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03 Dec 2007

Confessions of a Football Junkie: L(S)U-nacy

by Russell Levine

Even by the standards of this, the most unpredictable college football season in memory, the 36-hour stretch endured by LSU this weekend went beyond the realm of the bizarre.

Just hours before his team faced Tennessee in the SEC championship game, LSU coach Les Miles was forced to call an impromptu news conference to deny an ESPN report that we was about to accept the vacant Michigan job. By Sunday evening, Miles and his team were headed to the national championship game -- a result that was all but inconceivable at the kickoff of LSU-Tennessee.

LSU's opponent will be the equally unlikely Ohio State, which has been idle for two weeks since winning the Big Ten. That both the Tigers and Buckeyes lost their penultimate games disproves the notion that the Bowl Championship Series is unfair to teams that lose late in the season -- at least in a year as weird as this one.

Not only did LSU lose late, it lost twice, and will be the first twice-beaten team to reach the BCS championship. They are the first team with multiple blemishes on its record to play for a national title of any kind since Colorado finished atop the AP poll with a loss and a tie in 1990 -- the last season that could rival this one for strange results.

This is a season that, just hours into its first Saturday, had already seen an upset for the ages (Appalachian State over Michigan), and kept on delivering thrills until well past 3 a.m. in the East on its final day, as Hawaii capped off both a stunning comeback and a perfect 12-0 mark to earn a BCS invite.

Entering the weekend, the only speculation surrounding LSU was about Miles's future, talk that heated up after the Tigers' title-game chances seemingly died in a triple-overtime loss to Arkansas the week before. It was thought that Michigan would have to wait until after the January 7 national championship game to approach their favored candidate -- until the Arkansas result changed things. Last week, Michigan officials were granted permission to speak with Miles following the SEC championship.

According to reports, an official interview was to take place this week. Yet Saturday morning, ESPN reported not only was Miles expected to be named Michigan's coach next week, but that the Georgia Tech defensive coordinator John Tenuta would be part of his staff. This was hardly stunning news, as Michigan alum Miles-to-Ann Arbor speculation had been around for more than a year, increasing in volume following the Wolverines' early struggles this season.

Within hours, Miles appeared before the media to angrily denounce the report as inaccurate. Perhaps Miles didn't like having his hand forced by the early report. Perhaps the extension he was offered by LSU was simply too lucrative to ignore. Perhaps he decided that LSU is a better program from which to pursue a national championship.

Even if it was that last selling point that convinced Miles to stay, it's highly doubtful he still believed he could accomplish the goal this year. After all, LSU began play Saturday seventh in the BCS standings, the equivalent of being a lap down 490 miles into the Indy 500. The Tigers were without starting quarterback Matt Flynn, quickly fell behind 7-0, and only rallied for the 21-14 win on a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Even after they departed the Georgia Dome with the SEC Trophy, the Tigers had little idea they were on their way to the national title game, as getting there would require both No. 1 Missouri and second-ranked West Virginia to lose that evening. Missouri was actually a slight underdog to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship, so the Sooners' 38-17 win was hardly a stunner. But the Mountaineers were four-touchdown favorites against 4-7 Pittsburgh, playing at home, and coming off a 66-point outburst in a Big East-clinching win over Connecticut a week earlier.

A Pittsburgh upset was so far-fetched, the only reason to believe it was even possible was because of all this season's turmoil, particularly in the No. 2 spot. Five times this year, the second-ranked team was beaten by an unranked opponent. West Virginia started sluggish, lost starting quarterback Pat White to a dislocated thumb early in the game, and never recovered against a fierce Pittsburgh defense and run game.

As it became obvious that Missouri would lose and West Virginia was in serious trouble, speculation immediately turned to who would join Ohio State in the title game. This was the BCS's doomsday scenario; Losses by both its top teams opened the door to teams that had not won their conferences. Twice before, with Nebraska in 2001 and Oklahoma in 2003, teams that didn't win their league titles qualified for the BCS championship. Both lost, and resulting changes in the BCS formula put more power in the hands of the human voters in an effort to avoid a similar scenario.

The voters responded -- resoundingly so. Just as last year, when pollsters elevated SEC champ Florida over Michigan in the final ballot, this year they chose to reward LSU and allow the BCS to avoid the embarrassment of having Georgia, which failed to even reach the SEC title game, or Virginia Tech, which lost 48-7 to LSU in September, beat out the Tigers for the No. 2 spot.

Analysts are likely to be quick to suggest that LSU will take apart Ohio State, the same way Florida made the Buckeyes look slow in a 41-14 thrashing in last year's title game. This season, it might be wise instead to expect the unexpected.

John L. Smith Trophy

Since this is college column, I won't award the JLS to Sean Payton or Joe Gibbs this week.

Instead, the JLS goes to Arizona's Mike Stoops, for violating one of my time-management pet peeves. Trailing Arizona State by 10 in the final minutes, Stoops burned much of the remaining time in pursuit of a touchdown, rather than kicking a field goal as soon as he was in range.

Arizona took possession at the Arizona State 32 with 1:11 left to play. A first-down pass gained 15 yards. At that point, Stoops should have sent in the field goal unit. You need two scores regardless; kicking the field goal immediately gives you the best chance at victory. Instead Arizona took five more plays, and 25 more seconds, to score a touchdown.

Since Arizona failed to recover the onsides kick, Stoops' play-calling had no effect on the outcome. That doesn't make it correct -- unless all he wanted to do was cover the spread.

BlogPoll Ballot

This season, I'm again be voting in the BlogPoll, hosted by mgoblog. Technical difficulties with the blog this week, but my ballot would look like this (last week's rank in parentheses):

  1. Oklahoma (10)
  2. Georgia (3)
  3. Southern Cal (4)
  4. LSU (6)
  5. Ohio State (7)
  6. Virginia Tech (8)
  7. Missouri (1)
  8. Kansas (5)
  9. Florida (9)
  10. Arizona State (11)
  11. Boston College (13)
  12. West Virginia (2)
  13. Tennessee (12)
  14. Illinois (14)
  15. Wisconsin (15)
  16. Clemson (16)
  17. Hawaii (17)
  18. Cincinnati (19)
  19. Auburn (20)
  20. South Floirda (21)
  21. Brigham Young (22)
  22. Boise State (23)
  23. Virginia (24)
  24. Texas (25)
  25. Oregon (18)

Rankings that may require further explanation: These rankings are not meant as an indictment of the final BCS standings. I do think Oklahoma is just as deserving of a title game berth as LSU, but not Georgia. I have always believed the BCS should require title-game participants to be conference champions, and I'm glad the voters enforced that ideal this year.

For this, the final regular-season poll, my primary factor in ranking teams is how they are playing right now. In other words, I'd take Oklahoma over everyone else on the list on a neutral field this week, and Georgia over everyone but Oklahoma. This week, I happen to think spots one through five are pretty narrow. Kansas suffers because Missouri lost.

Got a gripe? Post it in the comments, please.

Games I watched at least part of: Rutgers-Louisville, Virginia Tech-Boston College, LSU-Tennessee, Missouri-Oklahoma, Pitt-West Virginia, Arizona-Arizona State, Washington-Hawaii.

Portions of this article appeared in Monday's New York Sun.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 03 Dec 2007

123 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2007, 12:26pm by J

Comments

1
by Shot 'n Freud (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 9:56pm

I disagree with the logic behind the KCW award. It's obvious that you need the onside kick to have a chance. But when you're only 17 yards out, you may as well try for a TD.

You can kick a FG from much farther out, if need be. Assume you recover an onside kick between your own 40 and the 50. Two 10-yard outs, or a 20 yard in and a spike, either of which which would take maybe 15 seconds, get you in long FG range.

This might just be me, but I would rather have the ball on my own 45 with 46 seconds left and need a FG than have the ball on my own 45 with 1:11 left and need a TD. Plus, getting the TD on the first possession gives you an opportunity to win the game if something screwy happens after you recover the onside kick (coverage breakdown, missed tackles, etc.).

Regardless of whether you agree with this logic or not, I don't think going for the TD in this particular situation is so indefensible as to merit the KCW.

2
by Shot 'n Freud (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 9:58pm

And by KCW, I of course mean JLS.

3
by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:05pm

I've heard this "kick the FG immediately when down 9 in the last two minutes" suggestion before. And I don't understand it at all.

Assume you're going to recover the onside kick, because otherwise you've lost either way. Let's say you've got a first down on the 20. Furthermore, let's assume that a play that kills the clock (i.e. pass to the outside or the endzone) takes 7 seconds to run.

Options:

1) kick immediately.

2) Take shots at advancing the ball or scoring without running the clock, and settle for the field goal on 4th down unless you are inside the 2 yard line.

The advantage of choice #1 is that it gives you the ball back with an average of 3 seconds more to work with.

The advantage of choice #2 is that, if you score, you only need a field goal in the next possession to win. This means that you only need to reach the ~25 rather than the goal line to win.

I find it very, very hard to imagine that #1 is the right choice. Even with time running out, downs are a valuable resource. Those three shots into the endzone are well worth the time they take. About the only argument I can make in favor of kicking immediately is that it allows you to throw the hail mary at the end. But unless hail mary statistics are much better than I think, that doesn't swing the argument.

Russell, let me know if I'm missing something.

4
by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:07pm

This might just be me, but I would rather have the ball on my own 45 with 46 seconds left and need a FG than have the ball on my own 45 with 1:11 left and need a TD.

It's not just you. ;)

Nice job summarizing the argument much more succinctly than I did.

5
by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:09pm

And when I said "an average of 3 seconds more to work with", I meant 30 seconds. Sorry.

6
by JasonR (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:13pm

re 1. When you consider that Stoops could have kicked a field goal in the prior possession, instead of going for it on fourth and goal, he definitely deserves the JLS. He then would be kicking off and still have timeouts to use. Arizona State offense in the second half was pretty anemic, so expecting to stop them and get the ball back is a reasonable assumption.

