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Cotton Pickin’ Crazy

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I can only sum up the college football season thusly: WTF?! Capping a year that was crazier than Evel Knievel, No. 1-ranked Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia lost over the weekend to send the sport into utter chaos. After the humans and computers digested and translated a season in which four No. 1s and six No. 2s were upset, and Hawaii wound up as the only undefeated, the lucky winners were Ohio State and Dallas.

The convoluted BCS system somehow rewarded two-loss LSU and the Buckeyes, who lost at home to Illinois last month and were afforded the unjust luxury of not having to play in a Big Ten Conference Championship Game. Most legit complaints come from Mizzou, which was shut out of a BCS game despite being ranked No. 1 entering Saturday’s Big 12 Championship and owning wins over Rose Bowl-bound Illinois and Orange Bowl-bound Kansas. That inexplicable loss, however, is Dallas’ gain.

Our Cotton Bowl accidentally fell into one of the most intriguing holiday match-ups: Missouri vs. Arkansas. The Tigers were ranked No. 1, the Razorbacks beat LSU when it was No. 1, and the game will feature Heisman Trophy finalists in quarterback Chase Daniel and running back Darren McFadden. For the first time in a long time, the Cotton Bowl will be relevant.

Truth is, this year provided no clear-cut dominant team. Play the season 10 times, and we’d likely get 10 winners, each with a various, distinct flaw. In other words, if you liked the clash of undefeated colossal between Texas and USC in 2006, you hated this season. About the only thing we could count on this season were our local teams sucking.

SMU and the University of North Texas went a combined 3-21, with the Mustangs’ only win coming against, fittingly, the Lean Green. While UNT went out with an embarrassing whimper -- getting shellacked by a Florida International team that had lost 23 in a row -- help may be on the way for the Ponies. If, that is, you consider the arrival of Navy coach Paul Johnson and his antiquated veer option running philosophy as a step in the right direction.

Guess we shouldn’t be surprised at college football’s wackiness. The shockers have permeated every level of the game. The Dallas Cowboys are 11-1, for crying out loud. And Southlake Carroll High School -- our last remaining sure thing -- lost Saturday night to Abilene when the Dragons fumbled a routine snap in the final 10 seconds. But that’s football, really. It’s unpredictable conflict resolution on a daily basis without any loss of life. It’s why we watch. --Richie Whitt

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