November 21, 2005

This week's round table discussion

Beautiful topic posted by Kyle On Football for the roundtable:

1. Since the end of the 2004 season, there have been 23 head coaching changes in Division I-A college football. Thus far, which new coaching hire is working out the best? Which is working out the worst? Who has been the most pleasant surprise? Who has been the biggest disappointment?

To me, all discussion begins and ends at the foot of Notre Dame Stadium and Charlie Weis. For the past decade, being a Notre Dame fan has been more about reminisicing about the past than living in the present. The Golden Dome was an afterthought and the recruits were not thinking about Notre Dame. The media was living in glory being able to take their shots at the proud university and really, Notre Dame needed a few blowouts to get the administration to open their eyes and see that they were not competitive anymore. Charlie Weis' impact for the Domers came immediately after the USC game when he would not accept the moral victory. He congratulated his players for playing hard, but stopped short of being proud. Why should he? This is Notre Dame. This is THE program of college football. By contrast, everyone in the media is ready to throw bouquets at Fresno State for their performance, but I am sorry Bulldogs, you led 42-41 with over seven minutes to go and couldn't hold the lead. You play to win the game and you should be disappointed when you lose. That is the paramount intangible that Weis has brought back. I hurt after the USC game because I no longer hope Notre Dame can keep it close. They should win every game they play.

2. Which school's fans need to be more patient with their new head coach? Which school's fans need to beat the Christmas rush and get rid of their new head coach sooner rather than later? Which school's fans are happy with their new head coaching hire now but will be disappointed in him after another couple of years have passed (a la Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame)?

I think Mississippi State fans need to be very patient with Sly Croom. Their win over Florida last year is still getting some mileage but next year the shackles of probation will finally come off and the Bulldogs will have a full recruiting class. Until then, the folks should measure success incrementally.

Bill Callahan at Nebraska needs to go, NOW. This man is destroying Nebraska football. Listen, I know a Bob Davie or Ty Willingham when I see it and Callahan is along that mold. I understand moving Nebraska towards the pass but to make them completely one-sided winging the ball all over the field wont work until they get the current players gone. Besides, what do you do in late Big 12 play at home in Lincoln, known for its 30-40 mph wind days, and you throw the ball all over the yard? A close second is Philip Fulmer at Tennessee. Fulmer sold his integrity to win the 1998 national championship it seems as the strong discipline and team leadership has eroded to the point of non-existence in Knoxville. Either Fulmer needs to suspend the group of players that left their helmets on the field, or the brass at UT needs to realize that their program is bigger than any one man.

I drank the kool aid about Ron Zook at Illinois early on, but really now I think that the Illini will come to realize a mistake in taking Zook. He will get recruits to Champaign but I dont think he is the man to make the Illini a permanent fixture in the upper half of the conference.

November 20, 2005

Top 25

No comments needed...

1. USC (11-0)
2. Texas (10-0)
3. Penn State (10-1)
4. LSU (9-1)
5. Virginia Tech (9-1)
6. Oregon (10-1)
7. Ohio State (9-2)
8. Auburn (9-2)
9. Notre Dame (8-2)
10. Miami, FL (8-2)
11. West Virginia (8-1)
12. Georgia (8-2)
13. UCLA (9-1)
14. Alabama (9-2)
15. Texas Christian (10-1)
16. Fresno State (8-2)
17. Louisville (7-2)
18. Florida (7-3)
19. Texas Tech (9-2)
20. Georgia Tech (7-3)
21. Iowa State (7-3)
22. Michigan (7-4)
23. Clemson (7-4)
24. Florida State (7-3)
25. Wisconsin (8-3)

News and notes

This weekend represents the last full weekend of college football. From here on out we will be subject to a trimmer selection of football and then the championship and bowl games.

The big loser for this weekend is the Miami Hurricanes. Miami screwed the pooch at home against Georgia Tech. Wave bye-bye to the BCS now 'Canes, the Gator Bowl awaits you. Virginia Tech subsequently is the biggest potential winner should the Hokies win out against North Carolina next week and Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. Tech went from getting the shaft from the BCS to a solid spot now in their control.

