Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

HackenbergChr15.jpg

» SDA: From Death Valley to Happy Valley

While Saturday won't give us an answer to which is the best one-loss team, it is still a big week for conference races across the country.

20 Nov 2008

7th Day Adventure: The Game of the Century -- Again

by Russell Levine


The SDA Podcast

 

 

This is more like it.

After last week's ho-hum schedule and lack of interesting results, this weekend presents a much more intriguing set of games, including the latest enormous, national title-altering matchup in the Big 12 South.

Oh yeah, it's also Michigan-Ohio State week.

Last week turned out to be an unintended college football vacation for me, as I spent most of the afternoon in the emergency room with my daughter, who needed stitches after suffering a nasty cut over her eye. She's fine, and her mishap had the unintended benefit of preventing me from having to watch Michigan-Northwestern.

That game remains on my DVR, unwatched. It'll likely be there for some time to come, taunting me. I doubt I have missed a Michigan game in person or at least on DVR since the last time they went untelevised, so there's a streak on the line here. I'll probably wait to see how the Ohio State game turns out before deciding if I want to torture myself with Northwestern.

Hopefully there are no side trips to the hospital to keep me away from Saturday's action. I've got Michigan-Ohio State at noon, followed by Michigan State-Penn State, BYU-Utah and then the big one in Norman at 8 p.m. ET. Sounds like a perfect day to me.

During this season's first Game of the Century -- which took place way back in September between Ohio State and USC -- we did a LiveBlog right here in SDA that turned out quite successfully. For this week's edition, Texas Tech at Oklahoma, we're going to do the same thing. Join us here at 8 p.m. ET to get your snark on!

This Week's Guest

Peter Bean authors the Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation and also co-hosts EDSBS Live! Every Monday night with official friend-of-SDA Orson Swindle.

Since the Longhorns have already played both Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Peter has some pretty good insight on both clubs. He also explains the odd position he's in as a Texas fan -- needing Oklahoma to win, but not by much -- in order for Texas to get into the title game.

Plus, Peter offers his thoughts on the elevation of defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to "coach-in-waiting" status behind Mack Brown.

I hope you'll listen in.

This Week's Games

No. 23 Miami (+3) at Georgia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Don't look now, but Miami is on a five-game winning streak, is a half-game up on Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division, and would appear to have the easiest path to the conference title game of any of the ACC contenders. Randy Shannon's club hasn't looked dominating, or even pretty, but are starting to show signs of having turned the corner in the coach's second season at the helm. Georgia Tech, like many of the ACC contenders, has been inconsistent throughout the season. Though its offense is built around the triple-option ground game, the Yellow Jackets have to get a little more production out of the passing game to keep teams honest. The quarterbacks have been harried and have completed less than 50 percent of their passes -- not good news against a Miami defense that would like nothing more than to not have to respect the passing game.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Georgia Tech | RUSSELL: Miami

Michigan (+20.5) at No. 10 Ohio State, 12 p.m. ET, ABC

You didn't really think I was going to skip this one just because this is the worst Michigan team of all time, did you? First, a few words about Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. His team is awful, it doesn't appear that it has improved much over the course of the year in trying to adapt to the spread option, and it fields the worst Michigan defense of all time. Rodriguez has been getting testy in press conferences. Players are transferring (bye bye, YouTube legend Sam McGuffie, die we hardly knew ye?). The mainstream media has gone into PANIC!!!!! mode. And yet, my opinion of Rodriguez has not changed. I still think he was an excellent hire who will succeed in Ann Arbor. He has a long history of struggling badly in his first year before getting things turned around quickly. I'm not panicking. Transfers don't bother me. McGuffie may turn out to be more hype than substance, and he never seemed quite sure of his commitment to Michigan. If he doesn't want to be there, he should transfer. Michigan has plenty of depth at running back. And as for Rodriguez "telling Michigan fans to get a life" as the ESPN.com headline blared, those remarks were taken completely out of context. Go read the article. I'll wait. Sure, maybe not the best decision by Rodriguez to utter those words -- because of how they were likely to be spun, not because he was wrong -- but I find his honesty refreshing. I'm glad he's sticking up for his players, and that he's irritated and the losing is eating away at him. It should. The best take on the subject comes, as usual, from Brian.

