Marshall: A Look at College Football Myths

Phillip Marshall writes about Auburn football and basketball as well as SEC football and the national scene in this column.

You don't have to watch ESPN, listen to talk radio or read the Internet for long to hear or see things myths presented as fact.

A look at some of those myths:

Auburn is only strong when its main rivals are weakened: The only truth to this is that, obviously, everybody can't be on top at the same time. But a cursory check of records will show you that two of Auburn's current five straight wins over Alabama came over 10-win teams. It will also show you that Auburn has beaten the SEC champion each of the past two seasons. It will show you Auburn has the best recent record in the country against Top 10 teams. It will show you that, in eight seasons, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is 6-2 against Alabama, 5-3 against LSU and 5-3 against Georgia.

Urban Meyer's spread offense is vindicated because Florida is in the championship game: Not really. The Gators are in the BCS championship game because of defense and special teams. Their offense, really, underachieved considering the amount of talent available. Watching the Gators play close games against overmatched teams all season was kind of like watching Auburn in that you wondered how they kept winning week in and week out.

Gus Malzahn came to Arkansas from Springdale High School to coordinate the Arkansas offense.

Arkansas offensive Gus Malzahn proved himself in his first season out of the high school ranks: The last you saw of Malzahn's high school offense was when the Razorbacks were getting their heads handed to them by Southern California in the season opener. After that, it was back to head coach Houston Nutt's way of doing things, much to the relief of other coaches on the Arkansas staff.

There are too many bowl games: Why? What difference does it make if 50-plus teams get to play in bowl games? Who is hurt because Troy gets to celebrate a victory over Rice at the Superdome? Sure, a lot of those games turn out to be boring, but nobody is forced to watch. I trust those games are worthwhile for the cities involved or they wouldn't have them.

The BCS has reduced the significance of other bowls: That's one I've never really understood. Before the BCS--which certainly is a system in need of repair or elimination--no more than one or two bowls had an impact on the national championship picture. So why is the Cotton Bowl or the Gator Bowl or the Capital One Bowl less significant now than before? I haven't figured that one out.

Bowl games have a big impact on the following season: There's just no evidence of that at all. Bowl results typically don't impact the preseason polls the following season in any significant way and there is certainly no evidence that they impact the way a team performs the following season. Just like last season's Capital One Bowl, Auburn's game against Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl is important because of what it could mean to this season--a Top 10 finish, 11 wins, 41 wins for the senior class. What happens in Dallas will not have anything to do with what happens next season.

Auburn fans don't care about basketball: Actually, I think they care at the same level as fans at most other SEC schools care. If you win big, they'll come. If you don't, they won't. Florida, LSU and Alabama draw large crowds now. When they weren't winning, they drew the same kinds of crowds Auburn draws now. On its way to the 1999 SEC championship, Auburn literally had more fans at Coleman Coliseum than Alabama did. Promotions don't matter. Cute slogans don't matter. You have to win. Simple as that.

A big-time school should only hire a head coach who has proved he can win at the highest level: Actually, in its search, Alabama ought to take a look at what has happened with recent hires. USC's Pete Carroll wasn't coaching at all. Georgia's Mark Richt was Florida State's offensive coordinator. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops was Florida's defensive coordinator. Ohio State's Jim Tressell was coaching at I-AA Youngstown State. Louisville's Bobby Petrino was Auburn's offensive coordinator. In fact, if you look at the current Top 10, only LSU's Les Miles and Tuberville moved to their current schools from head coaching jobs at other BCS schools.

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