Going to Ohio State University in the last few years I’ve developed a little bit of an affinity for our school President E. Gordon Gee.
The little man with the bowtie, coke bottle glasses and satellite ears is 76 years old going on 23 it seems. When he comes to any event on campus it’s like that scene from Goodfellas when Robert De Niro’s character Jimmy Conway walked into that gambling hall with a young Henry Hill fetching him seven and seven’s, everyone goes nuts.
Kids stop partying and dancing to run over to him and shake his hand or take a picture or tell him they love him. He’s the biggest rock star on campus and we all admire him. I’ve even had the pleasure of waiting on him a few times at the restaurants I’ve worked at in Columbus and to watch even older people break their strides to talk the guy’s ear off while he’s eating a fish sandwich is hilarious.
He deserves it though. The guy runs a great university with great programs and one hell of an athletic department that features a perennial top ten program that fills up a 100,000 seat stadium every week. That program brings in a ton of revenue from its dealings with the Big Ten Network as well, which is one of the nation’s top three conferences with marquee matchups every week that catch the eye of the viewer.
So by being in an elite program in the Big Ten, as well as serving as President at Vanderbilt in the SEC, Gee decided to let his opinion be known about the possibility of an undefeated TCU or Boise State playing for the national title. Let’s just say the folks down in Dallas or Boise won’t be rushing to shake the man’s hand anytime soon.
Gee said that he doesn’t believe the Frogs or Broncos should play in the BCS title game because they lack the elite schedule and competitive balance that an Ohio State has to become a title contender.
He feels that since the Buckeyes don’t play “little sisters of the poor” as he so eloquently put it, like the Frogs or Broncos (OOOOOHHH SNAP!), that schools such as his and the other elite programs in the country regularly have the edge when it comes to having an inside track on the national title game.
Pretty much all Gee did was something that every BCS conference coach and president wanted to say about the little guys from the little conferences that are getting all of the attention. They don’t want the little guys to take the spotlight from the 80,000 seat stadiums with the million dollar facilities that teams like OSU and Oklahoma, and more importantly take their money. The BCS games hand out 18 million dollars to each participant who adds little more to the pot for spending on their facilities and coaches and bowties.
What Gee forgets to think about and mention is this… if everyone doesn’t think that TCU and Boise State play tough enough non-conference schedules and that they should schedule tougher competition… then why not play them? Oh wait, because everyone is scared too, including Ohio State.
Boise and TCU can’t get a fair shake at playing a better non-conference schedule because every time they try to play someone in a neutral site game every big school says no unless it’s at their house. TCU and Boise were only able to get Oregon State to come to their houses this year and look what happened, they got beat up. Then there was the Virginia Tech game for Boise which was technically a neutral site in Washington D.C…. that was 2 hours from Tech’s campus, and a ten hour flight from Boise.
But the result is what scares teams. Boise flew half way across the country and beat up the Hokies and won the game late 33-30. The first half was all Boise in every aspect of the game. Games like that one, the TCU upset of Oklahoma at Norman three years ago and Utah’s thrashing of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl are the dirty little secret that the big boys are scared to talk about when they criticize the schedules of the smaller schools. Deep down they know that these schools on any given day have just as much talent, just as good a coaching and can beat the Texas’s, Alabama’s and others in an instant.
That’s why you’ll never see Boise versus Ohio State in Cincinnati, because the Buckeyes don’t want a loss on national TV to a small program like Boise even if it is in their own backyard.
Another point… has Mr. Gee seen Ohio State’s non-conference schedule lately?
They never left Columbus this year to face mighty Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. Oooohhh!!!
It’s not just the Buckeyes either. No.2 Auburn had hard fought matchups against Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Chattanooga, no.7 Stanford scheduled powerhouses Sacramento State and Wake Forest and no.1 Oregon squeaked by New Mexico and Portland State by a combined 141-0. By the way all of these games were at home.
Then when the so-called elite played neutral site games or road games against competition that couldn’t touch the Frogs or Broncos on the field, look what happened. Oklahoma almost to a rebuilding Cincinnati team at Paul Brown Stadium, LSU barely escaped North Carolina and even Iowa got blitzed by an upstart Arizona. So just imagine if any of those teams dared to face TCU or Boise on a neutral field… trouble, trouble, trouble.
What Gee doesn’t understand is that the big boys schedule worse competition than Boise plays on a weekly basis in the WAC. I mean can Minnesota beat Fresno State or Nevada? Because Illinois or Wisconsin couldn’t, I don’t think Mississippi State could go to Salt Lake City and come out with a win, and you know how pitiful the Pac-10 is against the Mountain West. So if San Jose State and Hawaii are the little sisters of the poor then what do we call Indiana, Vanderbilt and Kansas? Distant cousins?
As much as I love Gordon Gee the person, I think the president misspoke about the level of competition at TCU and at Boise State. I’ve watched the Buckeyes, Horned Frogs and Broncos if the Buckeyes got to play these guys in the Rose Bowl or wherever, it wouldn’t be a good outcome for the Bucks.
Boise’s speed and quickness with Kellen Moore’s precision passing would eat up the Ohio State secondary, and TCU’s defense would eat up OSU’s running game and force Terrelle Pryor to win the game for the Bucks.
(By the way: if we had a quiz of quarterbacks and I gave you no names just a description of play who would you choose? The QB with only 6 interceptions in the last two seasons that is a precise passer who makes few mistakes, the Nation’s leading QB in wins in the last four years with 40 wins to 4 losses, or the 6 foot 6 QB with great skill but who routinely makes mistakes and wilts under pressure? Now guess the QB and the school that they play at. Here’s a hint: the first two play for Boise and TCU.)
You understand where Gee comes from in a business sense, but on the field it makes no sense. TCU and Boise deserve just as much of a shot as Ohio State, Auburn or Oregon at playing for the national title. If you complain about who they play, man up and knock them down it’s that simple. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes they don’t have room for the Broncos pr the Horned Frogs, they have big time matchups versus Akron, Toledo, Miami (Ohio), Colorado and UAB all at home in the next two years. I guess the little sisters of the poor weren’t available.