Now, on to this game. The spread looks like a charity offering to the Wolverines. Steven Threet looks like he's out. McGuffie won't play. Or maybe he will. Michigan threw for 86 yards in the rain at home against Northwestern last week. Ohio State's offense is hardly explosive but has put 75 points on the board the last two weeks. Terrelle Pryor should find plenty of cutback lanes against Michigan's woeful-tackling back seven. Michigan may keep this close for a half on heart, but it looks like a blowout, rivalry game or no. I can't in good conscience take the points.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Ohio State | RUSSELL: Ohio State

No. 15 Michigan State (+14.5) at No. 8 Penn State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

The Big Ten title is down to a simple scenario. If Penn State wins, the Nittany Lions will do no worse than a share of the conference title and will represent the league in the Rose Bowl. If Michigan State wins, the Spartans get a share of the title, but Ohio State goes to Pasadena if it beats Michigan. Michigan State can only go the the Rose if the Wolverines upset the Buckeyes. Michigan State is an unspectacular 9-2, having lost to the two best teams on its schedule (Cal and Ohio State). The Spartans have lost 10 straight against ranked opponents, but they've also arguably played better on the road than they have at home this season. They have a puncher's chance in this game, particularly if they can get Javon Ringer going early against the Penn State defense. It's an awful big spread against a quality team -- which Michigan State is -- but I still think Penn State rides the home crowd to a second-half put-away of the Spartans, the same way it did to Michigan a month ago.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Penn State | RUSSELL: Penn State

No. 14 BYU (+6.5) at No. 7 Utah, 6 p.m. ET, The mtn.

It's the mid-major game of the year, and it will be seen by approximately 16 people that have "The mtn." on their cable systems. Luckily, I'm one of them (it's part of the DirecTV SportsPack offering). For the Utes, the stakes couldn't be higher. A win means a BCS bid. A loss could mean the Poinsettia Bowl. Talk about a drop-off. Utah has had a couple of close calls over the second half of the season, most recently a hard-fought three-point win over TCU two weeks ago. The Utes were back to firing on all cylinders in a 63-14 rout of San Diego State a week ago. The matchup to watch in this game is Utah's stout defense against the high-powerd BYU passing game. The Utes haven't let anybody score over 16 points over the second half of the season. This game could have been a winner-take-all for both the Mountain West Conference and the BCS if not for BYU's loss to TCU in October. Instead those are only the stakes for the Utes, who can all but clinch their second BCS bid in five seasons with a win to cap a perfect 12-0 season.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Utah | RUSSELL: Utah

No. 21 Oregon State (+2.5) at Arizona, 7 p.m. ET, Versus

SEVENTH DAY ADVENTURE
IS ON FACEBOOK!

Listen to the podcast, answer the question of the week, post photos. Check us out!

Find us on Facebook

If Penn State does the expected and beats Michigan State, it will leave Oregon State just two wins away from the least-anticipated Rose Bowl matchup of all time. The Beavers haven't been to Pasadena on New Year's since 1965, but they might find themselves there this season against a team they've already played -- and been humiliated by. But that's not for Oregon State to worry about. First, they must get through a tricky road trip to Arizona and then survive the Civil War game against Oregon. Las Vegas remains unimpressed with the Beavers' five-game winning streak, and has installed Arizona as a slight favorite in the game. Whether they get there or not, Oregon State is one of the more improbable teams to make a run at the BCS. The Beavers lost to Stanford in their opener, were destroyed at Penn State, and fell to Utah the week after shocking USC on their way to a 2-3 start. Since then, it's been all Jacquizz Rodgers, who, at 5-foot-6, is as fun to watch as any back in America. The freshman is ninth in the nation with better than 1,200 yards, and has been the key cog in an offense that has averaged nearly 40 points per game during its winning streak. Arizona has been tough at home, but Oregon State has been proving doubters wrong for some time now. If they stumble on the way to Pasadena, it will be against Oregon, not here.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Arizona | RUSSELL: Oregon State (Edelstein Lock)

No. 20 Pittsburgh (+5) at No. 19 Cincinnati, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2