How bad has it gotten in Knoxville? Vandy ended 22 years of frustration against the Volunteers and actually has me thinking that the Cats (UK) could end their drought against the Vols. Tennessee has fallen from #2 preseason and my pick for SEC champs to a 4-6 record. Lovely.

The Fiesta Bowl bid now comes down to the campaigning. Oregon is 10-1, having only lost to USC. Ohio State is 9-2 and their two losses are to Texas and Penn State. Ohio State, said here before, has the bigger fan base, the more glamourous TV potential, and the more clout. However, the Ducks cannot be ignored. Coach Mike Belotti of Oregon felt the pain of being on the wrong side of a popularity contest once when his once-defeated Ducks were denied a shot to play Miami for the 2001 National Championship. Instead, Belotti sat on the sidelines watching the Hurricanes destroy Nebraska. Could it happen again to the Ducks?

Here is my BCS guess:

Rose - USC vs. Texas
Fiesta - Notre Dame vs. Ohio State
Orange - Penn State vs. Virginia Tech
Sugar - LSU vs. West Virginia

I think the Orange Bowl will now take Penn State as their first choice and swing back through and pick up Virginia Tech later. Granted, they might have to take Tech as the rules are still not clear in my mind and have never been explained with any degree of ease by the BCS folks.

The travesty of the weekend was by ESPN 2. I had to watch the Duke Blue Devils destroy Davidson in a meaningless November basketball game instead of getting the Clemson-South Carolina football game. I mean, I am sure the Gamecocks and Tigers don't excite many not from South Carolina, but for the Dookie Network to put on that sham was horrible.

Next weekend is Turkey weekend and I see a ton of blowouts. A bunch of teams will be vying not to screw their pooches. Notre Dame needs one more win over Stanford for the BCS, Texas needs to make sure A&M remembers they aren't very good, and the battle of Florida and Florida State is reduced to see who can still make a New Year's Day bowl. Georgia - Georgia Tech could be the highlight with the Jackets win over Miami and the Bulldogs perhaps looking forward to the SEC Championship.

Otherwise we are about to close the football season. Hopefully in the coming days we will take a peek towards next year and see who will be where.