I am a total Sun Devil homer, so I am more than happy to have Stoops roam the Arizona sideline and make more poor decisions like that. ;-)

7
by blacksuit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:27pm

I don't see how anyone can put Kansas ahead of Florida, Illinois, BC, Arizona St., etc.

8
by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:28pm

RE: JasonR #6,
When you consider that Stoops could have kicked a field goal in the prior possession, instead of going for it on fourth and goal, he definitely deserves the JLS.
I still disagree. That is another example of where the game theory models would suggest that he made the right decision. It's a little sketchier because they do need two scores, but there are lots of strong arguments for going for it on 4th-and-goal inside the 4.

The "kick early/go for the TD" argument actually reminds me of an argument I had during the 1997 MLB playoffs. The Mariners were down 2-1 in their best-of-five series with the Orioles, the Mariners needed to win both remaining games to win the series. They had two choices:

- go with Randy Johnson on short rest in game 4, and another starter in game 5.

- go with another starter in game 4, and a fully rested Randy Johnson in game 5.

I argued that even if tired RJ was better than anybody else, the goal is not to lose in 5 games, but to win the series. As such, your overall chance of winning is better if you save Randy for game 5, even if this increases the chances of losing in four. Paradoxical, but true.

As it turned out, tired Randy wasn't very good after all, and the Orioles advanced in 4 games.

9
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:51pm

How is Oregon ranked ahead of Oregon State?

10
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 10:58pm

My meaningless Top 25:

1. LSU
2. Ohio State
3. Oklahoma
4. Southern Cal
5. Georgia
6. Missouri
7. Virginia Tech
8. Kansas
9. West Virginia
10. Arizona State
11. Florida
12. Boston College
13. Illinois
14. Tennessee
15. Cincinnati
16. Clemson
17. Hawaii
18. South Florida
19. Wisconsin
20. Texas
21. Auburn
22. BYU
23. Virginia
24. Arkansas
25. UConn

Russ...babe...LSU #4? They won their conference, blew out Virginia Tech, and their only two losses were vs good teams, both in Triple-OT.

I'm officially tired of hearing that Hawaii deserves a shot at the national title, and how they "didn't get a chance"- horse hockey. College teams make their own non-conference schedules, and choose whether or not to be in a particular conference.

UH *CHOSE* to play in the WAC, which is the second worse conference, and would guarantee a less than impressive schedule.

From there, UH *CHOSE* to have Nortern Colorado and Charlestown Southern as non-conference opponents.

In short, UH *CHOSE* to play a schedule that would guarantee a wice W - L record, but would gather zero respect in a national title chase.

I respect Hawaii's choice. You should too.

11
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:01pm

I have written this elsewhere, but I do want someone to explain to me how the Big East can accept the officiating in the WVU-Pitt game. That one official did everything but tackle Pitt players himself.

Nobody can tell me that the officiating in the Big East is like that on a regular basis. Even the farce that is Pac 10 officiating isn't THAT egregious. It was just so BLATANT in how obvious calls were overlooked and phantom penalties were assessed against the SAME team.

As I wrote earlier, I have not witnessed an official so clearly trying to influence a game since a high school match of about 11 years ago. And in that case even though the aggrieved team won, like Pitt, the league officials did investigate and the official was suspended for a year.

How can there not be some kind of follow through? If I'm the Big East Commissioner I watch that and I'm embarrassed if not outraged. Unless, of course, the interests of the league's pocketbook outweigh common decency and sportsmanship.

Then I tell my crew to try harder next year.

I will stop now.

12
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:21pm

The two things I'd do to change College Football for the better:

1. CREATE A COMMITTEE TO RELEASE AN OFFICIAL WEEKLY TOP 25. Get rid of the BCS polls, and ignore the human polls. Every Sunday, have a committee (much like NCAA basketball does before the tournament) meet and create a Top 25. Tell them what criteria to use and not use. Have them use the computer polls for assistance and guidance. The one question they should ask, especially today, is “what team had the best 2007?�, followed by “what team had the second best?�, etc, all the way down to 25.

2. CREATE A BOWL DRAFT. This would be HUGE, far bigger than the NFL Draft. After announcing the National Championship Game, have the Sugar Bowl rep walk up to the podium and select his team. then the Rose, then the Fiesta, etc, until those eight slots are filled. Then, slot the remaining bowls via payout, and allow them to pick. Say the Cotton Bowl is the #6 bowl- have a rep walk up and announce the two teams that have been selected for the Cotton. Next comes the Citrus, Chick-Fil-A, etc, all the way down to the International or the New Orleans Bowls. It would be a wild show, and we’d see more interesting matchups than the current bowl tie-ins provide.

13
by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:48pm

No, Hawaii did NOT choose their schedule.

From the Indianapolis Star

Hawaii wanted to play Michigan; the Wolverines rejected. Michigan State paid Hawaii $250,000 to get out of its scheduled game. USC also said no, and Florida coach Urban Meyer told reporters that Hawaii is a great place to vacation, but no place to play. "We offered to play everybody," Hawaii coach June Jones told reporters. "No one wanted to play us."

Michigan, of course, scheduled Appalachian State instead. But, what is Hawaii supposed to do?

14
by snik75 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:49pm

Could we call it the "Best Team of 2007" game, or the "Most Outstanding Team of 2007"? I guess no one agrees with me here, but in my mind a "National Champion" has in some way vanquished all others in its division, and if another team (Hawaii for instance) has not lost, I do not see how they could be anything other than co-champions. Not that they are nearly as good... but they haven't been beat! You're not my champion until you've beat everybody, literally or via a playoff. And yet I love bowl games and hate the idea of going away from them. So that's why i say (yet again, sorry if you're tired of it) let's just scrap the D-1 "national champion" idea and call it something else, or whittle the division down to a reasonable number of teams so that we can really figure out who is the big winner.

I won't post about this any more.

15
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:53pm

But, what is Hawaii supposed to do?

Play someone other than Michigan, draft contracts with smarter buyouts, be willing to accept road dates instead of insisting upon home and homes...

All of those suggestions strike me as a better idea than scheduling Northern Colorado and Charleston Southern

16
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:53pm

Please, Oregon State offered Hawaii a home and home, same as we gave Boise State. Hawaii refused to come to Corvallis. So we beat them in Hawaii last season and they scheduled Washington.

17
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 12/03/2007 - 11:55pm

10- It should be mentioned that Hawaii tried to schedule Michigan this year, but Michigan wanted no part of Hawaii's offense since they'd be replacing pretty much everyone good on their defense. Instead, they scheduled Appy State. The football gods were not amused.

I give Hawaii a slight pass on scheduling- it's hard for them to get anyone to come out to play there, and as long as they have a high-powered offenses, the top-flight teams won't want to play the Warriors early in the season. I'm not saying they deserve to be in the title game, but that they have some unique challenges.

18
by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:08am

Re 16:

Hawaii is coming to Corvalis in 2008.

Re 15:

I'm sorry, that's non-responsive. Hawaii is offering $750,000 for teams to come out there, which is $400,000 more than it costs to travel to the island. Teams don't lose revenue for that, since they get to schedule an extra game in years they go to Hawaii. The only reasonable explanation is that teams refuse to schedule them. Especially when they are good.

Hawaii can't realistically play a schedule with a bunch of extra road games, they can't afford it, given the travel costs plus the lost home game revenue. As for contracts with bigger buyouts, what makes you think anyone is willing to sign one? What this comes down to is that you expect Hawaii to buy themselves a schedule with cold hard cash or suck it up. I can't say that's a reasonable critique. I don't see Ohio State paying a price for scheduling FCS Youngstown State.

19
by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:14am

None of this should be construed to imply I think Hawaii is actually better than LSU or Ohio State. But, I think the BCS schools ought to be paying a price for shutting out the Hawaii's of the world from even getting a chance to prove their mettle. I feel that comments like #10 can't be allowed to stand when it's not that simple, Hawaii has trouble getting BCS teams to play them, even when they are already on the schedule.

20
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:31am

All you non-playoff, bowl-traditionalists -- I don't ever want to hear again, as part of your argument, how important the regular season is and how a playoff would water down the regular season to the point where not every game would count and/or mean as much. The fact that both BCS title game participants lost their 2nd-to-last games at home to unranked teams just rendered that argument hogwash.

21
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:43am

Re: 11

With all due respect, you seem to have very little knowledge of the finances involved with a Bowl Subdivision football team. If the Pac-10 invited them into their conference, they would go tomorrow. Hell, the old WAC (today's MWC) essentially kicked them out in mid-90's. If they were to drop out of the WAC they would probably not have a football team at all. So the real choice for Hawaii is play in the WAC or drop the program entirely.

22
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:44am

18- While I don't condone OSU playing YSU and Kent State in the same season, OSU played a Big Ten schedule. Hawaii did not.

20- You're going to hear it again, and right now. The two teams with the best 2007 regular season will be playing for the National Title.

23
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:47am

21- With all due respect, Hawaii has a third option- play as an independent. That way they wouldn't be saddled with a WAC conference schedule.

I know, I know...they'd miss out on all of the allure, prestige, and privelidge of playing in the WAC.

24
by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:13am

UH *CHOSE* to play in the WAC, which is the second worse conference, and would guarantee a less than impressive schedule.

I didn't realize the major conferences extended invitations to Hawaii and Hawaii turned them down. Seriously, this is the stupidest argument I've heard yet, and there have been a lot of stupid arguments made.

With all due respect, Hawaii has a third option- play as an independent.

So how are they going to fill out a full schedule when they have enough trouble filling 5 non-conference games because teams like MSU pull out of contracted games?

Not to mention it's laughable to see someone complaining about Hawaii's strength of schedule when the rank Ohio State second. Ohio State chose to play four crap non-conference games when they actually had the option to schedule some good teams. That's worse than Hawaii's schedule because Hawaii had no choice.

25
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:15am

Will Hawaii get their own channel if they go independent?

I was sort of looking forward for West Virginia and Auburn next season....not so sure right now.

