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» Scramble for the Ball: Getting it Right?

Instant replay review is one of the cornerstones of the modern NFL. The process and its myriad special rules have been internalized and constantly debated. Mike Kurtz wonders: is it worth it?

30 Nov 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Championship Week

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: I tried. I really tried. To root for Notre Dame on Saturday night that is. But my attempts at "Go Irish!" came out sounding more like "could you please @#^%ing cover somebody you scrubs!" In the end, I think I was happier that Notre Dame got exposed. Again. And that people don't seem to be buying into Musburger's three-hour Irish love-in.

Vinny: Gushburger can develop some serious man-crushes with players or teams, whether it's Brady Quinn, the "A-Train" (seems like he often went into commercial breaks with "And the A-Train, keeps right on rollin' here on CB ... er, ABC!!!") or even "The Big Kat!!!" (which I'm sure was your favorite, Russ).

Russell: Ugh, don't remind me. It'll be a little easier for me to pull for UCLA this week. And I actually think they have a better chance against USC than Notre Dame did. But more on that in a bit. Even if USC wins to go to Glendale, it looks like sanity will prevail and put LSU, and not Notre Dame, opposite Michigan in the Rose Bowl. We can all be thankful for that.

Vinny: Nobody, not Michigan, not Notre Dame, nor their fan bases, wanted those teams to play three times in a one-year period.

Russell: After this edition of SDA, we'll take a two-week break before returning to pick every one of the 31 bowl games. So be sure to hold off on that Micron PC/International Bowl parlay until we give you the skinny.

Central Michigan (-3) vs. Ohio
(MAC Championship at Detroit), Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: It's the first of two straight at Ford Field for the Chippewas, who have already accepted a bid to the Motor City Bowl. Must ... resist ... urge ... to make ... Detroit ... jokes ... here. First Central Michigan gets a crack at Ohio and coach Frank Solich. Anyone have a GHB joke?

Vinny: I'm trying to quit. The jokes, that is.

Russell: You can bet Ohio alum Peter King will watch this one with interest as the Bobcats seek their first MAC title since 1968. The Bobcats have won seven straight behind the rushing of Kalvin McRae, who has gone past 100 yards in all seven games. That's good, since Ohio doesn't really throw the ball (pass offense rank: 114).

Vinny: I'm sure PK will make mention of this tilt in his next MMQB, if he has space to squeeze it in between his reviews of various baristas' servings of pumpkin spice lattes around the country. This will definitely be a clash in styles between Solich's old fashioned slobberknocker approach and the Chippewas' five-wide spreads.

Russell: CMU coach Brian Kelly is a rumored candidate for a number of bigger jobs, including the Michigan State opening that went to former Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio. Nothing against Kelly, but Spartans fans should be happy he didn't get the gig. If there's a carbon copy of John L. Smith in the coaching world, it's Kelly, who's strategic decisions sometimes border on the criminally insane. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (such as when a failed trick play ended the Chips' upset hopes against Boston College). Look for Kelly to pull out all the stops in this one, but I'm going with Ohio, on the strength of Solich's defense.

Vinny: Interesting how Kelly turned around CMU after Mike Debord failed miserably in that job and was welcomed back to the Michigan coaching staff. I guess you could say these are Debord's players, but that begs the question why he couldn't get more out of them. Kind of like Charlie Weis winning with Ty Willingham's players. I'll take the Chips.

Southern Miss (+4.5) at Houston
(Conference USA Championship), Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: Credit goes to C-USA for ignoring the neutral site and giving the team with the better record home field in its championship game. It should make for a much better atmosphere at Houston's Robertson Stadium, which will be sold out or nearly so, whereas there were about 25,000 at Ford Field for the MAC game.

Vinny: Freshman running back Damion Fletcher has been the MVP for Southern Miss, racking up 1,240 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He even ran for 89 yards on 18 carries in the Golden Eagles' opener against Florida (a 34-7 shellacking by the Gators).

Russell: Southern Miss won the regular-season meeting between the teams, 31-27, in Hattiesburg. Since then, Houston has won five straight, scoring 172 points in the process behind the unorthodox passing attack of coach Art Briles and quarterback Kevin Kolb. Briles loves motion and rollouts -- sometimes you'll even see Kolb take the snap on the move and throw immediately to the sidelines. Kolb ran the same offense in high school, where Briles was his coach as a freshman before departing for the college ranks.

Vinny: Briles wasn't too happy with the officiating when these teams met in October. He was rankled by what he thought was a fumble by Southern Miss receiver Josh Barnes before the Golden Eagles' final touchdown. Officials called the play dead because of an early whistle and wouldn't permit an instant replay review.

Russell: Ah, yes, one of the joys of replay. Southern Miss is also coming in hot, having won four straight. But the Eagles' 24th-ranked pass defense will have its hands full with Houston's 12th-ranked passing attack. I like the home field in this one. The Cougars win in a shootout and cover the spread.

Vinny: Golden Eagles quarterback Jeremy Young stole the show from Kolb in their earlier matchup, throwing for two scores and running for another. I don't like picking a team to beat an evenly-matched opponent twice in one season (coughing for effect), but I'll go with Southern Miss to cover in another entertaining game.

Wake Forest (+2.5) vs. Georgia Tech
(ACC Championship at Jacksonville), 1 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Vin, I've got a prop bet for you. Which attendance figure will be higher -- the ACC crowd in Jacksonville or the combined crowds in Detroit and Houston for the MAC and C-USA games? I think I'm going with the latter, a result of this surprising matchup.

Vinny: You've got yourself a wager. Anyone who knows anything about college football knows the Demon Deacons travel well. I'm so confident about this bet that I'll set the stakes at two beers. Pints, even. And none of that cheap stuff you like.

Russell: Hey, let's not forget you owned eight CDs and drank Bud Light when I met you.

Vinny: Yes, but one of them was GTR.

Russell: I love Wake Forest. Early in the year, they were doing it with smoke and mirrors, getting out-gained in most of their wins. But you can see their confidence growing from week to week to the point where they've developed into a pretty good football team. They absolutely mauled Maryland in the trenches last week, rushing 57 times for 296 yards and getting some opportunistic throws from Riley Skinner to clinch this spot.

Vinny: I'm still a doubter about a quarterback with two last names. Maybe it's the advice from Coach Bobby Finstock that's stuck with me. But then, Reggie Ball is on the other sideline.

Russell: The oddsmakers still don't believe in Wake, but how can anyone believe in Georgia Tech after the egg they laid against a very average Georgia team last week? The mercurial Ball, a four-year starter, had one of his worst-ever outings, throwing for just 42 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble that was returned for a score. He also failed to get the ball to all-world receiver Calvin Johnson (13 receiving yards?!?!), whose talents have been largely wasted for three years. I wouldn't lay points with Georgia Tech with your money. Give me the Deacons (Fred Edelstein lock).

Vinny: When you're getting outplayed by Georgia's quarterback du jour, you're in trouble. It's been easy to rip Ball this week (we certainly couldn't pass up the opportunity), but I'm going out on a very shaky limb and saying he bounces back with a decent performance. Maybe Chan Gailey brought in Bill Walsh and Tony Robbins this week on a retainer. Johnson gets involved in the offense and Tech fans are teased with what could have been this season. The Yellow Jackets win by a field goal.

Army (+20) vs. Navy (at Philadelphia), 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: Navy is a huge favorite as it looks to equal its longest-ever wining streak in the 107-year series -- five games. Still, this Army team may be better equipped to end the streak than recent editions.

Vinny: Army defensive end Brandon Thompson has worked his way back from a nerve injury in his shoulder. He's considered one of the more talented players on the Black Knights' defense, and they'll need him to slow down the Navy ground attack.

Russell: Navy's season appeared to go down the tubes when quarterback and leading rusher Brian Hampton was lost for the year with a dislocated knee against Rutgers. But coach Paul Johnson reached down the depth chart to find the best name in college football, Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada, to run his option attack. Go figure. Navy has a native Hawaiian running its offense, while Hawaii has a guy with a cowboy name straight out of central casting -- Colt Brennan -- running its. Hooray for the melting pot!

Vinny: Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada. Wasn't that Pat Morita's advice to Nick Cage in Honeymoon in Vegas?

Russell: That really doesn't help me at all. Army has lost five straight and has been killed by the turnover -- they're minus-16 on the year. But Bobby Ross's club plays tough defense and you know their necks will be bowed out for this one. I just can't lay three touchdowns when, over the course of a century, the average margin of victory in this series has been two points. Navy wins, but Army keeps it close enough to cover.

Vinny: I don't think it's good for morale in the Department of Defense if everyone has to listen to the Squiddies crow about a five-year run. Maybe Robert Gates brings in the ghost of Arnold Rothstein on a retainer. I also like the Black Knights to cover.

USC (-14) at UCLA, 4:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: The nation saw what USC can do at full strength Saturday night. Despite losing two Heisman Trophy winners, its offense can still be downright scary, with a developing John David Booty throwing to man-child Dwayne Jarrett. Of course, it helps to throw against the Irish secondary. Vin, you and I could start at corner and produce similar results for that club.

Vinny: True enough. They're already calling me "Toast" on my flag football team. Where have you gone, Elvis Patterson?

Russell: UCLA is the last hurdle standing between USC and a road to Glendale paved with Trojans, as Brent so eloquently put it during Saturday's telecast. Karl Dorrell, 0-3 against USC in his time in Westwood, played coy this week about announcing his starting quarterback. The safe guess was that he would go back to sophomore Ben Olson, who tore a knee ligament against Arizona in early October. But he's sticking with Patrick Cowan for another week. Cowan is the more mobile of the two, though I'm not sure it makes a big difference in this one.

Vinny: Sounds like Olson is ready, so look for him to be trotting in from the bullpen if and when Cowan struggles. On defense, the Bruins have had a great pass rush (fourth nationally) thanks to defensive ends Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis (24 sacks between them). USC tackles Sam Baker and Kyle Williams should be up to the task though.

Russell: UCLA has thorn-in-side potential here, especially if this guy is to be believed. Still, I have to think Pete Carroll won't let his team get caught flat-footed, which is probably the only thing that could cost them this game. UCLA will make it a game for a half, but the Trojans win going away (and cover).

Vinny: They've been through it before, so I don't think the stories about Carroll being approached by the Arizona Cardinals will affect the Trojans this week. Frankly, Snoop's latest arrest was bigger news in the USC locker room, especially since he was sporting Jarrett's No. 8 jersey after posting bail. More good pub for the program. I expected this line to be higher, but I guess the rivalry is getting its due. They got a scare a couple years ago in a similar situation against the Bruins, but I also like USC to win big here (my Freddy).

Arkansas (+2.5) vs. Florida
(SEC Championship at Atlanta), 6 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: Last week was the first time I had the chance to watch an Arkansas game from start to finish this season. Their loss to LSU may not have been the season's best game, but it was probably the most entertaining. Houston Nutt's offense is everything I love about college football vs. the NFL. You can watch an entire weekend of NFL play and not see a single team whose approach stands out. But you watch a team like Arkansas play offense, and your reaction is "what the hell was that?"

Vinny: The Hogs seem to run all those trick plays you draw up in the dirt when you get together with high school buddies for a Turkey Bowl game over the holidays. But instead of "Lobes" and "Lil Riz," you're running the plays with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Slightly more effective.

Russell: Slightly. Now Florida, you sort of have to know the Gators to love them. They aren't the most dynamic, but they tend to play close, exciting games for good (the thriller at Tennessee) and bad (hanging on at home against South Carolina). You've got steady Chris Leak and the guard-disguised-as-a-QB Tim Tebow on offense, and concussion-maker (and target of a professed man-crush of many a Florida fan) Reggie Nelson on defense.

Vinny: Hey, that's two man-crush references this week. Which is one too many in my book. What I also know is that I'm tired of Urban Meyer whining about voters relying on style points. Like that's something new this year?

Russell: Smells like bad karma for the Gators to me. Florida knows they need to win this game big, and I think they may press a bit trying to get there, and that could lead to mistakes. If Arkansas can run wild on LSU, I think McFadden and Co. can put up some yards on the Gators. I like Arkansas to win outright.

Vinny: Wow. Bold call. There has been some history of teams making their case for the big game only to get upset during the final hurdle of a conference title game. Michael Bishop's Kansas State losing a classic to Texas A&M comes to mind. One thing to watch is Florida's body language in the first half, because USC-UCLA will be close to halftime. But the Gators are still my pick here.

