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» Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Five different teams from last year's DVOA top eight rank in the bottom half of the league through four weeks of 2014. What can we learn from other teams with similar starts in the past?

28 Oct 2010

SDA: Parallelism

by Bill Connelly, Brian Fremeau, and Robert Weintraub

This weekend's college football slate features a number of parallel storylines, the kind of weekend that remote controls and picture-in-picture were made for. Each of the remaining undefeated teams that are playing this weekend are on the road. Both No. 1 teams (BCS No. 1 Auburn, AP No. 1 Oregon) face opponents who roughed them up two years ago on the road. Both BCS upstarts (No. 5 Michigan State, No. 6 Missouri) kick off as road underdogs in games with major conference-title implications. And both of the Mountain West's remaining undefeated teams (No. 4 TCU, No. 8 Utah) will attempt to survive road trips of their own in advance of next weekend's showdown.

No. 3 Boise State (who whipped Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night) and No. 7 Alabama (idle) will be watching the scoreboard, hoping to benefit from another rash of upsets. Week 9 of the college football season is simply about survival in the BCS title chase -- chances are, some teams won't.

Previews

No. 16 Florida State -4 at NC State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

OVERALL When Florida St.
Has the Ball ...
When N.C. State
Has the Ball ...
Category Fla. St.
(6-1)
N.C. St.
(5-2)
Fla. St.
Off
N.C. St.
Def
Fla. St.
Def
N.C. St.
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 27 26
2010 FEI Rk 39 21 25 25 51 40
2010 S&P+ Rk 24 33 25 41 28 32
2010 FPA Rk 48 29
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 11 48 42 55
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 40 31 22 31
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 25 72 36 42
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
59.9% Run
(65th)
46.9% Run
(112th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 12 38 28 37
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
38.3% Run
(32nd)
32.0% Run
(71st)

Jimbo Fisher has Florida State feeling rejuvenated in his first season at the helm. It has been a while since the Seminoles stood head and shoulders over anyone in the ACC, much less their own division. While they're not ready to officially claim the Atlantic Division crown, a win on the road tonight is the kind of statement that fans expect if the rapid resurgence is truly underway. The big question facing the Seminoles is if they will be able to handle the second half of their schedule as well as the first. The defense is playing better than it did a year ago, but the Seminoles haven't faced extraordinarily strong offenses outside of a beatdown against Oklahoma. The Wolfpack have been good at moving the chains this year, earning at least one first down on 75 percent of their drives.

Tennessee +17.5 at No. 20 South Carolina (Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

OVERALL When Tennessee
Has the Ball ...
When S. Carolina
Has the Ball ...
Category Tennessee
(2-5)
S. Caro.
(5-2)
Tennessee
Off
S. Caro.
Def
Tennessee
Def
S. Caro.
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 81 3
2010 FEI Rk 88 3 78 20 82 4
2010 S&P+ Rk 67 3 78 6 44 3
2010 FPA Rk 102 62
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 67 4 33 13
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 79 15 54 4
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 40 21 35 8
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
54.1% Run
(94th)
64.1% Run
(33rd)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 103 12 65 5
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
29.1% Run
(80th)
27.1% Run
(91st)

South Carolina has suffered victory disease since besting Alabama in a memorable upset. The Gamecocks lost at Kentucky two weeks ago and struggled with Vandy last week. Still, a win is a win, and Carolina is inching up on an SEC East title like a sapper approaching a landmine. Star freshman running back Marcus Lattimore is back from an injured ankle in time for Tennessee to hit town. Memo to Derrick Dooley -- When you win games, you can make all the Wehrmacht analogies you like. You can dress up as Erwin Rommel and goosestep across Knoxville if you like. But when the team stinks, best to stick to the Spanish-American War. No one cares if you see the Rough Riders coming over the hill. The worst matchup for the Vols comes on the offensive line, a swiss-cheese unit that ranks 113th in the nation in sacks allowed. The Gamecocks have 24 sacks in seven games and have 49 tackles for loss. Tennessee is winless in the SEC and will need a surfeit of big plays on special teams and a few turnovers to put one in the left-hand column.

