Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

28 Nov 2008

7th Day Adventure: Much to Be Decided

by Russell Levine

The Thanksgiving weekend offers plenty of interesting games. There are conferences, coaching fates, and rivalries to be decided.

Plus, don't look now, but FEI and I are riding a hot streak -- relatively speaking -- with our picks. A .500 record is within reach!

The podcast is on hiatus this week, but there's still much to discuss. Let's get right into it.

This Week's Games

Virginia (+8) at Virginia Tech, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

It has taken until the last week of the regular season, but finally we have some clarity in the ACC, the nation's most confounding conference. If Virginia Tech beats Virginia, the Hokies will play for the ACC title against either Boston College or Florida State. If Virginia wins, then it will be Georgia Tech that represents the Coastal division in the championship game in Tampa next week. Expect a low-scoring affair as both teams have struggled offensively for much of the season. Virginia's 2008 campaign is a parabola. An ugly 1-3 start was followed by a four-game winning streak that raised hopes of a bowl bid. But the Cavs limp into this contest having lost three in a row to fall to 5-6. Al Groh, who has seemingly been holding off the executioner ever since he arrived at Virginia, could be gone if the Cavs fall again to the Hokies.

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

No. 22 Georgia Tech (+8) at No. 11 Georgia, 12 p.m. ET, CBS

There's not much at stake here other than Peach State bragging rights. Georgia Tech remains alive for an ACC title game bid, but its fate will be decided by Virginia and Virginia Tech. Instead, this game will serve as a measuring stick for the two conferences. The popular perception is that the SEC is the far superior league to the ACC, and while that's certainly true at the top end, where Florida and Alabama are far better than anyone the ACC has to offer, it may not be true in the middle and bottom. Georgia Tech's first year running the triple option has been somewhat inconsistent but it would be hard to call the result anything but an overall success. The high point may have come a week ago, when the Yellow Jackets ran over, around, and through Miami to the tune of 472 rushing yards -- the second-highest total ever surrendered by the Hurricanes. Georgia, on the other hand, would have to consider a 9-2 campaign somewhat of a disappointment. The Bulldogs began the year ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, but fell in their two biggest tests of the season, against Alabama and Florida, and neither was particularly close. With those two schools set to compete in the SEC title game and claim both of the league's BCS bids, the best Georgia can hope for is one of the Florida bowls -- Outback or Capital One. An eighth straight win over Georgia Tech, which would match the longest such streak in the series, would help to salve the wounds of the season. Lost in the attention paid to Tech's offense is a defense that is solid against both run and pass -- perfect for a balanced offense like Georgia's. Still, the Bulldogs have the talent edge and the home field. If they are sufficiently motivated, they should be able to hold off the Yellow Jackets, but the line feels too high.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Georgia Tech (Edelstein Lock) | RUSSELL: Georgia Tech

Syracuse (+22) at No. 16 Cincinnati, 12 p.m. ET, GamePlan

Cincinnati, fresh off its program-defining win over Pittsburgh last week, now has one final hurdle to climb in order to clinch the Big East title and the first BCS bid in school history. Syracuse may look like little more than a speed bump on paper, but try telling that to Notre Dame. The Orangemen appear determined to send already-fired coach Greg Robinson on a high note. A Cincinnati loss combined with a West Virginia win over Pittsburgh would send the Mountaineers to the Orange Bowl instead. With so much at stake -- including potentially a better job for Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, it's unlikely the Bearcats would take their opponents likely. But Syracuse's upset of the Irish makes for easy coaching lessons for Kelly, whose name will be in consideration for many of the offseason openings should Cincinnati win this game. Kelly will be an interesting coach to follow. Depending on how much of the blogosphere you believe, both Michigan and Michigan State took brief looks at Kelley during their recent coaching searches before quickly moving on to other candidates. This despite Kelly being a hot name with ties to the state. Is their something in his background that is scaring off bigger programs? The next month should provide an answer. If Kelly doesn't get a serious look after the success he's had at Cincinnati, it will be the surest sign that there are some skeletons in his closet. As for this game, all signs point to the Bearcats, but I'm tempted enough by the high line to think that Syracuse can keep it close enough to cover.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Cincinnati | RUSSELL: Syracuse

