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11 Oct 2007

Seventh Day Adventure: Palm-Ball

by Russell Levine

Are you ready for some controversy?

With all the chaos thus far this college season -- especially the last two weeks -- this year is shaping up as one of the more difficult in the history of the BCS. At the moment, LSU is a clear-cut No. 1, but who comes next? A host of teams, led by Ohio State and California, are vying for that second spot in the BCS championship game, followed by a lengthy list of one-loss squads hoping to play their way back into contention.

Who better to help sort through this mess than BCS expert Jerry Palm? Jerry has tracked the BCS rankings on his site, collegebcs.com, since their debut in 1998.

Jerry is a Purdue grad and a self-described stat geek who first made a name for himself by tracking the ratings percentage index, which is a key component used by the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee to determine its field.

Jerry joins me on this week's podcast to help answer the question, "Who's No. 2?" and to break down the weekend's biggest games, including a matchup of our respective alma maters as Purdue visits Michigan.

Elsewhere, this is a week when we will learn a lot about some of the surprise teams currently occupying lofty spots in the AP poll, including the likes of South Florida, Boston College, and Missouri.

Here's a look at the games I'll be discussing with Jerry:

Purdue (+5.5) at Michigan, 12 p.m. ET, BTN

I don't need to see this game, I know exactly what will happen.

In Purdue, Michigan will face the second-best spread offense it has seen this season. The best, Oregon, torched the Wolverines for 39 points and about six miles of total offense in early September. Considering that Michigan has looked largely clueless against the spread attacks of Appalachian State, Northwestern, and even Eastern Michigan, I'm not holding out much hope here.

Granted, Michigan should be able to score plenty as well. Purdue's defense is no great shakes, and really struggles against the pass. But will Michigan attack? I'm envisioning the zone-left run play on 10 of 11 first downs.

If Michigan puts this game on Chad Henne's shoulders, it can outscore the Boilermakers. If Lloyd Carr insists on just trying to out-execute his opponent, he'll be playing from behind all afternoon and the results won't be pretty.

Central Florida (+11.5) at #5 South Florida, 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU

South Florida skated by Florida Atlantic last week and moved into the top five thanks to poll attrition. A similar performance against Central Florida probably won't be forgiven by voters this week. Then again, these are the people that put Wisconsin ahead of Illinois the week after Illinois beats Wisconsin (in the coaches poll, at least) so anything is possible.

Central Florida is not exactly a pushover. It's another Florida school with designs on the type of success USF is enjoying this season. UCF gave Texas all it could handle a few weeks ago and features the nation's leading rusher in junior Kevin Smith (172 yards per game).

Smith will be taking on one of the nation's most athletic defenses. When you watch South Florida play, their team speed on defense jumps off the TV screen. Keep an eye out for sophomore defensive end George Selvie, who has spent much of the season in opponents' backfields -- he leads the nation with both 18 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.

South Florida probably needs only one or two upsets and to run the table and it could very well end up in the BCS championship game, but the Bulls would be advised to avoid any more close calls against lesser opponents.

#18 Illinois -3.5 at Iowa, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Could Ron Zook get Illinois to the Rose Bowl this season? The Illini have already beaten Wisconsin and Penn State, and get Michigan at home. The way it looks now, their November 10 visit to Ohio State could end up being the Big Ten game of the year.

Everyone knew Ron Zook was stockpiling talent in Champaign, but few suspected he would meld it into a winning team this soon. Even more surprising, Illinois is winning without any passing offense at all. Juice Williams is a great athlete at quarterback, but he's far too inaccurate a passer and Zook has begun to spell him with backup Eddie McGee at times.

Rashard Mendenhall has been unstoppable in the Illinois backfield, and combined with a stout defense, he has the Illini threatening to win the Big Ten. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Iowa, which has lost eight straight conference games.

Kirk Ferentz has managed to maintain his coaching reputation thus far, but that won't continue if Iowa continues to sink to the bottom of the conference standings.

#4 Boston College -14 at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Boston College is up to fourth in the polls, but are they really that good or are they just the beneficiaries of poll attrition?

And what about Notre Dame? Were those actual signs of life we saw in the Rose Bowl last week in a game absolutely nobody watched because it happened at the same time as Florida-LSU and the ending of Stanford-USC?

Matt Ryan might be a couple more big games away from being the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy. Even though Notre Dame is terrible, he'd still get a big lift from lighting up the Irish secondary on national TV.

Notre Dame actually is playing a little better on defense, but the offense is still non-existent. Boston College circles this game on the calendar every year, so don't be surprised if the Eagles take a shot to kick the Irish while they're down.

Connecticut +3.5 at Virginia, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

These teams come in with a combined 10-1 record, but the one loss was to Wyoming (by Virginia in the season opener) and the wins don't include too many opponents of note.

That's particularly true for Connecticut, which is going the Bill Snyder route in attempting to schedule its way to a bowl game every year. The Huskies have beaten the murderer's row of Duke, Maine, Temple, Pitt, and Akron, so this is by far their toughest test.

Virginia may be tied for the ACC Coastal Division lead right now, but the Cavs' toughest tests remain. Still, as Jerry points out in the podcast, Virginia could well end up with nine wins this season without beating anyone with a pulse.

#1 LSU -9.5 at #17 Kentucky, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Anyone who saw both these teams play last week probably isn't too worried about LSU slipping up in Lexington and throwing the BCS standings into complete chaos.

Then again, Kentucky will challenge LSU with the pass more than anyone thus far. Tim Tebow is a great player, but the Florida offense is rather limited in its play-calling and didn't really challenge the LSU corners.

Kentucky, on the other hand, is all about the pass. Perhaps even more so this week with starting tailback Rafael Little banged up. Andre' Woodson needs a bounce-back performance after looking flat in Kentucky's loss to South Carolina last week, but he won't get it unless his offensive line can give him time in the pocket.

LSU's biggest fear is letdown. The win over Florida was both emotionally and physically taxing, and the Tigers can't sleepwalk through this game the way they did against the likes of Tulane. A win here, and LSU is in relatively good shape to sail to the SEC title game, but the way this season has gone, who knows?

#11 Missouri +10 at #6 Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m. ET, FSN

This might well be the most interesting game on the weekend slate. Missouri is fresh off an absolute thrashing of Nebraska and will be riding high into Norman to take on the Sooners, who recovered from their Colorado debacle in time to beat Texas last week.

For years, the Big 12 North has been the far weaker division of the conference, but already this year Texas and Oklahoma have lost to teams from the North. If Missouri can win this game, it would be the favorite to win the Big 12 title, and quarterback Chase Daniel might just be the favorite to win the Heisman.

Oklahoma's prospects to play for anything more than the Big 12 looked bleak after the Colorado loss, but another series of upsets has put the Sooners atop the list of one-loss teams with a chance to get to the championship game.

Louisville +10.5 at #15 Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Lost in all the upsets this season has been the demise of Louisville, a team with national-championship aspirations that now finds itself at the bottom of the Big East standings.

The Cardinals still have the high-powered offense, but they can't stop anybody. Their defense has sunk to 99th in the nation and appears to be getting worse: Last week Utah came to Louisville and rolled up 44 points and 582 yards of total offense. That's the same Utah that has been held to 12 or fewer points three times this season.

In the upside-down Big East, Cincinnati is now the co-favorite along with South Florida to win the conference crown and get to the BCS. The Bearcats run a very unconventional form of the spread offense under first-year coach Brian Kelly and should have no trouble lighting up Louisville.

The SDA Podcast

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The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home Jerry Says Russell Says
Purdue +5.5 Michigan Purdue Purdue*
Central Florida +11.5 South Florida South Florida South Florida
Illinois -3.5 Iowa Illinois Illinois
Boston College -14 Notre Dame Boston College* Boston College
Connecticut +3.5 Virginia Virginia Virginia
LSU -9.5 Kentucky Kentucky LSU
Missouri +10 Oklahoma Missouri Missouri
Louisville +10.5 Cincinnati Louisville Cincinnati
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Guest: MDS 4-4-0 (0-1-0)    
Guests Composite     23-24-1 (0-5-1)
Russell 3-5-0 (1-0-0) 21-26-1 (3-2-1)

Posted by: Russell Levine on 11 Oct 2007

197 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2007, 4:54pm by Pat


by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 10:07pm

Just happy to be here.

Seriously, I love having this thread available to read and contribute to on Saturdays. Thanks Russ, Vin, and FO.

I'm a ridicoulously lucky 5 - 1 after last week. This week, I feel Ole Miss is a good bet to cover vs Bama as a 6.5 point dog.

And I openly ask if Russ and Vin learned there "too good to be true" lessons after they both picked Illinois this week. Iowa seems to be waiting in the weeds.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 10:15pm

Central Florida was suppose to be South Florida a couple of times and never built on its success (Culpepper, beating Alabama, O'Leary's first season).

