Yeah, it would be nice and easy to hop on board, to chuck aside any doubts, any aspersions, to buy into the hype and just get on the all-hail Notre Dame train and ride it for who knows how long.
It would be smooth sailing all the way, with nary a nasty word to face for having the audacity to wonder, if not question, whether the Irish really were all that good.
But, thing is, in order to pull that off you kinda have to believe in the concept to some degree, or at least manipulate your mind into thinking you do … and both of those are lacking right here, right now – sorely lacking.
There is no arguing 12-0. Regardless of whether atrocious officiating directly accounted for two of those victories (against Stanford and Pittsburgh) and the worst example of poor clock management and red-zone play-calling this side of Andy Reid (hello, USC coach Lane Kiffin) had a major part in Saturday night’s regular-season finale at the L.A. Coliseum clinching a berth in the BCS title game on January 7, 2013, ND ran the table.
The UCLA Bruins come into this game as the kings of Los Angeles after defeating the USC Trojans last week. That win guaranteed them a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against Stanford, Oregon, or Oregon State.
The Bruins were a mediocre 6-6 last year but have turned the tables this season. They key reason for this is the emergence of Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Brett Hundley, and the high-powered UCLA offense. Hundley has been stellar all season long with 25 Touchdowns and a completion percentage of 69.4% He has done everything Coach Mora has asked him to do and could very well lead UCLA back to the promised land.
The star of the UCLA offense however, is runningback Johnathan Franklin. Franklin, the senior from Los Angeles, has been one of the better backs in the country. He is 6th in the nation and 2nd in the Pac-12 in rushing yards with 1441.
This duo of a good passing and rushing game has been giving headaches to opposing defenses all season. The reason why UCLA has two losses though, is because they aren’t necessarily too good on the other side of the ball.
Johnny Manziel has rejuvenated the Texas A&M football with a stellar freshman campaign this season, and even first year head coach Kevin Sumlin is quite surprised. Sumlin didn't even make a decision on his starting quarterback until August, when he finally chose the freshman out of Tyler, Texas. Ever since then, Manziel has quite literally been on fire every weekend at the helm. He has slowly but surely garnered a strong backing of Heisman support as the season is almost to a close, and is having a historically remarkable season considering the opposition he has been facing, albeit as a freshman.
1.) Freshman Firsts
Manziel has confused opponents every week with his feet or through the air. He will finish the season as the first SEC player, first freshman and fifth NCAA FBS player to pass for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000. Last Saturday against Sam Houston State he racked up his eighth straight 300-yard game, and permanently put himself in the Texas A&M record books for most offensive yards in a season (4,161).
2.) SEC Speed
Mark Richt is entering uncharted territory as UGA head coach. A win Saturday would set up a showdown 316 and I-20 in the Georgia Dome against Alabama. Next Saturday's SEC Championship will also be an unofficial NCAA championship semi-final.
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones leads the most impressive defense Richt has ever coached and has had opposing quarterbacks scrambling for their lives since he arrived in Athens. However, Richt has to abandon his run-first, run-second and throw third-and-long strategies that have plagued his offenses in big games.
Murray leads the nation in passing efficiency and his offense is set to eclipse school records for points and yards per game. The Bulldogs lighting and thunder Gurshall duo consisting of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall comprise the best best backfield since Herscel Walker was winning Heismans in the early '80's.
The Big Ten is bordering on wishbone-like irrelevancy. It’s only right that Ohio State be on the verge of the most irrelevant undefeated season in college football history. Despite their three-losses, Michigan is on par with the Buckeyes even without their starting quarterback Denard Robinson.
A nerve injury to Robinson has rendered him incapable of throwing downfield but given his propensity for lobbing jump balls that may not be such a bad thing.
After spending three years as Shoelace’s understudy, Gardner has proven himself to be an improvement over the Wolverines diminutive senior.
Braxton Miller is Shoelace 2.0 in the sense that both are smallish dual threats with extreme limitations as pinpoint passers but who comprise about 80 percent of their respective offenses playbooks. However, as much punishment as Miller has taken this season, it pales in comparison to the ox-like workload Robinson carried in his sophomore campaign.
(2010- Robinson: 2500 yards passing, 1,700 rushing) (2012- Miller: 1,850 yards passing, 1,200 rushing)