Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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

301
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:54am

It will certainly be interesting to see which coaches vote which way. I'm kind of hoping Tressell just "forgets" to have the SID intern vote, or else has him fill it out with the Buckeyes 1, Buffalo 2, Army 3, Notre Dame 4, Temple 5... Just for comedic effect, of course.

That really is a tough decision. How do you vote in that case? Media types always try to trick coaches/players into answering that dumb "Which team would you rather play?" question. Well, here we have someone being forced to answer it, with his choice being made public. Fortunately, they're going to beat whichever team makes it anyway, so it won't matter (sorry, homerism coming out).

302
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:55am

If margin of victory was still important to the computers, Louisville might be in the national title picture. In the slightly wacky Sagarin Predictor, before today's games, Louisville was 3rd, Michigan 8th, and Florida 10th. (Among other teams, three-loss Cal and Texas were both ahead of Michigan and Florida.)

The Massey MOV ratings were more sane, with Michigan 3rd, Louisville 4th, and Florida 6th.

303
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:56am

yes Hawai'i employs a 260 pounds, 298 pound, and I think like a 240 (or bigger) pound "FB" in their offense....

304
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:57am

Hee, Hawai'i has a 5'9"-248lb tailback, and a 6'0"-298lb fullback. They should be on TV more often.

305
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:58am

Jeezus, now even the UF president Bernie Machen has released a statement: "If they don't vote for us after tonight, we need a new system. We should be packing our bags for Glendale."

Well, he's right about the new system point anyway.

306
by Trog\'d\'or (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:58am

In honor of Hawai'i playing now, I've randomly apostrophenated my name. Now it means "Trog of Gold" or something.

Way to cross up the defense by running near the goal line when the QB is close to setting a TD passing record. Maybe they figure they'll get enough scores that it won't matter.

Hella good tackling on that kick return. Not.

307
by Trogd'or (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:01am

Hmmm... don't remember puttin them slashes in there. Maybe one too many apostrophes. Let's see if this works.

And in a completely unrelated note... Wooohooo! Gooooo Penguins!!!!! Final Four, baby! Woooooo!!!!1!one!

308
by Trogd\'or (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:09am

Wait... they have players - brothers? - named "Samson" and "Hercules"? Have they recruited Thor and SilverSurfer yet?

309
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:16am

Thank you PAC-10 officials. If you hadn't blown the Oklahoma call... we would have a really hard time trying to figure out who would play Ohio State.

310
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:17am

RE: 141

McFadden doing his best Tomlinson impression.

And that was prior to his later Reggie Bush impression! What a 5-tool guy!

311
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:28am

Anybody think Colt Brennan's release is kind of funky? I know he has a good release, but he gets underneath the ball so it kind of floats sometimes. Reminds me of Rex Grossman.

312
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:40am

RE: 204

Whoever did that couldn't spell. I went in there and fixed it up.

313
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:41am

I've seen Hawaii games before, but I don't remember seeing all this confetti-like trash on the field. Did they explode a giant paper mache Elvis or something?

314
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:41am

Whenever I thought of Brad Edwards I always pictured former NFL safety... now my illusion has been ruined by some nerd with glasses...

315
by NewsToT\'om (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:44am

I'd go past "kind of", looks more like "definitely funky" to me. It reminds me a little of Vince Young's, except even more of a sidearm. I don't like messing with accuracy, but I can't see that motion working at the NFL level.

316
by jdb (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:47am

this hawai'i (if ESPN can get culturally aware, why can't I?) game is the most entertaining today by a long shot. does anyone else think the officiating is super crazy? like, even way crazier than in a normal game? what was with that handoff and fumble that was inexplicably ruled an incomplete shovel pass? why is there trash all over the field?

hawai'i is like the child of an unholy union between Texas Tech and Texas A&M. crazy balls to the wall passing attack (Tech) meets gritty QB and not one but TWO fat running backs (see Lane, Jorvorskie, A&M). I guess you could toss some Big East in there for the total lack of defense. It's like watching the Run TMC Warriors or the Steve Nash Phoenix Suns in the NBA not contesting shots so they can get the ball back and score more points. Colt Brennan better break the goddamn single season TD record.

