Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2006

Seventh Day Adventure: Pwnd

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: I've had a few days to absorb Football Armageddon. I tend to agree with Brian from mgoblog. I'm spent. Just spent. After a game like that, I sometimes wonder why exactly it is that I care so much about something so inconsequential. Reading some of the other blogs this week, it was comforting to know that I'm not alone. To know that choosing to skip any of the viewing parties I was invited to, and instead spend the game watching alone with my anguish (and my kids making fun of me), hardly makes me unique.

Vinny: I've come to grips with it. Bo's passing puts things in perspective. Troy Smith was his usual infallible self (for three quarters anyway) and Cheatypants McSweatervest put together another great offensive game plan. The Bucks were the better team. On that particular day. Facing a grief-stricken opponent. At home. OK, so I haven't completely come to grips with it.

Russell: Obviously not. I can't even really get into the whole rematch-no rematch debate. Sure, I wrote about it Monday, but I'm not exactly waiting with bated breath for BCS selection show. I feel like Michigan just played the championship game, and lost.

Vinny: No argument here. But if USC blows it against the Irish at home, and Florida can't close the deal against a bad Seminoles team and then Arkansas in the SEC title game...

Russell: Don't get me wrong, if Notre Dame wins and we somehow end up in Glendale, I'm not exactly going to ignore it. But that's six weeks away. For now, there are still some interesting Thanksgiving weekend matchups, including the most significant game remaining on the regular-season calendar. We've got a season to finish here.

Boston College (-4.5) at Miami (Fla.), Thursday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Russell: It was fun to kick Miami while they were down, but that ended when Bryan Pata was murdered two weeks ago. Watching the Hurricanes play out the string is just sad. I'm not sure even their biggest rivals are taking much pleasure in watching a team that can't get to the end of the season fast enough. Even the short-lived "Spurrier to Miami" rumors last Sunday didn't generate much interest. This program needs a collective holiday.

Vinny: I think Larry Coker started to lose his team during the 40-3 pasting Miami took at the hands of LSU in last year's Peach Bowl. If Coker does get the double doors, it will be after his counterpart in the ugly brawl earlier this season, Florida International's Don Strock announced his resignation. Going winless didn't help.

Russell: Boston College is one of the more underappreciated teams this season. Last week's smackdown of Maryland put the ACC title game within reach for the Eagles, who probably never dreamt they'd be road favorites at the Orange Bowl. Boston College must win, and hope for Maryland to beat Wake Forest Saturday to earn a date against Georgia Tech in Jacksonville.

Vinny: I'm not sure that slapping around your opponent is the way to build their confidence for their next game. For the 'Canes, sophomore Kirby Freeman gets his third straight start with Kyle Wright out with his thumb injury.

Russell: Something tells me Miami isn't exactly fired up to play for a berth in the MPC Computers Bowl. If I'm Coker, I'm running the ball every play. It might get the season over a half-hour quicker. The results will be the same. Boston College wins by at least a touchdown, picking up their first win over the 'Canes since the Hail Flutie game 22 years ago.

Vinny: I'm expecting the Eagles' receiving corps of Kevin Challenger, Tony Gonzalez and Brandon Robinson to have a big day against the Miami secondary. BC rolls (my Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week).

Texas A&M (+12.5) at Texas, Friday, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: I know I've been clubbing this idea to death like a baby seal, but I still maintain Dennis Franchione is in trouble at Texas A&M. The Aggies got to eight wins by beating nobody better than Missouri, and are on a two-game losing streak -- both by one point -- to Oklahoma and Nebraska. Hanging with the Big 12 heavyweights is nice, but sooner or later, Coach Fran is going to have to beat one of them to hold off the dogs.

Vinny: Thanks for the lovely imagery, Russ. It didn't help that both of those close losses for the Aggies were at home. A&M has lost three games by a total of only six points this year, and the Aggies have already guaranteed themselves of their best record since at least 2001. But Franchione has a 1-11 record against Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Texas since he took over the program. So a win over Texas would give him a welcome break from the hate mail for a couple weeks.

Russell: Texas's loss to K-State two weeks ago re-opened an all-but-decided Big 12 South race. Texas needs this win to clinch a berth in the Big 12 championship opposite Nebraska. Colt McCoy will be back in the lineup after missing much of the Kansas State game, and he should have plenty of time to throw behind a senior-led offensive line.

Vinny: Despite that veteran line, Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young haven't had big years. Texas ranks just fifth in the Big Twelve in rushing offense. Maybe they can get untracked this week against the very average A&M run defense.

Russell: The Aggies have a decent ground attack with tackle-sized back Jorvorskie Lane, but if they're going to pull off the upset, it will be through the air. Kansas State was the latest team to torch the Longhorns secondary, and Stephen McGee is capable of doing the same. Will it be enough? I say no. Texas wins going away to cover the number and run its winning streak against the Aggies to seven.

Vinny: Yep, A&M is going up against the top run defense in the country (thanks to Michigan's matador defense on those two long touchdown runs by the Buckeyes last week -- dammit!) in Texas (allowing 42 yards per game). Still, this is a decent-sized spread. I'm going to take a flyer on the Aggies and the points in this rivalry game.

LSU (-1) at Arkansas, Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Russell: Popular opinion seems to be that Arkansas is the best team in the SEC. Well, popular opinion doesn't weigh in Las Vegas, where the Tigers are one-point road favorites over the SEC's darlings. That kind of respect -- or lack thereof -- tells me it's going to be an uphill climb for Arkansas to get to No. 2 in the BCS.

Vinny: It's nothing new for the Hogs. I imagine they wouldn't get much respect nationally until they beat Florida in the SEC title game. But this one is for the Golden Boot! And they're playing it in Little Rock, where LSU prevailed over Arkansas in 2004.

Russell: Golden Boot, huh? That's no Floyd of Rosedale. Arkansas has won 10 straight games on the strength of its running game and a defense that has allowed 12 points per contest after USC hung 50 on the board in the opener. It's that loss, of course, that has Arkansas somewhat boxed in in the BCS equation. Win out, and they'll still be behind USC. If USC loses, they'll be in line behind Michigan.

Vinny: Their running game will likely have to do without starting fullback Peyton Hillis, who's a jack of all trades in the Arkansas offense. Hillis is doubtful for this tilt with a deep thigh bruise -- is there another kind of thigh bruise? (Of course, I played flag football on Monday night for the first time since college and I can barely get out of bed in the morning). At least left guard Stephen Parker is back in the lineup.

Russell: LSU has a scary-good defense, but it hasn't faced a rushing attack the likes of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones this season. Arkansas better run the ball, since McFadden seems to be the only guy able to throw it effectively. I see this game coming down to the wire like the LSU-Tennessee result a few weeks ago. JaMarcus Russell will pull this one out for LSU in the final minutes as well.

Vinny: McFadden has to be the most valuable player in the country -- I have a hard time believing Arkansas would even have seven wins without him running, receiving, throwing and returning. I like the Hogs to notch another surprise in edging the Tigers.

Oregon (+3) at Oregon State, Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FSN

Russell: What the heck has happened to Oregon? The Ducks were considered a Pac-10 title contender after "beating" Oklahoma in September. Maybe their current two-game losing streak is cosmic payback for the calls that went against the Sooners. Oregon State has won five of its last six -- including handing USC its only loss.

Vinny: The Beavers can clinch third place in the Pac-10 with a win here, and that would probably send them to the Sun Bowl, where they've never played before. Their opponent would come from the Big 12 or Big East, and it could be Rutgers.

Russell: Are you fishing for another Jersey pride remark from me? I'm still holding out for RU in the Orange Bowl. The Ducks' demise can be traced to the play of quarterback Dennis Dixon. He was a dynamic run-pass threat early in the season; lately he's morphed into a turnover machine and may get benched in favor of Brady Leaf for the Civil War. Mike Bellotti isn't talking.

Vinny: Dixon leads the Pac-10 with 13 interceptions, and has thrown eight picks (to only one touchdown) in the last five games. If Bellotti does go to the bullpen for Leaf, it would remove the running threat from the quarterback position. For Oregon State, Matt Moore hasn't thrown a pick since the Beaver's 17-10 win over Arizona on October 21. He'll be facing a pretty solid Oregon pass defense.

Russell: This is a very underrated rivalry game -- plenty of hate between the hippies out Oregon way. Oregon State has won five of six in the series, and I think they make it six of seven on the strength of Yvenson Bernard, who will run wild against Oregon's soft run D. Oregon State covers.

Vinny: The home team has won nine consecutive games in this series. Make it ten. The Beavers win going away.

Oklahoma (-6) at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m. ET, FSN

Russell: Oklahoma remains alive for the Big 12 South, but the Sooners will know their fate going into this one, as Texas plays Friday. A Texas loss, combined with an Oklahoma win puts the Sooners in the championship game. But OU can't overlook the Cowboys, who can score points in a hurry, and who have given the Sooners plenty of trouble in recent years, winning two of the last four in Stillwater.

Vinny: But those Oklahoma State wins were back when Les Miles was running the show. Mike Gundy has the Cowboys bowl-eligible in his second year, but the heat is turning up in light of all the cash T. Boone Pickens has now thrown at the program.

Russell: How does a guy named "T. Boone" become a billionaire anyway? Only in America. Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson has been one of my favorite players this season. A receiver coming into the season, Thompson returned to QB to rescue the Sooners' season after Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team. He was supposed to be the team's weak spot, but he has played really well, and only that controversial loss to Oregon separates the Sooners from being in the national-title discussion.

Vinny: This season has to be Bob Stoops's best coaching job. And he has his defense getting back to where he wants it. For the Cowboys, it's all about offense, and their ground game has been impressive with Dantrell Savage, Mike Hamilton, Keith Toston and quarterback Bobby Reid all racking up more than 400 rushing yards.

Russell: Oklahoma needs to take care of the ball. Too many turnovers lately. If they can do that, I think the Sooners will chalk up another win the Bedlam series, and cover the number.

Vinny: Stoops's squad has never covered the spread in Stillwater. I think the Sooners snap that streak and win by a couple scores.

BYU (-10.5) at Utah, 3:30 p.m. ET, CSTV

Russell: How about some love for Bronco Mendenhall for Coach of the Year honors, mid-major edition. He has the Cougars at 9-2 and 7-0 in Mountain West Conference play. More importantly, he has restored the glory days of Cougar offensive football, as this team averages 37 points per game. Somewhere, Robbie Bosco is smiling.

Vinny: And Gary Crowton is crying. (It doesn't help that he's coaching Dennis Dixon right now.) On the other side of the ball, BYU has given up its share of real estate but has forced 25 turnovers and is ninth in the country in scoring defense.

Russell: BYU has already won the Mountain West, but this is a grudge match, if such a thing is allowed in the state of Utah. Don't laugh. If you need a license to drink a beer, anything's possible. A win here will give the Cougars their first 10-win season since 2001, when they went 12-2 while playing an NFL schedule, apparently.

Vinny: The Cougars have already accepted an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl, where they lost a 35-28 shootout to UCLA Cal last year. Utah is still waiting for a bid, but the Utes are 5-0 in bowl games since 1999.

Russell: John Beck has become the latest in a long line of BYU passers to put up big numbers. He's second in the nation in passing efficiency and has the Cougar offense humming. But this is a rivalry game, and I'm going to invoke my first "double-digit home dog" pick of the entire season. I like Utah and the points, as two-way star Eric Weddle has an impact on both sides of the ball.

Vinny: The Utes have to be concerned about stopping Beck after they yielded over 200 yards passing to Air Force last week. They probably just over-committed to stopping the triple option, but that's still unsettling. Meanwhile, Beck publicly guaranteed a victory in this game. Good enough for me. BYU wins (and covers).

Boise State (-2.5) at Nevada, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Russell: All that stands between Boise and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl is a road date at pesky Nevada. And talk about feast or famine: A loss here likely means falling all the way back to Boise for the MPC Computers Bowl.

