Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Nov 2010

SDA: Eyes Back On The Field

by Bill Connelly, Brian Fremeau, and Robert Weintraub

College football fans were given flashbacks to this annoying summer this week, when off-the-field drama overshadowed on-field developments. Pay-to-play allegations against Auburn's Cameron Newton -- the leader in the Heisman hunt and the quarterback of the second-ranked Tigers -- gained both volume and steam this week (and on the week where the fantastic Marcus Dupree 30 for 30 documentary came out, no less). We almost certainly will not know any absolutes regarding his actions and/or possible violations by the time Heisman ballots are due, and it is impossible not to get caught up thinking about vacated wins, even as Newton remains eligible and claims no wrongdoing.

In other words, this was not the most fun weekend to be a college football fanatic. The potential for a tainted Heisman winner and national champion needs to be balanced by a fun weekend of games. Unfortunately, with this slate, that is far from guaranteed. No teams in the BCS Top 10 take on ranked opponents, and outside of the SEC, few games feature major conference title implications. Sometimes the weekends with the lowest expectations have the highest payoff. Here's to hoping.

Previews

Pittsburgh -5.5 at Connecticut (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Pittsburgh
Has the Ball ...
When UConn
Has the Ball ...
Category PIttsburgh
(5-3)
UConn
(4-4)
PIttsburgh
Off
UConn
Def
PIttsburgh
Def
UConn
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 20 83 18 75 36 76
2010 FEI Rk 19 85 33 71 33 87
2010 S&P+ Rk 3 76 11 84 45 64
2010 FPA Rk 16 64
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 10 71 60 52
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 14 94 25 80
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 12 68 31 58
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
59.8% Run
(63rd)
63.2% Run
(38th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 24 71 52 84
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
36.9% Run
(41st)
37.6% Run
(37th)

The Big East is used to being the butt of its share of BCS jokes, and since everyone in the conference is unranked and saddled with at least three losses, the jokes are writing themselves once again. Pittsburgh stands at 3-0 in conference play and could theoretically recover some of that national respect by dominating the league the rest of the way. Two weeks ago, however, West Virginia strolled into a road game at Connecticut with their chests puffed out and shuffled away with an overtime defeat. The Huskies haven't lost at home yet this year. They'll lean on Jordan Todman out of the backfield (six 100-yard rushing games this season) to keep the ball out of Pitt's capable offensive hands. Nearly 20 percent of the Panthers' offensive drives last 10 plays or more, and the sophomore running back duo of Ray Graham and Dion Lewis ought to dominate.

No. 13 Iowa -10 at Northwestern (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Iowa
Has the Ball ...
When Northwestern
Has the Ball ...
Category Iowa
(7-2)
NW'ern
(6-3)
Iowa
Off
NW'ern
Def
Iowa
Def
NW'ern
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 7 81 28 98 3 56
2010 FEI Rk 9 71 26 102 9 50
2010 S&P+ Rk 6 88 27 108 5 73
2010 FPA Rk 27 28
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 46 110 4 78
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 15 91 10 58
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 23 108 11 78
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.8% Run
(50th)
62.3% Run
(48th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 82 78 2 81
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
39.2% Run
(24th)
38.9% Run
(27th)

The Wildcats have dropped three of their last four and have largely removed themselves from national attention. The fact that they held at least a touchdown lead in the second half of all three of those losses stings a bit for the fan base in Evanston, but a strong finish is not completely out of the question. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa ranks first in the nation in completion percentage (73.4) but has been heading south in that department in the last month. His counterpart for Iowa, Ricky Stanzi, meanwhile, is starting to catch fire again, tossing 11 touchdowns against only two interceptions in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes' defense forces three-and-outs on 45 percent of opponent's drives, and Northwestern's defense has had trouble getting opponents off the field.