No. 4 Florida (-17) at No. 20 Florida State, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

This is a danger spot for Florida. The Gators are ranked fourth in the BCS, but almost certainly control their own destiny to get to the national title game if they can win out -- which means it's not exactly an ideal time to be playing a non-conference game against an in-state rival. Then again, this isn't exactly an unfamiliar situation for Florida, so they should have no trouble getting up for this contest. The Gators have been the hottest team in the nation over the last seven weeks, ever since their stunning loss to Ole Miss. During the streak, only Vanderbilt has managed to stay within four touchdowns of the Gators. Last week, with a potential letdown game scheduled between Steve Spurrier's visit and the rivalry tilt against the Seminoles, Florida took care of business against the Citdadel, 70-19. Like much of the ACC, Florida State has been up and down this season. The 'Noles were embarrassed by Boston College in an important home game two weeks ago, but bounced back to trounce Maryland on the road last week to remain alive for a spot in the ACC title game. Their conference fate will be decided elsewhere, but Florida State can issue a statement merely by keeping the game against Florida competitive. The 'Noles have a vintage pass-rushing defensive end in Everette Brown, and he'll be needed to get quickly to Tim Tebow and disrupt the Florida passing game before Tebow can find the likes of Percy Harvin deep downfield. Florida State also has a decent offense, surprising given its struggles in that area in recent seasons. I think the 'Noles can keep this competitive for a half, but even with the rivalry factor, there's no way I'm taking 17 points against a team that is crushing everyone by margins close to double that amount. Florida will turn it into a rout in the second half.

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

Auburn (+14.5) at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

If Alabama can't end Auburn's six-game losing streak in the Iron Bowl this year, the Tide might never win this rivalry game again. Everything points towards the Tide, who have barely trailed a game all season and have seemingly been on a roll ever since burying Clemson in the season opener. Alabama is now in the odd position of being atop every poll and the BCS standings, but is still considered an underdog in the SEC given the way Florida has played the last two months. Auburn's season has been an utter disappointment. Considered a fringe national title contender before the year, Auburn imploded with an inept offense that led to the firing of its first-year coordinator at midseason. Things haven't improved a whole lot since then, as the Tigers have lost five of six games and have average less than 20 points on offense against BCS-conference teams. So can they beat the Tide? Unlikely. Rivalry games are tough to judge and Auburn will do everything in its power to extend the lengthy winning streak against Alabama, but nothing in this matchup favors the visitors. Auburn must hope for a big play from its excellent return units to even keep this game close. The only reason I'm picking the Tigers is because I think the line is too high against an offense that has struggled. Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson has been mistake-prone after beginning the season with flawless play. I think he's good for a turnover or two here, and that will be enough for Auburn to stay within two touchdowns.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Alabama | RUSSELL: Auburn

Maryland (+7) at No. 20 Boston College, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

The other half of the ACC will be decided on Chestnut Hill, where Boston College will clinch the Atlantic Division with a win over Maryland. This would have been a winner-take-all match for the division had the Terps not imploded at home against Florida State a week ago. All hope is not lost for Maryland, however. Boston College's Dominique Davis will be making his first career start at quarterback after Chris Crane broke his collarbone against Wake Forest last week. Davis won't have to do that much to send the Eagles to Tampa for the ACC championship -- Maryland's offense has struggled all season, particularly the last few weeks. Look for Boston College to generate some turnovers and seal the game in the second half.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Boston College | RUSSELL: Boston College (Edelstein Lock)

No. 23 Oregon (+3.5) at No. 17 Oregon State, 7 p.m. ET, Versus

Win the Civil War and the Beavers are headed to Pasadena, and the least-anticipated rematch since Super Bowl XXVIII. Unfortunately for Oregon State, it looks as if it has lost its best offensive weapon, super scat-back Jacquizz Rogers, to a bum shoulder. Quarterback Lyle Moevao is also banged up. Oregon State may have to rely on its defense to contain the Oregon run game and hope that Sammie Stroughter can do something special in the return game to spark the offense. Oregon hasn't been in the spotlight much this season, but the Ducks can move the ball, and a win here could set them up for a trip to the Holiday Bowl, so there is plenty on the line for both squads.

