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» Factors: Andre Johnson

One of the NFL's best receivers notched a -2.3% DVOA last year. Does a target-by-target breakdown show he was better than that?

25 Oct 2007

Seventh Day Adventure: Clay Nation

by Russell Levine

Face it. It's an SEC world and the rest of us are just living in it.

I've been accused of SEC bashing, so I want to clear the record. I've said that I don't think the gap between the SEC and the second-best conference (the Pac-10; my earlier opinion on the Big East has been disproven) is anywhere near as wide as it was last season. Still, on any given weekend, if you could only watch the games from one conference, just about any neutral observer would pick the SEC. (I still think Les Miles is crazy, though.)

This Saturday is no exception. Florida and Georgia set to renew acquaintances in the Cocktail Party game in Jacksonville and Steve Spurrier gets his latest chance to get under Phil Fulmer's skin as South Carolina takes on Tennessee.

This will also be a big weekend for the national championship race as the top two teams, Ohio State and Boston College, face their biggest tests of the season. And if a team like Virginia Tech or West Virginia is to sneak into the title game, they will start down the path in key games this week.

To help me make sense of it all on this week's podcast is CBS Sportsline Spin columnist Clay Travis, who is also the author of the outstanding book Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference. I can't recommend this book highly enough, no matter if you love or hate the SEC or have ever set foot on one of its campuses. If you've ever wondered where "'Bama Bangs" came from or what it's like to travel to Mississippi with two Indian friends, this is the book for you.

Here are the games Clay and I will be discussing this week:

No. 2 Boston College (+3) at No. 8 Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Seven games haven't taught us all that much about Boston College, other than that quarterback Matt Ryan is really, really good.

All the talk this week has been about whether Boston College has a shot at the national-title game, but Virginia Tech, hanging around in the BCS top ten despite being de-pantsed at LSU in its second game, may actually have a better chance to get to New Orleans -- although the Hokies need LSU to lose again.

This could well be the first of two meetings between these two, with the second coming in the ACC championship game in Jacksonville.

No. 7 West Virginia (-6) at Rutgers, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

Speaking of teams hanging around in the BCS ... presenting, seventh-ranked West Virginia! If the Mountaineers win out and catch a few breaks from above, they could end up in the championship game despite finishing with the same a record as South Florida, a team that beat West Virginia.

And yes, I realize I had West Virginia one spot above South Florida in my BlogPoll ballot last week. That was a mistake that will be corrected next week -- assuming the Mountaineers don't fall victim to the same fate against Rutgers that the Bulls did last Thursday.

Mike Teel is questionable to play for Rutgers with a banged-up thumb on his passing hand. That injury may explain some of the perplexing interceptions Teel has thrown over the last month, but the Scarlet Knights need him to be able to go to have a chance to win this game.

No. 12 USC (+3) at No. 5 Oregon, 3 p.m. ET, FSN

USC has a brewing quarterback controversy after Mark Sanchez led the Trojans to a 38-0 win at Notre Dame last week. Pete Carroll seems to be indicating that he'll go back to John David Booty once his broken finger heals, but Sanchez appears to believe otherwise.

Oregon continues to have one of the nation's most explosive offenses, and a defense that makes opponents look explosive. The winner here may be the first to reach 40 points.

The winner could also re-emerge as the Pac-10 favorite, as both teams have yet to play unbeaten Arizona State.

No. 18 Georgia (+9) vs. No. 11 Florida (at Jacksonville), 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

The annual "cocktail party" game in Jacksonville -- at least that's what most people still call it -- will play a key role in shaking out the SEC East standings, where there is a five-way tie in the loss column.

Florida has owned Georgia -- winning eight of the last nine in the series and 15 of 17 -- and can get back to the SEC title game by winning out. Quarterback Tim Tebow may soon own the Heisman Trophy if he continues to play like he did in a wild win over Kentucky last week, but all the punishment he's taking in the Urban Meyer's, ahem, repetitive offense is starting to add up and he appeared to be favoring his non-throwing shoulder as he left the field in Lexington.

Florida's defense can be had, and if Matthew Stafford is on, the Bulldogs can break 30 points and pull off the upset.

No. 9 Kansas (-3) at Texas A&M, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Surprising Kansas gets its first real test of the season -- and Dennis Franchione tries to stave off unemployment for another week -- as the Aggies host the Jayhawks.

Even Hawaii is taken more seriously than Kansas, whose only half-decent win came at Kansas State. If the Jayhawks survive here, they still need to win at rising Oklahoma State before a season-ending showdown against Missouri.

Kansas will have to slow the Big 12-leading rushing offense of A&M, which ran it up on Nebraska last week. Still, Franchione is on the thinnest of ice, especially after his secret gambling tip sheet newsletter to boosters became public a few weeks ago. That little faux pas could allow Texas A&M to skate on paying Franchione a reported $10 million buyout at the end of the year.

No. 16 South Carolina (+3) at Tennessee, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

When 0-2 Notre Dame visited 0-2 Michigan earlier this year, Brian of mgoblog nicknamed the game a "cripple fight."

The matchup of South Carolina's suddenly punchless offense against Tennessee's porous defense deserves a similar moniker.

Tennessee, fresh off a 41-17 strafing by Alabama, is a much better team at home and will probably try to pound Arian Foster to get to an early lead and just play defense against Steve Spurrier's pop-gun attack.

The Head Ball Coach is playing musical quarterbacks and throwing visors with regularity, so you know something is very wrong with the Gamecocks. Still, "Darth Visor" gives chills to any Tennessee fan worth his salt, owning the Vols as he did while at Florida.

No. 1 Ohio State (-4) at No. 25 Penn State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Ohio State fans have a message for the rest of the college football world: They're back.

The Buckeyes are undefeated and atop all the polls in a supposed rebuilding year, but they can make a few believers (outside of SEC country, at least) if they handle a Penn State team that plays much better at home.

The Buckeyes bring a suffocating defense to Happy Valley, where they will face a Phoenix-Coyotes-be-damned "whiteout" at Beaver Stadium. If Anthony Morelli takes care of the ball, and the defensive line can get to Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman, the Lions have a chance to spare the world from another Ohio State appearance in the national-title game pull the upset.

No. 21 California (+3) at No. 4 Arizona State, 10 p.m. ET, FSN

Arizona State finally begins the varsity portion of its schedule this week, meaning their No. 4 ranking in the initial BCS standings could disappear faster than ASU Coach Dennis Erickson did from Idaho.

Following this contest, the Sun Devils still play USC, Oregon, and their rivalry game against Arizona, so multiple losses are a distinct possibility.

Not too many people figured Cal would limp into this contest on a two-game slide, but the Bears have fallen to Oregon State and UCLA the last two weeks. Suddenly, a dream season, in which they were thisclose to being ranked No. 2 1 a few weeks ago, is in danger of running completely off the rails.