Southern Miss +10 at Central Florida (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, CBSC)

OVERALL When Southern MIss
Has the Ball ...
When UCF
Has the Ball ...
Category So. Miss
(6-3)
UCF
(7-2)
So. Miss
Off
UCF
Def
So. Miss
Def
UCF
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 82 34 95 33 52 39
2010 FEI Rk 78 33 95 31 63 53
2010 S&P+ Rk 79 37 88 49 62 34
2010 FPA Rk 14 2
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 86 61 76 41
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 89 38 61 23
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 101 58 96 31
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
58.9% Run
(69th)
74.8% Run
(7th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 64 57 16 88
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
36.5% Run
(42nd)
47.4% Run
(8th)

Almost any Conference USA storyline you've heard in the last year has probably featured some team other than Central Florida -- Houston losing two quarterbacks but still leading (with SMU) the C-USA West; East Carolina moving from all defense with Skip Holtz to all offense with Ruffin McNeill (and beating Tulsa via mini-Hail Mary); June Jones continuing to bring SMU back from the abyss; Memphis being, well, terrible. But Georgia O'Leary's Knights have been the class of C-USA in 2010. Only tight losses to N.C. State and Kansas State have marred their near-perfect résumé. With 5-foot-11 freshman quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey leading the way, the Knights have scored at least 35 points in each of the last five games, and a sturdy, run-heavy offense combined with the typical, O'Leary-esque solid defense produces a lovely result. UCF hosts a Southern Miss squad that is two one-point losses from an 8-1 record. They have racked up solid offensive yardage against a bad slate of defenses, but with receiving weapons like Johdrick Morris and Kelvin Bolden, and the possible return from injury of former star recruit DeAndre Brown, the Golden Eagles might be able to keep up on the scoreboard for a while.

Georgia +8.5 at No. 2 Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

OVERALL When Georgia
Has the Ball ...
When Auburn
Has the Ball ...
Category Georgia
(5-5)
Auburn
(10-0)
Georgia
Off
Auburn
Def
Georgia
Def
Auburn
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 32 3 32 38 34 1
2010 FEI Rk 34 1 41 13 40 2
2010 S&P+ Rk 29 5 29 55 36 1
2010 FPA Rk 6 34
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 40 46 20 1
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 22 58 54 1
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 37 55 27 2
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
59.4% Run
(66th)
76.1% Run
(6th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 27 30 47 1
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
44.0% Run
(12th)
42.9% Run
(14th)

The deep south's oldest rivalry stands at 53-52-8, in favor of Auburn. If the Bulldogs are to even the series and ruin the Tigers BCS dreams, their oft-befuddled defense needs to play better than it has since coordinator Brian Van Gorder left in 2004. Corralling Cam Newton has been a fool's errand, and the pre-scandal Heisman frontrunner is bound to play angry after a week's worth of allegations have smeared his reputation. Georgia is more likely to win a shootout with the Tigers, and they have the weapons to do so. Quarterback Aaron Murray has made plenty of freshman mistakes, but he also has made plenty of next-level throws. With A.J. Green around, all things are possible. Auburn's defense has hardly been of championship quality this season, but Josh Bynes and Nick Fairley have made the big plays when they had to.

Penn State +17.5 at No. 9 Ohio State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN)

OVERALL When Penn State
Has the Ball ...
When Ohio State
Has the Ball ...
Category Penn St.
(6-3)
Ohio St.
(8-1)
Penn St.
Off
Ohio St.
Def
Penn St.
Def
Ohio St.
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 47 4 73 8 28 9
2010 FEI Rk 50 12 92 15 47 16
2010 S&P+ Rk 46 2 61 4 32 5
2010 FPA Rk 15 12
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 53 10 40 4
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 63 2 20 10
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 46 3 41 9
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
59.8% Run
(63rd)
62.7% Run
(41st)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 56 3 26 38
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
33.3% Run
(66th)
44.0% Run
(13th)

In the last four weeks, the Buckeyes have humiliated the bottom three teams in the Big Ten (Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota) by a combined score of 139-20. In the same stretch, they also lost their only game of the year against Wisconsin, all but ruining any chance of national championship contention. Ohio State's resume is a little thin at the moment, but a closing stretch of Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan gives them plenty of opportunity to claim at least a share of the Big Ten crown and some more respect. They're getting it done on both sides of the ball, ranking No. 2 in fewest available yards given up (28 percent) and No. 5 in available yards earned on offense (62.3 percent). Crossing midfield may be a challenge for Penn State. The Nittany Lions celebrated Joe Paterno's 400th career win in a comeback victory led by walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin. He'll get the start again this week.