Vinny: I hear the MPC folks are worried that Broncos fans don't travel well.

Russell: Nevada comes in on a roll, having won eight of its last nine. But the Wolfpack have taken up semi-permanent residence out behind Boise's woodshed. The Broncos have averaged 51 points in the last six meetings, all wins. Plus, they get stud tailback Ian Johnson back for this one after he suffered a partially collapsed lung against San Jose State two weeks ago.

Vinny: He's back from a collapsed lung in two weeks? Who's the Boise State team doctor? Dr. Nick Riviera?

Russell: Boise has come too far to let this opportunity slip from its grasp. Jared Zabransky will once again carve up the Wolfpack defense, and the Boise D will limite the damage from Nevada's "pistol" offense. Boise wins big to crash the BCS party (Fred Edelstein lock)..

Vinny: Zabransky is 31-5 as a starter, and boasts a passer rating above 160. I'm still betting that being away from the Smurf Turf will limit the Broncos somewhat. So I'll take a gamble on Nevada and hope that Wolfpack defensive end J.J. Milan (nine sacks) makes it tough going for Zabransky.

Notre Dame (+7.5) at USC, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Russell: Vin, for amusement this week, I've been engaging various Notre Dame fans I know into a debate as to how the Irish can get to the BCS title game. You should try this -- every single argument comes back to Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21. Sad? Sure. But it's all I have left after Ohio State pwnd Michigan again last week. And while I may wish that Notre Dame wins, you won't find me screaming for the Irish Saturday night. That's simply not in my DNA. Let the chips fall where they will.

Vinny: I know it's not likely, but if Notre Dame clobbers the Trojans, just absolutely crushes them, would that convince the voters to put them into the national title conversation? Like you said, I don't know how they get past the pasting by Michigan in South Bend, even though that was two months ago. And it could be ugly again versus a defense with this kind of talent, led by junior defensive end Lawrence Jackson.

Russell: It was good to see Notre Dame finally find somebody it could beat while wearing the green jerseys last week as the Irish rolled over Army to get to 10-1. Brady Quinn had another big day, as he almost always does against bad teams, but Quinn is still without that signature performance against a top team. He gets one last regular-season opportunity here.

Vinny: The Irish defense has been mediocre at best, especially against the pass (81st in the nation in pass efficiency defense), but senior linemen Derek Landri and Victor Abiamiri have been very good in getting into the backfield and making plays. They're going to have to play even better this week, especially Abiamiri.

Russell: USC has it going on both sides of the ball ever since losing to Oregon State four weeks ago, and on paper I see this game as a rout for USC. John David Booty, Dwayne Jarrett (who's coming off a concussion) and Steve Smith should torch the lead-footed Notre Dame secondary. But still, I'm not discounting the Weis factor. I think this is personal for him. He hears the whispers about how the Irish haven't beaten a lot of good teams in his two seasons. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a back-and-forth game along the lines of last year's. The Irish will keep it close enough to cover, but USC's offense will carry the day -- and probably carry the Trojans to Glendale.

Vinny: Weis didn't have a bye week before playing USC this year. On the other hand, it's been two months (and a Commander-in-Chief's Trophy later) since he's had to be concerned about an opponent. Not that the Irish aren't always a motivated bunch under Weis, but they're going to come into the Coliseum with a chip on their shoulder. They've been universally dismissed as being out of the national title picture and as posing only a minor annoyance for USC on the way to Glendale. At the very least, I think this is another track meet. But Notre Dame will cover, and Booty could make enough mistakes to let the Irish pull the upset.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Vinny Says Russell Says
Boston College -4.5 Miami (Fla.) Boston College* Boston College
Texas A&M +12.5 Texas Texas A&M Texas
LSU -1 Arkansas Arkansas LSU
Oregon +3 Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
Oklahoma -6 Oklahoma State Oklahoma Oklahoma
BYU -10.5 Utah Utah Utah
Boise State -2.5 Nevada Nevada Boise State*
Notre Dame +7.5 USC Notre Dame Notre Dame
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Vinny 2-6-0 (1-0-0) 52-44-0 (9-3-0)
Russell 4-4-0 (1-0-0) 57-39-0 (7-5-0)

Posted by: on 23 Nov 2006

228 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2006, 6:54pm by hrudey

Comments

1
by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 6:00pm

Troy Smith said "the best team won", Miek Hart said "things would be entirely different if the teams played again" They're both right. OSU would beat Michigan in a rematch by a much larger margin. Think about the 4 fluke plays that kept Michigan in the game:
1) Troy smith dropping the long snap
2) Datich's bad snap
3) Questionable roughing the center penalty on OSU
4) Branch's interception

As FO has pointed out on various occassions, who recovers a fumble (especially behing the offense's line of schrimmage) is a crap shoot.

These 4 plays led to 17 Michigan points (and stopping OSU from scoring at least 3).
Granted the roughing the passer penalty on Michigan was a fluke in the same way the roughing the center penalty was). Despite this, OSU showed they were the superior team, and Michigan never stopped OSUs offense (Ginn drops did most of the time)

OSU would win a rematch by at least 10

2
by Brad (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 6:45pm

i'm pretty sure there was nothing fluky about the roughing the center penalty other than the refs actually knew it was a penalty.

3
by ZS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 9:29pm

Fools! How could you not post your USC-ND picks immediately?! Don't you realize that it's the biggest game in the history of forever*?

*: The Biggest Game In The History Of Forever, (c) ESPN inc., can be used to describe any major rivalry game that is happening next week.

4
by Russell Levine :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 10:06pm

You don't need to twist either Vinny's or my arm to get us to admit Ohio State was the better team last Saturday.

5
by Flux (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 10:38pm

Perhaps I'm less forgiving than most, but it'll take a lot more than the death of one defensive lineman to diminish my joy in watching Miami's season crater. A half decade of 1-10s with annual leprosy outbreaks might blow the spark of sympathy to life in my black heart, but I'm not making any promises.

The fact that Florida State is falling down the same flight of stairs, and that Steve Spurrier is losing, albeit away from Florida, makes this pretty much the perfect storm of a season for every college football fan outside of Florida. The only way to improve things would be for Florida State and Miami to both finish 6-6, and somehow get stuck playing each other in some ignominious bowl game with "Weed Whacker" or "Winston Tires" or "Silicon Bowl" in the name. The OLN could bill it as "The Rematch!" and hope to trick some starry-eyed Michigan fan into misprogramming his TiVO?

6
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 10:58pm

Mike while I don't disagree with your thesis, that is a completely retarded argument. Take any 4 plays OSU scored on Those flukey plays led to 28 OSU pts!

OMG teh HAX!

7
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 12:01am

"Team that never makes mistakes will win."

HOYL CRAP.

8
by Vyse (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 4:40am

It's pwned. Not pwnd.

9
by kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:24am

Re #8: It’s pwned. Not pwnd.
Actually, I believe the past tense of "pwn" is "pwnt", as in "omg u n00b i pwnt u!!!1!11!!!1!".

Also, "j00" is an acceptable alternative to the more commonly used "u".

10
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 9:42am

I believe "pwnd" is an acceptable usage in 1337-speak. Click here for more.

11
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 10:18am

Thanks for the link, Russel. cuz 1337-speak is all about citing teh rul3z. ;)

12
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 10:33am

w00t!

13
by jcj022 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 11:46am

Just a little correction about UCLA. They played Northwestern in the Sun Bowl last year, itself a big time shootout.

14
by BC Eagle (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 12:39pm

Worst. Thanksgiving. Ever.

Fire Dana Bible now.

15
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 1:05pm

Fire Dana X. Bible? He had a .712 winning percentage in 33 seasons!

16
by Russell Levine :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 1:16pm

Re: 13

Good catch. It has been corrected.

17
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 1:18pm

Breaking news that should surprise nobody: Larry Coker has been fired. Well, at least they waited until the day after Thanksgiving to pull the trigger. It would've been a little more awkward firing him on a holiday, maybe during halftime. But he'll get to coach in a bowl if they're invited.

18
by asg (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 1:39pm

Fired after beating BC, no less.

19
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 1:49pm

Coker comes off a lot better in his press conference than the AD did.

Anyway, the linked article made me laugh.

20
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 4:07pm

That made me laugh, too, Trogdor.

Remember when Oklahoma got crushed in the Big 12 championship game but still went to the BCS title game? Did anyone suggest that Oklahoma should have just rested its starters? If not, why not?

21
by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 4:42pm

What did DeNiro say as Al Capone in "The Untouchables"? Like a lot of things in life, we laugh because it's funny, and we laugh because it's true.

The Coker presser was depressing. Seems like such a nice, grandfatherly guy. But Miami probably needs a ballbuster. Russ, odds on Schiano takes the offer?

22
by Rocco (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 4:56pm

Beautiful drive by A&M to take the lead w/2:32 left in the game. Franchione's job may be safe if they hang on here.

23
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:03pm

That was a video game drive. Once they got to mid-field it looked like they just kept running the ball, option or otherwise... lots of option.

McCoy took an absolute CHEAP SHOT after the int. The kid should be suspended for their next game.

24
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:04pm

McCoy throws an INT into an area with nobody but A&M players with 1:30 to go to give Texas A&M the ball back. Game likely over. Well after the interception, an A&M player just levels McCoy from behind, and receives a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game.

What a stupid play. If that hit had been a mere few seconds earlier, it would have been roughing the passer negating a game-winning interception. Gotta have your head on better than that, guys.

25
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:14pm

... and McCoy comes out for a final drive and his first throw is badly off. I can't tell, but it looked like he really hurt himself throwing that second pass. You can't fault the guy for trying but he shouldn't been out there. I thought I heard a scream on TV but it was probably a fan... I hope.

26
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:15pm

What is it with missed extra points this year?

Texas A&M's first touchdown, they missed the extra point. Texas took the lead 7-6 by making the extra point, forcing A&M to go for two on their next TD. In the end, it didn't matter.

Arkansas scores first in the Arkansas/LSU game, and they miss the extra point. There have been so many key extra points missed this year that it's almost inexplicable.

27
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:18pm

And another, closer replay of the cheap shot made against McCoy. Having seen it better now, the guy should be suspended all the way to and including their bowl game.

That was an ultimate cheap shot directly to the injured shoulder of a guy who was walking off the field and starting to take his helmet off. Inexcusable.

If I were the referee I'd almost have wanted to call it roughing the passer just to let Texas keep the ball. I wouldn't have, but I bet the referees there were thinking about it in the back of their minds.

28
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:20pm

That was beyond cheap... to me that means borderline legal but dirty. That was basically an assault, Colt was TAKING OFF HIS HELMET when he got hit. Pretty messed up thing to do, and the guy was like, angry and yelling on the sidelines as if it was justified. I certainly hope he's suspended for TAMU's bowl.

I'm surprised that the next hit (the legal one) was the one to take him out... it didn't look that much worse than any other, certainly not enough to expect a carting off. Not a good day for Mr. McCoy.

So I guess Oklahoma is the favorite to win the Big 12 now.

29
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:25pm

I don't doubt the A&M guy will be suspended either by his school or the Big-12. It was blatent headhunting. If this was hockey you would've seen an all out brawl, and frankly I'm surprised that didn't happen. You would think someone would come to the defense of the QB.

I was a little peeved Griese made the comment, "In the NFL, that hit would've been a flag". I don't think it would've been a flag, as McCoy was rolling out and a defender dived at him, so he had to jump to get rid of the ball... and then I was reminded by the NFL's asinine "Protect the QB mantra". I hope it doesn't trickle down to college.

30
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:29pm

Re: #28.

Yeah, when the referees told him he had to go to the locker room after being ejected, he got pissed and started ranting and raving on the sideline, pushing away teammates and offcials that started to direct him off the field.

Just stunning. I also agree with Matthew, had that been hockey, you'd see an all-out brawl (a good example would be the Capitals/Thrashers game on Wednesday - a headhunting-type hit that missed resulted in constant brawling and 144 penalty minutes handed out in the final minute of the game).

