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07 Jan 2008

BCS Championship Spectacular

by Russell Levine with Brian Fremeau

The SDA Podcast

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Ohio State and LSU may or may not be the two best teams in the nation this year, but in the bizarre world of college football, they will face off for the national title Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans.

This week's podcast will follow a little different format. I've brought back not one, not two, but three previous podcast guests to break down the big game. First, Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday and The Sporting News offers the SEC perspective in his analysis of LSU. Brian Cook, who blogs about Michigan at MGoBlog offers a Big Ten opinion on the Buckeyes, while Bruce Feldman of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com offers a national perspective on the matchup.

In addition, Brian Fremeau, creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index ratings, has been kind enough to provide the written portion of the preview.

Programming Note

This will be the final regular edition of Seventh Day Adventure for this season. There may be some off-season podcasts as news develops, particularly around big events like National Signing Day. The best way to keep up is to subscribe through iTunes or your favorite RSS reader using one of the links at right.

The FEI Title-Game Preview

BCS National Championship (at New Orleans)
Ohio State (No. 3 FEI) (+4.5) vs. LSU (No. 1)
Monday, January 7, 8 p.m. ET, FOX

Ohio State and LSU meet in the national championship game, and each team has the opportunity to become the world's first two-time BCS champion. Though the two teams each had more appearances in the weekly BCS Top-2 throughout the season than any other teams, both the Tigers and the Buckeyes appeared destined to miss this match-up after each suffered late November disappointment. In this season marked by weekly twists of fate, however, it seems only fitting that the championship participants were each ranked seventh in the BCS at kickoff of their respective season finales.

Are these definitely the best two teams in the nation? Not quite, according to FEI. Are they deserving candidates for a two-team playoff for the national championship? Absolutely. The Tigers were ranked by FEI as the nation's best team through every week of the season, whereas Ohio State climbed throughout the year to finish third in the final pre-bowl rankings, nestled narrowly behind No. 2 USC and ahead of No. 4 West Virginia. If both LSU and OSU turn in performances similar to the bowl efforts of the Trojans and Mountaineers, this could be a whale of a game.

Both teams are led by outstanding defenses, Ohio State particularly so. The Buckeyes were far and away the most efficient defense in college football, allowing only 98 points in opponent competitive possessions this season. Though their defense stifled opponent offenses from every position on the field, OSU can attribute much of their success to their 8.5 yard-per-possession field position advantage. Their opponents' average starting field position was their own 24-yard line, and began an astounding 77 percent of their possessions inside their own 30-yard line (the national average is 57 percent). Only four times all season did an Ohio State opponent begin a possession in Ohio State territory, and the Buckeyes gave up zero points on those drives. LSU turned in the eighth-most efficient defense this season, holding five of its opponents to their lowest point total on the season and two others to their second-lowest total.

Offensively, LSU was more efficient from long, middle and short field position, scored almost ten points more per game than Ohio State, and did so against a tougher slate of opponents. The Buckeyes, however, did get out of the gate and into the end zone faster than the Tigers this year, scoring touchdowns on six opening drives, twice as many as LSU in two fewer games. Ohio State's largest first-half deficit of the season was three points, and they trailed their opposition in the first half in only five of their 73 first-half possessions, only once since Week Two. LSU kicked it into gear in the second half of games this season, scoring nearly 3.5 points per second-half possession, discounting garbage-time drives and scores.

LSU's edge in the game lies with their strength of schedule and overall resume. The Tigers dominated Virginia Tech early in the season and defeated three other FEI Top-20 teams in SEC play. Ohio State played only one FEI Top-20 team (Illinois) and lost. Playing the meat of their Big Ten schedule down the stretch helped prepare the Buckeyes, but LSU has seemingly played dozens more championship-caliber possessions this year than OSU has, and that experience should ultimately rule the day.

Neither team faced a three-score deficit at any point this season, and Ohio State played only a single possession down two scores. Though I expect a bit more scoring than either defense is typically used to, I attribute that to the strength of both defenses in creating short fields and possibly even turning in a score or two themselves. Look for a close game throughout, including an LSU second-half comeback to claim the BCS (and FEI) national championship.

FEI Forecast: LSU 36, Ohio State 33

BCS National Championship Picks
Visitor Spread Home Orson Says Brian C. Says Bruce Says Brian F. Says Russell Says
LSU -4.5 Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State LSU Ohio State LSU
Season-long Results
("Fred Edelstein Lock of the Week" record in parentheses)
  Last Week Season Total
Guest: Brian F. 9-8-0 (1-0-0)    
Guests Composite     70-69-5 (3-11-1)
Russell 11-6-0 (0-1-0) 67-72-5 (6-8-2)

Posted by: Brian Fremeau and Russell Levine on 07 Jan 2008

175 comments, Last at 10 Jan 2008, 7:02pm by DD Ohio


by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 2:44pm

In this year of no truly dominant teams, where no team looks like they deserve to be #1, does anyone really care who wins tonight other than fans of OSU, LSU, and fans convinced of SEC or Big 10 superiority? I might watch a bit just to see how some pro prospects look, but I could care less who wins.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 2:49pm

Somewhat surprised no mention of special teams. Both teams have pretty solid units. In a close game special teams can play a huge role in determining field position.

And any Big Ten follower knows McSweatervest is content playing a buttoned down game waiting for his opponent to crack.........

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 2:52pm

I'm far from knowledgeable about college football, but it seems to me that the game in large part will swing on how healthy Glen Dorsey is, and how the Buckeyes handle him. If it is the unblockable Dorsey from early in the year, then the Buckeyes will have to try to win with too much reliance on the pass, which I think is a very hard task for them. If they can get Dorsey blocked, it seems to me that they have an excellent chance to win.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:09pm

So the selling points of both teams are their defenses...and as a result the prediction is that the game will have almost 70 points scored.

I don't understand.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:18pm

Post 1:

One of the more pleasant surprises of this bowl season is the limited amount of nonsensical discussion of conference A vs. conference B.

by Brooklyn Buckeye (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:23pm

RE: #3

Dorsey isn't the ONLY factor, merely the X factor. LSU has an impressive running back corps, including two mobile QBs. How LSU's offensive line can handle Laurinitis, Gholston & co. will impact the game almost as much as how tOSU attacks the man-beast that is Dorsey.

I also think that Dorsey's big impact will come in pressuring the QB on passing plays, so rather than Dorsey forcing the Bucks to win in the air, it's more likely that tOSU will come out pounding the ball on the ground to build up some momentum while minimizing Dorsey's potential for impact.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:30pm

Thats because it was easy to see that the SEC was the best, followed by the PAC-10

Ugh, I don't plan on watching it, I can't stand either school. Unfortunately I am stuck in Baton Rouge...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:46pm

Brooklyn, it just seems to me that LSU had a night and day season on defense. If the good LSU defense shows up, I don't think the Buckeyes can win, because I think the LSU offense will score a minimum of 27, unless the Buckeyes control the ball. If the Buckeyes do control the ball, however, which means getting Dorsey blocked, I think they can hold LSU to 20 or fewer. I just don't think OSU's quarterback is good enough to have the Buckeyes win a game 35-31, or even 31-28.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 3:48pm

It's been a while since a championship game that I have cared less about. But then I think about last year's and realize that one wasn't that interesting either.

I really think that having the championship game a week after the New Year was a bad move. It may have sounded like a good idea on paper, but my mindset has already moved on to the NFL playoffs - and this from someone that far prefers college football to the NFL variety. But the conversation at work today, even among the people that have been talking college football the whole season, is about last weekend's playoff games, and not about college. The talk the day we got back after New Year's Day was about college football.

