Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Four Downs: AFC West

There's a serious need for defensive help in Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Oakland. In Denver, meanwhile, the Broncos must determine whether or not Case Keenum can really be a long-term solution at quarterback.

30 Oct 2008

7th Day Adventure: Quality Depth

by Bill Connelly

(Ed. Note: Unfortunately, we're still dealing with technical issues at Casa Levine, so no SDA podcast this week. Bill Connelly of "Varsity Numbers" is filling in with some previews of this weekend's biggest games. Russell was able to send along picks, which appear along with FEI picks in a table at the end of the article.)

Texas at Texas Tech

We know what we're getting from Texas at this point. Colt "Cyborg" McCoy will make the right decisions (it's amazing how much better you become as a quarterback when you have a trusty offensive line and two telekinetic wide receivers), and the Longhorn defensive line will come in waves at Graham Harrell. What we don't know is how Texas Tech will respond playing in what is their biggest game since at least the mid-1970s, possibly ever. Pirate Mike Leach's team has a (mostly) direct route to the BCS Championship game, and the crowd in Lubbock will be three steps beyond insane. Will Tech be able to harness their inevitable emotions into something productive, or will Texas just do what they have done for the last month -- absorb the other team's shot and counter-punch mercilessly? It's worth noting that Tech hasn't held Texas under 35 points since 2000. Then again, nobody has held Tech under 35 this year either. This one could be crazy.

Oregon at California

Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has thrived recently, in an "Oregon quarterback" kind of way. During the Ducks' two-game recovery since getting their doors blown off by USC, Masoli has rushed for 255 yards and thrown for 189, doing just enough to keep defenses from keying on Oregon's bevy of running backs, leading the Ducks to a 4-1 Pacific 10 record, and most importantly, staying healthy. It seems no Oregon quarterback has managed to play more than three games in a row since Joey Harrington. Meanwhile, Jeff Tedford's Bears continue to take two steps forward and one step back. They sit at 5-2 despite inconsistency at the quarterback position (formerly Tedford's strength). Jahvid Best is one of the most exciting running backs around, not only averaging 7.0 yards per carry but also catching three passes per game and averaging 31.6 yards per kick return. Whatever the "over/under" is for big plays, pick the "over."

Florida vs Georgia

These two teams have looked fantastic for most of the season, but as of yet their respective seasons have been defined by their sole missteps. However, they both seem to be peaking just in time for the Cocktail Party. After scoring 40 or more points eight times in 2007, the Gators had managed to do so only once in their first five games; in their last two games, they have put up 114 points against LSU and Kentucky, two teams not commonly known for defensive deficiencies. Meanwhile, Georgia has responded to their devastating home loss to Alabama by improving incrementally each week. They have won three in a row, including a 52-38 thumping of LSU in Baton Rouge. Georgia cannot seem to escape the building "Florida wants revenge after being disrespected last year" narrative (after their first touchdown in last year's game, the entire Georgia team rushed the field and celebrated in the end zone), and the louder that gets, the more it probably favors the Gators.

West Virginia at Connecticut

The winner of this game takes a large step toward controlling the Big East. Connecticut's brand of football reminds you of good, old-fashioned Big East basketball. Led by Donald Brown (who is on pace for 350-plus carries, almost 2,000 rushing yards, and 20-plus touchdowns), they have a punishing, plodding, physical offense. They are not into flashy things like "big plays" or "a passing game." They will just punch you in the mouth repeatedly, and they have done this well enough to sit at 5-2. Meanwhile, West Virginia seems to be hitting its stride, to the dismay of the rest of the conference. Every time Noel Devine touches the ball, you think he's not only going to score, but he's going to pull a Tecmo Bo Jackson and run all the way back down the field and score again. Also, Pat White's passer rating has been almost 170 since back-to-back debacles against Colorado and East Carolina. They once again look like the Big East's team to beat if they leave Rentschler Field with a win.

