Don’t worry…

… my head didn’t pop off when Iowa got selected to a BCS bowl. As a matter of fact, I like that Iowa at least attempted to bolster its schedule with BCS foes like Iowa State (as it always does) and even Arizona. My head would have snapped off had, say, Penn State, made it. Seriously… Eastern Illinois, a few MAC schools and a juggernaut like Syracuse?

I really have no problem with the BCS lineup at all. It would have been nice to see TCU and Boise State play one of those “power conference” teams instead of a Poinsettia Bowl rematch, but the truth of it is, that should be a damn good game. I’ll watch it.

I can’t wait to watch the Rose Bowl. I think that’ll be the best game of all the bowl games this season — at least the most intriguing! If Ohio State challenges, I’ll eat crow all offseason because you know I think Oregon will mop the floor with the Buckeyes. I think the Pac-10 has the toughest bowl lineup and I’m excited to see how the Conference of Champions fares against some really, really good teams: Oregon State vs. BYU (Las Vegas Bowl), Cal vs. Utah (Poinsettia Bowl), USC vs. Boston College (Emerald Bowl), Arizona vs. Nebraska (Holiday Bowl), UCLA vs. Temple (some bowl in DC) and Stanford vs. Oklahoma (Sun Bowl). That’s a hell of a lineup. No way the conference goes undefeated in the postseason this year, but I’m excited to see how the league stacks up… and it’s a shame Andrew Luck of Stanford is hurt.

Other football notes before I settle in for Monday Night:

1.) The Washington Huskies looked terrific in their finale, which resulted in a 42-10 butt-whipping of a good California team. Their youth showed in their inconsistency throughout the season. Some classy young men played their final college game and, though I don’t expect any of them to ever read this, each of them has my respect and best wishes. Though he never was particularly comfortable around us reporters, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim — as a tight-lipped freshman — opened up and told me about his father’s death and I’ll always appreciate his trust in me for that. Ben Ossai grew up right before us.  Donald Butler, always a smart, well-sopken guy, turned into a beast of a player and always impressed on and off the field. There are others, but still one of my favorites will always be E.J. Savannah. He was called everything from a troublemaker to an idiot, but he never, ever came across that way to me. From the time he was a sophomore in high school to this very day, he was polite and forthcoming. He was personable and, though I have no doubt he made some mistakes, I empathized with him. Though I’m sure he has more maturing to do, he grew from a boy to a man in the time I got to be around him. He made it through a lot — suspensions, academic ineligibility — he was always a damn fine football player and a nice kid for a reporter to be around. I sincerely hope his injuries heal and he we see him on a football field again. If we don’t, I hope we see him in the future as a great father and contributing member of society. I really do.

2.) Huskies fans, I think Jake Locker is a goner. His last game was his best. He looked like a quarterback — a damn good one, too. As I watched him tear up the Cal Bears, three things popped into my mind: Mark Sanchez’s Rose Bowl finale (a performance that convinced Sanchez he was good enough to go pro that very instant), Sam Bradford’s injured shoulder, and Matt Leinart holding that news conference after his junior when he announced he was staying for another year to “fight on.” I just don’t see Locker doing the latter. I hope he does, but I don’t see it.

USC safety Taylor Mays sure would look good with Troy Polamalu in the Steelers secondary.

3.) I hate to say it, but after watching the Steelers suffer back-to-back losses to the Chiefs and Raiders, I’m thinking… “Draft Picks.”

I can’t imagine he’ll last long enough for the Steelers to be able to get him, but Taylor Mays would look amazing in Black & Gold and, after enduring the last few weeks, the Steelers clearly need another safety. Troy Polamalu missed seven games in 2008 and will miss at least that many this season. Ahhh… a girl can dream.

If not a defensive back for the Steelers, then what?Then who do they pick? They got Ziggy Hood last year, which was a good move since they’re getting a little older on the defensive line. I don’t know for certain, but I’m thinking Aaron Smith (out the season), Brett Keisel and Travis Kirschke (out with a calf injury) have about 30 years between them. So, if Hood is the up-and-comer there, great.

I look at the roster and see mostly good things — like proven talent and experience, as well as strong youth and potential — at most positions. You always need help on the offensive line, but I like the way this group is really coming together. With the exception of center Justin Hartwig, all the starters have about four-six years experience. Chris Kemoeatu may end up with an All-Pro season, but a knee injury a couple weeks ago might change that. And I like his backup, the rookie from Wisconsin. He is versatile, too.

But, you watch the Steelers and just see glaring mistakes in the secondary over and over again. So, I’m figuring the pick has to be a defensive back. What do you think?

4.) Brian Kelly will coach Notre Dame in 2010. I’ve said it since the Huskies almost beat the Irish in South Bend. I think it would be a terrific hire and I might even root for Notre Dame every now and then because of it. Kelly is a trash-mouthed Catholic with a political bone and a great football mind. Time to bring a little edge back to Jesus’s program.

5.) I’m proud of my brother-in-law, Brian. His West Virginia Mountaineers finished the season with a pair of wins, including one over No. 9 Pitt. (And they damn near beat then-No. 5 Cincinnati at Cincinnati!) For their hard work and success, Brian and his team will be playing New Years Day in the Gator Bowl, about the most popularn-BCS bowl. (Along with the Cotton Bowl, I’d suggest.) They’ll be playing Florida State in Bobby Bowden’s last game. No matter what happens, Brian will be on the field the last time Bowden is… that’s pretty damn cool!

6.) Kurt said I haven’t blogged since Nov. 17. I’m shocked and proud he noticed. Finals, Kurt. Finals. However, I have three-plus weeks off. I’m back in Seattle (before heading to Florida and then returning home) and doing darn close to absolutely nothing. In the next few weeks, there’s fantasy football playoffs, draft scouting, Thursday/Sunday NFL games, bowl games, dollar beers at Skinny’s. too much caffeine in Seattle and plenty of blogging, Kurt!

7.) Good luck to Toby Gerhart. Enjoy the trip!

8.) For non-football notes: I read “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls on the plane ride to Seattle. I highly recommend it. Stacy and I also went to see “The Blind Side.” I loved the book and pretty much think Sandra Bullock is a poor actress. Thus, I thought the movie would stink. I stand corrected. It’s touching, well done in spite of the fact the book is excellent and, gulp, ol’ Sandy was really damn good in it. Go see it. Another book and another movie in the next couple days…


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