No. 6 Missouri +7.5 at No. 14 Nebraska (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN)

OVERALL When Missouri
Has the Ball ...
When Nebraska
Has the Ball ...
Category Mizzou
(7-0)
Nebraska
(6-1)
Mizzou
Off
Nebraska
Def
Mizzou
Def
Nebraska
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 4 8
2010 FEI Rk 2 5 7 5 2 17
2010 S&P+ Rk 5 10 5 8 14 26
2010 FPA Rk 33 22
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 2 35 62 19
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 14 1 5 39
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 7 15 14 12
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
48.0% Run
(109th)
75.0% Run
(6th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 15 2 42 60
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
26.8% Run
(95th)
48.5% Run
(8th)

Congratulations, Missouri! You just came away with your biggest home win in ages! How are you going to celebrate? By playing in an even bigger game just across state lines this Saturday. With a win in Lincoln, Missouri could secure a two-game lead (with tie-breaker) over Nebraska for the final Big 12 North title -- and further solidify their national title resume. The matchups are interesting. Both offenses could find success on the ground but struggle through the air. Missouri's offensive line was able to open big running lanes and keep quarterback Blaine Gabbert untouched last Saturday against a strong Oklahoma defensive line. Now they take on Nebraska line that has predictably struggled without Ndamukong Suh and is vulnerable against the run. At the same time, however, the only running quarterback Missouri's defense has faced this year is Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase, and it goes without saying that Nebraska's Taylor Martinez has much more high-end speed than Scheelhaase. If Gabbert has the same amount of time to throw as he has had the last couple of weeks, Missouri will give themselves a chance. But after Martinez's bounce-back performance against Oklahoma State last weekend, it is hard to tell which offense might derive the most success.

No. 5 Michigan State +6.5 at No. 18 Iowa (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN)

OVERALL When Michigan St.
Has the Ball ...
When Iowa
Has the Ball ...
Category Mich. St.
(8-0)
Iowa
(5-2)
Mich. St.
Off
Iowa
Def
Mich. St.
Def
Iowa
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 13 12
2010 FEI Rk 10 19 23 23 4 27
2010 S&P+ Rk 17 8 20 4 23 27
2010 FPA Rk 69 52
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 23 1 34 42
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 18 16 17 19
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 26 3 20 22
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.4% Run
(51st)
61.6% Run
(47th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 13 15 68 85
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
35.1% Run
(55th)
37.2% Run
(42nd)

Michigan State is riding a wave of good fortune this season, erasing a 17-point deficit against Northwestern last week and leading the nation in gutsy special teams play calling and execution. Iowa gave up a fake punt against Wisconsin and squandered game clock in a last-minute loss. The Hawkeyes defense has been strong, but the Badgers run game was able to convert in crunch time. Michigan State's Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell aren't superstars, but the Spartans' running game will test Iowa again. The Hawkeyes offense hasn't been very prolific, and Michigan State has one of the strongest defenses in the conference according to our numbers. A victory by Iowa makes the entire conference up for grabs among at least four teams, whereas this game appears to be the only legitimate remaining threat to MSU's dream season.

No. 1 Auburn -7 at Mississippi (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

OVERALL When Auburn
Has the Ball ...
When Ole Miss
Has the Ball ...
Category Auburn
(8-0)
Ole Miss
(3-4)
Auburn
Off
Ole Miss
Def
Auburn
Def
Ole Miss
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 1 48
2010 FEI Rk 1 46 1 17 6 68
2010 S&P+ Rk 4 51 1 52 42 51
2010 FPA Rk 35 76
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 1 59 29 88
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 1 39 51 17
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 2 50 33 87
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
78.5% Run
(5th)
69.9% Run
(17th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 1 53 25 7
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
43.5% Run
(15th)
42.6% Run
(17th)