No. 25 Texas A&M -3 at Baylor (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FSN)

OVERALL When Texas A&M
Has the Ball ...
When Baylor
Has the Ball ...
Category A&M
(6-3)
Baylor
(7-3)
A&M
Off
Baylor
Def
A&M
Def
Baylor
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 31 53 50 115 14 10
2010 FEI Rk 31 60 39 112 7 11
2010 S&P+ Rk 27 49 47 109 9 14
2010 FPA Rk 112 41
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 45 104 8 34
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 51 104 19 7
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 40 92 9 15
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
55.6% Run
(88th)
57.3% Run
(79th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 61 101 13 30
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
24.7% Run
(105th)
27.1% Run
(91st)

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III' darkhorse Heisman hopes got mortally wounded when he was drastically outplayed by Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden last weekend, but he and his Bears have a shot at redemption when they host a Texas A&M team that has gained steam in recent weeks. Despite the injury of starting running back Christine Michael and the demotion of preseason conference player-of-the-year candidate Jerrod Johnson, the Aggies are thriving with new leaders. Running back Cyrus Gray tore through Oklahoma for 122 yards last week, and new starting quarterback (and former receiver) Ryan Tannehill is completing 68 percent of his passes at 8.5 yards per pass since stealing Johnson's snaps three weeks ago. Against a woeful Baylor defense, A&M's offensive hot streak should continue, and for the second straight week it will be up to Griffin and his favorite weapons -- primarily running back Jay Finley and receiver Kendall Wright -- to keep up.

No. 23 South Carolina +6.5 at No. 22 Florida (Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When S. Carolina
Has the Ball ...
When Florida
Has the Ball ...
Category S. Caro.
(6-3)
Florida
(6-3)
S. Caro.
Off
Florida
Def
S. Caro.
Def
Florida
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 18 23 17 25 32 34
2010 FEI Rk 23 28 5 28 32 38
2010 S&P+ Rk 11 25 13 15 12 31
2010 FPA Rk 52 17
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 23 33 7 27
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 9 15 26 43
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 18 7 23 39
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
64.4% Run
(33rd)
62.6% Run
(44th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 8 17 15 19
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
26.3% Run
(100th)
36.4% Run
(43rd)

The showdown for the SEC East title and a trip to Atlanta. For all the perception that South Carolina has had a sterling season and Florida a bummer of one, the Gators have scored more and allowed fewer points than the Gamecocks. The Swamp has been a scary place for South Carolina, a stadium in which it has never won and lost two years ago by 50. For the Ole Ballcoach to achieve the breakthrough victory he so desperately needs, and do it in his old stomping grounds, quarterback Stephen Garcia needs to find the magic he showed in the upset win over Alabama. Since that game, Garcia has thrown six touchdowns and six picks. He needs to be accurate against the Gators and its excellent secondary (17 picks on the season). In contrast, the putrid South Carolina back four rank 109th in yards allowed through the air. After scuffling all season with new quarterback John Brantley, the Gators have found an offensive tempo the past two games (albeit against horrid defenses). Florida's changeup quarterback has been freshman Trey Burton, but against Vandy Urban Meyer broke out his new Tebow, 240-pound flex player Jordan Reed. Reed threw for a touchdown, ran for another, and was eager to pound defenders. Sound familiar?

No. 19 Mississippi State +13.5 at No. 12 Alabama (Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

OVERALL When Mississippi St.
Has the Ball ...
When Alabama
Has the Ball ...
Category Miss. St.
(7-2)
Alabama
(7-2)
Miss. St.
Off
Alabama
Def
Miss. St.
Def
Alabama
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 28 5 68 17 5 4
2010 FEI Rk 21 8 60 18 2 7
2010 S&P+ Rk 33 4 65 11 10 4
2010 FPA Rk 25 4
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 20 29 18 5
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 27 12 14 5
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 41 6 5 13
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
70.4% Run
(16th)
58.4% Run
(73rd)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 26 8 29 2
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
53.8% Run
(5th)
28.6% Run
(83rd)

The semifinal game in the "Destroy Cam Newton Before He Destroys Us" tournament (the winner gets Florida). After Alabama's loss at LSU, the fight might be out of the Tide, and MSU can play. Quarterback Chris Relf and running back Vick Ballard are running it with authority, and Dan Mullen has the Bulldogs playing with fire and spreading it out. Relf is a slightly smaller Cam Newton, while Ballard has 13 touchdowns. The key matchup might be stud tackle Derek Sherrod against Bama defensive end Marcell Dareus. Should Sherrod and his linemates win the battle up front, the Cowbell Crew won't have to find a way to make plays in the passing game -- a task they aren't much more suited to than LSU was. Trent Richardson and Greg McElroy are dinged up, leaving Mark Ingram to carry the load. If he can regain that Heisman form, the Tide can avoid an upset that could cause them to crash them to fifth place in the SEC West.