The Big East and the ACC may not be the best of the BCS conferences, but they sure are the most interesting. At various points this season, West Virginia, South Florida, Pittsburgh, and now Cincinnati have been in control of the Big East's automatic BCS berth. With its only other remaining game against Syracuse, Cincinnati would all but sew up the conference if it can post the program's first-ever win over Pittsburgh. Dave Wannstedt's club is much better in his fourth year at the helm, but there still have been head-scratchers -- a season-opening loss to Bowling Green and a rout at the hands of Rutgers -- that leave people wondering if he can lead Pitt to the top of the conference. A win here would put him in position to do just that. This game will be a contrast in styles. Pitt will rely on LeSean McCoy, even against Cincinnati's tough run defense, while Cincinnati will pass it, no matter whether Tony Pike or Dustin Grutza is at quarterback. Pike, who missed time earlier this year with a broken arm, bruised his sternum in a win over Louisville, but is expected to start. Brian Kelley's name has been thrown around in a number of coaching searches, but his profile will get a lot higher if he can win this game.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Pittsburgh | RUSSELL: Cincinnati

Florida State (+1.5) at No. 25 Maryland, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Little known fact about Maryland: The Terps are the only team in the nation with four wins over ranked opponents this season. Yes, it's an arbitrary stat because teams that are ranked sometimes turn out to be Clemson, but still, the Terps have been at their best in their biggest games. They're also 6-0 at home this season. Florida State gets a gaggle of suspended receivers back for this game, but it won't matter if the offensive line can't protect Christian Ponder better than it did in a loss to Boston College last week.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Florida State (Edelstein Lock) | RUSSELL: Florida State

No. 2 Texas Tech (+7) at No. 5 Oklahoma, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Those who prefer order over chaos will be rooting for Texas Tech this week. A win by the Red Raiders clinches the Big 12 South title, and sets up the conference championship game against Missouri for the right to play for the national title, almost certainly against the SEC champ. On the other hand, those who root for BCS disasters will be wearing their Sooners crimson and cream Saturday night. A win by Oklahoma could lead to a three-way tie among the Sooners, Texas Tech, and Texas, with each having posted a 1-1 mark against the others -- a tie that would have to be broken by the BCS standings, where the voters and their notoriously short memories could well ignore the fact that Texas beat Oklahoma and put the Sooners in the Big 12 championship. Mack Brown should probably spend his week off polishing up his groveling skills, just in case. This is the third consecutive "biggest game in program history" for the Red Raiders, but the first of the three away from Lubbock. Mike Leach's team has plenty of senior leadership and an experienced quarterback in Graham Harrell, who never showed signs of shrinking from the moment against Texas or Oklahoma State. In this week's podcast, Peter pointed out that against the Longhorns, Leach narrowed his linemen's typically wide splits to negate Texas's pass rush up the middle. Look for him to deploy a similar strategy. Oklahoma's defense is mediocre at best, but they can pressure the quarterback. To me this game boils down to that single matchup. If Texas Tech protects Harrell, it wins. If he's running for his life, Oklahoma will be well on its way to winning the Big 12.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Texas Tech | RUSSELL: Texas Tech

Picks Table

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home FEI Says Russell Says
Miami +3 Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Miami
Michigan +20.5 Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
Michigan State +14.5 Penn State Penn State Penn State
BYU +6.5 Utah Utah Utah
Oregon State +2.5 Arizona Arizona Oregon State*
Pittsburgh +5 Cincinnati Pittsburgh Cincinnati
Florida State +1.5 Maryland Florida State* Florida State
Texas Tech +7 Oklahoma Texas Tech Texas Tech
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
FEI: 4-4-0 (0-1-0) 42-51-2 (3-8-1)
Russell: 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 41-52-2 (3-9-0)

Posted by: Russell Levine on 20 Nov 2008

41 comments, Last at 23 Nov 2008, 11:28pm by Kibbles

Comments

1
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 6:18pm

Tricky one, Russell, giving yourself an extra point. Not particularly sporting, necessarily, but I do appreciate the need to not get beat by a silly computer.

I matched your 5-3 (1-0) last week, so I'm 33-37-2 (4-5). With a really good week, I could be at or over .500. This week: Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, BYU, Oregon State (Edelstein), Cincinnati, Maryland, and Oklahoma. Second week in a row I've ended up with the same Edelstein as Russell; it worked last week, but I'm still scared. If I were braver, I'd be riding Boomer Sooner for that, but the line is just too high. Same reasoning on the underdog picks-I like the B10-leading "States" to cover, but can't justify the spreads.

Also, I'd just like to express my disappointment we're not picking the Crapple Cup. I've never before had the chance to pick a winless team in late November to cover a touchdown before, and now I'm afraid I never will.