November 15, 2005

My Top 25

1. USC (10-0)
Trojans haven’t been challenged since the Irish.

2. Texas (10-0)
Longhorns registered their 9th game scoring 40+ points. Third scoring 60+.

3. Miami, FL (8-1)
Canes hoping for a stumble by top two. Nothing learned against Wake last week.

4. Penn State (9-1)
Don’t screw the pooch against a faded Michigan State team.

5. LSU (8-1)
Just felt 10 points wasn’t enough to hold them down.

6. Virginia Tech (8-1)
Hokies rise to #6 based on their season and others losing around them.

7. Alabama (9-1)
Sure they can’t score but lets not bury the Tide, the LSU game was in OT.

8. Oregon (9-1)
Win over Washington State didn’t make a compelling argument for the BCS.

9. Ohio State (8-2)
Can seal a BCS bid if they win in the Big House. Hammered Northwestern.

10. Notre Dame (7-2)
Just like Penn State, needing not to screw the pooch.

11. Auburn (8-2)
Perception changing about the Tigers, like the UGA game changed on 4th down.

12. West Virginia (8-1)
Big East really hopes the Mountaineers win out.

13. Georgia (7-2)
Take Three to win the SEC East comes this weekend against Kentucky.

14. UCLA (9-1)
Gutsy win over ASU. Did they notice that U-Dub spanked Arizona by 24?

15. Michigan (7-3)
Could spoil Buckeyes hopes for BCS and put themselves into a January bowl.

16. Texas Christian (10-1)
Season done.

17. Fresno State (8-1)
Go with this: Bulldogs do the impossible and beat the Trojans. BCS?

18. Louisville (7-2)
Yawn. Prepping for the Gator Bowl.

19. South Carolina (7-3)
Gamecocks could play in January should they beat Clemson. No fighting.

20. Florida (7-3)
Urban Meyer is riding the genius-goofball roller coaster. Schooled by Spurrier.

21. Texas Tech (8-2)
Well, the BCS is over. Still could screw the Cotton Bowl invite with loss to OU.

22. Iowa State (7-3)
Change 2 OT losses and Cyclones would be prepping for Texas for Big XII title.

23. Colorado (7-3)
They were driving to tie the score before the pick six against Iowa State.

24. Oklahoma (6-3)
No real big win, but that could change with a win in Lubbock this weekend.

25. UTEP (8-1)Mike Price is a magician and some team needs to be #25.

November 14, 2005

BCS bowls after Nov. 12th

Shake up the BCS somewhat.

Texas Tech effectively took themselves out of the running for a BCS bowl with their loss at Oklahoma State. That is good news for Ohio State, Oregon, and Virginia Tech fans. However, Alabama's loss at home is bad news for those above-mentioned teams because now the Tide is in the mix for the final at-large slot. If they beat Auburn, the Tide would be impossible to ignore at 10-1 with the loss coming in OT.

Here is the prediction for now...

Rose - USC vs. Texas
Fiesta - Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Orange - Miami, FL vs. Penn State
Sugar - LSU vs. West Virginia

Alabama goes if they beat Auburn.
Ohio State goes if Alabama loses and OSU beats Michigan.

Should both Alabama and Ohio State both lose this weekend then I see the Fiesta Bowl deciding between west coast Oregon or better Virginia Tech.

November 10, 2005

Crumbling the BCS cookie

It’s mid-to-late November so its time to start discussing the BCS bowls and who is going where. First off, lets get the presumed automatic bids out of the way. In most instances I am predicting, however the SEC is still wide open, so I am saying Alabama is the rep right now.

USC (Pac-10)
Texas (Big XII)
Alabama (SEC)
Miami, FL (ACC)
Penn State (Big Ten)
West Virginia (Big East)
Notre Dame (at-large)

Let’s discuss Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish only have to win 9 games and finish in the top 12 of the BCS to earn a bid for a BCS bowl. Right or wrong, the Irish are such a draw that they will only ever have to reach this plateau to be selected. I honestly cannot imagine a situation in which an Irish team meeting the criteria would NOT be selected. They have that much influence. Right now, they are #11 in the BCS standings and with three winnable games left, they are your first at-large.

Now lets talk about who is going where. The original order of selection this year is Orange-Sugar-Fiesta. From year to year it rotates. The problem is that each one of the conferences has an alignment with each bowl. The SEC champion will go to the Sugar Bowl. Three circumstances cause this to change:
1) If the Sugar Bowl is the title game host.
2) They aren’t the host but an SEC team is ranked #1 or #2.
3) Or if an SEC team repeats as champion, then they go elsewhere.

Below are the anchors:

Rose – Big Ten, Pacific Ten
Orange – ACC, Big East
Sugar – SEC
Fiesta – Big XII

When a team is taken away from an anchor bowl to play in the BCS title game, that bowl then automatically receives the next selection, regardless of the order. This year, Texas is being displaced from the Fiesta Bowl to play in the Rose Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl then gets first selection after the Rose Bowl sets the #1 vs. #2 match-up with the Orange and Sugar following in order. The Fiesta Bowl then puts in a preferential order, the top three teams it would like to have. They must include a conference champion in the #2 slot. It won’t matter. The Fiesta will take Notre Dame for the paragraph mentioned about the Irish above.

Rose – USC vs. Texas
Fiesta - Notre Dame vs.

Next up to select is the Orange Bowl. They will stick with their anchor in which they have a choice. They can take the ACC champion, presumably Miami or they can take the Big East champion, West Virginia. They will take the hometown Canes.

Rose – USC vs. Texas
Fiesta – Notre Dame vs.
Orange – Miami, FL vs.