And perhaps Saban has been reading footballoutsiders...full story down on my name..from the article:

Gauging a defensive call's efficiency is difficult, because it depends on how well it sets up the next down. Allowing an 8-yard gain on third-and-11 is dissimilar to an 8-yard gain on second-and-7.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 10:23pm

I have no idea if my comment has shown up-it is not when I look like right.

Central Florida was suppose to be South Florida earlier but never built on their success (Culpepper, win at Alabama, O'Leary's first year)...

and it looks like Saban has been reading footballoutsiders.com. Rest of article is on my name. from the article:

Gauging a defensive call's efficiency is difficult, because it depends on how well it sets up the next down. Allowing an 8-yard gain on third-and-11 is dissimilar to an 8-yard gain on second-and-7.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 10:28pm

I guess my posts are being eaten. I have no idea.

I hope Ole Miss is not covering. I am going to the game and the last thing I want to do is see Bama lose to an inferior team.

by hooper (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 11:12pm

Boston College is up to fourth in the polls, but are they really that good or are they just he beneficiaries of poll attrition?

To be honest, I really don't think there are that many high-end teams this year. I really believe that a lot of the top 10 teams are in the top 10 only because somebody has to take up those slots. Whether or not Boston College deserves their ranking, there's really nobody else with a strong argument to displace them. Teams like South Florida and Oregon are open for debate, but it's rather silly to get lathered up about it at this point in the season. So, it's probably fair enough to place BC at 4. Who else?

On another note - no respect for Wyoming? Virginia might not be as good as their record may indicate, but Wyoming's not too bad this year. Their only loss so far was in Boise on the Smurf Turf, and the TCU game was close only because Wyoming went to sleep after creating a huge lead by the end of the 3rd quarter. (Sorry, just gotta plug my alma's first shot at a ranking in years.)

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Thu, 10/11/2007 - 11:18pm

Not sure, my posts are being eaten apparently.

Saban has been reading footballoutsiders it looks like:

Gauging a defensive call's efficiency is difficult, because it depends on how well it sets up the next down. Allowing an 8-yard gain on third-and-11 is dissimilar to an 8-yard gain on second-and-7.

rest of article on my name.

Central Florida was suppose to be South Florida for a few years now, but never built on their success (Culpepper, win at Alabama, even O'Leary's first season..)

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 12:14am

Did the Bobby Bowden era just end?

This looks ot be the third BAD season out of four for FSU.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 1:15am

Not sure, my posts are being eaten apparently.

Saban has been reading footballoutsiders it looks like:

Gauging a defensive call's efficiency is difficult, because it depends on how well it sets up the next down. Allowing an 8-yard gain on third-and-11 is dissimilar to an 8-yard gain on second-and-7.

rest of article on my name.

Central Florida was suppose to be South Florida for a few years now, but never built on their success (Culpepper, win at Alabama, even O'Leary's first season..)

I have no idea how this Florida state team beat Alabama. Bobby Bowden really wanted that win.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 1:15am

Not sure, my posts are being eaten apparently.

Saban has been reading footballoutsiders it looks like:

Gauging a defensive call's efficiency is difficult, because it depends on how well it sets up the next down. Allowing an 8-yard gain on third-and-11 is dissimilar to an 8-yard gain on second-and-7.

Central Florida was suppose to be South Florida for a few years now, but never built on their success (Culpepper, win at Alabama, even O'Leary's first season..)

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 1:17am

and here is the link to the article which I used-its not letting me post it by name.


by bradluen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 3:56am

3: Florida State's record since Miami and VT joined the ACC:

2004: 9-3
2005: 8-5, ACC champs
2006: 7-6
2007: guessing 7-6

Pretty harsh to call 3 of those 4 seasons bad by the standards of anyone other than Bowden. 3 out of 4 offenses, sure.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 8:22am

And what about Notre Dame? Were those actual signs of life we saw in the Rose Bowl last week[?]

No. UCLA committed 7 (7!) turnovers.

ND once again had under 150 yards of total offense. They really struggled. If your opponent commits 7 turnovers and still you struggle to win, then you're a pretty terrible team.

by M Wu (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 9:30am

I cannot accept that the Illini will win another conference game in the Ron Zook era, as frustrating defeat at the hands of Iowa is an unfortunate tenet of the reality I inhabit.

Please, won't you join me?

by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 10:32am

Hi, Jerry. I think I know your sister Rosie.

I didn't want to; I had to.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 11:04am

To anyone who thinks Kentucky has a shot to beat LSU, think back on the Kentucky season and remember that they rose to prominence this year by beating Louisville when Louisville was considered a top 10 team. Then think where Louisville is at now. The only team they've beaten that resembles a quality opponent is Arkansas, who has impressive wins against Troy, North Texas, and Chattanooga to show how good they are.

That game will be a blowout.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 11:32am

I think people were saying the same thing about Stanford beating USC. I use to believe how teams perform would matter, but not anymore-I have given in to the chaos

by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 11:54am

You're overlooking how USC has struggled all year against everybody (may be a slight exaggeration). They were probably way overrated to begin with (definitely not an exaggeration). LSU had struggled against exactly nobody until the Florida game and they still pulled out a more convincing win than, say, USC over Washington, against a vastly better team.

by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 12:40pm

Saban has been reading footballoutsiders it looks like:

If he has, he needs to read more carefully:

"Offensive plays are simpler. A running play's success factor is 4-yards per carry, so coaches can tell that an outside stretch play - hypothetically - has a success rate of 62 percent."

Did the Bobby Bowden era just end?

This looks ot be the third BAD season out of four for FSU.

I don't know about bad. Disappointing, maybe. But in 2004, they were one win away from the ACC Championship. In 2005, they won it. Hard to call those bad seasons. I think 2006 is the only season you could fairly call bad, and even then, they did win a bowl game.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 12:49pm

While I agree USC may have been overrated by a lot of people, I do not think they were playing bad enough to lose to one of the worst BSC teams in football.

I do think LSU beats Kentucky though, next week against Auburn might be a different story.

by Alex (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 12:55pm

Boston College is up to fourth in the polls, but are they really that good or are they just the beneficiaries of poll attrition?

Maybe they aren't that good, but they have won all of their games by 10+ points. The only other team that can say that right now is Ohio State. So, at least BC is winning impressively, although obviously their schedule hasn't been terribly difficult so far.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 2:42pm

Nice try with the reverse jinx, Russell.

One thing that you are overlooking is that Purdue's spread offense is unlike Appalachian State's and presumably Oregon's in one key area: QB mobility.

Dixon, Oregon: 407 yards rushing (the NCAA splits out gains and losses on their site)
Elder, App St: 350 yards rushing
Painter: 47

Michigan's biggest problem seems to be defending both the pass and the run out of the spread. Painter doesn't run.

Also, you may not have noticed this, but Purdue isn't exactly known for knocking off good teams under Tiller.

Your reverse jinx, that I can understand. Mr. Palm picking his alma mater? Foolish man.

I'm pleased to see that people seem to think so highly of Purdue this season, but honestly, they've been tested once and failed miserably. They may well go into Ann Arbor and pull out a victory, but it hasn't happened during my lifetime, and I was born when Lyndon Johnson was president.

by JasonC23 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 3:04pm

#1, if Iowa's waiting in the weeds, it's only because the weeds were by themselves able to force the Hawkeye offense to go 3 and out and they're busy lining up in punt formation.

I have decent faith the the young Hawkeye offense will eventually jell, but it won't be this week.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 4:19pm

#7... So it's safe to say Stanford is pretty terrible too?

While it would be foolish to pick ND to win, I wouldn't discount the fact there are only 2 important things left in this season for them. First, beat BC. Second, keep the streak against Navy going. This game is EXTREMELY important to the Irish... perhaps they can make something happen.

by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 6:44pm

Now that my dream of ND going winless has been destroyed, I'm still holding out hope that every service academy beats them.

by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 10/12/2007 - 11:53pm

Wow. Though they're losing at the moment, Hawaii is on pace for nearly 100 offensive plays in the game. That's going to be one tired Spartan defense.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:22am

Hawaii escapes again. Down 14 with under four minutes to go, they beat San Jose State in OT. Brennan threw for 545 yards on 75! attempts, with 4 TDs and 4 picks.

I don't know that Hawaii is any good, but they sure are entertaining.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:26am

IMO Florida proved how good they were in a loss to LSU. Ditto Oregon losing to Cal.

On the other hand, Hawaii again showed proved how un-BCSworthy in victory. With ZERO quality wins, Hawaii proved it's "they're just OK" status by needed an OT-feuled comeback against San Jose State.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:31am

What did everyone think of Brennan?