No. 10 Oklahoma State -6 at Texas (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Oklahoma St.
Has the Ball ...
When Texas
Has the Ball ...
Category Okla. St.
(8-1)
Texas
(4-5)
Okla. St.
Off
Texas
Def
Okla. St.
Def
Texas
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 15 54 11 6 27 107
2010 FEI Rk 17 59 19 21 22 104
2010 S&P+ Rk 10 52 8 7 26 102
2010 FPA Rk 60 70
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 47 19 17 65
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 11 8 37 113
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 27 14 17 93
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
51.1% Run
(106th)
54.5% Run
(92nd)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 28 4 56 90
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
36.0% Run
(50th)
23.5% Run
(107th)

After putting up pinball-game numbers against Baylor last Saturday (725 yards, 55 points) to stay atop the Big 12 South standings, Oklahoma State heads to Austin to face a Texas team that is stout on defense but abominable on offense. Longhorns quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw five interceptions against Kansas State last week, including three on consecutive passes, and sports a 1-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the season. Texas probably passes too much considering their amazing lack of success in doing so, but aside from the game against Nebraska, they haven't run well enough to rely on it either. (The Nebraska game seems so long ago, no? Texas was considered "back" after the big win in Lincoln, and they have followed that win up with three consecutive losses.) If Gilbert and company can figure out how to move the ball, their defense might (might) be able to hold up for a while against the merciless Cowboys offense. Rarely can teams put together a run-pass combination like running back Kendall Hunter (1,240 rushing yards at 6.1 per carry) and receiver Justin Blackmon (1,285 receiving yards, 15 touchdowns).

Clemson +7 at Florida State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Clemson
Has the Ball ...
When Florida St.
Has the Ball ...
Category Clemson
(5-4)
Fla. St.
(6-3)
Clemson
Off
Fla. St.
Def
Clemson
Def
Fla. St.
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 27 26 44 48 16 20
2010 FEI Rk 19 30 37 43 5 21
2010 S&P+ Rk 36 23 55 46 24 18
2010 FPA Rk 59 28
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 44 51 16 6
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 62 46 43 32
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 59 38 13 22
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
62.5% Run
(45th)
58.2% Run
(75th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 59 42 60 10
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
35.0% Run
(58th)
37.3% Run
(38th)

For those of you laughing at the SEC East, we present the ACC Atlantic, a division seemingly no team wants to win. Florida State still leads, despite losing two straight. Clemson desperately needs to make it three to have any shot at capturing the crown. Christian Ponder has a lame wing and might miss the game, leaving the Seminoles in the hands of E.J. Manuel. Clemson survived a narrow win over N.C. State thanks to a questionable decision to punt late in the game. They too are missing a crucial offensive contributor, running back Andre Ellington. The Tigers offense looked lost without Ellington to haul the mail. Quarterback Kyle Parker seems to be regretting his decision not to play baseball. He was benched briefly against the Wolfpack, and he must improve. The game features two of the best defensive linemen in the nation, Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers and FSU's Brandon Jenkins. Control of the line of scrimmage is paramount -- whichever side prevents the tackles for loss is likely to keep its conference title game dream alive.

Storylines of the Week

Rob Weintraub: What would happen if Boise State played in a real conference, like the Pac-10? No chance they'd be unbeaten? Well, Boise's strength of schedule is 58th in the nation. Undefeated Oregon, the consensus No. 1, has an SOS of 80. Virginia Tech is looking better and better, but the stink of the James Madison loss is still attached to Boise like a barnacle. Boise began the season behind only Alabama and Ohio State in the rankings. Both the Tide and the Bucks have lost. Yet Boise still gets Dangerfielded. Hell, I dropped them in my poll, too. Must be the blue field. Everyone loves to talk about the quirky Smurf Turf, but it's hard to fathom a national championship contender actually calling that home. Rip it out and go back to the green stuff, boys, and perhaps the nation won't go looking for teams to jump you every November.

