NCAA Football Column: NCAAF with Michael Emmett
Who is College Football's Top Team?
Okay, first things first. Alabama is not the best team in college football. Yes, I know most reading this article will disagree with this premise but before you utter my name in vain please hear me out.
Alabama had a fantastic year. Any team that can win the SEC and then pulverize Notre Dame like mashed potatoes clearly deserves many accolades. They looked absolutely brilliant in South Beach last night and are a magnificent team. Nobody can question this. But this is not my point. I’m suggesting there is a better team out there who is the best team in the nation. And they proved it on the field in a head-to-head confrontation. And in my opinion it’s not even close.
Johnny Manzeil and the Texas A&M Aggies are playing better than anybody in the land. Not only did they manhandle the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl but more importantly, they went into Tuscaloosa in November and beat the Crimson Tide comfortably in their own back yard. Johnny Heisman was super-human in this game and had the Aggies up 21-0 before some folks in the stadium blinked an eye.
A&M has two losses in the 2012 football season – both to SEC powerhouses (Florida and LSU) – with only one loss A&M would be in the conversation for top dog. But I believe they should be in the argument with two losses because these losses were close to three months ago. What matters most is how you finish – not how you start. Yes, the entire resume must be looked at, but in this case it is so long ago that these young Aggies lost that it is okay to overlook these semi meaningless games played in October.
There is no question – at this time – A&M is the BEST team in college football. And given a chance to prove it in a playoff environment they would show the world they are deserving of the crystal ball that Nick Saban held up so proudly last night.
Unfortunately, there won’t be a playoff until the 2014 season so we have one more year of BCS rankings, computers, pollsters and controversy.
The sad thing is I don’t think A&M would have even made it to this year’s top 4 if the new format was in play in 2012. I believe the four teams would have been – Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Oregon. A&M – playing better than anybody – would have been left out of this equation and sadly not had a chance to prove to the world how dangerous their offense can be with Mr. Manziel.
The fact that A&M beat the Tide 800 miles from College Station makes this win so impressive and has to be a factor when deciding who the #1 team is. Several agencies who tally final rankings today listed the Aggies No.2 behind Alabama. This, to me, show some people in this industry get it! But to look at the polls that matter (AP and Coaches) and see the Aggies ranked No. 5 makes me laugh. It is illogical to have this team anywhere but No. 2. They are the only team in the last 12 months to beat Nick Saban & Co. That has to stand for something.
As for Alabama getting into the championship game – this was no sure thing with three games remaining on the schedule. Without the Baylor Bears and the Stanford Cardinal the Tide would have been going to the Sugar Bowl to play Louisville in a BCS game and NOT the National Championship game. After the A&M loss, Bama needed big time help to secure a spot in Miami. Most pundits had already written off Alabama and calling for a Kansas State/Oregon National Championship – finally putting an end to the SEC dominance over the last 6 years. However, Baylor destroyed K-State and Stanford edged Oregon – both on November 17 – both monumental upsets, and without these results the Crimson Tide were not playing in their third national championship in four years. So this total dominance by Nick Saban’s crew is not totally factual – any time a time needs help to secure a playoff berth there is also an element of luck and there can be no doubt this season’s Alabama Crimson Tide benefitted from a couple fortuitous results.
I believe, without a doubt, the wrong team was celebrating Monday night in Miami. Texas A&M had the year’s best game with the clearest exclamation point when they beat BAMA in a clash of the titans. This win was the defining moment of the 2012 season and this signature victory should be enough proof this Aggie team was tops in this wonderful season of college football.
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