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The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Clay Says Russell Says
Boston College +3 Virginia Tech Boston College Virginia Tech
West Virginia -6 Rutgers West Virginia Rutgers
USC +3 Oregon USC Oregon
Georgia +9 Florida Georgia Georgia
Kansas -3 Texas A&M Texas A&M Kansas
South Carolina +3 Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee*
Ohio State -4 Penn State Ohio State* Ohio State
California +3 Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Guest: David 5-3-0 (1-0-0)    
Guests Composite     31-31-2 (1-6-1)
Russell 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 27-35-2 (4-3-1)

Posted by: Russell Levine on 25 Oct 2007

138 comments, Last at 29 Oct 2007, 4:19pm by Pete

Comments

1
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 5:46pm

How I hate Bama Bangs. Every high school white kid in that Hoover area had those stupid ass haircuts.

2
by hooper (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 6:08pm

I have tickets to that South Carolina - Tennessee pillow fight. The rivalry (for lack of a better term) between those two coaches has certainly seen better days. I would say that the game will hinge entirely on the play of UT's defense. If they actually play a scheme that matches the opposing offense (like the Georgia game), they have a great shot at the win. If they pull another mismatch like last week, UT is probably doomed, even against the Cock-n-Misfire offense.

3
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 6:12pm

I think you mean that Cal was thisclose to being ranked #1, as they were already ranked #2 before mighty Oregon State took them down. Not that I think OSU is mighty, but if our QB finally has his feet under him, the other 10 players on offense were returning starters, so they might actually be a much better team in a month than everyone thought they were when they beat Cal.

If Sanchez starts at Oregon, that's going to be the loudest place he's ever played in, and I'm not sure that USC's D can stop Oregon on offense. Oregon's defense, however, has looked so bad against UW that I'm not sure what to think. I always thought that Oregon was in control of that game, but they do need to occasionally stop the Trojans offense.

4
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 6:13pm

I haven't watched John David Booty often, but the idea Mark Sanchez will start based on his performance in the ND-USC game is comical. Sanchez threw almost entirely short passes and didn't do anything special.

5
by PHn (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 6:54pm

I'm really, really surprised I haven't seen more speculation about Oregon QB Dennis Dixon being considered for this year's Heisman.

Oregon hasn't played the toughest schedule, and I think USC's defense will provide a much more difficult test than the Ducks have seen so far, but Dixon has so far been the playmaker for a very productive offense. He's way ahead of where he was last year, and defenses now have to deal with him as an efficient passer as well as a speedy runner.

6
by bradluen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:01pm

Seems like a Pac-10 week to me. Two games with national title implications! Almost like playoffs!

7
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:09pm

Re #4
Having seen John David Booty play several times this year, a major reason USC is considering sticking with Sanchez after JDB returns from injury is the play of JDB this year.

Re #5
Is Dixon even the best Heisman candidate on his team, or is that Jonathan Stewart?

Personally, I'm just glad CSN Chicago doesn't have Bulls or Hawks coverage and thus will be showing both of the Pac-10 FSN games.

8
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:29pm

Agreed; I don't know how you can't make Dixon a Heisman finalist if you watch him play. He's something special.

I think the Ducks have problems on defense and I'm worried that against a team that's better against the run if they'll falter some. Losing their two best WRs definitely put a damper on long routes against UW, but when you're running that well long routes aren't as necessary.

Mostly, I look at how USC has done against common opponents and I have to think that the Ducks will have it made. The Ducks can do at least as well as Stanford or UW on offense, and those two teams put up 31 and 24 against USC. USC couldn't score more than 28 against Stanford and 27 against UW, and the Ducks put up 51 and 55, respectively. The thing that hurts the Ducks the most on defense is going against a single astounding player; Jackson killed the Ducks and Locker was just great. I don't think that USC has anything comparable to that.

9
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:32pm

Is Dixon even the best Heisman candidate on his team, or is that Jonathan Stewart?

Dixon's better. Stewart is a very good runner and what you want from a runner in all facets of the game, but watching the game against UW it was all about how Dixon led the offense.

Another way to put it is that if Stewart went out instead of Johnson last week, Johnson would have put up similar numbers. If Dixon goes down, Oregon's season is effectively done.

10
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:45pm

The linked ad in the OSU preview is "Game time at Wal-Mart". Talk about perfectly targeted advertising!

Agree w/6 that this is a great weekend for Pac-10 games. Is ASU a real contender? The Oregon/USC game is an elimination game and should be fun to watch for those who like games like last week's Kentucky/Florida game.

11
by joe football (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 7:57pm

Sanchez has been pretty terrible in his two games this year. I am unsurpassed in my JDB bashing/hate, but I think you might have to go back to him based on their respective performances

12
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:06pm

Great, every time I hear Rocky Top, it gets stuck in my head for 3 days. Can you give me a warning next time Russell?

13
by bradluen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:22pm

Oregon/USC common opponents

Washington: Oregon 55-34, USC 27-24
WSU: Oregon 53-7, USC 47-14
Stanford: Oregon 55-34 USC 23-24

Looks good for Oregon, but you do worry their defense is giving up too many points.

14
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:28pm

I'm an amazing (and lucky) 7 - 1 against the spread on the board this year, and this week I love Virginia Tech over BC. I'm looking for a Hokie rout tonight.

15
by David S. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:37pm

What a bust of a season for Cal. Now, out of the Rose Bowl picture halfway through the Pac-10 schedule and only the hopes of being spoiler to USC and would-be-USC challengers make any further games worthwhile.

Now I know what it's like being a UCLA fan.

16
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 8:59pm

15- I figure Cal will split USC and ASU, and sweep WSU, Washington, and Stanford. That's a 10 - 2 season and a legitimate shot at a BCS bowl.

Hardly a bust.

17
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 9:09pm

Official, fred biletnikoff awards are a joke. No D.J. Hall, but 3 lesser SEC WRs are there instead? He has 200 more total yards then Percy Harvin....I can understand Bennett, but Burton and Harvin over D.J. Hall...please.

18
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 9:49pm

#17, don't bother getting too upset. All wide receivers this season are equally, and interchangably, inferior to Michael Crabtree. That's just the voter's way of letting you know.

19
by Eddo (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 9:50pm

16: Cal already has two Pac-10 losses. Splitting with USC and ASU would leave them 9-3, and I don't see how they'd get into a BCS Bowl with three conference losses.

20
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:01pm

19- Fine...so I can't do simple math.

9 - 3 is still a lot closer to a good season than a bust.

21
by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:05pm

That was an unspeakably stupid penalty on Tech.

22
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:06pm

#18

I know, but D.J. Hall deserves some sort of recognition. Not even a preseason All-SEC on any of the 3 teams by the media despite being the 2nd returning WR in receiving yards and 3rd in receptions. And now this despite being the SEC leader in receiving yards and 2nd in receptions per game.

23
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:34pm

I don't want to speak too soon, but Matt Ryan's Heisman hopes are on life support.

24
by kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:37pm

In all honesty, I kept a tally of the number of fans I saw actually wearing jean shorts at the Coctail Party last year. Final tally? Georgia fans: 7, Florida fans: 4. Turns out, BULLDOGS wear jean shorts.

25
by PaulH (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:40pm

#22,

Hall deserves a ton of recognition. To be quite honest, and not trying to be a 'Bama homer here, I think he's the best wide receiver in the SEC, Early Doucet included.

