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» SDA: Rivalry Showdowns

Rivalry week has significant conference and Playoff ramifications. Should Alabama, Mississippi State, Oregon, or Florida State be worried about getting upset by their rivals?

02 Nov 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Burning Down the Couch

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: The college football season has been in a bit of a lull for what seems like a few weeks, but this is the week things start to get interesting with West Virginia-Louisville on Thursday night. Next week we get Louisville-Rutgers, then Football Armageddon in two weeks, etc., etc.

Vinny: Of course, the biggest event of the season took place during last week's slumberfest: Oregon State's upset of USC. So you never know what's lurking out there. Like the crazy guy on the train who's always singing "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday.

Russell: Hey, I have that on my iPod. Still, without the killer slate last Saturday, I cleaned my basement. This week, I actually volunteered to do something social that doesn't involve football on Saturday afternoon. Just laying the foundation for the five-star, couch potato Saturdays to come, Vin.

Vinny: I've got a wedding in Chicago at 2 p.m. CST. I will give the groom his due: he went out of his way to schedule his wedding on Michigan's bye week. But with the NCAA allowing 12 games this year, Ball State was added to the Wolverines' slate this week. I'll live.

Russell: Good luck finding that one on ESPNU anyway. Time for a statistical check. This being FO, there's an Excel sheet involved.

Vinny: What are the odds? Wait, don't answer that.

Russell: It was another decent week for both of us last week as we each went 5-3. It might not sound impressive, but if you do that every time out at the sports book, you'll be doing OK. I hold a one-game lead in the overall standings, but you're destroying me in the Fred Edelstein picks, 7-2 vs. my 4-5. When we agree, we're 28-19-0 on the year, including 3-1 on Edelstein locks. When we disagree, I've got the slight edge, winning 13 of 25 games. Most impressive stat? You've been .500 or better six times in nine weeks and I've done so seven times. Steady, not spectacular. I'll take it.

Vinny: You sound like Clark Griswold before you strap Aunt Edna to the roof: It's not as if it's going to rain or something.

Russell: Well Vin, we're on a quest. A quest for fun.

#3 West Virginia (+1.5) at #5 Louisville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: The Big East's big three round-robin finally kicks off this week as West Virginia takes on Louisville at Papa John's Stadium. Next week, Louiville faces Rutgers, and West Virginia gets its crack at the Scarlet Knights on December 2. After those three games, we'll know if any of these teams is truly a national championship contender.

Vinny: Interesting that John L. Smith got canned on the eve of this matchup. I'm sure Louisville A.D. Tom Jurich looks back at the surreal 2002 GMAC Bowl -- when news of Smith's hiring at Michigan State broke during the game and Jurich held a press conference to discuss it at halftime -- as one of the best things that ever happened. And Bobby Petrino has even taken all of his realtors off his speed dial (although I still think he hid one of them under "poison control").

Russell: Ahh, JohnEl. We're gonna miss you. Don't worry, the award remains named in your honor, at least until someone else comes along and slaps themselves with any regularity. Meanwhile, USC's loss last week opened the door for either of these teams to reach the BCS title game if they run the table. Some people think that only applies to West Virginia, but Louisville is up to fifth in the BCS and its strength of schedule is about to go way up. I think the Cards are a virtual shoo-in at 12-0 as well.

Vinny: The Cardinals have a blitz-happy defense that leads the nation in sacks (defensive tackle Amobi Okeye has racked up 10). And you wouldn't think it, but these are two of the top 10 scoring defenses in the country. Granted, their unimposing schedules have fattened up their statistics.

Russell: The Louisville offense hasn't been as explosive lately. They're missing Michael Bush at tailback, and Brian Brohm has been slow to regain his form following a hand injury. Even with Brohm back, Louisville has been scraping by teams it should bury. I get the feeling that Steve Slaton, Pat White, and Co. are going to expose this Cardinals team as not nearly as good as the past two editions. I love West Virginia getting points. The Morgantown fire department should have plenty of couches to extinguish Thursday night. I'm taking West Virginia. And for the record, I feel compelled to mention the best blog name ever

Vinny: These days, teams that are so run-oriented are rarely taken seriously. West Virginia notched big wins in barnburners against Louisville and Georgia last year. They know they're good. Louisville, meanwhile, is like the school bully who's been taking milk money from the A/V Club all year but is afraid to go out for the football team. The Mountaineers win going away.

Missouri (+6) at Nebraska, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Hey, it's the Big 12 North Championship Game! Not officially, but it might as well be, as the winner of this one will almost certainly take on Texas in the conference title game in December. Yes, winning the Big 12 North is kind of like winning the National League (wait, bad analogy). It's kind of like winning the NFC these days -- you gain the right to be cannon fodder for the South champ.

Vinny: Seriously, with Kansas State's demise, there really isn't much drama to the Big 12 title games anymore. Texas? Crown their ass!

Russell: They are who we thought they werd. Both teams are coming off bad losses. Nebraska has dropped two straight, and Missouri two of its last three after a 6-0 start. Does anybody want to win this game?

Vinny: Probably! The Tigers have lost in their last 14 appearances in Lincoln. Make it 15.

Russell: Missouri fell apart against Oklahoma last week, announcing loud and clear that it's not ready to win a big game. Nebraska may not be "back," but the Huskers have played a couple of big games this year and nearly knocked off Texas two weeks ago. It's tough to pick against them at home. I'm not crazy about laying a full touchdown, but I just don't trust Mizzou on the road. Nebraska is the pick.

Vinny: Nebraska's Brandon Jackson (184 rushing yards last week in the loss to Oklahoma State) has emerged from a crowded backfield to be the main man. He had to be drooling while he watched the tape of Oklahoma's Allen Patrick carry the ball 35 times against Mizzou. I like Nebraska to cover at home.

Penn State (+7) at #16 Wisconsin, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: With the Big Ten having reverted to "big two, little nine" (and yes, I realize how ridiculous the math in that sentence sounds) mode, Wisconsin is as far under the radar as any one-loss team in America. But the Badgers have won five straight since falling at Michigan, pounding the ball with their latest ginormous tailback and unleashing a nasty defense.

Vinny: Wisconsin rookie coach Bret Bielema has shown an aggressiveness that's unsettling after years of Barry Alvarez's conservatism. And fittingly, his goofy smile and the ever-present sideline shades add up to pure cheese. Still, you can't argue with his results so far.

Russell: Freshman running back P.J. Hill was dinged up in last week's come-from-behind win over Illinois, and could be limited in this game if he plays at all. That puts the game on John Stocco's shoulders -- never a good thing. Then again, Stocco did lead the comeback against the Illini and follows in a long line of Wisconsin QBs who generally look like they can't play, yet turn out to be pretty effective college signal-callers. Brooks Bollinger anyone?

Vinny: Frankly, after Troy Smith and Chad Henne, Stocco might be the next-most reliable quarterback in the conference right now. He earned a badge of courage in this contest last year, a 35-14 PSU victory, when he was sacked nine times. He looked like a body pillow for Tamba Hali. But Stocco appeared to be one of the few Badgers who didn't quit in the fourth quarter.

Russell: Penn State has a pretty nasty defense of its own, especially as Paul Posluszny has returned to full health. The Lions should be able to limit the straight-ahead rushing attack of Wisconsin. Still, in a matchup of quality defenses, I have to go to the quarterbacks. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but Stocco v. Anthony Morelli in a big game is a no-brainer for me. I'm taking Wisconsin.

Vinny: With or without Hill, it should be a good matchup between Joe Thomas and the Badgers offensive line against Jay Alford, Ed Johnson, and the Nitts' linebacker corps. Tony Hunt should be limited by a good Badgers defense. But yeah, I like Stocco to find tight end Travis Beckum often enough for the Badgers to cover at home.

#17 LSU (-2.5) at #11 Tennessee, 3:30 p.m ET, CBS

Russell: Head-scratcher line of the week here. It seems that most people believe LSU is the most talented team in the SEC, but the Tigers have played two games against decent competition, both on the road, and lost both. Why are they favored in Knoxville, a place where they're 1-11-1 all time -- against a hot Tennessee team?

Vinny: Why does Radio Shack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries? I don't know.

Russell: You know, you don't have to answer that question. Try it some time, it's very liberating. There are some concerns about the health of Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge, who injured his ankle on a QB draw play late in last week's win over South Carolina that was nearly JLS Trophy-worthy. He had to come out of that game, and has been limited in practice this week.

Vinny: Well, there you go. Sounds like some insiders are betting that Ainge won't go and redshirt frosh Jonathan Crompton -- who has thrown all of four passes this year (but he completed all of them!) -- will get thrown to the top-ranked Tiger defense. Reading the sweet tea leaves (Phil Fulmer's cryptic comments), I'm guessing that will be the case.

Russell: I can't get past the fact that LSU is 0-2 on the road this year and scored a combined 13 points while failing to run the ball at all. Every bit of logic in my mind says to pick the Vols, but I'm going to invoke the first "line that's too good to be true" ruling of the season and take LSU. As Lee Corso likes to say -- when he isn't making sweet music (Hat tip: EDSBS) -- "somebody knows something and I'm going with the somebodies" -- LSU covers.

Vinny: Well, JaMarcus Russell played well enough to win at Auburn, but he coughed up four turnovers in Gainesville. What a brutal schedule for LSU. And they still have to play Alabama and travel to Arkansas. Regardless, I also think the Tigers notch their first road win of the season (and cover) in the tough Neyland environs.

Arizona State (+3.5) at Oregon State, 4 p.m. ET

Russell: Vin, you live in Pac-10 country. Are you feeling Beaver fever after last week's stunning upset of USC? What's that you say? Poor choice of words? Maybe so, but for my money, that was one of the best games of the year. Thank goodness it was nationally televised for all the country to see. Everybody tuned in to FSN to catch that one, right?

Vinny: Well, I did anyway. And I think it got a fair amount of viewers, especially once they heard the Trojans were in trouble and they scurried through their prevue guides to find FSN before the game finished.

Russell: I don't know who is in charge of marketing in the Pac-10, but they need to be fired. This is a conference that complains about East Cost bias, then allows its contenders to play night games on networks no one can find. A couple of weeks ago, Cal's game wasn't even televised. I get every sports channel known to man, but will I be able to see the Beavers this weekend? Nope. OK, rant over.

Vinny: You're throwing me batting practice here with these questions. I'll take the high road and pass on the cheap jokes (although one of them involved Scores). The Sun Devils have at least righted the ship after three straight losses (routed by Cal and Oregon, and a close loss at USC). Of course, playing Stanford is a cure to whatever is ailing your team, but the 26-23 win in Seattle had to give ASU confidence heading into November. And Rudy Carpenter is finally starting to play like he did in 2005.

Russell: I came away from the USC game really impressed with two things: Oregon State QB Matt Moore, and the Beavers' home crowd. Both will make life miserable for an Arizona State squad that has a habit of coming up small in anything that can be considered a big game. If the Beavers can beat USC without Yvenson Bernard, they can certainly beat ASU. The Beavers roll. This is my Fred Edelstein Lock.

Vinny: Did you bet somebody that you could say "Beavers" five times in one game discussion? It's like the "meow" scene with Jim Gaffigan in Super Troopers. Anyway, I'm not sure Oregon State isn't reading their press clippings this week. And the ASU youngsters thrown into major roles because of injuries are starting to get comfortable. I'm going to take a flyer on the Devils and the points.

Nevada (-10) at Idaho, 5 p.m. ET, GamePlan

Russell: If this game were televised, I might actually tune-in. For one, Nevada runs that totally-cool "pistol" formation, with the quarterback in a short shotgun formation and a tailback behind him at his usual seven-yard depth. Some other teams have noticed and are starting to put it to use -- Oregon is one that comes to mind.

Update: Nevada-Idaho is part of the ESPN GamePlan schedule this week, channel 779 for you DirecTV subscribers out there. Still no Oregon State, though.

Vinny: Interesting. I don't think I've seen that before. Can a revolver formation (where the snap is always taken by a player motioning behind the center) be far off?

Russell: I think they already run that at Miami (I'll be here all week). Vin, did you know that Idaho has its own domed stadium? The Vandals play on campus in the Kibbie Dome, which seats about 13,000, all right on top of the field. Now that I'm out of Idaho factoids, I should tell you that the Vandals did not enjoy their trip to the Islands last week, as Colt Brennan and Hawaii hung a 68-10 beatdown on 'em. Nevada doesn't have that kind of passing attack, but you have to think that whoever is at quarterback for Nevada -- they played three last week -- will have some success.

Vinny: I did not know that either. Are you trying to expose my utter lack of knowledge about these teams? If so, it's working. What I do know is that Dennis Erickson is walking the sidelines for Idaho (good practice since he's been asked to walk a straight line by a state trooper or two).

Russell: The Vandals gave Boise State a game a few weeks ago, but you don't just bounce back from a loss like they suffered last week. I'm going to ignore the double-digit home dog and stick with Nevada.

Vinny: Yeah, that could not have been a fun flight home, unless the coach was buying rounds. I'm hopping on the Nevada bandwagon as well.

#15 Boston College (-4) at #24 Wake Forest, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: OK, raise your hand if you had this as one of the games of the year in the ACC, the nation's strangest conference this season. OK, raise your hand if you knew these teams are playing for the Atlantic Division driver's seat. OK, raise your hand if you know who's in the Atlantic. Umm, raise your hand if you know the name of the other ACC division ... Beuller? (Psst: It's the "Coastal.")

Vinny: Well, I got the last one at least. Until then, I had my arms folded, Run-DMC style.

Russell: OK, poor ACC marketing decisions aside (who's running this league, the Pac-10?), this is a big game. The winner has the inside track to the ACC title game in Jacksonville on December 2. Wake Forest might be the nation's most unlikely 7-1 team, and they could be 8-0 if not for a special teams meltdown against Clemson. You hear that noise? That's the sound of financial advisors calling Wake coach Jim Grobe, who's in for either a hefty raise or a new job this offseason.

Vinny: It's hard to know the salary and buyout numbers for Grobe since Wake is a private school, but you have to think UNC might come calling if they can't lure a Butch Davis-type at first.

