What If

What if?

What if Pittsburgh Panthers kicker Kevin Harper made the 33-yard game winning field goal in overtime against Notre Dame in South Bend on November 3rd?

The Fighting Irish drop to 8-1, but are still ranked in the top ten in all the polls.  Manti Te’o’s undeserved and ridiculously overrated Heisman stock is lost, because, let’s face it, you can’t be touted as one of the best linebackers in the country and have your equally impressive defense lose to an unranked 4-4 Pittsburgh team in Ireland, USA.  He comes in second and third for a variety other awards, which no doubt affects his draft position come April 2013, but he still ends up in the NFL with a good starting salary and debuts as a starter for a middle of the road team.  The Irish manage to crawl their way back up to number 3 after a pair of untimely losses by K-State and Oregon.  Green and Gold fans cry foul when the Florida Gators skip over the Irish in the rankings, leading to a 2nd consecutive SEC BCS title game.  Their cries are to no avail as the playoff System is already in place for the 2014-2015 season.  Alabama still gets their third championship in four years.

What if Oregon and Kansas State took care of business like they were supposed to on November 17th when Stanford and Baylor ruined perfection?

Bill Snyder’s decision to cancel the home-and-home series, which would have led to the Wildcats taking on the Ducks in Eugene early on this year, hurts K-State’s strength of schedule but ultimately leads to two undefeated teams destined to meet in Miami on January 7th.

(Novmeber 17th, Waco, TX) Kansas State realizes the four and five Baylor Bears have an extremely potent offense.  They also figure out three of the Bears losses have been to ranked opponents and by eight points or less.  Collin Klein leads the ‘Cats to a dominant victory, throwing for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns, while rushing for 110 yards and another score in a 49-24 rout of the Bears.

(November 17th, Eugene, OR) Stanford’s Defense is good, but Chip Kelly’s play calling coupled with the speed of the quack attack is better.  The duck whistles are loud, and the student wearing the Oregon Mascot costume has to be rushed to the hospital as one of his pecs bursts in the third quarter from the staggering amount of push-ups he has already done.  The Ducks rack up over 550 yards and 56 points as they send the Cardinal home with 56-21 defeat.

Oregon stays undefeated by beating UCLA in a surprisingly close Pac-12 championship game (49-12), and with teams leaving the Big-12 faster than Brent Musburger’s heart beat when he saw AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, there is no conference championship game, and KSU remains undefeated.

#1 Oregon is slated to take on #2 Kansas State January 7th in Miami, Florida.  This is the first BCS game since 2006 without an SEC appearance. Notre Dame faithful are yet again crying foul, as their undefeated Irish don’t get the chance to compete in the National Championship.  But hey, the BCS playoffs are only two years away.

Not much changes from reality at the Fiesta Bowl, as Oregon is too fast for the K-State Wildcats.  Oregon wins 34-17, and with the ring finally on his finger, Chip Kelly bolts for the NFL, taking on his next project, the Cleveland Browns.  The talks of an Alabama dynasty are hushed for now.

And finally, what if there was no 2012 postseason Ohio State bowl ban.  What if Terrelle Pryor was a responsible player who cared more about his team, and less about himself?  What if he was a positive role model and talked to his other teammates about not selling their memorabilia for tattoos?  What if they realized that in the near future, they would be making hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, playing in the NFL?  What if Jim Tressel had intervened with his players, and not sat idly behind his desk?  What if he took action that made them change their ways?  What if local Columbus attorney and former OSU walk-on Christopher Cicero was like every other corrupt athletic booster in the nation and decided not to alert Tressel of the activity of his juvenile players?

What if everything happened like it did, except Ohio State self-imposed a bowl ban for the 2011 season?

Tressel still “resigned”, leaving an inexperienced, yet competent Luke Fickell at the helm of one of the most prestigious and competitive programs in the country.  Without the help of jackwagon Terrelle Pryor, as he was still forced out of the university, Miller takes the reigns for the mediocre and offensively-conservative Buckeyes.  Ohio State still finishes with a .500 record, their worst since 1999 under John Cooper.  However, since they self-imposed a bowl ban among other punishments, the Buckeyes don’t meet the struggling Florida Gators in the rousing and well-respected Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl.

When the NCAA finally reaches a ruling for the tattoo scandal, the board gives Ohio State a ceremonial slap on the wrist, takes away a couple more scholarships, puts them on probation, and wags its finger and says, “don’t do that again.”  Ohio State looks sheepishly down at the floor and says “We won’t, we’ve learned our lesson,” then scampers out of the room.  The NCAA lights its pipe and sits down with the Sunday paper in their office, and the whole matter has been forgotten within minutes.

Urban Meyer still takes the job at Ohio State, except this time with less hesitation.  Despite allowing 49 points to the equivalent of a practice squad Indiana football team and escaping from nail bitters with perennial powerhouses Cal and Purdue, Ohio State emerges from the rubble without any blemishes, a perfect 12-0 season.

They improve their record to 13-0 with a win against a Nebraska team who decided winning the Big Ten Championship really wasn’t that important to them anyway.

The final BCS polls are announced.

#1 Ohio State (13-0)

#2 Notre Dame (12-0)

#3 Alabama (12-1)

Cue the mayhem.  College analysts everywhere begin to argue the best team in college football is not in the BCS championship game.  Alabama is far superior to either team taking the field January 7th in Miami and the BCS is a mockery of the entire NCAA and everything it stands for.

Playoffs: 2014-2015 season.

At this point in this post, if you are thinking there is no way the Buckeyes would be in this position, think again.  The BCS not including an undefeated Big Ten team?  You’re dreaming.  While in reality the Big Ten leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality of the teams currently playing within its realm, it is still one of the most highly regarded conferences in the NCAA.  With Ohio State having arguably the biggest fan base in the country, pairing the Buckeyes with Notre Dame, who’s fan base you could also make an argument for, is the true BCS dream bowl.  An undefeated, unpunished OSU team not in the BCS championship is simply unrealistic.

The big night finally arrives, while both teams are equally hated by fans from outside their universities, it draws one of the biggest viewings in BCS history.  Unfortunately for Buckeye’s fans, Urban Meyer’s magical season comes to an end, as the (with a mouthful of soap I say this) superior Fighting Irish beat the Buckeyes 24-10.  And unfortunately for males everywhere, including the easily excitable Brent Musburger, there is no Miss Alabama at the game, and thus nothing to talk about on social media.

In reality, the college season comes to a close with a 42-14 beat down and many fans wondering “what if?”  But soon, this reminiscing of what could have been last season will give way to imaginations running loose, minds creating new depictions and dreams of what is to come in the 2013 season with yet another season of BCS imperfection.

However Irish fans should take comfort in knowing, as they drown their sorrows in multiple pints of Guinness and watch Rudy for the 451st time, that somewhere, in some alternate universe, their team played like champions.