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

Notre Dame (+30) at No. 5 USC, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2

Notre Dame is 6-5, and as we all know, "you are what you are, and that's not good enough." They will need evey bit of a "decided schematic advantage" in order to keep the game close against USC, whose defense is the best in the nation by a wide margin. That's bad news for Notre Dame's pop-gun attack, which failed to register a single point against the only other top defense it has faced -- Boston College. And few would compare the Eagles to the Trojans. Notre Dame fans can only hope the Irish will "do their talking on the field". At least Notre Dame is better than Michigan. "To hell with Michigan," anyway. I don't mean to kick Charlie while he's down. Wait, yes I do. Few college coaches have arrived with the bluster and arrogance of Weis, despite being a completely unproven commodity as a head coach. And few have produced so little, with so much. Yes, there were two BCS bids the first two years with Ty Willingham's players. But tell me, whom exactly did Notre Dame beat those seasons? Weis's best result in four seasons remains a near-miss against USC, the same game for which we has handed an ridiculous contract extension for which his agent should bypass the mandatory waiting period and be immediately inducted into the agent Hall of Fame alongside Drew Rosenhaus and Bob Sugar. Depending on whom you believe, Weis either has an affordable buyout clause, or the figure is "stupefying," meaning not even Notre Dame can afford to get rid of him. Maybe a 40-point humiliation at the hands of USC would change that, but it's doubtful if the buyout figure is north of $10 million. Weis will get his fifth year, the same courtesy every Notre Dame coach except Willingham has been granted. As for this game, the only reason I'm taking Notre Dame is that USC's offense hasn't been explosive enough to justify the line. A 35-7 final sounds about right.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Notre Dame | RUSSELL: Notre Dame

No. 3 Oklahoma (-7) at No. 12 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Oklahoma is the talk of the nation after destroying Texas Tech on national TV to get itself into the thick of the national title race. You know what that means -- it's time to start looking out for "Chokelahoma." Sooners squads with BCS title potential were scuttled by Oklahoma State in 2001 and 2002. There was the 2003 Big 12 title game debacle, followed by an ugly performance against LSU in the 2003 Sugar Bowl. The 2004 Orange Bowl against USC was even worse. And though they weren't national title contenders, let's not forget the last two Fiesta Bowls, with losses as heavy favorites against Boise State and West Virginia. Now that I've got that out of the way, I can resume my Sooners love-in. Oklahoma's offense has been unstoppable all year, but has taken it to another level since the loss to Texas, averaging 59.5 points per game since then. Oklahoma State is yet another Big 12 South squad with a strong offense and just a so-so defense, so expect lots of points in this one. This game will be won or lost depending on the performance of the Oklahoma State offense. Quarterback Zac Robinson should fare better against the OU pressure than did Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, and Oklahoma State has a better offensive line. That unit will need to be at its best -- it was Oklahoma pressure up the middle that completely disrupted the Texas Tech spread and led to last week's rout. The Cowboys need to prevent the pocket from collapsing in the middle and establish some sort of run game. They also need to get a big play or two on special teams. This one should be far closer than last week, but I still like the Sooners to keep it rolling -- and Sam Bradford to all but sew up the Heisman.