I'll be quite honest, yes he is going to be a major kink in Lewin's projection system if he goes in the first or second round, I'm not sure he's going to be in the first two rounds.

He has decent, though not great, arm stretch, and a fairly low release point. On top of that, he just doesn't look too great. He's not mobile, and he seems to make a lot of dumb decisions. I know his completion percentage is an ungodly amount, but when I watch him play, he generally has a low of throws to wide open receivers.

I'm not saying the kid is the second coming of Chang, but with all of the quarterback coming out this year (Woodson, Ainge, Booty, Ryan, etc.), I'm not sure why you would pick this guy over them.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:54am

Brennan is playing on a pretty gimpy ankle, so that definitely limits his mobility.

He's got that weird release point, but it's sort of offset by a super-quick release. I think NFL teams might rather have him throwing 3/4 and getting the ball off in the blink of an eye than Leftwich coming straight over the top but taking a day and a half to wind up.

Arm strength seems pretty decent and he's typically very, very accurate. In the times I've seen him play this year he's definitely made some bad decisions though.

All told, I'm thinking maybe he's a mid- to late second-round pick.

by aengus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:59am

first off, unbelievable. not the dramatic finish, which was still pretty good, but the fact that Hawaii keeps escaping disaster (at the hands of even more mediocre foes) by the barest of margins. anyone who thinks this team is the equivalent of last year's Boise St. is quite mistaken. for that matter based on what I've seen so far I think Hawaii was actually better LAST year - Brennan was playing better, that's for sure, which may or may not have to do with injuries.

as far as Brennan as a prospect, I'm mostly with Mr. Levene. He's definitely a cut above Chang and Klingler and other dudes who were pure system QB fabrications. his mobility has really been hampered by that ankle - he's no VY but when healthy he's a pretty able scrambler - he doesn't seem overwhelmingly fast/strong to me but he does pick his spots well and he's pretty elusive. his big selling points are, I think, his accuracy, ultra quick release and up until recently his composure. Now that he's tossing picks left and right, who knows? I'd still rank him next after the big Woodson/Ryan/Brohm trio, ahead of guys like Henne and Ainge. On a related note what do folks think of Graham Harrell and his very similar situation w/Mike Leach?

oh, and a minor quibble. Can we have a moratorium on QBs named "Colt"? seriously.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:57am

I agree with you that Brennan played better last year. I wonder how much the decision making can be attributed to his pressing. They've found themselves in some close games this year, their ability to earn a $14 million BCS payday pretty much rests with him.

I haven't really seen Harrell play this year so can't offer much of an opinion there.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:59am

Internet rumors and speculation:

Tommy Tuberville replaces Dennis Franchione at Texas A & M, then Auburn breaks the bank to land Bobby Petrino.

Clemson replaces Tommy Bowden with Hawaii's June Jones, then Bowden lands at Mississippi State.

UCLA replaces Karl Dorrell with Boise State's Chris Peterson.

Syracuse replaces Greg Robinson with UCF's George O' Leary.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:27am

I think Brennan's draft stock is falling. I think third round is more likely than first.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 12:12pm

That's good that Colt's falling; maybe the Bears can draft him along with a first round qb so that they may actually have a chance of finding a better-than-average hurler for next season. Considering, QB is allegedly the most important position in all of sports history, you'd think they'd actually try to find a good one.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:18pm

29- I'm surprised the Bears didn't make more of an effort to move up and take Brady Quinn in the 2007 Draft. Notre Dame seemed to be Chicago's college team of choice when I was there a few years back.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:32pm

I really hope VT's offense can get it together today. If they can't make something happen against Duke, then the offense is dead. So far, early signs are bad- 2 short fields, but only 2 field goals.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:55pm

I don't care about the Big Ten Network's contract squabbles with Comcast. I have DirecTV so I get all the games.

Here's what I do care about: That the BTN missed three snaps in the first five minutes while showing lineup graphics.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:43pm

Hey Russ, good work on throwing the whammy on Purdue.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:46pm

Rocco, looks like getting Glennon back in is what the offense needed

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:49pm

I honestly thought Purdue's offense would tear right through Michigan. They've been undone by turnovers, and not having the rushing threat from the QB allows UM to look competent against the spread.

Very concerned about the injury to Hart though.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:55pm

Navy beats Pitt, and it's Oklahoma State 24, Nebraska 0 in the second. But hey, Bill Callahan is a far sexier hire than Frank Solich. You know how everyone says college coaches can't do well in the pros? Maybe it's the other way around as well.

Not meaning to obsess over coaches, but after the 2007 there are going to be a lot more teams looking for big-name hires than there are big names available. Alabama reeling in Nick Saban is going to have an impact far more reaching than we originally thought. Guys like Jeff Tedford and Rich Rodriguez are going to get huge raises this offseason.

Michigan 31, Purdue 7 at the half. Yes, everyone DID overreact to Michigan's 0 - 2 start. :)

by Mon-L (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 2:58pm

Hey Russell....

Check out that Michigan Purdue score... 31 - 7 in the second? You must be glad you locked that one down.

I was really disappointed to hear you spout the Mark May style conventional wisdom* regarding the Wolverines - can't stop the spread, Purdue runs the spread, therefore Purdue wins big.

Michigan has problems (as does most of the nation) with extremely skilled mobile QBs. This year it has been due to poor tackling from the safeties and lack of contain (Crable has been driving the coaches nuts).

You should know that Curtis Painter is no Dennis Dixon. And that Purdue never wins in the Big House. And that they can't stop the run.

As for your assessment that there has been a lack of improvement in the Wolverines, you might be judging them a little too harshly. Morgan Trent is playing great, Donovan Warren is a huge upgrade over Sears and he's a true freshman. Adams and Englemon have been solid. Arrington his shined.

I think all this speculation on Coach Carr's future to be a knee jerk reaction to the Appy State fiasco. I want him back. For as many years as he can go.

All he does is win 9 games a year, field solid teams, and play smart football. And I really hope Mike Hart continues his high level of play (not an issue) and gets the Heisman consideration he deserves.

Go Blue.

* not actual wisdom.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:06pm

34- Either Duke's secondary is bad, or Glennon remembered how to throw while sitting on the bench. He's been on fire.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:07pm

What happened to Hart? I missed it.

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:39pm

I deserve the criticism regarding my Michigan pick, I accept that.

What concerned me most was the EMU didn't exactly have a mobile QB, and they were able to move the ball fairly consistently against UM. Same thing with Bacher at Northwestern. Both those games were in doubt far longer than they should have been.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:45pm

"for that matter based on what I’ve seen so far I think Hawaii was actually better LAST year"

That's because the F9ins drafted half their offense from last year it seems.Seriously, they actually lost about 5 or 6 guys to the NFL and apparently it shows.

I'm actually kinda glad Michigan's going to win out (until they get to the Buckeyes that is) because once they're 9-2 that Appalachian State loss is going to be bought up again, and righfully so, as in "how can a team that's won 9 straight have lost to THOSE guys?" And Carr will just lose his bowl game yet again anyway. He needs to go. Just because the rest of the Big 10 is so weak doesn't mean Carr's suddenly a good coach now. And they'd better hire Miles after he wins/gets to the title game, because if they pass on him and stick with Carr they're screwed.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:50pm

BTW I'm rooting like hell for Illinois. I think it's hilarious that a Ron Zook-coached team is in position to possibly win the Big 10. I sure don't want to see them get derailed by IOWA, the crappy team who loses when I want them to beat teams like Wisconsin and Ohio State.

And of course Iowa gets the INT. What is so hard about having a team *I* want to win win every once in a while? Is that really too much to ask?

Stupid Zook. I knew he'd blow it...

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 3:51pm

Looks as if Illnois can't handle prosperity. McGee throws a Morelli-level INT near the goal line. Trusting a Zook team proves to be hazardous.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:03pm

cognet.catch22.org for irc football chat

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:05pm

#43: The worst part is, he had plenty of time and STILL threw it directly to an Iowa defender.

And now Ole Miss, one of the teams I can't stand, just scored a TD and is about to beat Alabama, in the one game I was actually rooting for them in.

At least the Gators can't lose this week...

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:11pm

Leave it to Dick Satan to make the Ole Miss D look like the '85 Bears. It's official: Alabama's insane luck this season has finally run out for good.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:30pm

Words cannot express my excitement about having Paul Maguire on the broadcast team for PSU-Wisconsin. After listening to Doc Walker earlier today, I can figure out who really is the worst broadcaster in college football.

by Mon-L (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:48pm


Having seen both the NU and the EMU game, I can't agree that they were 'in doubt'. Those were both solid wins that showed the team (especially the secondary) were getting their feet under them.