24
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 3:01pm

Busted!

Actually, just had an error in my spreadsheet. I have corrected my record to 5-3 for last week and now trail FEI by a game.

2
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 6:30pm

In the intrests of completeness, a three way Oklahoma/Texas/Texas Tech tie could also plausibly be broken if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma next week (or implausibly by Texas Tech losing to Baylor), knocking it down to a two-eay tie between Texas and Texas Tech, which Tech wins due to head to head win.
--
My new CuseFanInSoCal blog

3
by White Rose Duelist :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 7:14pm

where the voters and their notoriously short memories could well ignore the fact that Texas beat Oklahoma and put the Sooners in the Big 12 championship

...or they could ignore the fact that Texas Tech beat Texas and put the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship...

...or they could ignore the fact that Oklahoma beat Texas Tech and put the Red Raiders in the Big 12 championship...

The whole 1-1 against each other thing pretty much negates any "who beats who" argument.

11
by DangerGnat :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 1:55pm

I think in the 3-way tie scenario, you have to start looking at non-conference opponents. Oklahoma has two teams still in the top 25 on its non-conference schedule, TCU and Cincinnati.

4
by Nordog (not verified) :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 8:24pm

Fair point, WhiteRose, but I think Texas would still have the best of the argument. While Texas Tech and Oklahoma's wins would have been at home, Texas beat Oklahoma on a neutral field. That should give them the edge over the other two teams.

Also - I disagree with the contention that the Big 12 champion will necessarily go to the championship game. Missouri is not even ranked in the top 10 right now. Even if they pull off an upset in the Big 12 title game, I don't see how they jump ahead of 10 other teams to #1 or #2.

If Missouri wins, they're going to the Fiesta bowl. It would be interesting, then, to see who gets that other spot in the BCS championship (the SEC is very likely to get the first spot). Unless USC or Utah jumps ahead of someone, the game could feature the runner-up team in the Big 12 South. The BCS has attracted controversy in the past for having a team that didn't win its own conference in the title game - imagine the outcry if a team that didn't even win its own sub-division in the conference makes it . . .

6
by Travis :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 9:08pm

Not the same, but Georgia last year didn't make the SEC title game - both Tennessee and Georgia were 6-2 in the SEC, but Tennessee won head-to-head. Yet Georgia went to the Sugar Bowl over Tennessee, and had a reasonable argument at being the #2 team in the country.

5
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Thu, 11/20/2008 - 9:04pm

Please, please, please do NOT let Oklahoma into the "national championship" game if it's a 3-way tie. Remember, we've tried this before, and it didn't work. When Oklahoma deserves to be there, they make a good showing, but when they "back in," they embarass themselves. (This is not wholly a knock on Oklahoma, Nebraska's been just as bad when they've gotten in purely on "Big 12 love.")

7
by Citizen Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 12:00pm

I can't believe you didn't mention the Washington-Washington State game. Possibly the worst game of the decade, or maybe longer. I'd love to see you break that one down: Well, Washington has the 7th worst offense in the country, but the Cougs have the 6th worst, so ...

How bad is it? WSU is giving more than a touchdown at home to a winless team. Truly, this will be a game for the ages.

8
by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 12:21pm

Virginia -2 1/2 over Clemson
Arizona -2 1/2 over Oregon State

I'm 9 - 16 so far...2008 has not been my year.

I shake my head when I read stuff like "this is what Oklahoma does in bowls". The 2008 version of OU has never been in a bowl, and no player on this team has played in a National Championship game.

Having said that, in my humble opinion IF IF IF OU beats Tech, Texas should be the Big-12 South champ.

1. Texas Tech is out of the discussion due to their weak schedule, and Texas beat OU.
2. Texas beat Missouri and Arkansas, which is slightly better than OU beating Cincy and TCU.

It'll be close, and don't automatically assume an OU win over Okie State.

13
by bign120120 (not verified) :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 2:43pm

Missouri(9-2) and Arkansas(4-6) definitely are not better teams then TCU(9-2) and Cincy(8-2) ha that might be one of the dumbest statements that I have ever heard

15
by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 3:34pm

You think Cincinnati and TCU are better than Missouri, and you're using W-L records to support that theory?