Russell: In a lot of ways, Boston College is a mirror image of Wake. Not flashy, but the Eagles keep winning close games, gaining confidence along the way. I really like the way quarterback Matt Ryan has played this year. He wasn't intimidated two weeks ago at Florida State and he won't be so here. I like the Eagles.

Vinny: Wake is short-handed in the backfield without running backs Micah Andrews and Kevin Harris, who both have knee injuries. So more pressure heaped on the shoulders of quarterback Riley Skinner. I'm with you on this one as well: Boston College is the pick (my Freddy).

#13 Arkansas (-2) at South Carolina, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: Remember Arkansas? You know, the team that knocked off Auburn about a month ago to turn the SEC upside down? Well after fattening up on patsies for a few weeks, the Hogs are ready for another turn in the spotlight. Or are they? I'm always wary of teams that have spent a long period of time hearing how good they are without having to prove it on the field -- especially ones without a recent track record of success.

Vinny: The Hogs still have Tennessee and LSU on the November slate but at least both have to travel to Fayetteville Arkansas. But it's pretty impressive to be 7-1 at this point of the season with a true freshman at quarterback, no matter how highly recruited he was.

Russell: This isn't a great South Carolina team by any stretch, but Steve Spurrier has the Gamecocks playing hard. They haven't made life easy for teams, and hung with Tennessee for four quarters in a physical game last week. Syvelle Newton has moved over from receiver to take over quarterback duties, and he's played pretty well, but needs to take better care of the ball. A repeat of last weeks' three-INT performance won't cut it here.

Vinny: On his weekly radio show, Spurrier said the Gamecocks have had a "so-so" season thus far. But a win here and his team is bowl-eligible again. Spurrier has stated that he needs to recruit South Carolina to the top of the SEC, and he's doing pretty well on that front too. The guy is honest, you have to give him that.

Russell: Arkansas lives and dies with the running game while that hotshot QB, Mitch Mustain, learns the ropes at this level. That's a pretty good plan, especially when you have Darren McFadden toting the mail. Still, I'm wary of the Hogs' psyche, and I refuse to believe the Old Ballcoach will make it through an entire season without pulling off an upset of somebody. Some people may have the Gamecocks looking ahead to Florida next week, but not me. South Carolina wins outright.

Vinny: I'm proud of you, Russ. You went through an entire game preview without any mention of Houston Nutt turning down that Nebraska job for $2 million a year a few years ago. I think the Hogs keep the momentum going in Columbia.

Russell: I have a four- and a six-year old. In my house, you haven't made your point until you've made it about 15 times. But seriously, do you think Nutt still thinks about that?

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
West Virginia +1.5 Louisville West Virginia West Virginia
Missouri +6 Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
Penn State +7 Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin
LSU -2.5 Tennessee LSU LSU
Arizona State +3.5 Oregon State Arizona State Oregon State*
Nevada -10 Idaho Nevada Nevada
Boston College -4 Wake Forest Boston College* Boston College
Arkansas -2 South Carolina Arkansas South Carolina
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 40-32-0 (7-2-0)
Russell 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 41-31-0 (4-5-0)

Posted by: on 02 Nov 2006

298 comments, Last at 07 Nov 2006, 12:09am by Tom W

Comments

1
by Heckler (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 5:50pm

I can say with a certainty, the BCS will never allow either of these teams to reach the title game. Voters are just not convinced they are that good and the computers, well, they hate them.

Here's an interesting chain. USC lost to Oregon State who lost...er, was killed by, Boise State who are undefeated. Where goes an undefeated Boise St. team? Could we set up a West Virginia vs. Boise St matchup of unbeatens in a non-national title game?

2
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 6:13pm

If there are two unbeatens that don't get to the title game, I do hope they play each other. I always wanted to see Utah vs. Auburn.

One interesting thing about the Big East is that it doesn't really have any weaklings. The worst team is probably Connecticut, and I think UConn would be a pretty big favorite over Northwestern, Mississippi State, Stanford, Duke and Colorado.

Is anyone picking Louisville to win this game? This is an instance of the Vegas line being different from what every media analyst I've seen has predicted.

3
by Fourth (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 6:16pm

A certainty? You're funny. An undefeated Big East team will finish #2 in the human polls, and their SoS after playing a pair of unbeatens will shoot up. Texas is leading the human polls among 1 loss teams, while Florida is leading the computers. Unless one of those schools can consolidate their "leader of the one loss teams" status, it won't even be close in the BCS. Tonight is a play-in for the Championship unless Rutgers is better than people think they are.

4
by Fourth (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 6:19pm

Re: 2

I would take Mississippi St. and maybe Northwestern over UConn at this point, but it's true the Big East has a better lower half than probably everyone except the Pac-10.

Oh, and I'm picking Louisville, so there.

5
by Frick (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 6:46pm

Connecticut beat Indian earlier this year and IU is amazingly the 5th team in the Big 10 at the moment.

That IU was in the discussion for worst BCS team less than a month ago bears mentioning. It also bears mentioning that 3 of IU's losses came while their head coach was out due to neurosurgery.

6
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 6:51pm

Louisville may not have been very impressive lately, but West Virginia hasn't impressed me very much either. Ever since they got off to the great start against Maryland, they've been sluggish, only leading by more than one score at halftime against UConn. When blowing people out, they've blown them out late. I don't think they'll be able to do the same thing against Louisville. I like the Cardinals to win the game... call it 31-21.

7
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 7:37pm

Unless one of those schools can consolidate their “leader of the one loss teams� status, it won’t even be close in the BCS.

There will be a "leader of the one loss teams", and it will be close. The leader of the one loss teams will be the loser of Ohio State-Michigan.

How close it is depends on how good the unbeaten of the WVU/Louisville/Rutgers round robin looks. If an unbeaten doesn't survive out of that, that's when things get interesting.

8
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 7:45pm

Connecticut beat Indian earlier this year and IU is amazingly the 5th team in the Big 10 at the moment.

It also bears mentioning that 3 of IU’s losses came while their head coach was out due to neurosurgery.

Not only did UConn win, but the game was at Indiana.

Hoeppner missed the Southern Illinois loss, but was in the coach's box, with a headset on during the UConn loss, and returned to the sideline for the Wisconsin loss. I'm sure his absence hurt them in terms of game preparation, though.

Ever since they got off to the great start against Maryland, they’ve been sluggish, only leading by more than one score at halftime against UConn. When blowing people out, they’ve blown them out late.

In West Virginia's defense, they've been leading at all 3 post-Maryland, non-UConn halftimes, and in each of those games, they'veve taken the second half kickoff and driven for a score to put themselves up 10+ points. West Virginia's opponents have yet to have the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead in the second half.

I think WVU will win tonight, something like 38-24.

9
by Heckler (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 8:15pm

#3 Good point, hadn't thought about the SoS bump you get from beating two undefeated teams. So barring some BCS BS with Michigan-Ohio State game (Like an overtime loss that was really impressive and makes voters retarded and vote for a rematch)we'll get the game of unbeatens. Or maybe ESPN will rig this sucker so they get Michigan-Ohio State football armageddon again...."Watch this game or you will DIE"

10
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 8:25pm

Louisville to win it 34-27.

I really don't know why...just a feeling.

11
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 8:49pm

So barring some BCS BS with Michigan-Ohio State game (Like an overtime loss that was really impressive and makes voters retarded and vote for a rematch)we’ll get the game of unbeatens.

It's not quite as clear cut as you think. Beating two unbeatens only means something if those unbeatens stay unbeaten (except for your loss, and to each other). West Virginia being a guaranteed BCS #2 requires basically one thing: Rutgers and Louisville can only lose to each other. If either of them botch one of the rest of their games (like, say, Rutgers losing to Syracuse or something like that), West Virginia could end up, unbeaten, as low as #4, if Cal beats USC.

So you could end up with WVU being #2, #2, #4, and Michigan being #3, #3, #2, which is a tie.

12
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 9:39pm

Is anyone picking Louisville to win this game? This is an instance of the Vegas line being different from what every media analyst I’ve seen has predicted.

Which makes me suspect that Louisville is going to win, and win big.

They're my pick this week. I'm on a two game losing streak and my record is down to 5 - 4, but the Cardinals will turn things around for me!

13
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 9:48pm

Welcome to the Ville!

14
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 9:51pm

West Virginia's first test against a real offense...not looking so hot right now.

15
by jdb (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 9:57pm

is anyone really excited about the prospect of an OSU/UM rematch? I mean, yeah, it'll be good the first time, but once is enough.
oh, and west virginia by 10.

16
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 10:01pm

An OSU/Michigan rematch would be on Fox, not ESPN.

I forgot to mention this in the other thread, where someone thought OSU/Michigan wouldn't be that big outside Big 10 country. I know I'm biased in this one, but I think it'll be huge. I know I go out of my way to watch every major rivalry game possible, and if there's something big on the line, I need a major reason to miss it. Something bigger than a stupid jerk moron friend's wedding.

Sorry, back to the point. I always try to catch Alabama play Auburn, even though I have no particular interest in either team. It's just an intense rivalry, and a really fun game/event. But what if both teams were ranked in the top 5, or even the top 10? No freaking way I'd miss it! And imagine if they were 1-2, with the winner virtually assured of going to the championship game (assume the SEC title game would be a walkover). I can't even describe how excited I am thinking about that, and it isn't even real, nor does it involve any team I give a crap about. How could this not apply to CFB fans everywhere for OSU and Michigan ranked 1-2, winner plays for the national title? Nebraska fan and Oregon fan aren't going to be tuning in for this? Are you insane?

17
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 10:04pm

Horrible decision to punt there for Louisville. With third-and-4 they should have run to try to pick up a couple yards, then gone for it on fourth down.

18
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 10:07pm

I grew up a Michigan fan (thanks to my dad)....went to U of Alabama for my undergrad (thank god for my senior year being last year). Needless to say the last 4 years have sucked ass. Nov 18th has been marked on my calendar for a while...

19
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 10:13pm

Slaton is fast..that is all.

20
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:01pm

#19: Not to mention neither team can tackle. Oy.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:02pm

Jeez. Or cover, for that matter.

22
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:05pm

Great job by the officials. I've said it elsewhere, but I love it when officials call offsetting personal fouls rather than just letting it go. If nothing else, you're singling out the players and telling them "calm the hell down."

23
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:17pm

Two observations on the first half:
1. This has been an enjoyable, well-played game. It absolutely meets my expectations.
2. If the BCS championship is the Michigan-Ohio State winner against the winner of this game, my money is on Michigan/Ohio State by about four touchdowns. Every offensive lineman in this game would get crushed by Quinn Pitcock or Alan Branch.

24
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:17pm

West Virginia has incredible fumble luck. I've counted at least six of them so far, and they've only lost one.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:22pm

MDS: Well-played? Offensively, I'd agree, but defensively, not so much. I can't believe how overaggressive the defenses are playing.

26
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:34pm

I’ve counted at least six of them so far, and they’ve only lost one.

According to the stats, West Virginia has fumbled 3 times and lost 1. Lucky, but not incredibly so.

27
by oljb (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:38pm

WVU's defense has kept 12 points off the board when it counted... but the pass defense has not been inspiring.

28
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:45pm

Three fumbles can't be correct. They fumbled twice Louisville's kickoff right before halftime. Pat White has fumbled twice, once on a QB keeper, once on a botched snap. Then there's the one they lost. I can't remember the sixth one.

29
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:46pm

darkness falls.

30
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:47pm

i don't think they count botched handles of kickoffs as fumbles-so that negates 2 of them.

31
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:47pm

I'm missing something. Why in the world is Louisville being so aggressive on defense? WVU has basically nonstop run right into blitzes and aggressive pass rushers, and the running backs have ended up open, in space, all the time. Why rush the passer so much when they're barely passing?

32
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:49pm

Bigtime college football here

33
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:49pm

Looks like the fumble luck is starting to even out. I'm thoroughly unimpressed with WVU's ability to hold on to the ball.

34
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:50pm

Neither team is exactly wowing anyone tonight. There's talent out there, but these teams aren't ready for prime time. Way too many mistakes- fumbles, brainless penalties, poor tackling, etc.

35
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:52pm

Hey look, another Louisville blitz. And another WVU run right into it. And if Slaton hadn't fumbled the ball, he would've been in the open again.

36
by navin (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:52pm

Why don't botched snaps and dropped kickoffs count as fumbles? If your opponent gets the ball, you certainly lose possession. Maybe it's just the looser score keeping of college football.

37
by Brad (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:53pm

After the first half, I was trying to figure out what team was going to be drafting Slaton in the top ten in '08. I know that one game isn't necessarily fair, but come on. I can't remember the last time I saw a star RB fumble twice in a row.

38
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:55pm

CSTV had 4 West Virginia fumbles before the half, but it doesn't matter.

West Virginia had only 9 total fumbles in 7 games before today, and were 10th in the nation in fewest fumbles lost. I wonder if nerves have gotten to them.

39
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:58pm

West Virginia is done.

40
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:59pm

Well, they're on the road, but this is a pretty bad collapse by WVU

41
by oljb (not verified) :: Thu, 11/02/2006 - 11:59pm

39: If precedent means anything, not necessarily.

42
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:01am

I love announcers. "With Schmitt in, Louisville brough pressure on every single play."

Yeah, um, they've been bringing pressure on basically every single play in the game.

43
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:02am

and that was before the crappy punt by West Virginia.

44
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:02am

Huh. Wonder why they didn't go for two on that play. Up 16 is still just up two scores.

45
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:05am

I wonder whatever happened to Jacob Gwaltney (I think that is how you spell his last name). A top 100 overall player and a RB that signed the same season as Slaton. I think he quit the team-Slaton was not seen as a big-time recruit.

46
by oljb (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:07am

45: I think Gwaltney wound up at some random community college in New York.

47
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:08am

Ha! And one of the few passing plays WVU has, Louisville blitzes (surprise), and gets absolutely zero pressure. Just plain bizarre.

48
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:09am

Re: 45

Jason Gwaltney transferred to a junior college on Long Island.

49
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:09am

Pat White with a 40 yard run to gain 8 yards.

50
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:11am

I was waiting for a reverse. Considering how overaggressive the Louisville defense has been (less so now, which is just plain bizarre), I'm amazed that WVU hasn't added more trickery.

51
by oljb (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:12am

That drive was pretty effective sans Slaton.