Keep in mind that the man at the helm is not Spurrier or Mike Leach. The NU score - 28 - 16 - is the prototypical Lloyd Carr era score (28.83 - 18.00). The blueprint is pound the rock, play good d, and take your shots when you can. That is how he wins games at a clip very few can compare to. After twelve plus years of this, you think that people would learn to accept it and be grateful...

I didn't see Bacher do anything in the second half. Add the points Michigan left on the field, subtract the early fluke run where the NU back could have been down and the margin would be much more comfortable.

The Michigan fanbase can't seem to accept the way the team wins. Take Brian at Mgoblog's eviceration of Debord after the NU game. Sure Debord throws rock every time. Because that rock (Mike Hart) is gold. And you don't want to open up your playbook unnecessarily with bigger tests down the road.

I'm sure there will be plenty of grumbling about how the Boilermakers scored a couple late, and how Michigan didn't break 50.

Anyone who thought this team could lose Branch, Woodley, Hall, Burgess, Harris and Breaston and not have some issues was kidding themselves. Blaming Lloyd and clamoring for a hot coach who lights up the scoreboard is a lot easier than being realistic.

by an irc idiot (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:49pm

okay, so how do i log onto the irc chat once i've downloaded mIRC?

by Josh (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:53pm

The WoW Toyota commercial is pretty good.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 4:54pm

type /server cognet.catch22.org into the command field at the bottom, then type /join #FO, which I guess I should've specified earlier

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 5:03pm

Yeah, Illinois is still Illinois. Walked into a trap, big time.

I'm still pleased with the progress Zook has made, though.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 5:05pm

48- I agree. I'm neutral when it comes to Michigan, but the App. State game wasn't as bad a loss as it sounds like. The Oregon game was a matter of playing a very good team at a very bad time.

Having said that...

41- Just as it was way too early to write Michigan off after Week 2, it's way too early to assume they won't lose again until the Ohio State game.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 5:14pm

LSU looks really flat so far. It's only the first quarter in this game, but having watched a lot of LSU games (they're on TV all the time) I just never get the feeling that LSU is a dominant team. 7-0 Kentucky lead right now.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 5:39pm

Hi. We've secretly replaced Anthony Morelli with an actual quarterback.

Let's see if anyone notices.

(**%#!! where was this guy for the past two years?!)

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 5:48pm

55- Don't jinx it.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 6:12pm

Nice scoring drive before halftime by Kentucky to make it 14-17. It had been looking like LSU was taking control of the game.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 6:23pm

It's only halftime, but USC is tied with Arizona 10-10 right now. Sanchez apparently got the start and he is 7-15 for 57 yards with 2 interceptions. If USC goes on to lose to Arizona, which is 2-4, I don't see any reason to keep them in the top 25. Has a team ever gone from #1 in the country to out of the top 25 in just 2 weeks?

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 6:42pm

#56: Jeez, with the way the defense is schooling Wisconsin, I don't think it really matters.

by hooper (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 6:53pm

Re: 58

You mean all those "best team ever assembled" TV people wouldn't have their favorite team in the top 25?

Aw, dang, I'd really hate for that to happen. Go 'Cats!

by Thok (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:06pm

Re: 58

Booty has an injured hand, which is why Sanchez was starting.

The Pac-10 race would have been much more exciting if the LA schools had either QB health or QB depth. There's a decent chance that UCLA might not win another game this year if Olsen doesn't come back, and USC is a much weaker team without a healthy Booty.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:09pm

Nice of Sanchez to make sure Booty gets his job back next week.

Arizona must be wondering how they're only up 13-10. They're absolutely outplaying the Trojans at the moment. Even if USC pulls out the win they should drop.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:12pm

USC is down 13-10 at the beginning of the 4th quarter. I think the biggest story of USC's fall has to be the total collapse of the running game (perhaps in part a result of the crappy QB play). They gouged Nebraska for a ridiculous yards per carry number but versus Stanford they rushed 38 times for 95 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and now versus Arizona they currently have rushed 30 times for 66 yards (2.2 yards per carry). Those are some really horrendous rushing numbers.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:18pm

Don't look now, but ND cuts it to 20-14 after an Matt Ryan gets pick-sixed. Evan Sharpley came in to replace Clausen with ND down 20-0. 8:52 left. Given the history of these two teams, ND will take the lead only to give up a late FG by BC to win the game.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:19pm

Kentucky is still hanging around, scoring to pull within 6 at the end of the 3rd quarter. It seems that parity/mediocrity has really taken over college football.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:22pm

Never mind. BC scores on its ensuing drive. 27-14.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:23pm

USC scores to take a 17-13 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. Looking like they may pull this one out, although there is still a lot of time left.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:24pm

UConn pulls ahead of Virginia, and at 6 - 0 would certainly be ranked for the first time in school history if they pull it off.

USC hasn't even hit the meat of it's schedule yet. I doubt they'll win all three vs ASU, Oregon, and Cal.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:34pm

Crabtree watch: fourth quarter, 8 catches for 174 yards. Wasn't he supposed to slow down?

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:46pm

The way USC has played these last two games, I doubt they'll win more than 1 of those 3 games. Oregon is clobbering Washington State 53-7, Cal is the #2 team in the country at the moment, and Arizona State is at least a lot better than Stanford or Arizona. Really, I could see USC being the underdog in all 3 of those games.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:51pm

Kentucky is down 3 to LSU and they just picked off an LSU pass with 7+ minutes to go. Could LSU fall this week?

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:02pm

And Kentucky ties it with 4 minutes left. Does LSU remind anybody else of last year's Florida team, which also liked to live dangerously from week to week? It seems like Florida last year had a couple of these kind of close games against supposedly inferior competition (i.e. last year's Florida game versus South Carolina).

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:06pm

Am I the only one who thinks Dorsey has been disappointing today? Kentucky has been able to run right at him a few times.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:11pm

There's no shame in LSU going down to the wire against Florida and at Kentucky this year... if they pull out the win today.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:15pm

Kentucky should have called timeout with about 17 seconds left to make LSU punt.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:18pm

I agree. It'll have been a really egregious error if LSU makes the field goal here because there is no way LSU attempts the field goal with that much time on the clock.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:19pm

Wow, that field goal was really close. Kentucky really dodged a bullet there.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:20pm

That was pretty close. LSU never would have even tried that field goal if Kentucky had called timeout with 17 seconds left.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:25pm

If LSU had made that, I'd say give the JLS trophy to the Kentucky coach. It was a stupid move to give LSU an extra play instead of giving your team an extra play (in the form of a punt return). In fact, it might still be worth giving him the JLS trophy, depending on what kind of coaching moves have been made in other games.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:29pm

jtp: I had the same thoughts about the JLS trophy. Rich Brooks must be a graduate of the Herm Edwards school of clock (mis)management.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:30pm

So what's the point of having replay if the refs can't get calls right? The UK RB never crossed the line.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:31pm

Kentucky scores to go up in overtime after a replay review fails to overturn the call on the field (it was really hard to tell if he got the TD or not). Puts some pressure on LSU, although they do have 4 downs to work with and I think they are 7 for 7 on 4th downs this season.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:36pm

I didn't think he got in either, but I have to say, the official who signaled touchdown had a better view of it than any of the camera angles that CBS showed.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:40pm

I agree. I just can't see overturning that call because there was no indisputable visual evidence based on the camera angles we say.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:41pm

Huge 3rd down play coming up after the timeout. It's 3rd and 19 and if LSU doesn't gain at least some yards they may have a difficult field goal on their hands.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:42pm

I agree with the announcers. You don't bring a 3 man rush in that situation.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 8:57pm

How do you fail to get a play off in that situation? And as I say that, they score the touchdown anyway.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:03pm

So much for LSU. I guess Cal and Ohio State move to 1 and 2, assuming Cal wins tonight.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:03pm

That may have been my favorite game of the year. A little bit of everything.

Anyone have thoughts on Trindon Holliday's pro prospects? Of course, he might choose to give up football and run track professionally.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:03pm

And there is much celebration in Berkeley.

by FJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:08pm


Not yet, there ain't.

The Beavers have won 3 in a row at Berkeley, and Longshore, the Bear's starting QB is out, leaving Riley, a freshman, to make his first start.

The celebration will only happen if the Bears pull it out today and get ranked #1....


by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:09pm

Les Miles = Barry Switzer? (Eagle fans and especially Cowboy fans know what I'm talking about.) I'm a firm believer in running in short yardage, but I wouldn't call the same play on 4th down that failed on 3rd down.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:13pm

This has to be one of the craziest college football seasons in recent history. I think Ohio State has to be the odds-on favorite to make the title game, given their easy remaining schedule. I'm not so sure about Cal, who I think is very overrated right now. They just haven't looked all that great, almost losing to a terrible CSU team and barely beating Oregon despite winning the turnover battle 4 to 0. I think they lose a game this year that they should win, setting up another BCS mess with a whole bunch of 1-loss teams vying for the title game spot.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:14pm

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you your BCS championship game, the University of South Florida/or Cincinnati vrs. Boston College/or California.