Pittsburgh at Notre Dame

In one week, Pittsburgh went from "destined for a BCS bowl" right back to "Fire Dave Wannstedt!!" That's what happens when you give up 54 points at home to Rutgers, a team that had managed just 57 points in their first four games against FBS competition this year. Panther quarterback Bill Stull is uncertain for Saturday's game after suffering both a stinger and a concussion in the loss to Rutgers. Luckily, Pittsburgh still has LeSean McCoy and his 23 carries (and 119 yards) per game, so they have a fighting chance. Meanwhile, does anybody know what to do with Notre Dame yet? They have victories over San Diego State (1-7), Michigan (2-6), Purdue (2-6), Stanford (4-4), and Washington (0-7). They have faced two teams with winning records -- Michigan State (7-2) and North Carolina (6-2) -- and have lost both games. Jimmy Clausen has put together solid stats (1,832 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, 9 interceptions), but at some point the Irish still need to beat a decent team. Does it start on Saturday?

Miami at Virginia

Virginia is leading the ACC Coastal Division? Really? The same Virginia Cavaliers who lost to Duke, 31-3, a month ago? Such is life in the ACC. The Cavs have unearthed a productive running back in Cedric Peerman (445 yards and six touchdowns in the last four games) and a stingy defense, and they own back-to-back upsets over North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Now, to hold onto their division lead, they must hold back a Miami team that has won three in a row themselves. The Hurricanes are six points from being 7-1 right now, though at the same time they are averaging only 23 more yards per game than their opponents. They are playing better and better defense (No. 15 in total defense) and have ridden third-quarter offensive surges to victories against Duke and Wake Forest. In a division where the top and bottom team are separated by 1.5 games, this game will do as much as any in establishing a favorite to meet the Atlantic Division champion on December 6.

Wisconsin at Michigan State

A year ago, Michigan State was the "almost" team, losing six games by a touchdown or less. They started 2008 with another such loss (38-31 at California). Since the Cal loss, they have won seven of eight games, and all that stand between Michigan State and a November 22 date with Penn State for possible Big Ten supremacy are home games against Wisconsin and Purdue. Javon Ringer is averaging an astounding 33 carries and 153 yards per game. Seriously, his 300 carries are more than those of 83 FBS teams. Meanwhile, Wisconsin began the bounce-back process after a four-game losing streak by beating Illinois in Madison last week. New Badger quarterback David Gilreath was competent and steady against the Illini, and while his season numbers are no better than those of the vanquished Allan Evridge (who could have possibly known that a guy who was beaten out for the starting job at Kansas State by Dylan Meier wouldn't work out?), last week might have been a sign of good things to come. Ringer and the Wisconsin running back du jour (P.J. Hill and John Clay are both gimpy) might combine for 80 carries on Saturday, but hey, that means the game will only last about 2 hours, right?

Florida State at Georgia Tech

Don't tell anybody, but Florida State might actually be good again. Since a 12-3 loss to Wake Forest on September 20, the Seminoles have averaged 34 points per game (against decent defensive teams like Miami and Virginia Tech). Meanwhile, they are third in the country in total defense, seventh in rushing defense, seventh in sacks, and ninth in tackles for loss. They're as athletic as ever defensively, and quarterback Christian Ponder might (MIGHT) be Bobby Bowden's first consistently good quarterback since Chris Weinke. Of course, I might also be jumping to conclusions. The always crafty Georgia Tech defense (second in tackles for loss, seventh in scoring defense) will be a nice test. Ahh, Georgia Tech. I love that the flexbone is back in my life. Yellow Jacket running back Jonathan Dwyer was made for Paul Johnson's offense, and quarterbacks Josh Nesbitt and Jaybo Shaw have adapted nicely, but the Tech offense is still a work in progress. They haven't scored more than 30 points since September's 38-7 win over Mississippi State. Points will be at a premium in this one. Consider it the anti-Texas/Texas Tech.

Picks Table

The Picks
(* - "Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week")
Visitor Spread Home FEI Says Russell Says
Texas -4 Texas Tech Texas Texas*
Oregon +2.5 California California Oregon
Georgia +5.5 Florida Georgia Florida
West Virginia -4 UConn UConn* West Virginia
Pittsburgh +4.5 Notre Dame Pittsburgh Notre Dame
Miami +2 Virginia Miami Virginia
Wisconsin +4.5 Michigan State Michigan State Wisconsin
Florida State +2 Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Florida State

Season-long results table will return next week.

Posted by: Bill Connelly on 30 Oct 2008

42 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2008, 11:23pm by MC2


by Kevin Eleven :: Thu, 10/30/2008 - 9:02pm

Thanks for putting up this thread, as it's a HUGE week for college ball. Hopefully Russell canjoin us this weekend.