52
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:12am

Gwaltney becomes a beast in NCAA Football 2006 after his freshman season.

Fred Rouse another top 100 guy gone...I think he is at UTEP now..

53
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:13am

I know it's still the third quarter, but shouldn't they have considered going for 2 there? Louisville's defense looked dead tired.

54
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:14am

Travis- I just asked a friend of mine that. I guess they think it's still too early for that- either that or RRod doesn't have a fancy chart with all the scenarios.

55
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:16am

For crying out loud, stop blitzing! Man! I don't believe in TMQ's philosophy, but when WVU's entire gameplan is "run right at the blitz", you might want to consider that you're doing something wrong.

#53: Hell yes! If you miss the two-point conversion, you're down by 10. Now, they're down by 9. What, they think they're going to catch up by three field goals? This game is just bizarre coaching.

56
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:25am

Pat- it's like UL's coordinator is emboldened by the 10% success rate of his blitzes. Yeah, every now and then they guess right and the blitzer is in position (and actually makes the tackle). Most of the time WVU is destroying the blitzes.

57
by Dervin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:28am

Can part of the WVU problems stem from the minor fact they were playing a D-II schedule and aren't used to playing a good D-I team?

58
by oljb (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:31am

OK... now let's see if the defense can do anything to save WVU's rears.

59
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:31am

This is some of the worst tackling I've seen in a long, long time. How can you let a team that almost never throws the ball score that fast?

60
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:32am

Maybe that's why they didn't go for 2 the first time. Ugh.

If nothing else, this game is exciting.

61
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:32am

Well, to be fair, now that they're not blitzing, they're not doing any better. Louisville's defenders are doing a horrible job actually maintaining containment on running backs.

62
by admin :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:35am

The Louisville coaches would like the country to know that they do not want to hear no more bullshit.

63
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:38am

How does a team that runs with 5 defensive backs in a starting package leave players so ridiculously open?

64
by oljb (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:39am

Well, at least the didn't burn a lot of clock...

65
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:43am

The funny thing is that I'm sure a lot of the national media will be talking about how Louisville (assuming they win, of course) just made their case as a national championship contender.

Don't get me wrong: Louisville's played well, but all I really saw tonight was that WVU's defense can't cover, and Louisville's defense can't tackle.

66
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:44am

Note to West Virginia: you have 10 minutes to score 3 times (and your defense sucks tonight). Try snapping the ball before the play clock goes down to 10 seconds.

67
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:45am

there is always next year West Virginia.

So the last 2 game of the years have sucked (Texas-OSU and now this game)..lets hope the real game of the year does not suck (which means Michigan wins)

68
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:47am

Hey, WVU can't tackle either and they're clearly terrified of what White might do throwing the ball on a regular basis.

69
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:49am

Anyone seen Louisville in other games this year? I haven't had a chance. Are they always this aggressive on defense? A smarter quarterback who can audible would eat what they're doing tonight alive. On the play where Slaton ran for a loss of 12 yards, they had an easy pass for first down off to the left.

70
by Fourth (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:52am

Some of the fumble problems I think can be blamed on the fact that it's cold for the first time this year.

Louisville looks really good on offense - if they max protect against OSU/Mich, they can put up yards and points in the air.

Neither WVa or UL can tackle. It's hilarious as an SEC fan to see this rather pathetic display on D.

That being said, Louisville is moving to 3 in the poll I keep in my head, up from 4 last week.

71
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:56am

i know it's been said before, but neither team can play defense. this leads me to believe that both teams would lose to OSU, Michigan, Florida, Auburn. but that's why they play the games. oh, wait...

72
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:58am

Apparently, "be aggressive" for Petrino means "run the ball three times up the middle just like every other team with a 3-score lead in the 4th quarter."

73
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:01am

Hey, WVU, you're down by 17 with 3:20 to play. Seven-yard out routes won't get it done.

74
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:01am

If Arkansas wins the SEC are they National Championhship caliber?

75
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:02am

So...

What if, through an ever-decreasing number of upsets and other freak results, two undefeated teams remain at the end of the regular season?

And those two teams are Rutgers and Boise State?

What does the BCS do then?

76
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:03am

75- Prepare for the end of the world.

77
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:03am

on a completely unrelated note, is Colt Brennan a legit prospect, or a product of an extremely favorable system?

78
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:04am

Re: 75
It lays in the fetal position and weeps softly.

79
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:04am

Re: 74

Doubt it. Arkansas' non-conference schedule, all home: USC (loss by 36), 1-7 Utah State, I-AA SE Missouri St., 1-7 Louisiana-Monroe. I don't think even an SEC championship would be enough.

80
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:09am

Auburn must be happy for their Washington State win now then..because Buffalo, Arkansas State, and Tulane (all at home as well).

81
by oljb (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:16am

Well, as a WVU fan, I'm at least happy to have a good new rivalry.

82
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:21am

Right now Arkansas is not National Championship caliber. However three of their next four games are very tough, plus another game against either Florida/Tennessee if they win that. If Arkansas wins out, I think they have a strong argument, but probably not strong enough. It probably won't matter though, I think Arkansas loses to South Carolina on the road, and one of Tennessee/LSU at home.

I really wonder why Cal is so far down in the polls. They played a sloppy first game at Tennessee but they've been dominant since--they're #2 in Sagarin predictor right now.

83
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:29am

If Arkansas wins the SEC are they National Championhship caliber?

At 12 - 1, yes. They would have beaten Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, and Florida.

I'd take an 12 - 1 Arkansas over a 12 - 0 Louisville. All Arkansas was missing was the pre-season hype.

I don't think Arkansas will go 12 -1, though. But if they do....

84
by Fourth (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:37am

Re: 82

Cal is low for the same reason Arkansas and Notre Dame are low among the 1-loss teams.

Blowouts, even early in the season, are hard to forgive or forget.

I'll say this for Cal's loss though - at least it was on the road.

85
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:40am

Re #77
Has anybody actually seen Colt Brennan this year? I'm pretty sure I haven't, except for perhaps a couple plays in the game against Boise State.

Re WVU
I think I commented earlier this year that WVU reminds me of nobody so much as the better Minnesota teams of the recent past. Very good, explosive rushing offense, questionable passing offense, and a defense that doesn't scare you. From this perspective, they're probably about the 15th best team in the country.

Re UL
Pretty much who I thought they were (arguably Denny Green's greatest ever contribution to society). I don't think they'd be particularly competitive against tOSU/UM, but I'd love to see them play if they go undefeated. Think the Major Harris WVU team and Michael Vick & VaTech's coming out v. FSU.

86
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:41am

I really wonder why Cal is so far down in the polls. They played a sloppy first game at Tennessee but they’ve been dominant since–they’re #2 in Sagarin predictor right now.

1. They started out #9 (AP poll).

2. They got destroyed against Tennessee, probably the most-seen Cal game of the season, which dropped them down to #22.

3. All 8 of the teams that started out the season ranked ahead of Cal have had good seasons (1 loss max, and all losses to top 15 teams), and still are ranked ahead of Cal.

4. The only teams to move permanently ahead of Cal since pre-season are Tennessee, who beat Cal (and is ahead of Cal on 63 of 65 ballots), and undefeated Louisville.

5. The computers think better of the mid-level Pac-10 teams that Cal has beaten than the pollsters do.

87
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:48am

I was looking at last week's poll for some of the statistics I cited in #86 - USC lost to Oregon State, not a Top 15 team, and Cal is now ranked #10, barely ahead of Notre Dame.

88
by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:41am

#75:

That would be the most awesome event ever. That or no team finishing the season undefeated, and the NCAA Football administrators seeking political asylum in Canada.

89
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 3:36am

I have seen Colt Brennan play in person. From where I was he looked good-but Hawaii ran a lot of shovel passes against Alabama. A lot-like almost in the double digits it seemed like.

He had one deep pass that I remember that he got to a WR to beat Simeon Castille deep.

90
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 9:20am

I am a Big Ten gomer and openly acknowledge my prejudice. That being written I really wanted to have this game PROVE to me that these teams were in the same league as Michigan or Ohio State.

No way.

Somebody already mentioned but either offensive line would be EATEN ALIVE by multiple defenses in the Big Ten including Michigan (who might decapitate the QB)), OSU, Penn State, and Wisconsin. And neither of those defenses would hold up for more then a half against the upper half of the Big Ten. They are just too small. And before anyone talks about speed please watch a Penn State game and observe those linebackers. THAT'S speed.

I know this will read as being a Big Ten snob. Understood. But I watched the game WANTING to see something that made me go "Whoa". And all I saw was a bunch of poorly coached kids running around not really wanting to tackle battling the so-called "cold". Which of course is even more laughable. Check out Madison in early November at 7 p.m. at night if you want "cold".

The Minnesota comparison is perfect. In a good year the Gophers go 5-3 in the Big Ten and finish 8-3 overall. That sounds about right.

But against the varsity of the Big Ten? No way. These guys would get picked up and put in the watercooler like all the other runts.

91
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 11:46am

Russell:

Stocco can throw deep, Brooks could not.

Brooks was an excellent runner. John most definitely is not.

I could bore all with additional differences but suffice to say they couldn't be more different in how they play.

And while it's a stat of questionable value Stocco has the second best passer rating in the Big Ten.

92
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:28pm

Re: 90

How can those Penn State linebackers be fast? They don't play in the South.

Re: 91

What I meant about Stocco is that he's another sort of non-descript Badger QB who doesn't really scare you but at the end of the day is actually pretty good.

93
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 12:58pm

Re 5: As one of the people who lumped IU into the worst-of-the-BCS mix, I acknowledge that they clearly do not deserve that status (I believe it should be reserved for a team from North Carolina), but wanted to point out that this is partly due to JLS's insistence that few Big Ten teams should have to suffer so.

Yes, IU did play without Hoeppner for a bit, and the upset of Iowa is significant, but aside from that game, their wins are over two MAC teams (although the win over Western is looking better) and two of the worst teams in the Big Ten. They're simply one of the mediocre teams below the Big 2+ (with Wisconsin, Penn State, and Iowa trying to decide who wants to be third) and above Northwestern.

Re 75: an unbeaten Boise State would not pass a once-beaten Ohio State. And let's not forget that while Texas and Florida may be in front right now, we can't be sure that the UM/OSU loser will drop below them. I'm not convinced that if Michigan wins a close game in Columbus, OSU will not get a rematch.

I can't believe I had to admit that. I feel so dirty ...

Trogdor, I was one who brought up that possibility (of fans outside the area not appreciating such a rivalry). A good college football fan will, of course, want to see it - one reason I don't tend to travel over Thanksgiving is that I like to catch games like Texas-Texas A&M, Florida-Florida State, etc., although this year the schedule is messed up a bit (what's the deal with USC-UCLA in December???) - but a casual fan may not appreciate it as much as an intersectional game, and I would guess most fans are casual fans. (This is usually confirmed by the polls that ESPN runs. Remember last year, when USC and Texas were the two best teams in history?)

I might go back and sim the 2006 season a few times in NCAA 07 just to see how it comes out. Or maybe I'll sim a few tournaments ... (eg)

94
by Thok (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:33pm

The computer polls are probably significantly overrating Cal right now, mainly because Cal has yet to play anybody who truly sucks. I can see them dropping some in the computers as they still have to play Arizona and (shudders) Stanford, who might be the worst team in the nation.

(Just for fun, I added a Cal beats Stanford game into the Colley matrix standings. Cal dropped from 3rd to 5th. Of course, beating USC cancels some of this effect out.)

95
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:03pm

Guys,
Betting on Nevada on the road can be hazardous to your health.

Also, betting on a team (Oregon St) that just won the biggest game of their lives is also a recipe for losing.

ASU +3'
Idaho +10 (Dennis Erickson coached, of course)

96
by Justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:05pm

#75 - Why should there be a rematch of UM/OSU if Michigan wins a close game in Columbus? If you go on the road and win in a hostile stadium, wouldn't a game on a neutral field be even more likely a win for UM? I can see a rematch if OSU squeaks by in OT or on a last second FG. But not the reverse. Otherwise, the NCAA should change their football slogan to "Where every game (usually) counts."

97
by Justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:07pm

Oops. That should be re #93, not 75.

98
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:32pm

I just noticed that no one had yet given the guys credit for the title of this week'sw thread. Especially after watching all the "Talking Heads" chewing over last night's game......

That's right; we're in for nasty weather....

But isn't the Morgantown IKEA very upset this morning? They were looking for a heavy sales month, after all.

99
by Don (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:41pm

Vinny, LSU does not travel to Fayetteville, they play Arkansas in Little Rock.

100
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 2:59pm

I would like to hear some input to my question: Does anyone seriously, honestly believe Louisville is a top-5 team? Please don't confuse my question with 'does anyone think Louisville DERSERVES to be ranked in the top-5.' B/c the way teams are ranked...lose and you move down, regardless of who you lose to...states that Louisville deserves to be ranked in the top-5. But based on their entire season resume, including the win last night, does anyone honestly believe they are a top-5 team?? I don't, but that's just my opinion. I don't think their defense could stop the likes of Ohio St, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Tennessee or Cal, to name a few. And on the flip side, I don't think their offense would fair to well against Michigan, Ohio St, Florida, Tennesse, etc.

101
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 3:09pm

Griff, I tend to agree with you, but I also don't want to read too much into how last night's game played out.

Yes, that was an ugly football game, but you know the saying "styles make fights"? Just because West Virginia and Louisville made each other look like less than world beaters doesn't necessarily mean the winner isn't any good.

On a neutral field, I'd likely take OSU/Michigan/Florida/Tennessee over L'ville. By that definition I guess they're top five, just barely. But I'll probably rate them #3 like everyone else this week. I do think there's a value in winning every game that can't be easily overlooked.

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 3:18pm

No, I really don't. Louisville, right now, has just beaten a bunch of basically 0.500 teams, and WVU, and that's it. And all WVU has done is beaten a bunch of 0.500 teams as well. They're ranked high, but that has more to do with lack of knowledge than actual value.

What I really would love (and maybe some year I'll do it myself) is if someone made a statistical ranking that showed the error distribution for each team - that is, how far can you move a team's ranking without significantly affecting the likelihood of the total rankings.

I can guarantee right now that Louisville, Rutgers, and West Virginia could probably be almost moved out of the Top 25, and it would barely twinge the ratings at all.