317
by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:03am

"I’d go past “kind of�, looks more like “definitely funky� to me. It reminds me a little of Vince Young’s, except even more of a sidearm. I don’t like messing with accuracy, but I can’t see that motion working at the NFL level."

The only reason it wouldn't work there is if he's shorter than, say, 6'3" or so, in which case some of his passes would get tipped at the line of scrimmage. Other than that, if he's accurate now, he should be accurate in the NFL.

The Hawai'i roster lists him as 6'3", so I don't think his throwing motion will be a problem.

318
by NewsToT\'om (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:21am

I saw Brennan is officially 6'3". If he's a legit 6'3" then it might not be a problem. But I think of Chris Simms, and he's listed at 6'4" and still has a problem. I suspect with the offense he's running and mobility in the pocket it won't be an issue in college, but in the compressed world of the NFL (bigger, faster players, small passing lanes), I'd be a little worried.

319
by buddha (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:51am

"WAY subjective."

Show me a method that's not?

I saw Michigan play. I saw Florida play. Michigan looked better all season while Florida was scraping by on blocked field goals and other team's mistakes.

Michigan has a balanced offense (and played 1/2 the season without their best game breaker) while Florida has a gimmick offense with a QB not suited to play it.

Both teams have good defenses.

I'll take Michigan's body of work this season over Florida's luck job against South Carolina et al.

And to top it off, Michigan doesn't beg. The logical next step for Florida is to trot out Scott Frost and make him cry on national television. Did the trick last time. Maybe Urban Meyer should announce his retirement before the pairings are announced? That's worked before too.

320
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:55am

"Colt Brennan just hasn't been as accurate as he was in the first half." Yeah, because he was 18-24, 75% in the first half, and 13-17, 76% in the second half. Oh, he did throw 2 INTs in the second half, one when the WR slipped on his break after the ball was in the air and the other when the DB made a good play to undercut the route. Oh, and Brennan hits his next 3 passes after Cunningham's gasp of brilliance, leaving him 16-20, 80% in the second half.

The officiating has been consistently mediocre at best, more like lousy. But bad calls have been pretty evenly distributed and if the Warriors don't win, the real story will be Hawaii's failures to turn drives into points-so far, it's been 4 TDs and 1 FG on 8 drives into scoring position, with 2 missed FGs and an INT.

321
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 5:12am

Non-idiotic coaching move of the day: Hawaii fails on 4&14 from the OSU26. With 1 TO remaining, June Jones elects not to call the TO immediately but instead to wait until after a play from scrimmage had been run. Finally, a coach who realizes 40>25. Bad luck for the Warriors, though, as they call their TO after 1st down, when an OSU player goes down injured. OSU will have to punt with about 10 seconds on the clock. If Jones had done what Pete Carroll did, the game would be over without OSU having to punt.

322
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 5:17am

Whoa, 2 coaches thinking in the same game! Having failed a punt earlier due to a dropped, OSU doesn't put the punter back there but instead puts Stroughter, a WR, back there to catch the snap, run backwards, and take a safety. Up 35-30, you can give up the points. OSU manages to run 7 of the 9 seconds off the clock, and will now have to kick off. Hopefully, no Wisconsin is in the offing.

323
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 5:22am

Nope, no Wisconsin. OSU kicks it deep with Serna, rather than the punter, lateral-wateral doesn't work, OSU wins 35-32. Hawai'i drives: 9 in scoring position, 4 TDs, 1 FG, 2 missed FGs, 1 INT, 1 turnover on downs when Brennan short-hopped it to an open WR on 4&14. Hope y'all enjoyed your reports, I'm going to bed.

324
by im_no_playa (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 11:45am

okay, here is the argument why the masters of the blue carpet should play OSU for the championship (the "clean" theory):

OSU is the majority #1 right now (even tho those from the Wolverine state might disagree). So -vs- Boise State:

if OSU wins -- then they will be the only 0 loss team and undisputedly get the championship blahblahblah

if BSU wins -- holy shiite!!! they were better than OSU and their undefeated was legit! So, BSU is undisputed champ!

---

It is a very clean way to end the season. If OSU plays any of the 1 loss teams and loses, then things will be VERY messy.