26
by Chris Heinonen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:19am

#16: After we open with Stanford next year, Oregon state's schedule goes: at Penn State, Hawaii at home, bye, Thursday Night game vs USC. That's a brutal way to start the season, but I'm going to find a way to get to that Penn State game since I'm on the east coast. Anyone from the area have advice on how to get a hotel cheap? I think I'll try to fly in Saturday and fly out on Sunday.

I'm also somewhat not sure about the JLS award. I think with 1:15 or so left, you can spend the time to score the TD. However, if you get down there with 30 seconds to go, I think at that point you consider the FG first. If you go for the TD, there's too good a chance you wind up with no time left, and then still have to convert the impossible hail mary at the end. If you kick the FG, you have 2-3 plays to get in range for an easier hail mary. I was really surprised to not see Belotti from Oregon win the JLS award, but I also didn't see that game listed as one that was watched.

I agree that Oregon (8-4, 0-3 their last 3) being ranked ahead of Oregon State (8-4, 6-1 their last 7, just won at Oregon) makes no sense at all, but we're the only people that might notice that.

27
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:22am

I didn’t realize the major conferences extended invitations to Hawaii and Hawaii turned them down. Seriously, this is the stupidest argument I’ve heard yet, and there have been a lot of stupid arguments made.

What makes the argument the most stupid is that I never claimed Hawaii turned down an invitation to any conference.

Seriously, this is the stupidest strawman argument I’ve heard yet, and there have been a lot of stupid strawman arguments made.

God, the world has turned into the "let's make excuses for Hawaii club". As if there are 119 other D-1A teams cowering in fear of Hawaii.

28
by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:26am

But if they played as an independent, wouldn't they then catch hell for scheduling the service acadmies?

Seriously, discounting Notre Dame (who can write their own schedule) the schedule for independents breaks down as:

Navy - 3 x MAC, AF, Army, ND, Sun Belt, 2 x Big East, 2 x ACC (inc. Duke), 1-AA
Army - 3 x MAC, AF, Navy, 3 x ACC, 2 x C-USA, Big East, 1-AA
W. Kentucky - Florida, 3 x Sun Belt, 2 x MAC, 5 x 1-AA, 1 x NAIA (!!!)

I suspect they'd be pilloried just as much for scheduling as an independent.

29
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:30am

Don't worry Hawaii's offense will be shutdown by another SEC school and no one will care anymore.

30
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:33am

28- It depends on who they scheduled.

They keep scheduling Northern Colorado and Charleston Southern, they'll run into problems.

31
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:03am

#18,
Ohio State's non conference schedule was weak, to be sure, but it was much stronger than Hawaii's non conference schedule. Youngstown State is better than Northern Colorado, Kent State is stronger than Charlston Southern, Washington, well... Washington, and while LaTech is slightly better than Akron the disparity there is not enough to balance out the scales. Add on the difference between the Big Ten schedule and the WAC schedule, and Ohio State's schedule is much more impressive than Hawaii's.

#20, Both Arkansas and Illinois are ranked. Illinois is in the Rose Bowl. Hardly a pushover.

32
by Nall (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:11am

Re: 20

Who you would you propose make the BCS championship game, then? Georgia? USC? I'm asking honestly. There are several things to dislike about the current system, but part of your current argument is primarily based upon the fact that EVERYONE has lost recently (or lost 2 games very early).

And that does not, in my opinion, diminish the importance of the past few weeks games. There were NUMEROUS games over the past few weeks that I watched that I would have not otherwise cared about if those teams would have still gotten to take part in a play-off. Additionally, instead of bitching about #1 and #2 (with an 8 team play-off), we would be bitching about #9 and #10. A loss to a 41 point underdog at home (Stanford-USC) would have no consequence. Again, I know the counter-argument stating that there is no consequence for Ohio State and LSU making it, since they lost one of their last two games (at home, to an unranked team - I know). Well, Illinois is going to a BCS game and LSU lost twice in triple overtime (and had a 48-7 beat down of Virginia Tech earlier in the year). SOMEONE had to make it to the championship game - warts and all. I have no problem with either selection, based upon all of the other teams bodies of work.

33
by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:11am

What makes the argument the most stupid is that I never claimed Hawaii turned down an invitation to any conference.

You said UH *CHOSE* to play in the WAC. If it was a choice, that means they had the option to play in other conferences but decided to play in the WAC. I'm sure you know that teams can't just join any conference they want to, they need to be invited. Therefore, you are claiming that some other conference(s) invited Hawaii to join and Hawaii turned them down.

And again, do you seriously think Hawaii would be able to schedule a full season's worth of games against decent teams if they were an independent? If you do, I'd love to live in your dream world.

34
by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:14am

20- You’re going to hear it again, and right now. The two teams with the best 2007 regular season will be playing for the National Title.

Based on subjective opinions. The objective rankings (the computers) have Virginia Tech and LSU 1-2.

35
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:26am

20- You’re going to hear it again, and right now. The two teams with the best 2007 regular season will be playing for the National Title.

Based on subjective opinions. The objective rankings (the computers) have Virginia Tech and LSU 1-2.

Yeah, it's too bad we don't use just the computer rankings to figure out who should be in the title game. Virginia Tech-LSU would make for such a compelling game, given how the first one went.

Seriously, though, we know already that LSU is better than VT, so there's no reason to play that game all over again. If they really are the two best teams in the nation, well, guess what - we've already seen the two best teams play this year. If they aren't, then having a rematch would prevent us from seeing the two best teams compete. That's why it doesn't make much sense to have a rematch in the title game.

36
by peachy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:33am

It's true that Hawaii sometimes has trouble getting games against BCS schools. It's even truer that BCS schools are reluctant to make the long haul out to Hawaii. But what's most true of all is that a top 10 team shouldn't be going to overtime against Lousiana Tech. That would be the same Louisiana Tech that was rolled 24-0 by Ole Miss, the worst SEC team this year by almost any measure. (You're going to have work pretty hard to convince me that the location of the game was worth 23 points; although I'm not sure what you gain by convincing anyone that Hawaii is as good as Ole Miss.)

It may not be Hawaii's fault that they're stuck playing weenies (although I should point out that they do open next season at Florida Field, just for example.) But if you're going to play weenies, whether by choice or by circumstance, then you must thrash the weenies.

37
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:45am

You said UH *CHOSE* to play in the WAC. If it was a choice, that means they had the option to play in other conferences

Wrong. They had other options. Please read the thread.

do you seriously think Hawaii would be able to schedule a full season’s worth of games against decent teams if they were an independent?

Yes.

If you do, I’d love to live in your dream world.

Resort to insults when you can't back up your assertion.

38
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:15am

Re 20 -- I'm not aruging otherwise and I actually agree with you. I don't think these are the 2 best teams, but under the system in place, I do think these are the 2 most deserving teams.

My comment is based on the often-repeated argument that a playoff would diminish the meaning of regular season games. Russ even printed as much in this very column on 10/15/07: "But as has been often pointed out, college football already has a playoff: It’s called the regular season. To make a change that would minimize the impact of Cal’s loss to Oregon State or LSU’s to Kentucky might do irreparable damage to the sport.

Yep, LSU is really feeling that loss to Kentucky today.

And yes, I know this year has been unprecedented in that so many quality teams lost 2 games. But when that many 2-loss teams are in the discussion, other than pride (i.e. in rivalry games, or pride in winning your conference), how much does the regular season truly matter when there are 4 teams that all have 2-losses who have legitimate claims to be #2 and play Ohio St? If the regular season means so much, then a loss, or better stated, TWO LOSSES, should knock out that team.

39
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:16am

oops -- my comments in #38 are responding to #s 22 & 32.

40
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:23am

31:

Louisiana Tech is a WAC school. That was a CONFERENCE game for the Warriors. The 4th non-conference game was UNLV, a team they drilled by 35 and that Wisconsin just the week before struggled to beat by 7.

36:

The other options as I see it are play as an independent, drop to a lower division, or drop the program. The latter two are irrelevant for this discussion as they wouldn't be in the BCS. Ignoring all the financial repercussions of dropping out of the WAC (which are numerous), how are they going to schedule 12 games when they seriously struggle to schedule 4 games? During the conference season (generally October and November) there are precious few teams that are not playing a conference game.

And by the way, the response of "Yes" to Joe's legitimate question doesn't back up your assertions regarding Hawaii.

41
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:26am

36 hit the nail on the head. Everyone says that Hawaii did everything they could. That's wrong. Hawaii went into overtime against San Jose State and Louisiana Tech and needed 4th quarter comebacks against Nevada and Washington. That's not good enough when you don't have quality wins to offset the bad games. Throw out the two games against FCS opponents, and Hawaii's vaunted Offense drops to 42.5 ppg, defense rises to 27.4 ppg, and the point margin changes from 22 to 15.1. You need to destroy the teams that are .500 or below, especially if they're from a mid major conference.

42
by Justin (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:36am

22: You’re going to hear it again, and right now. The two teams with the best 2007 regular season will be playing for the National Title.
35: Seriously, though, we know already that LSU is better than VT, so there’s no reason to play that game all over again.

I really think that a big lesson to be taken from this season is that all good teams should fill their out-of-conference schedules with total chumps. Think about it: if Virginia Tech had played Ohio State's out-of-conference schedule, they'd be a lock for the national championship game. And as we see with OSU, no one seems to notice - they only see the single loss.

Note: This is meant more as a dig at the notion that Ohio State is obviously top 2 and less at the team itself. First, their performance (the margins of their victories are good, and 11-1 isn't easy against any schedule) puts them in any objective conversation for the national championship. Second, they have certainly played tough non-conference games in the past (notably Texas a couple years ago). Heck, maybe Jim Tressel just learned more quickly than others...

43
by Fourth (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:37am

Well this thread is a mess isn't it? I'm late to the game but it looks like this all started with Kevin11's Hawaii rant. For what it's worth, I don't think Hawaii is any good, but I'm at least intrigued by the matchup against Georgia. What I don't understand is why that post was so...intentionally confrontational. As was a subsequent post, "and you're going to hear it right now." The subtext being something like, "how do you like that huh?" Anyway this is the only thread I participate in on this site usually since I'm such a huge college football fan, but seriously Kevin etc (don't mean to single you out really, just your Hawaii post seemed to spawn a lot of less than stellar comments) can we get back to civil posting?