Brian Fremeau: I'm taking a closer look this week at a few first-year coaches in college football. It's been a rough road for Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, Jimbo Fisher has improved Florida State but modestly, and Tommy Tuberville has Texas Tech clicking only some of its cylinders. It isn't as though these or any other first-year coaches were expected to light the world on fire right out of the gate, and there are many members of those respective fan bases that have a good grip on patience with program development. There are others that need results now. Each of these coaches has an opportunity to end the season on a high note, and each has at least one really big test remaining (Florida State vs. Florida, Notre Dame vs. Utah and USC, Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma). Will we be discussing the positive trajectory of those programs in a few months? In a few years? Weekends like this one without any marquee matchups are good opportunities to take a closer look at the details.

Bill Connelly: What happens if Cameron Newton goes out and puts together a 200-200 passing and rushing game against Georgia on Saturday? What about 300-300? What if he puts together the single greatest quarterbacking game in the history of college football? Will Heisman voters be any more conflicted than it appears they already are? With the stink of the Reggie Bush saga and the vacated 2005 Heisman still wafting around in the air, voters are both scarred and wary, and even if Newton both remains eligible and lifts his already ridiculous level of play, I'm pretty sure a good portion of them have decided they will not be voting for Newton. This is great news for Oregon's LaMichael James, Boise State's Kellen Moore, and the rest of the Heisman hopefuls, but it makes for such an awkward all-around situation. Newton is innocent until proven ineligible here, but paranoid voters will likely take the better-safe-than-sorry-again approach.

Picks

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Rob F/+
Pittsburgh -5.5 Connecticut Pitt Pitt
Iowa -10 Northwestern Iowa Iowa*
Southern Miss +10 C. Florida UCF UCF
Georgia +8.5 Auburn Georgia Auburn
Penn State +17.5 Ohio State Ohio St. Ohio St.
Texas A&M -3 Baylor Baylor Tex. A&M
South Carolina +6.5 Florida Florida* S. Caro.
Mississippi St. +13.5 Alabama Miss. St. Alabama
Oklahoma St. -6 Texas Okla. St. Okla. St.
Clemson +7 Florida State Clemson Clemson
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
Week Ten Season Total
Rob: 6-4 (0-1) 46-51-3 (5-5)
F/+: 4-6 (0-1) 42-55-3 (2-8)

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 11 Nov 2010

18 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2010, 3:57pm by mm

Comments

1
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 6:23pm

use NCAA schedule numbers in an FO article? For shame if so; I think we all know those numbers are garbage.


Well, Boise's strength of schedule is 58th in the nation. Undefeated Oregon, the consensus No. 1, has an SOS of 80.

3
by Kal :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 7:12pm

It's also a bit misleading anyway; that's the overall value, not the average value. It's a lot harder to win 12 games when each team is good than it is to win 12 games when one team is great and the rest are crap.

Doesn't matter anyway; Oregon's going to have a fairly decent SoS by any metric in a few weeks, and they'll be either undefeated or not at that point.

2
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 6:50pm

Guaranteed* to be wrong prediction: Pitt.
*At least if my recent track record when it comes to picking the Thursday game while still at work holds.

5
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 7:47pm

Keep in mind that UConn's home/road splits so far this year have been ridiculous, one of a handful of really extreme result sets (Cal is another; there are more but I don't remember off the top of my head). I wouldn't touch Pitt -6 on the road here.

14
by Tom Gower :: Sat, 11/13/2010 - 12:01am

-5.5 was a small enough line I felt "comfortable" going with Pitt even though YouCon is a better home team. Oh well, guaranteed to be wrong again.

Other picks: Iowa, UCF, Georgia, Penn State, Baylor, South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Florida State. Penn State and Free Shoes are the counter-consensus picks, and maybe it's the haunting eyes of Tori Black, but I'm going with the Nittany Lions +17.5.

Last week: 6-4 (0-1), as I'm cursing myself for second-guessing myself and taking the Sooners on the road, and Michigan failing to cover -3 by a single measly point. For I believe the third week in a row, I missed the Edelstein lock but got my other 2 counter-consensus picks right. I'm now 48-48-3 (4-6) on the year, 15-10 counter-consensus, and all Rob-F/+ consensus picks are 24-35-1 through last week.

15
by cfn_ms :: Sat, 11/13/2010 - 12:36am

To be honest, I thought -6 or so was a pretty fair line. UConn's home splits were so extreme that it's scary to go against them... but Pitt was still a much better team, so it's just as scary to back them. Total stay away game for me.

16
by Eddo :: Sat, 11/13/2010 - 12:52pm

"YouCon"? Is this just because it sounds/looks funny, or is there more behind the nickname? (Actually curious.)