Rutgers (+8) at West Virginia, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: For the second time in four weeks, it's the biggest game in Rutgers's history. And don't give me 1869 v. Princeton -- there was no $15 million bowl bid on the line that day. Win in Morgantown, and Rutgers goes to the Orange, perhaps to meet Wake Forest in an all-time Cinderella matchup.

Vinny: As a graduate of Princeton High School, I can't believe you would diss your hometown university. You were a Lil' Tiger! (I'm sure that struck fear in the hearts of your high school's opponents.)

Russell: Vin, I was 5-foot-9, 155 pounds. And I started at guard. I don't think the nickname was the problem. Rutgers rebounded from the stench of its performance at Cincinnati two weeks ago to hammer Syracuse at home on senior day, just as West Virginia was pretty much getting bounced from the BCS picture in a home loss to South Florida that also left standout QB Pat White limping with an injured foot/ankle. The Bulls won by capitalizing on turnovers and holding Steve Slaton in check. I think there's a serious potential for West Virginia to come in flat for this one, and Rutgers's emotion could carry the day.

Vinny: Speaking of bad karma, maybe White brought it on himself and his teammates for his comical mockery of Pitt's silly panther growl the week before the South Florida debacle. Frankly, providence aside, that was one of my favorite moments of the college football season. It had two great elements: (1) It was pretty damn funny -- although Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit were actually listening to Erin Andrews for some reason instead of making note of it; and (2) White directed his ridicule at my least favorite gimmick in college football, silly-piped in sound effects, especially ones involving the roar of a supposedly fearsome mascot in the kitten family (yes, that means you, Penn State and Northwestern).

Russell: Both coaches have been dealing with the distraction of rumored job offers this week (West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez to Alabama; Rutgers's Greg Schiano to Miami). Schiano has more reason to be focused. His asking price only goes up with a win here. I like the Scarlet Knights to keep it close throughout, and win on a Jeremy "Judge" Ito field goal at the end. I'm sure you're surprised by that pick, Vin.

Vinny: Uh, no. Sounds like White's wheels have improved during the week, and fullback Owen Schmitt has also been battling leg injuries. Schmitt has been a big key to the offense for the Mountaineers. Even with the walking wounded, I'm going to go with West Virginia over your beloved Bon Jovi-ites.

Nebraska (+4) vs. Oklahoma
(Big XII Championship at Kansas City), 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: I for one am glad that Texas got upset by A&M last week, producing the first-ever Oklahoma-Nebraska matchup in the Big XII title game. It's been too long in coming.

Vinny: This matchup hasn't received much attention with the other games on the slate. But it should be an entertaining contest, even without a star attraction like Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson. It will feel like a road game for the Sooners since Nebraska fans snapped up most of the tickets for this game early in the season.

Russell: I have to give credit to the Husker fans. I'm not sure there's another major program in America with the pedigree of Nebraska where the fans would be as patient as they have been with Bill Callahan. But slowly but surely, they're starting to see real progress.

Vinny: Huskers ends Adam Carriker and Jay Moore lead a veteran defensive front. But Nebraska has been hurt by the ground game in their losses, especially by Oklahoma State (267 rushing yards). Allen Patrick should have a good day.

Russell: I think the Black Shirts will have a decent day against the run, but I'm worried about Zac Taylor turning it over for the Huskers. I think Nebraska will give a good account, but I like Oklahoma by a touchdown.

Vinny: I agree. This is going to be a game into the fourth quarter, but Oklahoma holds on by at least a touchdown.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Central Michigan -3 Ohio Central Michigan Ohio
Southern Miss +4.5 Houston Southern Miss Houston
Wake Forest +2.5 Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Wake Forest*
Army +20 Navy Army Army
USC -14 UCLA USC* USC
Arkansas +2.5 Florida Florida Arkansas
Rutgers +8 West Virginia West Virginia Rutgers
Nebraska +4 Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 2-5-1 (0-1-0) 54-49-1 (9-4-0)
Russell 3-4-1 (1-0-0) 60-43-1 (8-5-0)

Posted by: on 30 Nov 2006

369 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2006, 1:20pm by Fourth

Comments

1
by SGT Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 7:49pm

First!!!

2
by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 7:59pm

second!

3
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 8:23pm

homicidal!

4
by Heckler (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 8:24pm

I don't think any team in any game this week is going to be as excited going into their game as UCLA. They're playing to get their seniors at least one win against their rival and to ruin USC's season. Then again, the Bruins pass protection could end up getting Cowan killed. Should be fun. Can't wait to read your breakdown.

5
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 8:27pm

Pi(R^2)!

6
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 8:47pm

Cake R Round!

7
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 8:48pm

The more I think about it, the more I think USC getting the nod over Michigan or Florida is a no-brainer. If you win your conference, your nonconference slate consists of Arkansas, Nebraska and Notre Dame, and you win all three of those games handily, you belong in the title game.

8
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 9:08pm

Which is why, MDS, we BCS haters are HUUUUUGGGGEEE UCLA fans this weekend, not that it will do any good.

9
by Heckler (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 9:47pm

Will - it won't.
And hey, if Arkansas and Nebraska win, USC will have beaten two conference champions.

10
by Fourth (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 10:15pm

If UCLA pulls the upset, and Florida beats Arkansas by say, 7 points...Michigan or Florida?

11
by Zac (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 10:29pm

Does anyone know why Central Michigan and Ohio have already accepted bowl bids? I thought the MAC winner was supposed to go to the Motor City Bowl, and the loser to the GMAC Bowl. What's the point of even having a championship game if they're going to do something like this?

12
by ZS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 11:45pm

Because, it's the MAC.

If Ohio improves, is there a chance of an Ohio-Ohio St. game? That'd be interesting. Even if Ohio got home field, they'd be swarmed by Buckeyes because that's just about all of Ohio.

13
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 11/30/2006 - 11:48pm

Re 10: Let's say UCLA pulls off the upset. The only chance Florida has is to absolutely pound Arkansas...I'm talking a woodshed job...beat them by 3 TDs, and look damn good doing it. But even then, they would still have to rely on some voters to switch over from Michigan to Florida for the sole reason that they don't want to see a rematch.

And just for the record, if Florida beats Arkansas (huge IF), I don't think it matters how much Florida wins by...I still think Michigan will get the nod over the Gators, and even being a huge Gator fan, I'm not sure I can argue that Florida is a better team than Michigan after their so-so performances against Georgia, Vandy & South Carolina.

14
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:38am

I think there is a chance voters would switch their picks from Michigan to Florida at the last vote. I imagine many of the USC votes would go to Florida if they beat Arkansas by a decent amount. Honestly, I think many people don't want that since, to me, it makes it seem like the first game was almost worthless.

This would just be a perfect year for a +1 game. I'd be fine with two situations: USC and Michigan play a classic Rose Bowl, and the winner takes on Ohio State, or if you don't want to give Ohio State a bye, have them play either Florida, or Boise State (hey, they did go undefeated in I-A).

That said, this Saturday looks to have some pretty dang good football games on, and unlike the game tonight, none of them will be on a stupid NCAA channel that Time Warner won't carry.

15
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:48am

Zac, it's not the MAC champion, it's the #1 selection from the MAC. So basically, the Motor City Bowl picked first, and they said, "Not Frank Solich." Or, "We'll take the five-wides offense." Or something silly like that. I don't understand it either.

Apparently the CMU players couldn't figure out when to douse Kelly, so he made it unscathed ... then after the game, before Erin Andrews interviewed him, she said she was concerned they might still try to get him and was afraid she might get caught in it.

I was in a very happy place for a minute.

So did the MAC schedule this game before they knew about the NFL Network game? It doesn't seem like they planned this one very well.

16
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:54am

Also, ESPN is reporting that LSU will go to the Rose Bowl, so it looks like yeah, it won't be ND-UM, thankfully.

17
by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 2:03am

Speaking of LSU, as a Florida fan, it makes me IRATE that they're reportedly going to the Rose Bowl. I mean, absolutely livid. If Florida loses on Saturday, then Florida will still have a better winning percentage than LSU. They will have faced a tougher SEC schedule than LSU (they're the only team that didn't get to play one of the Mississippi teams). They will have made more of an attempt to schedule quality out-of-conference games than LSU (it's not Florida's fault that FSU imploded). Oh, and they also will have a *THIRTEEN POINT HEAD-TO-HEAD VICTORY*. Florida is higher ranked in every single poll and every single computer ranking through 12 games... and yet, if Arkansas wins Saturday, LSU would get the Rose Bowl and Florida would get shut out of the BCS picture (thanks to a rule that no more than two teams can represent one conference). In my mind, this is comparable to the Rose Bowl coming out before the Ohio State/Michigan game and saying that it was taking Wisconsin. It would make about as much sense, and for the exact same reasons.

Basically, Florida's getting punished for going to the Championship game. If they were 11-1 and *didn't* make the SEC championship, there'd be no question that they'd be a BCS team this year.

I'd really like to hear someone explain to me what possible arguement LSU could have that they deserve a BCS bid over 11-2 Florida (if they lose this weekend). I mean, it's not like they're blowing teams out here. They have a 4 point loss to Auburn, a 4 point win vs. Tennessee, and a 5 point win vs. Arkansas... and, oh yeah, a 13 point loss to Florida. The only time they played against a ranked team in a game decided by more than one score, they were on the losing end.

18
by Fourth (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 3:16am

Re: 17

I've got that argument, sound or not...LSU will sell more tickets. That's it.

19
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:15am

Re: 17/18

Fourth hits the nail on the head. It's part of the deal the BCS cut with the bowls. We'll give you the title game once every four years. The other three (and now really every year because of the 5th game), you get to put together the most attractive matchup you can from the eligible teams. LSU "travels" well, Florida doesn't. End of that particular story.

20
by The Jerricho Road (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:37am

Must … resist … urge … to make … Detroit … jokes … here.

Why???????????? It's Beirut for Christ's sake...there is no internet or computer in Beirut anyway...

21
by The Jerricho Road (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:39am

Re: 17

Don't worry, Florida is not going to lose. McFadden can't take on 11 guys by himself (they have 0 passing game and Florida has an excellent defense).

22
by ejt (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:58am

what happens if USC loses to UCLA and florida makes the NC game, surely then the rose bowl would change its mind and select michigan over LSU, if not then michigan could slip to the orange bowl to play wake/gt.

23
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 10:11am

Were I Florida, I wouldn't be so upset about the fact that LSU was "pre-selected", as being upset about the fact that the Rose making it not-so-secret that they're taking LSU essentially means the BCS Powers That Be have decided that Florida has no chance at the title game.

What the Rose taking LSU means is that they pretty much know that if USC wins, it's USC (so the Rose gets Michigan/LSU), and if USC loses, it's Michigan (so the Rose gets USC/LSU), so in neither case do they have to make a contingency plan for Florida being in the national title game (that plan would probably be Michigan/USC).

And the sad part is, it's true. It's down to Michigan or USC at this point - Florida might be able to play spoiler by beating Arkansas, as that could damage USC's computer ranking such that even a UCLA win isn't enough - but that would place Michigan in the title game, not Florida. Barring an absolute annihilation of Arkansas - something like a shutout win by 30 or more points, coupled with a USC loss - and yes, it'll take something that significant to convince pollsters to move Florida up past Michigan - Florida is not going to be in the title game.

24
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 11:26am

#22 - then the Rose Bowl would have USC and would just take Michigan.

25
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 11:35am

It also helps LSU's case when the AD Skip Bertman said that he will do pretty much anything to be in the Rose Bowl...and I mean anything.

26
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 11:52am

I'd just like to know why the bowl selection is made before the end of the college football season. The NCAA also does this for the basketball tourney. They pick the teams even though a couple teams are still playing for their conference championships. At least with the BB tournament, the teams are in minor conferences.

27
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:14pm

Re: #26.

It is in the best interests of a bowl to know its participants as early as possible. This gives them the maximum amount of time to market tickets, ticket packages, hotels, flights, etc. to the fans of the schools in question.

This is especially important for lower-tier mid-December bowls that are always half-empty - the more time they have to market their product, the more of those empty seats they may be able to fill.

Additionally, bowls want the most attractive teams (in terms of ticket sales - they don't give a damn about the quality of the play itself) they can get. So they want to try and extend an offer, and get it accepted, before some other bowl can take a team. You can see that oddity in the MAC Championship game yesterday - the bowl that gets first pick of MAC teams did not want to take the MAC champion, because it thought another MAC team was a bigger sell. So that bowl slot was actually filled prior to the championship game.

One of the most fascinating things this year is that the Poinsettia Bowl, which had an at-large spot, was in high demand. Usually such a low-tier bowl would be something on one cares about. This year, teams from all over the nation were lobbying to get into that bowl.