Now? One other coworker who is a college football fanatic had forgotten it was tonight and was planning to watch American Gladiators.

When ESPN uses headlines like "Remember? There's a championship game tonight", you know something's wrong.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 4:38pm

1- So I take it you've taken a pass on the past two Super Bowls, since they didn't feature dominant teams.

Actually, I'm being sarcastic. I think you watched, and had a great interest in the games. You're just holding college football to an impossible standard.

9- The bowls, especially the title game, desperately miss being on ABC and getting the boost from the ESPN hype machine.

I'm looking forward to the game. My guess is that it won't be a blowout, but LSU wins convincingly.

by perplexed (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 4:53pm

I don't understand. These two teams are competing to see who is the runner-up to Appalachian State? App State won the playoffs by playing four games and winning each one of them, including the title game. These 'Bowls' are like exhibition games? Or is it more like figure skating where a panel gives each team a rating score and then the two highest scores face off? Did LSU get like a 9.74 and OSU a 9.73? The Russian judge screwed LSU I think.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 4:59pm


Honestly, if everybody wants the playoffs so bad why can't any of the lower divisions get anyone to watch the games? That's right, because you don't really care, you're just interested in complaining.

by im_no_playa (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 5:08pm

#4 -- many pick-6?

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 5:15pm

Just because you want playoffs at the highest level doesn't mean you're going to watch the lower divisions just because they have them. There's still a talent differential, it's still lower quality football.

I like hockey, it doesn't mean I feverishly follow the AHL.

(Actually, I did watch the I-AA semifinals and finals, but I'm weird.)

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 5:25pm

I doubt I'll even watch this game tonight. I sincerely doubt LSU and OSU are the top two teams in the country and thus watching them play for the right to be crowned #1 is less than thrilling.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 5:27pm

because the lower divisions aren't on TV every Saturday and we don't know the teams. If USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and LSU (amongst others) are in a playoff, I am sure people will watch it.

by perplexed (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 5:51pm

Re: 12

And I will note that ESPN won't cut away from the game tonight to bring us an exciting baseball signing during the most pivotal play of the game like they did to Appalachian State during the championship game.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 6:17pm

15- In your opinion who are these teams that are better than LSU and tOSU?

by Johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 6:30pm

I just wish they could get these games in a little earlier. Chalk me up as one of those that forgets these college bowls are even on after Jan 1st.

by dork matter (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 6:48pm


The flip side of a good defense stopping the opponent's offense short is giving it's own offense good field position. Turnovers can create even shorter fields for your offense. There's something of a canceling-out effect on the final score. Remember the NE-CAR Super Bowl? Great defenses, high final scores.

by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 8:02pm

Just throwing this out there...I think Les Miles' riverboat gambler luck finally runs out tonight. Ohio St 24, LSU 17 in an ugly defensive stuggle.

If Glen Dorsey is completely healthy, which no one seems to know, that could alter my prediction, but as is, I'll stand by my prediction. And maybe, just maybe, we can end all of this SEC/Big 10 speed vs. big & slow non-sense. Of course, if LSU wins...

by joe football (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 8:40pm

Join some of your favorite FO posters during the BCS title game for IRC football chat, cognet.catch22.org, channel #fo

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 9:13pm

If anyone's curious, I have some thoughts on the draft prospects of the players in tonight's game:
LSU offense
LSU defense
Ohio State offense
Ohio State defense

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:04pm

Re 18--Kevin, not to defend the comment in number 15, but after their bowl games, a case could be made for USC, Georgia, and WVU as on the same level as LSU and Ohio State. I don't know that I'm willing to make that case, but I don't think it's absurd on its face, which your post seems to imply you think. My opinion (and, although it is based on watching a reasonable amount of college football, it is nevertheless only one person's opinion) is that those five teams, and perhaps even another one or two that I've overlooked, are pretty much an "any given Saturday" group. I"m willing to concede, for instance, that, as much as I liked the outcome of the Fiesta Bowl, another Oklahoma-WVU game might come out completely differently.

That LSU and Ohio State are playing for the "national championship" is by no means an injustice or a travesty, but neither would be substituting one of the other top teams.

by pm (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:07pm

I'm not sure why people are really taking the FEI as a great index of college football teams. I told everybody all season that it overrated teams like South Florida, but people were too convinced that the system was a transcending type system like DVOA. It's not.

People tried to justify South Florida because they beat two overrated "top 10" teams, but anybody who watches the real games knows that South Florida was really a fringe top 25 team not the #7 team as some meaningless computer said. Then the Dennis Dixon-less Orregon Ducks that scored 0 points vs. UCLA, went on to score 55 and blow out the overrated fraud. The rankings play themselves out on the field not on a computer.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:23pm

Wasn't Oregon highly ranked by the computer as well and didn't they pick Oregon to win...or am I going crazy.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:38pm

Well, LSU is off to a rousing start so far- Beanie Wells rips off a 60 yard TD run, and LSU's offense goes blooey with the center snapping over Flynn's head on 3rd down. Way to be ready, Tigers.

As I write this, OSU is back in the red zone. Boeckman may not be great, but if you leave someone wide f'ing open, he generally finds the receiver.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:47pm

I'm just wondering if the Buckeyes haven't already scored enough points to win the game...

LSU *badly* needed that 3rd and 7 conversion.

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:55pm

Does anyone else feel that Laurinitis (sp) is really overrated? He seems to always get blocked out of the play. Like the last long Hester run with like 6 minutes left in the first quarter. He was completely out of the play. And on that 3rd and one inside the twenty on the same drive the FB barely blocked him but it took him out of the play to allow the first down. Its seems like this happens every time I watch OSU. I just don't see whats so special about the guy. Anyone care to explain???

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 10:58pm

LSU has one problem in that the DE for OSU has 3 times pushed his blocker into the qb.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:09pm

That Golston fellow for OS seems to be bloody good.

by Michael David Smith :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:12pm

Will someone please tell the idiots who run the Fox affiliate in Chicago to stop already with the storm warnings? It's raining. We get it. You don't have to block part of the screen and take the whole game out of HD to tell us.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:13pm

LSU has their sea legs.

Don't know about all this blitzing. That stuff works against the Wisconsins but not a good team.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:13pm

OK I know I have asked this before, but I have a new computer now and am just wondering,

How the hell do you connect to the IRC channel?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:17pm

OK, what am I missing here? On the LSU TD, they had four receivers in a diamond right, one split wide, and a tight end.... ummmm....

Unless the announcers were wrong and they only had three wide right (I don't have DVR, I can't rewind to check), it's fairly obvious why nobody covered the TE... he wasn't an eligible receiver!

So, would that be reviewable?

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:19pm

Good grief FOX. Show the penalty...

by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:22pm

Nice of FOX to completely miss a penalty call because they had to show an Archie Griffin montage. I'd also like to thank them for shamelessly shilling Jumper. I'm waiting for the crowd shots of the stars of Jumper who just happen to be at the game.

by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:24pm

35 - They split four out right, but one was a covered lineman, so it was a legal formation.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:27pm

I will not complain about screen shots of Rachel Bilson.

I am watching Casablanca instead. I love football, but I cannot stand Ohio State and I am quickly becoming a big no-fan of LSU. I cannot stand to see the teams nor their fans happy. I am a petty person.

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:27pm

Ok and again with about 11 minnutes left in the 2nd, Laurinitis gets blocked out of two consecutive first down runs.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:30pm


"What nationality do you claim Mr Rick?