Everyone double-teams this guy, and those who don't get eaten alive him. Tennessee didn't in 2005, for example, and Hall beat them almost single-handedly. The Vols didn't learn from their mistakes this year, and he went out and got 13 grabs for 185 yards and 2 TD's. The only other team to not do it this was year Arkansas, and he lit them up to.

Sorry, but being statistically -- without doubt -- the greatest receiver in Alabama football history should at least get you on the third All-SEC team. I've never figured out why he doesn't get any love.

26
by PaulH (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:49pm

Lionsbob,

To reply to something you asked in the other CFB thread, yes I am very excited about 2008.

At the moment, even if we lose to both LSU and Auburn, we are still likely to finish up 8-4 and in the Peach Bowl. All things considered, that has to qualify as a very good year. And who knows? If we can somehow knock off LSU, we'll likely win the West and be in the SEC title game. I know that's unlikely, but who even thought that we would be in this position?

Either way, we're looking to return 17-18 starters -- plus the kicker and punter -- from, even in a worse-case scenario, what should be an 8-4 team.

When you put that together with year two under Saban -- and everyone knows that year two is usually when you see the biggest surge in performance -- and also other factors like a three-year starter at QB returning as a senior, the infusion of the talent from a top five recruiting class, etc., we should be contending for the SEC title next year.

And honestly, considering that all LSU and Arkansas will lose in the off-season, we are likely to be favorites to win the SEC West.

For the first time in a long time, things are seemingly looking up.

27
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:50pm

The only I can think of is his lack of TDs...and thats not entirely his fault. J.P. does not have the arm to go deep all the time, Hall is not a speed demon to break away for tons of TDs, and we have been running the ball a whole lot better this season (though it does not explain the preseason lack of hype).

He runs perfect routes. I am talking nearly perfect, I watched him run a perfect flag route against Ole Miss.

28
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:06pm

26- It's not about what teams lose, it's about what they have left to put on the field. For example, USC had a very good 2006 after losing Lienart, Bush, etc.

29
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:11pm

They lose 3 impact players (Hall, Castille, and Gilberry) it sucks, but they are loaded at WR-they just need one to step it up, they are solid at CB, and Gilberry is going to be hard to replace. They return practically the whole OL who will be starting together for the 2nd straight season (lose LG Britt), return the entire backfield. The defense will be in its 2nd year of the 3-4 and should be great at LBer.

and that top 5 recruiting class will be nice-especially if it includes Julio Jones.

30
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:13pm

#22, 25: I think this speaks to the single biggest problem with college football: everything is decided before the season starts. If you aren't on a preseason Heisman/Biletnikoff/whatever watch list, you aren't going to win no matter how impressive you are. If you aren't ranked highly in the preseason guesstimation polls, it's nearly impossible to win the national championship, since most voters have problems skipping one team over another if they have similar results.

It's not feasible, but college football would make a lot more sense if awards and rankings couldn't be decided until the end of the season.

31
by hooper (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:18pm

Re: 30

I agree entirely. At risk of becoming a broken record on the issue, I wish that no polls would ever be released before the 6th or 7th week of play. We don't need polls before then, but it would be nice if teams knew about where they stood in the polls as the last few weeks are played out. I don't think it'd hurt the interest in the first few weeks of play, as every fan base still has hopes of glory with respect to their particular program.

I hadn't thought of it, but you're right about the awards, too. I lost interest in the Heisman a long time ago, but it would be nice to not hear about next year's Heisman contenders before this year's bowl games are played, at the very least.

32
by jtp (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:22pm

Having heard such great things about Matt Ryan, I'm pretty unimpressed by him so far (this is the 1st time I've seen him play). He's averaging 3 yards per attempt on 33 pass attempts! Throw in the interception and the yards lost to sacks and this is the kind of game I expect from the Notre Dame QBs.

33
by kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:45pm

Make that two interceptions. That sound you hear is Matt Ryan's Heisman hopes heaving a death rattle.

34
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2007 - 11:58pm

Then Ryan leads the team to a great drive down the field.

Though I never saw Ryan as a Heisman guy either.

35
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:00am

Virgina Tech needs better special team coaching.

36
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:05am

The Hokies spend 54 minutes sitting on Ryan's face and all of a sudden he's become Fran Tarkenton. This is getting ridiculous.

37
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:08am

34- I think Matt Ryan ma have risen from the dead.

Holy Toledo, what a drive.

38
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:08am

And he throws the game winner. God-fucking-dammit.

39
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:08am

Those last 2 drives show why Ryan is a 1st round QB. That last pass is almost impossible to complete by almost any other QB.

40
by jtp (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:09am

What a collapse by VT!

41
by flounder (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:10am

Yeah, that was a pretty impressive pass.

42
by jtp (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:13am

39:
I'm not attacking you, lionsbob, but I absolutely hate when a player plays like garbage for 9/10 of a game and then that player makes a handful of good plays at end and everybody forgets about how dreadful they were for the first 9/10 of the game. If those last 2 drives show why he's a great QB, what do the first 12 drives show?

43
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:15am

I live in NH, but I'm a 2 minute walk from he MA border. I'm 30 minutes from Boston without traffic.

BC is the antithesis of what College Football is. To say that no one cares about BC is an understatement. They're buried under the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins in that order.

People where I live care more about UNH and Manchester Monarchs (minor league)hockey than BC. And BC...is...less...than...an...hour...away.

No wonder I'm an SEC fan, where football is religion in those states.

Jagodzinski is a hell of a coach.

Is BC #1?

44
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:15am

I don't know what the residents of Boston have done to get this unprecedented run of athletic success, God knows they've done nothing to deserve it, but I can only hope the end result of all this is a bottomless well of sucking that lasts a thousand years.

45
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:17am

That it was down pouring rain in the 1st half perhaps. That last pass is the pass of a NFL QB. Boller can probably make the same pass as well, but it does not make Ryan a future all-pro NFL QB either, but I see why scouts are drooling over him.

46
by flounder (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:21am

Re: 44 I like that phrase. I think I'm going to try and incorporate "bottomless well of sucking" into my daily conversation.

47
by jtp (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:21am

Yeah, the rain was probably a factor, but prior to the last two drives he'd done absolutely nothing. At one point in the 4th quarter he'd thrown 30-odd passes for less than 4 yards per attempt with 2 interceptions and no TDs. You can't blame that all on the rain.

48
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:26am

44- Not sure what you mean, bud.

Until 2004, Yankees fans have ALWAYS had the last laugh. Did I capitalize ALWAYS?

Not sure how the Patriots are fans less deserving than any other team.

I agree that BC is an anomaly...yet BC is so off the radar they don't count out here.

49
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 12:27am

I agree, but again that last pass was a thing of beauty-that pass is not completed by a lot of college QBs. I am not going to look at McFadden's Auburn game this year and say he is terrible either and not worth the hype. This was my first time seeing Ryan play as well and while the whole game is part of his overall work, I still think that last pass says more about what the NFL likes so much about him then everything.

50
by PaulH (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 1:30am

#38,

Sorry, I don't mean to make light of your suffering, but I laughed really hard when I read your comment.

That's so something I would say.