I, for one, welcome our new parity-minded overlords.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:15pm

For the third week in a row, I'm defending Cal as a prospective #1. This tme it should happen for real.

Cal has beaten both Oregon and Tennessee, both of which are better than anyone OSU has beaten. Ohio State has the name brand, Cal has everything else. In fact, so does USF. Voters, be fair.

Cal deserves to be #1, but I doubt they'll get through the season without a loss.

Has Cal ever been #1 before?

by Thok (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:20pm

Re 95: Cal was in the middle of the 1951 season.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:20pm

I can live with Cal moving to #1 if they win tonight. However, I think the odds of them making it through the season without a loss are fairly slim given what I've seen of them so far.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:24pm

Of course, all this Cal at #1 talk could become a moot point soon as they are down 10-7 to Oregon State late in the 2nd quarter. Oregon State has actually outgained Cal so far, with the Cal QB passing numbers being 7-13, 55 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.

by The 2007 NCAA Football Season (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:27pm

I, for one, welcome our new parity-minded overlords.

Duke-Vanderbilt in the BCS championship game. It'll happen somehow.

And then USC will win. Haven't figured that part out yet. But give me time.

by dk (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:30pm

Russell, regarding the EMU - Michigan game, you may have missed the fact that Michigan was missing 10 players from their two-deep that game due to injuries, and were playing with a reshuffled OL with 4th RG following the Michigan RG attrition derby that has been this season.

Among the 10 players missing from the 2 deep were 2 starting LBs, and starting DT. I would think that would make some difference in how Michigan looked.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:33pm

If Cincinnati, South Florida, or Boston College makes it through the season undefeated, we could be in for a huge argument about strength of schedule versus going undefeated. Given strength of schedule, I'd definitely take a 1-loss LSU team over an undefeated Boston College team and I'd have to take a close look at the schedules of Cincinatti and South Florida before making that call. I mean, LSU will have played anywhere from 6 to 8 games against ranked opponents (depending on how their opponents do in the rest of the season), with many of those games coming against teams ranked in the top 15. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who thinks the SEC is generally a bit overrated.

by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:00pm


I think the more interesting and pertinent question is, any of an undefeated Cincy, USF, or Boston College against a one-loss Oklahoma team? With Auburn and the SEC Championship coming up, I think there's an excellent chance LSU drops a second game.

For my money, it would be a travesty to see an undefeated USF held back in favor of a 12-1 Oklahoma, but the pollsters seem like they might lean that way. (It would be problematic if Cincy or BC was getting bounced, too; I just don't see either of those teams winning out. Honestly, I might even say the same for Hawaii on general principle, but I suspect they'll lose to both Washington and Boise State.) Yes, strength of schedule does matter, but the Big East is no worse than the Big 10 or ACC, and the Auburn win is better than any nonconference tilt Oklahoma has.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:13pm

#101: This season, I'd have to say go with the undefeateds - I think trying to judge how good a team's loss is is really fraught with peril this year, because our "opinion" of teams is just bouncing all over this year.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:19pm

98 had a point. Oregon State is notoriously inconsistent, and apparently they're up tonight.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:45pm

As an Oregon State alum, I'd agree we have an extremely up and down team. However, having only seen bits and pieces of this game, I'm wondering if it isn't that Cal is down more than that Oregon State is up.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:48pm

105: I'd submit that Cal's record (undefeated) is more consistent so far this year.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:52pm

True. But Cal does tend to be a bit up and down most years and they've shown a few signs of being that way this year, with exhibit A being the game against CSU. Not to mention that Cal doesn't have their regular QB today.

by aengus (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:54pm

106: well, they are stuck with a freshman QB in place of Nate Longshore(who, on the topic of QB prospects, should wind up being one of the big names in the '08 QB class). Oregon State's defense is definitely legitimate but I still feel like the Bears would be up by a TD or two if Longshore was playing. they'd certainly have more than ~140 passing yards or whatever, cause the Beavers' secondary isn't nearly as good, I think, as the front seven.

that said, if they do pull this one out I'm still skeptical of them beating USC, even if the Trojans are "struggling". we'll see. on the other hand though, what has tOSU done that's so impressive?

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:55pm

To make myself clear, I'm just saying that I wouldn't give too much credit to Oregon State for the fact that they're in this game. Cal's own inconsistency and the fact that Cal doesn't have their starting QB is probably a large contributing factor in how this game is going.

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 10:57pm

Duke-Vanderbilt in the BCS championship game. It’ll happen somehow.

And then USC will win. Haven’t figured that part out yet. But give me time.

Come on, that's easy. This story practically writes itself: USC gets the AP title, while Vanderbilt wins the BCS Championship game over a Duke team that got blown out in the ACC Championship game, joining LSU and Auburn on the list of "SEC teams that were denied/forced to split a National Championship because of USC."

Then, angry mobs from Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama march cross-country to California. When they reach the Los Angeles city limits, the vibrations caused by all their footsteps will trigger an earthquake. LA will split off into the Pacific Ocean and become an island penal colony where "undesirables" are sent.

Ed Orgeron, facing deportation to LA after getting into a bar fight, is offered his freedom in exchange for going to LA and retrieving a "doomsday device" that Karl Dorrell had somehow acquired. Dorrell, of course, was threatening to activate the device unless someone gave him a decent defense.

Orgeron returns to LA and reunites with Pete Carroll, who helps him escape from the city with the doomsday device. Finally, in the least implausible part of the story, Orgeron decides to activate the doomsday device, destroying modern civilization as we know it.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:01pm

Gutsy call to go for it on 4th and 1 after getting stuffed twice.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:04pm

And they get the 2-point conversion! As an Oregon State fan, it's a bit too early to get too excited, but this is definitely getting interesting. I have two cousins who are at this game and I bet they're going crazy right now!

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:23pm

Dammit. Why does this always happen to Oregon State?

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:35pm

"LA will split off into the Pacific Ocean and become an island penal colony where “undesirables� are sent."

As opposed to now, where LA is merely the place where all the undesirables already live?

Don't look now, but Cal is in the midst of an amazing comeback. Is it just me or are teams converting on 4th and very long much easier this season than ever before?

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:36pm

Why is Arkansas running all these gimmick plays? One mistake can mean disaster.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:37pm

#113 Because their uniforms are ugly.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:39pm

OMFG are you kidding me?!?! A FLAG on Oregon State!!! Pass interference?!

Looks like Cal might actually score a game-winning TD on a 95-yard drive in the final minute and a half. What a call...

Or not. Good lord, what a horrendously brain-dead decision by the Cal QB. How on God's green earth do you RUN the ball in that situation?!

Just pure stupidity all around.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:39pm

Unbelieveable. What a bonehead play by the freshman QB.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:40pm

Wow. Just wow. I'm completely stunned by this turn of events. Anybody want to guess who #2 will be tomorrow? Can Boston College really jump up to #2 after that so-so game against Notre Dame? Is South Florida #3? This season is insane.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:40pm

Seriously, that Cal QB HAS to win the college version of the Keep Choppin' Wood award. HAS to. I still can't believe he actually did what he did. Just staggeringly amazing.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:41pm

Holy crap, Cal lost.

This season is insane.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:43pm

#119: I'd put USF at #2 over BC if I had a vote. I'm absolutely certina now that nobody except the Buckeyes are going to win every game. In fact there's a serious possibility that the other team in the title game could have TWO losses.

Oh right, there's Hawaii but everyone knows they don't count.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:44pm

I know. I can't remember something like that ever happening. I mean, this was Cal's chance to be #1 for the 1st time in over 50 years and he blows it. What was he thinking?!? And does Tedford get the JLS trophy for that? You'd think he wouldn't have to remind his QB about what to do in that situation, but still. I mean, I'm completely stunned by that ending.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:44pm

Um, wow.

If there was a JLS Trophy for the players, and not coaches, the Cal QB just won it.

A simple, chip shot field goal to tie it and head to overtime, and he thinks "I can do this. Let me run to the end zone." Tackled at the 5, time runs out, game over, Cal loses.

Wow. What a mistake. And Tedford was livid. I'm surprised that clipboard he threw into the ground didn't bury itself three feet into the ground.

by Thok (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:44pm

Re 117:

It was the QB's first game. I don't really blame him for the decision. Tedford should have kicked the field goal and went for overtime.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:45pm

Just saw the Cal-OSU hightlight. Geez. I know the kid is a freshman, but how can he make that mistake? I'm sure the last thing Tedford told him was, "If it's not wide open when you hit your last step, throw it away and we'll go into OT. Don't try to be a hero."