16
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 4:16pm

1. I have no problem with, but I'm not sure your 2. does-it doesn't make sense to me to reward Texas for beating Missouri when Oklahoma didn't get that chance because of the vagaries of B12 scheduling. I'd rather reward Oklahoma for beat Cincinnati and TCU non-conference-TCU has been decent for most of this decade, and Stoops didn't get out of the game after TCU beat them in Norman a couple years ago, and Cincinnati is a BCS team. I'm glad Texas played Arkansas this year, but I just give OU a little more credit. I think part of the reason I'd put 1-loss OU in over 1-loss Texas, too, is I don't think OU-Texas was a typical "10-point win", but instead is more of a 3-point win, where UT had the late TD and a non-predictive KOR TD. OU outplayed UT early, and UT outplayed OU later in the game, partly because they were able to take advantage of OU's D once that LB was injured. Sometimes a game is one-sided enough that it overwhelms these factors (Ohio State-USC this year, for example), but UT-OU this year was not that game for me. Why, yes, I also did support Florida State over Miami in 2000.

17
by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 5:39pm

I'm looking at the teams Texas and Oklahoma actually played, not the reasons why they did or didn't play them :)

I agree with you on Miami over Florida State in 2000. That should have been Washington playing for the National Title, since one-loss Washington beat Miami, and one-loss Miami beat one-loss Florida State.

Damn, has Washington fallen on hard times.

9
by Eddo :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 12:47pm

"If Penn State does the expected and beats Michigan State, it will leave Oregon State just two wins away from the least-anticipated Rose Bowl matchup of all time."
Alternatively, if Penn State does the unexpected and loses to Michigan State, Ohio State does the expected and beats Michigan, it will leave Oregon State just two wins away from preventing the least-anticipated Rose Bowl matchup of all time (Ohio State vs. USC).

10
by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 1:03pm

They really need a rule that prohibits bowl rematches from the regular season.

18
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 8:13pm

In 1975, Ohio State beat UCLA 41-20 in UCLA's home stadium. In the Rose Bowl rematch Woody Hayes trotted out his 11-0 Buckeyes, featuring two time heisman winner Archie Griffen against the 8-2-1 UCLA Bruins. A 15.5 point favorite, the Buckeyes got blown off the field to the tune of 23-10.

If the conference champions played earlier in the season, so what? They won their conference, they earned their bid. The result might suprise the people who only watched one or two games.

12
by Nordog (not verified) :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 2:29pm

Or a rule that says only conference champions can play in the BCS championship game.

20
by Wait, what? (not verified) :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 12:45pm

There's a nice article on ESPN about that subject, and why it's not as good an idea as it seems at first glance. There will never be a system that makes everyone happy, of course, but I think disallowing teams from the championship game based on conference titles isn't helping anything. I'd rather see the best two teams in the nation (as closely as that can be determined) than the two best conference champions.

14
by Yinka Double Dare :: Fri, 11/21/2008 - 3:17pm

Russell, I've watched every Michigan game as well and I think you're selling them short when you say there hasn't been any improvement. The offensive line is a mile better than it was at the beginning of the year, and the two linebackers they're playing have been getting better, especially Mouton who played a fantastic game against Northwestern (the front 6 in general were largely excellent actually). There are still problems in the secondary though, mainly with anyone not named Donovan Warren.

The problem on offense is that Threet wasn't running much likely due to his injuries (and isn't much of a runner anyways), making the zone read options plays less effective, not to mention his scattershot accuracy (he overthrew a wide open Massey last week in the end zone resulting in a pick), and Sheridan just plain can't be an effective passer with his arm strength so the defense can mostly sell out on the run when he's in. Hence, the offense generally doesn't have the ability to score enough points with any consistency. However, even with no credible passing threat, they still ran for 4 yards per carry last week against Northwestern; not great, but better than what Northwestern's average has been this year, and better than Michigan ran against Northwestern last year with Jake Long, Mike Hart, Chad Henne, et al.

Michigan can keep the game close if Sheridan plays like the fluky Minnesota game and if Stevie Brown and the other defensive backs avoid the bad angle missed tackles and the awful blown coverages that have led to big plays. In other words, they have to finally put together a complete game. Probably not going to happen, but I guess you never know until they play it. Repeating their performance against Minnesota would make this game very interesting.

22
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 2:47pm

I was being somewhat sarcastic. There has been some improvement and I would love to see what they could have done with a healthy Threet all year.

