• The Bill Hancock Confirmation Bias Trophy:* The atmosphere surrounding the current BCS system is probably being referred to as a “firestorm of controversy” somewhere in my channel lineup at this very minute. But in the swarm of bile and boasting that followed the announcement of an LSU-Alabama rematch to determine the 2011 national champions, don’t lose sight of this edition of the Bayou Bengals becoming the first team in BCS history to finish as a true and thorough consensus No. 1, with every voter and every computer ranking them up top. That’s something any rankings system, no matter how crackers, wouldn’t be able to argue against.
*Not a real thing, yet, but you know a sponsorship deal’s coming.
• Most clamored-for rematch: After two memorable contests in the span of just a couple months, I’m on board with Eleven Warriors’ idea that Wisconsin and Michigan State should just tour the country on a flatbed truck in the offseason to entertain America coast to coast, so closely matched and talented are the Badgers and Spartans.
• Play of the week: Tyrann Mathieu’s returns were spectacular. I saw them all this Saturday, live and in person. But lawsamercy, there’s just something so elegant about the simplicity of what Cincinnati defender Walter Stewart did to UConn quarterback Johnny McEntee. It happened so fast it’s hard to see the transfer properly, even when slowed down, but this is a highlight-worthy moment from a day filled with them.
• All-Name performer of the week: Southern Miss defensive back Furious Bradley blocked a Houston punt and returned it for a touchdown in Saturday’s Golden Eagles Conference USA Championship victory, a sequence of events Kevin Sumlin called the biggest play of the game.
• Best assist: Stedman Bailey’s last-minute catch gave West Virginia enough ground to be able to attempt the winning field goal in the Mountaineers’ last regular-season game, but Geno Smith wouldn’t have had time for a final spike to set up the kicking unit had running back Shawne Alston not spotted that Bailey was responding slowly after being tackled and manhandled him back to the line.
• Worst math: Mentioned once before, but deserving of some sort of nice plaque, at least: How many head coaches is your program signing checks to next season? Memphis will have three on the payroll!
• Best in-game production adjustment: Have you ever seen Brock Huard up close? The former Washington quarterback is approximately 19 feet tall, and when paired with booth announcers of normal human size, has a tendency to come off like Ian McKellen in those forced-perspective Lord of the Rings shots. This has bothered us for weeks. Thankfully, whatever ESPN2 producers were on hand for Saturday night’s BYU-Hawaii tilt positioned him to appear of a height with the person-sized Carter Blackburn.
• Best pregame production adjustment: Washington State‘s GameDay flag has undergone some cosmetic alterations.
• Grape Job! Oh, unidentified Houston fan. You shaved an acronym into your scalp with dreams of a nice January jaunt in New Orleans, and are now reduced to staying in-state and slumming it at something called the “TicketCity Bowl.” That destination would be even harder to fit onto your head than “Liberty.” Here’s a sticker. You have my deepest sympathies. Signed, Tennessee Grad Who Would Have Felt Overprivileged To See Her Alma Mater Earn A Music City Bowl Bid This Year.
• Jury Prize For Outstanding Achievements In Trollharding:* Unidentified Alabama fan, this must’ve been a rough few weeks for you. You bought those SEC Championship game tickets early thinking, as so many of us did, that surely this LSU team had a couple losses in it, as all previous Miles squads did. Surely it would be the Tide, not the Tigers, in the Dome in December. Alas, your math was faulty, but you’re a man of honor, and so it was that you found yourself in Atlanta, near the 50-yard line, marooned between roiling seas of red, black, purple and gold. About four rows in front of where I was sitting, in fact. And what did you do, unidentified Alabama fan, but proceed to holler insults and poor assessments of both teams’ on-field performance for the next three and a half hours. Your extensive vocabulary of disparaging remarks and vocal stamina shine as a beacon to all who would display their distaste for an opponent, and your devil-may-care grittiness, gutsiness, and resiliency is an example of crimson-blooded state pride that should be taught in schools.
*It’s a verb. What?