The College Game

July 23, 2007

Random Thoughts about the 2007 season... Schedules


Yeah, I know it says 1983 - but it's time to nitpick the schedules, fools.


Each year some teams pop to the forefront with their schedule appearing soft. Sometimes a lightly regarded opponent turns into a Goliath. Other times there comes an unexpected stumble. For 2007, there are a lot of teams playing a shameful non-conference slate while others are playing meat grinders.

For now, let's focus on the BCS conference heavies and their non-conference slates...
The Big Ten

Michigan
- Appalachian State (Sept. 1), Oregon (Sept. 8), Notre Dame (Sept. 15), and Eastern Michigan (Oct. 6). The defending I-AA champ and a MAC school countered with two BCS schools, all at Ann Arbor. I can respect the MAC team in light of the Ducks and Irish, but Appalachian State? Come on guys.

Ohio State - Youngstown State (Sept. 1), Akron (Sept. 8), at Washington (Sept. 15), and Kent State (Oct. 13). There must be a mandate about MACs and I-AAs through the Big Ten. This schedule is just shameful for a program coming off the heels of a home-and-home with Texas the past two seasons.

Wisconsin - Washington State (Sept. 1), at UNLV (Sept. 8), The Citadel (Sept. 15), and Northern Illinois (Oct. 20). Wazzu is a BCS opponent, fine. UNLV is a trip for the alums to the Strip. The Citadel and Northern Illinois are the requisite I-AA and MAC opponents.

Penn State - Florida International (Sept. 1), Notre Dame (Sept. 8), Buffalo (Sept. 15), and at Temple (Nov. 10). Notre Dame is a solid opponent while the Nittany Lions will double dip from the MAC with Buffalo and Temple. FIU is slightly above a I-AA opponent.

With Notre Dame being a bit weak this year expect these four to go 16-0 over these games. Oregon and Washington State aren't strong enough to win on the road at Michigan and Wisconsin respectively.

SEC
Florida - Western Kentucky (Sept. 1), Troy (Sept. 8), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 17), and Florida State (Nov. 24). All four at home with the required game with the Seminoles being the saving grace from a truly pathetic offering for Gator season ticket holders.

Georgia - Oklahoma State (Sept. 1), Western Carolina (Sept. 15), Troy (Nov. 3), at Georgia Tech (Nov. 24). Slightly above the Gator slate with Oklahoma State representing a second, non-conference BCS opponent.

Tennessee - at California (Sept. 1), Southern Miss (Sept. 8), Arkansas State (Sept. 22), and Louisiana-Lafayette (Nov. 3). The first two are very solid with the last two being Sun Belt specials. That's four Sun Belt games amongst the three SEC East teams.

LSU - Virginia Tech (Sept. 8), Middle Tennessee (Sept. 15), at Tulane (Sept. 29), and Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10). All four home games when you consider that the Tigers are receiving 40,000 tickets for the Tulane game at the Superdome. Virginia Tech game is one of the best, early, non-conference games in the country. Middle Tennessee makes it 4-for-4 for the SEC playing the Sun Belt.

Auburn - Kansas State (Sept. 1), South Florida (Sept. 8), New Mexico State (Nov. 22), Tennessee Tech (Nov. 3). Kansas State and USF are respectable BCS teams while NMSU and Tech are awful. Like many of the big boys, all four games are at home.

Alabama - Western Carolina (Sept. 1), Florida State (Sept. 29 in Jacksonville, Fla.), Houston (Oct. 6), Louisiana-Monroe (Nov. 17). The FSU game is intriguing for the masses. Houston won their half of Conference USA last season. WCU and ULM are fodder.

Arkansas - Troy (Sept. 1), North Texas (Sept. 29), UT-Chattanooga (Oct. 6), Florida International (Oct. 27). I-AA team plus an unofficial Sun Belt Championship awaits the Hogs in 2007. This is a program that played USC & Texas since the 12-game schedules became the norm.

The SEC continues to hide behind it's motto of the conference being too tough to worry about challenges outside the fold for years. Alabama gets a nod for playing Florida State and Tennessee and Cal will be a huge opening weekend game. Still, the SEC could do without propping up the Sun Belt.

