Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Jan 2007

SDA's BCS Championship Preview

by Vinny Gauri and Russell Levine

Russell: Well it comes down to this, Vin. The longest bowl season in history is finally at its conclusion. I don't know about this playing the title game on January 8. The lull since the Sugar Bowl has killed some of the excitement for me. But what a Sugar Bowl that was!

Vinny: Ah yes, good ol' schadenfreude. Come on, Russ -- you're better than that!

Russell: Clearly, I'm not. I don't pretend that it's healthy, but I might have taken more pleasure from Notre Dame's loss than I did disappointment from Michigan's. As Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday told me, "the Sugar Bowl is definitely the foie gras for you." Speaking of Orson, be sure to check out this week's podcast as the Florida blogger and I discuss the title game, Nick Saban, the bowl season, and whether or not God cares about the point spread. Really.

Vinny: Well, I'm not sure if it hurts any less to be crushed by superior talent (as ND was by LSU) as opposed to being badly out-coached (as Michigan was by USC). Of course, Charlie Weis can never be out-coached, can he?

Russell: No, he makes his adjustments on the fly. Obviously the first game in Glendale, Monday's Fiesta Bowl, was the game of the bowl season thus far. What an unbelievable performance by Boise State, rallying from a crushing pick-six thrown by Jared Zabransky with three trick plays to beat Oklahoma in overtime. But does that game mean we need a playoff, or would a playoff ruin the story if Boise just went on to lose the following week? I think people may be overlooking the former.

Vinny: The Fiesta was the best finish to a college game in recent memory. It's not often I agree with Lou Holtz, but the Broncos were the best-prepared bowl team I have ever seen (making the Michigan staff's cluelessness in the second half of the Rose all the more painful). How much money did Chris Petersen make for himself last week? Whether it's next week or years from now, he can plunk down that game tape on any athletic director's desk and inspire Pavlov-like drooling.

Tostitos BCS National Championship (at Glendale, Ariz.)
#1 Ohio State (12-0) (-7.5) vs. #2 Florida (12-1), Monday, 8 p.m. ET, FOX

Russell: We're going to try to do this in a somewhat orderly fashion, breaking down the matchups and then getting to our picks. Let's get to it.

Ohio State Offense vs. Florida Defense

Russell: This is the strength-on-strength matchup in this game. Can Florida contain the Buckeyes and Troy Smith, particularly when they go five-wide and spread the field as they did to great success against Michigan? That could be the key to the game.

Vinny: The secondary was a clear weakness for the Wolverines, whereas Florida is solid with Utah transfer Ryan Smith (eight picks) and the rest of its secondary. Florida's defense doesn't appear to have a real weakness (fifth in pass-efficiency defense, sixth in rushing defense). Defensive end Derrick Harvey and linebacker Brandon Siler have been all over the field. But Arkansas did have some success spreading the field and using misdirection out of their Wildcat formation against the Gators.

Russell: Looking back to the Ohio State-Michigan game one more time, the biggest concern for the Gators has to be that Ohio State neutralized a great Michigan pass rush not necessarily by stifling it with the offensive line, but by using a variety of three-step drops and relying on Smith to make the right read, which he did nearly every single time.

Vinny: Jim Tressel will try to mix in expert fundraisers Antonio Pittman and Chris "Beanie" Wells, hoping to hit a few big gains. Only Auburn was able to run the ball with effectiveness against Florida this year, and star defensive tackle Marcus Thomas played well in that loss. Florida hasn't missed a beat since Thomas was kicked off the team in early November.

Russell: You can argue that Florida's defense is faster than Michigan's, particularly at linebacker and safety (hello, Reggie Nelson!), and should have better success containing the spread. But if Smith is on his game as he always seems to be in big spots, I'm not sure how much Florida's speed matters. I don't expect Ohio State to score 42 points, but they'll have plenty of success and hit some big plays against the blitz to Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez.

Vinny: I think the Buckeyes' depth at wide receiver will again prove huge in this game. The Gators will be hard pressed to match up their nickel and dime packages against Brian Robiskie and Roy Hall in addition to the Buckeyes' headliners.

Florida Offense vs. Ohio State Defense

Russell: If Florida is going to win the national title, I think it will have to be because its offense outplays the Ohio State defense. I don't see this as a low-scoring game, so Chris Leak & Co. must produce points and take care of the football. Chris, please, no shovel passes intercepted and returned for TDs, OK?

Vinny: You hit on the wild card for the game: which Leak will show up? Every quarterback has an off day now and then, but Leak tends to the extremes. He can look like an accomplished surgeon or like Dr. Nick Riviera. And he might be the most scrutinized and embattled -- at least within his own fan base -- quarterback since Chrix Rix or John Navarre. Yes, he's had to adjust to different philosophies and coordinators through his career, but that hasn't pacified the Florida faithful.

Russell: We also know we're going to get some trickeration out of Urban Meyer. Maybe not as impressive as Boise State in overtime, but trickeration nonetheless. Receiver passes. Leak throwing the ball to Tim Tebow. Something along those lines. Ohio State's defense is very athletic and has played beyond expectations this year, but it can be fooled. The Buckeyes have the horses to slow down Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell if Florida plays things straight-up.

Vinny: In the absence of a consistent running game, Meyer has used the razzle-dazzle maybe even more than he wanted. But for the first time in months, senior tailback DeShawn Wynn is reportedly healthy. That could take some of the pressure off of Leak. And the Buckeyes won't be able to key on the versatile Percy Harvin quite as much.

Russell: I think Florida would be wise to pass to set up the run, much as Michigan did in the second half to great success against the Buckeyes. I hate to keep going back to that game, but it's one of two Ohio State played against (ahem) elite teams this year and is a valuable comparison tool. If Leak avoids those one or two killer mistakes that always seem to plague him, and Harvin gets off for a big score or two, Florida has a chance.

Vinny: Linebacker James Laurinaitis got most of the ink (and the Nagurski Award) for the Ohio State defense. There's no question he's a great athlete, but he's much better in pursuit than coming off play-side blocks. The Buckeyes defensive front (Vernon Gholston, Quinn Pitcock, Jay Richardson) is much better than advertised, especially in the pass rush. Wynn needs to have a good day for the Gators to have a chance.

Coaching

Russell: I've been impressed with the job Meyer has done this year. It's not easy to work a freshman quarterback (Tebow) into the lineup at the expense of a senior and not fracture the team, but he's done it. It seemed like a year ago, Meyer was determined to prove his offense could work in the SEC, but this season he has made the adjustments without scrapping his philosophy. The Gators aren't explosive by any means, but they don't look like an outmanned team running a gimmick attack, either.

Vinny: It took him a while, but Meyer seems to have realized that Leak isn't comfortable with the speed option plays that Alex Smith ran so well at Utah. His best move may have been keeping on Charlie Strong as defensive coordinator after [NAME REDACTED] was shown the door.

Russell: And don't forget about co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, a name that should ring a bell for Michigan fans. Senator Tressel, of course, has nothing to prove here. He's got the national title that Meyer wants, and he's won five of six against Michigan. He's also won three Fiesta Bowls. Even though this isn't the Fiesta, and it's at a new stadium, he'll feel right at home in the desert.

Vinny: His record in big games is ridiculous. And nobody is better at tailoring a game plan to his team's strengths and his opponent's weaknesses.

Russell: Meyer coaches with a chip on his shoulder, and I think you see that in his decision-making at times. I'm thinking specifically of the fake punt deep in his own territory against Arkansas. I don't think he'd be wise to make another call like that against Ohio State. Florida is good enough to win this game without taking huge chances.

Special Teams/Intangibles

Russell: Considering the overall strength of the two teams, it's surprising that neither excels in special teams. Both excel in kick coverage and neither has explosive return games overall. Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey has attempted just 11 field goals on the year, making eight, but that's a dream season compared to Florida's Chris Hetland, who was a miserable 4-of-13 this season.

Vinny: Things will definitely get interesting if it comes down to placekicking. Florida was good enough to survive against Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State while Hetland struggled (0-for-6 combined in those games), but probably not this time.

Russell: One area where Florida needs to show some more discipline is penalties. The Gators were the second-most penalized team in America and lost 65 yards per game to yellow flags -- 22 yards more than Ohio State's average. The underdog can't afford to be undisciplined as well.

Vinny: In the return game, Ginn has remained a threat while playing through a foot injury. Freshman Brandon James has flashed big-play ability on returns for the Gators.

Russell: Ohio State is better in both converting third downs and in preventing third-down conversions. If that holds, it means added snaps for the Ohio State offense. Florida is going to have to come up with a turnover or two to stay in the game -- much as Michigan's plus-three turnover margin in the second half allowed it to fight back in a game in which it was being dominated.

Vinny: Dominated? I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that.

Russell: Consider it a make-good for the Sugar Bowl remark.

The Picks

Russell: I've backed off my anger-driven "Ohio State is going to destroy Florida" pick of December 3, but I still don't see where much in this game favors Florida. Nothing that has happened in the bowl season thus far tells me that Ohio State's results vs. a Big Ten schedule mean less than Florida's vs. the SEC. The Big Ten's best teams are just as good as the SEC's.

Vinny: No argument on that front. Some are making comparisons between Florida and Tressel's 2002 squad that was counted out against defending champ Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. But this Florida team has even more talent (and fewer psychopaths) on offense.

Russell: Florida may be more battle-tested, but I don't think it matters. Ohio State played in plenty of big games in calendar 2006 -- including last year's Fiesta Bowl -- and always gave a good account of itself. This will be a game for a half, but Ohio State will capitalize on turnovers in the second half to win it going away. I like the Buckeyes to cover.

Vinny: I've come around to thinking Florida will make this a game. This is the best defense Troy Smith will have ever faced. As great (and robotic) as he is, the Gators secondary can pose some problems. I think Wynn is the key -- the Buckeye defense can be had if they're kept off-balance. I'll take the Gators and the points.

Bonus SDA Podcast

Thanks to Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday for joining Russell for this week's podcast.

You can listen online by clicking the play button below, or download the podcast for later by clicking the MP3 icon beneath the player. Past episodes can be found by clicking the "Posts" button. To automatically receive future episodes through iTunes, click the "Subscribe Free" link.


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The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Picks of other BCS games included for reference
Favorite Spread Underdog Vinny Says Russell Says
Rose Bowl (Pasadena), Monday, January 2
USC -1 Michigan Michigan Michigan
 
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale), Monday, January 1
Oklahoma -7 Boise State Boise State Oklahoma
 
Orange Bowl (Miami), Tuesday, January 2
Louisville -10 Wake Forest Louisville* Louisville*
 
Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), Wednesday, January 3
LSU -9 Notre Dame LSU LSU
BCS National Championship (Glendale)
Monday, January 8, 8 p.m. ET FOX
Ohio State -7.5 Florida Florida Ohio State
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
NOTE: "Last Week" refers to the Non-BCS bowls picks column.
  Last Week* Season Total
Vinny 6-9-0 (0-1-0) 72-66-1 (10-6-0)
Russell 6-9-0 (0-1-0) 78-60-1 (9-7-0)

Posted by: on 07 Jan 2007

312 comments, Last at 12 Jan 2007, 12:57pm by SGT Ben

Comments

1
by Justin Singer (not verified) :: Sun, 01/07/2007 - 11:40pm

Florida really struggles on offense...you cant win if you cant score...27-14 OSU

2
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 01/07/2007 - 11:53pm

It looks like Bobby Petrino has finally found a job he couldn't say no to. He's agreed to become the next coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Personally, I'm upset because jokes about Petrino and his real-estate agent were my bread and butter.

Who does Louisville get? Jim Mora's available, though he could always ditch them to take the U of Washington job.

3
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:09am

I don't think the problem with Leak is so much Good Leak v. Bad Leak, it's that he's Chris Leak. And what Chris Leak does is make 2-4 bonehead passes a game, every game. If tOSU can convert a couple of those into interceptions, this could be a long night for the Gator faithful.

As a tOSU fan, I have faith in Tressel's ability to (i) come up with a superb gameplan and (ii) bog down in scoring range, as in last year's Fiesta Bowl. But, Troy Smith and the WRs corps plus the Akron twosome give me confidence enough. 38-20 Buckeyes is homer-ish, but wouldn't surprise me.

4
by fourth (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:13am

Re: 2
Louisville is screwed. They need to just stay in house with this one, or else look into prying Boise's coach away...don't know if that one is possible.

Re: Championship
Florida fan and I can't wait to see our D vs that O. I feel a low scoring, penalty filled game coming on, and coming down to a kick--UF 24, OSU 23

5
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:38am

I think this will be a much better game than most think. One aspect that is being highly overlooked is the fact that Florida's offense (specifically, the O-line, Wynn, Harvin & Caldwell) will be healthy for the first time since the LSU game (Oct 7). Many people see Florida's offensive struggles during the 2nd hald and think their offense sucks. Leak will make his mistakes, but beyond that, the offense struggled in the 2nd half of the season mainly b/c of injuries.

It will be exciting to watch Troy Smith, Ginn, Gonzalez, et al, face the Florida secondary. This will be BY FAR the fastest secondary Ohio St has faced all season. I think Florida can contain (not shut down, but contain) Ohio St's passing attack, but I don't think Florida will be able to stop the Buckeyes running game. I think this will be the first time since he was kicked off the team in early November that Florida truly misses DT Marcus Thomas.

I see a close first half, but I think Ohio St is just too good and will pull away in the 2nd half by tiring out the Gator D with their running game. I see the final score as 31-17, but I think the game is closer than the final score may indicate. And that's coming from a Gator...

6
by kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 6:00am

Considering the overall strength of the two teams, it’s surprising that neither excels in special teams. Both excel in kick coverage and neither has explosive return games overall. Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey has attempted just 11 field goals on the year, making eight, but that’s a dream season compared to Florida’s Chris Hetland, who was a miserable 4-of-13 this season.

Outside of placekicking, Florida's special teams have been outstanding this season. They set a school record for blocked kicks, they recovered several turnovers off of punts (including the one for a TD against Arkansas), and the only thing capable of stopping Brandon James since he won the return job at midseason has been the yellow hanky (he's had literally 6 return TDs in the latter half of the season, but 5 of them were negated by penalties- and at least 3 of those penalties were incidental fouls away from contact). I think if Florida's going to win, its special teams are going to play a huge part.

One area where Florida needs to show some more discipline is penalties. The Gators were the second-most penalized team in America and lost 65 yards per game to yellow flags — 22 yards more than Ohio State’s average. The underdog can’t afford to be undisciplined as well.