1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. Penn State- their schedule has been far easier than those above them, even with Ohio State win. I respect PSU as #3, but they are a step behind Texas and Alabama, who do not have Coastal Carolonas on their schedule.
4. Oklahoma State- I see no reason to drop OSU after they lost by four on the road to the no-questions-asked number one team in the nation.
5. Georgia
6. Texas Tech- They'll probably be #1 next week if they can beat Texas.
7. Florida
8. Oklahoma
9. Southern Cal
10. Missouri
11. Utah
12. Ohio State
13. TCU
14. Florida State
15. LSU
16. Maryland
17. Minnesota- Minny being 7-1 is one of the biggest shocks of the season.
18. California
19. BYU
20. Michigan State
21. Boise State
22. North Carolina
23. Tulsa
24. Notre Dame
25. Oregon

Cincinnati looks strong tonight, and Matt Grothe is having an awful game.

I can't beleive that when the Big-8 became the Big-12, Oklahoma and Nebraska didn't insist on having it set up where they still played every year. That was an elite rivalry, and it should have been respected and maintained.

If you want to have some fun, go to YouTube and search "Eric Berry" and "360". That was some hit Berry laid out last week.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 4:24pm

Penn State- their schedule has been far easier than those above them, even with Ohio State win. I respect PSU as #3, but they are a step behind Texas and Alabama, who do not have Coastal Carolonas on their schedule.

Alabama's out of conference schedule, with ranks by Colley/Sagarin/Wolfe/Massey:

Western Kentucky (102/123/108/124)
Tulane (103/129/110/136)
Clemson (80/74/88/84)
Arkansas State (90/106/95/126)

Penn State's out of conference schedule, with same:

Oregon State (43/17/27/25)
Syracuse (104/112/121/125)
Temple (83/87/90/98)
Coastal Carolina (NA/178/196/217)

If Oregon State wins two very winnable games against Oregon and California (they're ranked higher in Sagarin's PREDICTOR ranking, and there's no conference bias to worry about), Oregon State will likely be the PAC-10 champions. Even right now, Oregon State is first in the PAC-10 standings.

Remind me again, which of Texas and Alabama played a team first in a BCS conference's standings and beat them by 31 points?

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 8:40pm

Whoops, correction, they're tied for first right now. You can't really work out where they'd be until the season ended due to complicated tiebreakers, but it's definitely true that if Oregon State beats Cal and Oregon, they're the PAC-10's BCS rep due to the head-to-head over USC.

And to clear up my criticism: stop using Coastal Carolina as an example of Penn State's weak schedule. Penn State currently has the best out-of-conference schedule of the top 3, by a pretty large margin. If you want to criticize Penn State's weak schedule, you have to criticize the Big Ten.

by Rocco :: Thu, 10/30/2008 - 10:55pm

Remember back when people were talking about USF as being good?

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 10/30/2008 - 11:14pm

How boring, 4-4 (0-1) last week, so I'm up to 24-22-2 (3-3) on the year. And after such a nice start with the Edelstein, as well. Give me Texas, Oregon, Georgia, West Virginia, Pitt, UVa, Michigan State (Edelstein), and Florida State. Michigan State as my Edelstein, in November? I'm going to get killed this week.

by chubbypuppy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 6:39am

Look, I know Wisconsin's season has been terrible. But at least get the players and facts correct.

Gilreath is a wide receiver. The new starting quarterback is Dustin Sherer.

PJ Hill has a bad knee. But John Clay is NOT injured. He will be starting this weekend because he is healthy and Hill is not.

It is the Wisconsin Offensive line that is banged up as Carimi has been out for several games and Urbek is now unlikely to play.

by Bill Connelly :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 9:41am

Whoops--Gilreath was a typo (must have been looking at his stats while writing about Sherer?), but I've seen two articles saying Clay is banged up. Here's one of them: "More importantly, expect to see P.J. Hill and John Clay to get even more carries this weekend, even though both are suffering through injury and are listed as probable heading into the week."

by PETE (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 8:28am

somebody has to explain why its going to be better to see fsu or gt or uconn in a bcs game over utah, boise, or tulsa?? Maybe we can get a rematch of that incredible 2004 utah vs pitt fiesta bowl!

by War Eagle (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 9:57am

What the MSU coaching staff is doing to Ringer is shameful. Sure, it's a team game and he's happy to make the sacrifice, but he's an amateur athlete. They are, in all probability, negatively impacting his future performance and earning potential. If I was an NFL GM, I'd think long and hard about where I took a guy that has been ridden this hard.

by witless chum :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 2:02pm

I'm an MSU fan and I was somewhat onboard with the 'too many Ringer carries' thing earlier in the year, but he seems to be holding up. I'm more worried that next year's backs aren't getting much of a chance in games at this point.