What I think we'll see in the not-too-distant future is more bowls that eschew the standard "mandatory conference tie-ins" in favor of being an "at-large" bowl. This allows them almost free reign to choose from available teams with a given record - and when that happens, schools and conference end up almost "bidding" on the spot - School/Conference A says "We guarantee we'll sell X tickets, if we don't, we'll pay for the difference", the bowl then goes to School/Conference B and says "Can you promise more?"

That prevents the standard "BCS Conference Team #6 Goes to Low-Tier Bowl and Doesn't Care and Buys No Tickets" (think we'll see many Miami fans in Boise for the MPC Computers Bowl? Ha!).

Mark my words - this year there were a few at-large slots. We're going to see more at-large slots and fewer conference tie-ins as we move forward.

28
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:22pm

Reports are that LSU fans already have deposits down for more than 30,000 Rose Bowl tickets, 20,000 Orange Bowl tickets, etc. Just in case LSU goes to one of those bowls, LSU already has collected some money, guaranteeing that those fans are going to be buying tickets for those games.

That looks very attractive to a Rose Bowl that may be looking to fill an at-large spot.

Florida, in contrast, is...disinterested. That's not the right word, but when it comes to a BCS at-large spot, it has nothing to do with whether or not a team is "the best team that isn't a conference champion" (else Notre Dame wouldn't be in the discussion). It's about selling tickets and getting fans to come in and spend money in your city. Hell, LSU fans are known for traveling to the city of the bowl despite not having tickets and just partying with the locals.

Florida can make no such argument, thus is a tougher sell.

29
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:49pm

Re 28: Tarrant is right, with the exception of the Sugar Bowl, Florida fans really don't travel outside of Florida. (And let's face it, there's not a whole lot of reason to leave the state of Florida in Dec/Jan.) Gator fans did fill up the Peach Bowl 2 years ago, but (1) they were playing Miami, which is a very good rivalry (2) Atlanta is not a far drive for most Floridians.

Back in 1995, when Florida played Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl for all the marbles, Florida fans did not travel particularly well, and that has stuck with some of the Bowls out West.

On the flip side, kudos to LSU AD Skip Bertman for taking Rose Bowl ticket orders and proving to the Rose Bowl committee that LSU want that Rose Bowl bid.

Also, let's not overlook one important fact: Florida controls their own destiny. A win on Saturday puts them in the BCS. What more could you ask for?

30
by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 12:50pm

21: Didn't LSU have an "excellent" defense? Like #1 in the NCAA prior to that game by yards per game? Arkansas ran all over them. Arkansas probably wins that game if Nutt didn't make some moronic play calls and go back to the pass, which wasn't working at all.

31
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 1:40pm

I think the Black Shirts will have a decent day against the run, but I’m worried about Zac Taylor turning it over for the Huskers.

He's got 24 TDs and only 4 INTs on the season. Of all the worries NU has, I don't think this is one of them.

32
by Jesse (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 1:47pm

OU's run offense is going to get its 200-250 yards, meaning they'll be grinding out the clock. Zac Taylor's going to have to do a lot, and the weather will be more conducive to rushing

33
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 1:51pm

Pi(R^2)!

Pi Rn't^2. Pi R round. Cornbread*R^2.

34
by Dave (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 2:21pm

Me, I think Florida, with a loss should be heading to the Orange to play the Wake/GT winner. Michigan should be playing Louisville (*actual one-loss BCS conference champ or co-champ, barring shocking upset by UConn*) in the Rose, the OK/NEB winner should play Boise in the Fiesta (actually will happen), and Arkansas should be playing the WVU/Rutgers winner.

I'd think the Wolverines will sell more than enough tickets for the Rose to take a flyer on the best team available to play them, which is pretty clearly the Cards.

35
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 2:23pm

I think that LSU is the best team in the SEC. Their four road games were @Florida, @Tennessee, @Auburn, and @Arkansas. That is a brutal schedule, I don't think a single team comes out of that stretch undefeated.

Florida played @FSU, @Tennessee, @Vanderbilt, and @Auburn. They lost to Auburn, and could have lost any of the other three with a bad bounce.

The best case scenario for Florida and the SEC is that they beat Arkansas, blow out their bowl opponent, and hope that LSU beats up on Michigan. Hopefully something like that will get more people aboard the playoff bandwagon.

Also, Sagarin Predictor has LSU at #5 and Florida at #10.

36
by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 3:44pm

Question that has been driving me crazy:

You know that commercial hyping the Heisman, with all the "mascots" chasing down the Dodge, or whatever the heck truck it is? It's being chased by Buffalos, Longhorns, Trojans, Bulldogs, etc., etc.

What the hell is the big boulder, that possibly according to my wife looks like an acorn or some sort of nut, that is bouncing after the truck?

37
by Fourth (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 3:56pm

Re: 36

From your wife's description, probably a Buckeye.

38
by ejt (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 4:13pm

36: it is a buckeye.

39
by hrudey (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 5:50pm

35: Sagarin's rating system also considers Arizona State a top 25 team based on their quality wins vs. Northern Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Stanford, Washington, Washington State and Arizona. I think you could put together a conference with USC, the bottom 9 teams in the nation, and as long as USC played a decent OOC schedule, a few of the other teams in the conference lost to ND, and USC lost one conference game, that conference would still have 9 teams in Sagarin's top 40.

40
by Salvi\'s Headband (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 6:43pm

I'd just like to say that Rutgers going to the Orange Bowl would be the absolute coolest funniest greatest thing in the history of the world.

If they LOSE, though, they drop ALL THE WAY TO THE FRIGGIN TEXAS BOWL, which isn't even on TV!! How does that work? Man, the Big East's bowl affiliations suck.

41
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 7:06pm

Re: 40

Much like the Fiesta Bowl was for Utah in 2004, the Orange Bowl is a lose/lose situation for whichever Big East team makes it; the opponent will be a blah team from the mediocre ACC. Win, and few will pay attention; lose, and everyone will say that the team was never that good in the first place.

The same goes for all Big East bowl teams; the lousy bowl affiliations likely mean that no other Big East team will face a ranked opponent.

42
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 8:01pm

Re: 41

That may be the case if it's L'Ville or West Virginia, but I can assure you that going to the Orange is not a lose-lose for Rutgers, no matter who they play.

Plus, $15 million is $15 million, no matter the opponent, so the conference is happy.

43
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 12/01/2006 - 9:00pm

Re: 42

I meant the result of the game; of course Rutgers would be thrilled to make any BCS bowl. The game itself would be an afterthought.

44
by kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:25am

Re #19: Fourth hits the nail on the head. It’s part of the deal the BCS cut with the bowls. We’ll give you the title game once every four years. The other three (and now really every year because of the 5th game), you get to put together the most attractive matchup you can from the eligible teams. LSU “travels� well, Florida doesn’t. End of that particular story.

I understand it's a money thing, I was just asking for any reason this makes any football sense. I mean, you could even point out that Florida's struggled against inferior competition recently... but then again, Florida didn't need a 13 point comeback and overtime to defeat possibly the worst team in the entire SEC.

Re #22: what happens if USC loses to UCLA and florida makes the NC game, surely then the rose bowl would change its mind and select michigan over LSU, if not then michigan could slip to the orange bowl to play wake/gt.

Only two teams from any conference can go to BCS bowls (which is an absurd rule in the first place). If Florida makes the NC game, then Arkansas would go to the Sugar Bowl (or maybe LSU would, I don't know how that'd work if the SEC Champion got selected for the NC), and the other would be barred from BCS play.

I think that LSU is the best team in the SEC. Their four road games were @Florida, @Tennessee, @Auburn, and @Arkansas. That is a brutal schedule, I don’t think a single team comes out of that stretch undefeated.

Florida played @FSU, @Tennessee, @Vanderbilt, and @Auburn. They lost to Auburn, and could have lost any of the other three with a bad bounce.

The best case scenario for Florida and the SEC is that they beat Arkansas, blow out their bowl opponent, and hope that LSU beats up on Michigan. Hopefully something like that will get more people aboard the playoff bandwagon.

Also, Sagarin Predictor has LSU at #5 and Florida at #10.

You say that Florida could have lost the FSU/Tennessee/Vandy games with a bad bounce, but I'd argue that bad bounces were the only thing keeping those games close. Flukes and "non-predictive events" (as Aaron likes to call them) made those scores a lot closer than the game itself- if you look at the stats, you can see that Florida played the better football in every instance. For example, look at Tennessee. They had negative rushing yards for the game, and 7 of their 20 points came off of a flea-flicker. Florida had 100 more yards of offense and averaged a yard more per play. Against Vandy, Florida opened a 25-6 lead and then Vandy mounted a mini-comeback against the backups to make the final score look respectable. And Auburn is the biggest example- their offense didn't score a TD. If Florida's punter doesn't drop the ball on a punt attempt and if the officials correctly review an incomplete pass as opposed to a fumble (video evidence clearly showed that the ball left Leak's hand before any defenders contacted it), then Florida wins that game, too.

Also, that arguement can be used against LSU. They lost to Florida by 13 points, so no "bad bounce" talk there, and their wins against Tennessee and Arkansas were by 4 and 5 points- two bad bounces, and LSU is 0-4 on the road.

As for Sagarin's predictor ratings... Florida is ahead of LSU in every single poll used by the BCS, as well as every single human poll, too.

I just don't see it.

45
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:12pm

The "two teams from a conference in a BCS bowl" rule is in place almost entirely for monetary reasons; a second BCS entry results in a $4.6 million infusion into a conference, and the Powers That Be did not want the possibility of another such infusion.

I would guess that the only way conferences would agree to scrap the rule is if it was structured in such a way that a conference getting a third entry got $0 for doing so.

That said, arguing that the SEC should get a third entry this year isn't going to get much response, Wisconsin is the team that would likely get a third berth if one were available, at the expense of an SEC team. Of course, I'm not convinced that Wisconsin is that good a team.

My opinion with regard to the Big 10 is they need to choose one or the other - drop a team and make everyone play everybody, or add a team and go to a championship game. They're the only conference, now, that still has the whole "ducking teams" problem, and in this century that's already come to bite them a few times. If Wisconsin had played OSU, they'd either have been eliminated from BCS at-large contention by losing, or they'd have won and, well, the national title picture as it is today would be different.

46
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:37pm

I didn't see the first three Florida games you mentioned so I can't comment on those. What I did see were games against LSU, USC, and Auburn. Florida was impressive against LSU and Auburn but looked very beatable against South Carolina (and probably should have lost if not for some bad bounces of the ball).

Now looking at the Florida-Vanderbilt box score, Vanderbilt outgained Florida *and* won the turnover battle. I also don't know why Florida would have backups playing in a 13 point game in the forth quarter. If so, they should be punished for bad coaching.

I agree that Florida got a bad call against Auburn, but Auburn also changed their gameplan when they went ahead. I'm sure they would have passed more if they were behind.

Look, I'm a SEC fan too and I think that no team in the country comes out of the SEC undefeated. So let's hope Florida wins today, blows out their opponent in the Sugar Bowl, and that LSU convincingly beats Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Hopefully that will convince everyone that human polls are horrible at judging who the best team is.

47
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:41pm

The most fun scenario would've been if Purdue had a good team this year, and was able to run the table. They got to duck both OSU and Michigan, so you could theoretically have the NC be the Big 10 championship game, with Michigan at #3 not making the BCS. Oh, how much fun that would've been.

How does that happen anyway? The Big 10 already has it set up so OSU and Michigan can't miss each other, how hard would it be to make it so that nobody else can duck both of them? The odds of both having down years are pretty slim, so anyone who wants to win the conference should have to go through at least one of them, right?

48
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:47pm

They could ensure you can't duck both of them by moving to a 9-game conference schedule, rather than an 8-game one, but many schools are too enamored of the "Bring in Tungsten Tech for the 40-point home beating so we can make a few million" to care :)

49
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:52pm

Re: 44

Don't forget the Florida-South Carolina game, which probably would have had a different result had the South Carolina kicker been able to kick the ball a bit higher on any of his three blocked attempts. The blocks were all skill plays on Florida's part, but a good kicker should be able to clear the line of scrimmage. (Did Florida block another placekick all year?)

50
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:56pm

Re: 48

You can't have 11 teams and a 9-game conference schedule.

51
by Duck in MA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 12:57pm

Of course, UCLA isn't playing for anything other than to spoil USC's chances at another title. They've already accepted their bowl bid, based on losing to USC! I can't believe the AD did that to the team...