Have you forgotten FO's own research showing a slightly NEGATIVE correlation between penalties and wins? Penalties aren't always the result of undisciplined play- sometimes they're the result of aggressive play. If a player jumps before the snap twice, and is once whistled offsides and the other time it isn't called and he gets a 6 yard sack, that's better than if he never jumped before the snap, was caught unprepared, and got overpowered by an offensive lineman who came out of the blocks quicker. Likewise, often taking a holding penalty is far better than allowing a sack, since you keep the down.

Florida really struggles on offense…you cant win if you cant score…27-14 OSU
Florida has the 21st ranked offense in college football in yards per game, with 410.3. Ohio State? 15th, with 417.7. They faced a pretty tough schedule of defenses, too. I see a lot of people talking about how Florida struggles on offense, but really they don't- or rather, Florida's "struggles" are still better than 90% of the nation's "successes". They aren't the most standard offense on the planet, but the Gators can move the ball very well, and they possess a ton of quick-strike capabilities. Really, the largest criticism of the offense has to be one of inconsistancy rather than mediocrity.

Also, I'm a biased Florida homer, but if I were gambling on this game, I'd take the points. I remember the last several national championship games with large spreads. Everyone mentions Ohio State vs. Miami, but they seem to forget that as recently as last year, people were asking of Texas even had a chance in hell, and ESPN was running a series on where that year's Trojans ranked among the best teams in the history of college football (oops).

7
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 9:02am

Re: 6

Good points all. And it's not just 2002. Six of eight BCS title game underdogs have won outright.

8
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:10am

I watched both guys play a lot of games this year and still can't figure out how Laurinatis was awarded anything over Posluszny of Penn State. I am sure there are many other deserving players as well but these guys played in the same conference and right next door to one another. I really don't understand how any set of voters could examine the two and believe that L was better then P.

Posluszny may not have some of the flashy states (like interceptions) but the guy was a friggin' missile in the middle of the field.

Had to write that. I now return you to your championship game chatter.

9
by DH (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 12:16pm

Most of the underdogs that have won the BCS National Championship Game were undefeated and didn't require the help of voters/ other teams losing to get in. I believe the most similar situation would be the 2001 BCS title game with #1 Miami playing #3? Nebraska, and we know who won that.

10
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:27pm

7: Maybe I'm crazy, or Wikipedia is wrong, but in every year but 2002 (OSU over Miami) and 2006 (Texas over USC) the higher ranked team has won. Were the lines really not in favor of the #1 team in the other years?

Oh, and maybe it's my non-homerish tendencies (thus rooting for a good game), but I think it'll be high scoring, maybe 34-31 OSU.

11
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 1:46pm

Re 10:
In 2000, #1 Oklahoma beat #2 FSU, however, I believe FSU was actually favored.

In 2002, #2 Ohio St beat #1 Miami

In 2003, #2 LSU beat #1 Oklahoma

In 2005, #2 Texas beat #1 USC.

(all rankings are BCS rankings)

12
by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 2:50pm

NewsToTom: I think you nailed it on the head. I believe Chris Leak has finally gotten over his worry about hearing footsteps (which he had ever since his Freshman year matchup agaisnt FSU). He does not seem to have a problem making the right call or making the right read.

I remember hearing a commentator praising Chris Leak's accuracy. However, Chris Leak seems to misfire a handfull of times and misses wide-open receivers. When these are interceptions the Gators tend to struggle. I did like how Chris Leak ran with authority on the Touchdown against Arkansas.

The second half performances by the Gators have not seemed to be as good as I would expect, so I believe that the Florida coaching staff is not as good as Ohio State. Part of this may be their defensive line tiring out, especially after losing Marcus Thomas. I believe that most of it, however, is predictable coaching and lack of 2nd half adjustments.

I think that if you watch the Gators' secondary you will see that they give a 5-10 yard cushion to at least 1 receiver every down. If Smith chooses to take a 3-step drop he can have 5-10 yards on every play and more if the receiver breaks a tackle. I feel that the defense has not been as well coached under Charlie Strong as it was coached under Stoops. Fortunately for the Gators, only Auburn was willing to fire 5 yard passes all day.

13
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 5:24pm

Re #9: Most of the underdogs that have won the BCS National Championship Game were undefeated and didn’t require the help of voters/ other teams losing to get in. I believe the most similar situation would be the 2001 BCS title game with #1 Miami playing #3? Nebraska, and we know who won that.

I'm not sure I buy into the mystic "undefeated" stuff on a site like Football Outsiders that recognizes just how huge of a role luck plays in college football. Ohio State in 2002 could have very easily been a 1-loss or even a 2-loss team- all it would take would be for one incredibly lucky break that went their way to instead go against them (sort of like Florida's punter dropping the ball against Auburn). If they were a 1-loss team, would they have suddenly been incapable of beating Miami?

Florida is about as big of an underdog as Ohio State was and as Texas was last year. Now, just because those two teams won doesn't mean that Florida is *LIKELY* to win- they are still, after all, an underdog. It just shows that it's a lot more possible for Florida to win than a lot of people are acknowledging.

14
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 6:32pm

Russell, did you mean that people may be overlooking the latter (that some of the Broncos' luster might diminish if they'd lost their next playoff game, rather than simply winning their bowl game) rather than the former?

I suppose it's possible, but it doesn't seem to bother hoops fans much, and of course, if Boise went on to win the next game as well ...

fourth, I'm not so sure that would help Louisville that much. The last two schools to lure Boise State head coaches didn't get quite what they wanted out of it, although to be fair, ASU did have a couple of good season under Koetter, and Hawkins might need more than a couple of seasons to fix Colorado.

15
by DH (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 6:52pm

13: Florida could just as easily have another one if not two more losses if you want "luck" to enter the equation. Blocked FG? come on.
Look at the history of one-loss teams playing undefeated teams in the BCS title game, especially when the undefeated team was the clear-cut favorite, and the one-loss team was picked amid controversy (aka used the back door to get in).
2001:Oklahoma easily beats FSU
2002: Miami smears Nebraska

Texas and Ohio State were both undefeated when they scored their upsets. I think it says alot the the underdogs that have won the BCS have had an equal number of losses as the favorite.

16
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 7:15pm

Oklahoma "easily" beats FSU? The score was 13-2, and OU's TD was set up by a pick. Also, someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm 80% certain that FSU was the favorite in that game, even though they were ranked #2.

17
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 8:12pm

Re: 16

Florida State was an 11 point favorite that year against Oklahoma. Other BCS title games:

Jan. 4, 2006 Rose Bowl-Texas 41, Southern Cal 38
-Southern Cal by 7 (lost, didn't cover)

Jan. 1, 2005 Orange Bowl-Southern Cal 55, Oklahoma 19
-Southern Cal by 1 (won, covered)

Jan. 4, 2004 Sugar Bowl-LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
-Oklahoma by 6-1/2 (lost, didn't cover)

Jan. 3, 2003 Fiesta Bowl-Ohio St. 31, Miami 24, 2OT
-Miami by 12 (lost, didn't cover)

Jan. 3, 2002 Rose Bowl-Miami 37, Nebraska 14
-Miami by 8-1/2 (won, covered)

Jan. 3, 2001 Orange Bowl-Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
-Florida State by 11 (lost, didn't cover)

Jan. 4, 2000 Sugar Bowl-Florida St. 46, Virginia Tech 29
-Florida State by 5-1/2 (won, covered)

Jan. 4, 1999 Fiesta Bowl-Tennessee 23, Florida St. 16
-Florida State by 5-1/2 (lost, didn't cover)

18
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 8:15pm

Would you believe the BCS's own page has the date of the USC-Oklahoma title game wrong? It was on January 4th, 2005, not January 1.

19
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 8:38pm

The Nebraska-UF comparison doesn't really hold up to the light of day. UF lost a very close game that looks worse because of a literally last-minute field goal followed by a defensive score; Nebraska was simply destroyed. There was plenty of controversy about the selection this year, but most people agreed it was a close choice, and the only other contender for the spot cleared things up retroactively by getting thrashed in their bowl game; I don't think anyone felt Nebraska was the right choice that year, and one of the jilted contenders (Oregon) won their bowl game handily and finished a solid #2.

20
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:07pm

SEE? DO YOU SEE? THAT WAS NO CLIP. Dammit all to hell. I'm going to go stick my head in the oven.

No, I'm going to watch that clip of of Romo fumbling and pee myself laughing again.

21
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:14pm

Sure it was a clip! If I admit that that wasn't a clip, I might also have to start considering whether Rumeal Robinson was actually fouled in '89.

One good thing about Fox's BCS coverage: showing both marching bands.

I cringed when I saw Emmitt Smith and Edddie George on the set tonight, but they were actually decent, and they were falling all over each other to complement's the other's team. Anti-homers. Weird.

22
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:21pm

FYI, the FO IRC chatroom normally in use on Sundays is available for chatting. Bendenwyr.dyndns.org, channel #FO, or look in an Open Discussion. I'll be hanging out in there until my laptop battery dies.

23
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:28pm

Why are John Stewart and Ed Rendell announcing this game?

24
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:30pm

John McCain knows his electoral math.

25
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:33pm

#23. Funny.

26
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:33pm

#24. Clever. :-)

27
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:34pm

Bang !

28
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:35pm

Holy crap that was sweet.

29
by Quinn (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:35pm

#8 OSU was holding #1 Florida on that.

30
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:35pm

Ohio State's #8 looks like he grabbed someone from behind by the horse collar for a brief second there.

31
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:36pm

I guess they're not going to call that hold on #8? YET NOTRE DAME WAS VICTIMIZED BY A PHANTOM CLIP! No justice, no peace!

32
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:38pm

Wow. A Pac-10 officiating crew. And one wonders why no penalty was called?

This is going to be great. Pac-10 crew. Oh yes.

32
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:38pm

Pac-10 crew. For the first time in a week, Bob Stoops has a hop in his step.

34
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:44pm

That Ginn TD to open was one of the reasons I don't understand why teams defer to the 2nd half. Wouldn't you want to set the tone early with a big play? Tough to do that if you're on defense.

35
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:44pm

That was an ... unusual... coverage choice.

36
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:46pm

Re: 29, watching Ginn's KO return -- you're right, that was a blatant hold on Roy Hall (#8).

37
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:49pm

#34,
Iowa doesn't defer to the second half, instead choosing to start the game with the ball (which they do in almost every game). Didn't work out too well this year though since they never scored on the opening drive.

38
by James C (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:50pm

Does anyone know of a way of watching this game over the internet?

Or somewhere in Malaysia that is showing the game?

39
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:50pm

Interesting to see the early QB draw for Smith on 2nd down. OSU hasn't done much of that this year. And now the sack by Harvey.

40
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:52pm

You can listen to it on Foxsports.com. May be able to watch it via one of the schools' web sites.

41
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:53pm

two personal fouls by ohio state, and we're not even halfway through the first quarter.

42
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:53pm

Thanks and all, Dennis, but at that point I'd rather have eternal forgivness.

43
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:54pm

Nice recovery by Florida after the Ginn return. Drive for a tying TD and then force a punt. We may even get to see OSU trailing early as Meyer wanted...

44
by ScottB (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:54pm

James..take a look at this website on my name.

45
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:56pm

RE: 37

If I were a coach, I'd want to choose.

46
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:00pm

OK guys, that's ridiculous - it's the national title game, perhaps, Fox, you should brief your guys on what the coaches challenge rules are?

47
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:01pm

Woo, Pac-10 officials!

48
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:01pm

Oh boy, this is going to end badly with this officiating crew.

49
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:01pm

wow, they need competent people in the booth. Badly.

50
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:02pm

Pac-10 refs, everybody!

51
by Vinny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:04pm

Sad thing is, Alvarez is only one year removed from the sidelines and is still the AD at Wisconsin. So he should probably know the replay rules, even if they were tweaked before this season.

52
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:07pm

Agreed. To have the people in the booth (Alvarez of all people) to be wrong on how a coaches challenge works is inexcusable. It's only the national title game.

Ginn is heading to the locker room - and here we have a Florida player down too. Injuries galore.

53
by Big J (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:10pm

re: 46 what did he say?

54
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:11pm

Reggie Lewis was never touched down. What the hell was he doing?

55
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:11pm

If any of you are near Wilmington, NC, could you call an ambulance for my father-in-law? I'm afraid his heart just exploded. Thanks.

56
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:12pm

College rules--you don't have to be touched down.

57
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:13pm

OSU knows they're allowed to actually cover people, right?

58
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:14pm

Okay, I'm a SEC fan so I don't watch much Big 10 football. Does Ohio State play defense?

59
by Russell Levine :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:21pm

It looks like the opening kickoff was the worst thing that could have happened .... to Ohio State. They must have thought "we're going to kill these guys" and have been flat ever since.

This looks like the 2nd half of the Rose Bowl.

60
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:22pm

That was a cool formation. What do you call it? A triple I formation or something? I have the announcers on mute.

61
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:22pm

Okay, I thought Florida had a good chance to win tonight, but this is ridiculous. Florida's lines are dominating on both offense and defense.

62
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:24pm

Russell,
This reminds me of the USC-Iowa Orange Bowl from 2003. Iowa's C.J. Jones took the opening kickoff back 100 yards for a TD...and the Hawkeyes ended up losing 38-17 to Carson Palmer's team.

63
by t.d. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:24pm

the s.e.c. is overrated

64
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:25pm

That was kind of a ticky tack call, but given the way the NFL is calling roughing the passer, college referees are going to call it the same way. At the same time, the player that hit Smith was in no way "committed" to that hit.

65
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:28pm

RE: 56

Ah. Odd, but ok.

66
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:29pm

So much for defense...21-14.

By the way, I wonder if Ginn hurt himself on the celebration after the opening TD. He seemed to stay down for a while in the endzone after his teammates piled on.

67
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:30pm

Signs of life from the Buckeyes offense to discourage people from turning the game off just yet.

68
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:32pm

navin nailed it - the big difference so far has been line play. OSU hasn't blocked well until this last drive, and they haven't gotten any pressure (plus they've been tipping their blitzes horribly). Yet every lazy analyst out there (read: pretty much every analyst) will attribute it to speed. Whatever.

I thought the roughing call was a little weak. It was a little late; maybe if he didn't extend the forearm like that he'd have been OK. Who am I kidding; you breathe on the QB now, it's 15 yards.

As for OSU's defense, this year they've been a team that's average at most things, but has gotten a lot of turnovers. If you take care of the ball on them (as Michigan did, and Florida has), you can rack up the yards and points. They really need to get a free blitzer to force a turnover or something soon.