The Pac-10 - They only play three non-conference games due to a true round-robin. Kudos to them.
USC - Idaho (Sept. 1), at Nebraska (Sept. 15), at Notre Dame (Oct. 20). I continually tip my cap to Pete Carroll and his scheduling habits. Trips to South Bend and Lincoln can have me overlook the Idaho warm-up.

California - Tennessee (Sept. 1), at Colorado State (Sept. 8), Louisiana Tech (Sept. 15). Tennessee is a return trip that the Cal players have been motivated to play since last September. At Colorado State would normally be tricky but the Rams are down. LA Tech is a filler.

UCLA - BYU (Sept. 8), at Utah (Sept. 15), Notre Dame (Oct. 6). No complaints as the Cougars were 10-game winners in 2006, Utes went bowling and Notre Dame is Notre Dame.
Big XII

Texas - Arkansas State (Sept. 1), TCU (Sept. 8), at Central Florida (Sept. 15), Rice (Sept. 22). The UCF game is for recruiting in the state of Florida purposes. TCU is very solid while Rice and Arkansas State fill out the slate. This program played Arkansas and Ohio State the last few years so its a bit of a slide.

Oklahoma - North Texas (Sept. 1), Miami, FL (Sept. 8), Utah State (Sept. 15), at Tulsa (Sept. 21). Tulsa is a home game, don't kid yourself. Miami is delicious but North Texas and Utah State are very weak. I guess the Sooners learned their lesson losing to TCU in 2006.

Nebraska - Nevada (Sept. 1), at Wake Forest (Sept. 8), USC (Sept. 15), Ball State (Sept. 22). I can live with Ball State being on the sked with this collection, although I don't think the Nebraska brass thought they would get defending ACC champion, Wake Forest on the road. Nevada is a decent team out of the WAC.

ACC
Virginia Tech - East Carolina (Sept. 1), at LSU (Sept. 8), Ohio (Sept. 15), William & Mary (Sept. 22). The LSU game is great but the other three absolutely stink. Bill & Mary, come on!!?!?!

Florida State - UAB (Sept. 8), at Colorado (Sept. 15), Alabama (Sept. 29 in Jacksonville, Fla.), at Florida (Nov. 24). Salute the Seminoles for a very tough schedule. Colorado won't finish 2-10 this year and UAB is perfectly fine with Bama and Florida on the schedule. Is it the mid-80's again and FSU is back to being an independent?

Miami, FL - Marshall (Sept. 1), at Oklahoma (Sept. 8), Florida International (Sept. 15), and Texas A&M (Sept. 20). The A&M game coming five days after the FIU brawl rematch is interesting. I am guessing there will be a near military presence in the Orange Bowl for that game. OU and A&M are nothing to laugh at so this is a tough schedule.

Big East
Louisville - Murray State (Aug. 30), Middle Tennessee (Sept. 6), at Kentucky (Sept. 15), at N.C. State (Sept. 29), Utah (Oct. 5). Two roadies at BCS teams, a solid Utah team and two pathetic practices for openers. Going to be a lot of open seats at Papa John's this fall.

West Virginia - Western Michigan (Sept. 1), at Marshall (Sept. 8), at Maryland (Sept. 13), East Carolina (Sept. 22), Mississippi State (Oct. 20). At Maryland is the only problem here. I wish the Big East would challenge themselves a bit more, but with an automatic BCS bid why should they?

Rutgers - Buffalo (Aug. 30), Navy (Sept. 7), Norfolk State (Sept. 15), Maryland (Sept. 29), at Army (Nov. 9). Just awful with Buffalo and Norfolk State. Army/Navy are staple opponents for the Scarlet Knights while Maryland might have been the only team willing to be a part of the Knight resurgence.