However, I think the hit that actually knocked him out of the game was legal. Maybe the NFL would have flagged it, but I have problems with the way the NFL flags roughing the passer.

31
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:35pm

If that guy is not suspended what's going to stop players from taking cheap shots at the end of games?

32
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 5:39pm

I agree it was a cheap shot on McCoy. I'd like to see stiffer penalties for personal fouls like that, but not like in the NFL, where it's only a personal foul if you hit the QB. Illegal hits should be illegal against anyone when it comes to things like helmet-to-helmet, after the play is over, plays like that.

Gary Danielson apparently believes that picking teams for the BCS title game is like comparing authors, and that computers aren't qualified do it. I feel compelled to remind those here who are not aware of it that Danielson is an ex-Detroit quarterback. (He's also a fellow Purdue alumnus, but I'd prefer not to think about that.)

UM title game drive: touchdown LSU! Go Tigers!

I don't know if I can actually root for Notre Dame, but I can definitely root against USC.

I would love to see Spurrier at Miami.

33
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 7:22pm

Great scouting by LSU. Down 17-12 in the 4th and on the LSU 26, Arkansas decided to go for it on 4th and 3. Arkansas had their best receiver (Monk) split wide right, two others wide left, and probably McFadden in the backfield. The play was a simple rollout right, supposed to throw to Monk. But LSU had it read perfectly - they had a corner and a safety bracketing Monk (CB shallow, S deep), plus a linebacker dropping into the slant lane. With no other options on that side, the QB takes a big sack.

The big question is, why not at least fake it to McFadden? On a 4th down, why give yourself only one option on the short side to throw to? He couldn't get it to anyone on the left, and their best player was reduced to blocking. If the right wideout was covered, the play was doomed. Not the best design I've ever seen.

34
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 7:38pm

Arkansas with a huge turnover, LSU takes over inside the 10, scores to go up 24-12.

Next possession, McFadden busts a freaking sweet 80-yard TD run, back to within one score with over 10 minutes left, the crowd's going insane!!! As long as the kick coverage is good, the Hogs have a good chance... oh, screw that. LSU takes the kick back for a TD. Crowd, suddenly silent.

So for those keeping track, the last four plays have gone: LSU TD, touchback, Arkansas TD, LSU TD. And now Arkansas just returned their kick to the LSU 40. Holy crap, when did this turn into a Pac-10 game?

35
by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 7:46pm

Yeah... Arkansas needs a QB really bad. They would've been smoked by OSU if they got there. BTW, if LSU is the most talented team in the SEC, then maybe the SEC doesn't have a lot of talent - they just don't look like an elite team.

36
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 7:48pm

Wow...

37
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:00pm

Why does Arkansas not just run the "Wildcat" formation all the time? Their QB su-diddly-ucks, but their running game is incredible with McFadden taking the snap. Their offense is a lot like West Virginia, only with worse passing.

Why not just run for the 2-minute drill? The clock stops on first downs, they have plenty of time! If you can pick up 15-yard chunks running, and absolutely can't pass, why not run?

38
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:03pm

Worst 2-minute drive ever. Congrats, LSU.

39
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:17pm

Nebraska's breaking out a lot of special teams tricks today. Maybe they should save some for the Big 12 title game and bowl game? Anyway, the first one was a fake FG for a touchdown, with a really nice route and catch by a defensive end. They just ran a fake punt (sort of), lined up in punt formation, then switched to a regular formation, then the QB walked towards the sidelines like he was about to call timeout (as they do when the defense is ready). But the center snapped it to the safety/RB, sweep right for the first. Very nice design, shame to waste it against a horrible opponent in a meaningless game.

40
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:17pm

Why are people saying the Arkansas loss hurts Florida's chances? It makes Arkansas look worse...but LSU looks better, and Florida beat LSU.

41
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 8:28pm

Because instead of the SEC championship being #4 vs. #5 at worst, it will now probably be #4 vs. #9 or so. Still a big game, but not quite as big of a potential splash for the voters (who have short memories and don't think things through to that level). They'll be more impressed by wins over #5 and #20 than over #9 and #12, or something like that.

42
by Towens (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 11:36pm

Even though they lost, it's cool that Oregon went for two and got it to go up 28-27 before the OSU kicker won it with a FG.

43
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/24/2006 - 11:40pm

What was going on in the Arkansas game? I thought McFadden was a RB? And he was playing QB? And I saw them drive nicely with him at QB.

They really put in their QB having a miserable day and tried to throw the ball, and then ended up not gaining any yards that way?

44
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 1:42am

Very nice design, shame to waste it against a horrible opponent in a meaningless game.

A game against hated Colorado is never meaningless.

45
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 1:55am

Louisiana Tech-Fresno State (lots of Bulldogs on ESPN2 today): a Fresno LB is blitzing, and the Tech OL immediately drops and cut-blocks him. Poof, there goes the knee.

Well, ESPN2 has a guy on each sideline. Rod whoever, the guy on one sideline, points out the cut-block, and agrees with the play-by-play guy that it was a cheap shot. The guy on the other sideline is Trevor Matich, so naturally he spends the next five minutes explaining why there's absolutely nothing wrong with this play.

I'm in Dr. Z's court on this one. There is no reason to let people block below the knees, ever. Maybe the NCAA could take a little care to protect all the players on the field, not just the ones whose positions begin with Q and end with uarterback.

Also, there have been two times when Fresno State DL have been way offside and have hit the Louisiana Tech QB. The QB ought to be spiking the ball immediately when that happens, but still, I wouldn't mind seeing an unabated-to-the-QB rule in the NCAA as well.

46
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:07am

Hi. I'm a cornerback for Fresno. My team has a six-point lead with under three minutes to go. I think I'll let the receiver I'm guarding get three steps behind me.

Not to worry though. After the inevitable touchdown, you just know they're going to botch the extra point.

47
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:07am

With 3 minutes to go, Louisiana Tech is driving down the field, down 6. They get an amazing 50 yard pass down to the 5, score on the next play.

The extra point dings off the upright.

What is it with extra points this year? Arkansas missed one, Texas A&M had one blocked...this season has seen an incredible number of missed/blocked extra points helping to decide games.

48
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:09am

I love how the cut block debate followed along positional lines. The DB and the non-player both think it was cheap and that kind of block is too dangerous to be legal; the offensive lineman thinks it's the greatest thing ever and anyone who doesn't want his knees blown out should just jump higher or something.

49
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:13am

Hi. I'm the Louisiana Tech defense. Knowing that Fresno doesn't want to make a mistake, and is just running the ball to eat the clock and make sure they have good position to make a field goal, let me spread the defense, allowing a run straight up the middle to go 25 yards for a backbreaking touchdown.

But don't worry. At the rate it's going, my counterparts on the Fresno State defense will let my players do the same thing.

50
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:15am

OK, Fresno marches right down and scores a TD. And the extra point is miraculously good. Now, will their DBs know enough to keep the receivers in front of them? With only 53 seconds left, you would hope so, but you never know. (side note - perfect time for a Wisconsin here)

51
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:16am

And they did let my players do the same thing. Unfortunately, my quarterback didn't throw it to my players, he threw it to the Fresno ones.

52
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:16am

Oh! LaTech's suck is more powerful than Fresno's suck! Game-losing INT.

53
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:17am

Bowl Bubble Update: Okay, we're up to 70 bowl-eligible teams, so currently 6 will get left out. We're down to 2 at-large slots, and Northern Illinois' win means that at least one will be taken by a 7-win team.

By my best judgement:

Bubble Burst: Kent St., Rice/SMU loser, Washington St., Arizona/Arizona St. loser, Pittsburgh*, Arkansas St.*

On the Bubble: Kansas

Near the Bubble: Wyoming, East Carolina, Cincinnati, UCLA, Oklahoma St.

(*Can still win and possibly move off the bubble)

Apparently LSU is now the favorite for an at-large BCS spot (along with Michigan, Boise St. and Notre Dame). That seems odd to me, I'd go with an 11-1 West Virginia over a 10-2 LSU, but I don't run the Rose Bowl. If they did go with West Virginia, replace Pittsburgh with South Carolina (if they lose to Clemson) or Alabama. Yes, there is a not-unreasonable scenario where Arkansas St. goes to a bowl game and Alabama does not.

54
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:59am

The more I think about Arkansas-LSU, the more I think it was perhaps the worst coaching performance I've ever seen by Houston Nutt. I mean, how can you throw 17 passes in a game where you get out to an early lead, your running attack is playing great, and your quarterback is totally incompetent? Going 3-for-17 for 29 yards, to me, says more about the coach than it does about the quarterback. I think Nutt has done a great job at Arkansas, but yesterday's game was just brutal.

55
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 1:56pm

Just for the nostalgia of it, I'm pulling for the Sooners today.

It could be like the 80's revisted- Oklahoma vs Nebraska in the final game of their regular season, playing for a conference title. Too bad the winner won't go to the Orange Bowl.

A buddy of mine is a HUGE Longhorns fan, and while he was upset by the loss to the Aggies he said he'd rather have his team play Tennessee, LSU, Auburn or Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl than Boise State in the Fiesta.

It brings up an interesting point- if your favorite team were in a major bowl, would you really want them playing Boise State ahead of a team from a major conference?

56
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 2:02pm

Just so my above comment makes sense to everyone, if Oklahoma wins today, they'll play Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. That's a lot more attractive than a Texas v Nebraska rematch.

57
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 3:14pm

Re: 5. My numbers have Florida State and Miami playing in the Emerald Bowl (in San Francisco) and the MPC Computers Bowl (in Boise) respectively. Normally Miami would play against the WAC Champion, but with Boise State having the potential to go to the BCS, who knows who will end up being their opponent. If they stay with a WAC team, it'll probably be Nevada.

Kevin11, it depends in what your perspective is. If you want to see a good competitive game with your school, then yeah, you'd like to avoid Boise State. Other than that, though, I think there are some definite benefits.

Here are how the Conference Championship games stand right now:
ACC: Wake Forest/Maryland vs. Georgia Tech
Big 12: Nebraska vs. Texas/Oklahoma
C-USA: Houston vs. Southern Miss/East Carolina
MAC: Ohio vs. Central Michigan
SEC: Florida vs. Arkansas

58
by Zac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 3:22pm

Re: Devin. I wonder if the NCAA is going to reconsider their bowl rules after this season, since giving preferential treatment to 7 win teams obviously favors the mid-major conferences. I mean, a 7 win team in a BCS conference will be in a bowl game. But in the MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt (and to a lesser extent, MWC and C-USA), sometimes a 7 win team will be left out because their conference only has 2 or 3 bids. And any time the Sun Belt gets a 2nd bowl team, you know that the system is screwed up.

59
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 3:32pm

If they are going to revisit the bowl rules, I would change it such that a 6-win team and a 7-win team are "the same" in terms of eligibility only if none of those 6 wins are against I-AA schools. It isn't uncommon to have a BCS conference school at 6 wins with one of those wins being over a I-AA school. Those teams with 5 I-A wins shouldn't get into a bowl over a team that has 7 wins over I-A teams, even if that team's overall schedule is worse.

However, a BCS conference school with six I-A wins may have a decent argument to get in over a non-BCS conference school with 7.

If the NCAA is going to say that all I-AA wins count towards making a team eligible, the least they can do is give those teams lowest priority.

60
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 3:32pm

Let's hear it for the direct snap to a RB - Percy Harvin, baby! (And yes, he's technically a WR, but he runs as much as he catches...)

61
by calig23 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 3:40pm

More missed extra point fun. In the showdown of crapitude between North Carolina and Duke, Duke took the lead at 23-17, but missed the XP. NC promptly returned the KO for a TD, and now lead 24-23.

62
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 4:29pm

WVU is losing going into the 4th. Still plenty of time left, but they need 2 scores. Pam Ward has been surprisingly bearable, in fact her color-guy is horrible today. Did they switch line-ups up?