51
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 1:41am

I'm with Lionsbob on this one. Any QB can look good when he's surrounded by future NFL talent or everything's going his way. What separates the men from the boys is when adversity strikes. Simply refusing to give up isn't enough, a QB has to lead his team to a win under those circumstances, and Matt Ryan did that. Furthermore, he did that by making NFL-caliber throws and demonstrating the necessary mobility for the NFL.

Let's not talk about the VT score that never should've counted or Ryan's receiver slipping on one of his picks, shall we?

The bottom line is, things often don't go your way in the NFL, especially when you're a rookie QB on a bad team, and it's the guys who show the mental toughness and leadership to succeed under those circumstances that deserve to be taken high over the glory boys with the physical stats. Although come to think of it, Ryan's certainly big enough for the NFL as well :-)

I'm just hoping my Fins (no D or O but plenty of L) take him with their first pick, wherever it winds up. But of course that would be doing the smart thing, and in Miami they can't have that.

52
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 6:55am

#48, because they mistake light brites for bombs?

53
by Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 9:28am

Playing in the downpour had to be tough. However, for 56 minutes of the game I did not think that BC's Ryan did not look like a Heisman candidate. Even the stats show that the Virginia Tech backup quarterback did better (completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio).

However, I think the field is still wide open. Several publications stated that Tebow may be the leading candidate to watch. I suspect that some people vote for the Heisman based on

the entire career of a player and Tebow's career has been somewhat short so far. I remember hearing that no Sophomore has ever won the Heisman and I think Tebow has yet to prove he is a dominant passer. Tebow does seem like the best Fullback Who Can Pass in college football right now.

I suspect the NFL will have a much easier time using a classic pocket quarterback like Ryan than they will someone like Tebow... Doesn't that make Tebow the right candidate to consider for the Heisman? I would not discount Tebow completely, but I suspect he will need to give a number of dominant performances, especially in the nationally televised games:

Georgia, South Carolina, (is Vanderbilt nationally televised? They typically have a very good defense which may be why Spurrier said he was not shocked at a loss), Florida State, and LSU rematch (or Alabama?).

54
by Dean (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 9:49am

Why would anybody ever be surprised when Tech chokes? In the 50+ year history of Hokie Football, they have beaten a team ranked in the top 10 exactly ONCE.

Programs like Tech, and like Kansas State in the 90s compile gaudy records against mediocre opposition, but they're paper tigers. They can't handle real opposition.

On the one hand, you can make the same claim about BC's schedule this year. On the other hand, it's not like Notre Dame was this bad when they put them on the schedule.

For 57 minutes it didn't look like it, but the smart money was on BC last night, and I'm glad I got eliminated from my poker game in time to watch the ending.

55
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 10:32am

I missed lots of the first half last night, but it seemed that Ryan had issues with the rain, his receivers fumbling the ball (though they did recover themselves), and his line not giving him decent protection at all. When VT changed what they were doing at the line and he had more time to throw (the rain stopping helps as well), he seemed to be on target. Did VT change their rush, or did the BC line just get much better at picking it up? I can still easily see BC losing one of their remaining games, but they did much better last night than I thought they would.

Going back to Heisman talk, however, everyone should watch the USC-Oregon game to get a look at Dixon and Stewart for Oregon. Dixon has 16 TD, 3 INT, and another 7 TD's rushing this year, and one of those INT's at least is off a ball that was tipped at the line (not really a bad throw). I know virtually no Oregon games have been on TV on the east coast (and next week's ASU-Oregon game, which could be fantastic, is already stuck on Fox Sports while Oregon State-USC is on ESPN or ESPN2), but since it's a game everyone can see, they should at least tune in for some of it to see the other QB that can run and pass like Tebow.

56
by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 11:06am

Re: 53
...I suspect that some people vote for the Heisman based on the entire career of a player... ...no Sophomore has ever won the Heisman...

There will probably be a lot of voters who ask themselves if they want Tebow to be the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman, and I'm guessing that they decide they don't want that to happen.

For my own two cents, I think Hixon has been the better QB between the two so far, and if the Heisman really is between those two, it'd be Hixon's to lose. Still, Florida is almost out of the hardest part of their schedule, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the final few games turned in to the "Tebow for Emperor" campaign.

For my personal media-angry opinion, I'd rather see somebody besides Tebow win it. I'm really tired of having good football games with horrid announcer-gasms over the guy. It's a lot like the basketball championship game last year, when Florida led by 10 the whole game and the announcers only talked about Oden. One was even so enamored with the guy that he was shocked that a Florida player got the game MVP award. Imagine that!

Besides, I'd rather see Dorsey win it. He's the guy I'd least like to see on the opposing team.

57
by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 11:08am

Hey, I just noticed that all the spreads are integers - no half-point spreads in any of those games. Is that unusual? I'm not a gambler, so I'm asking out of ignorance.

58
by PHn (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 11:16am

9:

Another way to put it is that if Stewart went out instead of Johnson last week, Johnson would have put up similar numbers. If Dixon goes down, Oregon’s season is effectively done.

I think that's close to the mark. The O-Line, QB, and RBs are carrying this team. Backup QB Brady Leaf is a competent player, but he's more of a pocket passer. With, what?, three of the Ducks' top four receivers out with injuries, Leaf just wouldn't have the tools to move the ball like Dixon has.

59
by Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 11:26am

Florida has owned Georgia — winning eight of the last nine in the series and 15 of 17 — and can get back to the SEC title game by winning out. Quarterback Tim Tebow may soon own the Heisman Trophy if he continues to play like he did in a wild win over Kentucky last week, but all the punishment he’s taking in the Urban Meyer’s, ahem, repetitive offense is starting to add up and he appeared to be favoring his non-throwing shoulder as he left the field in Lexington.

Once USC gets healed I expect them to win the rest of their games. I really wish I had watched something other than a couple highlights of Oregon's QB. Those highllights show him to be a very exciting player. I seriously doubt that Cal has the defense to slow him down.

60
by PaulH (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 1:04pm

On the Heisman, there is no clear-cut guy at this point.

Had Andre Woodson been able to beat Florida and get them to the SEC title game, I think he might very well have won it. But considering they lost to SoCar (and looked very bad in the process) and lost to Florida, with arguably another loss on the horizon, I just don't see that one. Not too many quarterbacks from 9-3 teams that end up in the Outback Bowl win the Heisman.

Tebow, I think, has put up the production needed to win the Heisman, but no freshman or sophomore has ever won the award, and I highly doubt that will change this year. He definitely has the chance to catch the nation's attention, however, with nationally televised games against Georgia, South Carolina, and likely LSU in the SEC Championship Game. I wouldn't say it's out of the question, but I just don't think it's likely.

Dennis Dixon, if he continues to put up big numbers, might be the guy who wins it. That said, I do wonder about whether or not an Oregon guy can win it (especially considering that he will have the backdrop of Akili Smith and Joey Harrington), and it's going to be tough to maintain that performance down the stretch.