And that PI call was crap.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:45pm

Again, how in holy hell does the Cal QB even THINK about running?! The ball HAD to leave his hand in that situation, how could he not know that?

One of the absolute dumbest decisions on a football field--or in any sport really--that I've ever seen, and that covers a LOT of territory.

Hell, it was so dumb I'm going on record right now that the Cal QB must win the Keep Choppin' Wood award IN ADDITION TO the college bonehead award. Just give it to him right now.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:46pm

On top of that, given it was 1st and 10 on that final play, there was a chance - a small one, but a chance - that they might have been able to line up and spike it quickly, with 7 seconds to go.

But not when the QB that ran the ball gets up and runs off the field, the ball still in hand, preventing it from being spotted!

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:47pm

Bad tackling just killed Arkansas.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:47pm

#124: The JLS Trophy, that's it--I couldn't think of the name for the life of me.

Arkansas scored a TD?! How did THAT happen?! Of course they're just going to give up the winning score anyway looks like.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:48pm

120: My thoughts exactly. How can that happen? Even if you are a freshman, you HAVE to know to throw the ball away if no one's open in the end zone.

by Marko (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:48pm

120: My thoughts exactly. How can that happen? Even if you are a freshman, you HAVE to know to throw the ball away if no one's open in the end zone.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:50pm

128: You're absolutely dead-on, and in fact that was going through my mind watching the play live. Jogging off the field WITH THE BALL was just as bad as the initial decision to run itself! he definitely would've had a 50/50 shot at spiking it before time ran out.

Maybe he took a quick bong hit on the sideline before the play, it *is* Berkeley after all. That's the only way I can even begin to explain his actions.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:55pm

Could Cal have snapped the ball without the offense getting set? The five yards was meaningless compared to stopping the clock.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:57pm

I'm still trying to figure out a season where BC (*cough fraud *cough*) could be ranked #2. At least South Florida has beaten *somebody*.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:58pm

#134: I'm not sure. I don;t know if there's a ten-second runoff for an offensive penalty in that situation like in the NFL or not.

But for God's sake POP WARNER LEAGUE QBs know not to run the ball in that situation. PEE WEE LEAGUE QBs know better than that. BOYS STILL IN THE WOMB probably even know better.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sat, 10/13/2007 - 11:59pm

#135: No doubt. USF's win over auburn just got a little better-looking, and what if Auburn beats LSU next week? It's definitely possible with Les Miles on the sideline!

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:02am

In 1982, Cal had The Play.

In 2007, Cal had The Play.

Football karma always evens out, it's just that sometimes it takes decades.

by Mon-L (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:02am

Wow. Why even put a freshman in that position? You're at home. Mighty momentum on your side. Kick the field goal. Take it to overtime.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:04am

Food for thought: As of right now, Arizona State is unbeaten. They could run the table (since USC looks weak right now) and meet the Buckeyes in a rematch of the '97 Rose Bowl. Just throwing that out there.

BTW I love how the boys at ESPN are citing a dropped LSU pass in the endzone as the reason they lost. I'm sorry, but when you're the #1 team in the nation with a killer D and score 37 points, one dropped TD pass shouldn't even begin to matter.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:06am

More seriously, LSU should still be number one.

- They would be favored over anyone on a neutral field.
- Ignoring cupcakes, they've won at Mississippi State and against Virginia Tech, South Carolina and Florida. Of the unbeaten teams, the best slate of wins is South Florida's: at Auburn, North Carolina, West Virginia, UCF - to me, that's not even close. Don't even mention Ohio State.
- A 3 OT loss at Kentucky is as close to forgivable as a loss can be.

1-LSU, 2-South Florida, 3-Oklahoma.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:07am

Can anybody think of a crazier season of college football than this one? I've only been watching since around 1990 and this has got to be the craziest season I can remember. That we're even talking about Boston College, South Florida, and Cincinnati as potential title contenders is crazy.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:09am

#139: I don't blame Tedford AT ALL and here's why. That play started with 14 seconds left. you don't kick a FG with that much time left--you give the opponent time for a possible return to the 40 and at least one offensive play. WAY too much time. No, you save the FG for the last play after taking a shot at the endzone every time. Your QB isn't supposed to go brain-dead though.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:11am


The truth is, LSU beat up on relative patsies and are lucky as hell not to have TWO losses at this point. The last two weeks, they've looked as shaky as USC.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:14am

#142: Well, Cincy is out of it now. If you can't score more than 24 against LOUISVILLE'S D you're officially pathetic.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:17am

Wow, I was so caught up in Oregon State's win (our first win against a team ranked this high since 1967) that I didn't even notice the Cincinnati vs. Louisville game.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:26am

144: Remember the quality of the opposition. Both LSU's and USC's last two games have been near-coinflips, but LSU's have come against top 20 teams, while USC's have been against Arizona and freaking Stanford.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:29am

147: And yet, USC will probably move up in the polls.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:36am

If the Coaches' Poll puts USC above LSU, I'll make it my life's mission to burn every copy of USA Today.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:38am

Just watched the replay of the final play again and I've got to agree that the Cal QB really compounded his mistake by running off the field with the ball instead of trying to spike it. I mean, that has to be an all-time bonehead play. Even as an Oregon State fan I feel sorry for the kid (who it turns out is from Oregon).

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:42am

I can't tell if you're being serious about "LSU beating up on patsies." They only have wins against Florida, SC, and Virginia Tech. Another interesting fact about the SEC is that now SC, LSU, and Kentucky have lost to each other, with the home team winning in each game.

Also, remember that Southern Cal lost at home to one of the worst teams in college football and barely fell in the polls. LSU lost on the road to a team that's about to reenter the top 10. I think that's a pretty forgivable loss.

by jtp (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:49am

Gotta respect the way Jeff Tedford is handling this. He's refusing to throw his QB under the bus for the bonehead ending, with the AP article quoting Tedford as saying: “It’s not his fault,� coach Jeff Tedford said. “He played his heart out at the end to get us in that situation. We didn’t lose the game because of that play.� On the other hand, if ever there was a situation that might justify a coach throwing the QB under the bus, this was it.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:52am

I agree with Tedford. Riley made some incredible plays just to get Cal back in the game. A few of the throws he made were incredible. I wouldn't be surprised if he continues to start over Longshore.

Fault lies equally with the defense and the other offensive players who turned it over earlier in the game.

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:53am

Oops. Rudy Carpenter just pulled a Riley. Of course, that was only at the end of the first half.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:09am

Dolfan is right on LSU. Truth be told, they would have lost the week they played Tulane had they played anyone decent, and Florida beat their ass for 59 minutes. They only won that game when Florida beat themselves with turnovers.

At the moment, they better get it together and quick for Auburn. LSU has sleepwalked for almost a month now, and Auburn is hot. The way they held McFadden and Jones tonight is unreal. If LSU loses next week to Auburn, you can forget about a national championship, they won't even be SEC West champs.

That said, though, they may be the best team in the country. Are they great? No, obviously not, but there are no great teams this year, and that's fairly obvious. LSU, though, may be the best of the good teams.

It will be interesting to see where LSU falls relative to Oklahoma (first of the one-loss teams) in the polls tomorrow, and more importantly, in the BCS as well.

At the moment, though, is anyone going to beat Ohio State? It may happen, but those guys look to be in good shape.

by PHn (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:19am

A good day for Oregon D-I teams, but a pretty rotten day for the QBs from Oregon they faced. Wazzu's Brink is from Eugene and Cal's Riley is from Portland. WSU only put 7 points on the board against Oregon and Riley's misplay against Oregon State has already been the subject of much discussion.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:24am

I totally disagree with your assessment about LSU. Sure, Ohio State can look incredible when they're playing Northwestern, Kent State, Akron, etc. We'll see how they look in a month after playing Michigan State, Penn State, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I guarantee that they will have a close call or a loss by then.

As for LSU, they have played two teams that should be ranked in the top 10. They lost to one on the road, and beat the other at home. You say that they were outplayed for 59 minutes. I argue the opposite, you can be losing but still outplaying your opponent. LSU had more total yards (by 80), fewer turnovers, and an edge in time of possession of 11 minutes. And no, I'm not a LSU fan, the SEC team I cheer for is SC, so I'm neutral in my assessment of LSU versus Florida.

Finally, I don't think Auburn is hot. They did the minimum required to win at Arkansas, which is basically a two man team on offense. I bet LSU beats Auburn by 10 or more. Early Doucet returns for LSU next week, and they match up really well against Auburn. I don't think Auburn will be able to run against LSU and Brandon Cox is not going to be able to throw on LSU the Andre Woodson did. Kentucky was a matchup nightmare for LSU, and was able to eke out a win. Auburn does not match up well against LSU.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:41am

Auburn's offense are going to find it hard to score more than 15 points against LSU, so can they hold LSU to under 15? Might as well pretend you're playing Arkansas again and force LSU to win it in the air. Could work, could end up losing by 30.

by David Lewin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 1:43am

I blame Tedford for that play. In that situation, 14 seconds to go, no timeouts, your options are either kick the field goal or call for a fade. With the fade there is no read, the QB just lobs it to the corner of the end zone and you either catch it or you don't. With a freshman QB you cannot call a dropback pass and risk the sack in that situation.