All you need to know about FLA-FSU is that Gary Thorne is the color man... go work for OLN or something dude!

63
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 4:46pm

South Florida on a crucial drive starting with 11 minutes left. On 3rd down they make a pass where the receiver comes back for the ball and it's half a yard short. It looked like the original spot was wrong. After replay they got the first down with the correct spot.

Twice the calls on the field favored WVU and were over-turned by replay... good job!

64
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:08pm

Mr. Meyer, it may be time to join Mr. Tuberville in the penalty box.

This game is why you don't go to the media complaining about your BCS chances until you've actually won your games. Instead, go the Carr/Carroll route and just say things like "We'll see what happens", and if it doesn't work out, then you can have your moment on the microphone.

It isn't over - it's only 14-14, with Florida State just tying it up to start the 4th quarter. Florida will probably pull this out. But it's a cautionary tale for patience.

And then, the first commercial is Mr. Mellencamp's "This Is Our Country". Eek.

65
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:12pm

Rut roh, Clemson QB Will Proctor takes a sack for a loss of 10 on a 3rd down. Bad news when you've had kicking problems (blocks v. FSU). And Jad Dean (great name for a Clemson kicker) puts it wide left. Definitely good from 30, probably good from 35, and not good from 39. My SC prof friend is probably happy right now.

66
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:25pm

61 - And, to show it's not a fluke, Dook has the tying extra point blocked as well later, and still trails 45-44.

67
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:36pm

And West Virginia goes down. That pretty much locks up the LSU at-large BCS bid, as there was lots of discussion about whether LSU or WV should be chosen.

Let no one count their BCS berths before they're hatched...this year has had too many odd upsets to consider anything a lock.

68
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:56pm

Is USF-WV the biggest upset of the year? WV has rolled over teams all year on the ground, was playing at home, and didn't have any major injuries. Nor was there a rivalry factor, or a perception of this as being a "trap game." USF was 7-4 entering the game, but their best win was Pitt and their second and third best wins were probably Syracuse and UConn; I think it's fair to say the Mountaineers represent a big step up those teams. Hats off to the Bulls and Coach Jim Leavitt.

69
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:57pm

Oklahoma touchdown...and they miss the extra point.

13-7 Oklahoma.

70
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 6:08pm

Right now on Fox Sports' website, you can see video of Charlie Weis, with his thoughts on tonight's game, as well as "his take on fellow college juggernaut Pete Carroll." Hmmm, let's see. Pete Carroll's teams have played for the national title three yrs. in a row, winning twice, and may make it four in a row this year ... what's Charlie Weis done, again? I mean, not that beating all three service academies in the same season, and being proclaimed a genius by the likes of Brent Musburger, aren't impressive enough.

71
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 6:16pm

Charlie Weis can't read that comment because two of his Super Bowl rings are blinding his eyes.

72
by BB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 6:19pm

Well, Florida once again looked decidedly unimpressive, this time against a pretty cruddy FSU team that lost to NC State, and most recently got smoked at home by Wake and played a fairly close game at home to Western Michigan, who while finishing 2nd in their half of the MAC did lose to the vaunted Indiana Hoosiers. Yuck.

They did show something in coming right back down the field to score after FSU tied it up, but if the Florida team that played today shows up again next week they're going to lose to Arkansas, particularly if Harvin is out.

And if they don't win convincingly over Arkansas I have a feeling today's performance (and their lack of dominance over the last two months against 1-A competition -- since the LSU game really) coupled with Arkansas's loss making next week's game not as 'impressive' to the voters is going to keep them behind Michigan and out of the championship should USC stumble this week or the next.

I'd say here that I don't think USC is going to lose, but enough weird stuff has been going on that nothing is going to surprise me now.

73
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 6:25pm

This is where I'd mention that it would be great to have Florida (if they beat Arkansas, which is highly in doubt) play the USC-ND winner for the right to play tOSU for the title. Of course, I'm fully expecting Arkansas to run all over Florida (pessimistic Gator fan), rendering it all moot.

74
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 6:33pm

72: When Florida plays Arkansas, that will be their fourth BCS top 20 team. When USC plays Notre Dame, that will be their fourth BCS top 25 team. Florida's been grinding ugly wins for a while now, but didn't USC do the same? Mind you, I don't think there's a good argument to say Florida clearly deserves a chance instead of USC if both win out, but there's no real argument for USC either. Both played a tough schedule, both had a rough stretch against unranked teams, and both have a conference loss. It's just a stupid, stupid system.

75
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:14pm

74: The system is as "stupid" as you want it to be.

If you use "one team has 4 wins vs against Top 20 teams, while the other has 4 wins vs Top 25 teams" as the SOLE criteria to decide between two teams, you're simply looking for a bad outcome.

If we put ANY sport's championship criteria under the same microscope as CFBs, we'd find a whole lot of stupidity in those sports as well.

Bottom line: if you're looking to find imperfections (stupidity) in anything, I guarantee that you WILL find it.

76
by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:14pm

The SEC is really the best conference in the nation. Anybody who follows basketball at all should realize that.

They suck balls in football, however. Nice offenses, slackers!

77
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:33pm

Our (Duke) kicking game has been horrible all year. We had a 28 yard field goal to beat Wake Forest blocked at the end of the game. Those two misses killed us today, even though we recovered the first miss by getting a two point conversion. We should go for two on every touchdown.

Notes on USC-Clemson... South Carolina had almost 500 yards (492) of offense. The next highest total Clemson gave up was 332 to Virginia Tech. USC only punted once. The ACC is really bad. This also shows the depth of the SEC.

Oh, and for the person who says the SEC doesn't have much talent, just look at how many players they put into the NFL. LSU's roster is ultra talented, but they had road games at Auburn, Florida, and Arkansas. I don't think any team makes it through that stretch undefeated.

78
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:51pm

UGA's best offensive weapon today has been Reggie Ball.

79
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 7:54pm

Anyone have any idea why Georgia-Georgia Tech isn't being shown in HD? (At least here in Chicago.)

80
by BB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:06pm

MDS, my guess is that they had one of their trucks at LSU/Arkansas yesterday (the bigger game nationally) and that was their use of HD for college for the weekend. The rest of the trucks are probably at NFL sites and they couldn't get them between Atlanta and wherever they need them for the NFL in time for tomorrow.

That's just a guess, but given they don't have unlimited trucks, they probably figured they should use them on the biggest college game and then the NFL.

81
by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:17pm

The early AFC NFL game where I live (Knoxville), usually Tennessee vs. whoever, is never ever in HD.

82
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:40pm

RE #75:
Of course, the difference between college football's championship criteria and all other sports' is that all other sports settle the matter with some type of playoff system. There's a fancy Latin phrase that every first year law student learns, which eludes me at the moment, but, what it means is "The thing speaks for itself." In other words, we don't have to argue about whether the Steelers were the best team in the NFL last year, because they won the Lombardi trophy by beating Seattle in the Super Bowl. Some people say this is the beauty of college football. I say, if it's so beautiful, why isn't there a groundswell of popular support for other sports to adopt the CFB model?

83
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:48pm

Stupid play of the day: Reggie Ball gets sacked on 3&2 late to make it 4&11 from the GaTech 16 with 1:06 to play. The Jackets line up, and false start. After the false start, though, the ball was snapped, and the D-linemen kept at it, including a blow to the head by a Dawg. Which is a personal foul, wiping out 4&16 with the automatic first. Reggie Ball being Reggie Ball, the next play is a throw into triple coverage (for Calvin Johnson, at least), an INT and a Georgia win.

84
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:49pm

Wow, we're still alive for an Arkansas-Georgia Tech bowl game. Maybe they'll just decide to play without quarterbacks.

85
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:49pm

Beautiful throw by Reggie Ball- attempting to get it to Calvin Johnson, he forced one into triple coverage that CJ had no chance to catch. INT, game over, and there goes any chance of the ACC having a champion with a respectable ranking.

The lone ACC team that will be in the top 15 is Virginia Tech, which has an offense that could charitably described as "mediocre". And that's with Branden Ore who was out today.

86
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:52pm

#83- Don't forget, on the 2nd down play before that the GT receiver (Dunlap?) went out of bounds two yards short of the 1st down marker, even though he could have easily gotten the first down. That entire sequence was a massive display of stupidity by numerous players.

87
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:53pm

Re #82
Res ipsa loquitur. My least favorite phrase from Torts, primarily because nothing ever speaks for itself.

The conceit of college football has always been that the "national champion" is the best team over the course of the season. Other sports may be content with their playoff system, but said playoff system will not always result in the best team winning the championship. Instead, it shows which team is best able to win the matchups in the postseason tournament. So, what do you want, a team that plays and wins well over the course of a 12 game season + bowl, or a team that wins most or nearly all of their regular season games and then wins 6 games in a row in March and early April? Personally, I love the Big Dance, but I think what the BCS gives us is pretty special and there's enough room in the sporting universe for both.

88
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 8:57pm

Re #86
GaTech's last drive was a microcosm of why I watched Pitt-Louisville until it was 3 scores and the battle for the Governor's Cup was a 1 point game late. Such emanations of suck as the Dawgs and Yellow Jackets have put out this year should not be observed by humans on a regular basis unless not avoidable.

89
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 9:14pm

Re: 71

And that's why Al Groh and Dave Wannstedt should also be regarded as geniuses beyond all questioning. Virginia and Pitt are juggernauts, I tell ya.

90
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 9:17pm

Oh, what the hell...

GO PENGUINS!!!! WOOOO!!!!!

Hmmmm. It's been a long time since I've been to a YSU playoff game. I wonder if it's sold out. The stadium's not that far away...

91
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 9:29pm

RE #87:
Thanks for refreshing my memory (or maybe not). I don't know. While I don't like the BCS (I'd actually prefer a return to way things used to be), it does make for interesting discussion, and I don't think it's going away anytime in the near future. And since I still prefer watching college football to pro games, I should probably just learn to embrace it.

92
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:05pm

Bowl Bubble Update: OK, things are pretty much settled as far as the last few slots go. I'm assuming Troy will beat 0-10 FIU next week and assure a 2nd berth for the Sun Belt. Beyond that, the only main non-BCS questions are the Arizona-Arizona St. game, and the last C-USA spot. (East Carolina if they win, or who knows.) We're up to 72 eligible teams, so 8 will not get to play.

Bubble Burst: Kent St., Arkansas St., Pittsburgh, Washington St., Arizona/Arizona St. loser, Wyoming, SMU, Kansas

On the bubble: East Carolina

Not totally safe: Oklahoma State (I'm assuming they get the nod over Kansas for the last Big 12 spot)

We can't have an Arkansas-Georgia Tech BCS game, though. SEC champ goes to the Sugar Bowl, ACC to the Orange. (I guess they could both wind up in the Chick-fil-a, though.)

93
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:20pm

Big Ten refs? Oh no. I can see the headlines now: "Controversy In The Coliseum."

94
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:28pm

GAH! 70! You bought the hype! USC has been to the last TWO National Championship games and has won 1.5 over the last three years. After last year's ESPN led charge to crown USC the best team EVAR, it's really frustrating to know that every sportscaster has taken it as the truth.

Darious Walker looks like he has head gigantism.

You know, USC should spend some time learning new songs. I know it's difficult, but I bet they can learn another if they try really hard.

95
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:43pm

we don’t have to argue about whether the Steelers were the best team in the NFL last year

But that's precisely my point! :)

One certainly *could* argue that Pitt wasn't really the best team in 2005, just the one that got hot at the right time, but we simply choose not to.

BTW the above argument has a lot of validity, but in the end it was the Steelers that did what they needed to do- much like the winner of the big game in Glendale.

96
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:43pm

Looks like band practice for USC tonight. Notre Dame's secondary is woefully overmatched.

97
by Thok (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:54pm

Re: 92

Any reason you're giving UCLA the final Pac-10 spot? Assuming a fairly likely loss to USC, they'll be 6-6 and 4-5 in conference; I think it's a toss up whether they or Wash St goes to a bowl. (I think both would be worse that a 6-6 Arizona and better than a 6-6 Arizona St.)