69
by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:36pm

Hey, OSU. When it's 3rd-and-short? You shouldn't drop into zones behind the first down line. Just a thought.

70
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:37pm

on a 2nd and 10 earlier, the play clock ran out well before the ball was snapped to Leak.

71
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:39pm

Troy Smith did a good job using his scrambling ability to neutralize Florida's pressure on Ohio State's last drive. We'll see if he can do it again on OSU's next drive. Also, Ohio State's secondary looks pretty weak so far.

72
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:40pm

It's like they're playing the Giants/Bills or Patriots/Rams defense - just trying to prevent the big play, letting them get short ones and trying to punish the receivers, betting that eventually they'll make mistakes or break down physically. That sure works a lot better when they don't have 92 guys to rotate in, and you actually get some pressure on the quarterback, though.

73
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:42pm

That plan also works a lot better if you can get an early incompletion and force 3rd and 10 instead of 3rd and 4 all the time.

Like here. Good play, even if he caught it he was a few yards short. And finally we see if Florida has a punter.

74
by stan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:44pm

68,

Trogdor -- the difference b/w the two defensive lines is that Florida's is a whole lot faster. That has been the difference in Florida getting to Smith. Did you notice that Smith rolled away from pressure expecting to get away from the pass rusher only to be chased down?

When people talk about the speed difference b/w Big Ten and SEC, the lazy and the stupid think that it is about the skill positions. It's not (at least not much). It's the D line and LBs.

75
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:44pm

72 - Oddly enough, a drive with two straight pressures by Gholston (right up the middle) forces a punt. Imagine that.

76
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:46pm

Jarvis Moss is a freak. He pretty much got Florida into this game by blocking a couple South Carolina kicks.

77
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:48pm

OK, how do you not even attempt to block #94 coming off the edge? Ugh.

But for those worrying about arm strength, Smith threw that one through a two-arm deflection at about two feet, and had plenty of zip when it went to the sidelines! (this is the slap-happy mood I get into during games like this, where everything I was worried about is coming true)

78
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:52pm

Leak has been very efficient so far. All these Tebow plays are actually hurting Florida. I hope they're trying to set something else up instead of just trying to get him some experience. Just let Leak run the offense.

79
by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:57pm

Navin,
Great point about Tebow.

I wonder if Leak will make the big mistake everyone expects from him at some point.

80
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/08/2007 - 11:58pm

OK, so... as bad as everything has gone, they're only down 10 with plenty of time to get a score before the half. If they can go in down only 3 or 7, things are looking alright.

81
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:01am

That's always the scare with Leak--the dumb throw. I thought he was close a couple times, but he has done the smart thing and thrown it away. I wonder if the coaching staff drilled him on this over the past two months.

OH MY, OSU goes for it deep in their own territory and fails!

82
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:01am

Tremendous spotting job by the official. First running a half yard beyond the 30, then changing his mind and running back in.

Oh, you have to review this! Not that it'll matter, PAC-10 and all. The ball came down on the 30!

83
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:02am

I'm shocked that there was no measurement there. 4th and a foot or so, and it certainly looked like he got close. But no review, no measurement.

Quite the officiating crew here.

84
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:02am

They couldn't stop the Gators anyway, so what difference did it make?

85
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:03am

They don't need to measure. On a touchback you have to make the 30 yard line. You definitely could argue that it should hav been reviewed by the replay booth.

86
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:03am

For all the things they reviewed this year that weren't even close, and they don't even take a look at that?

87
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:04am

10 pm and we haven't hit the 2 minute warning yet.

88
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:04am

That was a tremendous push Florida got. But my goodness, he came down over the pile and the ball clearly landed on the 30 yardline. Since it was a touchback on the kickoff, if any of the ball touches the 30 it's a first down. How... no, nevermind. I just can't.

89
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:07am

Florida's FG kicker is halfway to his regular season total in this half alone.

Wow.

I'd feel lucky to be down only 13 if I were an OSU fan.

90
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:09am

Oh %&#(&% %#(&%@)*$ %(&@u$! %&@%&@)* %@(&@!

91
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:09am

Leak is showing his whole game. When he was rolling and not worried about pressure, he was perfect. He got hit a little and now he can't get rid of it soon enough. The moment he sees even a little pressure, he's unloading it.

92
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:09am

Troy Smith, Heisman Trophy winner.

93
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:10am

Um. Wow.

I'm still in shock that they didn't review that spot on the 4th down play, and that the referees so immediately ruled it a turnover on downs.

Then a field goal, then a Smith fumble. A touchdown here, and, well, wow.

94
by James C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:11am

#44, ScottB

Thanks for the pointer you are a star.

95
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:11am

93,

The Ohio St coaches had a great look at the 4th down run. They were right there to see it.

They didn't challenge the call.

96
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:14am

Oh, this is interesting! Hail Mary chance!

97
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:15am

I bet Jim Tressel is wishing he voted Michigan #2 in the final coaches' poll right now.

98
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:16am

As an SEC fan I think that the 4th down play probably should have been reviewed, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been overturned.

Also, I'm surprised Tebow threw that TD in--dangerous throw--it's the type of throw that gets returned for 6.

99
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:17am

That painting depicts something like an entire month. I like the dragon too. Bruce Campbell is god.

100
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:17am

Ohio State only played one good offense all season and was torn apart (Texas offense did not quite hit their mark yet when Ohio State played them) and the rest of the Big 10 offense was average at best.

But still I thought Ohio State would be playing better.

Troy Smith/Chris Leak: which midget QB do you want to draft?

101
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:19am

Let me be the first one to congratulate Florida and their fans. This is over.

102
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:19am

95 -- more on the 4th down spot

If there was even the slightest chance to get the call overturned, Oh St would have challenged. The play was rolling the dice for the game. Tressel was gambling it all. You certainly don't hang on to your challenge if you think you have any hope at all of a reversal.

103
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:21am

So far this game is a such a huge argument for a playoff. If Jarvis Moss doesn't block Ryan Succop's kick and SC ends up beating Florida, does that make Florida any worse?

No.

But we would have seen a Michigan-Ohio State rematch tonight and the winner would be crowned "champ." And no one would know for sure how good Ohio State and Michigan were compared to the other elite teams (SoCal, Florida, LSU).

104
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:21am

Neither one.

105
by Ryan A. Restivo (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:23am

After watching this first half, it is clear that the Buckeyes just cannot match up with the Gator offense. Though I like how Urban Meyer looked dumbfounded when he was being asked the question if they "confused" the Buckeyes.

Without Ted Ginn Jr the Buckeyes don't have half as many plays or looks that they could show Florida to try and get some better match ups.

The 4th and 1 call, I think they had to go for it, but the tackle #71 Steve Rehring is slow to pull on the trap which is why Florida was able to stuff them.

I also don't know what Ohio State was thinking, I thought the 3rd and goal play for Tebow had to be 100% pass.

106
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:24am

oh, and we've already hit the over/under at halftime.

107
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:25am

OSU's only success on either side of the ball in the 1st half was their running game (and you had to kind of squint to see that). So now will they have the patience to mix in the running game? Tressel seems too smart to "just put the game in the hands of the Heisman Trophy winner," but they're going to run out of time if the don't have success fast.

I agree with the posts wondering how OSU thought they'd stop anyone playing everyone back. Seems like they're playing scared. Good way to get the D back on its heels and playing without confidence.

Barry Alvarez is excellent.

108
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:34am

Ginn is out of his jersey and pads, and they're x-raying his ankle.

109
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:35am

Ohio's band played the theme from Titanic at half time. Did any of them bother to watch that film until the end?

110
by Rich (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:37am

In response to the number 60 question - that was a Maryland I.

111
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:42am

[110] Ah, ok. Thanks.

112
by blacksuit (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:44am

Ohio state is really playing off on defense. On one third down passing play, two florida receivers were open past the sticks with OSU zone coverage BEHIND them.

113
by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:44am

I'm interested to see how many AP voters have the stones to vote Boise State #1, if Florida holds on.

114
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:46am

Why the bad punt? Are they worried about ... Gonzalez?

115
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:47am

A lot of SEC teams run that rugby style punt. Lou Holtz brought it back in the late 90s because in college you can get your coverage team downfield before you actually punt the ball.

116
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:48am

Why wouldn't they be worried about Gonzalez? I know he doesn't have a ton of melanin, but he's about as fast and elusive as Ginn.

117
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:49am

I've not seen enough OSU games this year, then ... I've always thought of Gonzalez as more of a possession-type receiver. Didn't know he had the speed.

Of course, it may not matter when your O line can't block and your receivers can't get open.

I am not sure what to make of this.

118
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:49am

112 - it's been that way all game. Did you see the Tebow TD pass? Two OSU DBs trolling the back line.

119
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:52am

Did some checking on the Maryland I formation. (Thanks again #110. I don't watch much college football) Looks like Meyer used it in Utah and also passed out of it once on 4th and 1. Linked.

120
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:53am

I may not know enough football X's and O's to say this with authority, but it seems the OSU D isn't making many adjustments to the Florida WR/RB shifts before the snap. They seem to be frozen, and afraid to press coverage or make adjustments in return.

121
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:55am

Sorry, that probably came off a little harsh. You know, unfounded accusations of racism and all that.

Gonzalez does tend to play more of a possession receiver role, but he's definitely been a solid deep threat as well. He's, uh, deceptively speedy. Usually when they line up on the same side, they run Ginn deep and let Gonzalez do the underneath/crossing route, but that has to do more with hand quality than anything (Ginn drops a lot, he reminds me of Braylon Edwards more than anyone). When they cross it up and send Gonzalez deep, you really can't tell much difference between him and Ginn.

Except Gonzalez can walk without crutches now. Sigh.

122
by Signor Sack (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:57am

I did some "research" on the Maryland I formation (Thanks again #110, I don't watch much football). Yeah I typed it into google :-) Meyer used it in Utah (2005) and once threw a pass from it on 4th and 1. Maybe something to look for later if the game gets tighter.

123
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:57am

"Penalty on the kicking team, and, um, we're going to determine whether that foul will be accepted or not."

Usually one asks that before announcing the penalty, eh?

124
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:58am

Sigh is right.

No offense taken, btw -- I took it more as a statement about the media assuming that only more-pigmented gentlemen can be "fast."

Amazing how the OSU offense seems to be totally inept tonight. At what point do we stop mentioning the huge layoff and say "This team is getting its ass kicked on both sides of the ball?"

125
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:58am

That's only a foul when the player downs the ball. He didn't touch the ball. I don't get these refs--how can you not know the rules--not that it matters anyways.

Also, it looks like the Florida coaches have told Leak to not throw the ball unless he's absolutely sure his target is open. They're running out the clock but have they gone conservative too soon?

126
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:59am

One thing that surprises me is that Florida haven't run the inside shovel pass: It was a core part of Meyer's attack at Utah, and they seemed to run it quite a few times against Arkansas

Maybe they are worried about Leak giving it to the DE again...

127
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:00am

Why can't we have the Florida-Boise State matchup everyone was clamoring for weeks ago? Damn you BCS...when will you learn?

128
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:00am

Apparently we've entered the portion of the game where UF goes braindead. I thought they would skip that part tonight but I was mistaken. The question is if OSU can score here and make UF sweat a little before they get their brains back.

129
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:08am

No, Rocco, we've entered the portion of the game where OSU is officially put out of its (and my) misery.

130
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:09am

What is a bit weird about this game is the inability of either team to pass the ball more than 10 yards down the field. Florida has been very consistently gaining 4-8 yards while building the lead but is averaging only 6 yards a pass attempt to this point. Efficient but not very pretty...I'm sure Meyer will take it. OSU looks remarkably inept in all phases of the passing game.

131
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:09am

btw, for those complaining about no challenge or measurement on that 4th down in the 2nd quarter, FLA kicked a touchback so the ball was spotted right on the 20. If the official spots it short of 30, no measurement is needed, its obviously short.

132
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:11am

PR- I'd like to disagree with you since Chris Leak is involved, but it looks like UF has it back together now. Especially since OSU insists on giving receivers miles of space.

133
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:11am

Why is OSU playing a prevent down by 20?

134
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:11am

Alvarez just made my point as Florida gets another first down. Will Ohio State ever adjust on defense and play the short pass?

135
by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:11am

I think what has happened here is that the OSU defense switched with the Colts defense sometime last week.

136
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:12am

At what point does Urban Meyer become the hot name for an NFL head coach spot? He's succeded at every stop so far, and he's apparently on the Bellichick tree, which teams are looking for these days.

137
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:14am

I wonder is TO watching this thinking,"getting your playmaker involved, what a novel concept".

Damn you Percy Harvin and player friendly Urban Meyer *shakes fist*

138
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:15am

Florida was throwing intermediate passes early in the game. Now that they're up by so much they probably don't want Leak taking *any* risks at all.

It looks like their strategy is to run the clock out in the second half because they think their defense won't give up 21 points. So far it's working, but I think they should cut out some of their gimmicks and just run and playaction off of it.

139
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:15am

What will this do to Troy Smith's draft position? And how ugly would it be to see Brady Quinn against this defense without Jeff Samardzija?

140
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:15am

Re 134

I don't know about his scheme in the NFL.

For entertainment value, i'd love to see it, but I think after the Run and Shoot of the 90s, we won't see Meyer's system there...

141
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:18am

Down by 20 ... time running out in the third quarter ... sure, OSU -- run off tackle. That'll get you back into the game.

142
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:21am

And it might hurt Smith's draft position, but it might not -- he wasn't going to be a first, or even a second, round pick unless he had a lights-out game, and even then I'd doubt he'd go higher than mid-second round.

He's going to be a project pick, the QB who gets the hometown fans rooting for him when his team's starting QB plays poorly. In Pittsburgh before Ben, that'd be "almost every second-string QB the Steelers ever had."

143
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:21am

re 126 - That's the portion called the first ten minutes of the 3rd quarter, right? And just on schedule the O wakes up a bit and reverses the field.

144
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:22am

Navin,

I agree that there were a few intermediate passes early and Meyer is taking no chances now but I'd love to see a passing chart because it seems like Ohio State is defending a deep ball that Florida has not even attempted.

145
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:24am

141- Oddly enough, yes. Pretty much like they did all year, although often times they'd mix in the brainfarts randomly throughout the game just to keep it interesting.

And Troy Smith just takes a brutal sack.

146
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:24am

The left tckle for OSU is really picking up the soap.