I will say that I don't think it should go to Glenn Dorsey. Yes he is a fine player, but is he that good? No. Against Florida and Kentucky, he was a complete non-factor, and while he had a pretty good game against Auburn, the biggest thing he did that night was get controversially chop-blocked. I think he's a fine player, and he's likely a top ten pick, but he's not some dominant beast that you have to triple-team to even slow down like some "experts" in the media say. Moreover, considering the Heisman has never gone to a true defensive player -- one that plays solely defense, i.e. not Charles Woodson -- and I don't think Dorsey should change that. He's a very good player, but I would argue there have been many better defensive players to come down the pipeline through the years that did not win it.

All in all, honestly, I hope McFadden wins it. I know his team isn't that great, but he's an incredible player. I've stated for almost two years now that he's the best SEC back -- and that's a conference known for turning out great tailbacks, even in the NFL -- I've seen since Bo Jackson in 1985.

So all of that means better than Bobby Humphrey, Emmitt Smith, Terrell Davis, Stephen Davis, Jamal Lewis, Travis Henry, Shaun Alexander, Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown, Joseph Addai, etc.

To me, that's a hands-down case that he should win the Heisman.

That said, in a way I kind of doubt it. Heisman voters love to vote for guys off of teams in national championship contention, and if you find yourself on a mediocre team you are generally SOL. And McFadden is in the latter boat.

61
by PaulH (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 2:02pm

Talking about the SEC East...

Florida, without doubt, has to be the favorite. I know it's one big tie now (five teams with two conference losses each), but realistically Florida has tiebreakers over Tennessee and Kentucky, so that gives them the edge.

All Florida really needs to do is beat Georgia, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt, and that doesn't seem too difficult.

Georgia isn't a bad squad by any stretch, but they aren't particularly good either. They lost to South Carolina at home, were annihilated by Tennessee, and then squeaked by Vanderbilt in a game the 'Dores arguably would have won had it not been for a late fumble. Moreover, everyone knows how much Florida has owned Georgia since Dooley retired.

South Carolina, too, isn't particularly good. They lost in an ugly game to LSU -- despite LSU having several starters either playing injured or out -- were generally slapped around by Kentucky until the Wildcats melted down in turnovers, and then were dominated by Vanderbilt.

The truth is that if Florida can just beat two pretty mediocre teams, they almost lock themselves into the SEC title game in Atlanta. Yes they have to beat Vanderbilt also, but if Kentucky and Tennessee loses again -- which is very possible -- they could lose to the 'Dores and still be headed to Atlanta.

62
by peachy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 3:02pm

The 'OMG Ryan is teh awesome LOL!!1!' theme strikes me as a classic case of the impact of the recent and the dramatic. If a QB had two excellent drives to open the game and then was mediocre the rest of the way, but his team still won because the opponent couldn't buy points, he wouldn't be called a Heisman candidate. He'd be called Chris Leak.

63
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 3:41pm

#60, you right on about Dorsey. The Heisman Pundit said it best when he said "Glenn Dorsey is on Andre Ware's Heisman Watch. Dorsey is quickly becoming the equivalent of that book on the bookshelf that no one reads but everyone owns because it makes them appear deeper than they are. I think Art of War and A Brief History of Time are great examples of that. Point being, no one can tell you anything about Dorsey beyond some fuzzy accolades. They just know he is a 'terror' and that he plays for LSU. Mentioning him as a Heisman candidate means that you are really thinking outside the box about the game, that you are 'in the know'. "

64
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 4:01pm

I think that if somehow, Oregon gets to the national title game it'll be Dixon for Heisman. Otherwise it'll be Tebow's or McFadden's.

Yeah, Dixon comes from the Oregon school of QBs which has had its disappointments, but he's been a two-year starter and the Heisman isn't about lifetime achievement, it's about that year. If the Ducks got to the title game I think they'd have to give it to Dixon, because Dixon would have been the reason they did so.

That being said, I don't think that's going to happen; the Ducks are likely to drop one game down the stretch (all are winnable games, but it's the Pac-10 and they're hurting on offense players right now). If the Ducks just manage the Pac-10 title I don't think that'll be enough to overcome the stigma, though I also think that it should be given what kind of performance that'd require from Dixon.

65
by Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 4:11pm

Look at the line for Georgia over Florida. I would take the 9 points, although I do think Georgia should be favored. While Georgia has lost 8 out of 9 (and 15 out of 17) they have only had a bye week once before the game. Florida has almost always had a bye week before the "cocktail party".

With Florida NOT having a bye week and Georgia finally having a bye week before this game, I think the favorite should be Georgia. With Florida being so banged up (overall and after the tough Kentucky game) I can understand more in favor of Georgia.

I figure the game relies on a couple things. Will Florida get pressure (Stafford falls back into bad habits he showed his Freshman year when pressured)? While they showed nothing from their Front 4 early on, they have done better (especially with occasional blitzes, which coincided with worse running defense, unsurprisingly).

Will Georgia receivers drop the ball 3-6 times? They do normally in the Florida game. However, with dropping so many balls in other games (imagine Stafford's numbers if his receivers could catch!) they might have it out of their system... or have they just been practicing for the Florida game?

66
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 9:48pm

South Carolina was definitely not slapped around by Kentucky. SC's defense is really, really good, and they played better against Kentucky's offense than any other team has. Kentucky NEVER led in that game, and those turnovers were caused by a good defense.

In the LSU game SC lost their best player, MLB Jasper Brinkley, early in the game, and the defense was much worse after that. Furthermore, LSU scored one touchdown on a trick play and another on a short field. They also had a lot of fumble luck--LSU recovered 3/3 fumbles. Flip those the other way around and it's a totally different game.

USC's problem is that their offense is horrible. The line has lost the ability to run block and pass block so it's really hard for them to have sustained drives. Additionally none of the QBs are mobile so Spurrier can't gameplan around that problem like he did last year with Syvelle Newton at QB.

The Vanderbilt game was not domination either. Vandy did nothing on offense, they just happened to score off of a bunch of turnovers at the start then did nothing after that. It was more of an evenly matched game where Vanderbilt ended up winning.

I agree that South Carolina was very overrated at #6, but to call them "not particularly good" is a gross overstatement. USC has one of the best resumes in the nation.

67
by navin (not verified) :: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 9:50pm

FYI, Kentucky has scored 50, 56, 40, 42, 45, 23, 43, and 37 points in their games so far. Guess which one was against South Carolina...

68
by PaulH (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 1:59am

#66,

I don't know if I would qualify South Carolina as a "really, really good" defense. At the moment, they are ranked 2nd in the SEC in scoring defense, 5th in total defense, and 10th in rushing defense. Don't get me wrong, that's a good unit, but I don't think that should qualify as *that* good.

As for the LSU game, yes the early knee injury to Jasper Brinkley hurt, but injuries are a part of the game and you just have to deal with it. And for the record, while SC did not have Brinkley, LSU did not have Early Doucet, Will Arnold, and Matt Flynn was severely limited with a sprained ankle. If anything, the LSU offense was more effected by injuries that day than the South Carolina defense was.

Moreover, if you want to talk about fumble luck -- i.e. how LSU recovered all three fumbles in the South Carolina game -- then you must also note the fact that South Carolina recovered all three fumbles in the Kentucky game, and that two of those were returned for touchdowns. If you want to talk fumble luck, you should look no further than the Kentucky game. At least LSU didn't return two of those three fumbles for gimme touchdowns.

