By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- I heard an expert recently contradict the claim that this has been a boring season in college football. His argument was persuasive at the time, but now that we're 12 weeks in, I think it has indeed been a boring season.
YOUR THOUGHTS: Has This Been A Boring Season?
There is no dominant team and there is no dominant player. Such absences certainly breed the parity fans have been brainwashed to prefer, but if there's one sport that shouldn't want parity, it's college football. Why? Well, perhaps you've heard there is no clear-cut system for determining a champion, so parity means three or four or maybe five teams would have a good argument -- especially this season -- for why they belong in the BCS Championship Game.
Florida has surely been a steady team all season long, but at No. 1, the Gators should be more than steady. They've looked dangerously beatable a few times, especially against Arkansas, when shaky officiating helped them out. But their only true test was a 13-3 slugfest they claimed in Baton Rouge. Because Florida and LSU rep the SEC, though, that game went down as a defensive classic, but in any other league it would have been a yawner, evidence admitted as Exhibit A in the case against any other football conference that considers itself a good one.
Texas also has been steady, and appears headed to play the Florida-Alabama winner in the national championship game, but like the Gators, the Longhorns haven't played anyone of note outside their conference and have looked vulnerable for stretches longer and more numerous than you would expect from a No. 2 team.
Both teams had preseason superstars at quarterback, but Tim Tebow has hardly been the player he's been the last two seasons, and Colt McCoy took far too long to get warmed up this season.
Alabama, meanwhile, now boasts the Heisman front-runner in tailback Mark Ingram and boasts a splendid defense, but has no quarterback at all.
The sport has had its share of great games or exciting finishes this season, no doubt, but in recent seasons we've seen more great games involving two elite teams, where stakes are high. The great-players-making-big-plays-in-big-games cliche has gotten far less use this year than in season past.
Also in years past, if there was no clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman this late in the season, it was because too many players had outstanding numbers. This year, however, one guy will string together a few great weeks, but not until after two or three less-than-dominant outings.
+ I'd buy anything from West Virginia coach Bill Stewart. Not because he's a slick salesman like many of his colleagues, but because he's just so doggone nice. I sat in on his weekly press conference today (video coming Tuesday) and he's just so polite and sincere and seems like he's got a healthy outlook on where college football should rank on his list of priorities. Don't get me wrong; he wants to win as badly as the next guy, but his stop-and-smell-the-roses approach is indeed refreshing.
+ Wouldn't it be funny if Jim Harbaugh led Stanford to a win over Charlie Weis and Notre Dame this week, then took the job in South Bend? It could happen. Weis admitted after the Irish lost to Connecticut that 6-5 doesn't cut it at Notre Dame, and I think Harbaugh, if not Cincinnati boss Brian Kelly, would be able to turn it around quickly ... which is what Weis was supposed to do.
+ In case you're wondering, I still hate when people say things like, "Terrelle Pryor's so dangerous" or "he can beat you so many ways" or "he's a dual threat." Pryor is a running quarterback. He can beat you one way. In four games, he's completed fewer than 10 passes and also in four games, he's thrown for fewer than 100 yards. I'm not saying he's bad or that he won't be better next year, but right now, he is not a dual-threat quarterback.