And when I couple that with what I actually saw on the field last night, Louisville is more likely a 15-20 team rather than a top 5 team.

103
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 3:24pm

Russell: Actually, that's a good point. It's probably true that games look worse between conference opponents than between other teams, because in general teams are usually built to fit the conference they're in.

104
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 3:51pm

Cal over Stanford drops Cal's rating in the Colley Matrix because that ranking system doesn't take margin of victory into account (which is stupid). Cal is #2 in Sagarin Predictor, which is very highly skewed towards margin of victory.

I haven't tracked how Sagarin does in predicting college football games, but I do know it does very well in predicting college basketball. Of course basketball has a lot more sample points and more interconference play, so the comparison might not be valid.

105
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:09pm

And on the flip side, I don’t think their offense would fair to well against Michigan, Ohio St, Florida, Tennesse, etc.

Michigan and Ohio State, fine, but the Tennessee defense that gave up 30 to Air Force (including 281 rushing yards) and 33 to Georgia?

I can understand questioning the Louisville and West Virginia defenses, but not the offenses, which have scored against nearly everybody the last two years, including West Virginia's 38 against Georgia in last year's Sugar Bowl.

106
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:12pm

No, Cal over Stanford drops Cal's rating because Colley's a Laplace-style ranking, and you can get that kind of movement in a Laplace-style ranking (essentially you added a new data point to Cal: greater than Stanford. The midpoint of "greater than Stanford" and 1 isn't that high, and so it moves the average down). In a maximum-likelihood or Elo-style ranking, winning pretty much only results in upward movement.

However, it should be noted that it would lower Stanford's ranking, slightly dropping Oregon, Arizona State, and Washington State, all of whom Cal beat, so it's possible that you could still get downward movement in that case.

doesn’t take margin of victory into account (which is stupid).

The reason BCS rankings don't take margin of victory into account is because that's what the human polls are there to do. Unlike baseball, and to some degree basketball, there's no unbiased (or unbiasable) success metric for football, and so while point margin works on average (it'd have to, that's what decides the game) there's no guarantee it's accurate on a team-by-team basis.

Simple explanation: Two teams can win 14-0 via very different ways, and saying each team's victory was identically impressive is just silly. "Game was closer than the score," etc.

107
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:25pm

I'm sure Pat can answer this question better than I can, but Sagarin's Predictor seems biased towards the high scoring games of the Pac-10.

Here are Sagarin's 2004 ratings. Cal, despite two losses, including a bowl loss to Texas, is the #2 team. Oregon State, 7-5 with no Top 30 wins, is the #11 team. UCLA, 6-6 with no Top 30 wins, is 19th. 4-7 Stanford is 30th!

108
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:37pm

Mistyped. Cal didn't lose their bowl game to Texas; they lost to 8-4 Texas Tech.

109
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:47pm

I understand the problems in using MOV in football as opposed to basketball. I still think it's better than solely using wins/losses. Yes, two 14 point wins could be wildly different, but a 28 point win is almost always going to be more impressive than a 3 point win, everything else being equal.

110
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:50pm

Yes, Cal did lose to Texas Tech, but they had their dreams crushed when Mack Brown lobbied the pollsters to move Texas above Cal in the final polls so Texas could play in the Rose Bowl.

I really don't think Cal even tried in that game.

Also, I'm not a Cal graduate, I'm a Duke/South Carolina fan so I'm somewhat unbiased. (My brother went to school there so I pay attention to how they're doing.)

111
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 4:57pm

Yes, Cal did lose to Texas Tech, but they had their dreams crushed when Mack Brown lobbied the pollsters to move Texas above Cal in the final polls so Texas could play in the Rose Bowl.

I really don’t think Cal even tried in that game.

Possibly true, but the 45-31 loss should still be reflected in Cal's end-of-season rating (which can't possily know whether Cal tried), and it isn't.

112
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 5:02pm

Click on my name for end of season ratings. Cal is listed with two losses, one to TTU.

113
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 5:08pm

Other fun results from the 2004 Sagarin Predictor:

- The best team in the Big Ten? Kyle Orton's 7-5 Purdue team (crushing 6-6 teams like Syracuse and Notre Dame helps).

- Auburn is 8th, behind Utah, Louisville, and Boise State (plus USC, Cal, Oklahoma, and Miami).

- Bowling Green is ranked higher than any Big East team (seeing how this was the 2004 Big East, that might be accurate).

114
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 5:11pm

Re: 112

Yup, just like in the ratings I linked to in #107.

115
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 5:25pm

2003 Sagarin Predictor:
Oklahoma #1, despite a blowout loss to Kansas State and a loss to predictor #2 LSU.

2002 Sagarin Predictor:
11-2 Kansas State #1
14-0 Ohio State #8

116
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 5:54pm

but Sagarin’s Predictor seems biased towards the high scoring games of the Pac-10.

It is. That's been well known.

I understand the problems in using MOV in football as opposed to basketball. I still think it’s better than solely using wins/losses.

For predicting outcomes, in aggregate (in other words, you don't care if you get a quarter of the teams wrong more often than not, because another quarter you'll get right more often than not, and you'll average out), sure. But for looking at individual teams? Nope.

Pac-10 teams (as well as Big East teams) are typically significantly overrated in Sagarin's ratings because his game output function is too simple (I think it's only 1D - only the score difference is used). If you look at Massey's ratings (www.masseyratings.com), which uses a 2D game output function, the results are a lot less biased. Cal's third in both the score-free and margin of victory rankings there.

Take a look at the average difference between the Elo and Predictor ratings on Sagarin's website: you'll note that certain teams (SEC teams, mainly) tend to outperform their predictor ranking, and others underperform (PAC-10 teams). Do the same on Massey's site, and the effect is greatly damped, though not completely.

117
by Joel (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 7:19pm

How can you both pick LSU? A team that struggled to score 3pts against Auburn and lost to Florida who barely beat Tennessee. Now I know you can't say if x beat y and y beat z then x will beat z... but in this case, i am putting my money on the home town dogs, Tennessee.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 8:24pm

#116: Bleah, as I say that, it turns out this year most PAC10 teams are lower in predictor than Elo. Anyway. That doesn't really matter - if the season were infinitely long, Elo should converge to Predictor (since Elo's main limitation is lack of data), and so you'd expect the average difference between Predictor and Elo to diminish over time. For certain types of teams, it definitely doesn't - specifically, those with heavily imbalanced offense/defense. Whether or not it's positive or negative just is whether or not you won more or less games than the simple Predictor would expect.

I shouldn't've said "biased for" - it's not, really. It's just inaccurate when you've got imbalanced teams, and there are a lot of those in the SEC and PAC10.

119
by Tom W (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 10:54pm

What the hell is it going to take for John Stocco to get some respect? He's 2d in the Big Ten in passing efficiency and averaging 9 yds./pass despite the fact that ALL of Wisconsin's other off. skill players graduated or left for the NFL. One of their starting WRs was a walk-on until this season and their leading receiver in both catches and yds. was a defensive lineman last yr. Give UW's receivers to your boy Henne and let's see what how he does.

120
by Tom W (not verified) :: Fri, 11/03/2006 - 11:04pm

Having gotten the above off my chest, I was disappointed to see Louisville beat WVU. I don't really care about either team, but any school greedy enough to name it's home field "Papa John's Cardinal Stadium" deserves to lose. When the day arrives when we're obligated to refer to the stadium in Pasadena as "The Chucky Cheese's Rose Bowl", that'll be the day that I start following my local YMCA league.

121
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 12:23am

Tom, all due respect, but...

1. Stocco and UW have had an excellent 2006.

2. If the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl didn't run you off, nothing will. You're hooked for life, sir. Accept it.

122
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:59am

Um, OK, I accept it, but truthfully, I have no clue what the hell you're talking about.

123
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:07am

Kevin,
Ok, wait, I think the lightbulb is coming on ... sorry, I thought you were still referring to my 1st comment. And you're probably right.

124
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 2:53pm

Early surprise of the day: Ball State 9, Michigan 7, end 1Q.

125
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:02pm

Wouldn't it be something if Ball State ruined all of the fun?

I know it's WAY early...just sayin'...

126
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:04pm

PSU's LBs need to stay home and hit their gaps. Seriously. WIS is just eating them alive running in the second level.

127
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:09pm

Wisconsin picked up the pace on that last drive, but all this yardage with nothing to show for it.

Why they don't just let Stocco take the snap and go back in the pocket I have no idea. By turning his back making some fake he is blind to half the field which likely includes a blitzing defender.

128
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:23pm

Great throw by Stocco for the TD.

129
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:24pm

That was a wonderful throw and catch. PSU had that covered. Just a fine play by all involved.

130
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:29pm

I just turned on PSU-Wisc for that kickoff hilarouty.

Basically teams can burn time off the clock by taking intentional offsides on the kickoff? Brilliant!

131
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:33pm

That was amazing. It's really brilliant... you can't do it for too long, or you're kicking out of your own end zone and you can fair catch the kick, but basically it's the ultimate squib. We'll see this again.

132
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:35pm

The WI head coach also coaches special teams. Give BB credit for finding a loophole.

Joe Pa waved off the ABC person wanting to do an interview. Guess he's a bit upset.

133
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:40pm

Is ABC not running later games due to the Breeders cup on ESPN? I was surprised to be getting a Big-10 matchup instead of cartoons, and probably won't get a Pac-10 matchup due to the stupid horsies.

134
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:40pm

Give him credit? OK. Bielema earns the "douchebag of the week" award. Congratulations. He found a loophole in the rules. Give him a cookie. Thankfully, now that rule will either be changed or eliminated at the end of the year.

But you do not do something like that in a close game. You do that when it's a blowout. Wisconsin just said "hey, we know it's a close game, but we feel like completely being unsportsmanlike asses to give ourselves a hand."

135
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:43pm

We’ll see this again.

No way. They'll close this before next week by telling the officials to call an unsportsmanlike penalty if that happens after this week. Guaranteed.

136
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:46pm

Wisconsin's coverage teams stink. The guy was trying to run out the half.

I can understand not liking it but I didn't think it was rude or unsportsmanlike.

Guess I'm a bit slow here.

137
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:53pm

So, let me get this straight. The coach thinks his coverage teams are worse than Penn State's kickoff return teams.

He realizes there's a loophole in the rules where you can basically bleed the clock out with impunity.

So he covers for his team's weakness by using that loophole. Multiple times.

How is that not unsportsmanlike?

138
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 3:56pm

Gotta love moronic announcers. After a talk with the head of officials of the NCAA, "the only thing they could've done is if it was a second or third penalty is called an unsportsmanlike, and put some time back on the clock, or penalize 15 yards." Except it was a second penalty.

The interview with Bielema clearly showed that he knew what he was doing. What a complete jackass.

139
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:01pm

I would have flagged him for unsportsmanlike and put the time back on the clock after they did it the second time. I'd wonder why the announcers didn't think of that, except they're announcers and therefore most likely idiots (Griese and Maguire have opened their mouths, removing all doubt).

Creative move by Bielema, but it'll be corrected by next week.

140
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:08pm

I have to say, though, if Penn State loses this game close, it'll literally be a loss by inches - Derrick Williams was an inch away from a 30 yard grab, Hill got a first down by less than an inch. Jeez, this is a close game.

141
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:17pm

Donnie Johnson drops what would have been a Pick-6...and a PSU blocker then touches the ball on a punt, which is recovered by Wisconsin. Ugh. I don't think the offense can get 2 scores against Wisconsin.

142
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:18pm

Puzzling that WI has a senior QB but won't let him throw into the end zone.

Oh well.

143
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:22pm

Back to the kick-off. I didn't realize officials had the ability to use reason, and disgression and could've doled out an unsportsmanlike.

I just thought it was funny a team did that.

144
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:23pm

I don’t think the offense can get 2 scores against Wisconsin.

What am I missing? The pass to Butler in the end zone was a hair's breadth from being a TD, and the play to Williams was just shy of being inside the 10.

Penn State's offense has been looking a lot better in the second half so far. It's the defense versus Wisconsin's offense is what I'm not liking the look of.

145
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:26pm

Pat- they've moved the ball, but I have no confidence in Morelli or the playcalling. Once they get near the red zone, things fall apart.

146
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:27pm

Oh, and I didn't realize that they've taken a page out of ESPN's MNF coverage with Griese and Maguire, in completely ignoring the actual game.

That's the second penalty that they didn't even let it mentioned what it was.

147
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:30pm

Considering all the time spent on the field the PSU defense deserves a lot of credit.

148
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:33pm

Here's the only college rules that might cover the repeated-penalty-on-a-punt scenario:

Rule 9-2: Unfair Acts
ARTICLE 3. The following are unfair acts:
a. If a team refuses to play within two minutes after ordered to do so by the referee.
b. If a team repeatedly commits fouls that can be penalized only by halving the distance to its goal line.
c. If an obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules occurs during the game (A.R. 4-2-1-II).
PENALTY—The referee may take any action he considers equitable, including assessing a penalty, awarding a score, or
suspending or forfeiting the game.

Rule 3-4: Unfair Game-Clock Tactics
ARTICLE 3. The referee shall order the game clock started or stopped whenever either team conserves or consumes playing time by tactics obviously unfair. This includes starting the clock on the snap if the foul is by the team ahead in the score. The clock will start on the ready-for-play signal after an illegal forward or backward pass that conserves time for Team A (A.R. 3-4-3-I-IV).

Is Anthony Morelli Zack Mills version 2.0?

149
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:34pm

Debauche has had a terrible day. Kicked the pooch into the end zone earlier and here they needed a boomer and instead PSU has the ball at midfield.

Geez.

150
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:37pm

Is Anthony Morelli Zack Mills version 2.0?

Yes. Without a doubt.

What a complete waste of wide receiver talent.

151
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:46pm

Northwestern, up 21-7, just intercepted Drew Tate with about 3 minutes to play. A lot of people will be leaving Kinnick Stadium unhappy.

152
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:47pm

I love announcers, part 2. They just got the NFL/college tuck rule completely backwards.

153
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:48pm

Michigan 34, Ball State 26, 8:46 to go. Wow.

154
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:50pm

Ball State isn't even a good MAC team.