THE PICKS -- FEI: Oklahoma | RUSSELL: Oklahoma

Picks Table

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home FEI Says Russell Says
Virginia +8 Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech +8 Georgia Georgia Tech* Georgia Tech
Syracuse +22 Cincinnati Cincinnati Syracuse
Florida -17 Florida State Florida State Florida
Auburn +14.5 Alabama Alabama Auburn
Maryland +7 Boston College Boston College Boston College*
Oregon +3.5 Oregon State Oregon State Oregon
Notre Dame +30 Southern Cal Notre Dame Notre Dame
Oklahoma -7 Oklahoma State Oklahoma Oklahoma
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
FEI: 5-3-0 (1-0-0) 47-54-2 (4-8-1)
Russell: 6-2-0 (1-0-0) 47-54-2 (4-9-0)

(Note: Our other college column, Varsity Numbers, is off for Thanksgiving and will return next week.)

Posted by: Russell Levine on 28 Nov 2008

37 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2008, 1:38pm by DrewTS


by DandyDan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/28/2008 - 7:47pm

Bo Pelini is early contender for the John L. Smith trophy for his fake field attempt which directly led to a Colorado score.

by ChrisH :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 9:44am

Having just seen that highlight on Sportscenter, that was a bad play that was read perfectly by the defense, but I don't know all the details around it as well. I was going to nominate Wannstedt for his call on a 2 pt conversion in the Pitt-WVU game. Pitt scored with around 7 minutes left, down by 2. They go for two, throw a quick out to the single-covered WR and convert, but there was a false start, so they take it back to the 8. What do you run from the 8? Obviously a delayed QB draw (this was designed, not just due to coverage) which went nowhere and never had a chance. Unless you are running Michael Vick out there at QB, a QB Draw at the 8 seems doomed to fail more often than not. It's almost like he reversed the plays he should run based on the distance.

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 11/28/2008 - 8:08pm

3-5 (0-1) last week, 36-42-2 on the year, percentage points behind both Russell and FEI. Thank goodness for a 5-5 Edelstein mark.

Virginia, Georgia, Cincinnati, Florida, Alabama, Maryland, Oregon State, USC, Oklahoma (Edelstein).

by Joe Bob (not verified) :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 12:22am

You guys should all just start flipping coins.

by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/28/2008 - 8:42pm

The more I think about Tennessee hiring Lane Kiffin, the more I like the decision. He was a top assistant at the number one program in the country, and what happens with the Raiders never counts. I'm worried about his ability to recruit in the South, but that's my only concern. Former NFL coaches tend not to do well in college, but I see him more as a USC assistant.

Hopefully Kiffin will be UT's answer to Mark Richt: they bring in an outsider that was a top assistant elsewhere.

As I was typing this Mark May basically said he hated the move, and Lou Holtz was lukewarm to it. I could name a few coaches UT had a reasonable chance of landing that I would have preferred (Davis, Kelly, maybe D'Antonio or Erickson).

If I'm an Arkansas fan, I'm excited for the future with Bobby Petrino behind the wheel of that program.

by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 11/28/2008 - 8:53pm

According to a friend with ties at Notre Dame: barring a miracle tomorrow night, ND is firing Charlie Weis on Monday. More than the win-loss record over the past two seasons, the influential boosters simply don't like him and want to use this opportunity to show him the door rather than risk him rebounding in 2009.

I only take stock in this rumor because he's been dead-on about the last three ND coaching moves, including telling me that Lou Holtz's last season there would be 1997 several weeks before it actually happened, and that Willingham was "officially gone" two days before it was reported.

I asked him if they were going to do the logical thing and do whatever it takes to get Urban Meyer, and he said he had no idea.

by Dennis :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 12:26am

Why would Meyer leave Florida to go to ND? Unless they are going to give him $20 mil a year, he would have to be the biggest idiot in the world to make that move.

by Kibbles :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 3:23am

Agreed. Despite Florida and Notre Dame both offering competitive contracts, Meyer chose Florida his first go-round. Since then, he's established Florida at a level of USC-like dominance, winning a national championship, recruiting a Heisman winner, and being favored to win a second national championship in his four seasons in Florida. Florida's a stronger recruiting power, its athletic department makes more money, its talent level is way higher, the SEC is a more desirable location for an elite coach to make his reputation.