A lot of interesting matchups this year I think. Let's talk about how bad of an underdog Ohio State, Michigan, and Illinois are going to be! Big Ten bashing is something we can all agree on right? But in all seriousness, I think 1 or even 2 of those teams will pull the upset.

44
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:56am

Before I say anything else or even read the other comments, I'd like to point out to BadgerT1000 (in case he missed it in the last college thread) that before their last 2 bowl wins Wisconsin was just 8-8 in bowls all-time and 0-5 against SEC opponents. Link's in my name. That is all :-)

45
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:08am

Also I must say I agree with this week's JLS award wholeheartedly, as I was watching that game at that time and couldn't believe Stoops didn't go ahead and kick. "What are you DOING?!" my mind screamed.

46
by Aaaron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:15am

Funny how everyone ranks Missouri ahead of Kansas except for the Orange Bowl.

Oranges suck anyways. Change the name to the Fruit Bowl.

47
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:17am

"Nobody can tell me that the officiating in the Big East is like that on a regular basis. Even the farce that is Pac 10 officiating isn’t THAT egregious."

Actually this season the Big East officiating HAS been that horrendously awful. UConn fair catch TD return anyone? In fact, watching the Pitt-WVA replay the first thought that popped into my head was that it had to be the same crew.

Just so everyone doesn't think I'm picking on BadgerT1000 I wholeheartedly agree with him on just how monumentally obvious an attempt to make sure the "right" team won that was. I can;t believe the Big east hasn't done or said anything about it. I can only conclude it's because they were in on it, making sure their team got into the title game for obvious reasons, and now they're assuming that if they sweep it under the rug everyone will just forget it ever happened since Pitt won anyway. Sadly, I'm afraid they might be right.

48
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:32am

#10: Yeah right, and I'll bet if Hawaii CHOSE to move to a BCS conference all the school's presidents in said conference would swig cyanide before letting them.

#12: Ignore the human polls? The human polls are the only reason why we didn;t see a Michigan-tOSU rematch for the last title game and why Georgia isn't in this one. Maybe the computers are what should be eliminated.

#14: For this season that would be a damn good idea actually.

#18: Bravo!!! That's telling him!!!

#20: And the bravos continue!!!

#29: Or they could shock the world and win. You know, since this season just hasn't had enough major earth-shaking upsets...

#35: Yup, the computers should definitely be taken out instead of the human vote.

And lastly, what exactly is your personal grudge against Hawaii, Kevin11? Did you have a bad experience there once? Go over there and get robbed/beaten up/arrested and briefly jailed for no good reason? Did you take your wife there on your honeymoon and she cheated on you? There HAS to be some issue there. No way would you be as vehement in your bashing of their football team otherwise.

49
by NY expat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 5:10am

Hawaii apparently gets to go to Florida next year (first game of the season in the link). Just to throw another thought out there, suppose Michigan had not reneged ... do you think they would have beaten Hawaii?

50
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 5:21am

I have no idea. Again my bias is based on seeing pretty much the same Hawaii team going to Alabama last season and scoring 10 points.

51
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 5:24am

49, I think that Michigan is a team on a similar level to UW. Washington has the better offense, but Michigan has the better defense. The game would be close, I think Hawaii would win that one, but not by much. And beating Michigan isn't that big of an acheivment.

52
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 5:39am

why not, not even Rose Bowl bound Illinois can say that?

53
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 6:02am

I really think that a big lesson to be taken from this season is that all good teams should fill their out-of-conference schedules with total chumps.

You'd think so, but honestly, for all the teams that do that, how many actually win the title? When has that plan ever really worked? In 2006, Florida played FSU, and they didn't know beforehand that FSU was going to have a down year. In 2005, Texas played OSU on the road. In 2004, USC played VT. In 2003, LSU didn't have anyone of note on their OOC schedule, so maybe that counts, but they trailed USC in the human polls, and USC played Auburn on the road that year. In 2002, OSU played Texas Tech and Washington State. In 2001, Miami played PSU, FSU, and Washington. In 2000, OU's best OOC opponent was 8-4 UTEP, so maybe OU in 2000 counts. In 1999, FSU played Miami and Florida. In 1998, Tennessee played Syracuse on the road. So, in the 9 years of the BCS, only 2 teams have won the title with an OOC schedule full of creampuffs, and one of them got into the title game in spite of a lower human poll ranking than USC, who did play a quality team OOC that year.

I just don't see it. Maybe you're more likely to get to the BCS title game if you just play creampuffs OOC, but if you're not a great team, you're just going to lose when you get there.

Second, they have certainly played tough non-conference games in the past (notably Texas a couple years ago). Heck, maybe Jim Tressel just learned more quickly than others…

Not likely. OSU has a home-and-home with USC in 2008-2009, another with Miami (Fl) in 2010-2011, another with California in 2012-2013, and another with VT in 2014-2015.

54
by DragonFireKai (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 6:10am

Rose Bowl Bound Illinois also failed to defeat Iowa, doesn't mean it's a great acomplishment.

As I said, they're about on Par with Washington. Against Oregon Michigan lost by 32 points, Washington lost by 21, Against Ohio State Michigan lost by 11, Washington by 19. The combined point differential between common foes this year is 43 points against Michigan, 40 points against Washington. The reason why Michigan is 8-4 while Washington is 4-9 is the fact that Washington's played the hardest schedule in the nation, Michigan wasn't even close. Washington has a better offense than Michigan, while played against better teams than Michigan played. Throw Michigan into the PAC 10, and they'd be right around where Washington is.

55
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 7:36am

1) What will all you guys say if Hawaii somehow beats Georgia? Surely that would mean something (yes, I know it hasn't happened yet).

2) What about LSU going to the NCG means the regular season doesn't matter? Only because 5 other teams choked worse in the regular season. Are you telling me WVU/Missouri/Kansas/Georgia should get a chance to win the National Championship? After they all choked at the end?

3) If the regular season was truly meaningless we'd have Oklahoma vs. Georgia or USC as the National Championship game... or maybe one of those vs. Ohio State.

4) What's wrong with LSU-VaTech? So what if they played in September. Team's aren't the same in September that they are now. It would be a compelling match-up to watch. If you believe "the teams already played so there is no point in playing again" than you must play too much Madden... or NCAA on the XBox.

5) If VaTech lost to LSU within the past 1-2 months, then I'd be against a rematch, but comon... that was September!

6) This year it almost seems like the best bowl match-ups would be the traditional tie-ins. Rose(USC-OSU), Orange(VaTech-Georgia), Fiesta (Oklahoma-Hawaii), Sugar(LSU-WVU). Of course this would create a very muddy national championship picture... only Ohio State winning combined with Hawaii losing will have an undisputed champion this year.

*I'm not quite sure if those are the right tie-ins... but it's my best guess with at large bids. Maybe ASU would go to Sugar instead of WVU?

56
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 7:45am

Play someone other than Michigan,

Michigan State. They tried to get USC afterwards. ESPN tried to set up Michigan/Hawaii. Hawaii subsequently asked at least 3 other schools. No one wanted to.

All of this happened just a few months before the season this year. They did not have an option with regard to one of the DI-AA schools. The other was due to NCAA's expansion to 12 games. You may have noticed a lot of teams playing one DI-AA team. That's because it takes longer than a few months to set up a game between DI-A teams.

draft contracts with smarter buyouts,

Yes, because that athletic juggernaut Hawaii can simply dictate terms to other teams.

be willing to accept road dates instead of insisting upon home and homes…

Brilliant! I'm sure a cash-strapped relatively small program that has to put up with more facilities maintenance than every other school in the NCAA will clearly be able to just throw together road trips! I'm sure the home-and-home insistence has nothing to do with the fact that they can't afford it otherwise.

What the hell do you think Hawaii is? You think the school is anywhere near comparable in size or funding to Ohio State, or Alabama, or Georgia?

This is a small-school in a difficult situation, and this year the NCAA (through adding the 12th game) and Michigan State (by bailing out) just decided to screw them over even more.

Yeah right, and I’ll bet if Hawaii CHOSE to move to a BCS conference

Exactly. It's not like Hawaii could switch conferences. They don't have the money or the prowess.

I have no idea. Again my bias is based on seeing pretty much the same Hawaii team going to Alabama last season and scoring 10 points.

You try traveling through five time zones and then playing a football game. It isn't easy. It'll be much different on a longer layover.

57
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 7:50am

Alabama also plays spread offenses well. They held Texas Tech to 10 points in 2005 in the Cotton Bowl.

#55
Georgia never choked late in the season, in fact both of their losses occurred before LSU's first loss. Georgia's main mark against them besides of course not playing in the SEC title game was getting blown out by Tennessee. Georgia since then has played a lot better football.

58
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 8:50am

I suppose this argument happens every year without a playoff. I think Va Tech has as good a case as any as well... they lost to the #2 teams both times and were able to avenge that BC loss. Hard to ignore the egg they laid early on.

It still doesn't render a meaningless regular season.

59
by scott (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 10:45am

#53

LSU did play all "creampuffs" in their 2003 schedule. However that was not the intention. They played Arizona, a PAC-10 team. they finished 2-10 that year, but LSU scheduled them when they were ranked #1 in the country by sports illustrated at some point in the 90s.

60
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 11:31am

50:

Hawaii had 17 points and 375 yards of total offense in that game versus Alabama. Not exactly lights out, but certainly competitive.

61
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:03pm

Re 14:
You know that the NCAA doesn't crown a 1-A champion. They have nothing to do with it. The only reason we call it anything is because the media outlets and other assorted interests use the name.

Re 20:
So you're prescient? You knew Mizzou and WVU would lose? Can I get some tips?

Re 35:
Oh come one, that's horrible reasoning. Going by that Arkansas and Illinois should play in the title game because we know that they're better than the title game teams. Not to mention VT played BC twice and they split - how can that happen! BC must be better since they won the first match!

Re 59:
That seems odd though, that they scheduled a game years in advance hoping a non-perennial power would still be strong.