Forget what I said earlier- a loss either this week or next week by tOSU or Michigan would SUCK.

155
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:53pm

Breaston returns the kickoff to midfield, but Michigan goes 3-and-out. Ball State needs to drive 87 yards for the tying TD + 2-point conversion.

156
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 4:58pm

For those that get ESPNNEWS, Michigan-Ball St. is on now.

157
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:06pm

Michigan with the goal-line stand after giving the Cardinals a fresh set of downs sacking the QB by his face mask on 3&G. Wow. Just wow.

158
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:09pm

Nice call on the QB keeper.

159
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:13pm

Pittsburgh, needing two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to tie, gets the touchdown on a good pass.

The player then walks up to the South Florida fans in the end zone and flips them off, and is called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Moves the two-point conversion to the 17 yard line, and while they go for two, they don't make it. South Florida with a 10 point lead and 6 minutes left.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I also loved how the player in question goes up to the referee and does the standard "What? I didn't do nothing" indignant act. I'm surprised more players don't get additional penalties tacked on when they do that; I know the NBA this year is stressing to referees that they should call technical fouls on players that pull that.

160
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:14pm

Boy, if Penn State had leaned on Hunt instead of Morelli this game would have been very different. PSU has good special teams and an amazing defense.

Phew.

161
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:18pm

Michigan escapes, as Ball State's Hail Mary is intercepted in the end zone.

Why does Ball State know to line up its offense immediately after a late-game change of possession, while most major programs don't?

162
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:23pm

How the seemingly-mighty have fallen. In ten days, Clemson goes from one loss, on a missed XP in double-OT, in the top 10, to likely unranked after getting blown out by VaTech and losing at home to Maryland today on a last-second FG.

163
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:24pm

Maryland beats Clemson, at Clemson, 13-12 on a last second field goal. Remember when Clemson was thought to be a Top 10 team?

It's too bad West Virginia lost, because their win over Maryland is looking better and better.

164
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:24pm

Central Michigan and Western Michigan both beat Ball State by larger margins than Michigan did. At least North Dakota State only beat Ball State by five, so Michigan's got that going for it.

165
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:25pm

PHEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

A Michigan loss today would have ranked with the greatest upsets in college history, given everything at stake.

I don't want to start complaining about a 10-0 team, but I'm growing more and more concerened about Michigan's ability to just "turn it on" when needed.

Survive and advance. Survive and advance.

166
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:27pm

You know, this is saying a lot, but I really think you can make a good case that Lou Holtz is ESPN's single worst football analyst. Yes, this is the network with Michael Irvin I'm talking about. But do you realize the first words out of his mouth after ESPN completed the Michigan-Ball State highlights were, "Let's give credit to the University of Michigan"?

167
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:35pm

Ways you know a team is bad: the broadcast leads off with a stat noting that their margin of defeat is way down from last year.

168
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:36pm

Would that have been the biggest upset in college football history if Ball State had pulled it out? I think in terms of point spread, it would have fallen just short. Michigan was a 33.5-point favorite. I know of two games where a 36-point underdog won outright, both in 1985: Oregon State over Washington, 21-20, and UTEP over BYU, 23-16.

In terms of historical significance, I think the greatest ever was from 1942, Holy Cross over No. 1 Boston College, 55-12 at Fenway Park. The world of college football is so different now that it's awfully hard to compare, but I'd say it's harder for a Ball State to beat a Michigan now than it was for a Holy Cross to beat a Boston College then.

169
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:47pm

Re #168
I'm surprised, MDS. That's probably the first reference I've ever seen to that BC-Holy Cross game that didn't also refer to the Coconut Grove fire.

170
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:52pm

Re: 168

They were only an 18-point underdog, but Notre Dame's 7-0 win at Oklahoma in 1957 to end Oklahoma's 47-game winning spread has to be on a list of biggest upsets.

If we're going way back, Centre College (Kentucky)'s 6-0 win at Harvard in 1921 has to be the biggest college football upset of all time. Centre's team had only 16 players, whereas Harvard was on a 23-0-3 streak.

171
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 5:54pm

Did anyone watch Mississippi State's 24-16 win over Alabama? What happened?

172
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 6:20pm

It's the day of upsets by teams beaten by the Big East's top teams! First Maryland, then Mississippi State, now Kentucky.

That said, if North Carolina or Illinois wins, I'd be very, very surprised.

173
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 6:32pm

ANOTHER fumble by Chris Wells. Nobody even touched him, he just flat out dropped it. I'd hate to see such a potentially good weapon sidelined, but how do you give him the ball against Michigan when he fumbles every fourth carry?

174
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 6:37pm

Princeton took the lead in double OT after the RB, stoned on 4th-and-goal, flips the ball back to the QB who runs around right end to make the score 31-24. Then, Penn scores on the first play of triple OT to make it 31-30. THEN, Penn had a bad snap on the PAT, the holder tried to score, but got tackled on the 1 and Penn got it's third consecutive loss by a FG or less. It was one of the greatest endings I've ever seen.

175
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:04pm

Is it just my imagination, or does Notre Dame's defense still completely blow?

176
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:06pm

Today I heard an ad on the radio for a Catholic singles website. Not the one. Without those eyes, I just don't see anyone bothering.

177
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:18pm

How many losses would Michigan have in the SEC? Two, maybe even three? I certainly hope this rematch nonsense doesn't come true.

I do think Ohio State is the best team by the way they're destroying the other Big 10(11) teams. However I'd love to see a one loss Florida or Cal give them a tough game just because Ohio State isn't used to that type of opponent after cruising through the Big 10 this year. Of course Louisville will probably sneak in and just hand the game to Ohio State.

178
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:24pm

Can someone explain to me what exactly Wisconsin did to Penn State before halftime?

Bielema did, however, get Paterno's blood boiling near halftime when the Badgers tried to run out the last 23 seconds of the half by intentionally going offsides on two straight kickoff attempts to take advantage of a new rule that starts the clock when the ball is kicked.

Why couldn't Penn State just decline the penalty and take the ball?

179
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:29pm

What a ridiculous call, gotten wrong by at least three officials! A UNC player just blasted Quinn as he was about to go out of bounds, three flags flew. The problem was - QUINN WAS STILL IN BOUNDS!!!

They finally showed a replay, you can clearly see he got hit before his first step out of bounds, and the announcer ammended the story from "He was clearly out of bounds by a few yards" to "Well, any time the QB is about to go out of bounds, you can't touch him." What??? Why the hell not? He's still in bounds! Ridiculous.

180
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:41pm

navin:

Because the clock starts as soon as the kicker touches the ball, Wisconsin tried to run out the clock by intentionally having their guys be offsides. Since in both cases the PSU return wasn't much they had WI re-kick.

The situation is described earlier in this thread. Some believe that an unsportsmanlike penalty should have been called on Wisconsin.

By the way, I wish Joe Paterno a speedy recovery. One report had him suffering a torn ACL. Ouch.

181
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:47pm

Why couldn’t Penn State just decline the penalty and take the ball?

Because the guys weren't just slightly offsides. Everyone was very offsides. As in, about 10 yards, at a full sprint. And so Penn State had two options - either take the result of the kick (which was awful, considering the fact that the coverage team was way downfield each time) or let more clock bleed off.

There's no way that shouldn't've been an unsportsmanlike penalty - see the rule listed above. In addition, it was dangerous, as now you've got tons of defenders charging a kick returner.

182
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:49pm

Re #134 and #138
Hey Pat,
excuse me, but why is Bielema a "douchebag" and a "jackass"? He didn't do anything illegal. He simply took the NCAA's stupid rule and exploited it. Why is it any different than a team taking a knee to kill the clock? And as for Wis. winning the game by inches? I guess you missed the part where Wis. marched the ball up and down the field all day against PSU's vaunted D until their QB got hurt. Seems to me you're the one guilty of "unsportsmanlike conduct."

183
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:50pm

I love the Notre Dame announcers. "North Carolina is perhaps better known for their basketball now..." Yes, perhaps. But only among the following groups: anyone who's ever heard of basketball. But other than that...

I wish OSU would stop screwing around. I understand they don't want to show too much with Michigan right around the corner, and Illinois couldn't score 17 against them in 12 quarters, so there's no threat. But if they're going to go that vanilla on offense, why not just put Zwick in, or at least go max protect so Smith doesn't take any more dumb hits? Go all the way and hand off every time, or something.

Why is Chris Fowler on some horse racing show?

184
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:50pm

Fun with statistics: Utah State has possessed the ball for 30:37, Hawaii just 17:20.

Hawaii leads 56-10.

185
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:55pm

Tim Shafer, who's played the entire game in place of the injured Alex Boone, is a definite downgrade at LT for the Buckeyes. That said, Illinois has played pretty well on defense. This has looked much more like a Michigan game this year than a Buckeye contest.

186
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:57pm

Re #184
As Chris Spielman was saying earlier, time of possession is so important. That's why Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are the top 3 teams in the Big 10 and also lead the Big 10 in time of possession. Didn't Spielman used to be good?

187
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 7:58pm

To Pat and others, what I don't get is why you hold the whole offsides-kickoff thing against Wisconsin. Isn't it the officials you should be upset with? If the officials aren't going to call a penalty under the Unfair Game-Clock Tactics rule, why wouldn't Wisconsin exploit it? How is it different from, say, the Patriots getting physical with the Colts' receivers if the officials aren't going to call illegal contact by the letter of the rule?

188
by Nate (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:04pm

The Illini defense is playing awesome in the second half. It's almost fun to watch, even though they have zero chance of winning.

189
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:07pm

Somebody alert TMQ. Hawaii, up 56-10 in the 4th quarter, ran on its first two plays on its latest drive, then passed 3 straight times, including 4th and 2 from the Utah State 41, before running it in for the TD.

(Never mind that Hawaii has all its backups in, that the linemen are undersized, or that their offense is 85% passes.)

190
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:07pm

And the other point about that sequence is that it's not exactly like it would've changed the outcome of the game. I'm sure Pat believes Morelli would've whisked PSU right down the field for a score like Joe Montana in his prime, but he wasn't able to do it any other time in the game. Also with respect to another earlier comment suggesting PSU should've leaned on Hunt more: Hunt was shut down by Mich. and Ill., and he didn't do a thing today. I think if they would've just tried to run Hunt down UW's throats, their punter would be rehabbing with JoePa this week. And just so I won't be called a douchebag, I sincerely hope Paterno wasn't injured too seriously and that he'll be able to return to the sidelines this year.

191
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:08pm

Just hope Nebraska doesn't win a big game against a pathetic opponent this week, or else they'll jump ahead of the Big Ten team in the polls. Isn't that the rule?

192
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:14pm

James Laurinaitis must have this mythical quality to project into opposing QB's heads that he's actually on their team. 5 INTs on the year now, and I think all five were thrown right to him. Rassin frassin tipped ball Troy Smith INT, though.

193
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:18pm

Tom:

Hunt blew thru tackles the few times he touched the ball. And if I have to choose between AM and TH as my offensive focus I will take the running back who is always moving forward.

except when a coach calls a pitch on short yardage. Big back and run him sideways. Dumb

194
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:21pm

Re #166
I agree that Holtz is awful, although half the time I can't understand what he's saying, so maybe I'm just missing all of his insightful comments. It's hard to believe they can't find someone better. Hell, bring back Trev Albert.

195
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:29pm

RE #193:
I see your point, but Hunt carried 11 times for 35 yds today.

196
by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:31pm

179: Those kinds of calls drive me nuts. It's bad enough in the NFL where most QBs are concerned enough with protecting themselves that they almost always go straight out. In college, however, too many QBs will tightrope the sideline to allow calls like that. It's just stupid to penalize defenses for ensuring that the ballcarrier actually goes out of bounds.

197
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:37pm

Who had 15 as the total margin of Ohio State and Michigan's victories today?

Not only was that hit out of bounds called against North Carolina a bad call, but then there was another personal foul against North Carolina for the ensuing scuffle, even though it was clear that the Notre Dame guys were at least as culpable as the North Carolina guys

198
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 8:46pm

Three hours later, Lou Holtz is still talking about what a great game Michigan had.

199
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:15pm

Good pickup by Danielson on the LSU TD, that Russell was actually trying to hit Bowe. And the pass was behind him, I think, but Early Doucette bailed his QB out. In some ways, that's the perfect situation: those who are convinced Russell isn't really that good can point to a bad decision and bad throw, and those who think he's good can point to the fact the he led LSU to a game-winning TD on the road in front of 100,000+ at Neyland.

200
by FJ (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:43pm

To Pat and others, what I don’t get is why you hold the whole offsides-kickoff thing against Wisconsin. Isn’t it the officials you should be upset with? If the officials aren’t going to call a penalty under the Unfair Game-Clock Tactics rule, why wouldn’t Wisconsin exploit it? How is it different from, say, the Patriots getting physical with the Colts’ receivers if the officials aren’t going to call illegal contact by the letter of the rule?

Because we only bitch and moan when it's done by Pac-10 refs.

Big-10 refs are above all suspicion! They're the bestest!

F

201
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:43pm

Badger T1000:
One (maybe two) more comment: I agree that Hunt is PSU's best offensive player, but they had some early success exploiting Stellmacher, who's a heady player and a big hitter, but not a great cover guy. And UW is difficult for a traditional offense to run on. I think PSU's game plan was sound, and I don't think UW played particularly well, but still won rather convincingly. I think anyone would have a hard time making the argument that the better team didn't win that game.

202
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:49pm

RE #200:
I'm a Big Ten fan, and by no means what I call the conference's officiating good.

203
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:51pm

There was never a point in the game where the running game wasn't an option. Yet Penn State broke out end arounds, reverses, wide receivers throwing the ball, etc. All these trick plays when the few times they gave the ball to the running back he steamrolled through tacklers.

Doesn't ANYONE else find that weird?

204
by Robby (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:53pm

Re: 197

I was at the ND game, and Notre Dame might have been as culpable in that brawl, but a UNC player threw a punch at a ND guy, and that will get called every time. Not only that, but the idiot punched him in the helmet, which is a good way to break a hand.

ND played sloppy, but UNC was even worse, with 5 personal fouls, most of them coming late in the game when they were actually putting some offense together on long passes against Notre Dame's still very soft secondary. That is one reason Bunting is will not return next year.