Much as it'll stick in Domers' craws, Florida is simply a more desirable coaching destination than Notre Dame. In fact, I'd say that Florida is currently one of the three most desirable jobs in the nation, up there with Texas and USC. It's the dominant recruiting power in the most fertile recruiting region, it's probably the strongest program in the nation's premier conference, and it's got ludicrously deep pockets. The only way Meyer is leaving is if he wants to give the NFL a go, and Meyer genuinely seems like a college lifer, so I doubt even that is likely.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:21am

For whatever it's worth, it's his dream job. He's a midwestern guy that grew up on Notre Dame.

Four years ago Meyer interviewed at ND, and was astonished at how little money the school was offering. Their attitude was "hey, we're Notre Dame". Florida nearly doubled the offer, and Meyer jumped on it.

In other words, four years ago Meyer wanted ND, and ND wanted him; but Florida opened up their wallets and got their man. This time ND needs to open up their wallets.

If ND was smart they'd keep Weis through the bowl game, and fire him then (if they're going to fire him at all). If Meyer wins the next two games, he's playing for the National Title, and there's no way he can go a month preparing for that and answering non-stop "are you going to Notre Dame" rumors.

Note- I am not a golden domer :)

by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 1:01pm

I think ND WAS Meyer's dream job. Unless the money is outrageous (and I'm thinking close to 8 figures a year outrageous), I think he stays at Florida and tries to win as many national titles as possible in the next 10-15 years.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 12/01/2008 - 1:38pm

If ND has to drop 10 mil to get rid of Weis, it's going to be a lot harder for them to open their wallets enough to lure Meyer away from Florida.

ND needs to stop hanging its hat on being everybody's "dream job". If Urban Meyer really thought of ND as his dream job, he would have taken less money to go there. They lowballed him because they're arrogant, and now they're paying the price, in both dollars and losses. Meyer has revived a juggernaut in Florida, and he's not leaving for anything short of Powerball money.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 2:55pm

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

Brief tutorial for the IRC-shy:

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

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 3:32pm

I've lost count, but I think Virginia Tech now has tried 7 times to convert on 4th and 1 or 4th and goal rather than take a short field goal and has failed every single time. What's that they say about the definition of insanity?

by parker (not verified) :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 3:50pm

Can't resist this:

Georgia Tech is putting a hurtin on Georgia. ACC vs. SEC battle might not be as one sided as almost everyone assumes.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 4:31pm

Wait, a pitiful ACC offense put up 45 on one of those vaunted, impenetrable, super-fast SEC defenses? Inconceivable! GT must be cheating.

by Mac (not verified) :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 7:17pm

Well, if you saw the Georgia-Kentucky game, you'd know that Georgia can no more defend the option than it can fix the financial markets. It's no surprise that that game wound up like it did.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 6:41pm

Baylor could potentially make all of the campaigning by OU and UT moot- they're leading Texas Tech 28-14 early in the 3rd. I still expect Tech to wake up here but they need to get it together. Crabtree left the game with an ankle injury- don't know if he's back in yet.

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

Very interesting day today. Nobody much considered that Baylor might render the whole Big 12 South mess a moot point by upsetting Texas Tech. Baylor, which has been sneaking up on teams this year, is trying to hang on on. 28-all in the fourth, but TT just picked off a deflected pass to set itself up in good field position.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 7:45pm

In hindsight, Kansas upsetting Missouri should not have been a surprise. I can genuinely see Mizzou having a letdown at some point, as it must have been hard to stay motivated for the last few weeks.

After slaughtering Houston today, Rice has very quietly gone 9 - 3.

Nice win for Georgia Tech against the Dogs, but the whole "ACC as a mega-conference" thing has been a huge bust. Hardly anyone gets the whole Atlantic vs Coastal division bit- Florida State and Miami are in different conferences, as are UNC and NCSU. Boston College doesn't belong geographically. Floirda State still seems out of place- they're an SEC school if I've ever seen one. Last year's championship game didn't sell out, and neither will this year's.