This isn't even entertaiing.

147
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:25am

Charlie Strong deserves a coaching job.

148
by Kunk (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:26am

That was a beautifully designed blitz by Florida on that 3rd down sack. They've been bouncing guys around the line all game. They showed a 6 man blitz, and the o-line had no idea where the true pressure would be coming from. Throw in the fact that Troy Smith looks absolutely lost, and I'd say this is the finest defensive game plan anyone could have expected out of Florida.

I feel like I'm watching a Colts playoff loss, where the o-line and Peyton fall apart as soon as a tough D starts jumping around the line of scrimmage.

149
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:27am

I don't know how you can blame Smith right now. It's a little tough to throw when they don't even attempt to block Moss on any play. Any idea what Boone might possibly be looking at? Let's see, I'm the furthest outside left blocker, a guy with 12 sacks tonight is lined up directly over me is clearly coming on this play, I think I'll turn inside and help chip the DT before turning around and waving at the guy I totally should've blocked all along. Ugh.

150
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:27am

The curse of Maurice Clarett?

151
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:27am

Chris Leak...National Champion QB. I just threw up a little bit in my mouth...

152
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:28am

Leak is totally under orders that if his receiver isn't insanely open, he's to throw it to the water boy.

Smart.

153
by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:29am

Chris Leak was either sedated or lobotomized before tonight's game- he's making good decisions and hasn't yet thrown a pass right to a defender. Even his bad passes are just going out of bounds. Where's this guy been the last 4 years?

154
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:29am

re 143 : The strange thing is that in the early part of the season it was the opening ten minutes of the first half when the O disappeared; I guess the Auburn game was when it switched around. Fortunately the D was perfect this time and OSU wasn't able to profit from their window of opportunity.

155
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:29am

Shouldn't that be everybodies strategy

156
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:29am

Derek, you're right, OSU needs to play tighter coverage now that they're down 20. Florida's not going to throw it downfield with such a large lead.

Maybe OSU has never had to play a tight coverage because they've been leading in almost every game they've played.

157
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:30am

yeah that was a MLB that bounced off a QB...

158
by Quinn (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:31am

These announcers always sound really excited to see a white QB take a snap.

159
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:31am

I thought Tebow almost lost the ball on that last carry.

And yes, the OSU line looks like the Colts last year in the playoffs against Pittsburgh's 3-4 shenanigans.

160
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:31am

137, 140: I also was thinking about how much this game was going to drop Troy Smith's stock in the draft. Maybe he wasn't going to be a first round pick anyway because of his size, but now the media hype for his potential as a first round pick should fizzle.

Question: I haven't seen all of the game, but I did see the opening kickoff. Did Ginn get hurt by his teammates piling on in the end zone? Or did he get hurt later in the game?

161
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:33am

Troy Smith is definetly not "doing the heizman on them ..."

dance craze
name for youtube link

162
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:33am

RE 157:

Pittsburgh was trying to confuse the Colts with a 3-4, OSU just isn't blocking a DE... It's not rocket surgery.

163
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:36am

Has a "Team of the Century" ever managed to win the BCS title game?

Earlier today I read a big article about how Tressel couldn't lose because he had the Three Great Qualities of a coach. Last year we had USC's Team of Destiny. Oklahoma couldn't lose to USC. Miami couldn't lose to Ohio State.

And the 2006 college football season ends with your one undefeated team - the Fiesta Bowl Champion Boise State Broncos.

164
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:36am

Marko,

Yeah...interesting to think about how much one game might mean to these QBs paychecks next year.

Don't know about Ginn but I asked the question myself earlier...it looked like he might have been hurt on the TD celebration.

165
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:37am

OSU can't block because they don't know where the rushers are coming from, not because they aren't able to physically block them.

166
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:37am

Is it me, or is that just rude for Florida to go for it on 4th?

That seems ... less than classy.

167
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:37am

and its over...

168
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:37am

Wow. Was it really necessary to go for it on 4th and goal there, Urban? A field goal probably would have been OK, and the game is over.

169
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:38am

And the Ohio State defense takes its curtain call.

170
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:38am

Can I get a quorum on "classless move by Urban Meyer" ... seems like kicking OSU when they're down.

Yes, OSU is my team, but still ... that's not good sportsmanship.

171
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:39am

Navin

I agree, but leaving a DE completely unblocked, on 3rd and long, to double team a DT...

Weird

172
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:40am

Urban Meyer with shades of Steve Spurrier, trying to hang half a hundred on somebody.

173
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:41am

Ah, hell, if the clock's running, suck it up and stop them. Three hours ago they were the #1 team in the country, now their feelings are supposed to be protected? This isn't a paycheck game against a directional school.

174
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:41am

well Urban does not want to lose votes to Boise State...

175
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:42am

Connection issues are wonderful. Just what I need when I'm this upset and frustrated.

Anyway, I think the spot where I gave up even the last shred of hope was when Leak punted the ball over to the sidelines, it got just under fourteen seconds of hangtime, and there wasn't a single defender within fifty yards who could take that back for the easy pick 6. Screw that, there wasn't even anyone close enough to tackle the guy immediately and limit him to less than four YAC.

The defense had been playing well in the second half up to that point, and maybe there was still just a glimmer of hope. Maybe a turnover on that floater. Maybe a fumble or something. Just anything to get something going. It was still a huge uphill battle, but stranger things have happened. That just killed it all. It was like, they weren't even trying at that point.

176
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:42am

He's not "Senator" Meyer after all.

177
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:43am

After the bowl games this year, is anyone willing to say that a 20 point lead with most of the fourth left is really safe? If the situation had been reversed, I think most people would have agreed that Tressel was just being appropriately careful - perhaps even demonstrating his respect for the UF offense's quick-strike abilities, etc.

178
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:44am

Crazy, unexpected things always happen in prime time games in the Pink Taco. This is the third such game. The second was the amazing Boise State-Oklahoma game last week in the Fiesta Bowl. The first was the Monday Night Meltdown by the Cardinals against the Bears.

179
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:45am

People are complaining about running up the score? The TD makes it a 4 TD lead. A FG makes it a 3 TD lead. Also, if they don't get it, OSU has to go 99 yards and that way you don't risk a blocked kick.

Florida hasn't thrown the ball more than 10 yards downfield all second half. Please don't accuse them of running up the score.

180
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:45am

Sorry, Mike, but the game was over before that play -- everyone knows it, even OSU knows it. There isn't much justification for doing it now. In the second quarter, yes, but not now. It's classless.

181
by BigLoad (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:45am

Tebow is going to be scary in a few years. Not only is he going to get more comfortable in a system that is perfect for him, but add the recruiting power of a National Championship.

182
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:46am

all the SEC folks who have been yapping all year about SEC superiority...I'll take your call now.

The two top teams in the "Big" "Ten" haven't looked too good, have they?

Big East bowl results suggest that the conference is on an upswing, although the coaching change at Louisville won't help.

There's only one undefeated team left--doesn't Boise State have to move into the top five and maybe top three?

183
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:46am

I don't find it that classless. There was over 10 minutes left, the FG keeps it at a 3 possession game, and we saw how crazy the bowl games in this stadium can be last week. If tOSU marches to a score, then gets a fluke turnover, they're back in it. This way, it's over, and if they don't score, horrible position (like Seattle-Dallas on Saturday).

Now, if they do it this drive, classless.

184
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:46am

#166:

Making it a 23 point game vs. a 20 point game isn't that big a deal, while 27 means that even a crazy offensive explosion can't save them now, and if they didn't make it then OSU starts at their 1 instead of having to receive a kickoff.

Beyond that, Urban Meyer was probably making a final statement that his team can easily out-physical OSU's defense, or some such talk.

It's not like Florida is beating up on the underdog in this game.

185
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:46am

Who finishes #2 this year? Boise State (13-0), Louisville (12-1), Wisconsin (12-1), OSU (12-1), USC (11-2), or LSU (11-2)?

186
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:47am

just wait until Florida gets a real RB...too bad that defense is going to be gone after this game.

187
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:47am

yay, a punt. Florida is acting like they're the ones down 20 (going for the TD on 4th down) and OSU is acting like they're running down the clock.

Whatever. It was over well before the 4th quarter started.

Great game by Florida.

188
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:47am

pr9000,
are you kidding me? Texas Tech came back from something like 31 down in the 4th quarter. Florida is just trying to put the game away, they just lined up and ran the ball, it's not like they broke out the statue of liberty play to score.

189
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:48am

I absolutely thought they should've gone for it. Not that it matters, of course. But as an OSU fan, I wasn't nearly as offended by that as I was by OSU's performance in pretty much every aspect tonight.

190
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:48am

With a national championship on the line and the other team has the Heisman, a FG means you can still lose with 3 TDs and 3 two-pointers, I think I want to push it out to a 4 possession game. Damn right you go for it.

191
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:49am

I agree with Navin - going for the TD was not classless. A FG would have made it 37-14. A 23 point lead is still only 3 TDs (with 2 of the 3 having 2 point conversions), and there was still plenty of time left. Going for the TD made it a 4 score lead.

192
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:50am

I feel bad for LSU fans. Everyone pretty much agreed that they were the best team in the SEC but they had a brutal schedule.

Maybe we should have had a Florida-LSU rematch on a neutral field :)

193
by Trieu (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:50am

Wanting to make it a four-possession game with almost 11 minutes to play doesn't strike me as an unsportsmanlike move.

(For what it's worth, I was rooting for OSU.)

194
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:51am

Maybe my homerism is getting in the road of clear analysis, but I don't think we're discussing this game when we start bringing up "three possession v. four possession" facts. We're arguing a hypothetical game where a team far better than OSU has been tonite is actually competently playing football.

Given this team, and this game ... it's been over for a while now.

I understand the points you all are making, but I can't agree with them in this case, because OSU has been beaten like a rented mule since the beginning of the second quarter.

195
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:51am

183,

Given that Wisc was outplayed and lucky to win and Mich and OSU got the crap beat out of them, I don't think the Badgers have a prayer of finishing 2d. I would have a hard time putting them in the top 10.

196
by black (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:51am

Do you kick the field goal here or go for it on 4th? which is worst?

197
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:52am

pr9000--OSU beat Cincinnati by 30, Bowling Green by 28, MSU by 31, Indiana by 41, Minnesota by 44, and Northwestern by 44. I'm having a hard time generating much sympathy for you.

198
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:52am

so now the much talked about happens:

basketball team and football team both win championships.

199
by Kunk (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:53am

Please, measure this one...

200
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:53am

Florida at this point is probably taking requests from the bench for guys who want to run it up the middle for no gain.

201
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:53am

I know the game was over - it was over at halftime. What does that have to do with it? Should Florida just kneel and let OSU take shots downfield? How silly. Is Tressel going to slap Meyer across the face with a hanky now?

Florida wasn't running trick plays. OSU just gave up. That's OSU's fault.

I'm a Big 10 fan, and I'm bummed about the outcome. But jeez, lighten up. Florida doesn't need to "justify" anything. They're playing football.

202
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:54am

RE: 194

I guess it's a first down anyway. Time for knees.

203
by Derek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:54am

stan,
I agree but I was just trying to include all the teams who might make a claim about being #2.

204
by michael (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:55am

192,

pr9000

It is your homerism.

205
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:56am

If I had a vote:

Fla, Boise, LSU, USC, Louisville, OSU for my top 6. I think that LSU would beat Boise by 2 or 3 TDs, but undefeated does count for something.

206
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:56am

I think LSU should be #2.

1. Florida
2. LSU
3. SoCal
4. Boise State
5. Ohio State

207
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:57am

Boise State's coach, Chris Peterson, is Urban Meyer two years ago: Coach of an undefeated team from a non-BCS conference that won a BCS bowl game. If I'm the athletic director of a BCS team that needs a new coach, I'm calling Peterson now. In fact, I would have called him already.

208
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:57am

So, who's the championship MVP?

209
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:57am

Stan 193 - that was the most soul-crushingly foolish post tonight. Congratulations.

210
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:58am

Troy Smith!

It's OK, because I'm a homer, apparently ... :)

211
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:59am

Ohio State ran 37 plays for 82 yards.

Wow, this is like Alabama blowing out Miami in the early 90s when they dominated in every phase of the game.

212
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:00am

As far as how good Boise State is, how good is Oklahoma actually, and was anything wrong with Adrian Peterson in the Fiesta Bowl?

213
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:00am

1. Fla
2. LSU
3. USC
4. OSU
5. Louisville
6. BSU
7. UM
8. UW

214
by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:02am

I'd be sorely tempted if I was a voter for the AP poll to put the entire Big 10 outside the top 10 except for Wisconsin at 10.

215
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:03am

I didn't know that soul-crushing was a type of foolishness. Wisconsin didn't do much this year. They beat Ark, although anyone watching the game would bet on Ark if they played a rematch. Since they beat the Hogs on the basis of a missed FG, I'd vote them barely ahead of the Hogs. But the Hogs aren't going to be in the top 10.

Wisc lost to a Mich team that was exposed by USC. What did Wisc do to deserve a top 10 vote. Losing the only game they played in the Big Ten against a decent team doesn't count for much.

216
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:03am

So, now some perspective on the year. When the year began, OSU was voted number one with the huuuuge asterisk. Basically, it was "we're putting these guys first, because we don't know who else to." Hi, we just lost nine defensive starters, and we're number one? OK, sure. Whatever. I don't think anyone actually expected them to make it here; I know I sure didn't. But they had a great season, avoided laying an egg against anyone, and won some nice games. All in all, it's tough to be too disappointed considering what the expectations were.

For Florida, if I remember correctly, the preseason talk was "they have a ton of talent, but we don't trust Leak, and with that schedule they have to blow it somewhere." Well, they did, but things worked out for them to get here. And they totally dominated every aspect. Congratulations, they weren't supposed to win it this year, and now they should be completely stacked for years to come.

As for OSU tonight, I'm just shocked at how bad they look. I can understand just getting beaten. It happens. Before the game I figured it was probably about 60/40 chance of a win, so a loss wouldn't be a huge upset. But this? They didn't just get beaten by a better team. It looks like they didn't even have a freaking plan. The pass protection was absolutely horrible; not just that they couldn't block anyone, but so many people were coming unblocked, it was sickening. Defensively, I think we've torn the gameplan to shreds enough already. And I for one don't give any credence to the long layoff excuse. Four of their last five bowl games, they've faced a layoff of 40 or more days, and still won all of those. Plus it's not like Florida just played last week either. No, they just got whipped, and for possibly the first time in 20 years I've been watching his teams, it looks like Tressell was seriously outcoached. I just don't know what to make of this, at all.

