Orange and Blue Hue, for your viewing buck, is simply a better Gator blog than we can ever hope to be--honest with sound correction for homerism, funny, and solely and exclusively focused on the finest football team named after a carnivorous lizard in the land. The honesty part may be found here, where they assault Florida's scheduling with cold, calculated reason. (Why they're blogging while logical, well, we'll never know.)
Hypothetically, had we turned down the allure of dominating the Western Carolina Catamounts, or Southern Miss, or UCF, and actually scheduled a team without a directional modifier in the name and a solid stake in the top 25, Florida would be a much larger spanner in the works for the BCS and a muscular candidate for the title game. But they're sooooo sweeeeeet! And cakey yum yum! And they're rotting Florida's teeth schedule-wise, leaving our beloved Gators as a toothless interlocutor in the national title debate.
We've still got that old problem. Our chef isn't helping.
Take a look at week two alone. Florida played UCF, who managed to cross the fifty once or twice on the way to losing 42-0 at home.
Miami--just down the Ronald Reagan Turnpike Miami--was drinking margaritas from the skull of Florida A and M. Louisville, the closest current simulacrum of Spurrier's mid-90s banditos, was texting hoochies early in the third quarter of a 62-0 murder of Temple. West Virginia could have made for the Spread Option bowl of the century, but was instead giving the Rod to Eastern Washington. Any one of these randomly selected games would have been first-rate games with gobs of scoring and national implications, cooling apple pies of recruiting appeal left on the windowsill for visiting prospects to steal and devour.
Yet the siren call of an easy home game and the very short-sighted economics of snap scheduling gave us a beatdown. We adore the sight of slain patsies as much as the next fan, especially when the backups are romping and tossing flea-flickers with a thirty-point lead. (Bread and circuses! We love 'em.)
The long-term profit to be made from burly scheduling, though, ultimately outweighs the negatives of the fiscal push of a home-and-home; this is especially true for a program 4 mil in the black, as OBH rightfully points out. The bowl bid you'd nab with the gamble, the recruits you could attract, the national publicity...all of it adds up to potential long-term gains outpacing the popcorn and parking passes you sell for the ritual sacrifice of Western Carolina.
Those Aztecs were savages. They also would have appreciated scheduling trends for some big time programs.
USC, for all the joking we may make about humanitarian Pete Carroll and his golden unicycle, is the best program in the known universe right now because they schedule out of conference games aggressively and without an iota of fear. It is no coincidence that when the carcass of the season gets its autopsy, the Pac-10 champ may with confidence say that it beat the doors off a team that is right now at worst the second best team in the conference (and potentially its champion.) They also beat a quality Big 12 team playing for its conference championship, too, and hammered its traditional OOC rival in drastic fashion in front of a national television audience.
USC's been Microsofting the college football world one game at a time, building a semantic monopoly whose shares are cashed in with each victory. If the national picture--if you believe in a national picture--matters at all, then field a competitive business plan to USC's. Ohio State's already begun the process; for christ's sake, even Georgia's beginning to earn rewards miles now, and they're the ones renowned for griping about going all the way to Baton Rouge for games.
Florida fans may bitch all they like, but they cannot complain, at least by terms of the second definition:
To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge.
This is something Florida fans cannot do, since in the anarchic world of college football, the team with the biggest heads on their pikes wins. At the moment, an unbelievably tough Florida team loses this comparison with USC, who laughs at the lolling tongues of the midget skulls of UCF and Western Carolina we're carrying around in our schedule. If you don't care about the national picture, fine; yet if the sports bar discussion turns to a Gator claim on a title shot, take the stool you sit on and saw one of the legs off before you begin, since you might as well begin where Jeremy Foley's put us schedule-wise.
Reinhold Messner said in this month's edition of National Geographic: "Without the risk of death, adventure is impossible." A team that's cheated death this many times in a single season and its ballsy coach surely wouldn't fear another Nanga Parbat on their schedule, would they? USC hasn't. We shouldn't either. With the pick of the litter in Florida and all the tools a program could ask for, there's no reason why Florida should ever have to run into this problem again. Ever.
Reinhold would do it.
PS. WATB thinks this is crap, but doesn't say why. The only compelling reason to argue for Florida in the BCS crapshoot: we're on the same side of the fence as Matt Hayes, meaning the horsefaced and hectoring side. We'll wear the bridle and saddle on this day, we guess.