I'm a drunkard."

Best line ever.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:37pm

6 and 50 for the OSU defense are playing well. But getting no help.

Impressive INT by LSU.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:39pm

Impressive pass interference as well. But hand-fighting is allowed I guess if they keep it consistent.

I only flip to the game when I hear my apartment complex get loud....I am in Baton Rouge. Probably the only person in the city not watching the game.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:46pm

Regarding number 33 of OSU he made his bones playing well against "standard" offenses like WI and lame spread offenses like NW. Tonight is the first time he probably has to play in space against talented athletes.

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:52pm

Why did Miles wait 25 seconds before calling the time out before the half??

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:53pm

We'll see what OSU is made of now.

by kal (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:55pm

Well...I guess that's how they'll score that many points; the defense of OSU is just going to suck, and LSU will make a few mistakes on offense.

Boy does Boeckmann suck.

As to FEI: FEI does a good job when it can actually monitor the true health of a team. It doesn't do well with injuries or missing players. It doesn't know about new coaches and new systems. It's an interesting metric, but it's one metric of many that is useful. It predicted Oregon winning but for all the wrong reasons, and it's predicting a close game here for all the wrong reasons as well.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 11:56pm


I am guessing cupcakes.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:02am

I like the halftime contest- David Browndike is back!

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:03am

Well, the Buckeyes have to be done here, right? I mean, after a whole year of stewing over the last title game arse-whipping, vowing on their mothers' graves to never let it happen again, having someone put a DVD out full of every bad thing anyone said about them, and taking a 10-0 lead only to fall behind at the half by 14 anyway after all that, WTF can Tressel possibly say NOW?

At some point it doesn't matter how angry and motivated you claim to be if you can;t actually get the job done when it's time to get it done. Maybe the big bad SEC really IS that big and bad after all. Everyone wants to point to the Florida-Michigan game but Michigan was at an all-time high and the Gators played like absolute garbage and still the Wolvies won by six. SIX!!! All that game showed was that a Big 10 team can barely beat an SEC team when they're at their best and the SEC team is at its worst. Good for the Big 10.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:04am

Well, if Josh Huston doesn't inspire OSU to come back into this game, nothing will.

by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:05am

Technically, you're not at your best if you finish -4 in turnovers.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:07am

Meh, the difference in the conferences is in depth, not really in the teams at the top. I'd say this game (should this result hold) tells us that LSU's tougher schedule (in part due to the greater parity of the SEC) prepared them better for the tough game. They came back and fought for the momentum. OSU seems shocked that they didn't win the game when they went up 10-0.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:09am


Over the last two years, the Big 10 is actually leading the SEC 3-2 in their bowl matchups.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:17am

Not sure why FOX buried June Jones. Yeah, sitting around talking about the game at the half with your frosted hair is good work if you can find it, you titanic douche.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:34am


by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:35am

Oh you've got to be kidding me. Again???

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:36am

(after the roughing penalty on the punter)

OSU is simply playing stupid, stupid football. That's the thing that I would've never expected from OSU and a Tressel team; I figured that they'd be at least smart football players, but right now they're looking like thugs. They're not wrapping up, they're not staying disciplined, they look pretty whipped.

Yes, I'm still trying to figure out how Michigan beat Florida.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:37am

Gee, nice of the refs to always catch OSU being morons. I'm sure LSU are saints out there.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:37am

What kind of tackling is that?

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:39am

The Ohio State University -- the 1980s Denver Broncos of college football.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:42am

I understand you need a turnover and all, but you'd think one of the three guys would at least try to wrap up instead of going for the strip or the big hit.

That's what's driving me crazy with this game. It's not like LSU's a whole lot better, if they are at all. It's the complete self-destruction OSU is pulling - five (FIVE!!!) personal fouls, not wrapping up, missing easy tackles, blocked kicks, silly throws... Just a total lack of discipline that's costing them a very winnable game.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:42am


Easy, a senior class that was about to go down in shame playing for a head coach in his last game. Oh and Hart and Henne where finally healthy. And they were playing a bad Florida defense (a healthy Michigan offense was going to be a good one).

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:46am

If I squint my eyes enough I keep on seeing Larry Coker on that LSU sideline wearing a goofy-looking hat.

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:46am

I agree with Trogdor. The final score may end up looking like last year, but this is a very different game. Ohio State didn't look like it belonged on the same field with Florida last year; this looks very much like a team they can compete with, but they're not giving themselves any chance with the way they're playing.

One man who's probably not enjoying this result? Rich Rodriguez. If he can't be Tressel, the longing for Miles in Ann Arbor is going to be out of control.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:48am

Barring a miracle, LSU is #1.

How did LSU lose one game, let alone two? On the other hand, how did they not lose at least three?

How did Stanford ever beat Southern Cal? How could Oklahoma beat Missouri decisively- twice?

I hope everyone enjoyed the 2007 season. It's unlikely 2008 will be as entertaining.

Biggest shocks of 2007:

1. Appalachian State over Michigan. Holy cow. An upset for the ages which could never be replicated in any other sport.
2. (if it holds up)- A two loss team wins the National Title. The biggest pre-season concern was that Oklahoma, LSU, and Southern Cal would all go undefeated.
3. Illinois goes the the Rose Bowl.
4. Louisville sucks.
5. Stanford over Southern Cal.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:49am

Michigan beat Florida because their players were better that day. If Michigan had helped Florida score two touchdowns with 60 yards of personal fouls, they probably would have lost. Well, actually, since Michigan probably would have beaten Florida by 21 if they had taken care of the football, they probably could have beaten Florida with the personal fouls, if they hadn't fumbled.

Anybody who hates stupid football hates the Buckeyes tonight. The Tressel repuation is sinking like The Lusitania.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:52am

Hester squeezes through some of the smallest holes. For the NFL, I think he could turn out to be a high success rate guy - he seems to get four no matter what, sort of a post-ACL Edge.

Interception! And that's what we needed! Too bad he stepped out of bounds, though.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:53am

I don't get why the past 3 of 4 seasons the out of the two "best" teams in the country that they have been such blow-outs.

Hopefully we will never see a team with such terrible credentials as Ohio State in the national championship ever again.

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:56am

The reason you get blowouts in this game is the same reason you get blowouts in the Super Bowl. It's a weird game, neutral site, extra layoff, more media attention, longer halftimes, different routines, etc. When things start to go wrong, they tend to snowball.

I have always believed that bowl games are almost always won from the neck up.

Nice pickup by tOSU on 4th down. Maybe they can make this a game yet?

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:56am

God, Laurinitis looks terrible. How is this guy the top LB in the country??? He just got manhandled by LSU's center, and is getting burned by every pass. He's gonna be an absolute bust in the NFL.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:57am

Touchdown! And we have a ballgame again. Even after completely telegraphing the third down play and allowing all 11 to converge simultaneously...

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:58am

Re 24 (if it isn't too recherche to reference your own post...or to use the word "recherche" in a football thread!)

I'm still not calling it a travesty that OSU's there, but I sure would have rather seen what USC or the WVU that showed up against Oklahoma could do vrs. LSU than watch Ohio State fold up like a cheap card table.

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:58am

Also, I'm not sure you can say Ohio State has "terrible" credentials. Yes, the schedule wasn't great. But they went 11-1 in a year when almost everyone had two losses, and the only defeat was to a team that went 9-3. They were as qualified as anyone to play in this game. They just haven't played very well.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:59am

These Flynn draws are just terrible.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:59am

What we need now is some patented Les Miles wackiness that backfires majorly. I'm thinking a flea flicker thrown into double coverage for a pick would be nice.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:04am

They went 11-1 in a conference that was worse than the Pac-10, Big 12, and Big East. They didn't choke late, I applaud them. They beat Penn State at Penn State which is probably their best win, they beat a P.J. Hill-less Wisconsin, and a banged-up Michigan team.