Oh well. Given what we knew at the start of the year, a title game appearance and top-5 finish is a great year. I have to keep that in mind, and have my belt and shoelaces confiscated for the night, and it'll be fine.

217
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:05am

So how far down do you think OSU will fall, given this performance?

218
by Light Todd (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:06am

#176:

"The Pink Taco" makes me think of those hot University of Phoenix cheerleaders.

219
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:07am

Damn Trogdor, you make so much sense it is scary. You are absolutely right.

220
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:08am

"Trogdor is right" and "I agree with Trogdor" are the unofficial slogans of this website, don't ya know?

221
by pr9000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:10am

My dad (lives in eastern Ohio, in Steeler territory) said he was hearing from various sports radio types that the Steelers might have been waiting until after tonite's game to go after Tressel.

I'm sure it was just a rumor, or one can only hope.

222
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:11am

Here we go. So now the bowl games are the TRUTH, and all the regular season games were just there to confuse us. We've discussed this. Steady.

Look, guys, I'm taking points off for the Big 10 too. But it's kind of ridiculous to make out a top 10 or 15 or 20 by listing all the bowl game winners, and only then the losers. Remember how lousy LSU looked in a couple games? Remember how spotty Florida looked even in some wins? It's football. College or pro, teams are up one week, down the next. What happened yesterday shouldn't just be extrapolated indefinitely into the future. Florida is #1 not because of tonight, but the whole year.

223
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:13am

Other slogans include "shut the hell up, Trogdor!" and "Trogdor couldn't be more wrong if he tried", and don't forget the common one from Aaron, "%^*@ it Trog, don't be posting stuff like that here! It's kind of funny at first, but it gets old fast!" Also, the classic "you can be a real douchebag sometimes, Trog!"

224
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:13am

218,

Not only right, but funny!

225
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:13am

Laptop dead, so extended commentary will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, a couple thoughts.

I was totally, 100% DEAD WRONG about how this game would work. This was a thorough ass-whooping, and UF is to be congratulated. They completely outplayed the Buckeyes, something I never thought would happen.

Troy Smith = victim of Heisman jinx. I've been a big proponent of there being effectively Troy Smith I and Troy Smith II. The change was after the PSU game in 2005, before the Michigan State game when tOSU turned their season around. Troy Smith I made an ill-timed re-appearance tonight.

I'm not sure how much the protection problems contributed to it, but without Ginn the Buckeyes weren't able to throw deep. Without a deep threat, Florida could blanket the underneath routes. UF didn't throw deep, either (seriously, when was the last bowl game without a pass thrown more than 15-20 yards downfield?), but tOSU played an awful lot of soft zone. Leak's stats don't look very impressive, but he was effective.

Way up at the top of the thread, I talked about how I expected Leak to make a couple awful throws that were just dying to be picked off. Well, there was nothing nearly as awful as, say, the pass in the UT game this year, and that just didn't happen.

UF's receiving corps showed 10 times better than I thought they would. tOSU played scared of them most of the game.

Laurinaitis and Freeman, in particular, had their limitations thoroughly exposed tonight.

I mentioned this in the chatroom, but I wondered why tOSU didn't change to wider line splits to better deal with the outside pressure.

Harkening back to Notre Dame-Michigan, here are the biggest routs ever of an AP #1 team:
1942, Holy Cross over BC, 55-12 (the Coconut Grove game)
1981, Penn State over Pitt, 48-14
1996, Florida over Florida State, 52-20
1962, Wisconsin over Northwestern, 37-6
1981, Arkansas over Texas, 42-11
1988, Miami over Florida State, 31-0

226
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:15am

re 192:
They also won the UPA (Ultimate Frisbee) National Championship.
But everyone knows that....right?
right?
guys?

227
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:15am

I said it earlier and I'm going to say it once again. This game is such a huge argument for a playoff system.

Why?

1) We really don't know how good the top teams in each conference are relative to each other. For example we established that Florida and LSU were the class of the SEC, tOSU and Michigan were tops in the Big 10, SoCal was tops in the Pac 10, and Louisville/WVU were tops in the Big East, etc. But with so few interconference games, we don't know if Michigan is better than SoCal--we only find out after they play. So matching only two teams in a championship, EVEN if they're both undefeated means that you're quite possibly leaving the best team out.

2) The media are idiots and don't understand this. Now they're going to be pumping up the Big East even though Louisville and WVU barely beat two bad teams from the ACC. Note that the actual two best teams from the ACC (Clemson and VaTech) lost to mediocre SEC teams in their bowls.

3) I'm tired of Notre Dame being voted into the BCS every year. Okay, so this isn't really a point, I just wanted to repeat it.

4) I hope every single person who demanded a OSU-Michigan rematch comes out and admits that they were extremely wrong and can't understand sample size and other statistics. Furthermore, we need to get rid of polls until around week 9. Pollsters are lazy and keep teams where they are unless lose. They don't actually reevaluate their ballots after every week.

Okay, that's all for now.

228
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:18am

Stan-

"Michigan was exposed." Again, the thinking that only the bowl game tells us something about a team. Was USC exposed against UCLA or Oregon St.? Was Florida exposed when they lost?

UW was heavily outgained vs Ark. They also failed to be outpointed. You want to play coulda woulda shoulda? You have a lot of games to go through, not just that one.

In the polls, you get much below 7 or 8 and you're down to teams that have 2 losses and some questions, or 3 losses and some questions. So 12-1 UW is that soft? But we believe Boise St. is the nuts because they beat the best team in the Big 12 in a game that could have gone either way a dozen times? Come on, man. UW isn't terribly impressive, but who are you going to rank above them to keep them out of the top 10? Good luck with that.

229
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:19am

220 -- Mike W.,

Let's look at the whole season. Reg season, the Big Ten has almost no good wins. OSU won at Texas (but the Horns had a rookie QB) and everyone still thinks that the Bucks are a better team. Mich has the win over ND, so they lack a quality win. The rest of the conference has some really embarassing losses.

Wisc has a bowl win where it looked pretty bad. Penn St was very lucky to win its bowl game on a fumble return that was a 10-14 point turnaround.

That's it and it ain't much.

230
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:19am

Re #214
Agreed on pretty much every count. It's amazing when you think about it, but tOSU is the first time in the history of the AP Poll to be involved in three #1 v. #2 matchups in the same season. Given all the questions involved, this team acquitted themselves pretty danged well.

Seriously, though, what was up with Tressel getting pwnt?

231
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:25am

I think I should mention as well that Florida's secondary did an awesome job tonight. On the rare occasions when OSU's line did actually block people, Smith just had nowhere to throw it. When they brought more rushers than blockers (i.e. manned up against everyone), they stayed with the receivers long enough to prevent any big plays.

Usually OSU got big passes this year due to receiver depth - teams can take away one good wideout (Ginn) and sometimes even two (Gonzalez), but then Hall, Hartline, Robiskie, etc could usually abuse nickel and dime backs. Not tonight. This game was totally won (and lost) upfront, but the secondary was really, really good, and their contribution shouldn't be overlooked.

232
by Trieu (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:26am

I was one of those agitating for an OSU-Michigan rematch. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Whoops.

Can we start referring to Urban Meyer as "Steve Spurrier 2.0"? I'd enjoy that.

233
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:27am

RE: 140

And it might hurt Smith’s draft position, but it might not — he wasn’t going to be a first, or even a second, round pick unless he had a lights-out game, and even then I’d doubt he’d go higher than mid-second round.

Actually, most people were projecting him as a mid to high first round pick before this game.

By the way, I wasn't impressed with either QB. Hell, Tebow might be the best pro prospect of the three of them. Too bad we didn't get to see much of what he can do.

234
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:31am

Mike,

I posted the last one without seeing yours from a minute before. I think the biggest mistake pollsters make is using losses as an initial sorting. I happen to think that 3-1 against real good teams is much better than 1-0 against real good teams.

I don't care how many cupcakes someone beats. Throw them out of the equation. In a discussion of top 10 candidates, Wisc has a loss to a team which may barely get in the top 10 and an ugly win over a team which won't get in the top 10, but gets in the conversation. Not overwhelming support.

I see Wisconsin as being a very slight edge over someone like Tennessee. The Vols dominated Cal, and beat bowl winners Ga, SC, and bowl loser Ala. They lost by one to Fla (natl champ) and lost on the last play to LSU (#2?) without their starting QB. They have the bad loss at Arkansas w/out the QB and the 3 turnover mess to Penn St.

235
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:38am

Penn St was very lucky to win its bowl game on a fumble return that was a 10-14 point turnaround.

Oh, please. They went and scored a field goal after that fumble return as well. Yeah, that fumble stopped a Tennessee drive, but, gasp, y'know, good defenses do, in fact, cause fumbles and stop drives.

Penn State didn't win on that fumble return. They won on the ensuing stop of Tennessee and a 6-minute drive that ended with a field goal (incidentally, even if Tennessee had gotten a touchdown there - Penn State drove to the freaking 1 yard line. You think they might've gone for it on fourth down from the 1?).

Tennessee got the ball back, down one score, with ten minutes remaining, and managed seventeen yards in two drives. Stop with the "Penn State was lucky to win" crap.

236
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:44am

I knew Pat would show up.

Do your teams ever get lucky, or does luck only play a part when they lose? ;)

237
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:48am

Trogdor-
It was a good year. Good on you for having some perspective.
Stan-
Sorry I said you were foolish earlier. Hey, UW beat Penn St and a host of bowl losers (plenty of those in the Big 10). No great wins, but no bad losses either. Again, just a bit better than Arkansas or Tennessee (I think they're solidly better than Tenn., but ok) . . . sure, plenty juuuuust below, but it's tough to find 10 to put above them. They'll probably move down after their bowl win - how often does that happen? Enough.
The rest of you-
I'm bummed half of the football world has shut down. FO and all of this yammering has made this season more enjoyable than ever. See you at the pro comment threads.

238
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:50am

Do your teams ever get lucky

Sure. Penn State was damn lucky to win over Minnesota. Philly was somewhat lucky to win vs the Giants last week.

Any game that can be changed by taking out one play (and not replacing it for a positive play for the other team) is a lucky win. The Penn State win wasn't lucky. Not when that fumble that everyone quotes as "the difference in the game" was followed by a drive of utter and complete domination by Tony Hunt, basically saying "okay, boys, fun time's over, but we're winning this game now."

From the Tennessee 45 yard line, he ran for 7, 5, 5, 8, 9, and 8 yards, before finally being caught for a 3 yard loss. And people are talking about the stupid fumble. Jeez.

239
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:00am

225: USC wasn't dominated in either of their losses, though. They dominated Michigan.

(San Diego State fan, btw)

Separate thought: I thought Florida would win because I was never sold on the Big Ten this year. In part because Wisconsin only put up 14 points against my Aztecs and that's sad. I mean Cal Poly put up 16 against SDSU(that sentence makes me want to throw up).

240
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:02am

I agree with #224. Playoff system for NCAA D1 NOW! So right now at the very least we'd have USC-Florida, and possibly USC-LSU and Florida-BSU.

I guess it doesn't really matter, since Florida is a worthy champion... and we've had worthy champions for most of the past 4 years. You'd only need the extra game if there was truly a worthy team... right now that team would end up being BSU.

241
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:14am

232,

Tenn 350 yards, Penn St 380 yards.
Tenn 3 turnovers were clearly the difference in the game. This idea that Penn St was clearly better is crap. Without the three turnovers and Penn St running the fumble back 80+ yards for the game-changing TD, UT wins.

242
by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:23am

I was just ribbing you Pat. I agree that Penn State outplayed Tennessee--UT should not have just laid down after that fumble recovery, as they appeared to do. But I think Tennessee wins if the fumble return doesn't happen, and wins a close game in a rematch. I blame Phil Fulmer.

Also, Jarvis Moss really calls out tOSU.

"Honestly, we've played a lot better teams than them," Moss said. "I could name four or five teams in the SEC that could probably compete with them and play the same type of game we did against them."

Now I think that LSU is better than Ohio State, but that's about it from the SEC. We shouldn't make such sweeping statements, a la Peter King, from just one game.

243
by Will (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:25am

Good thing we nearly made Troy Smith the most consensus Heisman Winner ever this season.

He beats you with his arms, with his legs, but most importantly, with his inconquerable spirit and character. He is, quite simply, the finest man to ever walk the earth, with a little help from his three Angels (pop warner coach, hs coach, college coach). What a coincidence!

244
by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:43am

Had to run out for a flag football game and just caught the 2nd half via DVR (amazingly, nobody spilled the score on me). Wow. OSU looked even more clueless than Michigan did in the Rose Bowl. Great plan by Florida on both sides of the ball. First time I can remember seeing Tressell get outcoached.

I'm really happy for Chris Leak. Great way to go out after a rocky career.

And kudos to Ned Macey, who called Florida over Ohio State in FO's Season Predictions.

245
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:51am

re 228 - When I heard an announcer say 'Great play by McCollum', I knew my boys in the secondary were going to have a good night. (We're more used to hearing things like, 'Well, McCollum wasn't totally undressed on that play.') Ginn going out obviously hurt, but if there's one thing UF fans can say with absolute confidence, it's that even excellent wide receivers don't make up for lousy blocking.

246
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:55am

64/65 AP voters vote Florida #1. One voter puts Boise State #1.
#2 Ohio State
#3 USC
#4 Boise State

247
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:05am

Someone from New Mexico voted BSU #1.

#1 Florida
#2 Ohio State
#3 LSU
#4 USC
#5 Boise State

Wisconsin, Michigan, and Louisville follow.

248
by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:48am

RE: 224,

And they beat a heavily favored Big 10 team to win that title as well (in that case, Wisconsin).

249
by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 5:42am

Someone from New Mexico voted BSU #1.

Greg Archuleta of the Albuquerque Journal, whose ballot also had Wisconsin 4th (6 other voters did the same, none had Wisconsin higher), Ohio State 7th (as did 2 others), and Michigan 12th (as did 1 others). Somebody's a bit down on the Big Ten.

Other odds and ends from the AP pollsters (note: I'm missing the ballot from the voter who replaced the disgraced Jim Kleinpeter):

- The #2 votes were scattered (31 to Ohio State, 13 to Boise State, 11 to LSU, 7 to USC, 1 to Florida, 1 to Louisville.)