As for South Carolina's resume, I don't see how it's that impressive.

They beat 1-7 Louisiana-Lafayette by just 14 points, looked so-so against South Carolina State, beat 4-4 Mississippi State at home in a game that was close until late, and beat 2-5 North Carolina by six points.

Aside from that there are four other games: Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt. They beat Georgia in Athens -- though after Tennessee steamrolled the Dawgs I'm not sure how impressive that is -- and then were beaten decisively in Baton Rouge by LSU. The 28-16 likely looks like a closer game than it was, because LSU was up 28-7 in the fourth until SC put up some meaningless points in the final seven minutes. After that, they beat Kentucky largely on the fact that two Kentucky fumbles were returned for touchdowns, and then against Vanderbilt they turned in what was without doubt one of the worst performances in Steve Spurrier's collegiate coaching career.

Don't get me wrong, the Gamecocks are a pretty good team, but again I really don't see anything particularly impressive here. You are correct that their defense is a good unit, no arguments here, but their offense is terrible. And you can't just write that off, the offense is almost one-half of the team (3/7ths if FO research in the NFL carries over to college), and that really drags down the overall team. Basically you combine a terrible offense with a good defense, and you get a pretty decent team.

The Gamecocks are currently 6-2 with games remaining against Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson. I figure that they drop a couple of those and finish up 8-4 or so, which is pretty similar to what they did in Spurrier's first two years in Columbia.

Again, they are not a bad team, they're pretty good, but I just don't see anything particularly special here. And honestly, if their resume qualifies as one of the best in the nation, I think that points more to the fact that there aren't many strong resumes this year than it does to the notion that South Carolina is that good of a team.

Either way, it's nice debating with you, I look forward to a reply.

69
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 2:45am

1) SC did not recover all three fumbles in the Kentucky game. SC fumbled a touchdown away the play before Kentucky fumbled it back for a touchdown, so you can call that exchange even. Additionally, there were SIX fumbles in the game, 3 of them recovered by SC. Kentucky fumbled five times and lost three of them. SC lost their only fumble. There's absolutely no luck in that--usually when you fumble five times, bad things will happen.

2) Early Doucet and Matt Flynn were injured for more than just the SC game so LSU's other opponents benefited from them as well. Furthermore, Brinkley tore his knee in the LSU game which didn't give the defense time to adjust to that loss until the next game.

3) I didn't realize that beating SC State 38-3 translates to looking so-so. SC State scored their only points on a fumble recovery. And ask Auburn about what Mississippi State can do, it's no shame to win 38-21 against them.

4) Yes, I agree SC's offense is bad, but up until the second half of the UNC game it was getting the job done. I don't know why the line play has gotten so much worse lately, but hopefully it's something that will get fixed. The line play gelled last year and I can only hope that it will soon this year.

5) The defense is definitely legit. There's no shame in being #2 in scoring defense in the SEC and one of this site's tenets is that total yardage is a bad measure of offense/defense.

6) Sagarin will back me up on USC's credentials. He has them at #16 overall. My contention was that you stated that South Carolina "is not particularly good." I disagree with that statement, but I will definitely agree that they have weaknesses and are not an elite team.

70
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 8:56am

#69: Just going off what I saw going to the UNC-South Carolina game, and watching some of the UK-USC game on TV, USC seems to have a very good defense, and just a god awful offense. UNC isn't exactly a great defense, but USC went 3 and out the entire 2nd half of the UNC game (one of those 3 and outs was a turnover, but it still only 3 plays). UNC would have won if they hadn't dropped a perfectly thrown pass in the endzone on 4th down, and dropped a 50 yard pass that was thrown great in the first half as well.

To me, USC is a poor man's version of the SuperBowl winning Ravens. Their D isn't quite as good, their offense is probably worse. So, they have a good enough D that makes the final score close, but their offense is so bad that I can't see them winning some of these games without forcing turnovers to get a short field. If they had an offense, however, they'd be amazing.

71
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 1:03pm

#70

You just described the 2005 Alabama defense, probably one of the top 5 defenses of this early 21st century.

South Carolina was playing LSU well, but that fake field goal by LSU was the dagger, after that I knew South Carolina had no chance. They could not run the ball at all on South Carolina and LSU was just abusing them on the ground (even before Jasper Brinkley got hurt).

72
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 2:45pm

Absolutely horrible late hit call goes against Mississippi State, whose defensive player makes a perfectly clean hit on Andre Woodson and somehow gets a 15-yard penalty for it. Why isn't that reviewable? It was a huge call and there's no way anyone could deny that there was indisputable visual evidence to overturn it.

73
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 3:30pm

Kentucky is being Croomed right now.

74
by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 3:49pm

IRC football chat on cognet.catch22.org, #fo

75
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 3:58pm

Florida fans:

Where you guys pissed when Spurrier came back and went to South Carolina. Did you guys have burn Spurrier in effigy parties, or rewrite songs to be about Spurrier. I am just wondering how irrational this thought process is about LSU and Saban. This love-hate relationship they have about him (we are better off now if Les Miles they say....then why are you pissed?)

76
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 4:25pm

that sound you just heard was the world collapsing. Mississippi State is close to bowl eligible and have a week off between this game and the Alabama game. Its a sad world when I am worried about Mississippi State game. And Croom pretty much is not going to get fired at all now.

77
by peachy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 4:36pm

Some people were pretty displeased, but the reaction of UF fans was fairly muted on the whole. It was unfortunate that he came back to coach a divisional opponent, but South Carolina's well down the list of rivalry hatreds, and there's a feeling that Spurrier is still a Gator at heart. And of course, Spurrier did far more for our program, both as player and coach, than Saban did for his. (Now, if he builds USCe into a program that beats UF with regularity and dominates the East, then feelings may change...)

78
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 4:40pm

See I don't get it. LSU-Alabama is not a major rivalry either. Saban is not a local hero like Spurrier is and has no "loyal" ties, but its like Saban ripped out the heart of LSU fans and stomped on it....

79
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 4:59pm

Georgia just pulled the craziest, coolest, classless, awesome move ever. Georgia just goes straight at Florida on their first drive and scores.....then pretty much the entire Georgia team goes on the field to celebrate the TD. And now they are going to kickoff from the 7 yard line.

80
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:07pm

That was bush league by the Bulldogs. I wish the officials had called one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on each Georgia player who ran onto the field, enough that they could force both the PAT and the ensuing kickoff to be moved back to the 1-yard line.

81
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:11pm

And Georgia gets another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the second TD. Not sure what they think they're accomplishing.

82
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:14pm

Watching South Florida-Connecticut, and Connecticut's OL actually looks really impressive. USF is getting no pass rush whatsoever.

83
by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:15pm

OK, I've now seen five personal fouls against Georgia, and there are more than three minutes left in the first quarter, and it's possible I missed some because I haven't watched every play of this game. What in the world is Georgia doing?