Notre Dame - The last true independent with an AD who is trying to make them like the other bigs and only play four road games. There are 10 BCS conference opponents but Duke and Stanford shouldn't be much of a threat. Eight bowl teams from 2006: Georgia Tech, at Penn State, at Michigan, at Purdue, at UCLA, Boston College, USC, and Navy.
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Conclusion

Bottom line we all got excited with the addition of the 12th game. Some regional games renewed their hostilities (UGA-Clemson, GT-Auburn, Texas-Arkansas, Missouri-Illinois, etc.) but the trend is for the 12th game just to be another money maker for the big schools - offering another home gathering for the alums to watch some poor team get a paycheck to be humiliated.

This only provides a snapshot of the toughest schedules as the conference slates have to be factored in for the true show of who has a killer slate or a weak walk through the park in 2007.

July 18, 2007

It's time to bring this back...

Let's skip ahead, shall we?



Amazing how you can get caught up after four months...

Thoughts:

1. Gillispie-mania is rampant in Lexington. Here is a divorced, basketball junkie head coach coming to lead a program whose fans are itching to get back to feared status. To date he signed four recruits that Tubby would never have gotten. If he can coach as well as he recruits then UK is truly back.

2. Florida repeats and then Donovan double-takes. This will get spun as a good thing for Donovan, showing his love for his Gators and the College Game, but the truth is he realized he was messing with his happiness. Kudos to him for having the guts to reverse course back to Gainesville. The NBA is a grinder that eats coaches like Donovan for lunch.

3. The Irish will struggle this year with only returning nine players with real experience. That's 9 of an 85-man roster. Get your wins over the Irish now fiends, because in 2008 the talent in South Bend will rival that found in Los Angeles, Columbus, and Gainesville.

4. The plus one truly solves everything. I can't remember a year in which more than four teams could even conceive of laying claim to the national title. Let's make this happen and start crowning true national champions.

March 11, 2007

The Final Bracket

Texas has to move up over Southern Illinois to the 3-seed line. And Kansas for making a comeback down 32-13 has to stay on the #1 line. Here is the bracket. I think North Carolina is the odd man out amongst the 1's.

I think that will be my mistake from the earlier bracket today.

The only other thought is that I don't see how Illinois is out that I keep hearing. Their numbers are better across the board than Purdue's so either they both are out or something needs to be explained.

Three Colonial teams I have in: ODU, Drexel, and VCU (auto bid).

All other thoughts will come after the field is announced.

Cinderella is done.

We're now down to #1 seeds and shaking them out. My bracket in the last posting stays intact should Ohio State and Kansas win. However, should that not happen below are the scenarios with the #1's in order 1-4:

If Texas wins...

Ohio State (St. Louis), Florida (San Antonio), North Carolina (East Rutherford), and UCLA (San Jose)

If Wisconsin wins, and/or Texas wins...

Florida (San Antonio), North Carolina (East Rutherford), Wisconsin (St. Louis), Ohio State (San Jose)

Selection Sunday, 2:21 PM

It looks like Florida and North Carolina will end dreams for Arkansas and N.C. State and that surely makes the Tournament Committee's job much easier (mine, too).

So without further adieu here is my bracket.

And of course, in the 20 minutes it took me to slightly rearrange my bracket NC State is making a comeback, down 3 with only 5:47 left. Lovely.


St. Louis

(Lexington, KY)
1-Ohio State
16-Central Connecticut State
8-Arizona
9-Syracuse

(Columbus, OH)
4-Texas
13-Holy Cross
5-Creighton
12-George Washington

(Buffalo, NY)
3-Pittsburgh
14-Pennsylvania
6-Butler
11-Illinois

(New Orleans, LA)
7-Virginia
10-Vanderbilt
15-TAMU-CC / Southland
2-Memphis

San Jose

(Sacramento, CA)
1-UCLA
16-Weber State
8-Virginia Tech
9-Missouri State

(Buffalo, NY)
4-Notre Dame
13-Davidson
5-Nevada
12-Wright State

(New Orleans, LA)
3-Texas A&M
14-Oral Roberts
6-BYU
11-Old Dominion

(Chicago, IL)
7-Villanova
10-Winthrop
15-Niagara
2-Wisconsin

San Antonio

(Chicago, IL)
1-Kansas
16-Play In Game (Jackson State vs. FAMU)
8-Kentucky
9-Xavier

