Sunday, August 27, 2006

Its football time-I know you're glad

As most regulars are aware, most of the time this weblog is devoted to entries of a political or religious significance. It is true, however, that I have a background as a sports commentator and those readers who are aware of this have sent me messages privately lately saying "Oatney, it is almost football season, when on earth are you going to talk about college football." Fair enough. This is not exclusively a sports blog, but I think a lot of you are saying "you know you have something to say about sports, especially now that it's football time."

Two questions that I'm getting from people who know my biases well are:

"Who do you think is going to win the SEC (by which many people really mean "how is Tennessee going to do")

"Is Ohio State really as good as what people are saying?"

I pull no punches and butter over nothing, so I'll start with the disappointing news first. Tennessee is not going to win an SEC Championship this year. I do not believe they'll even make it to Atlanta. A team that starts the year with so many members of its freshman class facing NCAA Clearinghouse questions or issues and two being dismissed from the team is already showing signs of a lack of coherence. These young men are distracted. Further, I'll just be straight with my readers even if it makes me unpopular for awhile-there is a great coach on the Vols' staff, and it isn't Philip Fulmer. David Cutcliffe is the glue that will hold the offense together, and he is helped by the fact that the rediculous platoon system at quarterback-a system that does not win championships but only causes offensive confusion-will finally come to an end. Because of Cutcliffe, we can be assured that the Vols will have a better year than last year's disaster. If the Vols do not win at least seven games, they will have a new head coach next season. It speaks volumes that the Vols are not in the Power 16 to start the season like they were last year and so many seasons in a row. Tennessee goes to the Peach Bowl.

SEC Champions: Auburn.

Now, is Ohio State really that good? This is by far the best Ohio State team I have seen since the 1996 team that beat Arizona State in the Rose Bowl. The truth of the matter is that the 2002 team was not nearly as good as the '96 team, yet they won a national title. "Oatney, that makes no sense," you say. No it doesn't, but that is really the reality and speaks to just how good a coach Jim Tressel really is.

They are that good but I am not ready to crown the Bucks national champions just yet. There are three games on the schedule that even the best teams would have serious trouble with. The first will be September 9th against Texas in Austin. Last year's contest in Columbus was right up there with Alabama-Tennessee on my "2005 Games of the Year" list, and this year, the Ohio State-Texas showdown could decide the National Championship. Both teams know this, so I expect a war-especially since the 'Horns are the defending champs and will not take kindly to a loss on their home turf. The second decider will be September 30th at Iowa. The Hawkeyes look as good this year as they did at the start of their 2002 Big Ten co-championship season, and in their minds, the prime time contest could send them to Pasadena. If Ohio State survives those two tests, they then must look to the third Saturday in November. I never predict whether Ohio State or Michigan is going to win a national title at the beginning of the year because the outcome of this game is simply unpredictable. Only the Iron Bowl, in my mind, can say that it is a rivalry based on pure, real, and total hatred like this game is. Ohio State-Michigan is many things-Christian is not one of them.

Ohio State (Big Ten Champions) goes to the Rose Bowl.


At Monday, August 28, 2006 10:13:00 AM, Blogger Matt Daley said...


I'm glad you finally decided to post about college football. Here in Bowling Green, we're not dreaming of championships, but we are looking to knock off a couple of Big Ten teams. One of those just happens to be the Buckeyes.

Of course, from a national perspective, this is shaping up to be one of the most wide-open seasons ever. I could list 8-10 teams from one end of the country to the other who have a shot at being in BCS championship game -- and you named two in your piece (Auburn and Ohio State).

By the way...I'll leave you with two things. First, you ought to watch ESPN tonight as Carson Palmer sees his first action since last January. Second, e-mail me at so I can get your proper e-mail address and so I can send you my brand new cell phone number. You'll need that if you want to get a hold of me.

God bless,

At Monday, August 28, 2006 1:25:00 PM, Blogger Chucko said...

I agree regarding OSU being one of a field of 8-10 teams that will compete for the national championship, Matt!

Dave, since we all know the national championship will be OSU vs. UND this year, why even bother? :) What is this "SEC" of which you speak? Football outside of the midwest isn't football at all! Heheheh. Best of luck to the Vols this year.

At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:50:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

There are a lot of folks who might disagree with that statement-Matt is one of them. He is an Alabaman and a die-hard Crimson Tide fan and SEC football fanatic!

I think Ohio State and Texas will be the game that could decide how the NC picture plays out.

At Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:51:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I will be contacting you post-haste.


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