- Boise State received 13 2nd place votes, but only 3 3rd place votes. The distribution is all over the map: 1 #1, 13 #2's, 3 #3's, 10 #4's, 16 #5's, 7 #6's, 12 #7's, 1 #8, and 1 #10. It will surprise few that the #10 vote came from Jason Whitlock.

- The widest distributions come from ACC schools and teams that lost only to Top 10 teams. The widest: Wake Forest (10th to unranked, skipping 11th, 24th, and 25th), Arkansas (9th to 24th, skipping only 10th), and Notre Dame (11th to 25th, skipping only 12th).

- Outside of Florida, no ranked team appeared in fewer than 6 slots.

- There doesn't seem to be that much geographic bias, though San Jose State received a 25th place vote from the San Francisco Chronicle's Ray Ratto, and BYU received its highest votes (9th) from two Mountain West-based writers.

- No ACC team appeared on all 64 ballots (Wake Forest missed 1, Virginia Tech 2, Boston College 6, Maryland 57, and Georgia Tech 61). Every other BCS conference had at least 2 teams who appeared on each ballot, and Boise State, BYU, and Notre Dame did so as well.

- Both of ESPN's voters (Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler) had a Florida-USC-LSU-OSU-Boise Top 5.

250
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 6:41am

I think the ranking should be Florida-Boise-USC-LSU-OSU; OSU did lose to a good team, but the vicious blowout has to lower them behind teams that played at a far higher level in the bowl season. I'm not saying the bowl game trumps all, but to be so thoroughly defeated has to be the biggest indicator of a team's ability.

I'm feeling a little too superlative about this game, but what an embarassment for OSU and the Big 10, I was very disappointed. Before the game I thought it was about a 1/3 chance for an OSU blowout, 1/3 OSU close win, and 1/3 Florida close win... a Florida blowout really didn't seem likely at all. Certainly Troy Smith seems like the worst Heisman winner since Jason White (and even beyond), and was equally disappointing in the national championship game. I hope he enjoys his second day pick.

I am very impressed that Meyer won a title so soon at Florida, he's certainly lived up to the hype for them, and he's asserted the validity of his offense and really his presence as one of the best in the business. I hope, as a college football fan, that he doesn't leave for the pros too soon.

251
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 6:53am

Re #15: 13: Florida could just as easily have another one if not two more losses if you want “luck� to enter the equation. Blocked FG? come on.
Look at the history of one-loss teams playing undefeated teams in the BCS title game, especially when the undefeated team was the clear-cut favorite, and the one-loss team was picked amid controversy (aka used the back door to get in).
2001:Oklahoma easily beats FSU
2002: Miami smears Nebraska

Texas and Ohio State were both undefeated when they scored their upsets. I think it says alot the the underdogs that have won the BCS have had an equal number of losses as the favorite.

That's the problem with a sample size of two. Really, whether a team is 13-0 with all the breaks, or 10-3 with none of the breaks, it's the same team. Whether it was a commanding #2 or a slight #2, it's the same team. If a team is capable of winning when it's an undefeated 7 point underdog, it's just as capable of winning when it's a 1-loss 7 point underdog.

Re #70: on a 2nd and 10 earlier, the play clock ran out well before the ball was snapped to Leak.

Absolutely did. The clock expired so long before the play snapped that I think the Fox clock almost HAD to be wrong. No way a snap could be *THAT* late without delay getting called.

With that said, I'm so glad that outside of this play all the blatantly wrong calls went against Florida, because I'm sick of people complaining about officiating (and because it is something to mention the first time some idiot blames tOSU's loss on Ginn's absence).

Re #82: Tremendous spotting job by the official. First running a half yard beyond the 30, then changing his mind and running back in.

Oh, you have to review this! Not that it’ll matter, PAC-10 and all. The ball came down on the 30!
In fairness, on review it was immediately 100% clear without question that the spot was correct. The ballcarrier's *HELMET* never even crossed the 30, let alone the football.

Re #134: At what point does Urban Meyer become the hot name for an NFL head coach spot? He’s succeded at every stop so far, and he’s apparently on the Bellichick tree, which teams are looking for these days.

I'm pretty sure Urban is a college "Lifer", like Bowden. Granted, a week ago Saban was definitely not taking the Alabama job, but Urban is so totally in love with the recruiting and the pomp and the pageantry and the ability to mold young lives. I have never once gotten any impression from him that he wants to go anywhere ever again (unlike Spurrier, who you could tell wanted to eventually test his stuff in the pros).

Re #168: Can I get a quorum on “classless move by Urban Meyer� … seems like kicking OSU when they’re down.

Yes, OSU is my team, but still … that’s not good sportsmanship.
Meyer's not one to run up the score- he's complained all season about "style points", and said that he was once tempted to run up the score to impress voters but he realized what he was doing, felt horribly dirty, took a knee, and spent the entire postgame conference railing against this tendency for writers to reward teams that run up the score, instead. tOSU was only down by three scores at that point, and Indianapolis has proven that all it takes is 4 minutes to score three times at the end of the game. At the end of the game, when it really was over, Florida took a knee.

252
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 7:04am

Out of curiousity... what happens in Meyer's third season?

I mean, season 1 = moderate turnaround, planting the seeds for a huge explosion.
Season 2 = outperforming the wildest dreams of anyone who ever saw the program.
Season 3 = ??????????

He's never gotten to a third season before. So what happens? Does the entire universe re-align and spew forth all of the greatest teams in college football history, and Meyer schedules them all and beats them all by 50 points, then ascends to heaven and takes his place as a member of the pantheon of football gods? Where the heck does he go from here?

Also, fun fact: I believe Meyer is now 24-2 in games where he has more than a week to prepare.

253
by Rick (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 8:47am

Guess the people calling for a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan feel like complete idiots now, eh?

So, what have we learned from bowl season?

Michigan was flattened by USC.
Ohio State was flattened by Florida.
Notre Dame was flattened by LSU.

Good thing the BCS made sure three Midwest teams all got BCS bids!

To all of you dissing the Big East, I would like to point out that all the Big East teams won their bowl games. I'm very hard-pressed to see the argument for ranking Ohio State over Louisville. Louisville's only loss was by 3 points on the road.

My final rankings would be
1. Boise State
2. Florida
3. Louisville
4. LSU
5. USC

I was going to cringe at the realization that UF now holds the titles in both men's basketball and football, but since there is no football title, we don't have to worry about that.

254
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 9:37am

I know everyone has a chubby for the cute new girl at school in Boise State, but let's remember that while they were drawing plays in the dirt against Oklahoma, Florida, USC and LSU (dammit) were pounding their opponents into bloody stains. BSU finished undefeated and that is impressive, but a #1 finish? Over those three teams? Um, no.

255
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 10:24am

Congratulations to Florida on a tremendous victory.

Did Tressel and Carr share tips on prepping for bowl games? Good grief.

And why exactly is Wisconsin the whipping boy around here? They didn't take away a BCS bid from anyone. They were competitive in their bowl game. Wisconsin actually WON its bowl game.

So why, exactly, is the takeaway from all this that "Wisconsin s*cks"?

I am sorry that Wisconsin lost early in the year AT Michigan in a game that was tied at halftime with the Wolverines getting two big special teams plays to pull away in the second half. I am sorry that Wisconsin won its last conference game of the year on the road with its backup quarterback starting and its best running back playing hurt. I am sorry that Wisconsin was actually able to score touchdowns in its bowl game while its opponent repeatedly threw up all over itself every time it got to the Wisconsin 30 yard line. I am sorry that outside of 3 plays totalling 156 yards Wisconsin held the opposition to 200 yards on 63 offensive plays. I am sorry that Wisconsin ignored the conference memo that required them to act like a punk-*ss b*tch come January.

And once again for the reading impaired, Congratulations to Florida on a tremendous victory.

256
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 10:46am

Amen, Badger, amen.

257
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 10:51am

#253: It's not Wisconsin. It's the entire Big Ten, because the top two teams lost in embarassing fashion (as to why, here's a hint: 1) it's not like OSU faced a murderer's row of offenses this year, 2) I saw more formations on defense from Florida in the first quarter than from Ohio State the whole game). So suddenly the entire conference must suck, and the SEC must be totally underrated. It can't possibly be something more complicated than that.

258
by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 10:57am

#251: One game doesn't tell you a whole lot. That's why people like me can't take these ranking discussions seriously, especially when big bowls are involved.

259
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:01am

Pat:

I do feel vindicated in my post 8 where I confess puzzlement over laryngitis winning anything over the Penn State lb. I don't know if either "deserves" any kind of post-season award but I know this much: Posluszny is WAY better then the OSU guy. Faster. Smarter. He's the Tasmanian Devil on Red Bull. How ANYONE who claims to follow college football could watch those two and think otherwise baffles me.

260
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:03am

#239: So, let's see: Penn State has more yards, forces more turnovers, scores more points on offense, has more time of possession, more first downs, was in the red zone four times compared to Tennessee's one, and wins the game. Yet, apparently, the idea that they outplayed Tennessee is crazy. (Note that I'm not saying they outplayed Tennessee by a lot).

Penn State also had 3 missed field goals. Was that the power of Phil Fulmer's mind that forced him to miss those kicks, apparently?

Tennessee had the ball, down one score, with 10 minutes left. They went three and out and gave Penn State great field position on a punt return, then allowed Penn State to salt the game away on a long drive where they were unable to stop Tony Hunt for less than 5 yards on even one freaking play until their own three yard line. That's what lost them the game. If you think Tennessee just up and said "well, we lost" when that fumble happened, they still didn't lose because of the fumble - they would've lost because they were coached like crap.

261
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:10am

#257: And Poz was playing a completely different position this year! Honestly, I can't imagine how Poz isn't either the first or second LB in the draft. He shows no effects from the knee injury, is Penn State's all-time leading tackler, anchored two top college defenses, and has played both middle and outside linebacker in college.

On a separate note, any fan of an NFL team that says "I think we should draft Levi Brown. He's a complete tackle who's ready to start right away" should be desperately ready for disappointment.

What's your opinion of Joe Thomas (is that the guy's name?) now?

262
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:16am

Pat:

Thomas was the only Wisconsin lineman who held is ground against Arkansas. Why they didn't tell Hill to follow THAT guy on a few running plays I have no idea. It sure couldn't have done any worse then those pointless runs up the middle with the D-linemen shoving the center and guards back in his face.

I am hopeful that the mostly early season issues WERE around him recovering from the knee injury. I certainly WANT him to do well at the pro level.

I believe he has the strength and the intelligence to be a quality pro. I just don't know about the lateral movement.

263
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:26am

Yesterday's game, and the overall BCS results, are a great reason why there should never be a rematch in the title game, and furthermore, that two teams from the same conference should never be in the title game, no matter what.

It doesn't matter how many times you've seen Team A and Team B on television. It doesn't matter how many mid-level teams Team A and Team B have destroyed.

Without playing teams from other conferences in the postseason, you really have no idea whatsoever how good a team is.

This Ohio State team was anointed as the Best Ohio State Team Ever. Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy by one of the greatest margins ever.

Michigan was widely accepted - even by the people that voted Florida #2 - as the #2 team in the country. Let's be honest here - the only reason Florida moved past Michigan to #2 was because Michigan had already played Ohio State. Had it been, say, a 1-loss Miami team at #2 or something that had been idle, they would have remained at #2.

But the only real qualification we had that Ohio State and Michigan "...were what we THOUGHT they were!" (thanks Dennis!), that is, #1 and #2, was because they played each other to a virtual draw. Sure, OSU had beaten Texas to start the season, and Michigan beat Notre Dame, but both of those teams were shown to be less than they were thought of as well.

Then both OSU and Michigan went out and got pounded into dust by the champions of other conferences. And it wasn't even close. They were completely outclassed, outcoached, out-everythinged that could possibly be out-ed.

No rematches for the championship - because only by playing other conferences do you have any idea how good a team really is.

264
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 11:34am

No rematches for the championship - because only by playing other conferences do you have any idea how good a team really is.

Absolutely. The degree of interconnectedness in college football is awful. Bowl games expand the connections between the teams dramatically.

265
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:09pm

Incidentally, regarding the actual game...

Hey, OSU. When it’s 3rd-and-short? You shouldn’t drop into zones behind the first down line. Just a thought.

What the hell was up with that? I mean, it's supposed to be Lloyd Carr who constantly calls soft zone coverage and yields a five-yard slant by the outside WRs on every play.

Oh, and the "line everyone up on the line of scrimmage" defense by Florida was awesome. Of course, I loved the announcers - "Florida shows blitz!" Really!? They have everyone on the line. That's not showing blitz. That's hiding a blitz.

I know people want to say Florida's offensive and defensive lines dominated, and in some sense, they did, but I'm putting a huge chunk of that on OSU being outcoached. That game just looked like a college coach versus an NFL coach.

266
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:11pm

The SEC is loaded in coaching now as well. The only thing it has going against it is the Mississippi schools...

267
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:30pm

RE: 249

Absolutely did. The clock expired so long before the play snapped that I think the Fox clock almost HAD to be wrong. No way a snap could be *THAT* late without delay getting called.

Leak had problems with the playclock all game long. I was not impressed by him at all.

All in all, it was a poorly officiated game. On one TD, replay showed that the player clearly was down before he got in the endzone, but they ruled it a TD anyway. Bunch of incompetent referees.

268
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:44pm

Here is what I want to know about officiating. Has the quality actually decreased? Or because there are a kajillion cameras we just recognize errors that previously went undetected? Or is the game so much faster officials can't keep up?

During the break I watched a couple of old bowl games on ESPN Classic and just focused on the officiating. Big Ten teams, SEC teams, Notre Dame (gag), SWC (remember them?), Pac 10 and some others I don't know what conference there were technically in at the time. And I didn't see anywhere NEAR the number of OBVIOUS mistakes. 8 out of 10 obvious holding call on offense got called. PI was called when a guy got smacked around not when somebody ran alongside him and screamed "boo!". Possession calls were handled just fine. Even spotting the ball seemed crisper.

Now along with the players looking underfed I just didn't see the types of calls where you smacked your forehead like Homer Simpson.

Old dudes, talk to me. Wazzup with THAT? Did the X generation of officials get the stupid gene???

269
by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:44pm

263 - In fact, I'd almost be willing to credit the Florida secondary/LBs as much as the DL pressure - if you look at all those plays where Smith had pressure, against Michigan the *ball was already gone at that point*. Smith never really had to progress that much through his reads in that game.

270
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:45pm

When I wrote a "couple" I really meant "several". Sorry 'bout that.