I'm not sure that Ringer's workload is really such a terrible thing for his future potential. Kevin Smith looks just fine (other than having to run behind the Lions o-line) after his huge carry season last year. Just from memory, I think the guys who see problems are the Chris Perrys and Mike Harts of the world, who have multiple years of being the number one back and taking Big 10 power offense pounding in college. Ringer played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore, losing parts of those years to injuries. As a junior he split roughly the same sized load with Jehuu Caulcrick and then this year he'd getting run into the ground.

by Becephalus :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:14am

Why is it shameful? Why on earth should they care about his future? NCAA football isn't a charity it is big business. Do you think most employers of industrial workers ever gave a damn about their health before the government forced them too? It is not like most football players have a lot of options or leverage. Do you think it is shameful when your local law firm makes its new associate work 100 hour work weeks? Life is hard and there are very few free passes.

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:12pm

I was unaware that MSU was Ringer's employer, but I agree with the spirit of your post.

Of course, if Ringer quit MSU today citing that he'd done all he needed to do to prove himself NFL-worthy, we'd have a giant anti-Ringer cryfest.

by Becephalus :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 4:50am

You don't think college football players are employees of the universities paid in education? I thought that was straightforwardly the system. They certainly are not students.

As a tutor my cousin sat in on a test with a Wisconsin basketball player. So the player got to take the test in a room alone with his student/frat boy/sports nut tutor and got twice the allotted time of other people...

Similar things happened for football players during my work at U of M's Minority Learning Resource Center. People dumb as rocks was pushed through classes and given degrees for no clear reason. Why perpetuate the sham. Sure if they want to get an education while they are there more power to them, but if they would just rather take the money it would be a lot more honest.

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

by Turnip (not verified) :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 9:01pm

I agree with FEI on all but the Florida and ND games, uh oh. Edelstein would be Cal at home in the rain.

I'll save joe some time:

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 Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:20pm

I'm an awful 8 - 10 so far. My picks this week:

Iowa State +30 over Okie State
Tulane +27 over LSU
UNLV +14 1/2 over TCU.

by Kevin Eleven :: Fri, 10/31/2008 - 11:26pm

When Oregon State actually becomes Pac-10 champ, I'll adjust the strength of Penn State win.

Seriously, I evaluate every week. If a team's win / loss looks better / worse as the season rolls on, I adjust.

I'd love to hear what you think of the Paterno situation.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:32pm

Let me help with a better criticism of Penn State's schedule, then: "Penn State's lucky the Big Ten didn't decide to swap Michigan with any random MAC team this year." The problem with Penn State's schedule isn't Coastal Carolina - if they would've scheduled a "real" team there, it would've been probably one of the hardest OOC schedules in college football. The problem with Penn State's schedule is that two of the better teams in the Big Ten aren't on it.

by joe football (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 1:01pm

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 TomC :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 1:40pm

How did I miss that Northwestern's backup QB is named Kafka? Will the team undergo a metamorphosis with him under center? How will he survive the trial of facing #17 Minnesota as a first-time starter? Ist Pat Fitzgerald in einen ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt worden?

by Russell Levine :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 2:12pm

Big thanks to Bill for stepping in this week.

I'm happy to report that after a new cable modem, router, and phone adapter, I once again have broadband internet at my house.

Michigan is 2-6. I probably shouldn't be screaming at the TV as much as I am, but this is the worst-tackling Michigan defense I have ever seen.

by chubbypuppy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 2:27pm

Multiple times today Sherer has had guys wide open underneath and every time he throws into coverage.

Michigan State is desperately trying to give the game away and Wisconsin is just as desperately trying to give it back.......

by chubbypuppy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 2:45pm

If the WI secondary would just trust themselves these penalties wouldn't happen. Unnecessary grabbing out of fear.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 5:24pm

I may have been wrong about Auburn being good this year.

Really, really wrong.