The new No. 1 team in the BCS is on its ninth-straight game without a bye week. If Ole Miss has an advantage, it is freshness. Auburn has scaled back the hitting in practice, so perhaps the Rebels can get physical with the Tigers, although bringing down Cam Newton is like dropping a bull elephant, regardless of whether the pachyderm is coming off a bye. Newton exploded into Heisman frontrunner status after romping through the LSU defense. Ole Miss has been surprisingly stingy against the run so far, allowing 125 yards per game. That average should take a beating, but controlling Newton on the early downs and forcing him to throw on third down may be the Rebels' only shot. Only 10 teams have fewer third-down conversions via the pass than Auburn. Houston Nutt's teams tend to play well when hopelessly counted out, but this is a team that lost to Jacksonville State and gave up 55 to Fresno State. Another No. 1 going down in Oxford seems unlikely.

Florida +3 vs Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

OVERALL When Florida
Has the Ball ...
When Georgia
Has the Ball ...
Category Florida
(4-4)
Georgia
(4-4)
Florida
Off
Georgia
Def
Florida
Def
Georgia
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 37 24
2010 FEI Rk 36 29 38 45 28 39
2010 S&P+ Rk 35 16 41 15 25 23
2010 FPA Rk 26 3
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 49 9 32 30
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 42 41 25 12
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 54 5 12 21
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
60.3% Run
(59th)
60.8% Run
(55th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 22 47 18 36
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
37.2% Run
(41st)
45.3% Run
(10th)

In the grand scheme of things, this is not the best iteration of the game that used to be the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Both teams have played .500 ball, and the only additional incentive is that the winner will keep pressure on South Carolina in the diluted-but-interesting SEC East race. But neither of these programs is likely to stay down for too long, and Saturday's game will give viewers a pretty solid glimpse of who is closer to bouncing back from early season disappointment. Georgia is certainly the hotter of the two teams. They have scored at least 40 points in three-straight conference games (they benefited heavily from turnovers against Kentucky, but 40 points in the SEC is 40 points in the SEC). The offense, led by quarterback Aaron Murray and a take-no-prisoners wide receiver A.J. Green, appears to be humming right now. Can the Gators keep up? Can they get pressure on (to use a Musburger-ism) young Murray and generate enough offense themselves? All-purpose receiver Chris Rainey is likely to return to the lineup on Saturday after a suspension for stalking, and he should help.

California +2.5 at Oregon State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FCS Pacific)

OVERALL When California
Has the Ball ...
When Oregon St.
Has the Ball ...
Category California
(4-3)
Ore. St.
(3-3)
California
Off
Ore. St.
Def
California
Def
Ore. St.
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 31 19
2010 FEI Rk 52 20 52 87 58 10
2010 S&P+ Rk 19 22 33 16 7 11
2010 FPA Rk 27 17
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 16 16 12 7
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 59 29 14 20
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 41 17 2 13
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
61.1% Run
(52nd)
60.7% Run
(56th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 43 70 19 4
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
42.1% Run
(18th)
26.7% Run
(96th)

The winning team has scored at least 48 points in five of California's seven games this season, but the Bears have been on the winning side of the ledger in only three of those games. There are other candidates for "most schizophrenic" team in college football this year, but Cal takes the cake in blowout margins for and against. Oregon State has faced a brutal set of defenses -- TCU, Boise State and Arizona -- and FEI and S&P+ disagree quite a bit about what Cal's defense brings to the table. The Bears have been pretty stout in forcing three-and-outs (46 percent of opponent drives, eighth best in the nation), and Jacquizz Rodgers' ability to dart for extra yards might be the key to keeping the Beavers on the field and Cal's off of it.

