Let’s talk about style points. One of the great benefits of creating a four-team College Football Playoff was the fact that with the likelihood of more than four teams remaining unbeaten pretty low, there’s no longer any need for the best teams to paste hapless opponents with 60-plus points. Winning, it’s thought, should be enough.
So while it’s tempting to look at this past weekend’s two big blowouts between Michigan and Rutgers (78-0) and Washington and Oregon (70-21) and think these were Playoff-hopefuls looking to take advantage of a lesser opponent, that’s wrong. Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014 after years of conference expansion rumors, and while the move was largely to the benefit of the Big Ten in their ability to gain the NYC broadcast market, it was also seen as a plus for Rutgers to get out of a quickly-sinking Big East conference. Quite frankly, they made the choice to play with the big boys in Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and now they’re paying the price.
As for Washington hanging 70 on Oregon? That’s retribution for years of dominance by the Ducks in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has made a living the past ten years out of regularly putting up huge numbers thanks to a super-fast tempo and a diabolical willingness to go for two after every touchdown. After twelve straight wins for Oregon against the Huskies, Chris Petersen let his team explode in Eugene and exorcise some demons.
So while it’s not a great idea to coach-pitch your kid’s little league team to a 20-0 mercy rule win, these are all big boys playing at the highest level most of them will ever attain. These aren’t FCS schools just looking for a paycheck, and Jim Harbaugh and Chris Petersen were right to not relent.
Alabama’s back home where they belong, folks, is there anyone in the SEC that can take them down?