Having said that, Tuberville should not be fired. He installed a sprad offense, which is just not Auburn's style. That mistake (which was not even said to have been his idea) should not wipe out a strong ten year run. Tuberville is the right guy for Auburn.

by Tom Gower :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:18pm

Did you see the post on Smart Football about how whatever Auburn was doing, it's not Tony Franklin's spread? Without knowing more, I suspect Franklin may have been foisted on Tuberville (Bobby Lowder still around?) and the rest of the staff never bought into his system. That, not the ineffective offense, is a real problem.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:34pm

Remind me again why people think Georgia is a good team? So far on offense I've seen a botched pitch, three horrible interceptions that had way more to do with poorly thrown passes than skill on the Florida defense (and OK, one of the interceptions was blatant pass interference), and in general, nothing that looks like competent offense.

What the heck did Georgia do to impress people enough to put them in the top 10?

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:58pm

Georgia finished really strong last year and had everyone coming back, so...

A lot has been made over Georgia's celebration last year, but really...that was quite a scene. I mean, WOW.

Now Florida is running in up and rubbing it in. A long-standing rivaly gets even nastier.

I like it.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 8:41pm

I understand the whole bias from last year, but seriously: we're now 9 or 10 games into this year. Georgia's beaten no one worth mentioning - the middle-tier teams in the SEC, basically - and they looked pretty bad versus Alabama before coming back, and now looked absolutely awful versus Florida.

The announcers were waaay too protective of Georgia, too. For Stafford's third (I think? I think I lost count) interception, they were defending it by saying that "oh, he has to take shots downfield." He threw the ball off-target into triple coverage: when he threw the ball, his guy had absolutely no separation, and there were two other defenders closing. Absolutely terrible decision. The first interception was thrown short (though there was pass interference there), and the second interception was thrown too low.

The defense hasn't been great, either, but Florida was the beneficiary of a few calls. But in any case, Georgia is not a top 10 team this year. No way.

by MC2 :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 9:28pm

If they were a Top 10 team last year, it stands to reason that they are this year as well, at least in terms of talent, since they really lost no one of consequence from last year's team. However, I will agree that they haven't played up to their potential this year. Injuries have had something to do with it, but there's still no excuse for the extent to which they've underachieved.

Having said all that, I still think they're capable of beating any team in the country on any given day, although the same could probably be said for a lot of other teams. Call it parity, mediocrity, or whatever, that's just the way it seems to be nowadays.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 12:10am

If they were a Top 10 team last year, it stands to reason that they are this year as well

That's a huge assumption. Last year ended with a 2-loss national champion, and no undefeated teams in the country. It's entirely possible - and it certainly looks like it - that college football as a whole was worse last year than this year.

by MC2 :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 10:18pm

You may be right (only time will tell). However, I'd be careful about using the presence (or absence) of undefeated teams as an indicator of quality, especially with so many important games left to play. Remember, at this time last year, Hawaii was still undefeated, and everyone was singing their praises, and we know how that turned out. Some of this year's undefeated teams may turn out to be frauds as well. As I said, only time will tell.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 5:37pm

No one was singing Hawaii's praises. They barely beat half the teams in the WAC, and the highest they ever creeped to was #10.

It is absolutely ludicrous to compare any of the BCS unbeatens to Hawaii. The competition level is just miles different. Now, Ball State, Utah, and Boise State, that's a fair comparison.

by MC2 :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:23pm

First of all, several of the talking heads on ESPN and even a couple of posters on this board argued that Hawaii should at least get consideration for the BCS championship game. These people argued that "you can only play the teams on your schedule" and expressed outrage that Hawaii wasn't getting more respect.

Also, Hawaii is not the only example I could have chosen. Two years ago at this time, many people were already arguing that the loser of Michigan-Ohio State (who were both undefeated at the time) should get a rematch in the BCS title game. Jumping to erroneous conclusions is as much a part of college football as mascots and tailgating. I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe that Alabama, Penn State, or Texas Tech are any better than last year's top teams.

by Kibbles :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 12:09am

They're 7th in FEI. Sometimes it's not just a question of who you've beaten, it's a question of how you did it.

by Bill Connelly :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 6:38pm

...I meant "Bet the under." I obviously expected something more explosive than "19-16 Cal, 4th quarter." Is the weather really that bad?

by Brian Fremeau :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 7:15pm

Nominee: Charlie Weis. Channeling Bill Stewart, Weis calls two timeouts consecutively with 40 seconds left in regulation, Irish on offense, tie game, fourth-and-one at the 50-yard line. A turnover on downs leaves Pitt with the ball at midfield with 32 seconds and a timeout.