204
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 9:53pm

Um, that should be "WOULD I call the conference's officiating good." Where's my editor?

206
by Robby (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:00pm

While I'm still here and thinking about ND... I don't get a chance to watch ND on TV a lot because I'm at the games (I'm a student), but one thing I've seen with their defense is that they rarely if ever drop both safties in coverage. I am perplexed why this never happens, becuase the pass is their weak point on defense anyway. The D-line is relatively good, but the linebackers are relatively new and inexperienced, so the safties have to play up a lot to stop the run. However, even on obvious passing plays, the safties never seem to play any "Tampa 2" style zones.

Of course, Zbikowski can't play deep coverage well anyway, so what does it matter? And this is the same Notre Dame defense that got all the sports writers here excited that they were going to play nickle defense this year. Last year, the linebacker would be on the third reciever 80% of the time....

207
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:04pm

MDS:

How is it different from, say, the Patriots getting physical with the Colts’ receivers if the officials aren’t going to call illegal contact by the letter of the rule?

1) What Wisconsin did was dangerous. Special teams is already pretty dangerous, given the speeds involved, but giving the defenders a head start is just nuts.

2) At least what the Patriots did is still within the spirit of the game - it was just outside the (technical) bounds of it. What Wisconsin did is far beyond it. Intentionally committing a penalty to kill the clock is specifically mentioned as unsportsmanlike conduct. The fact that it wasn't called doesn't make it unsportsmanlike, just like the fact that the fact that PI wasn't called on Patriots DBs doesn't mean it wasn't interference. It just wasn't called.

How is it any different than taking cheap shots when the officials aren't looking?

208
by FJ (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:20pm

Re: #202.

I know that. There ARE some on this site who would beg to differ with you, though.

My opinion has always been that any time you have refs, you're going to have some blown calls. It makes no sense to single out a specific leagues' refs as being horrible while looking the other way when some other leagues' refs mess up.

Of course, you could just acknowledge that all refs are human and accept that aspect of the game (and that sometimes, some refs are more human than refs at other times).

BTW, I agree with Pat's take on this. This is a very dangerous stunt that the Wisconsin coach pulled and it's messed up in that it could lead to a serious injury. I'm not so sure I agree about the "spirit of the game" argument, but the potential cause for serious injury (outside of the accepted norms) is enough to call this coach a douchebag for doing what he did.

Req

209
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:24pm

My opinion has always been that any time you have refs, you’re going to have some blown calls. It makes no sense to single out a specific leagues’ refs as being horrible while looking the other way when some other leagues’ refs mess up.

There's nothing inherently worse about one conference's refs than another. But the Pac-10 has a structural problem; the conference's bylaws (unique among BCS conferences, I think) mandate that its own refs work interconference games at Pac-10 stadiums, and that leaves them vulnerable to accusations of bias.

210
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:44pm

Wow, SC isn't getting any calls tonight. Sidney Rice catches a TD even though the defender slows down in front of him, but the officials call offensive pass interference. Arkansas' DBs have been mugging the SC receivers all game.

211
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 10:57pm

RE #207:
"Intentionally committing a penalty to kill the clock is ... unsporstmanlike conduct." Ever see a team take a team take an intentional delay of game? Have you ever seen it called unsportsmanlike conduct?

212
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:03pm

Let's hope JoePa makes a speedy recovery. That was scary looking, but he's a tough old man.

I haven't seen the footage of what Wisconsin did before the half, but my take based on what's been described here is that it may be a clever way to kill the clock, but it's classless and bush league. If the intent really was that obvious, the refs should have flagged it.

Bielma is a rookie head coach and he's got a legend on the sideline across from him. He should know better.

213
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:05pm

From my reading of the rule I'm assuming you're referring to, whether to call a penalty is expressly left to the judgement of the official. In this case, the referee obviously didn't believe "an unfair act" had been committed and didn't deem it necessary to call a penalty. To reiterate a point I made earlier, Bielema wasn't trying to be a "jackass." He was trying to prevent Penn State from getting the ball back. How is this outside of "the spirit of the game" when teams do similar things all the time?

214
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:06pm

Re: 211

The NFL rules are quite clear that repeated delays of game constitute unsportmanlike conduct. Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1:

There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct. This applies to any act which is contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. Such acts specifically include, among others: ...

(n) More than two successive 40/25 second penalties (after warning) during same down.

215
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:14pm

It will be interesting to see if the NCAA puts in an immediate rule change. Can you imagine if someone takes a 3-point lead in the final 30 seconds of the national title game and pulls that tactic?

In response to 113, I understand what Bielma's doing and what his job is, and I still think he shouldn't have done it. It shows a total lack of class and respect for the opponent.

Bielma strikes me as a "win at any cost, by any method" type. Earlier this year, he failed to suspend one of his players caught blatently on film trying to injure an opponent by twisting his leg in the pile (full disclosure: it was against Michigan and most of you know where I come out in regards to the Wolverines).

216
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:15pm

To reiterate another point I made earlier, for the intentional offside thing to be the big story of this game (aside from JoePa's injury), is ridiculous. If a penalty had been called, while improbable, it's POSSIBLE, that the final score might've been 13-6, instead of 13-3.

217
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:19pm

KNOCK IT DOWN!!! Why don't college players do this on hail mary pass plays?

218
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:20pm

I don't think anyone is suggesting it factored in the outcome of the game. It's just something interesting that happened in an otherwise fairly unremarkable game, and worthy of some debate.

219
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:22pm

Ever see a team take a team take an intentional delay of game?

Taking the delay of game isn't what runs the clock down. It's a result of legally trying to run the clock down. Not the same thing.

He was trying to prevent Penn State from getting the ball back. How is this outside of “the spirit of the game� when teams do similar things all the time?

Because 1) he was stepping completely outside the game to do it, and 2) he was putting players at risk.

I don't know why no one else has mentioned #2. That's the bigger deal. In this situation, the receiving team has two options. They can either attempt to really return the ball, in which case their players are at serious risk due to the coverage team already being way downfield, or they lose time on the clock, and have to run the play again. Either way, it's dangerous.

220
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:22pm

RE #216:
Wisconsin and Penn State do not play in the NFL, so the NFL rule is irrelevant. The only applicable rule that I've seen cited, does not contain such a provision and does not say that intentionally committing a penalty is unsportsmanlike conduct.

221
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:23pm

Has anyone argued in this thread that Wisconsin won because of their end-of-half kickoff tactic? If so, I haven't read it.

The tactic is very discussion-worthy for some different reasons:

1. It re-enforces the idiocy of the new clock rules.

2. It reveals something about Bielema's character, and what he'll do (within the context of the rules, mind you) to give his team an edge.

3. It shows that referees are not good at dealing with strange in-game situations.

4. It will be interesting to see whether other teams will pick up on the tactic, or whether the NCAA will emphasize the unsportsmanlike rule.

222
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:28pm

If Belichick did what Wisconsin head coach Bielema did, everyone would be calling Belichick a genius.

Yes, I agree that the officials need to step in and rectify the situation because of the blatant offsides. However I don't see how Wisconsin's tactic is any worse than the new roll out style punts where the coverage is 10 yards downfield by the time the ball is punted, usually killing any chance of a run back.

223
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:29pm

RE #219:
The point about the intentional delay of game is that it's an intentional commission of a penalty, which, as I understand, you're arguing is or should automatically be unsportsmanlike conduct. I'm leaving now. 'Evening all.

224
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:31pm

RE #222:
Give the man a cigar!!!

225
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:32pm

Re: 220

I know. But, this is primarily an NFL site, and there's a reason people reading this site have never seen such a tactic in the NFL.

Also, the referee in college has the discretion (Rule 3-2-5-a-3), after the clock has been temporarily stopped, to have the game clock start at the snap (as opposed to the ready-for-play signal). I would imagine he would do so after repeated delays of game.

226
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:37pm

ESPN is running the NFL preview for last week. First Berman says, don't forget to set back your clock, now the MNF guys are talking about NE-MIN. This after they can't get the sound working in the first half in the SC-Arkansas game.

227
by Dennis (not verified) :: Sat, 11/04/2006 - 11:50pm

If Belichick did what Wisconsin head coach Bielema did, everyone would be calling Belichick a genius.

Exactly. Bielema simply used the rule to his team's advantage. I find it interesting how some coaches get credit for doing things like this and other coaches get slammed for it.

I think starting the clock on the kick makes total sense because the ball is in play so the clock should be running. The fix for this, IMO, is to reset the clock if there is a penalty that results in a re-kick.

228
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:12am

Boston College, with 57 seconds left and 3 timeouts after throwing an interception, uses a timeout immediately, rather than after each Wake Forest play. Assuming Wake Forest runs on each down, that timeout will cost BC about 15-20 seconds.

229
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:17am

And time runs out after Wake Forest runs 3 times. Add Tom O'Brien to the list of coaches who will vote to repeal the new clock rules.

230
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:19am

That made no sense. WF runner was down with at least 35 seconds left... and there was a 10 second lapse between the resetting of the 25 second clock... so BC never even got to block/return a punt.

231
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:20am

Tom O'Brien made Dr. Z's writings last year for his clock mismanagement in the game against Florida State last year. Down 2 scores late in the game, he repeatedly went for the TD rather than take the FG, costing his team any chance at the win. Leopards don't change their spots, new rules or not.

232
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:20am

If Belichick did what Wisconsin head coach Bielema did, everyone would be calling Belichick a genius.

I wouldn't.

Besides, sports pundits are calling Bielema clever. I think they're crazy. It's a dangerous, pompous, dickhead thing to do.

However I don’t see how Wisconsin’s tactic is any worse than the new roll out style punts where the coverage is 10 yards downfield by the time the ball is punted, usually killing any chance of a run back.

Punts aren't live balls. Kickoffs are, and so the kick return team must catch the ball.

Besides, those punts aren't any different than a normal punt with good coverage. You're not stepping outside the game.

The point about the intentional delay of game is that it’s an intentional commission of a penalty, which, as I understand, you’re arguing is or should automatically be unsportsmanlike conduct.

No, I'm not. There are plenty of intentional penalties you can commit. The difference is that you don't get any net benefit from those penalties. This is a situation where taking the penalty results in a win/win situation for the team committing the penalty - either they completely prevent a return, and typically pin a team deep, or they burn time off the clock.

You don't get any gain for taking a delay of game penalty. You could get exactly the same result by snapping the ball right when the play clock runs out. And if you wanted the 5-yard runoff, the other team can always decline.

Committing a penalty because you've figured out a way to make it a win-win situation is unsportsmanlike. Basically, you've figured out a way to cheat (be offsides on kickoffs) because your opponent probably won't want to take the penalty, and even if they do, it doesn't hurt you, as it takes time off the clock, and the 5-yard penalty doesn't hurt because you're planning to cheat again until there will be no time left on the clock, at which point you squib it.

It's ridiculously unsportsmanlike. I don't see how anyone could think otherwise.

233
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:22am

RE #219:
An intentional delay of game is "not illegally running the clock down but the result of running the clock down legally." C'mon, don't you think that's splitting hairs just a little? If you were trying to avoid a penalty, you'd call timeout before the play clock ran out. Also, while it's fine that we're having this friendly little debate about a strategy that was used today and whether it is or should be within the rules, I would strenuously disagree that it reveals anything about Bret Bielema's character. I think navin and Dennis above are right on the mark. And now, I really am leaving.

234
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:22am

The Wake Forest runner was down with 39 seconds left, but the referees always take at least 10 seconds to re-spot it, and Wake Forest smartly ran far to the right of the hashmark, forcing them to waste even more time bringing it back.

I don't understand why BC called the time out when they did.

235
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:27am

Pat:
Petition the NCAA rules committee.

236
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:28am

It came back, but Allen Patrick made some absolutely unbelievable moves in a 78 yard TD run against Texas A&M, like a Denis Savard-style spin-o-rama and an amazing jump cut 60 yards downfield.

237
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:30am

Holy **** was there a block in the Cal-UCLA game on a punt return.

Both players knocked out, and the UCLA guy got up and stumbled down. I couldn't tell if it was helmet to helmet, but it appeared legal... although it's completely unecessary... but it gets everyone fired up.

238
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:30am

Re: 234

I really dislike how college officials take their time at the end of the game to spot the ball. Last week I saw an official STAND over the ball for 5-10 seconds before starting the play clock. It was completely opposite from what an NFL official would do.

I also agree that it was bad for BC to take the timeout after the punt, you only lose 25 seconds there, while you'll lose 40-50 seconds after a running play. If those 15-25 seconds are critical, you have to take the timeout after the running play, and not the punt.

239
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:35am

To clarify... the UCLA and Cal players were both on the ground for a few minutes. And then they both got up, and they cut to the UCLA guy who stumbled forward into a somersault type of move.

It's a great play that gets crowds fired up, but when you think about the whole ramifications of giving yourself a concussion, it's not all that smart in the long run. That's why you don't want to be a gunner on special teams.

240
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:36am

Here is the Dr. Z column I mentioned in #231, and his mailbag also had a bit on it.

241
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:38am

Major horsecollar (NOT illegal in college football) by South Carolina on Arkansas' RB, who's now injured.

242
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:48am

C’mon, don’t you think that’s splitting hairs just a little? If you were trying to avoid a penalty, you’d call timeout before the play clock ran out.

Why is it splitting hairs? You don't get a penalty for taking the play clock to run a play. You get a penalty for trying to take more than the play clock to run a play.

Taking a delay of game penalty doesn't take 25 seconds off the clock. Those seconds you are legally allowed to use.

There's no play in football where the pure act of committing a penalty puts you in a better situation than you were in the play before you committed the penalty. Except this one.

It's exactly the same as trying to false-start a game away. And I can't see how it doesn't fall under Rule 3-4 in Post 148. It's an obviously unfair tactic - Penn State has only two choices: take an illegal kick which placed them in a position worse than they would obtain by an average legal kick, or lose time, both of which put them in a worse position than they were in before the penalty occurred. This was caused by something purely outside their control.

I would strenuously disagree that it reveals anything about Bret Bielema’s character.

What he did was a jackass thing to do. He might not be a jackass normally. I don't care. He acted like one there. He put kids at risk to avoid having to actually play the game.