Terrible is probably too strong of a word, I don't see them being much better than USC (even with that terrible loss to Stanford), West Virginia, or Georgia. A healthy Oklahoma would probably be better. Heck maybe even Missouri

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:09am

Yeah, West Vrigina was great against the juggernaut that is Pittsburgh

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:10am

77- Easy to say at this point.

Southern Cal, Georgia, and West Virginia looked great...they didn't get have to play LSU.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:12am

On third and 4 in 4-down territory, I tend to think you run it. Apparently not, and it's a sack for a loss of three.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:14am

Did Jim Tressel, the coach who was almost universally lauded as a genius last year, just run a third and medium play that consisted of two go routes and a slant? Seriously? When your receivers clearly haven't gotten any separation versus the corners all day?

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:15am

but Kentucky and Arkansas did? And USC got to beat the hell out of the team that beat Ohio State.

An injured Pat White killed West Virginia's chances. Of course no team should have to depend on a player that much, but it happens, so perhaps West Virginia did not totally deserve to be in the championship game I guess.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:15am

Yep, that's when a run is an excellent call.....

by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:17am

If you can't beat Pitt at home, you don't deserve to play in the title game. I don't care if your QB is hurt. Same goes for losing to Stanford.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:18am

god I can't stand LSU. I am not sure why I watch college football. I had to see Chris Leak win a national title and I am now about to see Les Miles win one. Ugh.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:18am

Not to mention, when your run game is working well and you're having trouble in all phases of the passing game, and it's 3rd and 4 in obvious 4-down territory...

And of course, the obligatory 4th down disaster. The only hope is a personal foul for the hit on Boeckman (if the ref takes the protect-the-QB thing too far, which they tend to do at crazy times), but no such luck.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:20am

Tressel has been flat-out bamboozled two years in a row. I guess going up against Larry Coker ain't the same as doing so against Urban Meyer or Les Miles.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:21am

I had thought that was only the second penalty on LSU (the blatant intentional downing penalty was the first), but wasn't sure it had been that one-sided. Come to think of it, they haven't called many on OSU of the non-personal foul type. They're pretty much letting anything go during the play, it seems.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:22am

Right, but losing to Arkansas or Illinois gives you a pass for going to the big game.


I feel really bad for a OSU fan friend of mine; he must be absolutely going nuts watching OSU implode.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:23am


I thought Les Miles was rich man's Larry Coker.

by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:25am

82 - Injuries really killed what would have been interesting - Oregon with Dixon vs WVU with White.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:25am

Most rip jobs on coaches which occur in the media are questionable, but Tressel ought to be roasted on a spit.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:29am

92- Three National Title games in six years...and Tressel should be WHAT?

Big picture, sir.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:30am

And even in the matchup with Coker, they really should have won that game by about 20. They won the turnover battle by a lot, completely shut down the Miami offense for much of the game, had a great field position advantage throughout and had an effective run game. To have it even be close enough that a bad call allowed Miami to send it to OT was insane, especially after McGahee got hurt (although that was when Coker discovered that something called 'Kellen Winslow' existed and was completely impossible to cover). And the next year they nearly blew the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State where they were up about 35-7 and went in the tank. So it's not like OSU underperforming in a bowl is anything new.

On a different note, I don't care whether it's BCS or playoffs, I'm going to watch. I'm just surprised that of all the pro-playoff arguments out there, I hardly ever hear about just how stupid it is to put stock in bowl results. Not just the championship game, but any bowl results. I say the same thing pretty much every year, but bowl records/results are so completely disconnected from the rest of the season that any team or conference argument based on them is just silly.

That being said, I'm really pissed at how OSU has played tonight. I don't care if the system's insane, it's what's in place, and you have to be ready for it.

And busting out the Andy Reid hurry-up is not the way to go.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:32am

#93: That's not what he means. It's one thing to get to the championship game, but when you just flat out get outcoached two years in a row when you get there, he deserves a bit of criticism.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:33am

OK, and that's game, barring complete meltdown.

So, anyone watch American Gladiators last night? Awful. But the Chicago station had Mike Adamle doing sports afterwards, which was fun.

And LSU runs out of bounds for some reason, giving me a brief glimpse of hope that they might do something insanely stupid still.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:36am

95- But things have never- EVER- been better for OSU football.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:37am


Not to mention OSU kept the game against ND closer than necessary thanks to Tressel playing for FGs every time they got inside the ND 30.

That being said, I still take Tressel over just about anyone not named Carroll or Meyer.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:37am

I didn't say he should be fired. In two consecutive national championship games, against aopponents which were NOT significantly more talented (note that Troy Smith, Tony Gonzalez, and Ted Ginn played in NFL games this year), Tressel has failed to have his team ready to play. This is worthy of a roasting.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:38am

78. OK, Will, it's perfectly fair to play that card against WVU. Of course, Ohio State lost to the dynasty that is Illinois, USC to the powerhouse that is Stanford, LSU to mighty Kentucky and unstoppable Arkansas, Georgia to super South Carolina, among others...But I guess losing with your best player hurt in a traditional rivalry game that justified your opponent's entire season does make you worthy of particular scorn. I'm not saying that it wasn't a terrible loss; I am saying that, given the way this season went, terrible losses were fairly easy to come by.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:39am

And...LSU twists the knife a little.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:40am

And now LSU is about 75/76 on 4th downs this year, including about 38 where the guy gets hit in the backfield but still gets it. Throw in a series of complete meltdowns by almost every opponent, and you have one of the most incredible seasons in CFB history. They had better talent than every team they played (by a huge margin over all but two or three), will probably put as many players in the NFL as anyone, came into the season as one of the obvious favorites, and yet this still feels like the luckiest season of all time. They could have won every game by thirty or lost six just as easily. And that ends the most surreal season I can remember.

by Jeff Gordon is gay (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:41am

The Big Ten can't handle the SEC speed once again.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:41am

95- But things have never- EVER- been better for OSU football.

Sure. You know why? Because there are two parts to coaching college football. The first is recruiting, which Jim Tressel (and his wads of secret cash) is fantastic at.

The second part is coaching, which he is awful at.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:41am

99- Overall, Tressell has been spectacular for tOSU.

I choose to focus on that, not two games where he was allegedly outcoached. Frankly, I see the dreaded SEC v Big-10 talent gap that we're being bullied into not discussing. ( ;)- said toungue in cheek, for Pete's sake)

Game over. Congrats to LSU.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:42am


is right, the way this season went LSU does deserve to win the whole damn thing.....though Florida was scraping by last season as well.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:43am

Curmudgeon, I was responding to the assertion that West Virgina was "probably better" than OSU. No team which loses to Pitt at home can make such an assertion.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:43am

3 national title games in 6 years is starting to point to a weak Big-10 conference, especially when you look at how the Big-10 has performed against other conferences in general. Even if it doesn't do that, there's no excuse for how bad OSU has looked in both games. Last year they simply looked outmatched; this year they look outcoached and are making way too many mistakes. (as I write this, boeckmann throws YET ANOTHER interception). At some point you can't blame the players; OSU has ridiculous recruiting and booster support. They just don't look prepared.