Also with one loss, you have Louisville, who should also be involved in this whole mess w/ Michigan & Florida. (Ideally, you have a 4-team tourney w/ OSU-vs-BSU, UM -vs- UF)

325
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 12:35pm

As someone who favors a playoff in which only conference champs are eligible, I can't hope for Michigan getting a rematch. As someone who favors BCS agony, in hopes of getting a playoff someday, I am rooting for the Wolverines, so everybody from Louisville, to Gainesville, to Norman (hey, they are one hideous zebra-job away from making an argument for their worthiness), and elsewhere (think potatos) screams for some sanity.

326
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 1:04pm

Let's say Ohio State loses a really ugly championship game, where both teams look like crap. (Think yesterday's ACC championship game.) And then let's say Boise State dominates its bowl game. How many voters will vote Boise State No. 1?

I don't think either one of those things is going to happen, let alone both, but I do think if both of those things happen, Boise will get a fair number of first-place votes.

327
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:07pm

I still haven't heard a good argument for why Florida should NOT be in the title game. Yes I'm a biased Gator, but I think Florida should get the nod for three reasons: (1) Thay played a tougher schedule than Michigan in a tougher conference (I do not beleive the SEC is as dominate as some in the press would like us to beleive, however, I do think the SEC is much better than the Big 10 this year). (2) They won their conference title. I know this is a requirement under the BCS rules, but it is certainly a factor. (3) Michigan had their chance. Again, I know a rematch isn't prohibited under the BCS rules, but it should be certianly a factor in my opinion.

I will accept whatever happens. That is the system we have. But please stop bashing Florida for feeling they should have a chance. They went 12-1 and beat 3 teams in the Current BCS top-16. Michigan might have had the better loss, but Florida's loss was at the # 11 ranked team at the time, and very controversial (the Leak fumble/interception play).

The system sucks. I hope Florida gets a shot. If not, so be it. They had a great season and won, IMO, the toughest conference title in college football.

328
by buddha (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:12pm

GG: Nobody's bashing Florida for thinking they have a chance, they're bashing Florida for being a little bitch about it. Whining and campaigning.

Florida has an argument. But I think that if you watched both teams all season, I think that Michigan played better all season while Florida sneaked by win after win.

329
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:18pm

Re 328:
Exactly. I've seen a couple of SEC games and I don't think Florida has proven it can hang with OSU. The SEC has a serious dearth of QB talent and it makes the defenses look much better than they are. Even with that, I could see the arguments for including Florida, but with the SEC network, Urban Meyer, etc. all campaigning the way they are it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Florida should let their performance speak for itself if they're so confident that they deserve to be in. As it is, I feel like they're trying so hard because they don't feel they deserve to be in the game.

330
by the NCAA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:20pm

Fellas,

I've been working on a bastardized version of dvoa for college. I don't have all the teams so the data is just a bunch of numbers with no relation as I have no way of putting anything into perspective yet.

It will probably take another week or so.

After I finish it would be cool to get some input back from you guys because I want to keep this up for next year and I should be able to do that as long as I am just compiling team only data.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

surprises so far,

Ohio St defense not quite as good as Florida

331
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:35pm

QB Rank by Passer Efficiency

#3 JaMarcus Russell, LSU
#4 Troy Smith, Ohio State
#11 Erik Ainge, Tennessee
#15 Andre' Woodson, Kentucky
#17 John Stocco, Wisconsin
#21 Chris Leak, Florida
#25 Chad Henne, Michigan
#26 Blake Mitchell, South Carolina
#31 Brandon Cox, Auburn
#35 Bryan Cupito, Minnesota
#45 Curtis Painter, Purdue
#46 John Parker Wilson, Alabama
#49 Drew Tate, Iowa

7 SEC QBs, 6 Big 10 QBs in the top 50, it looks pretty even to me.

332
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:49pm

Sagarin's ratings are up and it looks like he still has Michigan at 2. I'm just shocked that Wisconsin isn't three -- if who you lose to is really all that matters. Well, Boise should be 2 then, but still... :) In any case, it's nice to see such a strong case for Michigan losing their way in.

333
by kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 2:58pm

Re #328: GG: Nobody’s bashing Florida for thinking they have a chance, they’re bashing Florida for being a little bitch about it. Whining and campaigning.

Florida has an argument. But I think that if you watched both teams all season, I think that Michigan played better all season while Florida sneaked by win after win.