52
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:20pm

Absolutely horrible call by the official, calling a Louisville fumble a muff and therefore negating the UConn return for a touchdown.

53
by jdb (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:20pm

first off, pat white growling over herbstreit and erin andrews' babbling is one of the best things all season, especially because slaton and all the other dudes on the WVU bench are just sitting there all nonchalant like it's a normal thing. I'm calling Wake Forest over Ga. Tech. sorry, Reggie Ball has infinitely more potential to throw a crushing interception than he does to come through with a clutch drive. For angry Florida fans, you guys got beat by 10 at Auburn, while LSU lost by 4, and barely was denied the winning TD on the last play of the game. Also, if you lose to Arkansas, they will have beaten Arkansas at home while you guys lost on a netural field. Not to mention a couple of questionable calls in the LSU/Florida tilt...just pointing out that it is not that big of a disparity. Honestly, I think LSU/Michigan would be a much better game-sorry, but do you really think the Leak and the TEBOW could do anything against Michigan's D without a running game? Look at it this way-if you win the conference, you're in for sure. Now just pray for UCLA to pull the miracle...

54
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:26pm

For angry Florida fans, you guys got beat by 10 at Auburn, while LSU lost by 4, and barely was denied the winning TD on the last play of the game.

Florida essentially lost to Auburn by 4 as well - the last 6 Auburn points came on a botched multi-lateral play/fumble returned for a TD on the last play of the game. Florida never trailed by more than 4 at any other time in the game.

55
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:26pm

I can understand the official on the field missing it, maybe. But how in the world did the replay official not rule that he had possession? He had it tucked away and fumbled on the 2nd step or so.

And now UConn has to settle for a field goal (attempt). One way of looking at it is, it's not a bad result from a punt. On the other hand, it should've been the tying TD (well, they'd probably miss the extra point).

I do like the fact that the announcers got clarification from the replay booth. Not sure how they had time to give it, since they're supposed to be reviewing every play. But at least we know why they ruled the way they did (even though they're clearly wrong).

56
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:29pm

Wow, Petrino stayed through an entire recruiting class. Good thing I didn't lay money on that one.

57
by kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 2:40pm

Re #44: Don’t forget the Florida-South Carolina game, which probably would have had a different result had the South Carolina kicker been able to kick the ball a bit higher on any of his three blocked attempts. The blocks were all skill plays on Florida’s part, but a good kicker should be able to clear the line of scrimmage. (Did Florida block another placekick all year?)

Florida did have a couple other blocks this year, and that last kick they blocked was a 48 yarder (hardly a chippie), but you're absolutely right- they dodged a bullet there. Of course, I think dodging a bullet against South Carolina (24th in current Sagarins) is a little bit more excusable than dodging a bullet vs. Miss (76th in the current Sagarins), so once again Florida and LSU are right back where they started.

Re #53: For angry Florida fans, you guys got beat by 10 at Auburn, while LSU lost by 4, and barely was denied the winning TD on the last play of the game.

Actually, for all intents and purposes, Florida only lost by 4. The final 6 points in the margin of victory came courtesy of a fumble returned for a touchdown on a desperation play with the clock already reading all zeros. And featured prominantly in that 4-point loss was an officiating error that was at least a 3-point swing. It should have been 4th-and-3 on the Auburn 6 with Florida down 1 (and even as much as he's struggled, Hetland still hasn't missed a kick shorter than 30 yards- that would have been a 23-yarder). Instead, it was 1st-and-10 Auburn at their own 38. I'd say the Florida/Auburn game was every bit as close as the LSU/Auburn game.

58
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 3:16pm

Based on the first crowd shot from Alltel Stadium, I think I'm going to win my attendance prop bet handily.

59
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 3:22pm

Once again, Reggie Ball throws a pass nowhere near Calvin Johnson near the endzone. You really have to mangle the pass to give Calvin no shot at making the play. It was weird-looking play- it started looking like a shovel pass to Calvin, but fell apart right after the snap.

60
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 3:23pm

Trogdor,
Iowa misses both Ohio State and Michigan in each of the next 2 years. Who knows if the Hawkeyes will be good either year but they will understandably have a hard time getting national recognition if they do. Is there any reason why Iowa should miss OSU considering that, when both teams shared the Big Ten title in 2002 with perfect 8-0 records, they didn't get to play each other.

I'd like to see a 10-game Big Ten conference schedule because I hate the idea of conference championship games (even though I always watch them).

61
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 3:48pm

Well, given that a team misses 2 other teams each year, it makes sense that if Iowa missed OSU last in 2002, that 2007, roughly five seasons later, would be the next time they'd miss them.

That said, it seems stupid that a team would miss both OSU and Michigan in the same year. If I was the coach of a Big 10 team and saw a year where I knew I'd be missing OSU and Michigan, I'd plan for that year to be my attempt at a national title. Gear the recruiting years in advance to be mature that year. Pack the schedule with relatively easy nonconference games (as if you go undefeated in a non-Big East BCS conference your nonconference schedule doesn't matter much to the pollsters) and go for an undefeated season.

Sure, columnists will point out that you didn't play Ohio State or Michigan, and the computers won't like you, but odds are as long as you're one of only two undefeated teams (or the only one), the pollsters will place you in the title game anyway.

62
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 4:01pm

Re: 60, 61

Here are Iowa's non-conference schedules for the next two years:

2007: Northern Illinois (Chicago), Syracuse, at Iowa State, Western Michigan.

2008: Florida International, Iowa State, at Pitt, (to be determined).

Both defensible, but there are no giant-killers there. Get ready for controversy in one of those two years (and Ferentz using the 11-1/12-0 season to get a better contract).

63
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:01pm

That's a coup for Iowa... you'd have thought Wisconsin would have locked up Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. ;) Meanwhile, a horrible first half in Jacksonville. Tech's best play is overthrowing or underthrowing Johnson and getting pass interference, while Tech keeps Wake in third and long pretty much all game.

64
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:15pm

"I think we need to see more of that in college football."
--Bob Griese, after a blow to the head of Georgia Tech QB Reggie Ball

PBP guy Brad Nessler later then clarified that Griese meant the personal foul call for the hit, not the QB getting hit in the head thing. Yes, I was wondering at home which Griese meant.

65
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:20pm

What a terrible game, and emblematic of the entire ACC season. It's too bad one of these teams gets a BCS slot.

66
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:27pm

The ACC could take three teams from the Big East *again* and still be a mediocre conference.

67
by the NCAA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:37pm

Hey kibbles,
You leave out that all those LSU wins were on the road..nice try though

68
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:39pm

That’s a coup for Iowa… you’d have thought Wisconsin would have locked up Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. ;)

Wisconsin doesn't have any MAC schools on their 2007 non-conference schedule (yet), and it actually includes a BCS-conference opponent, Washington St.

The currently scheduled future non-conference opponents for Wisconsin are underwhelming (warning: PDF). God willing, they'll fill some of the TBA's with BCS opponents.

2007: Washington St., at UNLV (Wisconsin has tried to move the game to Green Bay, with no success so far), The Citadel, TBA

2008: Akron, Marshall, at Fresno St., TBA

2009: Central Florida, Fresno St., at Hawaii, TBA, TBA

2010: UNLV, at San Diego St., Arizona St., TBA

2011: at UNLV, Oregon St., TBA, TBA

2012: San Diego St., at Arizona St., TBA, TBA

69
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 5:56pm

This game is absolutely awful. What were the odds that a few years after raiding the Big East of its marquee teams so that it could have a big-money championship game, the Big East is now a better conference?

70
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:15pm

Reggie Ball today: 9 for 27 (8 to Calvin Johnson), 129 yards, 2 interceptions. This performance might lock up his "worst four-year QB" award.

71
by the NCAA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:15pm

Its a down year in the ACC...Lets not forget that this is the best the ACC has been in football in many years.

Its on its way up not down.

And those added teams have added not detracted from the ACC as a basketball conference.

I'm not an ACC homer though

72
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:19pm

The ACC's big problem this year is a lack of anything resembling a good QB. It's depressing. Next year it should be better- Glennon at VT had his moments, Matt Ryan at BC will get better, etc.- but these teams need to start finding and developing elite QBs.

73
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:22pm

That 3rd down play makes me think Ball definitely should have the "Worst 4 year quarterback" award all wrapped up.

74
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:22pm

Re #70
Chris Rix on line four for you. I think he said something like "Doesn't starting off better and getting worse count for more than constant suckitude?"

Nevermind, Ball just stepped out of bounds rather than throw the ball away on 3&10. Gailey is now punting with 2 TOs left and 2:13 to play. Griese just praised the decision, so it must be wrong.

75
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:22pm

And those added teams have added not detracted from the ACC as a basketball conference.

Virginia Tech, Miami, and Boston College (currently the worst three teams in the conference) have added to the ACC in basketball? (Boston College was good last year, granted.)

Also consider that bumping the conference from 9 to 12 teams meant the end of the traditional home-and-home basketball schedule. It was a football move, plain and simple.

76
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:23pm

When is the award ceremony for Reggie Ball?

77
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:24pm

Georgia Tech, deciding like so many other schools to use its timeout right after punting, rather than after 1st down.

How many examples are required to show that you gain 10-15 seconds by calling timeout after first down, rather than before?

78
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:26pm

Poor TV production during the ACC championship game. On the long catch leading to Wake's FG, the QB made a really nice move to avoid the defender. So far they've shown about 4 replay's, all isolating on the WR making the catch.

79
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:26pm

And GT takes a timeout right after the punt, not after a down. The commentators talk about the new time rules, but none of them mention how bad a call that timeout was since it wasted 20ish seconds. West Virginia also committed this sin last week against South Florida. I guess we can determine which coaches don't read Football Outsiders.

80
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:28pm

Wake Forest, ACC Football Champions. Somewhere, the horsemen are saddling up...

81
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:34pm

I miss the Stacy's Mom-themed commercials from last year's Dr. Pepper Championship Saturday.

82
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:38pm

When is the award ceremony for Reggie Ball?

Reggie Ball's award ceremony will be held before the mythical Duke-Florida International game. Also scheduled to appear: John L. Smith, the Oregon-Oklahoma refs, Lamar Thomas, Rhett Bomar, and the Northern Colorado backup punter.

83
by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:44pm

I nominate Chan Gailey for the JLS award for punting with 2:13 left in the 4th quarter.

84
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 6:58pm

Ball finished 9-29 for 129 and 2 INTs. Holy crap. At least Johnson had 113 yards somehow. Unreal.

This UCLA defense reminds me of Notre Dame's so far. A couple of very good D-linemen, and that's about it.

85
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:23pm

Tarrant (60),

Yes but Iowa has played Michigan every year since 2000 so the formula isn't quite as simple as it first appears...especially when you consider that Iowa always plays Wisconsin and Minnesota. Given that there are 8 remaining Big Ten teams for 6 slots on the Hawkeye schedule, I can't figure out why Iowa would ever miss Ohio State 3 times in 7 years.

86
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:24pm

Brent doesn't know the rule. Safety.

87
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:29pm

What happened? Stepped out and missed the safety...

88
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:34pm

Re: 87

USC downed a punt at the one; two plays later, UCLA held in the end zone.

89
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:35pm

the other amazing thing about Reggie Ball (yes, he's probably the worst 4-year starter ever) is that he's gotten WORSE throughout his college career

90
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 7:59pm

UCLA, down 9-7, got the ball back on its own 20, with 46 seconds left and 2 timeouts. They chose to run out the clock (and USC gets the second-half kickoff).

A debatable decision, I guess.

91
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:00pm

Today is one of the saddest days. Turn on ESPN and there's college basketball going on.

Does anyone else think of Reggie Bush when they see the USC guy wearing #25?

92
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:19pm

#82 Can Alabama's red zone offense come as well?

93
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:43pm

Unbelievable play by Cowan to convert on 3rd and long with a throw to the TE. For a mobile guy who likes to scramble, he really does keep his eyes on his receivers pretty well.

94
by jdb (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:47pm

well, congratulations to Wake Forest and Jim Grobe. As noted above, Reggie Ball did in fact suck horrendously. Actually, 9-29 for 129 yds and 2 INTs is considerably BETTER than last week vs. Georgia. The last 2 weeks he's been astoundingly awful; can anyone imagine how bad he would have been without Calvin Johnson?

also, what the hell was Chan Gailey thinking? why did they try to throw the ball deep 800 times? it's as if he watched Rex Grossman vs. the Patriots last weekend and thought "yeah, maybe if we just make poor throws 40 yards downfield enough times, the pass interference calls will offset our QB's lack of accuracy and poor reads".
Punting with 2 minutes left in the game and then using a timeout directly after is indeed worthy of the JLS. Can JLS himself get a lifetime achievement award for his recent work at Michigan St.?