Nominee: Dave Wannstedt. 32 seconds, ball at the 50, one timeout, and LeSean McCoy ripping up the ND defense on direct snaps the entire second half, Wannstedt throws downfield twice, the second one picked off.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sat, 11/01/2008 - 11:48pm

OH MY!!!!!!!!!!

Texas Tech wins!!!!!

Another great season!!

by Kibbles :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 12:07am

Oh my god. John L. Smith has to go to Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. For one of the few guys in football legitimately deserving of the "brilliant" tag, he made an absolutely INDEFENSIBLE decision at the end of the Texas game. Tech scores to go up by 5, XP pending, with 1 second left on the scoreboard. No brainer 2-point conversion, right? Instead, Leach kicks the XP. He had a 5-point lead, meaning a TD costs you the win. He turned it into a 6-point lead, meaning a TD... still costs you the win. Convert the 2pc and a TD only gets a tie. Even if the 2pc is a total DISASTER and Texas intercepts and returns it the other way... it's still only worth 2 points, meaning you'd still have a 3-point lead, and you'd be no worse off (since there was no way for Texas to kick a FG with only one second left on the clock).

Basically, Mike Leach passed up a chance to call a no-risk play that had a meaningful, significant, measurable impact on his odds of winning in favor of a play that had absolutely zero impact on his odds of winning. Seriously, is there a single defense for taking the XP there? Surely I couldn't have been the only one screaming at the TV when the FG unit trotted on the field, right?

by liffeytroll (not verified) :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 2:04am

The Cal game was that wet, there was standing water on 1/3 of the field. The Cal offense, which is nothing to shout about this year, was about as effective as it has been in any game. The Oregon offense could not throw the ball, but this year that has been the norm even in good weather. The real story of the game was turn overs and that was probably due to the weather.

My poor wife had to listen to me go off about how dumb the Texas Tech extra point was until well after the game had ended.

by Kevin Eleven :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 8:40am

1. Texas Tech- This ranking may be a placeholder. They still have to beat Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
2. Texas- still very much in the National Championship picture.
3. Penn State
4. Alabama- suddenly the blowout win against Georgia looks a bit less impressive.
5. Florida- this truly might be the best team in the nation.
6. Oklahoma State
7. Southern Cal
8. Oklahoma- OU is back in the title hunt, but they have to beat Texas Tech, and TTU has to beat OSU.
9. Utah
10. Ohio State
11. TCU
12. Missouri
13. Georgia
14. BYU
15. Michigan State
16. LSU
17. Maryland
18. California
19. Boise State
20. North Carolina
21. South Carolina
22. Georgia Tech
23. West Virginia
24. Ball State
25. Cincinnati

by bradluen :: Sun, 11/02/2008 - 6:58pm

Let's officially declare Texas at #7 in the Coaches Poll (c.f. Oklahoma at #4) as polling injustice of the year.

by t.d (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 2:38am

As a Texas fan, I'm not worried about being behind OU. If it comes down to us and them, I figure the coaches will adjust their rankings. And if Tech beats OU, then Tech deserves what they get. I respect what Alabama's done thus far, but that likely game against Florida at the end of the year looks awfully tough. It would be a shame if a down year for the Big 10 ends up pitting an overmatched Penn State team against a powerhouse, although I'm not saying that's what would happen. If Penn State does run the table, they absolutely belong in the NC game, no questions asked. I just hope they don't get embarrassed. I figure they'd be underdogs to USC, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma, or pick 'em with Alabama and Tech/OK State.

by witless chum :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:46am

I'd think there'd be strong support for Bret Bielema, as a commenter at Spartans Weblog predicted, for calling timeout while my Spartans were attempting a fast field goal, with the clock running. Bielema called time with seven seconds or so left, with MSU lined up to try the kick. Wiscy only had 10 guys out there to try to block it.

I can't imagine the chances of a block justify giving the kicker a chance to relax. Bielema then tried to ice Brett Swenson (who we learned from the postgame coverage, wears diamond stud earrings. DE Trevor Anderson helpfully explained that was because he's a pretty boy kicker.) further by calling a second timeout in a row.

Add that to his second half challenge of whether a punt that obviously was a touchback was and to getting a 20 yards of penalties, personally, in the fourth quarter.