Also, their line last year and this year both look horrible. I don't know what they're doing, but they're not blocking on pass attempts worth a damn. NOt that Boeckmann is that good when he has time, but boy is he bad when he doesn't.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:46am

Re: 107

After seeing the bowls, I'd take WVU on a neutral field.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:46am


Yes they can. And I will. West Virginia with a healthy Pat White is better than Ohio State.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:46am

OK, now we just need an onside, then a quick TD, then another onside, then another quick TD....

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:47am

3 national title games in 6 years is starting to point to a weak Big-10 conference,

Horse bleep.

That's a model of consistency, and Tressel deserves credit.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:47am

kal, don't get carred away, given the Big Ten has won just barely less than half of their games against the SEC over the last 26.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:48am

3 national title games in 6 years is starting to point to a weak Big-10 conference

Oh, of course. Especially when OSU won the first of those three national championships.

Oh, and in one of those years when OSU wasn't in the national championship, you had two Big Ten teams in the last Top 5 of the year, both winning BCS games and one of them giving the national championship one of their closest games of the year.

I'll buy the Big Ten being weak this year. Maybe last year. But 2005 and prior? Uh, no.

by Tiresias (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:49am

And now OSU is 0-9 against the SEC. See? I can cherry pick stats too.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:50am

Just turned the game back on to get the final score...the talking heads were saying "it wouldn't be a surprise to see this team back in the national championship game next year." Imagine my horror when I realized they were talking about Ohio State! Whatever SEC team manages to finagle its way into the BCS championship game is already licking its chops.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:50am

Yes, lionsbob, and if OSU had Peyton Manning, they would be better. You play with the whole roster, and if you can't beat Pitt at home with your second string qb, you have no business making such an assertion.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:51am

Re 112: "That’s a model of consistency" Or maybe its a model of the Big Ten champion getting a little too much credit.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:53am

The Big Ten and the SEC are the only 2 conferences that play bowl games? Kal said bowl games in general. This year the Big Ten is going to be 3-5, last season they were 2-5, 3-4 in 2005...

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:56am


Sure, but I am, West Virginia lost 2 games this year....both games that Pat White was injured before half time, both losses by less than a TD. Football is a team game, but some guys are more equal than the others.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:57am

okay, some clarification.

You say 3 National Title games in the last 6 years. Okay, that's fine - but we're not really talking about 6 years ago, are we? Everyone agrees that was a good team and played well. And the Big-10 wasn't weak a few years ago either. No, we're talking about last year and this year.

And both last year and this year, the Big-10 was weak.

So really, how amazing are two National championship appearances when you don't actually do that well in the games? How amazing is it that you win the Big-10 championship when the Big-10 is weak? Is this a particularly notable accomplishment?

Two years in a row, OSU has dominated their conference while playing weak out of conference games (not their fault that ND or Texas weren't as good, but that's the way it is). That tells me that the Big-10 isn't that good right now. Maybe they will be, and it's certainly true that they've been good in the past, but it's not true for the last two years. Seriously, the best win the Big-10 has out of conference is Michigan-Florida, and you only have to look at the beginning of the year to see Michigan's issues.

And this game, the fact is that OSU had the talent. They seemed to do stupid thing after stupid thing, and that comes down to coaching. Tressel should be commended for recruiting like no tomorrow and beating Michigan over and over. But he's not done well against top-tier opponents in the last two years, and he certainly made some questionable decisions in this game.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:59am

Yes, lionsbob, 22 games is such a significant sample. No, 26 isn't much more, but then I'm not making any strong assertions which require a significant sample. I've said Tressel has stunk in two consecutive championship games, and he has.

by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:59am

Just remember the conference with the best bowl record over the past two years.

It's all about the MWC speed.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:01am


Yes, lionsbob, and if OSU had Peyton Manning, they would be better. You play with the whole roster, and if you can’t beat Pitt at home with your second string qb, you have no business making such an assertion.

By that token, Texas should never have played in the National championship.

I'm sorry, but some times losing a player means a lot. It just does. Saying that it's entirely a team sport and they should suck it up ignores a lot of what college football is: college football is passion. Losing your captain and your best player and having someone with a totally different skillset come in can really wreck you in a way that the pros doesn't.

Ignoring the effect of losing one player on a season seems to miss something, and dismissing it as 'they couldn't ever compete' seems ludicrous to me. A QB is the most important position, and in the spread option the QB is even more important.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:06am

Yeah, lionsbob, which is why you evaluate a team by the entire roster. If you can't beat crappy teams at home when you lose one player, your roster is seriously flawed, which makes saying that you are "probably better" than a team which didn't have such a loss problematic.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:09am

kal, why use quotations for something I never wrote? I said West Virginia couldn't beat a crappy team at home when they were missing one player. It wasn't as if they were playing LSU, or even Virginia Tech.

by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:11am

If the Patriots lost Tom Brady, and then lost to a bad team, would that mean their entire roster is flawed?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:11am

I'm quite confident Texas could have beaten Pitt at home (by 30) with their backup QB. That Texas team could've just gone 80's Nebraska offense and run up 50 on this year's Pitt, and I doubt Pitt would've scored much on that NFL-laden defense.

In fact, I'm certain WVU could beat Pitt at home with their backup QB - probably 85 out of 100 times. This just happened to be one of the 15. And USC probably beats Stanford 99 out of 100, and Michigan beats ASU 96 out of 100. And Ohio State could win this one maybe 40 times out of 100, or more if they don't 'win' the self-destruct battle by five PF's, two unforced turnovers, and a blocked field goal. But it doesn't matter what might've happened. We only know what did. And that left WVU in a normal BCS game, Michigan a laughingstock, USC on the outside looking in, and OSU being LSU's equal but giving fodder to the "SEC speed lololololz" crowd. Them's the breaks.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:13am

I'm making an open letter to college football. Could you please please PLEASE not have the Buckeyes in the title game next year? I don't care if they have no losses (they really should considering the nobodies they play) DON'T LET THEM IN!!!

If they get in then title game for a THIRD straight time I'm thinking it'll have the lowest ratings ever. I know I won't be watching.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:16am

If Ohio State gets by a visit to SoCal next season and stays undefeated they might deserve it.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:17am

Yeah, Navin, I'd say that if the Patriots didn't beat the Jets without Brady, primarily due to qb play, it would indicate a serious flaw in who they chose to be back-up qb, especially if they had no salary cap, and were operating in a system in which they knew that such a single loss to the Jets could ruin whatever chance they had to win a championship.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:20am

And its not that Jarrett Brown is bad, its that Pat White is special. College football is built around special players. But yes West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh, clearly no one should think they are better than Ohio State. The proof is based on that alone.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:21am

Condolences to the Buckeyes in general, although not to the ones setting fire to things outside my house.

Seriously, as a Pac-10 fan living in Ohio, my - wholly impartial - opinion is that it might be time to give some other conference a shot.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:24am

lionsbob, you can think the moon is made of cheese for all I care. I merely noted that, when saying team A is better than team B, based on performance on the field, team A having lost to a crappy team at home, even when they are missing their starting qb, seriously weakens such an assertion.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:28am

and when I see that both of Ohio State's losses where to 2 spread based offenses and that West Virginia plays that offense better then Illinois I can feel free to think that West Virginia can beat Ohio State.

