The top two teams in the nation played ranked opponents Saturday, and the results of those two contests proved one thing: No. 2 Texas Tech has earned the right to leapfrog top-ranked Alabama. If voters watched both games -- or even if they just saw the highlights -- the choice should be clear.
While Alabama needed overtime to dispatch an LSU team that gave up 51 to Florida and 52 to Georgia, Texas Tech dumptrucked No. 8 Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders gained 629 yards in a 56-20 win, and coordinator Ruffin McNeill's defense should have everyone wondering why McNeill isn't being mentioned for head-coaching jobs like his Texas counterpart, Will Muschamp, who is getting inferior results with much more talented players.
Sure, Alabama's defense is excellent, but it is built to stop SEC offenses. The Crimson Tide's biggest defensive advantage, 365-pound landmass Terrence Cody, would be negated in a BCS title game matchup with Texas Tech, which rarely runs up the middle anyway. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders are just opportunistic enough on defense to make teams pay for mistakes. If Alabama committed three turnovers against Texas Tech -- as the Tide did Saturday at LSU -- Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree, Rylan Reed and company would break the scoreboard.
If you've read this far without hitting the comment link and questioning my lineage, sexual preference or fashion choices, congratulations. You're now privy to a little social experiment we're conducting here at The Sweep. See, I don't really believe Texas Tech should leapfrog Alabama. Well, that's not entirely true. It's just that I don't care. The polls are a mere amusement, an excuse for college football fans to gather around the water cooler or a conversational crutch for those who wish to chat up a fan of the opposite sex.
You can thank the Iowa Hawkeyes for rendering the polls mostly meaningless, and we're all better off for it. Penn State's loss Saturday paves the way for a national title game between a zero- or one-loss Big 12 champ against a zero- or one-loss SEC champ. Sorry, USC fans, but unless some zaniness ensues, your team is cooked thanks to a loss at Oregon State and the fact that the Washington schools couldn't win most high school leagues.
The only sticky wicket is the Big 12 South. If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech in two weeks and everyone wins out, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech would finish tied atop the division. The tiebreaker in that scenario is the BCS standings. Why? So that team has the best chance of being placed in the BCS title game should it win the conference? That would cause some sniping between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, but in that scenario the likely champ would be Oklahoma because it lost earliest (Oct. 11 against Texas) and had the best late win (Nov. 22 against 10-0 Texas Tech).
So unless Missouri pulled a shocker in the Big 12 title game, the Big 12 South champ would advance to the national title game in Miami. There, that team would face the winner of the Alabama-Florida SEC title game, which should match No. 1 or No. 2 against No. 3.
See? It doesn't matter who winds up at No. 1 Sunday. It only matters who winds up at No. 1 and No. 2 on Dec. 7. So vote for Texas Tech or vote for Alabama. It makes no difference -- except to the faithful who decided to drop their comments before reading past the third paragraph.