243
by Matt (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:53am

Re #222 The big difference between punts and kickoffs is that you can block punts, so by holding on to the ball longer you take the risk that the punt will be blocked.

244
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:08am

4&6, OU 23 or so, down 17-13, 3:45 to go, 1 TO left, Texas A&M decides to kick the FG. Big, big risk there for Franchione

245
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:10am

Maybe Franchione bet on his team. The line on the game is Oklahoma by 2.

246
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:17am

How stupid can an announcer be? Oklahoma starts at its own 20 after a touchback. After 3rd down, the ball is obviously just short of the 30, and the announcer says "I think he got it. It's ahead of the yellow line."

247
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:19am

I hope Oklahoma goes for it here. What's the percentage of picking up inches? If you think that's a better chance than your defense holding A&M from getting a field goal, you go for it here.

248
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:21am

Thompson made in on the sneak, but Stoops called the TO before the play. I think you still go for it, but Stoops will probably punt.

249
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:22am

Yeah, I thought A&M lined up offsides, but Oklahoma got it anyways. Plus A&M had too many men on the field.

250
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:23am

Thompson makes it on the sneak. It didn't really matter, though, because A&M tried playing with 12. [Joke deleted because Bob Davie made the same one.]

251
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:24am

Bob Davie applauds Stoops after Oklahoma picks up the first down, yet Stoops earlier says that Oklahoma shouldn't go for it. Kirk Herbstreit calls Davie out for flipping his position.

252
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 2:00am

Re: 86. 4. The only teams to move permanently ahead of Cal since pre-season are Tennessee, who beat Cal (and is ahead of Cal on 63 of 65 ballots), and undefeated Louisville.

How do you know that Tennessee is ahead of Cal on all but two ballots? That's the kind of information I'd like to get ahold of.

Re: 232. Punts aren’t live balls. Kickoffs are, and so the kick return team must catch the ball.

Not really. You can just ignore the ball. The other team isn't going to get possession when there's a penalty.

If anything, I'll say that it was stupid for Bielema to try that tactic in this game. Because the NCAA *will* tell the officials to throw the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, so we'll never see it happen again. Kind of stupid to waste a move like that on a team you held to 3 points.

253
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 2:08am

Pat:
To summarize: I agree that under the rule cited so long ago that I'm not going to bother looking to see what no. post it was, the officials could've called a penalty. But they were not obliged to and chose not to. When you petition the NCAA to get this rule changed, maybe you could also ask them to outlaw the onside kick, since the kicking team is far closer to the receiver than was the case on the plays in question in the UW-PSU game. In fact, blitzing is pretty dangerous, too. So are lots of of other legal plays that occur during the course of a football game. Call me a cynic, but I really don't believe the safety issue is your primary concern. I think you're PO'd because your team got beat.

254
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 3:02am

from a comment way up there-#171.

What happened in the Alabama-Mississippi State game? Perhaps Mike Shula's swan song game. He has to pretty much beat Auburn or fire someone or do something to save his job this season. Alabama may not be ALABAMA anymore-but we are still petty-losing to Auburn 4 times in a row-coupled with just overall shitty play this season and no improvement on offense is going to cost someone their jobs (I hope its the OC and the OL coach, not Shula, but I will wait and see..)

and what happened, the same freaking thing that always happens:

4 times in the red zone....9 points only.

Its getting to be a bad joke, Alabama inside the red zone (hell inside the 5 now) cannot score a TD to save their lives. They could not do it against Florida International...they could not do it against Mississippi State (which has now held Alabama to no offensive TDs for the 2nd straight season...)

Its a sad day in Tuscaloosa.

255
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 3:11am

How do you know that Tennessee is ahead of Cal on all but two ballots? That’s the kind of information I’d like to get ahold of.

The AP releases individual voter's ballots on their site here.

I've been collecting the individual ballots for the last few weeks (unfortunately, I didn't learn of the existence of the site until Week 7, and there is no archive that I know of), and I've been playing with the data, seeing if there's anything worth noting, and might do something with it at the end of the season, when I have more time. A few interesting notes:

1. On a quick look, there doesn't seem to be a large-scale regional bias among voters. Most extreme example: West Virginia's 2 lingering 1st place votes came from California-based voters.

2. There are some clear local votes. Example: Notre Dame's highest vote, a 5th place (no other vote higher than 7th), came from a vote from the Fort Wayne Journal, based just 70 miles from South Bend.

3. Both Oklahoma voters placed Oklahoma one spot ahead of Oregon in their Week 7 ballots. I think there's still some resentment there.

256
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 6:41am

RE #252:
So let's see, not only is Bielema a jackass, a douchebag, and a dickhead, but he's also stupid. Makes you wonder how a guy like that ever got hired as a head coach (much less how his team that was supposed to be an also-ran is 9-1 and looking more and more like it belongs in the top ten). I think I've figured out what possessed me to participate in one of these discussions for the 1st time in over a year -- it makes me nostalgiac for the arguments I used to have with my ex-girlfriend.

257
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 10:45am

Tom, for a guy who was "leaving" this thread at 9 p.m. Saturday, you still seem to have a lot to say on the matter.

I'll stop at "classless" for Bielma as it regards to the end of half strategy.

258
by chris (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 12:52pm

Re: 256 It's common, Russ. Leave-Lurk-Return. Don't trip.

As for discussions/arguments, most of the participants try not to become message board ranters.

Put me in the "this is big deal?" camp regarding Bielema's tactic. Interesting that it's possible for him to do it, but not that he actually chose to do it.

I'm wondering if the rules people totally repeal the new clock adjustments or if they just tweak. I'm hoping for a tweak.

259
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 1:28pm

Not really. You can just ignore the ball. The other team isn’t going to get possession when there’s a penalty.

If you do ignore the ball, then you have to take the penalty. Which bleeds time off the clock, and then they just do the same thing again, unless there's very little time left on the clock, in which case they squib kick it. That's why it's a win-win situation for the kicking team.

Call me a cynic, but I really don’t believe the safety issue is your primary concern.

OK, you're a cynic. I couldn't care less if Penn State won or lost. I'd still be pissed, because the safety issue is a real concern, along with the fact that it's obviously unfair. Onside kicks are totally different situations - the kick is short, and so guys aren't running at full speed. Being offsides - very offsides - is a penalty for a reason. Because it gives the kicking team a serious advantage.

Keep in mind that just being slightly offsides wouldn't do what Bielema wanted. Penn State would've just declined the penalty if they had gotten a good return. Instead, Bielema had to have the entire kicking team be very offsides, to ensure that Penn State would be forced to choose between two negative situations. And did you actually see the two returns? Both of them looked very, very nasty.

much less how his team that was supposed to be an also-ran is 9-1

Anyone who thought Wisconsin was supposed to be an also-ran was an idiot. The team's very experienced, with a smart quarterback, and was strong last year as well. That team's not 9-1 due to Bielema's coaching. They're 9-1 due to Alvarez's scouting.

Then again, most pundits had Iowa in the top 25 at the beginning of the season, so there probably are a lot of idiots out there. I figured Wisconsin second in the Big Ten before the season (Michigan first). Only thing that really surprised me so far this year was Ohio State's defense holding together, though their offense is a big help.

260
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 2:13pm

Pat, would you be this upset if this happened to anyone but Penn State?

261
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 2:20pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, Wake Forest is one very winnable game away from going to a BCS bowl as the ACC champion.

262
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 2:54pm

No media source of any kind had WI higher then 4th before the season. And that was based on the fact that the team lost 9 starters on offense. The top returning receiver has 4 career catches.

The head coach took two defensive players and made them highly productive tight ends. (beckum and crooks) He started a frosh at running back even though his own assistants wanted to go with Rowan.

He should have suspended the kid who hurt the MI player. Still don't get that because during the offseason he kicked several guys off the team for various issues.

BB gets a daily dose of Barry every day. As they mentioned on TV Barry meets with BB every day.

263
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 3:58pm

RE 259:
Wisconsin WAS penalized for being offside. Penn State had the option of declining the penalty, but chose to accept it. What you're suggesting is that UW should've been double penalized for being intentionally offside, which I think is absurd. And it's too bad Alvarez didn't consult all of you experts before he hired this Bielema low-life. You've convinced me -- the guy should be in jail. Sorry I'm ranting again. I should really try harder to keep this discussion on the high level set by Pat. Incidentally, I've read a half dozen different accounts of the game, and they barely mention the egregious breach of sportsmanship we're discussing. Very odd.

264
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 4:05pm

Anyone out there who believes Pat really didn't care whether Penn State won or lost, raise their hands.

265
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 4:36pm

The only thing I've read about the Wisconsin thing is that it showed how absurd the new clock rules are. Certainly not that the guy was an abomination to humanity.

That said, Penn State had to accept the penalty. Taking it to an extreme, Wisconsin could "intentionally" take the entire kickoff team save the kicker and plant them near the goal line so they could catch the kickoff. That's not what happened, but that's something that could happen. And then the opposition would have to accept the penalty. They could literally (barring a call for unsportsmanlike conduct) do this for an entire quarter, bleeding the clock dry, 10 seconds at a time. Again, this isn't what Wisconsin did (although they were so far offsides that a return by Penn State was pretty much out of the question), but claiming what Wisconsin did "completely legal" essentially sets up the scenario. It was borderline, because "intentional penalties to run the clock" is listed as unsportsmanlike conduct in the rules.

The most obvious solution is to make it such that on a penalty on the kickoff that results in a re-kick, the clock is reset to what it was prior to the kick. If the NCAA wants to keep the current clock rules, that is what they should do. However, since the momentum right now is so far on the side of scrapping them entirely, it may not matter.

266
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 5:06pm

RE 265:
Look, I'm all in favor of closing this loophole in the rules -- never said I wasn't. I wouldn't have even had a problem if the officials had reset the clock. All I've argued from the beginning is that because said loophole exists, I don't see how you can argue that Wisconsin should've been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, when all they did is take advantage of it.

267
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 5:20pm

As I believe I've stated before, the current rule, which would apply, does not specifically prohibit "taking intentional penalties to run the clock." It uses the rather nebulous phrases "unfair acts" and "unfair tactics." I think what is and is not unfair is subject to pretty broad interpretation, and if anyone can find a precedent where this clause was used, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

268
by FJ (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 11:46pm

From the point of full disclosure, Tom W, which team do you root for? I don't root for any Big-10 team, so I don't think I'd be biased against or for Penn State or Wisconsin. And I guess Pat is a Penn State fan.

There’s nothing inherently worse about one conference’s refs than another. But the Pac-10 has a structural problem; the conference’s bylaws (unique among BCS conferences, I think) mandate that its own refs work interconference games at Pac-10 stadiums, and that leaves them vulnerable to accusations of bias.

I agree with this point. This point, however, is NOT the argument put forth by some posters. Those posters are saying that the Pac-10 referees are INHERENTLY worse than other referees by a SIGNIFICANTLY LARGE MARGIN.

F

269
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/05/2006 - 11:56pm

It is absolutely true that Pac-10 rules state that Pac-10 referees are used for nonconference games at Pac-10 stadiums. But given that most such series (with BCS conference opponents) are home-and-home, it means the opponent gets their own game, at their home stadium, with their conference referees.

That point seems to be missed in a large number of posts - it's not like the Pac-10 team gets home refs, and the other team has to use neutral ones. Both teams get to choose whatever referees they like for their game.

The only exception to this within the Pac-10 is the USC/Notre Dame rivalry, which uses "away team referees" - when the game is at USC, Big-10 referees are used, and at Notre Dame, Pac-10 referees are used.

270
by Zac (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 12:25am

The only exception to this within the Pac-10 is the USC/Notre Dame rivalry, which uses “away team referees� - when the game is at USC, Big-10 referees are used, and at Notre Dame, Pac-10 referees are used.

The Big Ten refs do a game between 2 non-Big Ten schools? That's kind of strange.

271
by Murr (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 12:45am

Re: #264

*raises hand*

Also, Tom - you're an ass.

272
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 1:39am

Yeah, I got that. Sorry for offending everyone by defending my alma mater's dickhead/douchebag of a coach. It's been a distinct pleasure.

273
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 1:45am

One last parting comment: does anyone honestly think that if this was something that was done against Wisconsin and Bielema instead of against Joe Paterno, that people would've been upset?

274
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 1:45am

One last parting comment: does anyone honestly think that if this was something that was done against Wisconsin and Bielema instead of against Joe Paterno, that people would've been upset?

275
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 2:03am

Yeah, I got that. Sorry for offending everyone by defending my alma mater’s dickhead/douchebag of a coach. It’s been a distinct pleasure.

C'mon, dude, at least, admit that you're probably biased in this equation.

You didn't seem to have a problem running the "biased" argument against Pat. And yet you keep arguing like all your statements don't have an inherent bias in them, either.

That's not to say that pointing out that Pat might not be the most objective about this because this involves his alma mater is a bad thing. But if you're going to do it to him (and imply that he's arguing in bad faith because of), you really ought to acknowledge that you might have a least a little bias yourself (otherwise, it seems like you're trying ignore your own objectivity problems that you seem to be accusing Pat of harboring, or that others accuse the Pac-10 referees of having).

F

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 3:24am

I totally admit that I'm a Wisconsin fan. I think that's pretty obvious. Am I biased? Yes. Does that mean I can't disagree with someone when they direct a post specifically toward me, without being called an ass? I guess I'm not sure what the rules are. Why is it OK for one poster to assault the personal integrity and character of someone they know nothing about, in terms that I believe were completely uncalled for, but not OK for me to defend him?

277
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 4:21am

Why is it OK for one poster to assault the personal integrity and character of someone they know nothing about, in terms that I believe were completely uncalled for, but not OK for me to defend him?

Excuse me, but when exactly did Pat do this to you?

If you could point it out to me, then I'd be happy to agree that you were doing something like that with ALL of your posts. (And yes I realize that the guy who called you an ass is out of line, but on the other hand you ARE being very combative with all your post, defending the sovereign honor of anything Wisconsin against all would-be Badger-haters whether they actually are or not.)

You might want to stop tilting at straw men. Not everyone is trying to argue with you (and some of them aren't arguing what you say they're arguing).