I'm glad Sly Croom got in one good season at Mississippi State. He seemed like a genuinely good guy that was simply overmatched in the SEC. I wonder if MSU is still interested in Tommy Bowden. Actually, Terry Bowden may be a good fit there.

Game Of The Century for 2008, Volume 3 next Saturday.

Texas Tech up late in the 4th.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 9:11pm

Right now, the Rose Bowl committee is smiling as Oregon is up 17-7 on Oregon State and inside the OSU 10.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 9:47pm

Make that 37-10 at the half as Oregon runs back an INT for 6.

by lionsbob :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 9:54pm

Best Iron Bowl ever.

by Kibbles :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 10:36pm

To quote myself from the week before the Florida/South Carolina game...

"South Carolina is now the fourth "possibly the best defense the Gators will face all year" defense that the Gators have faced this year. First it was LSU, defending national champs. Florida hung half a hundred on them. Then it was Kentucky, which had allowed 83 points through its first 7 games. Florida almost doubled that, ringing up 63 points in its 8th. Then it was Vanderbilt, which hadn't allowed more than 24 points all year. Florida had 35... in the first half, despite the refs taking away what was clearly a TD. Florida then got another score on the opening drive of the second half, and sat its first stringers 6 minutes into the 3rd quarter having already almost doubled Vandy's previous high water mark."

I heard before the FSU game that the Seminoles were possibly the best defense Florida had faced to this point in the season. Florida hung up 45 in a monsoon. It's only a matter of time before someone suggests that Alabama is the best defense that Florida will face all season. Woe unto the Tide when that happens.

Also, USC better hope that they don't wind up in the championship against Florida, because they'll definitely be the best defense Florida has faced all season.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 10:38pm

Tennessee beat Kentucky on Phil Fulmer night. Good.

There were not enough fans in attendance that stayed to say thank you and goodbye. BAD. Put up with the rain and show respect.

Great scene with the players carrying Fulmer off.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:10pm

Oregon State's defense is offensive- they've given up 616 yards through 3 quarters and are down 51-31 early in the 4th.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:19pm

Dez Bryant defines his awesomeness (WHAT A CATCH), and Oklahoma takes a try for two back to the house for two points of their own.

by Telamon :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:24pm

Alright, so was the two-point defensive conversion rule widely known to other people? I'd wondered if it was possible, but never actually known one way or another.

God, what a swing for OU. As the announcer said, better lucky than good.

by Wait, what? (not verified) :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 3:56pm

I knew about it, yeah. Pretty sure it's happened at least once already this season, as I seem to recall an early-season SportsCenter highlight in which a player ran back an interception on a conversion attempt. I think I'm mostly familiar with it from the NCAA football video games, where people are more inclined to go for the conversion in the first place.

The Wikipedia article also confirms what I wasn't completely sure of- that a blocked XP kick can also be returned for 2 points by the defense. I like the defensive 2pt rule, and I'd like to see it in the NFL, rarely though it comes into play.

by Rocco :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:25pm

From the "those sorts of things happen when you're really good" file...

Sam Bradford has a pass go off of one receiver's hands and right to another OU receiver, who takes it 70 yards for a TD.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/29/2008 - 11:35pm

That play was amazing...but Zac Robinson's TD run was as well.

Great, great game being played...let's savor it.

by Tarrant :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 1:04am

I don't think the Rose Bowl Committee has ever rooted for a team as much as they were rooting for Oregon today. And next week, they will be hoping beyond hope that USC destroys UCLA. Well, OK. They'll be happy with a 1-point win. But Oregon State holds any tiebreaker between Oregon, USC, and Oregon State, and the sappy story of "Oregon State hasn't been there for almost 50 years" just doesn't hold water to "People will watch USC and Penn State play on TV."