17
by Tom Gower :: Sat, 11/13/2010 - 4:28pm

Hoya basketball homerism, and basketball coach Jim Calhoun's willingness to play players notwithstanding them committing crimes that would get players kicked out of other schools (e.g., Marcus Williams and A.J. Price, laptop theft, c.f. Cam Newton, Florida, expelled for receiving stolen laptop).

4
by Jeff Fogle :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 7:16pm

Some FO numbers for an FO article...

FEI SCHEDULE RANK
Auburn 16th
Oregon 69th
Boise State 90th
TCU 102nd

Or, from outside the Outsiders..

SAGARIN/USA TODAY
Oregon 36th
Auburn 40th
TCU 62nd
Boise State 72nd

Funny how different all the approaches can be. Oregon is either 36th, 69th, or 80th. Boise State is either 58th, 72nd, or 90th.

Averages
Oregon: 62.7
Boise State: 73.3

Medians
Oregon 69
Boise State 72

Far from universal agreement that Boise has played the tougher schedule, and therefore was unfairly jumped in the polls by a team with a team with a more impressive margin differential (+37.0 to +33.7 for Oregon).

6
by zlionsfan :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 7:47pm

3-6 last week (1-0, nothing like picking against a team you like and watching them win and not cover), 44-47-3 (6-3) overall.

Pitt, Iowa, Central Florida, Auburn (lock), Ohio State, Baylor, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Florida State.

It's like an Allstate commercial. Go State!

7
by ammek :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 8:30pm

Christine Michael must be starting a trend in androgynous first names. Georgia is pretty, but masquerading as somebody he is not is hardly the kind of thing that a reputable gentleman like Mr O'Leary would countenance.

8
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 10:01pm

Is the page with F/+ rankings going to be updated this week?

9
by Bill Connelly :: Thu, 11/11/2010 - 11:16pm
10
by Jetspete :: Fri, 11/12/2010 - 10:26am

as a penn state fan, here's my take on this weekend's game.

17 is way too high of a spread. the penn state offense is night and day with boldin running it vs mcgloin. Boldin might be a better athlete, but he doesnt yet have the grasp of the offense as Mac, who has been in the same system for three years. McGloin will make 2-3 bad throws in the game, but he will also make 2-3 great throws. Plus the Lions have added Silas Redd to the offense, and are getting healthier on defense.

Look at PSU's two big losses. A banged up squad with a true freshman QB was outmanned by a good Alabama squad. Then Penn State played Iowa evenly but could not convert in the red zone, due in part to atrocious play calling.

I think the only way ohio state covers is if its a low scoring game (like 14-6) that gets out of hand late.

11
by Jetspete :: Fri, 11/12/2010 - 10:29am

i also have a general Heisman question for Bill: What do you think is worse to have on a record for a Heisman candidate, a pay for play scandal or a DUI? Even though he wont win the Heisman, I can't believe Justin Blackman does not get more love for the award. I watched him vs A&M and Baylor and he is an absolute beast. I'm not saying he deserves it over newton, but if you ask me who the best athlete in College FB is, Newton is 1 and Blackman is 1a

12
by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 11/12/2010 - 10:39am

With the number of players who get DUI's over the course of the season, I don't think that hurt Blackmon's image as much as it probably should have. Honestly, Blackmon's biggest problem is the same thing that haunted Missouri's Danario Alexander last season. He is putting up video game numbers, but since he wasn't a big name before the season (or, in Cam Newton's case, an SEC quarterback and/or former five-star prospect), he isn't taken as seriously. Blackmon's numbers are even better than Alexander's were last season, and as a Missouri fan, I'm still a little annoyed that Alexander didn't at least make the Biletnikoff Award finalists list.

In terms of Blackmon's Heisman hopes, the deck is stacked against WR's winning that award in the first place anyway, especially receivers who don't also return kicks.

13
by ConnGator (not verified) :: Fri, 11/12/2010 - 10:57am

"the Gators have found an offensive tempo the past two games (albeit against horrid defenses)"

Well, Vandy is horrid, but Georgia is 26th in the nation in total defense. Not awesome, but surely not horrid. And Florida's performance is the reason they are not in the top 20.

18
by mm (not verified) :: Sun, 11/14/2010 - 3:57pm

If it's not too late to request FEI team resumes for this week, I'd vote for San Diego State, Texas A&M, and whoever ends up with the highest ranking in the Big East.