First off, I'm a Florida homer, and I'm making no effort to hide my biases. With that said, I don't think there's anything wrong with Florida campaigning for the spot in the national championship. Teams do it all the time in Basketball and nobody bats an eye. I think it's a very relevant fact that the teams Florida beat combined for 7 wins against current top-25 opponents, while the teams that Michigan beat combined for ZERO wins against current top-25 opponents (assuming Georgia Tech drops from 23 after their loss). That's the sort of thing that is very valuable information, and that I think the average poll voter wouldn't be the slightest bit aware of- they see that Michigan beat ND and Wisconsin, but not that ND and Wisconsin didn't beat ANYBODY.

Anyway, I'm all for anything that provides more information for the voters to consider. I think both Florida and Michigan should be able to clearly state their cases. I do agree that Meyer's whole "I haven't talked about the BCS but now that it's potentially going to screw me I'm going to start ragging on it in the media" bit is bull, though- although, unlike Tuberville, at least he waited until his team had taken care of its business. Still, Florida didn't hire him to win popularity contests, they hired him to win championships- and if selling out like that gets Florida to the NC, then it's all part of his job description, just as much as recruiting and gameplanning.

Also, I agree that Michigan is probably the better team than Florida... but I don't think the National Championship is supposed to match the two BEST teams- just the two most deserving. That's one reason why they disallowed MoV in the computer rankings. If one team lost its first 2 games by a total of 2 points, then won its next 10 by 30 points per game, and a second team went 12-0 against the exact same schedule but won all of its games by just 7 ppg, I'd argue vehemently that the second team should go to the national championship. They earned their ticket more.

Florida faced 2 losing teams to Michigan's 5. Florida faced 9 bowl teams to Michigan's 6. The teams Florida beat combined for 7 wins against top-25 opponents. The teams Michigan beat combined for 0 such wins. Florida has a better record against the top-10, top-25, and top-50 schools. Florida won its conference championship. Michigan lost a 3-point game on the road that shouldn't have been that close, and Florida lost what was essentially a 4-point game on the road that should have been a lot closer. Florida has a better winning percentage than Michigan (sure, they played one more game, but there's no guarantees Michigan would have won if they played another game- just ask USC). Most importantly, Michigan already had a shot against Ohio State.

While I think there's some validity to the claims that Michigan is a better team than Florida, I think it's hard to argue that they're more DESERVING.

Re #331: 7 SEC QBs, 6 Big 10 QBs in the top 50, it looks pretty even to me.
Worth noting, too, that Florida actually faced all of those SEC QBs (except, of course, for Chris Leak)- and shut them down pretty well, too. And we all know their run defense is for real (just ask Darren McFaddon). Florida's defense has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the real deal.

334
by Derek (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 3:44pm

How about this little nugget from the recently released coaches poll:
"NOTE: The number of voters totals only 62 this week. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel asked to abstain."

Good move Jimmy.

335
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:03pm

334 - And they wonder why they call him the Senator.

336
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:24pm

UF is up to #2 in Coaches' and AP - which sets a very interesting scenario. If UM were to beat OSU in a close sloppy game while UF dismantles (probably) ND, the AP voters could easily refuse to jump UM over UF... and as bad as the current controversy has been for the BCS, a second split title in four years would be simply lethal.

337
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:40pm

Well, since Michigan isn't beating OSU, that scenario isn't happening anyway. But since the AP got out of the BCS, do enough people pay attention to it for it to count as a split title? Not trying to be a smartass here or anything - I seriously wonder, do people give a crap about the AP poll anymore, or is it in the same league as the PFWAA or whatever poll?

338
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 4:40pm

Both polls have florida #2

339
by BB (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 5:32pm

Will be interesting to see the ballots -- given the massive point switch between last week and this week between UM and UF, it will be interesting to see which SEC coaches put Michigan at something like 5th or 6th. Without shenanigans I would have expected the coaches poll to look a lot like the AP -- really close to the point where it could end up going either way, not Florida as a clear-cut #2.

340
by peachy (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 5:43pm

337 - Well, everybody outside of Baton Rouge accepted the split title the last time (although of course the AP was part of the BCS then)... and the AP is cited at least as often as the Coaches during the season when referring to a team's rank, whereas the Harris is never mentioned except with explicit reference to the BCS. Besides, I'd guess that the BCS is so unpopular that the AP is better off not being associated with it.