19
by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 10:06am

The last time there was a Pocast, I attended the chat but I wasn't watching the game. I had my ten year old son with me, and he didn't care about football. So ESPN and my chat buddies kept be abreast of USC and OSU while Karate Kid 3 played in the living room.

I'm not kidding.

The good news is, my ten year old has undergone an amazing metamorphasis, and is as pumped for OU - Tech as I am. Of course, the promise of a "football party" with pizza and chicken helps, but he wants to see the game!

Looking forward to tonight.

21
by Travis :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 1:45pm

Be sure to join a star-studded cast of your favorite FO posters for IRC football chat! cognet.catch22.org, channel #fo

Brief tutorial for the IRC-shy:

- Download mIRC from mIRC.com
- type /server cognet.catch22.org into the status window
- type /join #fo

23
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 2:48pm

The Michigan defense came to play today, and they're in the game at halftime. I couldn't really ask for anything more. They just need to figure out a way to throw the ball downfield a little bit. They're only making Ohio State defend five yards from the line of scrimmage and there's no room to operate at all.

25
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 3:43pm

OSU is well on its way to the expected rout, but could the ref or the announcers throw me a bone and at least call/mention that fac that there was a blatant hold against Brandon Graham on Pryor's dipsy-do, reversal-of-field downfield throw to set up the fifth OSU TD?

26
by Yinka Double Dare :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 4:03pm

Not to mention Donovan Warren intercepted that ball in the end zone and they inexplicably didn't reverse it to give it to him.

Big Ten refs have been terrible all year though. The OSU/PSU game had a gajillion egregious holds and the refs just let them all go. Not to mention a replay official not knowing the rules in the MSU/UM game and giving Michigan an ill-gotten touchdown. I've been mystified more times this year by calls and non-calls more than any time since the Michigan/Nebraska Alamo Bowl, which would have been better officiated if you had just let the players make all the calls.

My theory is that the Big Ten replay official is actually just a monkey that spins a wheel that determines what the call is, because what the replay officials call has been so divorced from what the replay shows so many times this season, it's really the only plausible explanation. No one could possibly be that incompetent at their job.

27
by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 5:15pm

What's happened to North Carolina?

28
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 5:41pm

The whole ACC is schizo. Anyone who claims to have it figured out probably knows who the best team in the Big East is too.

29
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 7:12pm

If you happen to have Directv and the SportsPack, Utah-BYU is on The mtn, channel 616 and 616-1 for the HD version.

30
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 7:17pm

If you happen to have Directv and the SportsPack, Utah-BYU is on The mtn, channel 616 and 616-1 for the HD version.

31
by navin :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 7:18pm

Is it fitting that Washington and Washington State are in overtime?

Also, Syracuse? That is a really, really bad loss.

32
by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 7:43pm

I don't mind admitting that Syrcause 24, Notre Dame 23 takes just a tiny bit of the sting out of Michigan-Ohio State today.

Yes, it's petty.

No, I don't care.

35
by navin :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 2:08am

I agree, you can't help the joy you get out of watching a rival lose or fall on hard times.

33
by Sid :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 7:50pm

I'm stunned that LSU was still ranked after almost losing to Troy last week. They suck.

They needed a lot of luck to come away with that win.

I picked Mississippi today and just found out that LSU was still ranked.

FEI has them at 53 and they should drop even more after today. Lee was bad when he was in there, so it's not like his injury made much of a difference.

34
by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/22/2008 - 9:17pm

Every year there's a team coming into the season that is listed as a national championship darkhorse. Rarely does it actually happen, but this year it could. Go Red Raiders!

Notre Dame loses to an awful Syracuse team. I think if they fire Weis they're making a mistake, but he needs to have a strong '09.

36
by Solomon (not verified) :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 3:06am

I thoroughly enjoyed Ohio State's beatdown of the school up north. I expected a 14-17 point win, given the intensity of the rivalry and OSU's sometimes sluggish offense, but I have no complaints. It was nice to see Todd Boeckman get to play (and throw a TD), and Ray Small made a nice return from his suspension. I felt badly for Boeckman this year and thought Tressel should have played him a little more (maybe 33% of the snaps). Ohio State's seniors graduate with 4 straight Big Ten titles and no losses to their archrival.