F

278
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 5:08am

Posts no.'s 134,138,232,242, and probably a few others I missed. The point is not so much whether you think the strategy was smart, illegal, or bad sportsmanship. It's the massive level of overreaction to something that no one outside of this website seems to think is really a big deal. I also think that the thing about deliberately "putting kids at risk" is kind of disingenuous. Nobody was any more at risk on the plays in question than they are on almost every other play of a college football game.

279
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:02am

I should clarify that I'm not saying that my own character was attacked in the above posts, in case that wasn't clear. Nor do I think I attacked anyone else's.

280
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:03am

Posts no.’s 134,138,232,242, and probably a few others I missed. The point is not so much whether you think the strategy was smart, illegal, or bad sportsmanship. It’s the massive level of overreaction to something that no one outside of this website seems to think is really a big deal. I also think that the thing about deliberately “putting kids at risk� is kind of disingenuous. Nobody was any more at risk on the plays in question than they are on almost every other play of a college football game.

Oh, ok, so you're complaining about how Pat's talking about your coach. I see, well, I thought you were talking about him calling you names. My mistake.

Thinking about it, I guess the "putting kids at risk" is probably an overstatement (I don't know if I'd go so far as to say disingenous), since the receiving team could fair catch the kickoff, and prevent any serious injuries from happening.

OTOH, this plays exactly into what Bielami's "creative rule massaging" was put in place for. For that matter, like Tarrant stated. Why even have them run all the way over? Just put them on the opponent's 10-20 yard line and have them "cover" from there.

I think this leads back to the tried and true real argument. It's all the officials' fault!

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281
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:25am

Here's an interesting quote in the College Football Rules:

Deliberately teaching players to violate the rules is indefensible. The coaching of intentional holding, beating the ball, illegal shifting, feigning injury, interference, illegal forward passing or intentional roughing will break down rather than aid in the building of the character of players. Such instruction is not only unfair to one's opponent but is demoralizing to the players entrusted to a coach's care and has no place in a game that is an integral part of an educational program.

Interesting that they don't mention being offsides, but I guess either they didn't think someone would go this far, or they included it in the illegal shifting (unlikely), or they didn't think it was important enough to specifically highlight.

Another quote:

The football player who intentionally violates a rule is guilty of unfair play and unsportsmanlike conduct; and whether he escapes being penalized, he brings discredit to the good name of the game, which is his duty as a player to uphold

So, it DOES look like that the correct call should be unsportsmanlike conduct.

Another nugget:

The following are unfair acts:

....If an obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules occurs during the game.

PENALTY - The referee may take any action he considers equitable, including assessing a penalty, awarding a score, or suspending or forfeiting the game.

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282
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:28am

Video of the end of the first half of Wisconsin-Penn State, as broadcast on ABC.

To ask the Penn State returner to instantly adjust and fair catch the first kickoff on its own 1, when he had no idea what was coming, is a bit much. That leaves him little choice but to be hit by around 5 Wisconsin players who've had near-unblocked 50 yard sprints down the field (Brad Nessler even remarks "What a collision.")

283
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:41am

To ask the Penn State returner to instantly adjust and fair catch the first kickoff on its own 1, when he had no idea what was coming, is a bit much. That leaves him little choice but to be hit by around 5 Wisconsin players who’ve had near-unblocked 50 yard sprints down the field (Brad Nessler even remarks “What a collision.�)

That's also a good point.

It's definitely dangerous the FIRST time it's done, because the player won't know that they're that blatantly offsides. I guess I was thinking of it, in future settings where teams would be prepared for that kind of thing (if they should be prepared for that kind of thing)....

F

284
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 8:17am

FJ:
I think the most applicable rule to the situation was the second section cited in #148(?), which deals specifically with clock/delay issues. That rule doesn't authorize assessment of unsportsmanlike conduct, but does allow the official to reset the clock, which is what I really think the fairest thing to do would've been. And I'm not, like, Bret Bielema's publicist or anything. I really don't have a problem with anyone criticizing what he did. But, I think referring to him as a douchebag, dickhead, etc., based on this one incident, is just unfair and unnecessary. Hopefully, you won't find this to be too combative, because I think I'm pretty much agreeing with you.

285
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 8:44am

RE 282:
But is this really much different than calling a "popup" kickoff? I mean, I realize one's legal and the other's not, but if we're talking about imposing an additional UC penalty on Wisc. because of the risk factor, I'm just suggesting that lot's of legal plays, especially involving special teams, also have higher risk of injury to players.

286
by Tom W (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 8:54am

I really think that the simplest solution to this situation is to simply amend the rule I mentioned above to allow the clock to be reset if the kicking team commits an accepted penalty, intentional or not. That removes the incentive to do what Wisconsin did, and it makes things cut and dried for the officials.

287
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 11:15am

Having watched the video in post 282, I can't believe the officials didn't flag Wisconsin for unsportsmanlike conduct. The entire kicking team is 10-15 yards offsides, then runs down and absolutely crushes the defenseless return man at the 10-yard line on the first attempt. Guys then get up celebrating as if they've done something truly great.

The NCAA should immediately make a rules clarification. Intentional offsides on the kickoff (which would have to be a judgement call by the refs) should result in a 15-yard penalty and the clock being reset.

As for Bielma, watching the video gives me an even stronger opinion that this was a bush-league tactic, giving his plays an unfair advantage to get a free shot at the kick returner. I think the safety issue is a legitimate one.

I would expect the kind of karma generated by this move to come back and bite Bielma and UW in the rear at some point. Kind of reminds me of a game in the early 90s when Michigan played Houston a couple years after they had been running up the score on everyone. Houston was in post-Jack Pardee, NCAA probation meltdown, and Michigan just killed them. And a lot of coaches were happy about it, seeing Michigan continue to pile up the points in the second half. What goes around, you know.

288
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 11:30am

Russell:

So the coach makes what some consider a poor decision and you want the football gods to d*mn the program to H*ll?

If Wisconsin had a rep like some of the old Illinois teams of the 80's of being a bunch of headhunters I could understand some animus. But this is one series from one game.

And am I ever going to get to enjoy a Wisconsin-Penn State game? If it's not somebody's mom claiming a Wisconsin player intentionally hurt her baby boy it's folks claiming that Wisconsin is engaged in some devious plot to undermine the integrity of college football for all eternity.

Cripes.....

289
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 11:38am

Not damning him for eternity, but coaches have a long memory, and also a well-established pecking order.

Whoever mentioned that this probably wouldn't be as big an issue had it not been done to JoePa is correct. It's unfortunate, but true. Bielma is a rookie head coach and JoePa is a legend. I guarantee the other Big Ten coach notices the stunt pulled by Bielma and I'm sure they aren't happy about it. And that can come back to haunt a coach and his program.

290
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 1:04pm

To ask the Penn State returner to instantly adjust and fair catch the first kickoff on its own 1, when he had no idea what was coming, is a bit much. That leaves him little choice but to be hit by around 5 Wisconsin players who’ve had near-unblocked 50 yard sprints down the field (Brad Nessler even remarks “What a collision.�)

That even assumes he knows what's going on. I doubt he does. He's watching the ball the entire way - losing sight of it for a moment means he might not catch it, and as noted, it's a live ball.

Anyone out there who believes Pat really didn’t care whether Penn State won or lost, raise their hands.

Why would I care? Penn State's bowl eligible. They already have 3 losses, and no shot at a BCS game or a Big Ten title. That doesn't even matter, though. I'm fully capable of stepping outside of "Penn State fan" and looking at something objectively. I've long stated that Penn State fans whining about last year's Michigan game is just stupid. Whining about the hit on Robinson in the 2004 Wisconsin game is also just brain-dead stupid.

But when a guy does something that's blatantly unfair (and I don't see how it could be called anything other than unfair), knowingly, that's just low-class.

What I don't get is why Wisconsin fans are so quick to defend that tactic. It didn't matter in this game. What happens when he tries it in a game where it does end up mattering? What happens if the officials flag him for it, and the other team ends up with great field position? Or a close Wisconsin win, say, in a bowl game, gets tainted because of a silly tactic that they probably didn't need to use anyway?

291
by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 4:15pm

I don't see what the big deal is. The Wisconsin players don't start running until the kicker does - they just didn't do the slow run until the ball is kicked thing that teams do. Wisconsin was only offsides twice. The second one shouldn't even have been returned because the ball landed in the endzone, nine times out of ten the returner is told to sit on it. I just don't understand why the Penn State players didn't look like they were even trying to block on those kicks. When a defensive player jumps into the neutral zone or is offsides the offense still tries to block him. I just don't see how that's unsafe if they're playing football. The Wisonsin players got at most ten yards - and don't argue speed was an issue because the Wisc. players still traveled the same distance. They don't magically get faster because they left before the ball was kicked.

Anyway, I don't see this as a traveshamockery. I figured the Wisc. players were running down the field as soon as the ref signalled the ball was ready. If that was the case or if they just sat down at the end waiting for the ball then I can understand the outrage, but what they did doesn't seem all that bad.

292
by BB (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 5:03pm

Those posters are saying that the Pac-10 referees are INHERENTLY worse than other referees by a SIGNIFICANTLY LARGE MARGIN.

Anyone who watched the Nebraska/Michigan bowl game last year knows that the Pac-10 refs aren't the worst -- the refs in that game I believe were from the Sun Belt and pretty universally were declared to be absolutely brutal by fans of both teams. I watched the game with a Nebraska fan and both of us were just left shaking our heads numerous times. It was so bad that it just left a bad taste in the mouth over the whole game -- while they were awful both ways, there were so many blown calls that who knows what would have happened in the game if there had been real refs instead of those jokers.

The game had an exciting near-miracle, but it was really a good thing that level of officiating was in a meaningless mid-level bowl instead of a big regular season game or something. It easily was the worst officiated game I've ever seen.

293
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 5:04pm

I would guess that the initial defenses of Bielema were reflexive, but I don't see how someone can make anything more than a token defense of this tactic, and even that should have been quite a stretch.

I agree that this is yet another instance of the NCAA's half-assed approach to game length management biting everyone other than themselves. Another situation that they (apparently) didn't consider prior to passing the new rules. I doubt they'll be smart enough to remove them completely next season, nor do I believe they'll address the real problem, but at least it shouldn't be quite this bad next season.

Houston and Texas Tech are both schools that have employed the wide-open, four-quarter offense to an extreme and eventually had it return to them in spades, although that gets into the TMQ discussion about what to do when you have a big lead over a clearly inferior opponent.

Got to agree with navin - you knock a Hail Mary away, you don't try to catch it.

I think it is becoming clear to me that any of the top teams would have two more losses if they played in any other conference. I'm not entirely sure how this might work, but I'll go with it.

Chris Spielman holds the all-time single-season interception record for LBs at Ohio State. Do not doubt him. (I believe he retired from the Bills in part to help his wife through post-op therapy for cancer, so he does deserve quite a bit of personal credit for that, even though it clearly doesn't help his announcing.)

I have no idea whether or not Louisville is top-5 material. Can I wait until mid-January to answer that? :)

294
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 5:39pm

Anyone who watched the Nebraska/Michigan bowl game last year knows that the Pac-10 refs aren’t the worst — the refs in that game I believe were from the Sun Belt and pretty universally were declared to be absolutely brutal by fans of both teams.

Absolutely brutal, right down to the multi-lateral last play, in which both teams' sidelines had emptied out onto the field during the play, with no flag being thrown.

The Pac-10 refs also get a bad rap because the reffing on the onside kick was so thoroughly incompetent; 1) awarding the ball to Oregon, despite them never having possession and the ball winding up in the hands of an Oklahoma player; 2) ruling on the field that the ball wasn't touched by an Oregon player before 10 yards, despite clear evidence to the contrary; and 3) botching the replay review, culminating with the ref announcing that an Oklahoma player touched the ball, "making the ball live" (whether he screwed up the rule or just missaw it is unclear).

. I just don’t understand why the Penn State players didn’t look like they were even trying to block on those kicks.

They were trying, but the front 5 blockers had no chance to set up their blocks. 10 Wisconsin players, given a running start, were on them way too quickly.

When a defensive player jumps into the neutral zone or is offsides the offense still tries to block him. I just don’t see how that’s unsafe if they’re playing football.

There's an "unabated to the quarterback" rule, explicitly in the rulebook for player safety, which immediately stops play when a defender is clearly offsides with a moving start and no defender directly in front. The same principle should be applied here.

295
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 6:15pm

Good point on "unabated to the quarterback", Travis.

The Wisonsin players got at most ten yards

Uh, ten yards is pretty huge deal in a kickoff return. Transport the entire coverage team ten yards downfield, and they're behind all of the blockers.

They don’t magically get faster because they left before the ball was kicked.

Actually, they probably do, by a little bit, because they're now running at maximum speed when the ball is kicked, rather than making sure they're not past the kicker.

296
by Sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 9:30pm

You could fashion a killer drinking game from this thread: Drink every time Tom W. posts he's finally done and is moving on....

Only thing is you'd either be out of booze or unconscious before you got halfway through.

297
by FJ (not verified) :: Mon, 11/06/2006 - 10:24pm

#

FJ:
I think the most applicable rule to the situation was the second section cited in #148(?), which deals specifically with clock/delay issues. That rule doesn’t authorize assessment of unsportsmanlike conduct, but does allow the official to reset the clock, which is what I really think the fairest thing to do would’ve been. And I’m not, like, Bret Bielema’s publicist or anything. I really don’t have a problem with anyone criticizing what he did. But, I think referring to him as a douchebag, dickhead, etc., based on this one incident, is just unfair and unnecessary. Hopefully, you won’t find this to be too combative, because I think I’m pretty much agreeing with you.

:: Tom W — 11/6/2006 @ 6:17 am

I'm not finding this post combative.

I should note that the segments I highlighted were titled under "Coaching Ethics" which is put under the one of the first sections of the College Football rulebook. While it's not specified in any of the rules, I think this is an obvious case of "unsportsmanlike conduct." I"m not sure how anyone can argue, otherwise, especially since the College Football rulebook SPELLS IT OUT that way.

I think that BOTH rules should apply (time rewound and an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty awarded). One should be for the unfair game-clock tactic, the other for the deliberate violation of the rules.

F

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Tue, 11/07/2006 - 12:09am

Have another shot, Sundown ... on second thought, forget it. Enjoy next weeks' games, everyone.