Lastly, the Sugar Bowl will stick with its alliance and take the Crimson Tide.

Rose – USC vs. Texas
Fiesta – Notre Dame vs.
Orange – Miami, FL vs.
Sugar – Alabama vs.

The order then returns to the top with the Fiesta Bowl, to my best understanding. I am guessing here based upon projections I see from selected websites. There really isn’t even a clear answer on the BCS website,

The Fiesta picks next. We have Penn State as the Big Ten champions and West Virginia as the Big East champion and we still have to determine our second at-large entrant. This is the dicey part and the part of big business and politics in college football. To date, there are four teams in the BCS Top 12 that can win out and NOT earn an automatic bid: Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas Tech.

With the Fiesta picking next it is my guess they will bypass the choice of Penn State due to the Lions playing Notre Dame next September. This is just a guess. If I am wrong then the problem rotates to the Orange Bowl and the dilemma only changes slightly. For now, this is the Fiesta Bowl’s problem. Lets play devils advocate and say that the four teams mentioned above that can win out and NOT get an automatic bid do just that, win out. Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, and Oregon each play in stadiums that seat less than 70,000 while the Ohio State Buckeyes play in a 100,000-seat stadium. Whom would you select? Add into the mix that Notre Dame and Ohio State are national programs, who constantly meet on the recruiting trail and the Buckeyes bemoan that they don’t get a home and home series like Michigan does against the Irish and the choice is clear.

The other choices quickly fall into place after that…Penn State and West Virginia are on the board and is just as an obvious choice.

Rose – USC vs. Texas
Fiesta – Notre Dame vs. Ohio State
Orange – Miami (FL) vs. Penn State
Sugar – Alabama vs. West Virginia

To recap, I think seven teams are set in stone in that you will have the six conference champions and Notre Dame. Sure the SEC might turn upside down as five teams could still win the title. Penn State could still lose the Big Ten championship and Miami could lose to Florida State in the ACC championship. To me, Texas and USC are rolling towards the Rose Bowl untouched.

Should Ohio State lose to Northwestern or Michigan in the coming weeks, then you have another dilemma. Does the Fiesta Bowl take Penn State and the matchup in September against Notre Dame be damned? Then, do they take Oregon due to the proximity of the Ducks? Or do they go with a better Virginia Tech team who will be cheering for Ohio State to lose?

I take Tech, personally, after Ohio State. The scenario of getting Virginia Tech to the Fiesta is very clear once Ohio State is removed. Virginia Tech playing Miami again in the Orange Bowl is to be avoided. The Fiesta and Orange would compromise, sending Tech to Tempe and Penn State would still play in the Orange.

Either way, Texas Tech and Oregon are not in good positions. They need some upsets to get themselves to the BCS party.

There it is, simple as that.

November 07, 2005

Top 25 - Nov. 7th

1. USC (9-0)
- Only Cal, Fresno State, and UCLA stand in their way.

2. Texas (9-0)
- DNP vs. Baylor. Kansas and A&M will offer little resistance to the Big 12 title game.

3. Alabama (9-0)
- Will have a chance to make a statement against LSU, then at Auburn, then the SEC title game.

4. Miami, FL (7-1)
- Vintage 80's Canes against Va. Tech on Saturday. Would have jumped Texas if they had scored on the last possession against FSU.

5. Penn State (9-1)
- Only the Spartans stand between the Lions and the Big Ten title. Michigan drops a pass and PSU would be banging on the door.

6. Georgia (8-1)
- If only D.J. Shockley plays against Florida...can wrap up the SEC East against Auburn this weekend. (Yes, they have to still beat Kentucky, but c'mon.)

7. LSU (7-1)
- Two straight weeks of cupcakes against Appy State and North Texas. LSU now can control their own destiny with a win in Tuscaloosa.

8. Virginia Tech (8-1)
- Letdown alert coming up for the Hokies against Virginia. Could still regroup and secure a BCS bid.

