Before nearly dropping dead today of heat exhaustion while mowing my lawn with the lamest mower in the history of grass (advisory: do not ever buy this piece of suck), I was thinking of how disappointing the 2006 ACC Championship Game was, and what little interest and buzz there was surrounding it.
My quickly melting brain then pondered....What would be the equivalent matchup in an SEC or Big 12 title game? A historical doormat vs. a traditionally good - but not consistently great - program? I thought of a few, but some of those still don't seem to equate, for two reasons: 1) while Wake Forest has been a traditional doormat, they've at least had a competitive pulse for much of the last 10 years, and there's another complete and total patsy in the conference (that would be Duke); 2) while Georgia Tech has an excellent football tradition, and has won a national title more recently than Auburn, Georgia, Penn State, and Notre Dame, they simply don't have the sex appeal, national following - and most importantly, rabid alumni base - that those powers have.
So, rather than let that thought melt away in the 97-degree Florida summer heat, I figured I'd still try to posit a few somewhat reasonable comparisons....mainly because I need to see this thought all the way through, and I really need to start posting more entries in this here blog.
Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss
Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas
Kentucky vs. Ole Miss
Kentucky vs. Arkansas
Georgia Tech really has no equivalent in the SEC East...Florida, Georgia and Tennessee have much larger followings and have been better programs over the last few decades. South Carolina has a better statewide following but comically less tradition, and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are, well, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. They have two general equivalents in the SEC West in Arkansas and Ole Miss, although it's fair to say that the Jackets have been better over the last decade or so than the Hogs or Rebels. Tech is not equivalent to Alabama, Auburn or LSU for obvious reasons, and is obviously better and more highly regarded than Mississippi State.
Wake Forest has two general equivalents in the SEC East in Vandy and Kentucky, although Kentucky has about eight times the enrollment and exponentially more alumni and following than the Deacs. Wake has one real equivalent in the the SEC West in Mississippi State, but again lacks the local appeal, but not necessarily the national appeal, of the Cowbell Nation.
Big 12 Equivalents
Baylor vs. Colorado
Baylor vs. Kansas State
Iowa State vs. Texas A&M
Big 12 North equivalent to Wake: Iowa State, purely based on winning percentage, certainly not local following. Big 12 South equivalent to Wake: Baylor...although Wake has been much, much better on the field the last several years, the type of school is as close to Wake as any other in any major conference.
Big 12 North equivalent to GT: Kansas State and Colorado (the Jackets' co-national champ in '90), and that's based only on the last 15-20 years. Nebraska has clearly been stronger historically, while Iowa State, Kansas and Missouri have been worse and less regarded than the Ramblin' Wreck. Big 12 South equivalent to GT: Texas A&M....again, not perfect, but close. A&M is still a bigger name nationally, but the Jackets have been better recently and have a similarly regarded history. Oklahoma and Texas are obviously better, while Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Baylor are worse to varying degrees.
Ehhhhhh. Maybe this wasn't such a great topic after all. Wake is too small a school in comparison to, well, nearly all 119 1-A programs, and Tech, while winning the national title in 1990, has been stuck in just-barely-sub-Top 25, Dec. 28-ish bowl status for the entire Dubya Bush administration.
That said, bashing the 2006 ACC Championship Game is perfectly fair, especially when you consider how poor a game it turned out to be. I'd sure as hell eviscerate a 9-6 snoozer between Kansas State and Baylor in a half-empty stadium in St. Louis, wouldn't you?
This SEC Championship Game, sponsored by Lame-O