No. 25 Baylor +7 at Texas (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FSN)

OVERALL When Baylor
Has the Ball ...
When Texas
Has the Ball ...
Category Baylor
(6-2)
Texas
(4-3)
Baylor
Off
Texas
Def
Baylor
Def
Texas
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 51 47
2010 FEI Rk 62 42 31 12 111 85
2010 S&P+ Rk 41 53 16 9 107 100
2010 FPA Rk 34 47
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 35 20 110 71
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 7 10 98 109
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 23 19 89 88
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
57.2% Run
(76th)
56.9% Run
(78th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 35 8 105 71
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
28.1% Run
(84th)
25.5% Run
(102nd)

Viewers are used to only one team being ranked when Texas and Baylor meet on the gridiron. The last time the ranked team was Baylor instead of Texas? The 1986 season, when brilliant Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin was still three-and-a-half years from birth and coach Art Briles was coaching at Georgetown (Texas) High School. This is truly new territory for the Bears, but the primary question at this point is: Will they still be ranked after the Texas game? That probably depends on which Texas team shows up. If the Texas that lost to UCLA and Iowa State (both at home) takes the field, then Baylor might not only win, but win easily. But if the Longhorns are as angry as coach Mack Brown has been this week following the stinker against Iowa State, then they might not have a problem. This game pits strength versus strength (Baylor's offense versus Texas' defense) and weakness versus weakness (the sieve-like Baylor defense versus the stagnant Texas offense). If the Longhorns cannot move the ball against Baylor this Saturday, they might not generate enough offense to get past six wins this season. That may be an overstatement ... but Baylor's defense is really, really bad.

No. 8 Utah -7 at Air Force (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, CBSC)

OVERALL When Utah
Has the Ball ...
When Air Force
Has the Ball ...
Category Utah
(7-0)
Air Force
(5-3)
Utah
Off
Air Force
Def
Utah
Def
Air Force
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 25 53
2010 FEI Rk 28 50 51 80 27 19
2010 S&P+ Rk 25 55 37 79 38 36
2010 FPA Rk 10 72
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 75 104 21 34
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 28 49 55 32
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 33 102 60 38
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
60.3% Run
(58th)
83.9% Run
(4th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 29 51 89 34
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
32.5% Run
(67th)
72.1% Run
(2nd)

Utah has crushed nearly everyone in its path over the last month or so, but the Utes still don't have much love in our rating systems. That's because most of those opponents have been terrible, and the Utes haven't faced anyone of consequence since their opening night overtime victory over Pittsburgh. Air Force looked like the real deal for the first few games this season but once again appears to be a few strides behind the Mountain West elite teams. If they can control the ball against Utah, they can win. Air Force's offense ranks among the Top 5 in the country in avoiding three-and-outs and earning available yards. Utah's defense has surrendered only three rushing touchdowns all year and only 2.5 yards per carry.

No. 2 Oregon -7 at USC (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)

OVERALL When Oregon
Has the Ball ...
When USC
Has the Ball ...
Category Oregon
(7-0)
USC
(5-2)
Oregon
Off
USC
Def
Oregon
Def
USC
Off
2010 F/+ Rk 18 14
2010 FEI Rk 6 11 14 52 22 6
2010 S&P+ Rk 29 15 10 36 80 12
2010 FPA Rk 5 6
2010 Rushing S&P+ Rk 10 49 79 14
2010 Passing S&P+ Rk 16 27 84 13
2010 Std. Downs S&P+ Rk 14 39 67 10
Run-Pass Ratio
(Std. Downs)
65.6% Run
(28th)
55.7% Run
(86th)
2010 Pass. Downs S&P+ Rk 30 27 59 27
Run-Pass Ratio
(Pass. Downs)
50.0% Run
(6th)
37.8% Run
(34th)

Two of the most prolific offenses in the nation will try to match points at the Coliseum. Oregon is averaging an absurd 55.1 points per game, with an almost as astonishing 51 touchdowns in seven games. USC is scoring a mere 37.4 points per game. Quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Darren Thomas direct these point machines, with Heisman candidate LaMichael James sharing space in the Ducks backfield with Thomas. Whether Oregon becomes the latest No. 1 team (in the AP poll, if not the BCS) to fall will depend on the shaky Trojans defense. The unit is giving up more than 24 points per game, more than 400 yards per game, and an embarrassing six yards per play. Southern Cal looked the best it has this season two weeks ago in pummeling Cal. The Trojans have used their bye week running racehorse practices to prepare for Oregon's speedy spread. The Ducks have held the ball for 26.5 minutes per game, an indication of how quickly the team has scored this season.