98
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:55pm

95: The point being, Pittsburgh wasn't the best team in the regular season, but the NFL system provides a clear path to decide a champion. If you get into the playoffs, and win out there, you are crowned. You can still debate afterwards about the regular season (as a Jaguars fan, I heard more than enough about the schedule leading to the playoff berth), but the final result of this series of athletic competitions is an open competition where any team has a legitimate shot of qualifying. The BCS, not so much.

99
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:55pm

Just looked at the season-long results. Has there really not been a single push on a game Vin and Russ picked this whole year?

100
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 10:58pm

Well. If USC wanted to come out and say to the poll voters "We're legit!" they certainly did so in the first quarter.

We'll see if that continues.

Re: the media crowning Weis...

I couldn't believe they were calling him "The Lord of the Rings". Sheesh. One cannot take his Super Bowl rings away, but let's see how he manages as a head coach before anointing him the Best Ever. So far, the only thing we've learned is he can beat the service academies really badly. Mark Madsen has multiple NBA championship rings, too (not that Weis wasn't a key member of the Patriots, but he wasn't the head coach, either, and that does mean something).

101
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:00pm

Re: 93, would you prefer Pac-10 referees?

The ND players look disinterested compared to how pumped USC looks. The Irish front seven has to step up and get after Booty (yes, I just typed that). Or the cuisinarting of the ND secondary will continue.

102
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:01pm

Cuisinarting.

I like that gerund.

103
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:12pm

Didn't know Quinn could run like that. Deceptively fast.

104
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:13pm

Do you think Michael Irvin will have anything to say about that Brady Quinn run?

105
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:13pm

Quinn reminded me of that long Elvis Grbac run just there . . . At what point should the Irish start onside kicking after scores?

106
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:14pm

Darius Walker looks a lot different from the "Hootie" days . . . Nice hoodie, Chaz

107
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:15pm

Brent can't say "Scramble for the Ball" on the fumbles, it's another TM for FO.

108
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:18pm

And a Notre Dame fumble on the 5 after Quinn's run.

A USC score on this drive and...well, it isn't looking pretty. Notre Dame looks unprepared for USC - perhaps the Commander in Chief's trophy isn't good enough preparation?

109
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:21pm

#97 - Yeah, the last pick for the Pac-10 is the Hawaii Bowl, and I read a quote from the director that they'd take UCLA in any case. (I don't have a link handy.)

110
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:22pm

Great announcer line I heard earlier today: "Georgia drops nine, they'll rush three." Well, no wonder their defense is good!

Does any somewhat major program have a worse quarterback than Georgia Tech? Has there been a worse one in recent memory? I'm just amazed every time I see Ball suck more than I'd thought possible; I only saw a little bit of the game today, but it was truly mind-blowing. He'd be the captain of the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.

111
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:22pm

Big time thorow by Quinn for the TD. Impressive.

112
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:23pm

Pretty nice play fake by Quinn, too.

113
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:24pm

#110- I think you could argue that Mike Teel at Rutgers or Casey Dick at Arkansas are at Ball's level of suckitude. I'd still take Reggie though, if only because he has such a great weapon that he's wasted.

114
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:26pm

Re: 110, I think the impressions of Ball are even worse than usual b/c he has such a weapon in Calvin Johnson. When is the last time the Number 1 pick in the draft was so underutilized.

OK, so that's not much of a defense of Ball.

Terrible decision by Booty on that pick.

115
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:27pm

I'm never going to get used to this "clock runs before the change of possession" rule. Just silly.

Did you guys see the so-cal coeds with the "nice booty" shirts? Oh those wacky Trojan fans.

Thanks for keeping it close, JDB. Game on.

116
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:27pm

I think USC is bored and wants to make sure people still watch the 2nd half.

117
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:28pm

Actually, Teel didn't suck today. 2 passing TDs, no picks. Blame Syracuse if you want to (1 of the TDs was a blown coverage), and the evidence of the whole season still points to suck, but for today he gets a pass.

118
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:29pm

A shame MNF won't use the same "game box" that's in play for ESPN-brand college football. It's far less obtrusive.

119
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:29pm

Not really sure what Booty was looking at there. Not only was the receiver covered, there was a safety over the top closing tight.

Good decision by the RB not to throw the pass. Not often that you see one have the composure to not heave-ho it and just try to get a few yards.

For all Quinn's amazing mobility, that was a horrible option play.

120
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:31pm

119, I'm with you on the option pass, it's nice to see backs who have the presence of mind to not force the ball. It's like everyone has the hero complex in them. A NFL back actually tucked the ball last weekend, I can't remember who but I was thinking, "that's a rare sight."

121
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:36pm

If I were a coach with a running back who I trusted enough to tuck and run when it was covered, I'd call the halfback option pass two or three times a game.

122
by hector (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:37pm

I'm not wearing a stopwatch but Samardzija looks slow.

123
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:43pm

Notre Dame is 0 for 3 on 4th down, USC is 2 for 2. That's really the difference so far. That, and the blocked punt of course - 'SC is probably kicking themselves over that one.

Should be an interesting second half - USC gets the ball first...that first drive may set the tone.

124
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:43pm

Re 122:
He's deceptively slow?

125
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:47pm

RE 90:
I stand corrected. You're right, but that doesn't alter my point about Weis being compared with Carroll. As for USC-Notre Dame, based on the first half, I think either one of these defenses would require about 14 players to slow down Ohio State.

126
by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:51pm

"If I were a coach with a running back who I trusted enough to tuck and run when it was covered, I’d call the halfback option pass two or three times a game."

With Michael Vick I might do it a half-dozen times.

127
by chris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:53pm

Re #95/98:

When a team beats five of the best teams in the country in CBB or three of the best teams in the NFL, you can call it a fluke. But it's more impressive than anything that's required of a national contender in college football.

Unless we should be blown away by the feat of winning a bowl the season before, getting a nice preseason ranking, beating four teams with directional names and maybe taking out one or two quality opponents.

Of course, I'm fine with no rankings and a 10-game schedule if everyone else is good with it.

Re #113: In terms of suckitude, Morelli at Penn State and Drew Weatherford at Florida State also merit honorable mention.

128
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 11:55pm

One would point out that #70 did not say he "played in the national title game three years in a row". He said he "Played for the national title three years in a row." That is 100% correct, given that he won a share of the national title in winning the first of those three games.

And saying the first game was .5 a title is pedantic, it's a split title, but no archivist considers it a 'half title' when counting up national titles. LSU doesn't have X.5 titles, nor does USC.

129
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:01am

#127- Morelli does suck, but I don't think he's had any performances quite as dreadful as what Ball has produced. Weatherford belongs in the discussion though, you're right.

130
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:05am

Re 128:
So, I could say that Notre Dame has 33 national titles? I mean, they've won 11 AP titles and 22 mactbone National Titles. I'm being generous in giving USC a half of a NC - they agreed to the BCS and the BCS awarded the NC to LSU. They can't whine now and claim they won a NC that year.

131
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:09am

Lee Corso had an interesting line just before the end of halftime, saying that while Notre Dame is losing on the scoreboard, they are winning the coaching battle.

These are interesting things. It was widely reported that Weis decidedly outcoached Carroll last year too, while losing the game. I even read things saying that Weis was at least "even" in coaching against Tressel in the Fiesta Bowl last year, while losing.

It's like media types are afraid to go against the "He has Super Bowl rings so he must be good - anything else is the fault of luck, his players, the other team having a good game, what have you."

To Weis' credit, he has always stated that if his team loses the game, then he lost the coaching battle.

It's possible to be the better coach, and lose. It's also possible to be the lesser coach in a game, and lose. If Weis comes out and Notre Dame dominates the second half, but loses in a flukey way, you can say he was the better coach. If USC comes out and has also made decent halftime adjustments, and wins, then one can't throw the laurels over solely Weis.

132
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:11am

The BCS freely acknowledges USC's national title in 2003 - it's even on the BCS webpage.

The BCS agreement was for the Coaches Championship only - the AP never agreed to award its championship to the winner of the BCS game.

133
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:17am

I will take that one step farther and hopefully end my part in the argument - whether you, or I, or LSU fans, or USC fans, or whatever, acknowledge a split title in 2003, 50 years from now, when you pick up the college football record books (hopefully by then they'll have considered a playoff system), USC and LSU will still be listed as champions.

And Auburn 2004 will still be listed as 14-0 and having not had a shot. That is the real problem, IMO.

134
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:27am

Muffin Top is a decent college coach. And if he wasn't at ND he wouldn't have to have his team exposed before a national audience in advance of a bowl game.

135
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:29am

My argument is that they weren't playing for a NC and if they were, then every bowl game is a NC game and we should disband the BCS. This game right now is officially the mactbone NC game, whoever wins is my NC. That's silly. It's just as silly to say that there were two NCs. There can't be, that's the whole point of a NC. Since it's called a split title, then call it a half NC or just clarify between AP and BCS/Coaches champions.

136
by hector (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:32am

Say this for Weis - he was great playing Vinny on the short-lived show "Lucky."

137
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:33am

Little Tuna? Please.

Terrible spot for ND, and they just barely make it.

138
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:35am

There's been split NCs for about five decades. One can do what many media outlets do and call it the "Mythical National Championship", since it's decided solely by polls, but what you believe (and I mean absolutely no offense), means nothing given that the record books and college football "history", not to mention the BCS, have already decided differently.

139
by hector (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:37am

I think Walker might be more in the doghouse for some missed blocking assignments than the fumble.

Is anyone else listening to Bob Davie and thinking "this man was a head coach?"

140
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:37am

In the interest of honesty, I did forget that USC didn't actually play in the title game in '04, but regardless of semantics, they've either been the best or second best team in the country for the last three years.

RE #127's comment about no rankings and a ten game schedule: one of my biggest problems with the BCS is the effect of pre-season rankings, and the NCAA's standard argument that a playoff would require student-athletes to miss too much class time seems pretty hypocritical, in light of the addition of the 12th regular season game, which for most teams was a meaningless non-conference game. Teams that play in a conference title game play 14 games now. If you go back to 11 games and no conference title games, the maximum no. of games a team could play under a 16-team playoff format would be 15, and most of the additional games would be played during the semester break. But, again, it's not going to happen.

141
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:40am

Re: 67. Not that I'm disagreeing with you necessarily (more the voters), but how can they take LSU over Auburn when Auburn beat LSU earlier in the season?

142
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:40am

What did the trainer just hand Brady Quinn that he promptly popped into his mouth? I hope that was just an Advil.

143
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:40am

Re: #140.

It also is patently hypocritical given the amount of class time college basketball players miss. College football players are generally on campus at least from Monday to Thursday morning, even for away games. College basketball, however, happens all over the place, including multiple away games during the week at times.

In addition, the argument that "football would go into January" was thrown out the window with the advent of the Jan. 8th championship game.

144
by hector (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:42am

That Brady Quinn "call me back, dammit" scene was fantastic.

145
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:42am

I can't believe Herbstreit just said Brady Quinn is in a war. Uh, Herbie. Three thousand Americans have died in the Middle East in the last five years; their average age is about Brady Quinn's age. That's a war. This is a football game. Please don't make me have to tell you again.

146
by hector (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:45am

Well said, MDS. I could not agree more.

Steve Smith, you have to catch that. (I hope the Panthers don't draft him, what a logistical nightmare.)

147
by Nate (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:47am

140 - It's also hypocritical, in that D-IAA, D-II, and D-III NCAA football has playoffs.

148
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:48am

Also, Charlie Weis is probably a swell guy and a good coach (although with Quinn graduating, he might wanna consider hiring someone to teach his team how to run the ball and play defense). I was simply trying to point out how the media slavers over ND ad nauseum. And speaking of pre-season rankings (which I just was), if ND wasn't ranked about 10 spots too high to begin with (as usual), there's no way they'd even be in the discussion for the Fiesta Bowl.