Its a moot point, the season is over-West Virginia will be higher ranked than Ohio State, loss to Pittsburgh or not.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:33am

Yes, lionsbob, I concede, and am thankful, that it is a free country. Note that I never claimed that West Virginia could not beat Ohio State.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:46am

Having re-read your remarks, lionsbob, I apologize for misinterpreting them. If your point was that West Virginia could beat OSU, I agree wholeheartedly. I merely thought you were saying the opposite was true, that OSU could not beat West Virginia.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:52am

I am just a bitter Ohio State non-fan. I think Ohio State is a good team, but was definitely not a national title caliber team this year (I think even most Ohio State fans would said 2008 was going to be their season, not this year). They did not choke later then everybody else and have no terrible losses either.

by Will B. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:53am

Ohio State lost by two touchdowns, but they were not dominated in the game. 5 personal fouls, including one on a 4th & 23 on a punt (which LSU converted to a TD), and a Brian Robiskie dropped TD (and the subsequent FG was blocked) is the difference in the game. Ohio State isn't as good as LSU, but they aren't that much worse. Check the final yardage stats - Ohio State 353, LSU 351. These were two evenly matched teams, with one making a lot of mistakes.

And as has been said, if Ohio State can bring back Gholsten (their best defensive player) and Boone (flawed, but still a good lineman), they'll have a good shot of being back in the NC game again next season. They'll have to beat USC on the road and also have to deal with a very strong Illinois team, but they should be top ten to start the season.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:54am

kal, why use quotations for something I never wrote?

Err, because you wrote it? Look a few posts above that one.

I don't think it's reasonable to say that just because a team loses one game - even a horrible game to a bad team - that they should not have a shot at playing for the title. It should be a consideration when looking at the body of their work, sure. But it's not the only thing.

Fact is, WV playing with Pat White was doing very, very well. When they lost White, they did poorly. That doesn't make them a bad team, that just makes them a shallow team. If White was out for the season (like Dixon was) that would be a good argument for taking them out of the running; who wants to see a toothless team? But he wasn't, so why not consider them?

OSU has always been constructed around a strong defense combined with competent QB play and good running. That sort of thing means that they will likely be in the running against all teams no matter what, but it also means that in certain circumstances (for example, playing catchup) they'll do badly. Other teams focus more on the offense, and when you do that you tend to have one or two very special players making you a great team. I don't see why losing when you've lost your special player (in that game, no less) makes you a team suddenly so horrible that you shouldn't ever be in consideration, or the idea that if you lose one player and couldn't beat another team means that you shouldn't play for the title.

I'd also argue that Illinois isn't any better than Pitt, really. Especially given their recent performance. And unlike WVU, OSU didn't have the excuse of losing their QB. They might've done better if they had.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 3:10am

Where did I write "They couldn't ever compete"?

I also never wrote West Virginia was a bad team. I wrote that they lost at home to a crappy team, and in my opinion, as long as we are going to award championships without a playoff, losing to a crappy team at home should be end all hopes of a championship, unless every other contender has done so as well. If you are going to dispute Pitt's crappiness, fine, I'll revise. Losing at home to a team which lost 7 other games should end any chance of a shot at the title.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 3:17am

Gosh, lionsbob, as time goes by, I'm far more disgusted by Tressel's job from last year. He has a roster which includes a guy who has a decent chance to be a starting NFL qb, an upper echelon NFL receiver, and another receiver who may have been drafted too high, but who did manage to run back a kick before getting injured, and his team just falt out stinks the joint out. Hell, by comparison, this year, Tressel is Bud Wilkinson!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 3:28am

Also, kal, are you really claiming that if Pitt were to have played USC in the Rose Bowl last week, there would have been a point in the 2nd half where Pitt would have been three yards away from a 4 point deficit? Seriously?

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:31am


Tressel I think did a good job this season in the regular season (though I still think the Big Ten was not that great this year and could have easily seen a team like Auburn amassing the same record in the Big Ten this year). I should not take away too much from them-they have 12 guys put their names into the NFL advisory board-it is a talented team-but it was a lot of talented juniors that I did not see being National title contenders until 2008....but now we will wait and see who they get back (I think they only lose Gholston and Jenkins off that defense early).

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:55am

#143: Sure, why not? That's what USC has been doing for 4 years. They play weak and close for the first half and then obliterate them in the second half. They do this against bad teams and against good teams. Where they get in trouble is when they can't shut out those teams in the second half and the adjustments Carroll makes aren't as good. That's when you get Stanford.

So yeah, a Pitt team that lost 7 could have gone within 4 points to USC last week. Is it likely? Not hugely, but it's certainly within the realm of thinking, especially given what we've seen of USC this year and in past years. Honestly, go back and look at the games USC played this year and point out which ones they just obliterated from start to finish. The only one I can think of is Notre Dame. I'm claiming that Pitt at least as good as Stanford. That's not so insane, is it?

WVU lost at home to a crappy team when they lost their star QB. USC lost to a horrible team without losing their QB. This is not the sole indicator that a team is bad or that they're undeserving. It also isn't an indicator that they're clearly worse than another team.

I don't know if WVU could've beaten LSU. I doubt it. I do think reasonably that they could've beaten the hell out of OSU though. They'd likely do well against USC or Georgia too. Of all of those teams, I think USC - who has by far the worst loss of the teams - would've done the best against LSU. Using your criteria, USC should never be even considered against them.

I think that WVU was probably better than OSU, at least with a healthy White. I think that Oregon was better than OSU with a healthy Dixon. I think that USC was certainly better now, and probably Georgia. And I don't think that any of those teams losing to a bad team would make me think otherwise.

That seems stupid to me. It makes sense to you. So be it.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 5:21am

kal, what seems stupid to me is that you keep implying that I've asserted that West Virginia or USC are bad teams, which I have never done. You seem to believe that your opinion of a team, when determining whether they are worthy of title consideration, is a better determinant than how the team actually performed, at least against bad football teams. This seems insane to me. So be it.

What also seems insane is to equate how USC performs in a mid-season game with how they pergform in the Rose Bowl. Next, you'll be telling me that Stanford would have had every bit as good an opportunity to pull the upset last week as they did in the season.

by T.Patterson (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 5:25am

Wow, I think that putrid ND team played tougher last year.

So should Tressel decline all future bowl games against an SEC opponent?

I mean, seriously, OHSt. sucks. Couldn't have happened to a more phonyilypiousselfinterestedcoach. But hey, that's the "tradition" of the college game. What a fripping joke.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 6:00am

Will Allen, you've asserted that you don't believe that WVU or USC should be in even talking about a national champion because they lost to a bad team.

I simply don't believe that losing to one bad team for whatever reason means automatically that that team is worse than any other team. That is what this site is all about after all - that simple metrics are not the best judge of what team is better than what other team.

USC sucked against Stanford. They blew it. It was the most historic upset in the history of the sport. I am telling you that this does not mean USC is a bad team and it certainly does not mean that USC is automatically worse than OSU. I am telling you that if USC and OSU played right now, USC would likely win. I am also telling you that if USC were to play LSU they would be more competitive than OSU was. I am saying the same thing about WVU. Even their losing to a bad Pitt team does not discount this.

Why? Because simply losing a game by itself does not tell you anything. It is too little of a sample to say anything reasonable, especially when (for example) a star quarterback is lost. Again, this is what this site is about. If you really think that one loss to a bad team automatically makes you worse than a team with one loss to a mediocre team and that no other consideration is worth it...I guess I disagree.

If you're saying something else, it'd be nice to be clearer about it. But yes, I do believe that my opinion (which is based on how a team is playing right now and how a team has played throughout the season combined with knowledge about injuries, weather, offensive/defensive systems, etc) is a better judge of how a team is than whether they lost one game to a bad team.

by Fourth (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 6:27am

Heh, you two seem to be rehashing an argument we've had just about every week on the best way to rank the teams. Some people think you should rank every spot asking "who would be favored on a neutral field" and some prefer the good ol "what have you done on the field" method.