9. Oregon (8-1)
- Can't ignore that their only loss was to USC. Can't ignore their best win is against Fresno State.

10. Notre Dame (6-2)
- The loss to Michigan State keeps the Irish out of the top 5. Showed poise against Tennessee, securing the win in a big fourth quarter. Smooth sailing to BCS now.

11. Ohio State (7-2)
- Mirror image of Notre Dame. They are another team that could win out to an at-large BCS bid. Illinois provided a glorified practice.

12. Florida (7-2)
- All of Gainesville will become Auburn fans this weekend. Trap game against ol' ballcoach this weekend.

13. Texas Tech (8-1)
- Win out and the Red Raiders will play in the New Dallas at the Cotton Bowl. Made mincemeat of A&M, will dominate Oklahoma State and then welcome the Sooners.

14. Florida State (7-2)
- Suddenly a very shaky looking team. Travels to Clemson then Florida then the ACC Championship game rematch against a surging Miami team. 7-5 finish?

15. Colorado (7-2)
- Team is just lying in wait for Texas at the Big 12 Championship. Big game this weekend at a hot Iowa State club. Win there and you'll show me something. Should walk over Nebraska at home.

16. Auburn (7-2)
- The team in the SEC that could ruin everything for Georgia and Alabama in the next two weeks...or they could end up 7-4.

17. West Virginia (8-1)
- Just dont screw the pooch the last two weeks. Big East will get a 10-1 BCS participant. Then they will get clobbered in the bowl that has to take them by force.

18. Wisconsin (8-2)
- Goes home to face Iowa after getting whipped by the Nittany Lions. Will finish with 10 wins (also plays Hawaii after Iowa) and get a New Year's invite.

19. UCLA (8-1)
- Might seem harsh, but no way do you get clobbered by 38 points by a 2-6 team and salvage any respect.

20. Michigan (6-3)
- Off week saw Michigan not lose. Would have moved ahead of the Bruins but 3 losses are still 3 losses. Wolverines still have an outside shot at the Big Ten title.

21. Texas Christian (9-1)
- Took out perennial MWC big boy Colorado State with ease, 33-6. Newcomers will head to Las Vegas Bowl or perhaps the Houston Bowl to fill an SEC open slot.

22. Georgia Tech (6-2)
- We'll know a lot more about the Jackets after they close at Virginia, home against Georgia, and at Miami.

23. Oklahoma (5-3)
- Could still land in the Cotton Bowl if they finish out with wins, including a "not all was lost from 2005" win at Texas Tech if they should seal the deal.

24. Fresno State (7-1)
- Wont overlook Boise State for USC next weekend. Boise has won the last four meetings since they joined the WAC.

25. Louisville (6-2)
- Welcome back. Trust me, its not really what you did to get here...

The Heisman Race...

1. Vince Young, Texas
2. Reggie Bush, USC
3. Matt Leinart, USC
4. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame

big drop off after those four...

Big games for November 12th? Practically all in the SEC.

Auburn at Georgia, 7:45 pm, ESPN
- The Dawgs can seal the SEC East or the Tigers can play spoiler. Is Shockley truly 100%?

LSU at Alabama, 3:30 pm, CBS
- LSU win would mean smooth sailing to the West title. Alabama win coupled with Auburn win sets up the Iron Bowl as the SEC West Championship Game.

Florida at South Carolina, 12:30, JP
- Hoo boy Columbia will be jumping. Expect an inspired effort from the Gamecocks. I personally think Chris Leak is too fragile to win this mental meatgrinder.

November 02, 2005

Top 25 for November

1. USC (8-0)
- Blew out a bad Washington State team. Meanwhile…

2. Texas (8-0)
- Turned an essential bye week into a game. Basically I see no difference between this game and the USC scares with Oregon and Arizona State. (Only that Oklahoma State is far worse than both those teams.)

3. Virginia Tech (8-0)
- My attitude changes daily with the Hokies. I think their defense will get them through all the way to Pasadena or at least the Orange Bowl in Miami. However, I am not sold on their offense at all. I need young Vick to emulate older bro Vick and lead a charge when the Hokies are trailing and their backs against the wall to believe.