Chris Hetland actually making a field goal considerably ups the Gators chances, I think. Also, disgruntled Florida fans, you guys have a great team, it's just that LSU and Arkansas do as well.

95
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:48pm

UCLA eceiver HAD the first down if he just goes straight forward instead of trying of juke OR just dives forward at the feet of the defenders.

Right move by Dorrell to settle for the FG and the lead on 4th and less than 1.

96
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:55pm

Wow, was that a fumble by Cowan? I thought it was at least parallel to the line of scrimmage. Yep, replay confirms it was backwards. Cowan is getting a little too Plummer-esque here. First the left handed throw like a girl, now this. He needs to calm down.

97
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 8:56pm

Wow. A terrible lateral by Cowan - seemingly thinking it was a forward pass, the receiver tries to catch it but lets it fall to the ground, USC jumps on it and recovers. USC really needed that turnover.

98
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:03pm

UCLA's defense has been great in short-yardage situations today.

Just 14 minutes until potential BCS chaos. Come on, UCLA.

99
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:03pm

Questionable play call on 4th and short with the quick pitch. I figured Lane/Sarksisian were setting up a fourth down throw after they ran on 3rd and short.

100
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:03pm

USC has something like 50 yards on the ground, and well over 200 in the air. Booty has about 6 or 7 total incomplete passes on the game.

So on 3rd and 5, USC runs. 4th and 2, USC runs, stopped, turnover on downs.

What is it with the playcalling here? Pete, I know you aren't the offensive coordinator, but perhaps a mention into the headset "Throw the ball a bit more" might be worthwhile.

101
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:05pm

Michigan fans feeling tingly.

102
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:06pm

Whoulda thunk Leak would get into the end zone before McFadden or Jones?

103
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:08pm

Pete Carroll has said this is the best defense he has ever coached, and the fastest as well. I don't but that at all. The linebackers get caught in the wash and really don't tackle well. And the defensive line really can't compare to the 2003-04 versions with Udezi, Patterson, Rucker, etc.

104
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:10pm

Lousy late hit call. If a QB tiptoes the sideline, only a severe and clearly late hit should be flagged. Fortunately, the call had little impact.

105
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:11pm

Love the shot of the Michigan fan screaming. Comical.

106
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:14pm

Of course, I say that about USC's defense and they make UCLA settle for the field goal. But Cowan has to throw that ball away on 2nd down and avoid the sack when you're on the 2 yard line. Just inexperience.

107
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:18pm

USC really telegraphed that 3rd and short pass when the TE forgot to line up in the backfield. By the time Booty re-directed him to get back there, it had telegraphed a rollout pass.

108
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:20pm

For a guy that likes to go for it on 4th a lot, I think punting on that 4th down was the wrong call by Carroll.

If you lose, you're in the Rose Bowl. Hey, that's pretty good. No shame there. But if you win, you might be playing for the national title. So go for the win!

109
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:20pm

Doesn't the muff (and the ball subsequently hitting the ground) on a fair catch invalidate it? Why did the refs blow that play dead?

110
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:22pm

UF 17-0 over Arkansas. But Meyer will give back 10 style points at the half. He's just that kind of guy.

111
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:23pm

Re: 109, I think as soon as the muffed punt is recovered and possession is established by a team, then the play is caleld dead.

OMYGOD! Cowan got demolished on the sidelined. Helmet to helmet?

112
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:27pm

Clearly helmet to helmet. The side judge and the referee were both trailing the play though, so they didn't have the right angle to see it.

113
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:30pm

USC just looks out of sorts. What a break on the pass interference -- I think both players engaged there. Have to let that go.

114
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:30pm

That was possibly the weakest PI I've ever seen. If SC wins this game, they can thank the zebras.

115
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:36pm

The Trojans can march right down the field with Booty taking 3-step drops. The Bruins are way off the USC receivers.

116
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:37pm

USC has gashed UCLA through the air the whole game, and gone almost nowhere on the ground. This drive, they've thrown the ball and moved the chains.

And there's a run for one yard. Sometimes one has to say "This is what is working, and this is what isn't working" and go with the former. The whole "keep the defense honest" strategy doesn't really pan out when there's two minutes to go and you need a touchdown to win.

117
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:39pm

INTERCEPTION! HOLY CRAP!

118
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:40pm

OMG!!!! Pick off the deflection!!!

But USC does have all 3 timeouts...

119
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:40pm

Pete Carroll Stupidity Test upcoming. 1:10 to play, all 3 TOs left. When will he call them?

120
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:41pm

The nose of the ball on the interception might have hit the ground. I'm surprised they didn't challenge it.

And Pete Carroll costs his team 15 seconds by using the timeout before first down.

121
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:41pm

He just took the first one, so I guess he fails.

122
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:43pm

And USC, like everyone else, uses their first timeout prior to first down.

OK. This the last game of the college football season. There have been hundreds of games this year. This has come up dozens of times late in games, and empirical evidence has shown over and over again that taking your timeouts after 1st, 2nd, and 3rd downs saves about 10-15 seconds.

And yet here we are, one of the last regular season games of the year, and USC commits the same stupid error.

I'd almost nominate Carroll for the JLS Trophy for doing that.

123
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:45pm

USC has to get their offense ready. They'll get the ball with about 15-20 seconds left. I would think they would sell out for the punt block, but they there's no one back to field the ball, which could just sit there while time ticks away for a couple exta seconds before the play is called dead.

124
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:47pm

I will agree with #122 and give Carroll the JLS trophy since he, thanks to the Arizona State game, has first hand experience with the new clock rules. I just explained how stupid this choice was to my girlfriend and she asked if there was any way we were wrong about this. Outside of a fumble happening, in which case you are SO lucky it doesn't matter anyway, there's no reason to call them wrong. Enjoy the trophy Pete Carroll.

125
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:48pm

Did UCLA just call timeout???

126
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:50pm

Bob Davie just put the kibosh on UCLA (and Michigan or Florida).

127
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:51pm

No, the refs apparently stopped the clock because they thought a UCLA player was down, even though he wasn't. Pac-10 refs, amusing me still.

Pete Carroll cost his team a chance to win the game. No question, JLS of the Year.

128
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:51pm

Wow, that UCLA kid can really punt. Especially in that situation.

129
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:52pm

Holy crap.

130
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:52pm

This just in - Karl Dorrell's job no longer in trouble.

131
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:54pm

OK. Definitely time for the JLS Trophy for Carroll, for one, calling the timeout before first down - that's inexcusable, especially after taking advantage of that very mistake against Arizona State earlier this year. And second, not telling Reed that the UCLA players are going to refuse to down the ball after the punt, and losing another five seconds. That's about 20-25 seconds more than USC could have used on that final drive.

132
by kal (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:55pm

Remember - in the SEC, a mid-range team beating the top talent is a showcase of how good the conference is, top to bottom. In the Pac-10, it just tells you that the whole conference sucks.

Wow. I have no idea if Florida goes now.

133
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:57pm

I still think, as I did before, that it should be Michigan-Ohio State.

134
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 9:58pm

17-7 UF at the half. Would 31-14 be enough to vault UF over UM? Any possible score? Would you as an AP voter manipulate your vote to see UF play tOSU? Can the Hoyas beat Duke for the second straight year, this time at Cameron?

135
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:00pm

Meanwhile, Rutgers is up 7-0, and Pat White isn't playing for West Virginia.

136
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:02pm

Even though it would create a new kind of BCS controversy, I really don't want to see an Ohio State-Michigan rematch. Here's hoping for a great second half for the Gators and some voter manipulation.

137
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:05pm

Have to give UCLA's defense its due. The back seven picked it up after the first quarter, and the front four was great all game long. But they were certainly helped by Lane/Sarkisian's stubborn approach with keeping the ball on the ground and throwing the 5 and 7-step drops (allowing UCLA's front four to get in Booty's face).

138
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:08pm

... Chris Leak, everybody!!!

139
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:12pm

Sweet play by McFadden out of the wildcat formation. He makes a hand signal to the slot receiver and tells him he's throwing it to him. 17-14.

140
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:12pm

Urban Meyer/Charlie Strong: Ok, guys, let's not cover the slot WR on 2&G.
Darren McFadden/Felix Jones: Thanks, Gators!
Houston Nutt: I'm a genius.

141
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:13pm

McFadden doing his best Tomlinson impression.

142
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:20pm

Russ tells me that, from Jerry Palm's site, UF will leap UM in the computers with a win over Arkansas. But according to Palm, UF needs some voters to switch from UM in the Harris/coaches' polls.

Hey Urban, it comes down to style points.

143
by StuAllan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:25pm

142- Thanks Vinny. That's good. I just wish Florida would look like they deserve it.

144
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:25pm

Just a festival of injuries in this game, especially the UF defence. Oh dear god...

145
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:26pm

Lot of scoring early in the Big 12 game.

146
by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:28pm

We want Tebow

147
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:29pm

Wow, Chris Leak sure loves him some Michigan right now.

148
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:30pm

Nice one-handed stab by the d-lineman, too.

149
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:32pm

Clearly, the only equitable solution now is to put Boise State in the BCS championship game.

150
by kal (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:36pm

How about this - we just don't play a BCS title game and give the game to OSU this year. Does that sound good? Okay?

151
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:37pm

what a gutsy call

152
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:37pm

Huevos Rancheros by Urban Meyer. From his own 15 yard line, he runs the reverse out of the punt formation on 4th down. And it works. Wow.

153
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:38pm

For those of you Sun Belt fans (anyone?), Troy is leading Florida International 13-7. If Troy wins they win the Sun Belt Championship and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl. This would push Middle Tennessee State to the Motor City Bowl because their 7-5 record demands it. However, if Troy loses, Middle Tennessee State goes to the New Orleans Bowl, and the Motor City Bowl would have their choice of 6-6 teams, which would probably be one of the following: Kansas, Pittsburgh, Arizona, or Washington State.

154
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:38pm

Hm, a few more option calls and some Florida fan is going to sneak into the pressbox and take a chair to the playcalling staff.

155
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:40pm

C'mon, Louisville #2, Boise #3, Michigan #20! We can do it!

156
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:41pm

No timeouts left with 3:58 in the 3rd quarter? Who's coaching Florida today, Mike Martz?

157
by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:42pm

That's one of those calls where you're "gutsy" and a coaching genius if your team makes it and a complete idiot and buffoon if you fail to convert. Seriously, your guaranteeing that Arkansas gets points if you fail to convert with the ball at your own 20.

158
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:43pm

Why does he try to catch that? Does he know where he is on the field?

159
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:43pm

Urban Meyer and Florida just "pulled a Homer."

160
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:44pm

Nice to see Urban "make that timeout count" by calling the "punt-fumble touchdown."

161
by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:45pm

Urban Meyer, mastermind or genius?

162
by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:47pm

Florida is winning, but I don't see them getting many style points so far. Too many mistakes on both sides.
However, I'm starting to think that the storyline is already being re-written in the pressbox to where Florida jumps Michigan in the polls if they win, regardless of how ugly. Just a feeling I have, although I hope I'm wrong.

163
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:55pm

What a wild game. Why is Leak running the option/QB draw this much? If they are intent on running that offense, put in Tebow.

Florida's receivers aren't helping Leak out much either...several drops by Harvin and Ingram doesn't seem to go after the ball very hard.

164
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:58pm

This is like LSU-Arkansas last week...big play after big play. Will Arkansas run the kickoff back here?

165
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 10:59pm

There may not be many style points in this game, but dear god is it exciting.

And you can have McFadden as long as we have Harvin.

166
by GBS (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:01pm

I agree with Travis. Put the 'Taters in the Championship Game.

167
by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:04pm

Ray McDonald = hyperextended elbow, not broken arm

168
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:04pm

What's with all the wasted timouts? If, as Travis suggested, Mike Martz is coaching the Gators, it must be Andy Reid on the Razorback sideline.

169
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:07pm

Boy, the Colley Rankings hate the Big Ten, don't they? Currently they have USC ahead of Ohio State. If Florida beats Arkansas, then Florida will get the #1 ahead of Ohio State (USC falls to 4 with their loss).

170
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:08pm

Arkansas isn't going away. TD on the double pass after the shaky PI call. More Turkey Bowl playcalling, but it's working.

171
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:11pm

Open campaigning by Lundquist ("the toughest conference in America") and Danielson ("It's hard to win a championship" -- how many times has he said that in the 2nd half?) for Florida. I know their paychecks are on their minds, but yeesh.