271
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 12:56pm

I am amazed at all the love Chris Leak is getting today. He threw a lot of easy little dinks in the first half to wide open receivers. In the 2d half, OSU finally got a sack and had a couple of minor pressures. As he has his entire career, Leak started looking to unload the ball as soon as possible and the Gator offense started punting on almost every possession.

Can someone point out how many quality throws Leak made? By quality, I'm talking squeezing it into tight coverage or making a good throw with some pressure on him. I can't think of a single instance.

Florida's defense is the story of last night's game, just as it has been all year with the Gators. If OSU had come with the blitz in the first quarter and gotten a hit on Leak (even if a late hit), the game would have been a low scoring game.

Just about every good team in the SEC was much better on defense because of inconsistency at QB. Tenn was the exception. They were weak up front on defense and when their best player DT Justin Harrell went down for the year, they were trying to hold up with DEs playing DT. Ky was much better at QB with a D so bad, I hesitate to call them a good team except they did spank Clemson who was supposed to be one of the better ACC teams.

LSU and Fla were hot and cold at QB (and had awesome D). Auburn was just bad at QB. Lots of QB problems with Ark, Ga and SC. Of the nine SEC bowl teams, only Tenn and Ky had better offenses than defenses and it was due to their QBs.

272
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:00pm

I am a Pac-10 fan first and foremost, and watched as much of the conference as I could given that I live in Washington, DC.

But I can't really excuse the performance of the referees this season. One can note my post near the top of the thread almost immediately upon seeing they were Pac-10 referees, that there were going to be problems. And there were. Some very odd calls.

That said, why is it that recently, the officiating during the playoffs/postseason in both the NFL and college football (and even the NBA) has been so universally lacking? It can't simply be that people are paying more attention - even when instant replay wasn't allowed, people still got to see the replays on television. And while there are always gaffes, it seems like recently there have been some high-profile officiating errors that just make you shake your head.

Earlier this year the BCS was embarrassed when it came out that not only did they make a number of critical mistakes in last year's USC/Texas championship game, but the replay system was set up improperly such that it was impossible for replay to address them. In the championship game, the replay system was set up improperly. In the Oregon/Oklahoma game, the replay system was again set up improperly, and the official didn't have the camera angle needed to give Oklahoma the ball.

Also frustrating in recent replay reviews is when it's clear that a play probably should be overturned, but the replay isn't 100% conclusive, and they overturn it anyway. I'm of the camp that says that in order to say "Overturn" you have to be able to point to the exact moment of the video where it's clear it should be overturned and say "There". And if a replay takes more than about 60 seconds (not counting the time to perhaps determine where to respot the ball, or reset the clock), then I just don't see how something can be conclusive.

Earlier this year in the USC/Oregon Pac-10 game, a replay took about 20 minutes - first, the officials huddled to figure out what happened. Then replay reversed the ruling on the field. Then the Oregon coach (Belotti) challenged, which led to the original ruling being restored. Ridiculous, and took forever.

Then you have the case of plays (especially in college) that are inexplicably not reviewed.

Add to this the fact that referees on goal line plays seem to instinctively award touchdowns on runs into the pile where 47 people are all in a jumble, making it impossible to do any replays. And both college and the NFL steadfastly say that it wouldn't be feasible or cost-effective to add goal-line cameras.

It's like there needs to be some sort of Grand Summit on football officiating at all levels of the game.

273
by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:09pm

Florida's line on Offense and Defense looked great. I thought Ohio State could have taken advantage of the 5-10 yard cushion on many plays by throwing some short passes, but Florida looked like a much better team.

It was a good time for Florida to play their best game on Offense and Defense and a lousy time for Ohio State to play its worst game.

Florida Gators: the first team to own the Basketball Championship and Football Championship at the same time! Now, if they can just win the Math Championship or Science Championship for the big money. (For math and science and medical research they may be the best school in Florida, actually)

274
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:12pm

#239:

"Tenn 350 yards, Penn St 380 yards.
Tenn 3 turnovers were clearly the difference in the game. This idea that Penn St was clearly better is crap. Without the three turnovers and Penn St running the fumble back 80+ yards for the game-changing TD, UT wins."

And without the shooting, the Lincolns would have had a great night at the theatre. Penn State won the game, because despite the inclination of Tennessee people, college and pro, to think otherwise, turnovers and returns DO count. An 80+ fumble return is luck, but luck is a part of games.

And if my defense is giving up 380 yards to a team already playing on a short field due to turnovers, my team is not playing well enough to win the game. It seems like the final AP poll got it right: 24. Penn State. 25. Tennessee.

275
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:19pm

#267: I think a lot of that was scheme as well, too, though. Florida switched between man and different forms of zone all night, and Troy constantly hesitated.

Plus, either the playcalling, or Troy, was horrible. Did you see a hot read on any of the plays where Florida had pressure? Any? There was one play where the announcers insisted "oh, there was no one open" - a second before a WR came on a crossing pattern with two other WRs running deep routes (play design probably had them as blockers for the underneath route). But the play developed way too slowly, and Troy hesitated when he saw that the WRs on deep had a step on the Florida DBs. Bam. Pressure.

I mean, there's this neat offensive package available in football. Tressel might've heard of it - it's called "max protect". It even allows you to deploy blockers behind the line, so that when your offensive line decides "no one needs to block that guy, do they?", your QB doesn't have to run screaming for his life because the RB can adjust.

I've seen more offensive/defensive packages from JoePa, and damn if that isn't saying something.

276
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 1:53pm

The Notre Dame Illuminati have gone too far this time. First ND gets hammered by LSU and then they get to play in the freaking national championship game. Rise up and discard the shackles of Golden Dome oppression!

277
by BB (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:18pm

262: A great argument for the "plus one" model, really. Go back to traditional bowl matchups (incl. sending the Big 12 nee Big 8 to the Orange Bowl), let the Fiesta have the two best that remain like they used to unless they want to move the Big 12 there permanently for geographic reasons, and then play one more from the two best that are left according to the BCS standings. At least that would solve the interconnectedness issues with the current system (since no one other than USC plays a nonconference schedule with any more than one team that's even half-good, let alone really good), and is far more likely to be accepted by the college presidents. Since they've already added a game a week after one of the bowls, the "plus one" is now virtually impossible for the presidents to reject on their usual basis.

Of course, I'm a sucker for the traditional bowl matchups. If they're going to bother keeping the bowls around, they may as well go the whole nine yards and put them back the way they used to be. It's a little weird seeing your team not win the conference yet end up in the conference champion's bowl position.

278
by Trevor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 2:39pm

the only thing that game showed me is that the preseason poll needs to be BANISHED! if college football folks aren't going to drop somebody till after they lose, make the 1st poll 2 weeks before BCS poll opens. Give folks a month to figure out the good teams. Then, people will put show-me games at the start of the year.

279
by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:02pm

276 - Even if they did that, tOSU would still have been ranked high, as they would have been undefeated, and had a 'quality' win over 6-1 Texas.

280
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:24pm

Starting the polls later will solve absolutely nothing.

The Harris Poll used by the BCS already doesn't start for about 6 weeks after the season starts. Each season, when it does come out, it pretty well follows the already-existing polls.

Why? Because the Harris Poll voters are just as lazy as the voters for any of the other polls. They look for guidance from the existing rankings that have been out for a month, shuffle a team here and there, and turn in their ballot.

Let's face it - why does the concept of "poll inertia" exist at all? It's not because voters don't care. It's because people are lazy. And they're busy. It's easier to just keep the #2 team at #2 than it is to look at all of them and re-rank them every week.

So one can say "Well, just make it so all the polls don't start until 6 weeks in." Well there's a few problems with that too.

First, the AP poll doesn't care what the BCS thinks or wants, and if the AP poll starts when it usually does, then making the BCS polls start 6 weeks later will mean nothing, because the BCS polls will take the existing AP poll as a starting point for reference (which they do already).

Second, if you really did manage to convince the AP to go along with it and push their poll back, then some other organization (probably ESPN) would start up a ranking that people would use as a reference instead. Because I guarantee you, for those early-season matchups on ESPN, ESPN is going to want to be able to say "#3 vs. #6". Not "Unknown ranking vs. unknown ranking." And since ESPN doesn't run the coaches poll, nor the BCS, anymore, they can (and will) do it. And then 6 weeks down the road, everyone will use the ESPN poll as the official one until the BCS ones began.

And if ESPN doesn't do it, somebody, some organization, will, and that will become the "preseason" ranking to use for television matchups.

Moving the polls will solve nothing unless one could actually force every media member, website, newspaper, TV channel, etc. to not rank a single team for 6 weeks. Since that won't happen, that is really a non-starter.

281
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:45pm

273: I would say that Troy Smith didn't make it any easier for his O-line. He routinely started running in the wrong direction, opening himself up. Probably the best example is the first sack, where the right tackle had pushed the defender away and ridden him back a little bit. A smart QB moves left, or up, to keep the tackle between him and the defender. Troy ran backwards and right, ensuring that his tackle couldn't help him. Splat. He came apart at the seams, AND his coaches failed to help him adjust.

269: Um... ok, I was curious about this collapse from Leak no one I was watching with saw, so I took a look.

Leak got sacked on a third and 12 that two running plays gave him, while up 20 with 10 minutes to go in the third. The next drive he threw a completion for no gain, a first down, an incompletion, and then a 6 yard pass when they needed 7.

Next drive, an incompletion, a run for a 14 yard first, a thirteen yard pass on 1st and 15 (following a false start), a completion down to the OSU 2 (which Tebow put in on the ground).

The final clock-killing drive, he threw one pass, a completion to get a new set of downs to run out the clock with.

So after getting sacked, Leak was 6 of 8 for 44 yards, plus a 14 yard first-down run. They punted on the drive right after the sack (which obviously ended that one), scored a touchdown on the next, and entered victory formation on the third. How exactly is this "punting on nearly every possession"? They were still scoring! They were even moving it on the clock-killing possession, they could easily have kept moving if they wanted.

I can't recall every "quality throw" Leak made, although the first drive was basically textbook, right up to the pass over the corner's outstretched hands to tie up the score. I have a feeling that if Leak had made a few more passes into "tight coverage" that you (or perhaps others) would be criticizing him for gambling and poor decision-making.

In fact Leak's entire first quarter was excellent, when the game was actually in contention. On the first drive Leak's passes went complete, complete, complete for first, complete for first, touchdown. On the second, his only pass was a twenty yard completion to set up the TD. On the third, it was complete for first, complete for first, complete for first, incomplete, team rushes in for TD.

I'm not sure that Leak has been overly praised for the win, but I think he's deserving of it anyway. His stellar play in the first quarter put the game at 21-7, which is actually all the points Florida would need. After that, Leak had a drive stall out, drove for a field goal, there were two short-field scores, and the game was basically over. At that point Leak was mainly used to complete passes on third down.

Anyway I think he had a good game overall, and personally feel he could become a good pro (assuming his height isn't too big an obstacle).

282
by Michael David Smith :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 3:53pm

If the Heisman Trophy vote were today, who would win?

283
by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:12pm

280: They'd find a way to give it to Vince Young. ;)

As far as the "good" passes by Leak, I certainly recall the pass to Ingram down the middle being very nice. I was perhaps even happier that he was throwing the ball away when there wasn't anything there, and not forcing them or overthrowing open guys.

284
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:13pm

#279: He's certainly deserving of praise - great decision making, poise, and accuracy when it was needed. Basically he did exactly what was asked of him - if the play works, throw the ball. If it doesn't, throw it away. Ohio State's defensive game plan was utter trash, so it worked more often than not.

right up to the pass over the corner’s outstretched hands to tie up the score.

Woah, woah. That wasn't Leak at all. That was the receiver, who juked around the corner, who, with his jaw on the ground in shock, had nothing else to do other than jump. The jump had no chance of doing anything, but hey, when you've just been served, you might as well try something. It's not like Leak had to adjust his throw to throw over his hands. That's where he had to throw anyway.

Anyway I think he had a good game overall, and personally feel he could become a good pro (assuming his height isn’t too big an obstacle).

There I disagree with you. He didn't display good arm strength, accuracy, touch, or even an ability to read defenses in that game because he was never asked to. He's been criticized on all of those fronts elsewhere, and I doubt that game will quiet any of those critics.

Wait. I'm still not sure this isn't 2003, and I'm not talking about Craig Krenzel.

285
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 4:14pm

278 - So, people are stupid and lazy and you'll never be able to stop them from being stupid and lazy? Yeah, sounds about right to me.
280 - Since nothing that happened before the bowls matters, Dwayne Jarrett? JaMarcus Russell? That guy who proposed to his girlfriend?

I don't want the season to end. I'm ready to watch East Tree Stump Tech take on Southern North Dakota at Hoople.

286
by kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 5:18pm

Re #253: I am sorry that Wisconsin lost early in the year AT Michigan in a game that was tied at halftime with the Wolverines getting two big special teams plays to pull away in the second half. I am sorry that Wisconsin won its last conference game of the year on the road with its backup quarterback starting and its best running back playing hurt. I am sorry that Wisconsin was actually able to score touchdowns in its bowl game while its opponent repeatedly threw up all over itself every time it got to the Wisconsin 30 yard line. I am sorry that outside of 3 plays totalling 156 yards Wisconsin held the opposition to 200 yards on 63 offensive plays. I am sorry that Wisconsin ignored the conference memo that required them to act like a punk-*ss b*tch come January.

Count me as one who actually changed his mind about Wisconsin over the last week plus. I came into bowl season thinking that it was a joke that Wisconsin was ranked as high as they were, since they'd played no one but Michigan (and lost, there). The fact that they were even COMPETITIVE against Arkansas (much less able to win) definitely convinced me that I was underrating them all year. I wouldn't put them in the top 5, mostly because I think the "big boys" (Florida, OSU, LSU, USC) would take them to town, but any talk about leaving them out of the top 10 is just nonsense.

Re #263: I know people want to say Florida’s offensive and defensive lines dominated, and in some sense, they did, but I’m putting a huge chunk of that on OSU being outcoached. That game just looked like a college coach versus an NFL coach.
I think the coaching was part of it, but Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey (Florida's DEs) played out of their mind.

I think the talk of "SEC speed" is partially true, but not to the extent that everyone says it. In the SEC, coaches really value speed in the front 7, probably moreso than any other conference in the nation. It's not saying that southern players are faster than northern players, it's just saying that southern coaches place more emphasis on speed when recruiting those positions than northern coaches. And I think Florida really demonstrated that against Ohio State- when your defensive ends are running down an extremely mobile QB from behind, then you've got some speed. Ohio State just looked unprepared.

