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Gene Wojciechowski [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
November 27, 2012
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This week's top 20:

20. Campaign season

I don't blame Ohio State's Urban Meyer or Florida's Will Muschamp for campaigning for national title consideration. They've got almost no shot, but I don't blame them for trying.

Meyer's team is one of only two unbeaten and untied teams in the country. Of course, he's going to campaign. Wouldn't you?

Unfortunately, his party platform includes those pesky NCAA sanctions that prevent the Buckeyes from playing in the postseason. So that leaves a longshot run at the Associated Press No. 1, which isn't bound by BCS doctrine.

"The quote I'd like out there is I think this team could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now," Meyer told reporters after Saturday's win against Michigan. "I didn't say that several weeks ago because we couldn't."

That's a restrained way of saying, "Damn, I wish we were eligible to play Notre Dame, Alabama or Georgia."

But they aren't, so that's that. The Buckeyes' season, as magnificent as it was, is done. Blame the NCAA. Or Tattoogate. Or Jim Tressel's clumsy cover-up. But it's done.

As for Florida, you have to admire Muschamp's campaign passion. He has to know it would take a football miracle for the Gators to play in the BCS Championship, but Muschamp keeps plugging away. Figures -- his team plays with the same passion.

"Guys, our résumé speaks for itself," said Muschamp after the Florida State win. "I mean, c'mon. You guys have covered the Southeast. You've covered the SEC. You've seen where we've played, who we've played and the quality of football teams we've beaten. We'll play anyone, anywhere -- whatever that slogan is."

No, you got it right, Will. Problem is, Georgia beat Florida and Georgia won the SEC Eastern Division. And now Georgia gets to play Bama in the SEC championship. That's pretty much checkmate for the Gators.

I see Muschamp's argument and it's a valid one. But even Muschamp admits that the loss to Georgia was a fatal blow when it comes to the BCS equation.

"That's our fault," he said Monday. "Nobody else's."

I like Muschamp's style. He makes his point and gets out of the way. He knows his team is good enough to win a national championship, but the BCS only has room in the front seat for two teams, not four. If this were 2014 and playoff time, the Gators would be in.

If ...

If only Ohio State were postseason eligible. If only Florida had beaten Georgia.

19. Firing season

That's what my podcast buddy, Ivan Maisel, calls it. There's the regular season, the firing season and the postseason.

So far there have been 12 coaching changes. It won't stay at that number. That's because some athletic directors and school presidents have the same level of patience as their football fans, which is to say, none.

Auburn's Gene Chizik was never going to survive this season. He had a dead-man-walking quality to him not long after the Oct. 6 loss to Arkansas. And as the losses mounted -- the Tigers finished 3-9 overall, 0-8 in the SEC -- there's only so many times you can apologize to the Auburn "family."

It now doesn't matter if you won a national championship two seasons ago. At least, it doesn't at Auburn.

Colorado fired Jon Embree after two seasons. Purdue's Danny Hope and North Carolina State's Tom O'Brien were fired despite their teams being bowl eligible. Years ago, that might have been a surprise. Now? We're so desensitized to it that we yawn.

18. Heisman Trophy race

Seated in the front row at Best Buy Theater:

- Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller -- The sophomore basically strapped the Buckeyes to his shoulder pads and carried them to an undefeated season. His numbers aren't always spectacular, but his toughness and ability to create something out of nothing is.

- Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel -- Johnny Football put up some big stats in the blowout of Missouri. Two of his five TDs came in what amounted to garbage time (A&M led 42-7 at halftime).

- USC wide receiver Marqise Lee -- If I were a cornerback or safety in the Pac-12, I'd consider transferring. That's because Lee is only a sophomore.

- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o -- How do you quantify what Te'o does? You can't. You also can't leave him off this list.

Keep a coat and tie handy:

- Wisconsin running back Montee Ball -- Another week, another 100-plus-yard game. And this time he gets the major college rushing TD record all to himself.

- Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein -- The bad news? Klein only has one game left in the regular season to impress voters. The good news? The game is against Texas.

- Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch -- Yet another story of a kid who slipped through the recruiting cracks.

- Oregon running back Kenjon Barner -- Put up 198 yards and two touchdowns in the comfortable win against Oregon State. Even if he doesn't make it to New York, I wanted to give him some props.

Thanks for stopping by the booth:

No Heisman hangers-on left.

17. Heisman dilemma

I'm a Heisman voter. Have been for years. And as next Monday's 5 p.m. ballot deadline approaches, I'm still not sure whom I'm going to vote for.

The truth is, you can make a convincing and unapologetic case for Manziel, Te'o, Lee, Miller and maybe even Klein.

The ballot doesn't say I have to pick the best offensive player, or the player with the best numbers, or the player who happens to be a senior. It says to pick "the most outstanding college football player." And that's what I like about the Heisman. It gives you some wiggle room.

Tim Tebow didn't win the Heisman in 2007 based solely on stats. He won it because nobody did what he did. And if they did, they didn't do it as well.

Tebow was the most outstanding player. He wasn't the best passer. He wasn't the best runner. There's a difference. But how he played transcended everything else. To me, it was a no-brainer that year.

This year, my head hurts just thinking about separating the candidates.

16. Heisman dilemma -- part II

I don't care that Manziel is a redshirt freshman, just like I didn't care that Florida State's Chris Weinke was 28 when he won the award. Class standing and birth certificates shouldn't matter.

I don't care that Te'o is a linebacker, just like I don't care that his numbers are harder to translate than the traditional quarterback, running back and wide receiver numbers. Defensive players can have half-tackles and half-sacks. They can do things that don't find their way onto a stat sheet, but can mean the difference between winning and losing -- or in Notre Dame's case, finishing 12-0 or 11-1.

If I end up voting for Te'o it...
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