172
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:12pm

10-6 Rutgers, halftime. West Virginia really misses Pat White.

173
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:13pm

Just to prove that this is one of the most bizarre years I can remember in college football...the key game in the Pac-10 ended in a 13-9 defensive struggle. The SEC Championship is 31-28 with over 12 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Which conference doesn't play defense again?

174
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:14pm

At least the SEC is actually, you know, competitive. Compare Herbstreit and Davie pumping Notre Dame while the Irish were being blown out for the second time last week, and Lundquist and Danielson don't seem nearly as bad.

175
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:16pm

It's like UF is finally taking a page out of the Hogs' playbook and just putting the ball in Harvin and Caldwell's hands as much as possible. Now Tebow is in.

176
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:16pm

Wow, what an exciting day. Well, aside from the ACC crapfest - what a complete turd of a game, the perfect ending to a wonderfully craptacular season.

Let me first say that, as a survivor of the Cooper era, I have the highest level of empathy for USC fans. Huge advantage in talent, everything on the line against a thoroughly overmatched rival, finding a way to lose against all odds - yeah, I've seen that before. I was even getting sympathy pains watching that unfold. No, not really, more like flashbacks. Watching that last great play on the interception, I could've sworn I saw Shawn Springs fall down. I recommend liquor and Ultimate Fighting, that always seemed to make me feel better. Sorry guys.

So now onto the big question - rematch or Florida (result pending)? You know what? Let's not get into that until the game's over, too much can happen.

177
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:17pm

Why does Tim Tebow have a playsheet taped to his wrist? Are there that many variations on the shotgun-QB draw?

178
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:18pm

Re: 174, that's definitely true. But Herbstreit and Davie (or Gushberger) aren't on the NBC network. Lundquist and Danielson are on the SEC network. No question I'm biased as Michigan guy, though, so maybe I'm just oversensitive to this stuff.

179
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:20pm

Reverse pass off the Tebow-specialty Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draw. Trick plays may be my favorite thing about college football.

180
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:20pm

Tebow only runs three plays. 1) QB draw. 2) Fake QB draw, hand off to someone going the other way. 3) Fake QB draw, pull up and throw it to uncovered receiver. Calling plays for him should as complicated as calling pitches for a Niekro.

181
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:22pm

So, that's 2 TD passes for the starting quarterbacks, and 3 for the field. Not bad.

182
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:28pm

I feel like there should be a joke about the road to Glendale no longer being paved with Trojans, Matt Leinart playing there, and an itching, burning sensation, but I'm not clever enough to put it all together. Sorry.

183
by Kurt (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:29pm

Is Danielson kidding with this? Florida gets as many points for having the better 10th best matchup as Michgan does for the "best" loss, and the best win?

184
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:29pm

OK, I really don't want Florida in the NC game. The announcers for this game are openly fellating Florida - and it's still a 10 point game.

185
by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:30pm

any doubt who the media wants after that little graphic? BTW, I am a USC fan, not a Michigan homer, in case you were wondering.

185
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:30pm

Bob Griese talks about style points for defense, then Arkansas promptly runs up the middle for 30. No comment.

187
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:31pm

Did he honestly just say. "If you have a safety who can make plays, you have a good defense."

That is about as false a conditional as they come.

188
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:31pm

Danielson: "I remember a team up in Ohio winning a national championship without many style points."
Hmm, I think we remember the same time. Said same team, though, WON ALL THEIR GAMES. If Florida hadn't lost to Auburn, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Too bad, Gary, but we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

189
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:31pm

BTW, I mentioned it last week, but why does Arkansas even have a QB out there at all? They'd do a lot better if they got some weird formation with Washington and McFadden alternating as QB.

190
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:31pm

If Danielson wants to break down the schedules and compare SOS, I'm totally good with that. At least try to back up your assertions.

Wow, Casey Dick is painful to watch.

191
by Mike W (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:31pm

So what's the line on the title game? I say

OSU (-11) vs Fla

192
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:34pm

If this game ends the way it looks, then I'd lay money on Michigan in the title game.

193
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:34pm

Hilarious to see everyone on Arkansas stop playing with a flag on the field and the UF defender running after the pick, finally McFadden is like, "Jeez, do I have to everything myself?" and chases the DB down for the tackle. As expceted, interference on UF.

194
by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:37pm

This game (like all the Arkansas games I've seen) is a good argument for giving the Heisman to McFadden.

195
by Mike W (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:37pm

I think Michigan is clearly better than Florida, but I want Florida if they win. That way we get a clear cut champion regardless of result. Besides, it'll be great to see a 52-14 asswhuppin' of a great SEC representative.

196
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:38pm

I like Gary Danielsen but this game-by-game Schedule Comparison is pretty stupid.

Here are comparative results for the sake of argument...

Michigan
Vanderbilt: W 27-7
Central Michigan: W 41-17
Notre Dame: W 47-21
Wisconsin: W 27-13
at Minnesota: W 28-14
Michigan State: W 31-13
at Penn State: W 17-10
Iowa: W 20-6
Northwestern: W 17-3
Ball State: W 34-26
at Indiana: W 34-3
at Ohio State: L 42-39

Florida
Southern Miss: W 34-7
UCF: W 42-0
at Tennessee: W 21-20
Kentucky: W 26-7
Alabama: W 28-13
LSU: W 23-10
at Auburn: L 27-17
at Georgia: W 21-14
at Vanderbilt: W 25-19
South Carolina: W 17-16
Western Carolina: W 62-0
at Florida State: W 21-14
SEC Championship Arkansas: Winning 38-28

197
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:38pm

Is Casey Dick worse than Reggie Ball? Is there any chance that Arkansas will have a legit QB next year? I feel bad for McFadden.

198
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:38pm

How many SEC starting quarterbacks can charitably be described as "good?" Casey Dick is certainly not one of them.

199
by MLA (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:39pm

Just to elaborate, I've only seen about 3 Arkansas games. In each one, McFadden has been the only Arkansas player on offense who seems to do anything. I mean, can you imagine if how good Arkansas would be if they even had an average quarterback?

200
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:40pm

I think that Florida tried to run up the score a little ealier in the game but now they obviously just want to get out of there with a win.

201
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:40pm

I appreciate Danielson's breakdown, but I might have liked it better if I hadn't seen MGoBlog do it earlier this week. Personally, I think he underrates Florida in his breakdown, but still. And ... "Look at the resume. Forget style points." Huh?

202
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:41pm

Well, Felix Jones is pretty nifty too. I think they should just start McFadden at QB and Jones at RB. Having Dick on the field just makes them play with 10 guys.

203
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:42pm

And for the hell of it:

Kentucky: W 59-28
at Temple: W 62-0
Miami (FL): W 31-7
at Kansas St.: W 24-6
at Middle Tennessee St.: W 44-17
Cincinnati: W 23-17
at Syracuse: W 28-13
West Virginia: W 44-34
at Rutgers: L 25-28
South Florida: W 31-8
at Pittsburgh: W 48-24
Connecticut: W 48-17

Things would have been a lot simpler had Louisville just held on to that 25-7 lead at Rutgers.

204
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:44pm

It won't last, but check out Gary Danielson's wikipedia page.

205
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:45pm

"This is the SEC, we don't call those."

Very objective announcing. Nobody should question the man's motives when he advocates that the voters do whatever they can to get Florida in the NC game.

206
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:45pm

No question, as Danielson just pointed out for the 4th time this half, that UF is a conference champ. UM is not. And there's something to be said for that. But it's not a prerequisite to be a conference champ, and I don't see how that can help an OU or Nebraska and now hurt UM.

As for SEC dominance, I just don't buy it this year.

207
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:49pm

The best part, NewsToTom, is that it was a collaborative effort. One guy added one line, another added the picture, and a 3rd guy added another line. Wikipedia at its finest.

208
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:49pm

Vinny...if you are willing, I'd love to hear you make the case for Michigan since it sounds like you believe they deserve to play Ohio State more than Florida, Louisville, Boise State, etc.

209
by Mike W (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:50pm

Two things I think I know:

1. It'll be Florida
2. They'll get killed

210
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:55pm

I'm a Gator homer, and I think Florida does have a better case than Michigan. But I still think Boise State deserves the shot. Here's hoping that, after all is said and done, the USC loss to UCLA bumps up the PAC-10 strength of schedule in the computers another quadrillion points and still puts USC-tOSU in the game, just so we can have an even better case for blowing the system up.

211
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:55pm

#209 - Did you know that Miami would kill Ohio State a few years ago too?

212
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:58pm

I know the Big 12 Championship is far from over but I wonder where Oklahoma would be in the mix if the Oregon game hadn't ended so questionably.

Deciding between...
Oklahoma* 12-1
Florida 12-1
Michigan 11-1
Wisconsin 11-1
Boise State 12-0
...sounds like even more fun. It would have been even better if Texas had beaten Ohio State.

213
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 12/02/2006 - 11:59pm

OK, I'm not taking every nasty thing I've ever said about Mike Teel back. But I'll take some of them back.

214
by Mike W (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:01am

#211 - No, I didn't. But yes, we may be surprised, and even if we aren't, UM had it's chance, so I hope Florida gets in. But Florida is clearly a flawed team, as is Arkansas, and OSU will be a big, big favorite, and a bigger favorite than they would be over UM.

215
by Kurt (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:01am

204 & 207 - what'd I miss?

216
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:02am

212 - If Oklahoma got the right call against Oregon, the Colley rankings at least would be:

1. Florida
2. tOSU
3. Michgan
4. USC
5. Louisville
6. Oklahoma

217
by MLA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:03am

Personally, I think they ought to just give Ohio State the trophy and not bother with the national championship game. After all, Ohio State is undefeated and all the other contenders have one loss. So if Florida (or Michigan) beats Ohio State, what does that really prove? We'll just have a mess of 1-loss teams at the top.
Of course, as long as I'm campaigning for the impossible, I might as well campaign to get the UCLA loss striken from the records and to see my Trojans in the national championship. Ugh...

218
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:04am

I see this in college and in the pros. QBs dumping it off on plays where they absolutely have to go deep to have any chance.

Oh, and one more thing:

Nebraska called a timeout on their last drive of the first half, even though they had gotten a first down on the play!

219
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:07am

211 beat me to responding to 209.

Question for everyone- assuming that a Michigan v tOSU rematch won't magically create a playoff, would you rather see:

1. tOSU v Florida, or
2. tOSU v Michigan

I'd rather see one-loss Florida get a shot than one-loss Michigan getting two shots and Florida not getting any, but I'm interested to hear what everyone else thinks.

219
by StuAllan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:07am

209 - I thnk Florida would ugly down Ohio State. And after many hazy nights of watching barroom billiards, ugly pool beats good pool far more than it should.

221
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:08am

An early whistle costs Rutgers a fumble recovery and the go-ahead TD. Also, because the play was blown dead, they can't even review it.

222
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:09am

Hey 217,
Boise State has 0 losses too. If every other team had a loss, would Boise State deserve an automatic championship.

I can't believe the readers of this site, which advocated that Indianapolis was *not* the best team in the NFL even though they were undefeated, can believe that a 12-0 team is automatically better than a 12-1 team just because of their record (Ohio State over Florida, Louisville, etc.).

Please end the BCS, not because the method is screwy, but because most years it's impossible to pick just two teams from a field of about five deserving teams.

223
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:14am

Horrible non-review just cost Rutgers about 70 yards of field position (and actually a touchdown). Slaton fumbled around the 10, a Rutgers player picked it up, but the play was blown dead as he was walking into the end zone. Replays showed it was clearly a fumble and Rutgers should've at least gotten it at the 10-ish (I think they can give them the ball at the recovery spot, but can't give them the return since they blew it dead).

Instead, no review for some unfathomable reason, WVU completes a 20-yard pass on 3rd and 21, and gets a good punt to majorly shift field position. Instead of a Rutgers TD, or first and goal, they now have a long, long field to go.

Why didn't Schiano challenge that? Why wait and leave it to the officials in the booth? Much is imperfect about replay, but this redundancy is the worst, I think - you have coaches who don't challenge because they don't want to risk losing a timeout if the booth will call for it anyway, but then there are unfathomable non-reviews like this.

224
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:15am

Re: 208, Derek, I'll take a look at the schedules and conferences and try to make a case, if only just to shut Gary Danielson up. Not sure I can do any better than others have done. There's no question that I'm a biased Michigan guy and Danielson and Meyer have basically baited me (without knowing me personally, not that they have any reason to) into snapping back at their idiotic campaigning. Michigan definitely had its shot at OSU, so I won't do too much complaining (I hope, but no promises, my emotions might get the best of me) if UF gets the nod.