84
by hrudey (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:15pm

Man, Florida had better win this so I can look at the replay tomorrow (listening on the radio while working overtime now) so I can see if I can figure out what the 'dawgs have been smoking. Another 2 penalties = 30 yards on the kickoff return.

85
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:17pm

Spurrier would have gone back to Florida, but Foley, Florida's AD, wanted Spurrier to interview for the job again and Spurrier did no like that.

86
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:18pm

Those two 30 yard penalties on Georgia were bad calls--Florida should have had a 15 yarder in there too.

87
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:28pm

That throw was positively Favrian.

88
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 5:37pm

Pick-6 by Connecticut. 16-0. USF is in big trouble.

89
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 6:39pm

Florida is in trouble.

90
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 6:46pm

Blocked punt for a safety, 16-2 Connecticut.

The USF defense has suddenly come alive, but is it too late? Yeah, it's only the middle of the third, but given the way USF's offense has been unable to capitalize on anything, it might be...

91
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:01pm

What in the world is going on with Texas? I don't think anybody thought Nebraska would challenge them today.

One good thing about Michigan's 0-2 start to the season. I'm not worried about winning ugly, which they most definitely are attempting to do today. A win's a win now.

92
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:05pm

Michigan finally figured out that Minnesota has three freshman in the secondary. They also figured out that when you have a 6'7" QB with a cannon arm who is struggling badly with his accuracy, the best thing to do is let him chuck it deep.

93
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:18pm

19-12 Connecticut as Delbert Alvarado somehow actually makes a FG.

It's actually a game now!

94
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:22pm

What in the world is going on with Texas? I don’t think anybody thought Nebraska would challenge them today.

I'm not surprised. Texas has been sleepwalking all year, while almost everyone at Nebraska is playing or coaching for their job.

None of Nebraska's offensive players, who came to Nebraska to run the West Coast offense, can be thrilled over the prospect of Navy's Paul Johnson coming in and re-installing the I.

95
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:36pm

The Gators are actually going to do it. They're actually going to lose to Georgia. Un f*cking believable.

There's a very real chance Florida will lose 5 games one year after winning the national title. What makes me especially nauseous is that now the damn Vols, the same team with 3 losses already and who got destroyed twice in SEC play, is now going to actually play in the SEC title game. How can the universe allow this to happen?

Nebraska choke job in progress BTW. They're going to lose this game.

96
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:41pm

BTW check out Matt Forte's stat line against Memphis today--44 carries for 278 yards. That's inhuman. (Link in my name.) And Tulane LOST.

97
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:43pm

BTW check out Matt Forte's stat line against Memphis today (link in my name). That's just inhuman. And his team LOST.

98
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:53pm

95- Georgia has a good team. No shame in losing to them on a neutral field, and the game is far from over.

Tennessee has SC, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Vandy left. I don't feel safe assuming they'll run the table. Even as a Vols fan I'd bet they lose one of those games.

Where are these additional two Florida losses coming from? South Carolina AND FSU? An FAU upset?

99
by nick (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:57pm

how can Texas have been RANKED (#18) before this game? talk about a ranking based entirely on history....

100
by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:57pm

Terrible play by the South Florida QB to run backwards and lose a ton of yardage when they had a 3rd and goal from around the 2 yard line. And they fail on 4th down from the 11. To think some people were calling these guys national title contenders!

101
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 7:59pm

Aaaand.... 22-15, Connecticut wins after USF gets 1st and goal, and misses the tying touchdown.

Wow, that was one of the best foootball games I've seen all year.

102
by nick (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 8:00pm

and look at Virgina (#15!?)--maybe playing 3-point games against crappy teams is finally going to have an impact on their w-l today?

103
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 8:07pm

#96: Considering how nonexistant their D is, I wouldn't put it past the Gators to lose out. I'm completely serious.

GEORGIA!!! They lost to GEORGIA!!!

I already had one day like this where damn near every team I liked lost, and being a DolFan I really can't take another one.

I like USC too (the non SEC one).

This season BTW is proving beyond a doubt why there needs to be a playoff. I've never seen so many teams playing so inconsistently from week to week. Nobody's really that much better than anybody else, or that much worse.

104
by PHn (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 9:23pm

The Trojan defense is very, very good -- Ducks fans are sighing in relief that USC is on the list of all-defense, no-offense teams. Locker and UW (UW!) ran amok against the Ducks last week, while the Trojans struggled all day. (I think those same fans are worried about how good Sanchez might be after a year of starting...)

Dennis Dixon and Co. will be watching the Arizona State game carefully this evening hoping Cal can show them the weak spots in the Sun Devils' defense.

105
by Kal (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 9:51pm

#101: The USC defense is good, but the Ducks still put up 24 points on it, and only one of those drives was short. There were two other drives stopped on 4th and short as well. The Ducks looked good.

What should scare people is that the Ducks defense came to play today, and if you don't have a mobile QB or a really great #1 receiver, you might not have a good time of it.

106
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 10:11pm

South Carolina's offense is terrible and it is finally catching up.

College football is amazing.

107
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 10:39pm

Very impressed with the Ducks today. I'm also impressed with Kansas, a very workmanlike domination of A&M in the second half tonight.

108
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 10:41pm

I'm also impressed that Mark Mangino is wearing what appears to be a sixe 17XL velour sweatsuit on the sidelines.

109
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 10:57pm

Watching the Oregon game, they did a great job today and looked in control almost the whole game. I'd have kicked the FG on 4th and 1 in the first half, but they still won anyway.

I'd like to say that, after living on the west coast until last year, it still annoys me that I'll be asleep almost before the ASU-Cal game kicks off (unfortunately, things to do early in the morning). Sigh.

110
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 11:02pm

Washington State beats UCLA....UCLA is bipolar.

111
by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 11:10pm

Oregon has been particularly impressive when you consider that earlier in the year they lost their top 2 wide receivers and their number 2 running back for the season. I imagine that if they still had those guys on the team this offense would be even more explosive.

112
by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 11:22pm

Kudos to Brent for properly calling the end-around. Then that pretty boy moron Herbstreit ruins it by calling the play a reverse.

113
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 11:29pm

Whoa. Tenn-SC is suddenly 21-all. Where did that come from?

114
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2007 - 11:31pm

103 - Apparently Tennessee's defense is catching up with them as well.

College football is amazing.

115
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:08am

Fulmer is an idiot. How can you burn your second TO as South Carolina lines up the go-ahead FG attempt with 1:30 left? If he makes the kick, won't UT wan't that timeout back?

116
by flounder (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:08am

Re: 105 I'm pretty sure it qualifies as a muumuu

117
by flounder (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:10am

Also, has anyone brought up the fact the Dennis Erickson bears a striking resemblance to The Emperor? Someone must have.

118
by flounder (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:18am

Wow, what a crazy game.

119
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:21am

I don't know if the SEC is the best conference but it sure is the most fun.

120
by flounder (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:21am

What a completely crazy game. Game tying kick on a second chance after a false start shank-o-rama. On a related note, I can't wait for an NFL game where a coach pulls the timeout just before then snap thing, the kicker misses, then comes back and nails it.

121
by flounder (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:28am

"It's not a hot night, but it's hot action out there" Priceless.