341
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 7:00pm

338- That means it's Ohio State vs Florida, and that for the second year in a row the BCS system actually worked.

Michigan vs Southern Cal should also be a heck of a game, and LSU v Notre Dame makes for an intriguing Sugar Bowl. Bosie State's moment in the sun should be interesting as well.

342
by buddha (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 7:09pm

"338- That means it’s Ohio State vs Florida, and that for the second year in a row the BCS system actually worked."

It worked by putting the lesser team in the championship game? That's some definition of work.

"Also, I agree that Michigan is probably the better team than Florida"

Agreed. And that's why Michigan should be in the championship game, IMO.

"With that said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Florida campaigning for the spot in the national championship. Teams do it all the time in Basketball and nobody bats an eye."

I do. I think it's a bunch of garbage. And Gary Danielson better pack his bags and move his ass either to East Lansing or to the cultural capital that is Disneyland, cause we don't want him in Michigan anymore.

Figures he was a Lions QB for all those years. Loser.

343
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 7:49pm

342: Michigan had a chance to play their way in and lost. They haven't beaten any opponent who has a victory over a ranked team. Florida had a chance to play their way in and won.

344
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:22pm

It worked by putting the lesser team in the championship game? That’s some definition of work.

I can't see why Florida would categorically be dismissed as the lesser team.

As I said earlier, I can't imagine why a one-loss Michigan would deserve two cracks at Ohio State while a one-loss Florida deserves none.

345
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:26pm

but they barely won...you have to beat everyone by a lot or you are a bad team!!

Please please NCAA put in a playoff system its the only way to save college football.

I am a Michigan fan and I could care less right now because both teams have logical arguments on way they should be there, I hate Florida, but I hate Ohio State more. my head is about to explode....

346
by MLA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:31pm

344:
It can be argued that they'd deserve another shot because they barely lost in a game that was on Ohio State's home turf. If home-field really matters in college football, this is a legitimate complaint. So to truly give Florida an equal shot at Ohio State, we need to hold the national championship game at Ohio State's stadium and see what happens.

347
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:33pm

It can be argued that they’d deserve another shot because they barely lost in a game that was on Ohio State’s home turf.

Good point, but:

1. A loss is a loss.

2. It wasn't as close as the final score indicates.

348
by MLA (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:35pm

343:
I honestly don't get this big focus I keep on hearing on how many top 25 teams Florida's opponents beat. It just seems like cherry-picking stats, and if you want to do that I'm sure there are plenty that favor Michigan.

349
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:41pm

so if Michigan loss by 3 at home they would not deserve to be in the National Championship game?

Illinois held Ohio State to 17 points, and only loss by 7...who gives a crap.

Like I said playoffs is the only way to go to solve this shit...or just win the games on your schedule

350
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:50pm

Couple of points.

I notice no one is *actually* making a pro-Michigan argument, deferring to "it could be argued". There's no conviction for Michigan getting a rematch here or anywhere else.

Why? Because when all is said and done, I think everyone truly knows that having Florida play Ohio State is the best choice.

Point two is that UCLA's win over USC represents all that is great about college football, and why there should be no playoffs. UCLA stuck it up USC's collectives arses by RUINING THEIR SEASON. USC was a game away from entering a one-game tournament for the National Title, and UCLA RUINED IT FOR THEM. UCLA didn't lower USC's bracket seed or cost them home field, they RUINED USC's SEASON AND CRUSHED THEIR DREAMS.

Rivalries, baby. Every game counts.

And to think, I dislike both Los Angeles schools. :)

351
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 8:55pm

How did Florida prove itself better than Michigan last night? Because that's what everyone who changed their vote is supposed to be saying; they thought Michigan was a better team for the past 2 weeks, but a 10 point win over Arkansas last night convinced them that UF is suddenly superior to Michigan.

We all know that isn't what they're thinking. Those folks (coaches and Harris Poll voters) changed their votes because (1) they don't want a rematch; (2) they believe that a conference champion is more deserving than the second-place team in the Big Ten; (3) it suddenly dawned on them that the SEC was far superior to the Big Ten (and every other conference); and (4) they got to watch UF beat FSU and Arkansas while Michigan was sitting at home.