Storylines of the Week

Rob Weintraub: I've been drooling on Cam Newton's ultra-wide shoulder pads all season, but there is no more transitory Heisman candidate than the running quarterback, at least this season. Whither Michigan's Denard Robinson? While the leaves were still attached to the trees in most of the country, Robinson was the unstoppable offensive machine. Shoelace could beat you with his arm and his feet, and was elusive with a capital "E." Then the calendar changed to October, Michigan began facing teams that could actually tackle, and Robinson was trampled by the Taylor Martinez bandwagon. That rickety ride turned over in a ditch after Martinez was hounded to the bench by Texas. Newton certainly has been more consistent and the "Wow!" factor is off the charts. But the wheels can come off at any time -- a wrenched ankle, an untimely fumble, a poor game in the Iron Bowl. Should Cam make it through the season not only unbeaten but unscathed, it will be a feat worthy of the stiff-armed trophy.

Brian Fremeau: How's your favorite team's psyche? We're at the point of the season when things really start to unravel for the rest of the year. I'm certainly fixated on the undefeated and one-loss teams in the Top 10, but I'm just as interested in which three- or four-loss teams might be poised to run the table on their way to a possible January bowl game. Other teams are in a precariously fragile state and might skid down the stretch. There aren't really any national title contenders in the Big East or ACC, but there are plenty of teams that could teeter in either direction from those and other conferences.

Bill Connelly: Assuming Utah and TCU each survive road upset bids (Utah's trip to Air Force is much more threatening than TCU's visit to UNLV), then we are one week away from what is likely the biggest Mountain West conference matchup ever. TCU will be headed to Salt Lake City next Saturday for what would currently be a battle between the fourth- and eighth-ranked teams in the BCS standings. Not only that, but with four of the six teams ranked ahead of Utah (and not named TCU) playing on the road, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that both teams might be in the Top 5 seven days from now. (This is neither here nor there, but now's a fun time to remind you that not a single Big East team is ranked.) Would a TCU win allow them to jump Boise State in the BCS standings? Would a one-loss Alabama team still be in position to hop back into the title picture if Utah wins? Obviously we are focusing on other games this week -- Auburn at Ole Miss, Oregon at USC, Michigan State at Iowa, Missouri at Nebraska -- but that rumble on the horizon is the last stand for this iteration of the Mountain West. It could be a doozy.

Picks

And all was right with the world. The F/+ Picks were above .500 both in the 10 SDA games and overall. Of course, they still did not make up ground on Rob, and they will not this week either, as somehow Rob and F/+ made the same pick nine times.

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Rob F/+
Florida State -4 N.C. State Florida St. N.C. State
Tennessee +17.5 South Carolina S. Carolina S. Carolina*
Missouri +7.5 Nebraska Missouri Missouri
Michigan State +6.5 Iowa Michigan St. Michigan St.
Auburn -7 MIssissippi Auburn* Auburn
Florida +3 Georgia Georgia Georgia
California +2.5 Oregon State Oregon St. Oregon St.
Baylor +7 Texas Baylor Baylor
Utah -7 Air Force Utah Utah
Oregon -7 USC USC USC
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
Week Eight Season Total
Rob: 6-4 (0-1) 37-40-3 (4-4)
F/+: 6-4 (1-0) 34-43-3 (2-6)

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 28 Oct 2010

18 comments, Last at 30 Oct 2010, 2:09pm by Tom Gower

Comments

1
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 7:47pm

Just to get it in: Free Shoes in the Thursday night game. Will update with other picks and records later.

18
by Tom Gower :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 2:09pm

Well, ok, forgot about this, so no pick in SCar-Tennessee. I'll go with Nebraska, Iowa, Auburn, Florida, Oregon State, Texas, Utah, and USC. Iowa, Florida, and Texas are the counter-consensus picks, and I'll go with the Longhorns.