Hawaii doesn't deserve to be in the national title game because they didn't play anyone, but it's not entirely their fault. However, Travis or NewsToTom do have a link from a Hawaii blog that shows how inept their AD is. He constantly told everyone that he had plans and there were going to be big games and he consistenly failed to make them happen. I think he even refused a couple of low tier games because he thought he could schedule better but of course he couldn't and ended up scheduling 1-AA opponents.

62
by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:08pm

Re 41: 36 hit the nail on the head. Everyone says that Hawaii did everything they could. That’s wrong. Hawaii went into overtime against San Jose State and Louisiana Tech and needed 4th quarter comebacks against Nevada and Washington. That’s not good enough when you don’t have quality wins to offset the bad games. Throw out the two games against FCS opponents, and Hawaii’s vaunted Offense drops to 42.5 ppg, defense rises to 27.4 ppg, and the point margin changes from 22 to 15.1. You need to destroy the teams that are .500 or below, especially if they’re from a mid major conference.

The margin of Hawaii's victories is irrelevant. Last year, Boise St. won all their games by an average score of 39-16. In 2004, Utah won all their games by an average score of 46-21, with the closest game being 14 points. Neither team got to play for the championship.

The bottom line is it doesn't matter what a non-BCS conference team does, they will never have the opportunity to play for the national championship under the current system.

63
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 12:51pm

Dol:

I listed the most recent bowls as demonstrative of how folks mocked Wisconsin and then were surprised to discover that the Badgers could actually play football.

I was at the Arkansas/Wisconsin game. I was there when Darren McFadden was caught from behind and every Arkansas fan was stunned and then immediately began blabbering about how DM was hurt and that he NEVER gets caught by anyone. I was there as Arkansas gacked field goals. I was there as John Stocco completed clutch passes. And I was there as the Arkansas coaching staff made odd coaching decisions. But hey, it's all the Hogs quarterbacking that was the issue. NOTHING whatsoever to do with any other elements of the game.

And not surprising how you conveniently fail to mention the Auburn game the previous year. Again I was there. And had to listen to Tiger fans, those still there that is, in the second half explain to us Badger fans how Auburn just didn't care about the game and THAT was why the team was getting stomped. When I asked if that doesn't reflect rather poorly on the players and coaching staff I was told to (insert foul phrase).

Now having written all this the fact that you felt compelled to follow up in a different thread with WI's bowl information eliminates any doubt in my mound that come the WI/TN game should the Volunteers prevail you will be the first (of many I am sure) to tell me how Wisconsin stinks and never belonged on the field to begin with.

I will never understand folks who seem to get more pleasure out of mocking teams and fans of other teams than of the actual games. I find that very odd.

64
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:05pm

Re 35:
Oh come one, that’s horrible reasoning. Going by that Arkansas and Illinois should play in the title game because we know that they’re better than the title game teams.

There is a huge difference between losing a game by 7 points, or in overtime, and losing by 41 points. A 7 point game doesn't tell you with much certainty which team was better, a 41 point game does. If VT had at least been competitive against LSU, then maybe they'd have a case, but if you lose to anyone by 40+ points, you shouldn't be in the title game. Sorry.

65
by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:12pm

Re 64:
OK, but that's a different reason. Just stating that a team can't go to the championship game because they got beat by another team near them in the rankings is an absurd argument. I still don't know that one game in September trumps the games played after that. Yeah, LSU didn't lose by much, but the only impressive win is against VT - every other win was much tighter than I would expect from an elite team.

I don't think VT deserves to get in but that doesn't mean that LSU is obviously better than them. It's not obvious to me.

66
by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:14pm

Why does Hawaii have such a hard time getting people to play them? Mostly, they expect teams to play them as major contenders - i.e. Home and Home.

Why does Hawaii have a hard time scheduling Home games with major opposition? They give up more money than some others and who would not want to go visit Hawaii? There is a larger amount of time necessary to travel to Hawaii. Jet lage can be a factor. Many players going to Hawaii tend to want to relax or see the sights rather than concentrate on ideal preparation.

The biggest reason may be related to a study of NFL performance on evening football. West Coast teams playing on the East Coast tended to perform significantly better than East Coast teams playing on the West Coast. Think about when the game would be played for the traveling team: rather than starting at 20:00 local, the game would essentially be starting at 17:00 (West Coast time) or 23:00 (East Coast time).

Personally, I am glad that conference championship is not required. It is possible for the Big 10 champion (let's say Iowa with 2 out of conference losses) to never play another Big 10 team (let's say the undefeated #1 team in the country, Ohio State). It could also be possible for extreme circumstances (Hurricane Katrina type of event) to prevent a normal matchup (let's say UT at UF or UF-GA in Jacksonville) where both teams are undefeated and have a good case for the National Championship. The current system would allow for a deserving team to play, despite not being a conference champion.

I would prefer a Bowl + 1 (see my link). It could offer the historical matchups in the bowls (let's see if Ohio State can beat USC, let's see VaTech beat WVu, let's see LSU beat Missouri, let's see Oklahoma beat Hawaii). That would guarantee a good OOC team to help determine who the best two teams are to compete in the Championship.

67
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:35pm

William Krasker has gone to a lot of trouble to determine when you should and shouldn't kick the field goal. Applying his results to the situation, taking an early FG would probably, but not unambiguously, have been better.

68
by PHn (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 1:36pm

59:

Agreed. Except for a handful of perennial bottom-feeders, any BCS team should be considered a solid out-of-conference opponent.

Sure, a few elite programs are likely to schedule solid teams every single year, but most teams have ups and downs that just can't be predicted when ADs are scheduling games years in advance.

Four years ago, who could have predicted the rise of Illinois? It was just seven years ago that Stanford (Stanford!) went to the Rose Bowl.

At the same time, I think each BCS team ought to get a pass for scheduling one or two games against smaller regional programs or the service academies. It spreads the money around and gives the smaller program a media spotlight.

69
by Frick (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:01pm

Assuming that LSU beats tOSU and Hawaii wins, we will have a "national champion" with 2 losses and an undefeated team that won't make the top-3.

That seems perfectly logical.

70
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 2:12pm

Re Hawaii: keep in mind that with very few exceptions, changing a conference is an all-sports decision, not just a football decision. The only conferences that would be anywhere close to feasible would be the Mountain West and the Pac-10. Because the Mountain West booted them in the first place, and the Pac-10 probably isn't eager to work out the challenges of an 11-team conference (I think they still use travel partners in other sports), they don't have a choice.

The only way a non-BCS school can compete for a MNC is by having a run of success. Even if one put together a Yost-era-Michigan type of season, they wouldn't play for the title. People who insist that "I-A* already has a playoff" should keep that in mind. (It's only a "playoff" if you acknowledge that most of the "field" is set before the season starts.)

I tend to disagree with Kevin11 on college football, but I think his post in #12 is an outstanding idea. Basketball has acknowledged the value of the RPI and its use in the selection process: football needs to get away from this quest for a magic number to rank teams.

Failing that, they need to get away from the idea that they have to "patch" the formula every time it "fails". (Maybe they should be looking at individual ballots in the AP poll to see how those should be patched.)

I don't have a problem with rematches in bowls/title games. If the two "best" teams in the country already met, why not have them play again? (How likely is VT to schedule an LSU again, knowing that it may have kept them out of this year's game?)

I agree with PHn about scheduling: it not only gives local programs a day in the sun (or perhaps a day on ESPN/ABC/CBS instead of FSN/CSN/etc), but it also saves money for both programs. A home game against a local team is another game that students can attend; road games, in most cases, mean students will get nothing and like it.

*I refuse to play their silly reindeer games.

71
by bacon (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:31pm

RE: 56 and Hawaii's money: According to the ESPN article about them, Hawaii was offering teams $750k to come out (on the spur of the moment). They said that it cost about $350 to travel there, so the team would be guranteed a $400k payout. If anything, it has to be cheaper for Hawaii to travel, though it is likely about the same.

It sounds to be me like Hawaii could fund two road trips for the cost of scheduling one home game...

72
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 3:33pm

62: I suspect that if that Utah team was present this year, when no one is clear-cut and there's a 2-loss team in the title game, there would have been a realistic shot that they could have been put in the title game. I think they played 3 BCS conference opponents and beat them all by 17+. No question about their schedule. Pretty sure they were favored over Pitt (and I fully expected the blowout that occurred -- that Utah team was damn good).

63: Is PJ Hill going to be healthy for that one? Somebody has to balance the almost inevitable smackdown of Michigan. Rumors are that Henne is going to sit it out. Ryan Mallett, who is not doing a good job of anything other than making me think he's Jeff George Junior, is not going to keep that close.

73
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:07pm

#71: Home games are partially supported locally. Away games are not.

74
by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 4:50pm

RE: 67,

How do you come to that conlcusion? Applying those results shows that they should kick the field goal if they are at the 2 or farther back, on fourth down. This is consistent with what I have been saying.

But the commentary there doesn't even address whether you should kick the field goal on first down. Given his analysis of the fourth down situation, it's clear that he would consider going for the TD an absolute slam dunk in an earlier down.

75
by Biebs (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 5:40pm

How could Hawaii possible afford to become an Independent? Teams refuse to fly to Hawaii as it is. As an independent they'd have a far worse scheduled or little to no home games. WAC teams play in Hawaii because they are forced to by the required schedule.

76
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 6:24pm

Yinka:

Hill be available for the bowl game but don't be surprised if he splits playing time. Hill is doing his best to play himself out of a starting role by coming off the field the first time he gets hit and then taking forever to be pronounced good to go.

The larger issue is whether the Badger defense can figure out a way to slow down an opposing offense. The Wisco defensive unit is challenged to say the least.

77
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 8:32pm

#63: I only responded because you were clearly itching for a confrontation by boldly proclaiming your team as SEC Killers when really it was only their last two bowl games, and their two bowl games prior to that were in fact losses to SEC opponents. So don't play the victim card now. I can actually understand your feelings on the matter but by calling everyone else out you make it very hard for people to sympathize or empathize with you. And don't blame me for how those teams' fans acted at the games, because I wasn't one of them.