122
by Russell Levine :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:35am

Wow, UT hangs on. If South Carolina wins that game, I think Fulmer's looking at the axe. Instead, he could be looking at an SEC title.

123
by PHn (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:36am

I didn't see UCLA-Wazzu, but the game stats are, umm, interesting. The Cougs ran 98 plays (3 punts), the Bruins 65 (8 punts). Time of possession differential: 38 minutes to 22. 98 plays? I guess Washington State found a ball-control game...

124
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:42am

I don’t know if the SEC is the best conference

Yes you do :)

125
by oljb (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:49am

I just have to say... the Nittany Lions are excruciating to watch. I can only hope Michigan will dethrone tOSU.

Meanwhile, ASU is down 6 to Cal late in the 2nd. Although, if Cal squanders this lead, there are at least a few other teams that might knock off the Sun Devils later this year.

I was at the Rutgers-WVU game in Piscataway today. The Mountaineers looked pretty awesome on both sides of the ball with one significant exception (other than high Mike Dent snaps). WVU had no answer to Ray Rice. Schiano should not have given up on Rice that early in the 3rd quarter. I have no doubt that Rutgers could have scored more points with Rice, who was gaining 6 or 7 yards every time he ran, than by allowing Teel's unreliable ass to toss the ball inaccurately to butterfingered receivers.

As compared to last year, it looks like West Virginia finally has the defense to go along with the offense. Never would have expected limiting Rutgers to 3 points.

126
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 12:54am

It's almost midnight Eastern and Cal-Arizona State isn't even at halftime. How many AP voters do you think are going to watch the end of this one?

127
by Michael David Smith :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 1:02am

Unbelievable. They stop the Cal-ASU game for five minutes to review the play, only to have the referee announce that the play isn't reviewable because the official signaled the play dead. It took five minutes to determine that the play wasn't reviewable?

Please. Just get rid of replay review altogether. I hate these delays.

128
by oljb (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 1:02am

Does anybody know what that call was in the ASU-Cal game?

129
by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 1:16am

I can't believe the ending of the SC-Tennessee game. Every single break went Tennessee's way. They fumbled to get into field goal range. They recovered their own fumble on a sack. Then their false start saved them from the missed field goal.

Even discounting the bad fumble luck, South Carolina needs to cut out these dumb mistakes that cost them this game. The only bright spot is that the offense looks to be back with Mitchell at QB. The offensive line finally gave him time to throw, and I think they can run the table if the offense can keep this up.

130
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 2:16am

Re #116 -- I actually think the Pac-10 is the best conference this year (and this is coming from any SEC guy).

I'm really hoping that Oregon somehow gets into the Title game (assuming they win out) b/c that team is the real deal. Sorry BC, but Oregon-LSU is my call has of today.

P.S. Damn you Knowshon Moreno

131
by Thok (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 4:39am

Remember when Cal was 5-0, ranked 2nd in the nation, and didn't have a QB who was a turnover machine and an offense that could make up for the lapses on defense?

Sigh. We have USC and 3 games against the weaklings of the Pac-10, and I'm wondering if we can win any of those games.

132
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 4:42am

Thank you Arizona State. Gameday you know you want to go to the ASU-Oregon game, stay away from Tuscaloosa please.

133
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 8:56am

The real tragedy is that the Oregon-ASU game is still stuck on Fox Sports (Northwest/Central/Whatever) next week instead of being the 8 PM ABC game like it should be. Is there a game next week that should be shown over that one to the whole nation?

Anyway, if you want a fun box score, follow the link in my name to the Portland State - Weber State box score from last night. 9 TD passes by one QB, in regulation!

134
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:54am

1. Ohio State
2. Boston College
3. Arizona State
4. LSU
5. Oregon
6. Oklahoma
7. West Virginia
8. Kansas
9. Missouri
10. Michigan
11. Virginia Tech
12. Southern Cal
13. Georgia
14. Texas
15. UConn
16. South Florida
17. Auburn
18. Penn State
19. Florida
20. Wake Forest
21. Purdue
22. Clemson
23. Wisconsin
24. Florida State
25. Alabama

- IF IF IF Arizona State can beat Oregon next week they will likely jump to #1.
- UConn has to be ranked ahead of USF.
- There’s a huge gap between the Top 9 and everyone else.
- It’s becoming more and more likely that the winner of Hawaii vs Boise State may be for a spot in the BCS. It’ll likely be in the Sugar Bowl, but there’s talk that the Rose Bowl may be interested in Boise State.
- The ASU v Cal game was cut out at Midnight so we could see three guys sitting around TALKING ABOUT the Red Sox. If you love college football, New England is not the place to be.

135
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sun, 10/28/2007 - 2:09pm

#130

I have no idea-the big "story" game, LSU-Alabama is the CBS game. Like you said ASU-Oregon is on at 6:45. The only 4 games not announced is Wisconsin-Ohio State, Florida State-Boston College, Michigan at Michigan State, and Purdue at Penn State.

I assume the Florida State-Boston College game will be the ABC primetime game.

136
by bradluen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:08am

Can anyone explain what the heck is going on with Billingsley's rankings? Michigan at #7? USC at #10? Is he still factoring in last year's rankings?

137
by hooper (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 12:15am

Re: 119

I was at that game last night. Fulmer could end up winning the SEC East (and maybe even the conference, though I seriously doubt that) and still be at heavy risk of getting fired. People were very unhappy with the playcalling, and the play in general. In the second half, the offense never came back out on the field. Lotsa 3-n-outs for UT. If it wasn't for the 4-1 turnover advantage, UT would have never won that game.

Still, it was a tremendously fun game to be at. You couldn't figure out what to expect next. Spurrier kept calling pass plays, even though UT clearly couldn't stop the run. I think Spurrier is directly responsible for UT having enough time to get in figgie range at the end of regulation. During the last figgie drive by USC, they would have done themselves a huge favor by running instead of passing a couple plays more, and UT would have been out of luck.

Ugly may not get you ranking votes, but the Vol faithful will take anything they can get anymore. There's really not a lot of hope around town, other than the unmovable nutcases.

138
by Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 10/29/2007 - 4:19pm

Sagarin says the SEC is the best conference. Of course, all of his rankings pretty much agree that none of the individual SEC teams are Top 4. Some of the funniest Predictor vs. ELO_Chess (required to ignore margin of victory by the BCS) comparisons for me - Mississippi State is #27 in ELO_Chess and #74 in Predictor, while Arkansas is #58 in ELO_Chess and #13 in Predictor.

CONFERENCE CENTRAL MEAN SIMPLE AVERAGE TEAMS

1 SOUTHEASTERN (A) = 80.77 80.40 ( 1) 12
2 BIG 12 (A) = 78.25 77.60 ( 5) 12
3 BIG EAST (A) = 78.23 77.64 ( 4) 8
4 ATLANTIC COAST (A) = 77.83 77.65 ( 3) 12
5 PAC-10 (A) = 77.68 78.05 ( 2) 10
6 BIG TEN (A) = 74.66 74.81 ( 6) 11
7 MOUNTAIN WEST (A) = 68.91 68.55 ( 7) 9