149
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:00am

YSU! YSU! YSU! 13 straight home playoff wins! Awesome!

150
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:07am

The road is "paved with Trojans"? WTF?

151
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:07am

Did Brent just say the road was paved with Trojans? Too... many... jokes...

152
by admin :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:08am

"The road to Glendale is paved with Trojans."

Where did *that* line come from?

153
by scottnot (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:10am

Obviously, the cheerleaders van is just ahead of the players bus.

154
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:10am

I have a hard time cutting ND any slack for the MI loss when USC gave them oodles of chances to take over the game and ND is still losing by 3 TDs.

I have seen the Trojans play better. This is a "B" effort tonight. And they are winning large.

ND ain't all that and a bag of chips.

155
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:11am

Brent is very environmentally (and prophylactic) friendly.

156
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:17am

Anyone with a better grasp of how the computer rankings work wanna take a stab at this? Say USC and Florida win out, and Nebraska loses in the conference championship game. Won't it be likely that Florida has a better schedule strength than USC, given:

LSU will be ranked ahead of ND.
Both teams would have wins over Arkansas.
Tennessee and Cal will be pretty close to even still (with UT having the head-to-head win).
Florida's loss will be to a ranked team, while USC lost to an unranked team.

Now, I don't know with any certainty how the middle of the SEC teams rank compared to the middle of the PAC-10, but Georgia's wins over GT and Auburn in the past few weeks probably balances out anything Oregon or Arizona can point to.
Of course, with a high-profile, style-point win over ND vs. another grinding win for Florida, there's no way Florida bridges the gap in the polls -- and I'm still expecting Arkansas to put the hammer down on UF.

157
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:18am

The next time Michigan plays Notre Dame should be September 15, 2007. I have a hard time believing the Rose Bowl will go for a rematch instead of say an LSU or Florida (if they somehow lose to Arkansas).

158
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:19am

Notre Dame's last three losses are to the top 3 teams. And their best win in the last two years was over a Ball-led team. In other words, their resume is only slightly better than Cincinnati's - the Bearcats have better wins, but more losses to not-as-highly ranked teams. Why shouldn't Cincy go to the Rose Bowl then?

159
by scottnot (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:21am

'I can't say enough about Brady Quinn's courage'
-Try harder Brent

160
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:23am

Anyone know when was the last time there were this many fourth-down conversion attempts in one game?

161
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:27am

Um.... did the Proehl-esque receiver actually hold onto that TD catch long enough? He did take about four steps before it was knocked away, and I think it should've been a TD, but I've seen people maintain possession for a lot longer with it being called incomplete.

Sweet. Nothing is more exciting than the onside kick returned for a TD.

162
by scottnot (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:30am

...but coach if they score every time we do, how will we catch up?
Volume, my son, volume.

163
by admin :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:30am

For crying out loud, he's not a Proehl-esque receiver. He's a Roger Clemens-esque receiver.

164
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:30am

I'm not sure how to respond to Brent Musberger referring to a player as "covered in sweat." I thought of a few more risque jokes, but I'll just say that I find it amusing that Brent seems to see that as surprising. Like a football player shouldn't be sweating by the end of a game.

165
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:34am

Oh I love it when I have a long comment written up and it gets lost in the ether. Grrrr.

To summarize: YSU/JMU was an awesome game, Kelly Stouffer is worse as an announcer than he was as an NFL quarterback, the sideline reporter was actually really good and shut up when the play started, Stouffer really sucks, and congrats to the Penguins on their first win post-Tressell. Excellent fun. Lots of trick plays, great drives back and forth in the fourth, great gameplans and adjustments. Great game.

166
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:37am

I was hoping USC would win, simply because I want to look at their female fans in the championship game. Is that wrong?

167
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:38am

Why did they kneel that last time? The last play ended with 24 seconds, the clock would've run out. Does Sanchez have a rushing yardage incentive clause in his contract, and they needed him to take a loss so they could pay him less?

168
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:41am

So, is there a reason ND shouldn't drop big time in the polls? Losing big on the road to a good team isn't noble. Buffalo makes a good buck doing the same thing.

Love seeing ND slapped on national TV. That Muffin Top has to waddle across the field with the Droopy Dog face just adds to the moment.

169
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:45am

Isn't Weis the entire muffin? Or a baker's dozen?

170
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:51am

Why does ND deserve to go to a BCS Bowl.

Because Notre Dame's quality wins are... ?

171
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:55am

170 - The mighty Georgia Tech by 4. Failing that, Penn State and Purdue (i.e., equivalent to Wisconsin, except Wisconsin only lost to Michigan by 14.)

172
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:56am

I don't think Charlie Weis has beaten a team that ended up in the top 25.

173
by Towens (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:02am

So if ND's no good, who has Michigan beaten that's any good?

174
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:05am

Well, assuming that LSU gets a spot and Rutgers loses to West Virginia, the non-Notre Dame alternatives available (given the 2-team/conference limit) are:

ACC: Virginia Tech
Big East: West Virginia
Big 12: Oklahoma/Nebraska loser
Pac-10: California
Non-BCS: BYU

I'm not a Notre Dame fan, but none of those teams are walking around with a stellar argument either.

175
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:14am

Last Bubble Update: Add Louisiana-Lafayette to the list, with 73 total bowl-eligible teams, and no possibles left. East Carolina won, so they're in a game. The Kansas-Oklahoma State choice is really the only one left.

176
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:15am

I think, should Rutgers beat West Virginia, Louisville may be an attractive at-large bid.

But I find it difficult to see a scenario where Notre Dame doesn't receive a BCS bid.

177
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:20am

Hmm.

Well, there's four at-large spots.

LSU, Boise State, and Michigan will take three of them, assuming USC makes the title game.

I guess it all depends on how far Notre Dame drops. Remember Notre Dame is guaranteed a spot if it's in the top 8. I don't see it remaining in the top 8 after today, but the computers might see it differently.

I actually think it would have been better for Oklahoma if Texas hadn't lost. Oklahoma may have been an attractive at-large candidate, but neither OU nor Nebraska will look as attractive after losing their championship game.

178
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:25am

173: Wisconsin. (If 11-1 with one win over a top-25 BCS team is a good team).

179
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:28am

Wisconsin is ineligible for a BCS at-large berth as Michigan will be guaranteed one (a BCS conference team that is not a conference champion is guaranteed a spot if it is ranked #3 in the final BCS Standings, and is also guaranteed a spot if it is ranked #4 but #3 is a conference champion).

No conference is allowed more than two teams in BCS games, thus Wisconsin is completely shut out.

180
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:29am

Devin, if Cal gets into BCS eligibility (Top 14), I think the Rose Bowl (which would have the first two choices of teams with USC and Ohio State in the championship) would gladly choose to have Michigan vs. Cal instead of Michigan vs. Notre Dame, or any of the other options.

181
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:30am

179: I was answering a different question (if that was directed at me) -- Michigan's quality win now is Wisconsin. I'm aware they're ineligible -- of course, if they had to play OSU, they'd either be much further down in the BCS or things would be a little more interesting.

182
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:32am

Re: 181

Whoops. I mis-read the numbers when reading up and thought you were suggesting them as an at-large.

My mistake, and my apologies.

183
by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:32am

Tarrant, hrudey was answering the question of who Michigan has beaten, not who deserves a BCS spot.

Devin, isn't it basically Northern Illinois in the at-large spot at the Poinsettia Bowl? All the other conferences fill their alloted bowls, and Northern Illinois (and possibly some Sun Belt teams) is left alone at 7-5.

184
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:34am

#174- As a VT fan whose seen most of their games this year, they don't belong. The only difference between PSU and VT this year is the schedule- both have o-lines that seem to think blocking is optional, QBs that are erratic (Glennon pulled a Plummer today- threw an INT with his left hand), stud RBs which are way too much of the offense, and talented wideouts being choked off by the problems at QB and o-line. They've been playing better since the BC game, especially on defense now that Ellis and Rouse have decided to start playing hard, but I'd rather not watch them get drubbed by Michigan. ND's going to get the BCS berth by default, unless Auburn makes a convincing argument.

185
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:36am

Shoot, I think LSU's going to get in, which knocks out Auburn most likely.

186
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:43am

180 - I don't see how Cal can jump enough teams in the human polls to make that possible - they only have Stanford left (which might *hurt* them in the computers), and can only jump three or four spots in the polls (over some potential combination of BC, GATech/WF loser, Nebraska, and Rutgers.)

187
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:47am

Yeah, I guess the Rose Bowl could take Cal. But then the Sugar Bowl gets the next pick, they can't take LSU, so it's Notre Dame or the Big East champ. What do you think they'll do? (And then the Orange Bowl has to take the Big East champ, so there's only 1 SEC team and Alabama doesn't go to a bowl. That'll go over well.)

Yeah, a MAC team will take the at-large in the Poinsettia. But the Big 10 didn't fill all their slots (do they ever?) and the Motor City Bowl has an at-large spot. Barring a colossal upset, there will be 2 7-win Sun Belt teams, and they will have to take 1 of them for that spot.

188
by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:01am

"I don’t think Charlie Weis has beaten a team that ended up in the top 25."

I think Georgia Tech is still in the top 25. And that's pretty much it.

It seems to me that ND gets to BCS bowls mostly by losing close games to really good schools. Of course, this year, they figured, "hey, why bother keeping things close, someone's going to put us in a BCS bowl anyway, so let's just lose by 20 points."

189
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:13am

OK, next year I'm getting my own blog for this stuff.

First, my list above was just the best available team from each conference, I hadn't looked at the BCS standings. Cal can't climb up enough to get into the top 14, forget about them.

Here's some truly off-the-wall speculation. Presumably W. Va., Notre Dame and Arkansas will drop down in the BCS standings, and the new 5-7 will be Wisconsin, Louisville and LSU in some order - they're very close now. Now, if Florida loses next week, they'll drop out of the #4 spot, and I have no idea who would take it then. If Rutgers wins, they clinch the Big East - but in theory, Louisville could still be #4, which is an automatic BCS berth. Then Notre Dame probably takes the last at-large and the SEC goes bonkers.

I have NO idea if the math could actually work out for that - the pollsters might move Rutgers ahead of Louisville because they beat them. But that's really the only way I see Louisville getting an at-large.

190
by Thok (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:26am

Incidentally, the Sun Belt has not one but two chances to get the last 7-5 win team (both Troy and Louisanna-Lafayette are 6-5 with games against the dregs of the Sun Belt remaining). Obviously, if both win Troy is easily ahead of Lousianna-Lafayette.

If both lose than there's 6-6 craziness, with either Pittsburgh or one of the Pac 10 teams being the front runners, I guess.

191
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:53am

Using the guidelines for the BCS, here's a rundown of how the BCS will select all 10 teams, plus my best guesses for who it will pick:

Automatically qualified teams, in priority order:

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings will play in the national championship game.

Ohio State is a lock. USC, assuming they don't lose to UCLA next week, is the likely opponent.

Total teams chosen so far: 2.

2. The champions of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conferences automatically qualify for BCS games each year.

ACC: The Georgia Tech/Wake Forest winner will be in the Orange Bowl.
Big XII: The Oklahoma/Nebraska winner will be in the Fiesta Bowl.
SEC: The Florida/Arkansas winner will be in the Sugar Bowl.
Big East: Either Rutgers (with a win)/Louisville (with a win and Rutgers loss)/West Virginia (with a win, a Louisville loss, and a better BCS position than Rutgers and Louisville) will be in a BCS bowl. The Rose Bowl has priority, but I doubt it would pick a Big East team. The Sugar Bowl has 2nd pick, and the only other real possibility is an SEC rematch (see #7, below), so it seems the most likely destination.

Total teams chosen so far: 6.