And that was the platform Urban Meyer was running on the last 2 weeks, especially after the game and on Sportscenter. Factors (1) and (2) aren't criteria in the BCS, and if you have problem with factor (1), then you're apparently not in favor of a playoff system, because rematches are exactly what it would often produce (March Madness, anyone?).

Factor (4) is what it is, something that has hurt the SEC and other conferences with championship games in the past but clearly helped UF this year. As a Michigan guy, I'm annoyed about this (and this is the only thing Lloyd Carr chose to address while staying above the shameless politicking by Meyer -- did I mention I'm a Michigan guy?) but that's the way it is. People have a short memory, that's why USC jumped Michigan only after beating ND at home less impressively than UM won at ND in September.

But if you think that, all of a sudden, factor (3) is why Florida is in the big game, you're sadly mistaken. Why wasn't it a factor before now? And this isn't about poll momentum, or being a conference champion, it's about how people don't want a rematch.

352
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 9:17pm

OK, I really hate to wade into this fray here, but...

Both Michigan and Florida had something else they could've done to assure themselves of making the championship game. They could have won the games they lost.

In Michigan's case, they had things go about as well as they possibly could. They got two turnovers on completely unforced error (bad snaps), and another on a very uncharacteristically bad decision by Troy Smith (with outstanding defensive play to take advantage). They were able to run and pass very well. They won the turnover battle 3-0. They really couldn't have asked for any better set-up. And they still couldn't quite get it done.

In Florida's case, yes, they got screwed on the fumble call. But it never should have been close enough for it to matter. Auburn's offense was awful (I would have said "pathetic", "horrible", "putrid", or some other less flattering terms, but I wanted the alliteration). I think I had more passing yards than Cox that day. They couldn't block anyone, couldn't run, and couldn't pass. Florida lost because 1) their offense completely crapped the bed, and 2) they couldn't figure out how to punt. That's it. If their offense had been even slightly better than completely suckass, or if they could get off a punt, they would've won easily. For all the crap we've heard about how it's impossible to run the table in the SEC (I mean, the last time it happened was way back in '03, which may have been before the forward pass was invented, I'll have to check on that), Florida had a golden opportunity to do it this year. And they absolutely pissed it away.

Whichever team misses out, they have no one to blame but themselves. This isn't 2003, where three teams did everything they could have on the field, and one got left out. These are two teams that both messed up along the way, and one of them gets a second chance. If your team doesn't get in, blame the offense that couldn't score despite incredible talent and SEC speed. Blame the secondary that has maybe two good players, and one of them got hurt. Blame the coaches that can't figure out how to stop Troy Smith after getting destroyed by him twice already, or can't figure out how to utilize Chris Leak after four years. Hell, go ahead and blame the officials that can't tell a fumble from a forward pass. But don't even try to claim your team didn't get a fair chance. They did. They lost.

One other thing, about Oklahoma. If they hadn't gotten screwed at Oregon (or if they'd played well after getting screwed and won anyway), they'd clearly be left behind either of these two teams. I'd take Louisville before them, actually. Oklahoma had one game this year against a top opponent, and they got whooped. Without beating Texas, I can't see them being a serious contender.

353
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 9:19pm

Whichever team misses out, they have no one to blame but themselves.

I'd like to think this is something we can all agree on.

354
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 9:32pm

Yep, can't argue with that. I just had to get that rant off my chest about how the voters suddenly realized Florida is bettter or more deserving. And I'm not saying they're more or less deserving. Just saying that's not why everyone switched their votes.

355
by im_no_playa (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:02pm

I am aware that Boise is probably not as good as Michigan and Florida (and maybe some others), but they played the NCAA approved schedule and are undefeated. They should be given a chance against OSU. If not, then the NCAA should create a schedule for each team and force the big colleges to play the "up-and-comers" or add another tier of Div 1 with maybe some kind of relegation system like soccer leagues (ie, English Premiere League). BSU did everything right this year and still won't get a chance.

And I'm not sure that Ohio State would kill them. OSU and Cincinnati were pretty close for at least 1/2 the game. BTW, I'm not a BSU homer or any college homer. Its for this non-decisive finish that I am less a fan of college football than NFL.

356
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:07pm

I am aware that Boise is probably not as good as Michigan and Florida (and maybe some others), but they played the NCAA approved schedule and are undefeated. They should be given a chance against OSU.