And I'm starting to think UF will get the nod, basically because I'm guessing a lot of voters were watching the broadcast and were exposed to Danielson's desperate pleas. If he hadn't been so over the top, and UF got the nod anyway, it wouldn't bother me so much. Maybe just sour grapes residue from Scott Frost's campaign in 1997 that worked so well for Nebraska. I'll say this for Lloyd Carr and the Michigan players, they haven't taken part in all the lobbying, to their credit.

225
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:21am

Ok, going to try and be diplomatic here. Obviously, Michigan grad here, I want it to be UM.

But if I were a Florida fan I'd certainly think they deserved it. I think very viable cases can be made for both sides. I just hope that there is no shenanigans in the voting (SEC coaches putting Michigan 6th -- I'm looking at you, Phil Fulmer). Although don't the coaches have to reveal their ballots tomorrow?

Look, it's six in one hand, half-dozen in the other. Why the BCS never made the rule that you must be a conference champion to play in the title game, I don't know. But they didn't, so Michigan is eligible and the "rematch" angle should have nothing to do with it.

Danielson's performance at the end of that game was shameless. "Ignore the eyeball test!" What the hell does that mean? If you watched both teams play and think Michigan is better, you're supposed to ignore it because Florida wins ugly? That was emabarrassing. Reminiscent of 1997, when the Orange Bowl announcers on CBS spent the entire second half of Nebraska's blowout of Tennessee talking about how Nebraska deserved to jump Michigan in the polls, conveniently ignoring things like a pair of common opponents that Michigan had beaten by wider margins.

I'm predicting Michigan gets in by a hair, and this is the year they add the "conference champs only" rule.

226
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:21am

Good job by Rutgers moving it down to first and goal anyway. I always like seeing teams that get screwed by officials just go out and take care of business anyway.

Announcer: "They are really jacking each other down there." Umm.... yeah.... When did Tobias Funke start announcing college football games?

227
by Derek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:21am

Thanks Vinny...I agree that Danielson and Lundquist were pretty ridiculous. Since they basically made no argument that wasn't grounded in SEC rhetoric, I was curious to hear a more reasoned perspective.

228
by MLA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:24am

222:
I'm saying that, in a sport where multiple-team playoffs are NOT a possibility, it seems foolish to have this artificial single game playoff when one team already has the better record against comparable competition. What will it prove if Florida, Louisville, or whoever wins? You'll just have other the 1 loss teams saying they should've gotten their chance to be the champs. For example, let's say Florida beats Ohio State. Does that prove they deserve to be champions over Louisville, who also has 1 loss? Of course not.
I'm just saying that this year giving the title to the only remaining major-conference undefeated team would be the fairest way to do it if playoffs aren't a possibility.
And if you're really going to bring Boise State into it, I don't really see how we can even debate this point, as we obviously have no common reference point in judging the quality of football teams.

229
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:24am

Looks like Vin and I are on the same page after all.

I will say this for Meyer, at least he skipped the opportunity to campaign in the on-field interview.

It's a good thing I deleted that game from my TiVo already. I was about to go back and re-listen to Danielson and the next sound would have been me throwing things at the TV. Awful.

Speaking of throwing things, I think I can hear my next-door neighbor after Rutgers got hosed on that non-call on the fumble which shouuld have been an RU TD.

230
by Stiller Fan in Austin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:24am

I'm rooting for OSU to beat down Florida the way USC crushed the Oklahoma...unless there's a better way to expose the SEC as an overrated conference that would rather play 1-AA teams that schedule a team like Louisville.

231
by buddha (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:26am

Michigan: "our resume speaks for itself. If it's good enough for the championship game, then we'll go. if not, we'll be very happy in the rose bowl."

Florida "If Michigan plays OSU again they should pack it up. It would be horrible if they made it over USC or us."

Michigan: class.
Florida: Ass.

232
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:27am

Partisan viewpoint obviously, but here is Brian @ MGoBlog's brief take on Danielson's schedule comparison on his Fanhouse page.

233
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:29am

Re #222
I can’t believe the readers of this site, which advocated that Indianapolis was *not* the best team in the NFL even though they were undefeated, can believe that a 12-0 team is automatically better than a 12-1 team just because of their record (Ohio State over Florida, Louisville, etc.).
This deserves an extended response, and if I write a piece on the offseason on how a college champion "should" be determined, I'll have a section on the basic problem. Briefly, a couple points:
(i) DVOA is only a tool to evaluate football performance. It does not, and cnanot, evaluate every important aspect of a football team.
(ii) It is absolutely correct that all schedules are not created equal, and this is something that should be taken into account when creating a hierarchy of college football teams.
(iii) One of the big problems with measuring college football teams is the relative paucity of good data points. Within limited bounds, we can have a good idea of relative team quality (i.e., we can say with a reasonably high degree of confidence who the 4th best team in the Pac-10 is) in college football, but that's because we can easily establish good connections. Properly comparing a Big 10 team with an SEC team is hard, because Big 10 teams don't play SEC teams very often and even rarer are matchups between good Big 10 teams and good SEC teams--this talent disparity can badly affect the quality of the relevant data points we do get. Bowl season is when we get what is often perceived as the 'best' data, but that's not very helpful in determining who should play in the BCS championship game. Basically, all the data for out-of-conference comparisons in college football suck.
(iii) It has been the conceit in college football that we can, and should, have the two "best" teams in the country play for the national championship.
(iv) Given (ii), figuring out who those two teams are is hard.

As a fan, my preference for tOSU's opponent would be (i) Florida, (ii) Louisville, (iii) Boise State, (iv) Rutgers, if they win (tied with WV 20-20 with just under 8 to play), (v) Michigan. But I recognize this is just my personal preference, and history of the AP Poll in determining the national champion notwithstanding, in terms of "true" "merit," I believe any of Florida, Louisville, Boise, or Michigan could be reasonably placed in the National Championship Game.

234
by Stiller Fan in Austin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:30am

change the 'that' to 'than' in my previous post...

While Boise State probably isn't one of the top two teams, I was saddened that Utah didn't get a shot at a better team in their undefeated year. They beat a Pitt team that was only in the BCS due to a 3 or 4 way tie. I think any undefeated team should at least get a shot a one of the top few teams, instead of being the BCS stepchild and picked to play some lousy team.

235
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:32am

If 1) Rutgers somehow pulls out this game; 2) Michigan goes to #2 in the BCS; 3) Louisville manages to go to #3 or #4 in the BCS; AND 4) LSU doesn't go to #3 in the BCS, Louisville gets an automatic at-large BCS spot, and LSU is left to go to the Capital One or Outback Bowl. Wouldn't that be fun?

236
by MLA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:32am

222 again:
To put my argument another way: Everybody is debating who deserves a title game spot as the number 2 team, but I don't hear anybody debating who gets that number 1 spot. So why choose a number 2 team at all, given that we all agree on number 1 but we'll never agree on number two?

237
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:33am

Just a dreadfully bad read by WVU's quarterback, gets intercepted. He completely didn't see the middle LB dropping deep, and threw it right to him. White may not be the most polished passer in the world, but they really look like they miss him tonight (even just in the passing game).

238
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:34am

I haven't seen a formation like the one Rutgers just ran since Gary Barnett's days at Northwestern.

239
by Stiller Fan in Austin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:35am

One other opinion...after watching this Oklahoma-Nebraska game and being subjected to unrelenting UTexas coverage, the Big XII is pretty worthless this year...

240
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:36am

Brutal drop in the end zone by Rutgers. Very impressed with the play of Teel tonight. I didn't think he had this in him.

241
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:36am

228,
The thing is, I don't think Ohio State played the same caliber competition as Southern Cal or Florida this year. Both the SEC and Pac 10 are very deep and very good, at least this year. With Southern Cal losing, I guess they're eliminated, which is a shame, because I thought that they, along with LSU (who is also out), had the best shot of knocking off Ohio State.

So is the Rose Bowl now Michigan-Southern Cal if Florida makes the Fiesta Bowl?

I also think SEC teams are getting upset because they seem to get left out of the championship picture through no fault of their own. Maybe it's just karmic payback for Roy Kramer creating the BCS.

242
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:36am

235 - Wow, if that happens.... just how many points would LSU beat ND by on a neutral field?

243
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:39am

Huge drop in the end zone by a wide-open Rutgers receiver. Ito nails the FG though; Rutgers takes the lead.

Holy crap! Nebraska has a FG blocked, an Oklahoma player manages to pass it to another from the ground, returned for a TD - and it's called back for delay of game. And Nebraska changes their mind and decides to go for it, even though they're 5 yards further back. Wow.

Now a false start. Do they go for it on 4th and 12? Or do they go FG/go for it/punt?

244
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:40am

Re: 242

Notre Dame would still be in a BCS bowl in that scenario - either a Rose Bowl rematch with USC, or a Sugar Bowl matchup with Florida. It would take a poll bump of Louisville for it to happen, however.

245
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:41am

Yeah, if Rutgers doesn't hold on, James Townsend better not come back to New Jersey.

As for the "conference champions only" rule, if Arkansas had won, who would you want to see playing OSU? If Rutgers holds on, your choices are Arkansas, Wake Forest, USC, Oklahoma, Rutgers and Boise State. I guess it would have been Arkansas, but does that seem right?

246
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:43am

BTW, that wasn't a threat on my part, just a realization that this is Tony Soprano's home state.

247
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:43am

That rushed FG attempt-that-wasn't by Nebraska seems like a JLS-worthy call. I say this mostly because it's very similar to an actual JLS mistake, which resulted in a blocked FG returned for a touchdown right before halftime at OSU.

248
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:45am

Re: 233,

Thank you for articulating what I was trying to say but failed to do so.

I totally agree with the connectedness between the conferences. In the NFL I think the max distance between the farthest two teams is usually around four. I'm sure it's much, much higher in college football.

Even worse, one fluke game between two teams can totally screw up conference comparisons. By flukes I mean Tennessee blowing out California and Southern Cal blowing out Arkansas.

I think the best part of a playoff system would be that it would free up teams to schedule tough out of conference opponents, like teams do in college basketball. Florida could schedule FSU, Miami, and another top team, but still make a playoff if they went on to win the SEC championship with only a 11-2 or even 10-3 record.

249
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:46am

Another take at the Michigan - Florida comparison: of the teams Michigan has beaten, how many of them have wins over a top 25 team? Same for Florida?

250
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:47am

Slaton has many skillz. But one skill he really needs to work on is holding onto the ball, even after hitting the ground. You don't want one of those being mistakenly called a fumble, and have to leave things in the hands of the replay crew (or worse, being unable to challenge for timeout/used challenge reasons).

251
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:51am

Actually the max difference in the NFL is 2. Each team will play every team in one division of each conference. Each of those teams will play every team in their respective conferences that finished the previous season in the same spot in their own division. This gets you every team in the NFL in two steps, even if I've explained it poorly.

252
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:54am

Mark Jones just said that 'there are too many computers' involved in CFB. Aside from the fact that it's just a *formula*, how would leaving it up to the pollsters make it any better?

253
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:54am

You know, the game is tied, under a minute to go - why are the announcers saying things we've heard 6000 times about the BCS?

254
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:55am

No you explained it right Trgodor. 4 is probably the max distance in like week 8 :)

255
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:56am

I despise the argument that the announcer on ESPN is putting together. "The BCS only works when there are two clear-cut unbeatens blah blah blah." No, that's the situation in which the BCS is completely unnecessary! A complete moron (such as Mark May) could have gotten the "right" matchup last year or in 02. It's years like this where you need something like this to pick two out from many (actually one from many, unless someone would like to claim OSU shouldn't be there).

256
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:59am

Uh oh, Lloyd Carr will be live on Sportscenter. So much for Michigan not campaigning. Don't disappoint me, Lloyd.

257
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:01am

Wow, thought that field goal was going to make it through.

258
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:03am

The ESPN camera just panned the crowd, revealing a fan in a "West Fuckin Virginia" sweatshirt. They quickly switched to the field.

259
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:03am

255 - I *think* what he meant was that under the previous Bowl alliances, if there was only two undefeated teams, there wasn't a guarantee that they'd actually meet.

260
by Andrew Foland (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:05am

This paper has an excellent discussion of the connectedness of college football teams, in section 6. In every year since 1970, the maximum number of games to go from one team to another has been 4.