3. One team from among the champions of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference automatically qualify for a BCS game if either: A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or, B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

Boise State, ranked 11th before this week's games, is a near-lock to not drop below 12th, especially since Notre Dame, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Texas all lost. Even if Boise State did drop, they will likely be ranked at leat 16th and ahead of the ACC champion (either Georgia Tech, 16th and falling, or Wake Forest, 21st and rising). They will almost certainly play in the Fiesta Bowl, the bowl with the lowest priority.

Total teams chosen so far: 7.

4. Notre Dame will automatically qualify for a BCS bowl if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings.

Notre Dame is currently 5th in the BCS. The human polls usually love Notre Dame, I'm not sure how heavily the computers will weigh a road loss to the #2 team in the country, and teams #6 and #7 both lost. However, for safety's sake, let's assume they fall below 8th.

Total teams chosen so far: 7.

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.

Michigan will finish no worse than 3rd, unless Florida jumps them in the polls. Let's assume that unlikely scenario happens.

Total teams chosen so far: 7.

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.

There's no chance Michigan falls below #4. They will certainly be picked by the Rose Bowl.

Total teams chosen so far: 8.

7. If any slots remain unfilled after the placement of all teams qualifying for an automatic berth, then the bowls shall choose their participants from the "pool of eligible teams" (see below.)

Pool of Eligible Teams

If berths are available after the automatic qualifiers have been identified, then the bowls shall select at-large participants from the "pool of eligible teams," which shall include any Division I-A team that is bowl-eligible and meets the following requirements:
A. Has won at least nine regular-season games, not including exempted games, and
B. Is among the top 14 teams in the final BCS Standings[, and
C. Is not from a conference that is already sending 2 teams to BCS games.]

Wisconsin is knocked out by provision C. Eligible teams will certainly include Notre Dame, LSU (currently #10) and Auburn (#12), and possibly Louisville (#9, if they win next week but don't win the Big East), Florida (#4, if they lose to Arkansas), and West Virginia (#7 and falling, if they beat Rutgers but don't win the Big East).

Notre Dame will certainly be picked for one of the 2 remaining spots (in priority order, Rose, Sugar, Orange), although I'm not sure whether the Rose Bowl wants a Michigan-Notre Dame (or, less likely, USC-Notre Dame) rematch. If not, the Sugar Bowl will take them.

The remaining slot will likely be filled by an SEC team, either Florida (if they lose to Arkansas) or LSU. LSU played both Arkansas and Florida this year, and a conference rematch seems unlikely for the Sugar Bowl, so I'd guess LSU/Florida would play the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl.

Total teams chosen so far: 10 of 10.

Of no real relevance, but I thought it was interesting: Kirk Herbstreit left Rutgers off his AP ballot this week, but voted 6-6 Arizona (who he had left off his ballot the previous week, and who then lost 28-14 to Arizona State) 25th. No one else had Rutgers lower than 21st, or Arizona ranked.

192
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 4:27am

RE various comments concerning ND's lack of quality wins:
It's not like the games they've lost have been close, either.

193
by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 4:37am

A couple corrections/clarifications to #191:

1. Arizona lost today, not last week. It was still an inexplicable vote.

2. I didn't mention the possibility that the Rose Bowl could take an SEC team other than its champion. I know I'd rather see Michigan-LSU than Michigan-Notre Dame again, but I'm not selling tickets or hotel rooms.

3. It is unlikely, but possible, that Cal could be BCS-eligible, and the Rose Bowl might pick them over a more deserving team. Cal would need to beat 1-10 Stanford, plus jump 5 places in the BCS standings from their current 19th. (Looking at the current standings: Texas, Georgia Tech and Boston College will drop from the mid-teens because of their losses, the West Virginia/Rutgers loser will drop out of the Top 14, Oklahoma would drop if they lose to Nebraska, and
Arkansas might if they lose to Florida.)

Hawaii jumped out to a 17-0 lead on Purdue by halftime tonight, gave up 35 points in the 2nd half to fall behind 35-27 midway through the 4th, but came back to win 42-35. In all, they gained 653 yards, with Colt Brennan putting up a pedestrian 33 of 48, 434 yard, 3 TD, 1 interception performance (plus 6 rushes for 56 yards).

194
by Vinny (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 4:46am

Travis, great stuff. I think a Michigan-LSU matchup be very interesting, but I will plead ignorance as to how well LSU travels, even with the novelty of playing in the Rose Bowl.

195
by Tom W (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 4:51am

Just to expand on my last comment, in the last six games in which they've faced a quality QB (Booty, Henne, Troy Smith, Leinart, and Stanton twice), Notre Dame is 1-5, allowing an average of 40 pts./game.

196
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 5:33am

So in short, everyone hates Notre Dame except Notre Dame alumni and NBC. Because the Notre Dame alumni and NBC love them so much, we are all forced to suffer because BCS bowls love teams that travel well. I never really thought ND was evil until now.

Why can't they just be rotated in and out of all the conferences on a yearly basis? Then when conferences have Notre Dame they can hold a conference champsionship game in someplace like Kansas City. Otherwise, they just get placed into one of the divisions and have to earn their way to the BCS bid.

... and I'm sick of the ESPN synchopants acting like ND deserves to be in a BCS game. Won't they be the only team with TWO LOSSES?

197
by jw1328 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 10:44am

Won’t they be the only team with TWO LOSSES? No.

198
by Towens (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 10:58am

196: ND hatred fascinates me, maybe because I lived for years in South Bend but am a Penn State fan. I wouldn't mind Notre Dame going to the BCS because, as pointed out above, the alternatives aren't that great either, and they're a fun team to watch, with a lot of O under Weis and so forth.

ND won't be the only BCS team with two losses. The Big 12 and ACC champs will, for starters. They probably won't be the only at-large team with more than one loss.

Yes, ND and its backers can be annoying, and ND does have some inherent advantages, but are ND supporters much more obnoxious than Ohio State or Michigan or SEC fans? Not in my book.

199
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 11:22am

ND's going to the BCS, the only question is whether it's Pasadena or New Orleans.

Personally, I hope it's the latter. I have no real desire to see a ND-Michigan rematch (unless you can guarantee me another 26-point win).

I would think that LSU travels very well, and I hope the T of R people know it.

200
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 12:51pm

194: LSU travels extremely well, and every city that has the Tiger fans like them because they, umm, "help" the restaurant and bar industries pretty well. What would make me choose LSU/Michigan for the Rose Bowl would be that in addition to this little tidbit: LSU and Michigan have never played each other. Yes, that kind of shocks me, too.

Anyway, I've been living vicariously through Georgia Tech this season, but I should have known by now not to trust Reggie Ball. As a Tech friend of mine and I decided last night, Reggie Ball is the UGA MVP, and he's been so for four years running.

201
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 1:20pm

Re: 132, 133, others:

There have been split champs in the past, but only once in the current BCS system.

The NCAA once again shot itself in the foot. Instead of putting their foot down and saying "LSU is the national champ, and what the sportswiters say is irrelevant, it's like them voting the Philadephia Eagles the #1 team despite them not playing for the Super Bowl and we DO NOT RECOGNIZE IT", they were weak and played along with the controversy.

202
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:21pm

I guess so, Vinny. Four decades in Big Ten country has led me to believe that Big Ten refs are the worst, and anyone else's would be better. I think if we put our opinions together on this board, there would be an eight-way tie for worst refs.

Sagarin still has UM #2 and USC #3 (although they are flipped in his composite ratings and USC #2, UM #8 in his Predictor). No one else has done their rankings yet (boo! these are computers; they don't need time to think, results should be updated in real time).

Right, ND won't be the only two-loss team in the BCS.

One will be ND. Another will be the Big 12 champ, with either two (OU) or three (NU) losses. The ACC is in the same boat, a two-loss Wake team or three-loss Tech. An Arkansas win would put another two-loss team in the BCS. (And to think that Rutgers could still sneak in by beating West Virginia and having Louisville upset by UConn. Okay, probably won't happen.)

I don't see Cal making the BCS at this point: I don't believe playing Stanford will help any of their computer ratings. It's possible they'll get a big enough boost in the polls to overcome that ...

I vote for Michigan-LSU. Of course, Michigan and Boise State have never played either.

I like it when an undeserving ND team makes the BCS, just so I can watch them get crushed on national TV ...

203
by Trevor (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:36pm

200, Amen brother. Sorry bastard. I hate that fucker with every existense of my being.

204
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 2:56pm

Rutgers doesn't need Louisville to lose - they win in a two-way tie because they beat Louisville. The funny thing is that West Virginia's loss yesterday really didn't matter - they'd still need to beat Rutgers and have Louisville lose to UConn (although then they would have won outright, instead of hoping to win the three-way tie based on the BCS rankings).

205
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:01pm

Re: #201.

The NCAA doesn't recognize any official national champion in I-A football, nor does the NCAA have any say over the BCS system. They weren't going to get involved.

The NCAA homepage under "Division I-A Football Champions" just lists the teams that have been ranked #1 in the polls each year, with the subtext that they don't actually recognize any of those teams as real champions.

206
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 3:06pm

That said, the BCS itself could have said "We refuse to acknowledge USC as anything other than the Rose Bowl champion." And they tried that, at first - before the bowls. If you recall the BCS Selection Show that year, the commentators were quite obviously trying their best to point out that there was "no controversy at all" and that the system worked.

However, they couldn't stand up to the constant controversy, and so by the time the bowls came about, USC was playing for the national title, and they had to acknowledge it. Since the Division I-A championship is determined solely by the polls (remember that - the BCS doesn't give out the championship - the Coaches' Poll does - it's just that the coaches are required to vote the BCS winner as #1), and is in essence a championship that only works if "the college football body politic" believes it does, they had to cave.

Interesting, though, that the very next year, when Auburn was out in the cold, the BCS did stand by its system and say "Auburn gets nothing." That was really the first year that the BCS didn't sit there and change their formulas around as a result of controversy. Every other time there was BCS controversy (the Kansas State issue its first year, Nebraska, Oregon, Oklahoma/LSU/USC, etc.) they caved and at the minimum tweaked the system. For Auburn, they just slammed the door.

207
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 5:57pm

Well, so far, the Harris and AP polls have LSU at 5 now, ahead of Wisconsin. I still wonder how much the Arkansas loss and the impending plummet by ND will affect the computer rankings for Michigan, USC and Florida.

208
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 6:24pm

With the Coaches' and Harris polls now out, one can say that even if none of the computers flip from Michigan #2/USC #3 to USC #2/Michigan #3, USC has gained enough to overtake Michigan in the BCS Standings, .9393 (USC) to .91355 (Michigan).

Florida lost votes in both polls, and barring a USC loss is only a spoiler, whose computer ranking can move around enough to push either USC or Michigan in or out of the title game.

209
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 6:40pm

Agreed that there's no chance that Florida does anything in the human polls -- even if they were winning impressively, USC usually seems to get the benefit of the doubt over SEC teams, and Florida's winning as unimpressively as possible. I'm just curious about the computer portion -- right now, Florida has the best win (i.e., over the highest-ranked team), plays in the only conference with four of the top 10-12 teams in the various rankings, and if they win over Arkansas, that devalues USC's win a little more. Of course, I think Arkansas comes out and puts a number on Florida this week, and probably helps kill some of the potential controversy -- though I wonder how many more "USC gets in, SEC team doesn't" years we need before the SEC decides to stop catering to the Rose Bowl conferences.

210
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 6:49pm

The computers aren't going to push Florida to #1, though, and Florida would have to be #1 with Michigan at #3 and USC #4 in order to gain enough points to take #2 in the overall BCS Standings (and even that might not be enough).

It is possible that Florida moves up to #2 or #3, pushing USC to #4. But in that case, they'd simply be acting as a spoiler, placing Michigan in the title game over USC. In the Colley Matrix, a USC win over UCLA combined with a Florida win over Arkansas actually pushes Michigan down to #4, with Florida moving up to #3.

As for the SEC saying "Enough is enough!", the current SEC commissioner is the current BCS commissioner, so the SEC does have some ability to affect the system this year.