Unfortunately, Michigan State forgot to show up in its game today, which almost certainly knocks Ohio State out of the Rose Bowl. If Oregon State (the other OSU) beats Oregon, Ohio State likely falls out of the BCS and goes to the Citrus (Capital One) bowl vs. Georgia. Maybe OSU can break its bowl drought vs. the SEC. Maybe some crazy things could happen where PSU goes to the title game (and loses), sending the Buckeyes to the Rose. That would be OK, since OSU won a share of the Big 10. I do not like sending the runner-up to the Rose, though (Illinois 2007, Michigan 2006). This would be the 6th straight time that OSU won the Big 10 w/o a Rose Bowl appearance (including 3 NCS appearances and the bogus tiebreaker rules that screwed them in 1998). The Rose Bowl is awesome, and I would like to see Ohio State play there again in the near future. I went to the game after the 1996 season vs. Arizona State and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I heard that Cincinnati fans threw oranges after beating Pitt. Yes, Cinti would receive a BCS bid with a win over Syracuse. However, the BCS selection order for the last 3 spots is Fiesta-Sugar-Orange. The Fiesta will take Southern Cal or Ohio State (depeding on what Oregon State does). Why do people assume the Sugar would prefer Utah over Cincinnati? I might choose Cinti over Utah. Is the potential matchup of Florida-Utah too good to pass up?

Russell -- why do you hate Notre Dame so much? You should hate OSU, and I understand not liking ND. I might be one of the few people that neither loves nor hates ND. The thing with NBC is annoying, but it seems most schools have bigger rivals than ND.

37
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 6:38am

Oregon State has actually been around longer than any of the other OSUs. It is THE OSU.

38
by Dave Glass (not verified) :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 12:57pm

MAN does that Iowa loss sting now. I'm REALLY rooting for Oregon next week, I (like the rest of the country, save OSU backers) see no benefit to a PSU-OSU matchup. Besides, I actually think PSU can give USC a game - USC would be favored, and rightly so, but it would be an entertaining game IMO.

41
by Kibbles :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 11:28pm

I'm a Florida fan rooting for Oregon State, not because it makes any difference to my team, but because I'm sick of USC and the media fascination. It mostly stems from before the championship against Texas, when ESPN was running a week-long feature to decide if that year's USC team was the greatest team in the history of college football.

Of course, it turns out that USC wouldn't even have been the greatest team in the history of college football if the history of college football only spanned that single season.

39
by Kevin Eleven :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 1:31pm

1. Alabama (11-0)
2. Oklahoma (10-1)
3. Florida (10-1)
4. Texas (10-1)
5. Utah (12-0)- Utah beat Oregon State, USC didn't. Utah has to be ranked ahead.
6. USC (9-1)
7. Texas Tech (10-1)
8. Penn State (11-1)
9. Oklahoma State (9-2)
10. Missouri (9-2)
11. Ohio State (10-2)
12. Georgia (9-2)
13. TCU (10-2)
14. Cincinnati (9-2)
15. Oregon State (8-3)
16. Boise State (11-0)
17. Georgia Tech (8-3)
18. BYU (10-2)
19. Michigan State (9-3)
20. Boston College (8-3)
21. Northwestern (9-3)
22. Florida State (8-3)
23. Iowa (8-4)
24. Ball State (11-0)
25. Ole Miss (7-4)

40
by Solomon (not verified) :: Sun, 11/23/2008 - 7:29pm

I forgot to mention this earlier, but what is up w/ Paul Maguire? He was part of the crew broadcasting the Ohio State-Michigan game, and he acted like a goof. Maybe some of that was ABC's decision. He would appear on a camera turret, then appear in some obstructed view seats, and then show up eating a cookie (telling us what great cookies they were). ABC showed him dotting the wrong end of the "I" in Ohio State in the end zone (sometime before the game). He did not add much useful football commentary. I fail to see his value added, as he is neither insightful nor amusing. He was not very good when he did NFL games, either. His college broadcast partners were OK, though. Didn't Outsiders write a sarcastic humor piece about his NFL broadcasting team in an earlier book?

Add me to the group that would rather see PSU-USC than PSU-Org. St. Maybe if enough teams lose (unlikely), PSU moves to the title game, and Ohio State goes to the Rose Bowl (I am probably the only one who wants that). A more likely matchup is Ohio State-Georgia in the Citrus (Capital One) Bowl.

Oklahoma jumped Texas in both major polls (have not see BCS standings yet), but I would rank Texas higher. You can make a decent argument for OU, though.