Last week, I went 3-7 (1-0), which leaves me 37-40-3 (4-4) on the year. Only 1-2 counter-consensus last week, 11-8 overall, and all Rob-F/+ consensus picks are 18-26-1 through last week.

2
by cfn_ms :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:16pm

but my own system did like nc st +3.5:

http://cfn.scout.com/2/1015883.html

(of course its first set of picks, last week... very :( ).

3
by Alexander :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:38pm

I know a lot of people have ripped Boise's schedule, but is Michigan State's really that much better?

Sure they faced Wisconsin and are facing Iowa, but the rest of the Big Ten is pretty mediocre, and most stats tell us that mediocre teams hardly pose a threat (Usually less than 5% chance of losing) to elite teams.

4
by Will :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:23pm

Illinois is better than any team Boise will play this season, outside of Virginia Tech and perhaps Oregon State. Playing 8 mediocre teams is much more difficult than playing 8 craptastic teams.

Put it this way, if any Big Ten team lost to Northwestern or Michigan (bottom half Big Ten teams), it would at worst be a mild shock. It's unlikely, but at least some people/systems will have predicted it. If Boise State were to lose to Idaho or Utah State (bottom half WAC teams), it would be the biggest upset of the year (non James Madison division).

Will

5
by Alexander :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:20am

I do not disagree with your fundamental point, I'm just saying, theoretically an Elite team would be sweeping State's schedule, so them doing so is not necessarily impressive.

In other words,
I would put a 12-1 SEC West team in the national title game over Michigan State at 12-0.

8
by Flounder :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:33am

Would you say the same thing if Ohio State went 12-0 and hadn't played an 11-1 MSU?

9
by Alexander :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:14am

Maybe.

It depends if they obliterated the Big Ten.

In reality, OSU will have played 2 good teams this season + whatever Miami is, and MSU/Boise will have played 2.

10
by Eddo :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:24pm

Nevada counts as a good team, I'd say. Boise State will have played three.

12
by cfn_ms :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 9:43pm

And how good Miami turns out to be. I think we already know ND (by far the best of MSU's opponents) is mediocre at best.

13
by zlionsfan :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 12:40am

Illinois is probably better than Notre Dame, given what's played out so far this season. If you think that the Irish are better than Wisconsin and Iowa, I'll disagree: if you think they're better by far, I'll assume you're just trolling.

16
by cfn_ms :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 12:02pm

Sorry, i meant best by far of MSU's OOC opponents. Obviously Wisconsin and Iowa (and probably Illinois too) are better than ND.

7
by Jetspete :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 10:32am

In order to go undefeated, Michigan state will have to win at Iowa and at Happy Valley. Even if they win at Kinnick, something interesting could be on the line in the penn state game. If Penn state loses 3 of their next 4 (mich, nw, @osu, Indy in DC), then Paterno would have 399 wins heading into a game vs undefeated Michigan state. No matter how bad penn state is, that would be a near-impossible environment.

14
by zlionsfan :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 12:42am

um ... Penn State is pretty bad. I appreciate what you're saying, but for one thing, I'm not even sure they can beat Indiana (which I wouldn't have said a few weeks ago), and without a QB, I don't know how they're going to move the ball on the Spartans.

6
by Flounder :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:04am

FEI ranks MSU's defense 4th and Iowa's 23rd, while S&P ranks MSU's defense 23rd and Iowa's 4th. Weird symmetry!

11
by Jeff Fogle :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:35pm

Or...is it...reverse parallelism?!

15
by zlionsfan :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 12:43am

Should have made picks on time to keep the ball rolling. 9-1 (1-0) last week (stupid Cowboys), 37-36-3 (4-3) overall.

South Carolina, Missouri, Michigan State, Auburn, Georgia, Oregon State, Baylor, Utah, Oregon (lock).

17
by cfn_ms :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 1:16pm

Weeks and weeks of the Cavs and their mutant horse mascot looking like absolute garbage... and then suddenly they're up 14-0 with a minute to go in the first half against Miami. Go figure.