261
by GBS (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:06am

The thing that really bugs me about the whining about computers is that it's avoiding the real issue. If you told most of those people that the playoff would be expanded to 8 teams but the teams would still be picked the same way, there'd be very little complaining. If you told those same people that we're sticking with a 2-team playoff but picking the two teams with a basketball style selection committee, the uproar wouldn't diminish much at all.

262
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:10am

Wow, just a pathetic opening possession from the Mountaineers. Three plays, zero yards. But the kicker nails it to bail them out for now. Time to see if Rutgers can claim their BCS spot.

263
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:13am

Why is it so surprising that Rutgers has a shot to play in a BCS bowl? They weren't thought to be a top team, no, but weren't they a pretty universal choice as #3 in the Big East pre-season? Is it really that shocking? I know Rutgers has sucked forever, but come on.

264
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:15am

Re: 215 (Kurt). Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gary_Danielson&diff=prev&oldid... . That will show you what the page was like when it was reverted.

Re: 235. If LSU was at 4, they'd get in over Notre Dame. So you'd need them to fall to be below 4 (not just below 3) for your scenario to happen.

265
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:15am

Re: 263

Rutgers was picked before the season to finish 4th in the conference; Pitt was 3rd.

266
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:16am

No, it's pretty surprising. I didn't think their defense would be as good as it's been this year. I was expecting something like an 8-4 season. I remember CFN predicted them to go 6-6.

267
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:18am

In the preseason Big East poll, RU was picked 4th, narrowly behind Pitt. Personally, I probably would have put them closer to #5 USF than #3 Pitt--I liked their efforts, but didn't think they had very good talent. Particularly, I didn't expect them to be anywhere near competitive with Louisville or West Virginia. So, yeah, I'd say that's pretty surprising.

RU on the doorstep with the first possession in OT #2. Please, if they score a TD and you score a TD, go for 2, Rich Rodriguez.

268
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:21am

Re: 235. If LSU was at 4, they’d get in over Notre Dame. So you’d need them to fall to be below 4 (not just below 3) for your scenario to happen.

No, they wouldn't. If the #3 team (which would be Louisville in my scenario) gets in automatically as an at-large, the #4 team is NOT an automatic qualifier. All the spots would be filled anyway by that point, with Boise State going in at step #3, Notre Dame at step #4, and Louisville at step #5. BCS Procedures:

5. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 4, and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 3 in the final BCS Standings, that team shall become an automatic qualifier.

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if Step No. 5 has not been applied and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team shall become an automatic qualifier.

269
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:25am

Scratch what I said about Notre Dame going in automatically - they'll probably be just out of the top 8 of the BCS standings. But, the #4 team still wouldn't qualify automatically if the #3 team does, and a BCS bowl would likely pick Notre Dame over LSU.

Nice to see an overtime game not decided on a missed extra point.

270
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:25am

Ah, forgot about Pitt. It's somehow easy to do.

Still, it seems a little over-the-top to me. Imagine watching a game during the last week of Big Ten play, and hearing that about someone like Iowa/Wisconsin/Penn State (don't know how things were picked after 1-2). Yeah, it's not like anyone picked them for it, but it only takes one or two upsets from their projected finish to make it happen.

So is anyone watching the Big 12 game now? I know it's a down year for that conference, but do they really deserve Mike Patrick for their championship game? Yikes.

271
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:29am

Re: 269. Yes, Louisville gets in under rule 5. No, Notre Dame is not an automatic bid. Next rule is rule 6.

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

Therefore, LSU gets the spot before any bowl gets the chance to choose from any of the at large teams.

272
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:32am

Wow. What an incredibly lucky catch by the WVU receiver. Despite his best efforts to drop it (completely unnoticed by the announcers, of course), the ball managed to bounce off his leg and back up into his chest. It was a very nice play by the QB, at any rate.

273
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:32am

Re: 271

Thanks for the correction. It's all moot anyhow, because there's no way the Top 3 is anything other than some combination of Ohio State, Michigan, and Florida.

Rutgers is in real trouble. Why do New Jersey-based kickers always come up short on end-of-game field goals in big cold weather road games?

274
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:36am

Wait just one second - why did the umpire signal a touchdown there? All I've ever heard is that the umpire can't signal or spot the ball, even if he's clearly the one in the best position (such as QB sneaks and other goal line plays). Doesn't a linesman need to make that call?

275
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:37am

Actually, scratch the correction; I meant to point this out:

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

Only one of the #3 and #4 teams can get in automatically.

276
by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:43am

"Still, it seems a little over-the-top to me. Imagine watching a game during the last week of Big Ten play, and hearing that about someone like Iowa/Wisconsin/Penn State (don’t know how things were picked after 1-2). Yeah, it’s not like anyone picked them for it, but it only takes one or two upsets from their projected finish to make it happen."

Yeah, but all three of those teams have had at least one 10 win season in the last two years. The last time Rutgers had a 10 win season was 1976. Plus, all three of those teams have already been to at least one BCS bowl. I think it's surprising because nobody is used to the concept of Rutgers ever being good.

277
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:47am

You have to remember this is Rutgers. Only played in 2 bowl games ever, hadn't been ranked since the mid-70s. And the Big East was supposed to be West Virginia, Louisville, and the six dwarves this year.

Ah, well, it was a great year anyway. Overtime's a crapshoot. Nothing to get upset about.

278
by stan (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:48am

By every possible objective measure, Florida played a better schedule than Michigan.

And Michigan already had their chance against OSU.

So how does anyone vote for Michigan?

279
by GBS (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:53am

By every possible objective measure? Jeff Sagarin begs to differ.

280
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:53am

278

1) Because Michigan is a better team than Florida?

2) Because losing to the #1 team by 3pts on the road is a very strong case for being #2 Losing to Aubrun is not.

281
by buddha (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:55am

"So how does anyone vote for Michigan?"

Because Michigan played better than Florida all year long.

By the way, Vinay, no need to worry about Lloyd. He was very classy. Urban? Not as much.

282
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:00am

Because Michigan played better than Florida all year long.

WAY subjective.

We already know tOSU can beat Michigan.

Can Florida? Let's find out.

283
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:03am

I should (a) go to bed or (b) read a book. But I haven't seen Colt Brennan play at all this year, so I'm watching the Warriors play Oregon State. And, dammit, the chuck-and-duck is fun to watch.

284
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:04am

279: Michigan's 3-1 against Sagarin's top 20, and 0-1 vs. his top 10. Florida is 5-1 and 3-0 (though that may become 2-0 when Arkansas drops, and if Auburn moves up, 2-1).

280: Michigan is a better team than Florida because they beat... what, Wisconsin and Notre Dame? How many good teams have those teams combined to beat? If you just look at losses, put Boise State in and be done with it -- they've got two wins over top 25 teams (same as Michigan), and at least one of those teams has beaten a top 10 team. And they haven't lost. The only argument against Boise State is that they haven't beaten good enough opposition -- well, compared to Florida, neither has Michigan.

285
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:05am

Buddha weighed in (although I think he's a Michigan guy like Russ and me). Anyone else have any thoughts on how Lloyd and Urban sounded on Sportscenter?

Carr was pretty good about not doing any lobbying, although he did ask that voters not penalize UM for not playing the last 2 weeks. That's sort of lobbying, but not bad overall.

Meyer said that (1) tonight's game was one of the best games that college football has seen this year; (2) UF deserves a shot and he thinks the country will agree; (3) Michigan had its shot and it's time to let someone else go at OSU; (4) UF had one of the toughest, most difficult schedules in the country; and (5) a conference champion should have a chance to play for a national championship.

286
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:07am

ESPN just put up a "run to victory" graphic for Oregon State. Would running for 100 yards really be meaningful against Hawaii?

287
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:07am

284 you completely ignored point 2

And when Florida backers are telling you to "avoid the eye test" and not pick the teams based based on how they look, clearly Florida looks bad.

Personally, I think Michigan is the second best.

But what I want to happen, is for OSU to club Florida y about 25 pts and Michigan to club USC by about 25 pts.

Then everyone can be happy.

288
by Kurt (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:08am

Meyer said that (1) tonight’s game was one of the best games that college football has seen this year

He *was* talking about WVU/Rutgers, right? Right??? Because the SEC game was garbage.

289
by Rutgers Football (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:08am

Just booked my tickets to Houston.

290
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:17am

288 - I defy you to call any other game today 'garbage' in the presence of the ACC game.

291
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:17am

Tough loss for Rutgers, especially with the dropped TD.

ESPN also replayed a clip from ESPN News with Tressell calling in and saying he didn't know who to put #2 because he didn't want to make either team mad at him. Pretty funny, and a pretty good point. It's putting a lot of coaches in a tough position since they're publishing all the coaches' votes in USA Today on Monday. It's probably smart for him to rank Michigan #2 and immediately call Urban Meyer in the morning and explain that he doesn't want to give Michigan bulletin board material for the rest of his coaching career.

292
by jdb (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:18am

quick observations

WVU/Rutgers-Judge Ito, dude, WTF? you were supposed to heroically hit the game winner a la the Louisville game. instead, you hit it short, allowing the Mountaineers to continue their new annual tradition of beating someone in triple overtime by denying their 2 point conversion. then everyone sings a John Denver song, including the bearded mascot guy.

Forget Troy Smith and Brady Quinn. Paul Thompson rules. He's a freaking wide receiver, and on OU's last TD drive he was awesome and unstoppable.

Finally we get to see Colt Brennan do some gunslinging. New NCAA rule next year-no more than 1 prominent QB named Colt. Even though it's obviously a fake name.

293
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:21am

When did ESPN start using the (proper) punctuation for Hawai'i'?

294
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:22am

287: Losing to a top 10 team on the road, the week after they got blown out by another top ten team? Yeah, that's awful-- ignore that the margin of victory was inflated by a return of a fumbled lateral on a desperation last play, and ignore the phantom fumble. Gosh, they should disband the team and stick to basketball. And screw the "ignore the eye test" crap: when each game is over, the eye test is comparing the number on the left of the scoreboard against the number on the right. It's not a team's job to win pretty, win by 14, or anything short of winning -- and Florida does that. And when it comes down to it, Florida's argument comes down to wins over a better schedule, while Michigan's argument comes down to their loss... and, really, who really believes that you achieve greatness by losing?

295
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:23am

I cannot stand Urban Meyer and his text-messaging, whining ass. Of course no better then Mack Brown and his pleading a couple of years ago.

I like Michigan and would love to see them play for a National Championship...but if Florida gets in beforehand I will not complain....

296
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:28am

and again I agree-Michigan biggest wins have been over Notre Dame and Wisconsin..

Florida beat LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee-plus barely losing to Auburn....

or Louisville who beat Kentucky who beat Georgia who beat Georgia Tech who beat Auburn last year

Dear NCAA lets put in a playoff.....

297
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:29am

Man there is some serious ink on the Hawaii roster.

You gotta love the Hawaii staff, which features both Jerry Glanville and Mouse Davis. How old is Davis now, anyway?

298
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:41am

hrudey you sound so much more committed to this than i. relax. do you play for florida? I hope UF plays in the final did you see that part?

I just am not convinced they are a better team. And when I said they looked bad, it is relative. CLearly any team with one loss is a great team, but I dont think they look like number 2.

299
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:42am

No doubt that UF's wins have more cachet. I don't think Georgia is any better than Penn State, however. Morelli = Whichever scrub was starting at QB for the Dawgs. Auburn isn't much better. But the wins over LSU, Arkansas and Tennessee are probably better than Michigan's wins over Wisconsin and ND.

Both teams played Vandy. Michigan won 27-7 at home and was never in any danger of losing. Florida won 25-19 on the road, although Vandy scored 13 points in the 4th quarter. Slight edge to Michigan, if only because Vandy isn't very good. Not sure how much this should matter, since maybe UF put in the reserves in the 4th quarter with a 19 point lead (see UM vs. Ball State).

The best loss thing isn't even an argument, but I understand the point that you can't put too much emphasis on a loss. But I think it's relevant.

Of course, if margin of victory was still a factor in the computers, we might not be having this argument since Michigan handled most of its opponents while UF was having trouble scraping by South Carolina, FSU, Georgia, etc.

Basically, the whole resume thing won't get you far this year. Whoever doesn't get the nod will feel screwed, BCS sucks, we need a playoff, harumph harumph.

Speaking of harumph, I'm curious to see what EDSBS will have tomorrow in the way of humorous comparisons between the teams. Brian @ MGoBlog already has a funny resume comparison (see link).

300
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:45am

Oh my goodness, is #34 for Hawaii really a fullback? They just said he's 298 pounds.