(Sacramento, CA)
4-Maryland
13-Gonzaga
5-UNLV
12-New Mexico State

(Spokane, WA)
3-Washington State
14-Long Beach State
6-Boston College
11-Purdue

(Winston-Salem, NC)
7-Tennessee
10-Texas Tech
15-North Texas
2-Georgetown

East Rutherford

(New Orleans, LA)
1-Florida
16-Eastern Kentucky
8-Duke
9-Michigan State

(Spokane, WA)
4-Oregon
13-Miami, OH
5-Louisville
12-VA Commonwealth

(Columbus, OH)
3-Southern Illinois
14-Albany
6-Marquette
11-Drexel

(Winston-Salem, NC)
7-USC
10-Indiana
15-Belmont
2-North Carolina

Selection Sunday Liveblogging


We head into today looking to clarify the picture of the NCAA Tournament. The SEC, Big Ten, Big XII, ACC, and Southland championships are today and two teams, NC State and Arkansas, are looking to mess up the process by claiming automatic bids into the tournament.

The #1 seeds are up for grabs after UCLA gagged in the Pac-10 Tournament. The sentiment out there seems to be favoring teams that can win their conference regular season and tournament. That would result in Ohio State, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Georgetown, and Memphis as #1 seed possibles. My favorite would be the first four with Georgetown and Memphis left out.

Personally, I think UCLA still gets the #1 seed in San Jose. Yes, they've lost their last two games and its been since 1991 since a team earned a #1 after losing two straight games to close their regular season. For me, I just can't ignore that the Bruins have won 17 games against Top 100 teams. They have also compiled a 10-1 record vs. the Top 50. All this while playing a Top 10 schedule by strength.

For now, these are my #1's:
Ohio State (St. Louis)
UCLA (San Jose)
Kansas (San Antonio)
Florida (East Rutherford)

North Carolina loses out due to them having the weakest conference record at 11-5. Remember, Carolina only gained control to win the ACC after Virginia and Virginia Tech lost their last games, each in an upset. Georgetown is coming on as of late, but they have six losses.

I am working on the rest of the bracket... stay tuned.

March 06, 2007

Denied!

Mason loses a tough one, but you still have 2006 memories Patriot fans!!!

Alright, without further adieu, here is my bracket. I would love to say I am some web genius and I can post it in a fancy way, but Blogger requires you to be a master of HTML and I am not. So here is the rundown by region.

Read the bracket straight down the page, in that the first region would play the second region at the Final Four. Just like others, the teams with their conferences beside them indicate that any reasonable champion of that conference other than the team indicated would play in the same slot. Teams in bold have clinched automatic bids.

St. Louis

(at Lexington, KY)
1 - Ohio State
16 - Delaware State
8 - Texas Tech
9 - Stanford

(at Sacramento, CA)
4 - Nevada
13 - Long Beach State/Big West
5 - Duke
12 - West Virginia

(at Winston-Salem, NC)
3 - Georgetown
14 -Davidson
6 - Butler
11 - Illinois

(at Lexington, KY)
7 - Virginia
10 - Xavier
15 - Niagara/MAAC
2 - Memphis

San Jose


(at Sacramento, CA)
1 - UCLA
16 - Weber State/Big Sky
8 - Virginia Tech
9 - Indiana

(at Spokane, WA)
4 - UNLV
13 - Toledo/MAC
5 - Marquette
12 - Missouri State

(at Columbus, OH)
3 - Maryland
14 - Pennsylvania/Ivy
6- Tennessee
11 - Syracuse

(at New Orleans, LA)
7 - Arizona
10 - Gonzaga
15 - Arkansas State/Sun Belt
2 - Texas A&M


San Antonio

(at Chicago, IL)
1 - Kansas
16 - Play In Game (Jackson State vs. C. Connecticut State)
8 - Kentucky
9 - Villanova

(at Columbus, OH)
4 - Southern Illinois
13 - Winthrop/Big South
5 - Oregon
12 - Old Dominion