Did you really think that nobody would or could look up Wisconsin's bowl history in response to your open challenge?

BTW I'm a die-hard Vols hater who will in fact be rooting FOR your team in that game.

78
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 10:35pm

Dol:

For the umpteenth time YOU termed Wisconsin the "worst 9-win BCS team".

Which AS I WROTE were almost identical words that were used in reference to Wisconsin time and time and time again.

I was MERELY pointing out that others have been embarrassed previously by such bold proclamations.

If you are going to stand by your original statement have at it. Just don't claim ignorance after the fact.

SEC Killers? Please. They won a few bowl games. But in each instance they were underdogs and mocked by both national commentators as well as folks in this forum for being "unworthy".

And as for playing the victim you are reading stuff that isn't there. I was again speaking from experience. I go to a game TO WATCH THE D*MN GAME. Not to harrass the folks around me who happen to be rooting for the opposing team.

But that's me.

Enough. And good riddance.

79
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 10:47pm

"For the umpteenth time YOU termed Wisconsin the “worst 9-win BCS team�.

Sorry, but I never typed those words. That was someone else. Read through the posts again, please.

I hate that this has turned out to be a big misunderstanding based on something BadgerT1000 thought I typed that someone else did, but that's apparently the case.

Ah well, at least he can't accuse me of disagreeing with him about the officiating in the Pitt-WVA game being the most blatantly biased perhaps ever (and I've seen *lots* of biased officiating in all sports). It was so bad it was almost comical.

80
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2007 - 11:01pm

Post #234 in the Seventh Day Adventure: Silly Season thread is where the "worst 9 win BCS team" quote is. See for yourself if you don't believe me. Also see that I didn't type it. That is all.

81
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 12:13am

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what a non-BCS conference team does, they will never have the opportunity to play for the national championship under the current system.

Not true, especially this year. While a WAC team with no non-conference opponents might not have a shot, the 2004 Utah team would have been #1 coming into the game.

BadgerT1000- while I was disappointed that Tennessee didn't go the the Cotton Bowl (I love the game's tradition), I'm excited about playing Wisconsin. I like it when the Vols play fresh opponents, and I'm looking forward to getting up early on 1/1.

82
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 12:19am

How could Hawaii possible afford to become an Independent? Teams refuse to fly to Hawaii as it is. As an independent they’d have a far worse scheduled or little to no home games. WAC teams play in Hawaii because they are forced to by the required schedule.

If they hated it so much, they would have booted UH a long time ago.

I'd take Hawaii a bit more seriously if they made one more trip to the mainland against even a *decent* team, as opposed to Northern Colorado and Charleston Southern.

I don't mean to be overly critical of Hawaii. They can schedule whoever they want. Just please don't tell me they've earned a #1 or #2 ranking.

83
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:13am

If they hated it so much, they would have booted UH a long time ago.

Yes, because throwing a team out of a conference is clearly as easy as saying "We don't like you, go away."

One thing others have tried to state, but you don't quite realize: conferences aren't about sports. They're about affiliations with common institutions. Look at the WAC - they're all public schools with enrollments around 15-20K students.

Big East? Primarily large, private, Catholic schools on the East Coast. Big Ten? Primarily large (40K-50K students) public schools in the Midwest. PAC-10? Primarily public, 20-40K student schools on the West Coast.

I’d take Hawaii a bit more seriously if they made one more trip to the mainland

1) What part of they couldn't afford it don't you understand? The previous poster who mentioned the fact that UH gives a payout of $750K for incoming teams didn't understand that UH makes more than $750K on each home game. Switching from "home to away" would mean they'd have to make a lot more.

2) The two Division IAA teams were home games, not away games. You don't schedule away games for Division IAA teams. You'd overflow their stadium. The away games this year were @LA Tech, @UNLV, @Idaho, @SJSU, and @Nevada. @UNLV was the only out-of-conference road game.

Just please don’t tell me they’ve earned a #1 or #2 ranking.

That's fine. I'd certainly agree with that. But your diatribes were certainly more than that, and very insulting to a team with very unique scheduling problems in Division IA.

They were primarily critical of Hawaii, which is stupid. They're trying - look at next year's slate, for instance. You should be critical of teams like Michigan State, who pulled out, and Michigan and USC, who refused to play them, and the NCAA in general, which didn't give them anywhere near enough time.

It's just a "suck" situation all around, really. College football isn't a fair sport. There is no one interested in making it a fair sport. Not the universities, not the conferences - no one. The entire structure of the system is unfair. So you don't criticize the school, you criticize the system that forces them to play a subpar schedule.

84
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:34am

#82: I’d take Hawaii a bit more seriously if they made one more trip to the mainland against even a *decent* team, as opposed to Northern Colorado and Charleston Southern.

Again, what the heck are they supposed to do when a team pulls out of a scheduled game a few months before the season? Very few "good" teams have any open dates at that point, so they have to take what they can get.

I'd take Ohio State a bit more seriously if they'd travel out of state and play a decent team instead of Akron.

85
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:35am

What part of they couldn’t afford it don’t you understand?

I’ll start with the part where you state that as a fact, as opposed to a theory.

And you know what? **** Hawaii. **** 'em and let 'em rot. If they can’t afford to play a decent schedule, let ‘em shop at flea markets and stay far away from the national title discussion.

ME: Just please don’t tell me they’ve earned a #1 or #2 ranking.
PAT: That’s fine. I’d certainly agree with that. But your diatribes were certainly more than that, and very insulting to a team with very unique scheduling problems in Division IA.

Read through the archives of these threads. Every week the NCAA gets bashed by posters one hell of a lot harder for leaving UH out of the national championship race than I have ever hit UH.

Their schedule stinks- they chose to play weak opponents at home rather than credible opponents on the road. They made their choice, and I’m fine with it.

You should be critical of teams like Michigan State, who pulled out, and Michigan and USC, who refused to play them, and the NCAA in general, which didn’t give them anywhere near enough time.

You know, I respect UH’s decisions. Why can’t you respect USC and Michigan’s? They felt they had better options than Hawaii. Their choice, not ours.

Seriously, if every team that wanted a home and home vs USC or Michigan got one, those schools would be playing 119 games a year.

So you don’t criticize the school, you criticize the system that forces them to play a subpar schedule.

Again, horsecrap. Hawaii won’t travel.

In the early 90’s, UMass basketball rose to unprecedented heights when coach John Calipari took on a motto “Anytime, anywhere�. He was willing to put his team on the road in order to establish Umass as a national power, and it worked.

Calipari had balls, Hawaii has excuses and whines of unfairness.

**** Hawaii when it comes to a discussion involving them in a spot for the National Title.

86
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:37am

#83 It’s just a “suck� situation all around, really. College football isn’t a fair sport. There is no one interested in making it a fair sport. Not the universities, not the conferences - no one. The entire structure of the system is unfair. So you don’t criticize the school, you criticize the system that forces them to play a subpar schedule.

Exactly.

87
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:41am

Again, what the heck are they supposed to do when a team pulls out of a scheduled game a few months before the season?

Perhaps not agree to a deal that would allow such a thing?

88
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:41am

You know, I respect UH’s decisions. Why can’t you respect USC and Michigan’s? They felt they had better options than Hawaii. Their choice, not ours. Seriously, if every team that wanted a home and home vs USC or Michigan got one, those schools would be playing 119 games a year.

And the comment that makes our point. As you say, Hawaii can't force anyone to play them. They tried to play good teams and the good teams refused. So what are they supposed to do?

89
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 1:42am

Perhaps not agree to a deal that would allow such a thing?

You're right, they should've kidnapped the Michigan State football team and forced them to play the game.

90
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:13am

Perhaps not agree to a deal that would allow such a thing?

Again, when did Hawaii become this football power that can dictate terms to the other teams? They're a small school, with little national football audience thanks to their location. They have to beg, plead, and offer large amounts of money to incoming schools. Otherwise they wouldn't even get Charleston Southern.

91
by Will B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:21am

For the record, Ohio State has not traditionally scheduled weak non-conference games. The games are scheduled so far in advance that you really don't know who will be good on a particular year. Would you have known Washington would suck 8 years ago? The last two years, they played home and home versus Texas. Over the next eight years, they will play home and homes against USC, Miami (FL), California, and Virginia Tech. Obviously, these are all potentially top level programs.

92
by Will B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:24am

It's also worth noting that the Big Ten did not have byes in the schedule this year. I know Ohio State didn't, but no one ever mentions this when discussing the diffulty of a schedule.

93
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:25am

I’ll start with the part where you state that as a fact,

Go look up the team's financials. They're public record. Feel free. Then come visit UH. I'll even show you around. I'll make sure to show you the auditorium where the entire football team sleeps during training camp because they don't have dorms for them. I'll also show you the training field, which is frequently in pretty trash shape since it's real turf and in Manoa is one of the rainiest places on Earth.

The team's budget is on the order of $1-2M. It costs 200-300K to fly overseas. They didn't actually do it 4 times this year - they did it 3 times and stayed on the mainland traveling from Louisiana to Las Vegas, because they couldn't afford it otherwise.

Read through the archives of these threads.

What do the archives of these threads have to do with your diatribes against Hawaii in this thread?

What cracks me up is that in some sense, your diatribe is directed against those who are saying Hawaii should have a shot. I doubt any of them are Hawaii fans. Most Hawaii fans I know don't care. They're just happy to have the team invited to a bowl outside Hawaii.

94
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:28am

Calipari had balls, Hawaii has excuses and whines of unfairness.

And you have no brains, as far as I can tell. Hawaii can't afford it. Can not. Not will not. Can not.

Feel free to say they shouldn't be in the National Championship game. I agree. But quit with the "**** Hawaii" stuff. It just makes you look like a total moron.

95
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 4:17am

sounds like Hawaii should not have a football team.

Is it anymore difficult to travel then any of their athletic teams...I know they have a larger team so that might effect the cost, but really a basketball team is going to be traveling a lot more then a football team.

ah, I just looked at their schedule looks like they help Hawaii out for their road trips in basketball. Usually back to back road games and if it is not they have a 6 days or more in between...