The decision to run was a stupid one for sure, but Tedford put him in that situation. While the QB running off the field with the ball was bizarre there was no chance that the officials were going to set the ball quick enough for them spike it with only 7 seconds on the clock at the end of the play.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:12am

In order of how likely they are to finish the regular season undefeated:

South Florida
Ohio State
Boston College
Arizona State

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:41am

"Dolfan is right on LSU. Truth be told, they would have lost the week they played Tulane had they played anyone decent, and Florida beat their ass for 59 minutes. They only won that game when Florida beat themselves with turnovers."

PREACH IT BRUTHA!!! Okay, so I misspoke a bit (Florida's not a patsy although they do have 2 losses now) but the fact that LSU needed them to choke to win in their first game against a "real" team spoke volumes to me. And don't give me VT, teams from the ACC don't count.

"At the moment, they better get it together and quick for Auburn. LSU has sleepwalked for almost a month now, and Auburn is hot. The way they held McFadden and Jones tonight is unreal. If LSU loses next week to Auburn, you can forget about a national championship, they won’t even be SEC West champs."

One thing you can set your watch by lately: Auburn will play LSU to the wire, win or lose. Regardless of the outcome of the Kentucky game, I'd have picked Auburn to beat them. Subpar offense? Their games against LSU have been *very* low scoring recently, and it didn't stop Auburn from beating them last year or three years ago by scoring 10 and 7 points (link in my name).

"At the moment, though, is anyone going to beat Ohio State? It may happen, but those guys look to be in good shape."

Is the Big Ten horrible this year or what? When you're trotting out the likes of Wisconsin and Michigan State as potential hurdles, all credibility you have is lost. This is the conference whose top-rated team in preseason lost to APPALACHIAN STATE. The conference where a team coached by RON ZOOK was at the top for half a season.

The Buckeyes *will* go unbeaten into the title game, but not because they've played anybody of any note whatsoever.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:44am

Don't look now, but Arizona State is putting the wood to Washington the way a top team should against an inferior foe. I'm picking them to beat USC and not only that, I'll declare it an upset if USC wins.

by Russell Levine :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 3:53am

I'm pretty sure I just threw a 1-6-1 mark up for the week. As if anyone didn't know, these picks are for entertainment purposes only!

I will not ignore "lines too good to be true" (Illinois, Michigan) again! Wait, didn't I say that last week?

Polls should be very fun tomorrow. I honestly don't know what to think anymore. I suspect the SEC will still get too much credit when I don't think the conference is nearly as good as it was last season. Then again, the Big Ten, ACC and the Big East are no great shakes either.

LSU probably still has the best chance of any of the 1-loss teams to get to the title game, but they need someone in the east to keep winning so the SEC championship game would give them that late lift that Florida got last year.

What a crazy, mad, ridiculous and wildly entertaining season.

by R.J. (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 4:56am

# 155
You say there are no great teams this year and you might be right but I'm curious what evidence you have based on how they have played in games this year that South Florida isn't great?

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 6:04am

This is the conference whose top-rated team in preseason lost to APPALACHIAN STATE.

Big whoop. What conference can't you make fun of this year?

PAC-10: Ha, one of your better teams lost to Appalachian State.
Big Ten: Yeah, but at least none of us lost to Notre Dame. Notre Dame has trouble getting the snap off.
PAC-10: Oh. Right. Never mind then.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:12am

#163: Actually, the SEC still being the best conference this season *and* not being nearly as good as last season are not mutually exclusive. Think about it. Which conference would you definitely, positively say is better than the SEC as a whole right now? MAYBE the Pac 10 because of Cal beating the Vols, but is that a sample size you'd be comfortable with?

#165: Can't really make fun of C-USA. That would be like tripping a blind man. So THERE! :-) Actually Ookla gets a pass for the Notre Lame loss because of the whole walk-on QB thing. Walk-ons don't have scholarships for a reason. So the Big Ten is still worse, just on the hubris of having their own network for one thing. Plus Iowa losing to Iowa State, that was bad. Very bad.

BTW the ACC is like the weird kid in high school that everybody has so much contempt for they don't even bother making fun of him after a while, if that makes any sense. But enough about my adolescence...

by FJ (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:20am


OTOH, UCLA lost to Notre Dame with their third-string QB in the game (who incidentally contributed the difference in the game FOR Notre Dame, 1 pick for a return to the 2 yard line, and a fumble recovery for a TD). If UCLA had had any competent starting QB, they probably win fairly easily.

The problem in the Pac-10 is that you live in die with the QB, and if your QB gets hurt or starts majorly sucking, you can be in some deep doodoo (cf. USC, UCLA, Cal).

BTW, if you have Longshore and Riley both healthy, you have to start Longshore, just for the reason that the end of the Cal-OS game shows. Experience is important in keeping your head in pressure situations. Plus, Riley was very bad at the start of the game (and he contributed to an OS's score with a pick, the differential of the final score).

Oh, and I agree with what a poster said above, Cal should have called a fade, not get a situation where a freshman QB making his first start can hurt you.

Tedford's been great for the program, but he does have some weak spots in his play-calling. But overall, you love him as your coach, because the benefits FAR outweigh the negatives.


by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:46am

Or you could just click the link in my name and see for yourself every 1A conference's record against every other conference :-)

by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 9:21am


Man, the SEC loves them the Sun Belt and C-USA. :) 20 of their 29 OOC wins come from beating teams in those two conferences and 1-AA teams. I'm not sure if that's all that impressive.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 10:43am

For what it's worth, the records just between the 6 major conferences:

Pac-10: 5-3
Big 10: 5-4
SEC: 4-4
Big East: 6-7
ACC: 6-7
Big 12: 5-6

The Big East is 4-2 against the ACC, so they won the tie.

by hooper (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 11:36am

Well, at any rate, I still feel that preseason and early-season rankings are the devil. They only serve three functions (with my personal feelings in italics:

1) To give talking heads an engine to discuss their favorite teams during the weeks leading up to the season. Do we really need to give them another excuse to talk?

2) To serve as a promotional tool for the networks and conferences to get people in the mood to watch football. Do we really need rankings for college football to be hyped?

3) To give football fans something to talk about during the weeks where there's nothing on but baseball. Repeat.

My problems are:

1) The people who rank teams seem to feel like they have to justify their early season rankings by keep their top teams around far longer than they should be. (Though it should be noted that in the early poll system we have, Michigan did rightly fall a long, long way after week 1, given the singular data point.)

2) Fans (including me) tend to put too much stock into them, and will continue to view early games as "upsets" that really never were upsets (Louisville, anybody?). Granted, it's not everybody, but we're all run into that guy many times before.

3) When initially overrated (overguessed?) teams tumble in the polls, it's too-often seen as a slight to the conference. Since I go to an SEC school, I'll use a Big-10 example: when Michigan lost to Appy, it was seen by some as a moratorium on the weakness of the Big 10 (too slow! too outdated! too whatever!) instead of an event that was partly due to Appy being a rather good 1-AA team, an offensive style that matches very well against UM's defense, horrific special teams play by UM, and some beating-the-odds on top of that. Had UM not been ranked 5 initially, the upset wouldn't have been *quite* as egregious, and people would be more willing to warm to their recent successes.

My fix? Either to not have any ranking until after week 7 (6 games plus a bye for most teams), or not to rank a team until they've won 6 games. In the latter case, you have the problem of encouraging teams to play cupcakes early to get the 6 wins, but that would level out by the end of the season. Say a team is 6-0 after week 6 off of a diet of frosting-laden yumminess; the next week a team reaches 6-0 after a significantly harder schedule and a bye. The second team could rightly be ranked ahead of the former team without any pollster having to explain why they had to rank the other team higher in the first place. If that's still not a desirable system, the former would work just fine. We'd still have a lot better opportunity to evaluate the strength of teams on their own merits before having to put numbers next to them. It'd be a lot easier to see USC's flakiness, or LSU's weakness in the passing game, if we don't have the top-5 rose-colored goggles on.