It is true that by losing to a Pitt or Stanford, you are probably going to lose by the latter standard. However, I think USC would have been favored to beat OSU, and WVU would have been somewhere in the pick-em range.

By the way, I think if I were filling out a ballot, I would have had LSU-Georgia 1-2 when the regular season ended. But hey, I'm a horrible SEC fanboi...then again, seems the AP likes that ranking now that the bowls have been played.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 6:37am

#147: Right AWN brutha!!!

Seeing the Suckeyes get routed yet again in a title game they had no business being in and only reached because they play one "real" team a season is a tradition I for one could do without!!!

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 10:05am

Sorry I missed the rest of the fun last night. Had to take someone to the emergency room. Saw snippets of the game on the waiting room TV. (And yes, this morning all is well)

So Tressel gets them all fired up and the team plays incredibly stupid laying on cheat shots? Good grief.

Really surprised JT put it on his qb tonight, particularly when his running back was finding some holes. Clearly some passing was required but nothing wrong with playing control the clock football.

Didn't hear Dorsey's name much. But he certainly looked active in the middle. Thought the LSU defense reminded me of the Bears in that it's about pressuring the offense at the risk of the big play. But they have the "makeup speed" to compensate most times if the offense catches them out of position.

Still very impressed by that interception in the first half by the LSU corner. That was one heckuva play.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 11:35am

#129 Suggestion: send your letter to the people who vote in the BCS polls. That's 2/3 of the weighting for the NCG, right? If they keep tOSU out of the top two, that should be enough to make sure they're not in the final game in 2009.

Regarding White and Dixon getting injured, isn't that always a higher risk running those types of offenses than something like USC or tOSU play? Running QBs take a lot of hits...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:18pm

Kal, I cannot fathom why you keep writing that USC or West Virginia are not bad teams, given I have never claimed they are bad teams. Nor have I ever claimed that OSU is better. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why you put quotes around things I never wrote, or put forth statements which imply I've made arguments I never put forth.

We have a system where a teams' entire body of work over the season is to determine whether they get a shot at the title, with no true playoff. You believe that losing to teams with very bad records is to be of secondary importance to the subjective opinions that people form. I differ, because absent a playoff, subjective opinions are far less concrete than the fact that a team went up against a far less talented club, at home, and performed extremely poorly. Losing to a 7 loss team at home is an undeniable reality. Everything else is opinion, and due to the nature of college football, we have no advanced metrics like we have in pro football. No, and for the final time, I am not saying that West Virginia or USC are bad teams, or that OSU is better. I'm saying that West Virginia and USC excluded themselves from a shot at the title, under the current format, by compiling horrible losses that other contenders did not.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 12:25pm

Also, kal, without a playoff, I think an extreme injustice is done when a teams performance is weighted. Unless we have a playoff, stinking the joint out in September should be just as harmful as doing so in November. I mean, if opinions are to trump won-loss records, why play the games at all? Why not simply have a poll in September, and let the fellas become better students?

by Weekly Journalist (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 1:14pm

Sure the fact that West Virginia destroyed Oklahoma says something.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:27pm

Sure it does. It says West Virginia is capable of crushing a good team. It doesn't erase, in terms of West Virginia earning a place in a title game, losing to Pitt.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:35pm

Kal, I cannot fathom why you keep writing that USC or West Virginia are not bad teams,

Because they're not bad teams?

I mean, if opinions are to trump won-loss records, why play the games at all? Why not simply have a poll in September, and let the fellas become better students?

Because Hawaii is not as good as Georgia. And if you just look at win-loss records, you can't say that. If you allow win-loss records to be part of your opinion, you can.

Also, kal, without a playoff, I think an extreme injustice is done when a teams performance is weighted.

Yes, that injustice is called entertaining games in January. Weighing games allows you to actually look at how a team is doing now and determine whether they're the best now, not whether they were the best through the entire season. I'm not advocating that undefeated teams normally should be taken over teams that lost to other bad teams, but without a playoff one has to have the ability to make a judgment between a team that has beaten most of their opponents but has not played as well and a team that has beaten most of their opponents but lost because of some factor (injury, weird fluke, whatever).

I’m saying that West Virginia and USC excluded themselves from a shot at the title, under the current format, by compiling horrible losses that other contenders did not.

Really, they excluded themselves because they lost twice and compared to LSU those losses weren't quite as egregious. LSU was clearly the best of the 2-loss teams. The question then becomes whether they should have been included over OSU. From the end results of the bowls, the answer is clearly yes.

Excluding a playoff, what would you rather have: a competitive game between the two truly best teams in the nation, or a game between the teams that have the best record regardless of how good those teams are?

Regarding White and Dixon getting injured, isn’t that always a higher risk running those types of offenses than something like USC or tOSU play? Running QBs take a lot of hits…

Probably. For Dixon it was just a fluke play that could've happened at any time, and he was generally smart enough to get out of bounds or go down and avoid injury.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 2:55pm

Kal, read very, very, very, very, slowly. S-L-O-W-L-Y. I never asserted that West Virginia and USC were bad teams. Thus, it is utterly, completely, totally pointless to continue to make the statement to me that West Virginia and USC are not bad teams, since I have never said they were. You may as well assert to me several times that the ocean is not dry. Got it? I apologize for the sarcasm, but after several attempts, I literally cannot think of any other way to communicate the notion that there is no point in continuing to make the same assertion to me, when I have never contested the assertion in any way.

The problem, kal, is that you think your opinion suffices for what "truly" is reality. It doesn't. Neither does mine. Neither does anyone's. You don't know who "truly" is best, but don't feel bad, because no one does. What we can know beyond all doubt is that USC and West Virginia lost games to teams with losing records, a failing that other contenders did not fall prey to.

by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 3:38pm

Seeing the Suckeyes get routed yet again in a title game they had no business being in and only reached because they play one “real” team a season is a tradition I for one could do without!!!

Well, if some other teams could have won their games late in the season, this wouldn't have happened. OSU did lose a game in November, which should have sent them to the Rose Bowl. Blame Missouri and West Virginia for losing their last games when they would've clinched a title berth. And for that matter, blame USC and OU for losing to the likes of Stanford and Colorado, etc.

OSU wasn't a championship caliber team this year, but nobody else was, either. So unless your team goes undefeated and denies OSU a spot in the title game, don't whine and complain. I mean, what's OSU supposed to do, lose a game in November and tumble out of the top spot, leaving a handful of teams with a chance to make the title game instead? Oh, wait.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:08pm

#151: To me the most hilarious part of the whole game was Tressel trying to show emotion after the Suckeyes cut it to 31-14. Seriously, it was downright comical. Here's this dude who looks and acts like your tax accountant all of a sudden trying to scowl like Jon Gruden. Words cannot express how ridiculous Tressel looked.

#152: Actually I'm too lazy to write pen and paper letters anymore, but if I can contact them any other way I'll certainly do it.

#159: Who says I'm not blaming Mizzou and WVA? I'm actually very angry at those two teams. Then again if they hadn't lost I wouldn't have gotten to see the SEC prove once again that they're the best conference hands down :-) Personally I think whoever the SEC champ is should keep getting voted into the title game until somebody beats them, and that the Big Ten champ should never be voted into the title game again. Hey, it's as logical as anything else the BCS has come up with.

by Brooklyn Buckeye (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:09pm

Let me be the first (or 160th, as the case may be) to say that the Buckeyes did not belong in the national championship game.