(at Buffalo, NY)
3 - Pittsburgh
14 - Vermont/America East
6 - USC
11 - BYU

(at New Orleans, LA)
7 - Georgia Tech
10 - Michigan State
15 - Oral Roberts/Mid-Continent
2 - Florida

East Rutherford

(at Chicago, IL)
1 - Wisconsin
16 - Belmont/Atlantic Sun
8 - Vanderbilt
9 - Boston College

(at Buffalo, NY)
4 - Texas
13 - Holy Cross/Patriot
5 - Louisville
12 - Virginia Commonwealth

(at Spokane, WA)
3 - Washington State
14 - Sam Houston State/Southland
6 - Notre Dame
11 - Purdue

(at Winston-Salem, NC)
7 - Creighton
10 - Air Force
15 - Eastern Kentucky/OVC
2 - North Carolina

March 05, 2007

My Bracket (Pre-Conference Tournaments)

Its been a while, but I get tired of Joe Lunardi hailed as an expert in brackets by ESPiN while he continually comes up with matchups that can't happen per NCAA Tournament Committee rules. His latest installment includes Sweet 16 games that would feature rematches, a no-no only to be allowed in extreme circumstances. According to Joe, Pittsburgh would advance to meet Wisconsin and Tennessee would meet Ohio State.

Does Joe watch basketball during the year or only what the ESPiN folks feed him?

Forget it. I can't stand the lunacy. Here is my best guess at what the Selection Committee will determine come Sunday:

Let's talk one seeds. Personally, I think winning your conference and subsequent tournament secures a number #1 seed. Teams good enough to accomplish this feat during the weekend include UCLA, Ohio State, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown, and Memphis. I put the Hoyas and Tigers last because they would need the most help. Georgetown has the weakest resume, while Memphis has only a Top 50 win over Kentucky in Maui as its signature win. The Tigers will curse the C-USA.

That said, UCLA and Ohio State have the most impressive resume if they all complete the feat. They are #1 locks in my book. Kansas, North Carolina, and Florida are fighting for the two spots along with two other teams that can win their Tournaments and jump into the picture: Texas A&M and Wisconsin. Either team would beat one of the teams listed above (Kansas & Ohio State, respectively) thereby earning huge points in my eyes. Basically put, these conference tournaments are going to be wars.

Mid-Major Infatuation. Missouri State & Bradley of the MVC along with Old Dominion & Drexel of the CAA will sweat out this entire weekend. These teams want status quo. (Beginning tonight - needing George Mason to quit being Cinderella.) All have decent RPI and SOS ratings but lack the punch with mainstream America because they don't get televised. Each could benefit with the memory of last year with two MVC teams in the Sweet Sixteen and George Mason's incredible run.

Duke, Duke, Duke. How good or bad are the Devils? Seth Davis, a Duke grad, had the Devils as a #3 seed prior to the UNC beatdown yesterday while Joe Lunardi (fine, I'll reference him here) has them at #7 in the aftermath. One thing helping the Devils is that they are the 7-seed in the ACC. What you ask? Help? They get NC State (bad), as well as Virginia and Virginia Tech who BOTH choked with the ACC title on the line this weekend. Duke is a tougher team mentally than these three teams. However, Virginia is athletic and mad and Tech did sweep the Devils. Their run in Tampa (I know, the ACC Tournament can be held outside of the state of North Carolina, shocking.) will determine anywhere from a 6 to a 9.

My Poor Old Kentucky Home. We're done. Tubby is worn out and really barring him resigning before the Tournament ala Joe B. Hall in 1985, this Cat team will be out in round one. The Cat faithful is hoping for a good showing this weekend in Atlanta, but it isn't coming. Heck, the Georgia Dome could be sparse by mid-day Thursday.

Seeds 7-10 are built upon sand. Any team in this nether region is on notice this weekend. You can greatly improve or damage your hopes with your performance this weekend.

The bracket will come tomorrow, sorry for the disappointment, but I gotta go watch Mason keep the dream alive. Break out the Bon Jovi - Living On a Prayer!

About Me

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.