Conference call: Cause for debate
By Fred Guzman
There is a near-obsession on the part of hard-core college football fans regarding the topic of conference supremacy.
Regional pride is the most obvious reason for the intense debate. The other has to do with BCS berths.
Last year, Florida, Okalahoma and USC all finished the regular season as one-loss conference champions, but the Gators and Sooners were picked to play for the national title. The Trojans were left out.
Much to the chagrin of West Coast fans, BCS voters felt that the SEC and Big 12 were stronger than the Pac-10.
But last weekend, USC won at Ohio State, UCLA won at Tennessee and Oregon survived against visiting Purdue, giving the Pac-10 a 6-2 record against the other five BCS conferences.
This weekend, Oregon State faces Cincinnati, Arizona tangles with Iowa, Cal mets Minnesota and Oregon tangles with Utah.
Also last week, Kansas State lost to Louisiana-Lafayette, Colorado lost to Toledo and Houston beat Oklahoma State. Does this make the Big 12 over-rated?
And, as their customs, members of the SEC continue to play a lollipop non-conference schedule.
No. 1 Florida has played Charleston Southern and Troy. Among the other lower-tier foes that have dotted the schedules of SEC teams are the likes of Florida International, Missouri State, Jackson State, Western Kentucky, and Western Carolina.
FARVE’S JERSEY NO. 1
Controversy pays. At least, when it comes to the selling of NFL jerseys.
Over just a 10-day span following his arrival in Minnesota — punctuated with lots of drama over his on-again, off-again retirement – quarterback Brett Favre’s No. 4 Vikings jersey — was the top seller on the NFL’s merchandise Web site for the entire sales period from April 1-Aug. 28. The jersey sells for $80.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler, who moped his way out of Denver, was second and Philadelphia QB Michael Vick, out of the league for two seasons because of legal issues, was fourth during that span.
Safety Troy Polamalu and QB Ben Roethlisberger of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers ranked third and fifth, respectively, on the April-August jersey list.
Success sells also sells, as does a storied franchise and being a QB.
Speaking of controversy, there is probably no more polarizing owner in the NFL than Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
Commentators can’t resist poking fun at Jones for whatever reason – most recently the opening of a new stadium that cost $1.2 million to build and features a $40 million giant television that is susceptible to being struck by high punts.
Jerry will get the last laugh on Sunday night when more than 100,000 fans are expected to flock into his ostentatious new shrine to Cowboys football.