I disagree. That's like saying that Ohio State deserves a chance in the NFL playoffs.

Shouldn't the WAC get Boise in the fold ASAP?

357
by im_no_playa (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:11pm

356 - Kevin11

Except that OSU and BoiseState are in the same league. OSU is not in the NFL. Boise State *should* then be in Div 1-A(minus) and not in 1-A(plus) with OSU, UM, UF, etc....

358
by Big J (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:11pm

It's Official...will be Florida

359
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:14pm

Just to clarify on something that was brought up earlier -- there were no shenanigans in the Coaches poll. The points add up so that Michigan or Florida were 2 or 3 on every ballot.

Now the Harris, we'll have to see. Sounds like there was a huge point swing. I'd like to see those ballots.

I'm make my one bitter Michigan fan statement here, and that's that I think Florida is going to get its ass handed to it in Glendale.

360
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:21pm

Well, it's Florida.

Why so much worry about the long layoff for OSU? Isn't that how it normally is, just a week longer this year? It's not like they're playing next weekend or anything - Florida's going to have over a month off too. (By the way, nice lie by Tressell about how they've not watched any Florida tape yet. Anyone believe they didn't have a few coaches breaking down USC, Florida, and maybe a little more on Michigan for the last two weeks?)

I really hope OSU's been using these last two weeks to get some speed training done. Now that they have to play a southern team, they're going to need all the work they can get. Forget about blocking and that crap - it's all about SEC speed.

361
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:28pm

Two weeks ago I would have been silent about Florida being in the title game as a team with their type of record merits a crack at the title.

But after two solid weeks of b*tching, whining, and various half-*ssed bullsh*t courtesy of the Florida brigade I, a diehard Wisconsin gomer who loathes OSU with every fiber of my being, will be rooting for the Buckeyes.

Michigan folks can gripe about Lloyd but the man handled this exactly right. As opposed to some wanna-be Lou Holtzian p*ss-ant.

When Michigan played OSU I was secretly hoping the earth would open and swallow up both teams and send them to the pits of h*ll. Now I need the F*ckeyes to hang around just long enough to pull a Cumberland on Florida.

It's like the BCS stuck the title game in their godd*mn mouths as a pacifier to stop having to listen to the constant wail. "Alright already, have your d*mn game!"

So y'all can wipe the tears from your eyes, stop kicking the floor, and sit up straight. You have your lollipop.

Happy now??

362
by Trieu (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:32pm

Urban Meyer is a putz, and Lloyd Carr showed a lot of class. It's really unfornate that the asshole wins in this case. I'm not a Buckeyes fan, but I'll be rooting hard for OSU in the championship game.

That said, would Michigan have benefited from one more game on their schedule? Add a win against one more ranked opponent (say, USC), and do they make it into the final game? Or would they have been jobbed by the voters regardless?

363
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 10:39pm

There is an extra points post up about the BCS results, so the discussion can continue there.

364
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sun, 12/03/2006 - 11:40pm

Re 351: Vinny -- In the final poll, I think it's perfectly acceptable for a voter to look at a team's entire body of work. It's clear this doesn't happen on a week-to-week basis, and I'm not even saying that happened here...we really don't know. But IMO, when voting in the final regular season poll, I think it's perfectly legit to look at the whole season. Just one theory as to why some voters switched.

Re 359: Russ, you are a bitter man. Ohio St had no chance against Miami in Jan 2003, right? UCLA had no chance against USC yesterday... Ohio St is clearly the better team on paper, and I'm not about to make a prediction 5 weeks before the game, but I will say that Florida's defense, and in particular, their team speed, will keep them in the game. By the way, will you be rooting for Florida b/c you hate Ohio St, or will you be pulling for Ohio St in the name of Big 10 pride and/or b/c Florida kicked UM out of it?

Buddha -- I hear your argument: Michigan is better than Florida, period. First of all, how do we know this? B/c they beat Iowa by 14 points? B/c Florida only beat their rival FSU by 7 points? Florida wins...something lost on many people b/c they don't always win pretty. Guess who also didn't win pretty? Ohio St in 2002. Oh yea, they won the Title. Second, unfortunately that is not the criteria that anyone wants to talk about. Right or wrong, what voters have been debating is who is "most deserving." I don't like the system either...but it is what it is.