That said, the computers almost across the board have the Pac 10 as the "best conference" this year. I'm not sure I agree, but according to Billingsley's website, one key is the SEC's generally putrid out-of-conference schedule, which many of the computers weight very heavily - that's bitten the SEC in the past (it was a key reason Auburn was kept out in 2004).

211
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 7:09pm

Well, as much as I hate a rematch, bumping USC and nudging Michigan in would create the most friction in the system, so that's the best I can hope for. The SEC's non-conference schedule is generally bad, true -- especially for Florida, with FSU tanking, and of course Arkansas' season makes USC's look that much better. I just have to learn to ignore that the second best PAC-10 team got handled by the fifth-best SEC team (and is higher ranked than said PAC-10 team). Maybe the SEC just needs to drop the title game and try to set up a post-season game in that slot where they play the PAC-10 or Big 11 champion.

212
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 7:33pm

The Pac 10 and Big Ten champions play each other in the Rose Bowl (barring a championship game appearance), and neither conference has any interest in ending that matchup.

That said, I think all it would take to help prevent some of the screwage SEC teams have had and get them into the championship game would be upgrades of the nonconference schedules across the board of the conference. What is often ignored in Auburn's 2004 debacle was that Auburn, while #3 in the polls, was a close #3. However, in the computers, they were a distant #3, and largely due to their nonconference schedule. If Auburn could have managed to be #2 in the computers, and Oklahoma #3, it would have been Auburn in the title game. That still would have been a debacle, but for Oklahoma. To put it another way, Auburn was so far behind in the computers that even had Auburn had Oklahoma's position in both polls, but the computer rankings were unchanged, Auburn still would have been left out.

Many teams have the I-AA team here and there, but a single I-AA team on the schedule destroys one's computer ranking when it comes to being at the top of the BCS mix. It really hurts. And the computers don't care about the argument that the SEC is the "toughest conference", because most years (including this year), they don't rank the SEC as the toughest conference.

213
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 8:04pm

I meant trying to replace the SEC championship game with a SEC-PAC 10 challenge match. I'm not sure that it's even possible -- I have a feeling that only a conference championship can be scheduled as a post-season pre-bowl game. Not to mention getting the conferences to approve of something radical like that even if it were possible.
I guess it doesn't matter. Apparently, the four games scheduled outside the conference are more important than the 8 (or 9 in PAC-10) played in it. Or do the 11th and 12th teams drag down the SEC so much that having 6 of the top 29 at worst doesn't matter?

214
by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 8:29pm

The NCAA doesn’t recognize any official national champion in I-A football, nor does the NCAA have any say over the BCS system. They weren’t going to get involved.

They continue to shoot themselves in the foot. All they have to do is recognize the winner of the championship game as the...uh...champion.

215
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 8:59pm

As odd, yet appropriate, as it sounds, the NCAA only recognizes champions that arise from NCAA-run playoffs.

Since the bowl games are not NCAA-run, and the champions are decided by polls, the NCAA does not recognize a Division I-A champion.

Note that the BCS does not award a championship in and of itself. That is one of the most mis-believed parts of the BCS. The Coaches Poll awards a championship, and the trophy for that championship is a crystal football (which has been awarded for much longer than the BCS has been around). The Coaches Association has simply signed a contract with the BCS that forces coaches to vote the winner of the BCS game #1.

Remember that - it is still the Coaches' Poll awarding the championship. The BCS needed the Coaches' Poll Championship (they also tried to get the AP championship but couldn't get them to agree, back when the BCS started) in order to have any legitimacy. If the coaches chose, they could (when the BCS came up for renewal) choose to stop awarding their championship to the winner of the BCS game, in which case the BCS would end.

The Coaches' Poll legitimizes the BCS - it is their championship the BCS is awarding - not a BCS championship. And the NCAA has never recognized the Coaches (or AP) Poll Championship, so it doesn't recognize it now, either.

216
by Pete (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 9:55pm

Why can the BCS not allow Sagarin to use his predicted rankings? These are actually useful for predicting real outcomes of games!
This would place the Gators as the #10 team in the country. Frankly, I think this is about right. They have not crushed any 1A opponents and every team is either competitive in the 4th quarter or was actually ahead in the 1st half.
This computer ranking would get marginalized by the other computer rankings, which still would be compared against the Polls. The Gators should hope they do not play against Ohio State, Michigan, or USC. Arkansas has a good chance of beating them, especially if their Freshman phenom, Harvin, cannot make the game.

217
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 10:25pm

No BCS computer ranking system is allowed to take into account margin of victory.

Sagarin's PREDICTOR uses margin of victory - the ELO-CHESS rankings only count wins and losses, hence they are the ones the BCS takes.

218
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sun, 11/26/2006 - 10:42pm

Pete: What's Sagarin say about how USC would match up with Oregon State? Or Cal vs. Tennessee? Or Cal vs. any of the teams they've lost to? But his ratings have finally helped explain how the computers think the PAC-10 is a better conference than the SEC -- he's got SC at 3, Cal at 11, Oregon State at 15, Oregon at 18, UCLA at 24, Arizona State at 23, Washington State at 27, Arizona at 22, and Washington at 35. The BCS goes 36 deep and has exactly three PAC-10 teams in the top 36 ... but Sagarin has 9. But, hey, that's not the predictor -- if the predictor says that BYU and Michigan are a virtual toss-up, I'm sold.

219
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:16am

I think the Predictor likes BYU because they have a lot of stomps. That would also seem to be why it doesn't like Florida as much; like Michigan, they have a few guts.

The thing about the SEC is that while they have a number of top teams, they're not all playing each other, and the ones that are end up beating each other: Florida hasn't played Arkansas (yet) or Auburn, for example. LSU did play most of them, but lost to two of them, and played both Mississippi schools, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, and Fresno State.

So in a sense, what you need is a small group of teams to play each other as little as possible and to beat everyone else they play, like OSU-UM-UW.

220
by hrudey (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 1:37am

Florida did play Auburn, actually, although if it could be erased, I'd be fine with that. ;) Florida actually missed out on the Mississippis (of course, we historically lose to them), as well as Arkansas (until Saturday). I still think it's ridiculous that California's considered as having played a stronger schedule than Florida by a wide margin in some computer polls -- and I wonder how much of that is affected by Oregon State beating USC and inheriting second-hand victories over Arkansas (and third-hand wins over most of the SEC).

221
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 2:47am

Reggie Ball has to be the worse 4 year starter at QB ever in college football.

222
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 4:44am

Reggie Ball has to be the worse 4 year starter at QB ever in college football.

Possibly true, at least in the last 5 years. Reggie Ball, as compared to the two best recent candidates, Zac Dahman (Army, 2002-2005) and Zach Mills (Penn State, 2001-2004):

Career Stats:

Ball: 49% completions, 6.00 yards/attempt, 57 TDs, 53 interceptions.

Dahman: 53.4% completions, 5.83 ypa, 36 td, 48 interceptions, negative career rushing total.

Mills: 56.0% completions, 6.67 ypa, 41 td, 39 interceptions.

Career Record:
Ball: 29-19, including 0-4 against Georgia.

Dahman: 7-35, including 0-4 against Navy (note: did not start in all 42 games, and didn't play in 5 others).

Mills: 20-23 (note: did not start in all 43 games, and didn't play in 4 others).

Best argument for "worst of recent memory status":
Ball: In the last drive of a 19-13 game against Georgia in 2004, Ball lost track of the downs, proceeding to spike the ball on 3rd down and 21, then threw the ball away under pressure on 4th down.

Dahman: Started every game for the first NCAA team in history to go 0-13, Army in 2003.

Mills: Led Penn State to 3-9 and 4-7 records in his junior and senior seasons; with Michael Robinson (largely used at WR during Mills' tenure) moved to QB on a permanent basis the next season, Penn State went 11-1.

223
by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 10:26am

While I know that no BCS computer ranking system is allowed to take into account margin of victory, I would prefer that this no longer be the case. Originally, the BCS used Sagarin's predictor ranking (or especially the rating), which I find to be much more accurate.
Wake Forest beat Florida State by 33, but Florida only beat Florida State by 7. While this does not guarantee that Wake Forest is a better team than Florida, it might lend itself to such a prediction.
Sagarin's predictor rankings use a diminishing return so that beating a team by 63 is not that much better than beating a team by 35. If a game is within a single score then a single play or officiating call could (or may have) determine the outcome. I do not believe that Florida has had those dominating victories over its 1-A opponents.
One thing to keep in mind (and a good reason for the polls) is that these computer rankings do not take into consideration injured or suspended players (I heard USC had injury problems in the middle of the season, but is much more healthy now). The margin of victory also does not consider strange results such as Florida making a last-ditch trick play effort that resulted in an 11-point loss rather than 4-point loss or the bad officiating call on Leak's forward pass that was mis-ruled as a fumble. BYU has a higher predictor, but is rated at 20th compared to Florida being #6, which I believe to be more accurate than the ELO-Chess #31 (BYU) to #4 (UF).
And yes, I agree that Reggie Ball is so bad that he gives Calvin Johnson opportunities to look even better. I think i would rate the USC Wide Receiver as a close 2nd best receiver behind Johnson, but is a receiver really worth a top pick in the draft? Financially, what player is a good investment at that point?

224
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 1:59pm

#222-

I don't think it's fair to include Dahman, since Army is on a lower plane than GT. As for Mills, he was a quality QB his freshman and sophomore years, and they went 9-4 in 2002. Mills suffered a shoulder injury his sophomore year, and he went from having a somewhat accurate, decently-powered arm to having an inaccurate noodle arm. Also, when you consider that neither of those players had anyone like Calvin Johnson around, so the award has to go to Ball.

225
by hrudey (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 2:35pm

"Wake Forest beat Florida State by 33, but Florida only beat Florida State by 7. While this does not guarantee that Wake Forest is a better team than Florida, it might lend itself to such a prediction."

And Boise State beat Oregon State by 28, but USC... well, that's not even worth continuing. :)

I'm just still amused by Sagarin having the PAC-10 teams ranked as high as he does... 9 of the top 35 in the ELO_Chess? Arizona State, at 7-5, is ranked 23 in the ELO -- with two wins over teams with winning records, Northern Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, Georgia at 8-4 is two spots higher with less than a half-point difference, despite wins over still-ranked Auburn and Georgia Tech? Of course, continuing the other discussion, beating Georgia Tech isn't as impressive because, apparently, there's something in the water up in Atlanta that turns players into awful QBs. :D

226
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 4:21pm

zlionsfan:

As much as I hate to dispute with a FO immortal (I would think FO Hall of Fame would be a lock for the inventor of the template), Florida DID play Auburn; it's the Gators' only recorded loss to date.

227
by chris (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 5:54pm

Applicable 14-year-old quote that Tarrant should be quite familiar with...

"I don't think there are any David and Goliaths anymore... Names and logos don't mean anything. You don't beat someone just because of your name and logo."

I'll take an impartial computer any time against favorable impressions of one's favorite teams. Thought so in 2001. Same in 2003 and 2004.

In the meantime, I hope that some programs take this as an actual challenge to schedule some quality H/Hs in non-conference instead of waiting for other conferences to genuflect. And yes, that would also include having contingency plans for a longtime rival that goes to pot.

228
by hrudey (not verified) :: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 6:54pm

Given Florida's weak non-conference schedule and USC's dominating non-conference schedule, I'm kind of confused, especially with the PAC-10 being a better conference than the SEC. Pre-bowl, Florida will have played fully one-fourth of the top 16 BCS teams, with two of those four games on the road (and the third a neutral-site game). USC will have played four of the top 20 if Nebraska doesn't lose, with one of those games on the road. And nobody that USC has played has beaten any other top 10 team, while Florida's played two teams with victories over top 10 clubs (if we expand it to 11, USC gets credit for playing Arkansas, who beat Auburn, but Florida plays Arkansas and played Georgia, who beat Auburn). At least the Pac-10 has Cal in the top 20, albeit behind the 5th-ranked SEC team that beat them solidly.