96
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 11:20am

You’re right, they should’ve kidnapped the Michigan State football team and forced them to play the game.

Either that, or they should have stayed away from an agreement that allowed a team to back out months before the game. Really, whoever put Hawaii Football in that spot is a "total moron". :)

We're probably close to agreeing on this entire thing, Pat. Hawaii and their fans seem happy enough with what they have, and I'm happy for them.

But recently we've been reading (yes, the prior threads here count) that it's a "joke" that UH isn't playing for the national title and that it's unfair that they aren't. Well, I disagree and I explained why.

For my own selfish reasons I want to see Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. But deep down I know Arizona State is more deserving of that spot. That kinda puts a hole in Hawaii's feel-good story.

97
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 11:27am

Once upon a time thre was a little conference called the WAC; it had ten teams, one of them in Hawaii, and others scattered from San Diego to Laramie to El Paso. With the exception of the team in El Paso, which always stunk, most of them were the type you didn't want to schedule, becuase nobody had heard much of them and they were capable of beting you. Eight public schools, one giant private institution in the heart of its religious base (with a significant missions presence in Hawaii), and a national service academy - the one that specializes in long-distance trips at speed. About as good as a school 2400 miles from its nearest possible competition could as for, right? And the NCAA, which liked the idea of encouraging growth of its sport --especially when islanders proved to be very good at the game -- gave some encouragement.

Then the SWC splintered and nine teams were scattered to the winds. Someone at the WAC got stupid, and thought that adding four tiny private schools in Texas and Oklahoma would be a good thing. Within only a couple of years, budgets were exploding across the conference -- and eight of the originial schools screamed, "Enough!" splitting off to form the Mountain West. Not invited to join? The crappy team from El Paso -- perceived as a national joke, and this conference wanted to show that it was SERIOUS about football -- and the budget buster from Hawaii - because when you're out to get one of those BCS slots, you don't want to share your $14M to help pay travel costs, or even share it with a long-time league member. and you're sure as hell nto gonna risk a shot at exposure by forcing half your league every year to play a game that doesn't even start until midnight in Bristol, CT. But, to show that their heart was in the right place, they went and recruited one of those Texas private schools (my alma mater) to join them in a couple of seasons, because it looked like they would increase their chances of hitting the BCS jackpot (it sure wasn't for our basketball team).

Now maybe someday the Mercenary Wish Conference will hit its jackpot (no wonder Vegas is in this league). But let's not pretend that their dumping Hawaii -- a perfect fit for their conference by all normal standards -- is anything other than the cash grab it was. And the Warriors have been paying for it ever since.

98
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 11:49am

Very quickly- it was never my intent to attack Hawaii.

I'm attacking the idea that they belong in the championship game, and the notion that it is somehow "unfair" that they're left out.

99
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 12:06pm

Either that, or they should have stayed away from an agreement that allowed a team to back out months before the game. Really, whoever put Hawaii Football in that spot is a “total moron�. :)

And without that clause, MSU probably wouldn't have agreed to the game in the first place. Then you'd be ragging on Hawaii for not making the concessions necessary to get the deal done.

100
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 12:09pm

It’s also worth noting that the Big Ten did not have byes in the schedule this year. I know Ohio State didn’t, but no one ever mentions this when discussing the diffulty of a schedule.

Playing Kent State in the middle of the season is the same thing as a bye.

101
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 12:15pm

For the record, Ohio State has not traditionally scheduled weak non-conference games. The games are scheduled so far in advance that you really don’t know who will be good on a particular year. Would you have known Washington would suck 8 years ago? The last two years, they played home and home versus Texas. Over the next eight years, they will play home and homes against USC, Miami (FL), California, and Virginia Tech. Obviously, these are all potentially top level programs.

Although they knew that Akron, Youngstown State and Kent State were going to be cupcakes. It isn't their fault that the rest of the big ten stunk, though.

Usually OSU plays one decent non-conference team and unfortunately Washington ended up sucking this year. But if you are going to use strength of schedule as a determining factor, then it has to be based on the strength of the teams in the current season, not the historical strength of the teams.

The bowl selections this year clearly show that the number of losses is the primary factor and has much more importance than strength of schedule. The message is clear - if you want to maximize your chances of a BCS bid and a national championship spot, play a weak schedule. It is better to have only 1 loss against a weak schedule than 2 losses against a strong schedule.

102
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:25pm

91:

OSU future non-conference schedules:
2008--Youngstown State, Ohio, USC, Troy
2009--Army, USC, Toledo, New Mexico State

They are in the habit of scheduling 1 quality opponent and 3 complete cupcakes--which are weak non-conference games. Compare that to USC who will play 9 conference games, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and 1 tune-up game.

92:

Ohio State did have a bye. It was Thanksgiving weekend.

83, 93:

Better explained and stated than I could ever hope to do.

97:

Good history lesson on the old WAC basically giving Hawaii the boot. I too am an alum of one of those Texas private schools and remember that debacle well.

103
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:47pm

It’s also worth noting that the Big Ten did not have byes in the schedule this year. I know Ohio State didn’t, but no one ever mentions this when discussing the diffulty of a schedule.

Playing Kent State in the middle of the season is the same thing as a bye.

I'd like to point out that #100 wasn't me (#35, 53, and 64), it was apparently another Alex. And I disagree. As Appalachian State, Stanford, and Pittsburgh conclusively proved, there is no such thing as a bye week when you have to play another team, no matter who that team is. During a real bye week, you don't have to step on the field.

104
by Phil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:52pm

With the 12 game schedule, most teams don't have an off week during the season anymore. I don't think that's unique to OSU.

105
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 2:55pm

Ohio State did have a bye. It was Thanksgiving weekend.

I think the point was that Ohio State played on 12 consecutive Saturdays. A bye week doesn't do a whole lot of good if it comes after all your games are over.

106
by Larry (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 3:19pm

Kevin11:

You started this discussion in comment #10 when you very stridently noted

UH *CHOSE* to play in the WAC, which is the second worse conference, and would guarantee a less than impressive schedule.

From there, UH *CHOSE* to have Nortern Colorado and Charlestown Southern as non-conference opponents.

And now that the story of the WAC/MWC has been told, we've established that neither of these things are true. You are entitled to your opinions about the Warriors, but not to cite incorrect supporting evidence. Ultimately, we may agree that Hawaii shouldn't be in the 2007-08 BCS championship game, but I think it is appropriate to note that their situation this year is lamentable, and that the system in place makes these lamentable occurances more, not less likely. So, discussing whether Hawaii should be in the championship game isn't so ridiculous.

Lastly, your tone, as others have noted, is extremely off-putting, you might want to rethink that.

107
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 4:23pm

96.

"Either that, or they should have stayed away from an agreement that allowed a team to back out months before the game. Really, whoever put Hawaii Football in that spot is a “total moron�. :)"

I'm pretty sure that EVERY game scheduling agreement has a buyout option.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 5:21pm

For my own selfish reasons I want to see Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. But deep down I know Arizona State is more deserving of that spot. That kinda puts a hole in Hawaii’s feel-good story.

Arizona State is more deserving? Why? A #11 ranking is perfectly normal for a runner-up PAC-10 team. It's not spectacular. #11 vs #19 is still a perfectly respectable matchup. A #10 ranking for a non-BCS school is much, much higher than they usually end up.

Let's suppose Hawaii didn't get in, for some reason. Instead, they'd be going to the Hawaii Bowl, and would play East Carolina. So instead of #11 vs #19 and #5 vs #10, you'd have #5 vs #11 and #10 vs someone not even ranked. Plus Texas would end up playing Oregon State (#19 vs #26) so that game would end up dropping in quality as well.

The BCS is all about providing the best possible games, not "rewarding the teams" or some silliness - it's not a league, you're never 'promised' anything. The eligibility for a non-BCS conference team does exactly that - it provides the best games, not only for the BCS but also for the other bowls as well.

109
by Will B. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 7:31pm

With the 12 game schedule, most teams don’t have an off week during the season anymore. I don’t think that’s unique to OSU.

I disagree.

LSU had a bye the week of Oct 27.
Oklahoma had a bye the same week.
Georgia had a bye the same week.
Virginia Tech had a bye the week of Oct 20.
USC had byes on Sept 8 & Nov 17.
Missouri had a bye the week of Sep 29.
Kansas had a bye the same week.
Florida had a bye the week of Oct 13.
Hawaii had a bye the week of Oct 20.

Those are the teams immediately behind Ohio State in the AP poll. Sorry about the formatting - for some reason my line breaks never make it through the posting.

110
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 10:40pm

Lets talk about the actual Sugar Bowl match-up right now instead of the "Hawaii is getting/not getting screwed" argument..

Hawaii v. Georgia. Interesting match-up, Georgia was definitely part of the jumble of question marks in the SEC East, but like many of Richt's best seasons, its when you least expect it. I think Georgia as of the end of the season one of the better teams in the country at the time-thought if Tennessee did make it to the SEC Championship, Georgia would have beat up on LSU...but there is neither here nor there. Georgia lost a close game to South Carolina in week 2 and then got blown out by Tennessee (in Knoxville). They beat Alabama in OT and dominated what people where predicting to be an explosive Oklahoma State team in the 1st week. They were an afterthought though until the Florida game. Tebow was banged up, his numbers bare that out, he was not a threat to cause damage on the ground, but I am not sure a healthy Tebow would have helped. A new Richt was on the sideline, masking an evil goatee. He had his players play lose much to the dismay of fans and opposing teams and they suddenly looked like a great team. There may have been another reason though...an injury to Thomas Brown that left him out for the Vandy, Florida, and Troy game, but also an injury to Kregg Lumpkin as well early in the season. This forced Richt to lean on talented Moreno, something Richt has not done with his RBs in years past. Moreno had done well at this point, but had not broken 20 carries the entire season-then 28, 33, 26, 22, and 22, before a 17 carry game against Georgia Tech. Moreno proved his worthy to carry the load (as he had done earlier in the season as well). Brown comes back, and plays better then I have ever seen him play the last few weeks as well-making it killer duo in the backfield. All of a sudden the offense went from good to great-Stafford still made some young mistakes, but the talent is obviously there, WRs finally started to catch the football, a young OL gelled. The defense was the question, it came to be a top 20 defense in yards allowed and 27th in points allowed outperforming the offense in both regards.