As for the overall debate about Florida Michigan...I don't think anyone has mentioned that BOTH TEAMS deserve to play Ohio St. Both teams have an impressive resume and both teams have a handful of quality wins. Unfortunately, only one team can play Ohio St and however the system works, they spit out Florida. Florida should not have to apologize to anyone for the system that we have.

As for Urban whinning...I don't like it, I wish he would have kept his mouth shut, at least until after they beat Arkansas. But let's get real here...does anyone honestly believe that a voter listened to him, and changed their vote b/c of it? Florida would not be where they are if they didn't deserve it...not b/c of some comments made by a coach trying to stick up for his program.

It seems like most want to list why Florida should not have made it. But no one wants to make the case FOR Michigan. I will lay Florida's resume against Michigan's and IMO, it stacks up better, but I'm one person with a very bias opinion.

Sorry Michigan...the system sucks. But be proud your coach didn't campaign for the spot. I hated it when Mack Brown did it 2 years ago and I hate it now.

365
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 1:36am

Griff, that's one theory as to why some voters switched (looking at both teams' body of work this week and not earlier). And maybe that's true for some of the more diligent coaches and Harris Poll members. But I don't believe that was the case for most of the voters and it sounds like you're not even sold on it.

The rematch/"Michigan had its shot" angle was played up ad nauseum the last week, and especially the last 48 hours by Meyer and many of the ESPN talking heads. If you don't think all that chatter had a real effect on voters, I have a winning Nigerian lottery ticket with your name on it.

366
by kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 2:53am

Re #348: 343:
I honestly don’t get this big focus I keep on hearing on how many top 25 teams Florida’s opponents beat. It just seems like cherry-picking stats, and if you want to do that I’m sure there are plenty that favor Michigan.
I don't think it's that hard to get. Michigan's opponents didn't beat ANYBODY this year. I mean, who do you think is harder to beat- a team that took down 3 top-25 teams, or a team that didn't take down a single top-25 team?

It's hardly cherry-picking stats, it's just a very rudimentary second-degree Strength of Schedule- victories against top-25 teams is first degree, opponent victories against top-25 teams is a second degree. I suppose you could do a third-degree comparison, but by that point you're starting to parse the data too fine to really make a difference.

Re #351: How did Florida prove itself better than Michigan last night? Because that’s what everyone who changed their vote is supposed to be saying; they thought Michigan was a better team for the past 2 weeks, but a 10 point win over Arkansas last night convinced them that UF is suddenly superior to Michigan.
Is that so hard to believe? I mean, computers are absolutely, positively 100% objective, and Florida's win over Arkansas was more than enough for a lot of the computers to move Florida ahead of Michigan. Florida jumped Michigan in the A&H and RB formulas, were already ahead of Michigan in the CM and KM, and closed the gap in the other two (Sagarin and PW), so it's certainly possible for the Arkansas game to tip the balance (unless you want to accuse the Computers of bias or a desire to avoid a rematch). If a voter considers team A to be barely behind team B to begin with, and then team A gets a solid victory on a neutral field against a top-10 team, I don't think it's all that unreasonable for the voter to now decide that maybe team A is better after all.

Also, I'm a gator fan, and I agree that Urban Meyer was whining and it pissed me off, especially before his team took care of its own business. With that said, Urban's job is to win championships, not popularity contests, and if his whining was the only reason he's in the title game (I highly doubt it, but if it is), well, then it looks like he did his job pretty well.

367
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 4:11am

Kibbles, that's a good argument re: the computers. But do you honestly believe that's what most of the voters did (use the win over Arkansas to nudge UF over the top)? In other words, if USC had prevailed over UCLA, would UF have jumped UM for the #3 spot on most of the voters' ballots? I just don't believe that. Not for a second. In the aftermath of the of the USC loss, most voters realized that UM was now in position to play OSU again. And they did something to avoid that.

Again, I'm not saying UF isn't deserving. They're just as deserving as UM. But this was a clear vote against a rematch by most of the voters.

368
by kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 8:17am

I'm responding to your comments over in the new discussion thread. See you there!

369
by Fourth (not verified) :: Mon, 12/04/2006 - 1:20pm

The new thread is broken!