almost never solves this. Even when the nationally consensus’d teams (that isn’t a word, is it?) meet in January or February’s final game, we never feel fully satisfied.
After all, rankings are subjective, and no rankings ever seem as subjective as college football’s.
This year – this dastardly 2012 season – we have two historic franchises who will – hopefully – battle it out until the end. Last year, it was Alabama and LSU. In 2006, it was Florida, Michigan, and Ohio State… some kind of sick twisted triangle, that was. In 2005? USC and Texas, and perhaps the greatest Rose Bowl (then, the national championship) of all-time.
So, USC and Alabama, and each will have continued chances to prove their worth, and their mettle. They have tough conferences, no doubt, but that only makes their chances stronger.
Any team in the NCAA has to prove itself throughout a season, and there are no points given away for easy schedules.
Alabama must beat LSU, Arkansas, and everyone else in their wake. USC must beat Oregon, and UCLA, and Washington, and Stanford. They don’t have a choice.
And so, whether they make it to the end – or whether it’s Oregon and LSU – the battle continues this Saturday.
(*Schedule for Saturday, Sept. 16, 2012)
(*The following largely matter just to us West Coast folk)
24 Arizona v. South Carolina State, 7:30 p.m. PST
22 UCLA v. Houston, 7:30 p.m. PST