I think it's clear that they have the talent and the coaching to win a big game against an SEC team, but certainly the Big Ten just doesn't have the depth to prepare them for a full-on, four-quarter battle.

The Buckeyes' out of conference schedule was also too weak. It's great for Ohioans to see tOSU beat up on Youngstown State to start the season, but the Bucks would be better off scheduling a mediocre -- or even bottom rung -- SEC team early on.

Next year they get USC early on, and if they can beat the Trojans, they'll have a good shot at the title game. But with the state of affairs in the other Big Ten schools the way they are, tOSU should start looking OOC to build their resume.

by Brooklyn Buckeye (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:14pm

Will Allen -- I think your assessment in #8 was right on. The LSU defense came with their most consistent game of the season, at least out of the half-dozen games I saw. Add on top of that a few poor decisions by Boeckman and the game was over.

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:23pm

Not sure how OSU didn't "belong in the game". They had a better argument to be there than any other non-LSU team.

My final meaningless Top 25:

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

by Kevin11 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:28pm

Oh, and....can you imagine what a MESS we'd have on our hands right now with a "plus one" system? West Virginia, Southern Cal, Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri would all scream bloody murder for being left out.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 4:50pm

I agree, kevin, that a plus one makes things worse.

by kal (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 6:31pm

The problem, kal, is that you think your opinion suffices for what “truly” is reality.

No. I just think that it is better to use an well-formed opinion than use objective data that isn't particularly illustrative.

What we can know beyond all doubt is that USC and West Virginia lost games to teams with losing records, a failing that other contenders did not fall prey to.

That's true. We also know that Hawaii went through the entire season without losing to anyone. Shouldn't that take more credit than losing to a single team?

I just don't get why this is so hard. Why can't you admit that losing to a team with a losing record should not preclude you from the national championship? Do you seriously believe that in all situations, a team that loses to a bad team is automatically worse than a team that does not? That seems very myopic to me.

I don't think that my opinion is 'truth', but I think that it's a better approximation of it than going off of single-order winning percentages. Again, that's what this site is about. If you don't care that a team could be a great team despite losing to a bad one, you shouldn't care about DVOA either or what it can tell you.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 7:00pm

Why can't you admit that your opinion, devoid of any advanced metrics, is a poor substitute for the undeniable, non-subjective, reality of losing a game to a poor team, in terms or rewarding a team for what they have done, and not for what you fathom in your mind that they have done?

Look, in your mind, your opinion is "well formed". Prove it. While you are at it, prove that what you term the "truly" best two teams in the nation is something that exists in a verifiable reality outside of your mind.

DVOA exists outside of your mind, and is measurable. Your "well-formed opinion" does not, and is not.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/08/2008 - 7:10pm

Also, to answer the question, no, I don't think that a team which loses to a bad team is automatically worse than a team than does not. What I do think is that we can objectively measure the phenomena known as "losses to bad teams", and that such an objective measurement is a superior way in which to award something as precious as a title game, compared to to the completely non-measurable phenomena known as your "well formed opinion". Don't feel bad, though; I have the same opinion of my well formed opinion as well.

by Will B. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 2:54am

I think it’s clear that they have the talent and the coaching to win a big game against an SEC team, but certainly the Big Ten just doesn’t have the depth to prepare them for a full-on, four-quarter battle.

Agreed, I think Ohio State was a little shocked that when they jumped out 10-0, that LSU came roaring back. All season, when they jumped out early, their opponents were not capable of coming back. The Buckeye defense was much better in the second half, but by then they were in full comeback mode, negating Beanie Wells.

I don't plan on watching the game again, but did LSU throw a single deep pass? I don't think they did, which effectively negated Vernon Gholsten's pass rush ability.

by kal (not verified) :: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 2:50pm

Because it matters so much, Will Allen...

Why can’t you admit that your opinion, devoid of any advanced metrics, Who said it doesn't have any advanced metrics? My opinion is based on advanced metrics like FEI and Sagarin. Those inform the opinion. Just as much as losing to a bad team does. True, an opinion is not a direct metric.

Seriously, would you want to use one direct metric as the only way to determine whether someone goes to the championship game? We tried that before with computer rankings, and the overall decision was that it wasn't good enough.

Look, in your mind, your opinion is “well formed”. Prove it. While you are at it, prove that what you term the “truly” best two teams in the nation is something that exists in a verifiable reality outside of your mind.

Damn, what is it with you and phenomenological arguments? Isn't this like the 5th time we've gotten to the point where we actually start talking about philosophy in order to determine the best team?

I'm a scientist. I don't need to prove that something is the best. I simply need to prove that one theory is better than another. We have a ton of evidence that using the metric 'loss to bad team' is by itself a poor measure of a team's success. We know this from this season, we know it from last season, we know it from previous seasons. Just as much as we know 'going undefeated' is not the best metric either. There are other systems that do a better job of predicting the best team that do factor out things like losses to bad teams given certain factors (injury being one of them) and factor in momentum and current playing ability; I think those would have produced a better overall matchup. That's just my opinion that those systems do better, but we have empirical data that they do.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 3:43pm

I think that the NFC should not have a team in the Super Bowl since they have lost the last four.

Honestly, it's like people don't understand the concept of a season. How one year ends and the next begins which has entirely different people and results. Oklahoma went to two NC games in a row and lost them both - the second one with the score 55-19. The next year Texas went to the NC and won. By this "the Big Ten can't go to the NC game" we never would've seen that game.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/09/2008 - 11:31pm

#171: Bad example. Whoever the NFC team is in this coming Super Bowl might as well not even show up.

How about just saying the Buckeyes should never be invited back to the title game then? Would you be happy with that? Although if they're the best the Big ten has to offer and they keep getting hammered in title games, then it would follow that every other Big Ten team would be badly mauled as well. Illinois anyone?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/10/2008 - 12:12pm

Damn, kal, what is it with you that you cannot absorb the fact that your profession as a scientist does not give your well-formed opinion any particular weight in regards to this matter? No, your opinion is not an advanced metric, so I see no reason to employ it. Now, if you wish to make a straight-forward arguemnt for Sagarin or FEI, why not just do so, instead of saying your well-formed opinion is the best measure? I'm certainly open to evidence that Sagarin and FEI have demonstrated, over an extended period of time, that they can predict, better than a random choice, which teams ranked in the top 10 will prevail in a contest. I merely prefer that the measures for choosing which teams will get a chance to play in a title game be laid out in detail before the start of the season, and not be be left to the machinations of well-formed opinions of non objective human beings. I have a secondary preference for excluding teams which don't win their conference, because I prefer to make the conference races as important as possible. If more detailed formulas than losses to bad teams are to be used, I'd be fine with that. I simply don't really care about anybody's well formed opinion, because I have no way of measuring how that was actually arrived at.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 01/10/2008 - 1:28pm

Re 172:
How does that explain Michigan and Florida?

by DD Ohio (not verified) :: Thu, 01/10/2008 - 7:02pm

Just wanted to jump in with two more cents on kal's and will allen's thread-long debate. USC's loss to Stanford and WVU's loss to Pitt had one other common characteristic the nobody seems to mention: they both came at the hands of a fierce rival.

Anyone who thinks rivalry is a non-factor hasn't followed the Michigan-tOSU game over the years. The underdog in that series has routinely won over the last 20 years or so, even when one is highly ranked and the other not at all.

A loss to non-conference Appy State, to use a completely random example, seems much more egregious to me than a loss to a lightly-regarded but bitter rival. And this would cause me to be a little more forgiving of such a loss than Will is being.