The question knows shift to whether Georgia has seen an offense like Hawaii. I said Hawaii only scored 10 points against at Alabama last season....whoops I was there, the game stunk and I somehow confused the final score to the Vandy game the next week. Bama won 25-17. Hawaii offense is a year better though. Hawaii attempted 606 passes this season, even though star QB Colt Brennan was nursing injuries throughout. The team with the most passes this season (in 13 games) was Tennessee who attempted 491, Kentucky attempted 478 passes for 2nd. The offense probably most like Hawaii's though would likely be Troy's-who attempted 517 passes and runs a spread (Kentucky is comparable as well). Troy played close with Georgia, coming closer then Georgia fans probably wanted before losing 44-34. Troy passed well against Georgia, 310 yards on 29 completions to 45 attempts. But in no way do Troy's WR rival Hawaii's WRs. Georgia only allowed 205 yards per game in the air. They are going to allow more against Hawaii. The question becomes whether they are going to allow big plays, do they match-up well against the small,speedy Hawaii WRs.
I thought this game might be a blow out even a couple days ago, but I think Hawaii can score points. I know Richt is not going to be caught by surprise by an offense again like he did the last time he was in the Sugar Bowl and he has seemed to loosen the team up. While Georgia may not have faced an offense like Hawaii, Hawaii has not faced an offense or a RB like Moreno yet either (I like Ian Johnson, but he is Moreno...).

The next big question is Hawaii off the island. They have time to prepare for the trip, but it is not in Tempe or Miami....they get to spend New Year's Eve in New Orleans. You will hear the rumors of the other team being out way too late and drinking too much-teams that should be use to the lure of the city like New Orleans. What is Hawaii's players going to be like with Bourbon Street nearby? Not saying Georgia cannot fall under the spell either....but it should be interesting to see.

Oh and I am not a Georgia fan, I like them and probably are the only non-Alabama SEC school I can openly root for. sorry for the mini-essay

111
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2007 - 11:16pm

#109: No need to be sorry for anything, that was great :-)

I especially loved the "masking an evil goatee" remark. What you call loosening his team up I call throwing all class he might have had before into the trash. I guess Richt figured of it worked for a certain NFL team, it would work for him and so far it has.

At least he hasn't tried an onside kick late in the 4th when already up by 50, like Utah's coach did against Wyoming. Not yet anyway. You've got to believe if Richt has a chance to run up the score against Hawaii he won't hesitate.

112
by goodhit (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:22am

My biggest pet peeve in the national championship game talk is when pundits decry that if a team does not win their conference, they do not deserve to play for the national championship. Georgia may not be better than LSU, but the argument that they did not win their conference is a weak one. If Georgia played in the SEC West, they would've played in their championship and conceivably won. LSU loses to an overrated Kentucky team and an average Arkansas team, but won their conference thanks to Auburn's 3 losses. Another example is the argument that Kansas did not deserve to be in the BCS championship because they did not go to their conference championship game. Kansas is probably not better than Oklahoma, but they did manage to lose only one game in the Big 12, while Oklahoma lost two conference games. Kansas also would have been better served in the Big 12 South (this year). Kansas and Georgia should both have been considered for the title game but were dismissed because they "couldn't even win their conference." A team's final ranking should have more to do with their entire body of work and not what order they won or lost their games.

The pollsters and computers should do their best to weigh the elements of luck when considering who should play for the national championsiop. I think there are three major luck factors that should be controlled for. The aformentioned conference breakdowns, (ie. South vs. North) certainly need to be considered. Shouldn't overall conference losses be more of an indication of a team's ability, as opposed to which half of the conference they happen to be in. Luck also creeps into scheduling. Hawaii is a great example of how a team's schedule may have nothing to do with football ability and everything to do with politics and money. They are punished for having a weak schedule because the implication is that it's their own fault. But not all of the information is available to pollsters and or computer programmers (especially media-biased pollsters). The third element should be eliminated altogether. Preseason rankings. If Hawaii starts the season ranked at all, they are probably playing for the national championship, right? Well, quite unlucky that their name is Hawaii and not Michigan, huh?

113
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:32am

One of Auburn's three losses was to LSU...kind of hurt them.

I am big on Georgia, but their 2 losses were to a mediocre South Carolina team and Tennessee (not even close 35-14)

I am not sure if Kansas was helped by not playing in the Big 12 South. They missed Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. Kansas is definitely better then I thought they were, but I am not sure if they would get by all 3 of those teams unbeaten. Plus they lost the head to head match-up against Missouri.

114
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:35am

The question becomes whether they are going to allow big plays, do they match-up well against the small,speedy Hawaii WRs.

Hawaii's WRs aren't exactly small.

Jason Rivers, 6'2, 192 lbs
Ryan Grice-Mullins, 5'11", 179 lbs
Davone Bess, 5'10", 195 lbs

Honestly, after watching them for a year, that's the one thing I don't understand - people are heaping praise onto Brennan, but most of his throws are West Coast throws - slant/flat combos hitting the receiver in stride to allow him to pick up YAC. Yeah, that's impressive, but making it really work requires WRs who can make people miss, and oh boy, those guys can. I don't know why they're not getting the same praise Brennan is. (To be fair, Brennan doesn't either. He's constantly lauding his receivers and offensive line.)

What is Hawaii’s players going to be like with Bourbon Street nearby?

Wait, wait, you're kidding, right? The Hawaii players live in Hawaii. This is the land of perpetually drunk tourists. Waikiki is a five-minute bus ride (or half-hour stumble) away.

The Georgia guys live in Athens. No offense to Athens (or Atlanta), as I'm sure they've got plenty of drunken debauchery, but please - if either of the teams is going to wake up hungover game day, it's Georgia, not Hawaii.

115
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:39am

#112: Hawaii was ranked #23 in the preseason AP poll.

116
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:44am

Sorry I consider any WR under 6 foot tall to be small. I don't mean midgets running out there, Georgia WRs are not much bigger either.

true, the difference is they are spending New Year's Eve in New Orleans. I am sure every SEC player is use to drinking in whatever college town they are in. But it is more of the holiday, the town, the thought that this is a fun vacation that could be a question. Again you hear this every year before the Sugar Bowl it seems like about a team spending way too much time on Bourbon Street.

117
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 1:55am

ugh, if rumors are true and Jim Grobe is hired to coach at Arkansas, the SEC South is going to be a bitch to play through all season. Damn I hope Les Miles leaves (yes...still rumors, as long as Michigan job is open there will be).

118
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 3:05am

Lastly, your tone, as others have noted, is extremely off-putting, you might want to rethink that.

Puh-leeze. If I'd used the same tone to complain about the BCS, no one would care. But since I attacked this year's sacred cow, we cry about tone.

And now that the story of the WAC/MWC has been told, we’ve established that neither of these things are true.

Allow me to correct you- I stated that Hawaii chose to have Northern Colorado and Charlestown Southern as non-conference opponents. Surely this is true...or are you laughably telling me UH literally had no other options?

119
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 4:33am

#112: I respectfully disagree. Remember the Nebraska-Miami title game a few years back? Besides, what's the point of conferences and conference title games if non of it's going to matter in who gets to play for the national title? Put yourself in LSU's shoes--they not only beat the same team that thrashed Georgia, they played an extra game and thus exposed themselves to an extra loss to do so. Considering the #1 *and* 2 ranked teams both lost Saturday, who's to say Georgia wouldn't have had they played? Same goes for the Buckeyes BTW. It's easy to sit back and say yup, we're the best when you're not putting yourself on the line like everybody else was Saturday.

One way to solve this would be for either all conferences to have a title game or schedule where everyone plays everyone else or abolish title games completely, as I've said before.

#117: SEC South? They made a new division? Since when? :-)

#118: Nope, not convinced. Your anti-Hawaii posts were *way* too personal.

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by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 4:45am

oh god, the whole time I typed it seemed odd. Its exam week, I am more off then usual.

121
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 6:41am

Sorry I consider any WR under 6 foot tall to be small.

Did you miss the 6' 2" guy?

Surely this is true…or are you laughably telling me UH literally had no other options?

No, the athletic director for UH is telling you that. Literally. Someone up the thread linked to it.

You keep laboring under this idea that "if they had REALLY wanted to...". They had virtually no time. The NCAA expanded the schedule late last year, and so everyone scrambled to find a 12th game. Most teams (well, ones that didn't have a 12 game schedule already) added one DI-AA opponent.

Then Michigan State backed out, a few months before. Again - no time.

Yes, they had no options. That's word-for-word right out of the AD's mouth.

Puh-leeze. If I’d used the same tone to complain about the BCS, no one would care.

Because the BCS has problems that can be fixed by them. You're complaining about Hawaii's schedule, which was not their fault and could not be fixed by them.

That's the whole difference.

122
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 8:05am

No,
Hawaii has good WRs that are a multitude of sizes. Hawaii does not have LSU sized WRs (top 4 guys are 6'2, 6'1, 6'3, and 6'5) or even Alabama (no one under 6'0) and I was trying to make that distinction. I probably have Chad Owens and every other Hawaii WR before Jason Rivers stuck in my head.

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by J (not verified) :: Thu, 12/06/2007 - 12:26pm

#112: Georgia may not be better than LSU, but the argument that they did not win their conference is a weak one. If Georgia played in the SEC West, they would’ve played in their championship and conceivably won.

The thing is, when UGA played Tennessee, they knew that a win would put them in the driver's seat to go to the SEC Championship. And they got blown out. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them - if they'd been ready for that game, they would have been in position to be the #1 team in the country and headed to the BCS Championship game. (And would have been ahead of Missouri and WV going into the SEC Championship, no less.)