by ChrisH :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 9:45am

As the resident OSU homer, the game yesterday was just embarrassing. While we were totally unable to run the ball (how McCants looked so good before the season, and so awful during it, I don't understand), but we did a very good job passing it around, and the two INT's I can forgive as the QB was having all the pressure put on him by a defense that was unable to stop anything the entire game. I have no idea how we would have done against Penn State again, but after that, I can say my trip to Pasadena probably would have been horribly depressing. I'm still rooting for UCLA this week, however, but will watch the SEC game instead.

by Russell Levine :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 1:40am

I would just like to point out for those keeping score at home that the ACC did go 3-1 against the SEC today (Wake over Vandy, Clemson over South Carolina, Georgia Tech over Georgia, Florida over FSU) to finish the regular season 7-4 head-to-head against the SEC.

Evern Gary Danielson is admitting the SEC isn't that great this year.

That said, the Florida-Alabama winner will be a worthy title-game participant.

by Fourth (not verified) :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 3:27am

SEC homer agreeing that the SEC is down this year. I still think it's safe to say they are one of the three best conferences. Maybe even top two, ahead of the ACC despite the lousy 4-7 record, depending on how much import you place on the fact that no one from that conference could match up with Florida or Alabama.

And stay classy FSU! Way to cheer when Harvin went down with the ankle injury. Also "teabag Tebow" was funny the first 20 times, but when you're losing 28-9 and Tebow is running all over your defense, it's probably time to stop. You've lost five in a row now, three on Ron Zook Field (which you call Bobby Bowden Field). Your only home field advantage comes from that ridiculous strobe light you call a video board since your fans don't seem to make much noise anymore. Your coach needs to be shown the door but he is more powerful than the program so you can't. You can't hold your own in recruiting against the ever increasing numbers of powerful programs that recruit your turf. You're not even close to our biggest game of the year anymore. It couldn't happen to a worse fanbase. Good luck in the Gator Bowl.

by Kibbles :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 2:00pm

The problem with the SEC this year is that it's wholly lacking any of those "second-tier" teams- the teams with no legitimate championship aspirations, but which hang out around the bottom of the top 10 and make things interesting for the teams that ARE harboring championship aspirations. Georgia was a 3rd-tier team masquerading as a 2nd-tier team based on their high preseason ranking, and calling LSU/Kentucky/Vanderbilt/Ole Miss 3rd-tier teams is a bit generous. The boys at Vegas are still buying the SEC hype, though- last week, the SEC placed 6 teams in the top 30 (behind only the 7 Big 12 teams), while the ACC only landed 2. We'll see how much that changes this week.

Big ups to FEI, though- it correctly predicted all 4 SEC/ACC matchups, spread or no spread.

by Mike McMahon's Miracle Drive (not verified) :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 11:33am

A Rutgers vs. Clemson Meineke Bowl would be the biggest bowl game in Rutgers history. Man, that's pathetic, but bring it on!

by Kevin Eleven :: Sun, 11/30/2008 - 12:27pm

1. Alabama (12-0)
2. Oklahoma (11-1)
3. Florida (11-1)
4. Texas (11-1)- Dear Texas Fans: It's a THREE WAY TIE, so stop acting as if beating Oklahoma automatically puts the Horns into the Big-12 title game. I'm selecting OU by the slightest of margins, neither pick would be wrong.
5. Utah (12-0)- If Oklahoma stumbles against Missouri, Utah deserves to be inthe championship game.
6. Penn State (11-1)- yes, Penn State over USC. They beat Oregon State, USC didn't.
7. USC (10-1)
8. Texas Tech (11-1)
9. Oklahoma State (9-3)
10. Missouri (9-3)
11. Ohio State (10-2)
12. Cincinnati (10-2)
13. TCU (10-2)
14. Boise State (11-0)
15. Georgia Tech (9-3)
16. BYU (10-2)
17. Georgia (9-3)
18. Boston College (9-3)
19. Michigan State (9-3)
20. Virginia Tech (8-4)
21. Northwestern (9-3)
22. Ball State (12-0)
23. Ole Miss (8-4)
24. Iowa (8-4)
25. Oregon (9-3)