I'll try to stay away from that subject for a while now; I can get to be a broken record over it.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:25pm

171- I think rankings are great. Here's my Meaningless Top 25:

1. South Florida
2. Ohio State
3. LSU
4. Boston College
5. Kentucky
6. Arizona State
7. South Carolina
8. California
9. South Carolina
10. West Virginia
11. Oklahoma
12. Oregon
13. Virginia Tech
14. Auburn
15. Kansas
16. Florida
17. Missouri
18. Southern Cal
19. Tennessee
20. Illinois
21. Kansas State
22. Michigan
23. Texas Tech
24. Penn State
25. Cincinnati

I disagree with the "why early rankings are bad" arguments. Anything can be bad if it's misused. If a pollster is willing to make changes based on what has actually happened (which many are not), it solves all of the problems. Just get out of the habit of relying on a meaningless pre-season poll and goby what the teams have actually done. I do that, and so does Russell.

South Florida, NUMBER ONE. I mean it.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:28pm

amazing--Spurrier's such a great coach, they're ranked tiwce

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 12:36pm

173: I told you my poll was meaningless. I stink and I need a proofreader.

1. South Florida
2. Ohio State
3. LSU
4. Boston College
5. Kentucky
6. Arizona State
7. South Carolina
8. California
9. West Virginia
10. Oklahoma
11. Oregon
12. Virginia Tech
13. Auburn
14. Kansas
15. Florida
16. Missouri
17. Southern Cal
18. Tennessee
19. Illinois
20. Kansas State
21. Michigan
22. Texas Tech
23. Penn State
24. Cincinnati
25. Virginia

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:35pm

We need to think hard about ranking Wake Forest, who very quietly have won four in a row. The streak includes wins over Maryland (who then beat Rutgers and Georgia Tech) and Florida State (who had recently beaten Colorado and Bama), though it also includes nearly blowing a 25 point lead over Duke.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:47pm

175- I have Wake ranked at #28. Losing at home to Nebraska hurts them, but they're knocking on the door.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:59pm

The AP Poll is out: Oklahoma somehow has a #1 vote, as does Arizona State- but ASU is ranked #12.

South Florida is #2, which I disagree with, but I'll live with it.

Oregon is ranked ahead of Cal, which makes no sense.

by bradluen (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 5:01pm

Wow, Illinois drops out of both polls. That's the trouble with week-to-week polling, the most recent week always gets overweighted. I know Iowa are weak (although they're not STANFORD-WEAK~!*), but the Illini won conference games at Indiana and against Wisconsin and Penn State.

*This is going to be my justification for everything this season. "You put TCU at number one?" "Well, they didn't LOSE TO STANFORD!"

by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 6:02pm

Heh. In the composite computer portion of the BCS, USC ranks slightly ahead of... Michigan.

by navin (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 6:14pm

So the AP pollsters think that losing on the road to an unranked team is better than losing on the road to the #8 team in 3OT. Another reason why I can't stand polls.

by Travis (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:11pm

Heh. In the composite computer portion of the BCS, USC ranks slightly ahead of… Michigan.

Both of whom aren't ranked in the Top 25 in 3 of the 6 computers, and only rank highly in one: the Billingsley index, which uses last year's finish to set up its initial rankings.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 9:19pm

Alabama was very lucky to survive at Oxford....though I am not sure how we made Ole Miss defense look like 85 Bears we drove the field on pretty much every drive but 2 the whole game.

I have seen a lot of good DL the past 6 years in person: I have seen Glenn Dorsey, Tommie Harris, Justin Harrell, Jarvis Moss, David Pollack, Marcus Spears, etc. play live in person and have never seen a DL as dominant as Greg Hardy this past Saturday: 13 tackles, 4.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass defended (including one that was picked). Oh and he can play WR as well-and is only a sophomore.

and if you get a chance go to Oxford one day-beautiful campus and beautiful girls.

by Pete (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 10:41pm

I would like to remind everyone that the BCS rankings are (theoretically) only used to determine a #1 and #2 team for the BCS championship. I could easily see the system to easily step into a Bowl + 1 that would satisfy the Big 10 and Pac 10 (Rose Bowl features these two teams) and others as well. Everyone competing for the Top 2 spots would probably face at least 1 serious out of conference opponent in early January. 1-2 weeks later a BCS championship game would be played at a rotating or neutral location (LSU playing in the Sugar Bowl and again in Lousiana 1-2 weeks later might be a bit of an advantage similar to USC playing in the Rose Bowl and then in a BCS game in the same field 1-2 weeks later).

Personally, I would prefer to see the computer rankings to be allowed to use margin of victory (yes, a 38-point victory as a visiting team may be slightly more noteworthy than a squeaker at home). I place greater value on the Sagarin Predictor (or ranking rather than just Elo-Chess) since it can actually reward a (weak) team for a near-victory against a strong team and can punish a (supposedly strong) team for a near-loss against a weak team.

I seem to remember early versions giving comparable weight to the Polls as was given to the Computer Rankings... Maybe we can go back to that for determining the Top X teams (where X=2 for the BCS + 1 or X=# of teams in playoff, should that ever be implemented).

Of course, even better from my personal preference would be including a DVOA ranking as well as giving the Sagarin Predictor/Ranking comparable weight to the Poll of choice.

by Pete (not verified) :: Sun, 10/14/2007 - 10:54pm

BTW, Sagarin also has rankings (central median or simple average) for Conference comparisons. The SEC (for now) has climbed past the PAC-10. However, with a 3-point advantage for playing at home the average team in the SEC or PAC-10 would each lose the away game to each other... or to the #3 and #4 teams (Big 12 and Big East, respectively, with the Big 10 a couple points behind).

by Shane S. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 12:59am

Ok. Nevada-Boise State...136 total points? Wow.

by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:01am

As I flip through the channels and see a 69-67 (!) game go by - why do they still do the polls and BCS rankings on Sunday afternoon when there are games on Sunday night?

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:08am

Looking at the polls, I don't think they watch the games on Saturday either. Really Texas ahead of Kansas State? How is Texas still ranked?

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:09am

I don't think the people who do the polls watch the games on Saturday either. How is Texas ahead of Kansas State if both teams are ranked?

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 1:57pm

Pete, yes, I believe that's correct. However, every time the BCS rankings produce a matchup that people don't like, they change the rules. When the computers suggest something like "hey, maybe Appalachian State and Michigan are pretty closely matched", people automatically reject it and assume the formulas are flawed.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in five years, the only components in the BCS rankings are polls.

I unhappily acknowledge the amazing accuracy of my prediction for Michigan-Purdue. Tiller has done a great job of lifting Purdue back into the middle tier of Big Ten teams (what that means this season, I'd rather not say). Before the boosters get all upset about another smackdown from a ranked team, perhaps they should look at the link below. Indiana got tired of Bill Mallory "only" getting them to second-tier bowl games. Well, they sure solved that problem.

I spent most of the day in BWW watching various games - for once, both IU and Purdue were represented (all the nonsense about Indiana being split 50/50 is BS - Indianapolis is definitely IU territory), which was most noticeable early in both games. By the fourth quarter, they were as quiet as the ND fans when the Boston College game was switched off the big screens in favor of IU/MSU.

There were a very large number of Kentucky fans all of a sudden, with the exception of a couple of friends of mine (Michigan fans) who didn't want a team in front of Ohio State to lose.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 3:36pm

Zlionsfan, you are totally correct about the BCS phasing on the computers completely eventually. The problem is when the objective data conflicts with people's subjective opnions, they think it means the objective data is flawed since most people are never wrong (in their own minds).

I just head Herbstreit and Tirico talking about how LSU could jump ahead of BC and/or SFU if they win out, even if BC and SFU are undefeated because LSU has a lot of "high profile" games. And Herbstreit was saying it was ridiculous that USC is ranked 23rd or whatever by the computers because they are obviously one of the top 10 teams in the country. It's not about style, it's about results and USC lost to Stanford and the only team they've beaten with a winning record is Nebraska. If South Florida or Boston College had the same performance against the same schedule, they'd be lucky to be ranked 23rd in a human poll, yet USC is 9th. The system is total joke.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:49pm

However, every time the BCS rankings produce a matchup that people don’t like, they change the rules.

Except that every change to the BCS so far regarding the statistical rankings has been done with significant input from the people who created those rankings.

I don't know where this "the BCS tweaks things to get the result they want" thing came from. The BCS keeps tweaking things because it's created with input from about 50 different sources, and you've got to generate a balance between them.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/15/2007 - 4:54pm

since it can actually reward a (weak) team for a near-victory against a strong team and can punish a (supposedly strong) team for a near-loss against a weak team.

No. Just... no. Margin-of-victory rankings aren't perfect. They work on average, but rankings used for determining a championship game cannot afford to only work on average.

You want to figure out if a team's losses are close or not? There's no unbiased way to do it. Period.

the Billingsley index, which uses last year’s finish to set up its initial rankings.

Along with the Zodiac sign of each head coach, the phase of the moon at the game, and whatever odd dreams Billingsley had the night before he posts the rankings. :)