At the skill positions, "SEC Speed" is a myth- Harvin is no faster than Ginn, Pittman's probably faster than Wynn, etc. But the SEC routinely has the best defensive front sevens in the nation (which is one theory why SEC RBs do so well in the NFL), and speed is a big part of that equation.

Re #269: I am amazed at all the love Chris Leak is getting today. He threw a lot of easy little dinks in the first half to wide open receivers. In the 2d half, OSU finally got a sack and had a couple of minor pressures. As he has his entire career, Leak started looking to unload the ball as soon as possible and the Gator offense started punting on almost every possession.

Can someone point out how many quality throws Leak made? By quality, I’m talking squeezing it into tight coverage or making a good throw with some pressure on him. I can’t think of a single instance.

Chris Leak had a *GREAT* opening of the game. 9 for 9, 99 yards, three TDs on the first three possessions, and complete control of the game. FO always talks about how First Quarter Offense is one of the most vital ingredients to success, and Chris Leak was masterful in the first quarter. After that, he was pretty much just mediocre, with his greatest success being that he didn't screw it up, but without that first quarter, it's a completely different ballgame. Without a huge lead and a dominant-looking offense, Ohio State doesn't go for it on 4th down, and Florida enters halftime maybe up 7 or 10 instead of up 20.

Chris Leak wasn't as good as all the press is saying this morning, but I think a lot of that is just them trying to make up for all of the times they burned Leak in effigy. I doubt there has been a single QB who has gotten so much bad press over the last three years, which is insane because Leak is definitely not Reggie Ball here. Still, the importance of his 1st-quarter performance cannot be understated.

Also, LSU wasn't "hot and cold" with Jamarcus Russell. He had a bad game against Florida (although that game is looking better in retrospect) and another bad game against Tennessee, but outside of those two games his QB Rating never dropped below 130, and he only threw 2 INTs in the other 11 games. He had a great season.

Re #280: If the Heisman Trophy vote were today, who would win?

I thought it should have been Darren McFaddon all along, and my opinion hasn't changed.

Really, I think you have to throw any game against Florida's defense out of the equation. You could say that Smith was phenominal... but there was that game against Florida. Darren McFaddon was unstoppable... except for that game against Florida. Jemarcus Russel was brilliant... except for when he played Florida. Eric Ainge was masterful... except for the game against Florida. Felix Jones was dazzling... except for the game against Florida.

Really, what a phenominal defensive year for the Gators. I can't think of anyone of note who actually had an above-average game against the Gators, except for Blake Mitchell (South Carolina's QB, if he even counts as someone "of note").

287
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 5:47pm

I think the coaching was part of it, but Jarvis Moss and Derrick Harvey (Florida’s DEs) played out of their mind.

There were at least three plays I saw where a blitzer came in unblocked. Late in the game, I was still seeing five receiver sets occasionally from OSU. I didn't see Smith dump the ball off for a short gain basically ever. And they basically never handed the ball off for the majority of the game. That's all coaching - Tressel did nothing to help Smith against a pass rush. It was like he wasn't actually watching the game, and thought they were winning or something.

Moss and Harvey played great, but I don't agree even that the SEC is faster at the front seven. Penn State has linebackers, defensive ends that are just as fast as SEC linebackers and DEs. Tamba Hali chased down Troy Smith from behind last year as well.

It's not like Ohio State's offense hasn't been slowed this year. It's just that the last time it was (versus Penn State), they still had a running game that was still going. For some insane reason, Tressel was rarely running the ball at all.

I mean, look at the first few first downs that Ohio State had.

1: pass (inc), pass (scramble), pass (sack)
2: rush (4), rush (5), rush (4)
3: pass (sack), pass (11), pass (INT)
4: pass (13), rush (13), rush (5), rush (18, TD)
5: pass (inc), pass (inc), pass (inc)

That has to be the most idiotic playcalling I've ever seen in my life. And that's exactly what I thought when I was watching the game, too.

288
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 6:41pm

284-someone much earlier pointed out that the speed advantage down south isn't at the skill positions but on the line of scrimmage. I do think that's right, and I also think southern players are faster. Up north, there are a lot of big, strong, corn-fed (and yes, white) guys to choose from. In the south, you have some of that but also some almost as big, almost as strong, MUCH faster young gentlemen. Almost every school will get a lot of their guys from close to home. I remember Alvarez saying something long ago that he could get the legs of his team from New Jersey or Florida or Georgia, but the body would mostly come from in state or close by.

285-Tressel seemed to be far too afraid of his defense not being able to match up with Florida's offense, while completely unconcerned with his offense's ability to match up with the Florida D, which is the opposite of what you would expect him to worry about. Nevertheless, in spite of his rep, Tressel and the OSU braintrust clearly misjudged their team's abilities, and showed no ability to adjust 'Charlie Weis style' or at halftime.

And I am not saying OSU would have won if this or that. But the playing way behind receivers whether they ran short or long, the 5-wides, the 3- and 4-man rushes (in combo with the unaggressive coverage schemes) . . . that's very hard to understand.

289
by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 6:57pm

I always get annoyed by the talking heads after a bowl game who just throw out the regular season as completely irrelevant, or as if it didn't even happen.

OSU got manhandled by UF last night, no question. They outcoached and outplayed OSU in every facet and are deserving champs obviously. How you finish is how people remember you, that's just a fact of team sports. But you can't just disregard OSU's body of work this season as fraudulent. Just like you can't look at all of UF's close shaves as a testament to the superiority of the SEC (re: 283, Vandy's Chris Nickson had a pretty good day against UF).

For example, look at Notre Dame's regular seas... oh, nevermind...

290
by Vinny (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 6:57pm

oops, the Nickson note was in re: 284.

291
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 8:13pm

Many things to note...

First, whenever a team is a heavy underdog, despite having a clearly superior defense, that presents an opportunity, as it did again last night. Not that I expected the complete ass-whipping, of course.

The complete ass-whipping, I think, was mostly due to one coaching staff getting completely dominated by the other staff. Florida had an excellent chance to win just on personnel, but given the coaching performance disparity, the contest came to resemble some of the less entertaining Super Bowls. I do think that OSU had a much better team last year.

Losing Ginn was significant, although not determinative, because countering blitzes is a much more difficult job when a team's most explosive wide receiver (by a wide margin) is off the field. Given how poorly Smith read defenses lasy night, however, it is hard to tell exactly what difference having Ginn would have made. Perhaps the game would have ben closer towards the end of the half, thus avoiding the deep fumble by Smith, whih may have made a difference, in terms of making for a better 2nd half.

Before the "Florida is great" sentiment gets too strong, remember that this was a team that was fortunate to beat South Carolina. A secondary having a good game would have feasted on some of Leak's throws last night. OSU should be doubly embarrassed that such pedestrian passing produced such numbers.

This year, more than any other argues for a playoff system. Anybody who thinks they "know" who would have won a tournament of conference champs, starting a month ago, is fooling themselves.

292
by kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 8:49pm

Re #287/288: (re: 283, Vandy’s Chris Nickson had a pretty good day against UF).

Again, like Blake Mitchell, I question whether Chris Nickson qualifies as anyone of note.

Florida's defense has been very "Belichickean" this year in that they have schemed to take away the biggest threats they've faced this season, and they've succeeded brilliantly. I don't think there was a single highly-regarded offensive player who left the game against UF quite as highly regarded as he entered it. Outside of the guys I've already mentioned, there's Robert Meacham of Tennessee, too (far and away his worst game of the season prior to the bowl games), and there was Sidney Rice (who played a lot of hot-and-cold during the year, but against Florida was pretty cold).

I only noticed it because, living in Gainesville, we had an entire week worth of articles about what a huge weapon so-and-so was, and how dangerous he was going to be... and then after the game I'd just sit there thinking "was that it?". UF faced a lot of future first-rounders this year, and I can't recall a single one actually LOOKING like a first-rounder against Florida.

Re #289: Before the “Florida is great� sentiment gets too strong, remember that this was a team that was fortunate to beat South Carolina

First off, while I agree that Florida, in the grand scheme of national champions through history, isn't going to be cracking the top 10, I think they were clearly the #1 team on the season. Second off, I don't like saying that Florida was "fortunate" to beat South Carolina, because that makes it seem as if it were a lucky win. Yes, they were fortunate that they won, but in much the same way that they were "fortunate" that they beat OSU- because otherwise they wouldn't be champions. Doesn't mean it was a fluke or lucky win.

I think Florida deserved to win that game and South Carolina was "fortunate" to be that close at the end. If Hetland doesn't miss a 29 yard field goal, that final attempt is entirely academic, anyway. If not for a couple of unforced and uncharacteristic errors in the red zone from a team that scored TDs 88% of the time inside the 20 (two dropped TD passes with no defender near and a fumbled snap that resulted in a 16 yard loss), the final attempt would have been academic. And even if it hadn't been blocked, it was a 48 yard attempt- hardly a gimme, here.

It was a very close game for Florida, and Florida is extremely fortunate that it didn't go the other way, but it's no more an indictment of the strength of the Florida team than OSU's 7-point win against Illinois was an indictment of their strength.

293
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/09/2007 - 10:47pm

No, kibbles, before I say a team is clearly number one, I'd have to say that they would be prohibitive favorites to win an 8-12 team tournament, played out over three or four weeks. Sure, Florida deserves the crystal, certainly more than anyone else, but the way I see college football, the way champions are determined now, I'd say we get a clear number one perhaps once every five years. I have zero confidence in saying which team would prevail in a month-long tournament this year.

When a team like South Carolina comes within a 48 yard field goal of beating you, you're simply not a great team by historical standards, even though you may deserve the trophy more than anyone else. Heck, you really need to go undefeated before even getting in the conversation, to say nothing of cracking the top 10.

294
by Shameless WAC Homer (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 1:31am

280: Who *would* win? Good question. John David Booty maybe? Smith would probably win it anyway for lack of any other standout candidates.

Personally, though I'd kind of want to award the Heisman to either Chris Petersen or the entire Florida Defense, I think, taking the postseason into account, it should go to...

Colt Brennan.

295
by navin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 1:32am

Okay, I'm going to defend South Carolina. After the disaster against Georgia, *every* team had trouble beating South Carolina. That includes Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, and Tennessee. All won by a touchdown or less. Tennessee won because of two tip drills led to 14 points. Arkansas won on a hail mary before halftime. Auburn won when a SC receiver dropped a TD on the numbers at the end of the game. With some incredible luck this team could have been 11-1.

Also, if Jarvis Moss doesn't block that field goal, it's good. Succop missed another field goal and an extra point, kicks he usually makes--the kid hit a 55 yarder earlier in the year--he's going to win the Groza award before he graduates. Also yardage was essentially equal in that game and Florida had one more turnover--Florida was flat out lucky--they were outplayed but won.

I wouldn't call the Blake Mitchell/Syvelle Newton no one of note either. I think both were top 25 in passer efficiency.

296
by navin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 1:35am

One more thing, I think if we had DVOA for college, SC would be like the 4-4 Eagles early in the year and everyone would be going nuts.

What pissed me off the most was when Peter King ripped Spurrier for those two blocked kicks in Florida. I hope he noticed #94 was going nuts last night too.

297
by Solomon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 2:20am

Buckeye fan here ... wow, what a brutal game. I have not seem OSU look that bad since Tressel arrived.

This was still a good season ... outright Big Ten title and win over school up north.

The Big Ten did not exactly distinguish itself in the bowl games, but it did win two of three matchups against the SEC.

298
by kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 3:20am

One more thing, I think if we had DVOA for college, SC would be like the 4-4 Eagles early in the year and everyone would be going nuts.

What pissed me off the most was when Peter King ripped Spurrier for those two blocked kicks in Florida. I hope he noticed #94 was going nuts last night too.

I'm with you there. South Carolina was a tremendously underrated team this season, and I don't know if you'll recall, but I really, really ripped into Peter King for that Spurrier comment (probably the only time all season that I've done so- normally I don't have a problem with him). I just thought that the comment was misguided, misinformed, and malicious.

Also, I think the whole "whichever conference did the best in the bowls was the best conference!" thing is a little overrated. The Big East went 5-0, but I think a large part of that was just sheer disrespect for the Big East when it came to bowl pairings. They had three teams that showed over the season that they were at least NEAR to the caliber of a BCS-bowl team. Their opponents should be seen as an insult to the Big East.

I really, really, really hope that the Big East gets some decent opponents next season. I remember West Virginia taking down Georgia last season, and I would sincerely like to see the Big East get more shots at showing how it would fare against true top-end competition. They've really earned it, at this point. I would have loved to see a Louisville/Oklahoma, West Virginia/Arkansas, or Rutgers/Texas pairing.

299
by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 4:48am

282: Yeah, the corner had misplayed it terribly and had basically no chance. His choice to jump from where he was (maybe with a step towards the QB) was pretty much bizarre. I have no idea why I mentioned it, it was just a cool play, but really it was a pretty easy pitch and catch.

As for Leak's pro potential, my opinion there is not based upon the national title game very much. It's my opinion that he has done very well with a loser head coach (Zook) and then someone who only half wanted to play him. He was clearly way more talented throwing the ball than Tebow, but Meyer was definitely straining not to just put the runner in from the jump. I would like to see a breakdown of his down/distance situations, because it seems to me that over the last two years the offense has followed the "run, run, Leak tries to convert the 3rd and long" blueprint. He's not a very good fit for the system, and he's thrown some interceptions and failed to run the way he might be expected to. I don't think he's a slam dunk pick or anything, but I think he has the intelligence and accuracy to make it in the NFL.

300
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/10/2007 - 12:59pm

#297: It's not that the corner misplayed it. The receiver just completely beat him. The receiver juked right, then dashed on a corner route, and the corner bit on the juke, and then apparently decided "well, since I've just gotten my ass handed to me, I'll try to block the pass, even though I have no chance of doing it."

Leak's pro potential is probably scout-team QB, or backup QB. That sounds harsh, I know, but I don't think the physical skills are there. Meyer had to protect Leak quite a bit in that game (and throughout the season, from what I've seen, though I've only seen three Florida games) and if you have to protect a QB in college, that doesn't bode well.

Keep in mind that most people's opinions of what the necessary skills are are screwed up: accuracy isn't hitting a wide open receiver, arm strength isn't about distance, and intelligence isn't about not throwing interceptions. If you can't do any one of those, obviously, you're screwed, but doing those doesn't mean you've got the skill.