4. Alabama (8-0)
- The Tide has a three-game season left with games against LSU and at Auburn then the SEC Championship Game to follow (likely against Georgia). That would be an impressive three-game run, as good as anyone in the nation. It’s that game at Auburn that has me worried.

5. UCLA (8-0)
- Houdini would be proud of the Bruins in recent weeks. However, again, to pooh-pooh the Bruins would be wrong because don’t we laud USC for their comebacks? Why condemn the Bruins for theirs?

6. Georgia (7-1)
- Playing their second string quarterback and still driving down the field with a chance to win the game doesn’t drop you much in my book. The Dawgs can still win the war, clinching a berth for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta by beating Auburn on Nov. 12.

7. Florida State (7-1)
- Co-worker keeps downplaying the FSU season, worrying about this upcoming tilt at home to N.C. State. The Seminoles are simply prepping for huge 2006. In the mean time they could go ahead and win the ACC this year, 2005.

8. Penn State (8-1)
- The Big Ten is the Nittany Lions’ for the taking, needing to beat Wisconsin this weekend and winning at East Lansing on November 19th to seal the deal. The game in East Lansing has trouble written all over it.

9. LSU (6-1)
- Glorified scrimmage last week against North Texas and this week against Appalachian State. Each team of the SEC West can control their destiny. The Tigers need to win in Tuscaloosa on November 12th to march to Atlanta. Without the Tennessee meltdown, the Tigers could finally have gotten their rematch with USC, or been made to feel extreme irony being the odd man out.

10. Miami, FL (7-1)
- Miami has gone the longest with their loss, but they haven’t beaten much along the way. They get their first stiff test in Blacksburg. Win that and I will put them over Florida State and Georgia as the “Best Team with One Loss”.

11. Oregon (7-1)
- Follow me here, the Ducks are the only team that can win out and not earn an automatic BCS bid. A 10-1 Duck team with their only loss to USC would be hard to hold out of a BCS bowl. The downside is that they will have to make it without their starting quarterback, Kellen Clemens.

12. Wisconsin (8-1)
- Where I work I am surrounded by Michigan fans pointing out three needed steps for their Wolverines to win the Big Ten. Wisconsin can put that all to rest by winning in Happy Valley this weekend.

13. Notre Dame (5-2)
- The schedule before the season was a killer, then the season began and the expected powers faded. Kudos to Michigan for salvaging their season however, Weis is trying to convince anyone who will listen that Tennessee could be 6-1 or 7-0. The truth is somewhere in between – Tennessee will keep the game close, they have too much pride, but the Irish will prevail, sealing the deal late.

14. Ohio State (6-2)
- Buckeyes won a big game in Minnesota, exploding on offense. Ted Ginn, Jr. returned a 100-yard kickoff and they never looked back. Buckeyes win out and get someone to beat Penn State and they will be in the BCS. Granted, they have to go to the Big House to do it.

15. Texas Tech (7-1)
- The other team that could win out and not clinch a BCS automatic bid. Similar in that their only loss was to Texas, but the thing hurting the Red Raiders is the perceived lack of quality of the Big 12 this year. Win out and they get the Cotton Bowl.

16. Florida (6-2)
- As much as the Georgia loss using their second stringer shouldn’t drop the Dawgs, we shouldn’t get too high on the Gators with the win either. The Gators have an interesting game at South Carolina and Spurrier and then Florida State at home. Win out and the Gators are in the Capital One Bowl.

17. Boston College (6-2)
- Two good losses and no big wins. Sounds a lot like the Irish actually. The issue is potential and “upside”. This is the best the Eagles will get. Other teams around them haven’t hit their ceiling.

18. West Virginia (6-1)
- Carrying the flag for the Big East.

19. Colorado (6-2)
- Only losses to Texas and Miami, FL, and the Buffaloes got a decent win at Kansas State. They should be the Big 12 North representatives to play Texas in the conference title game.

20. Auburn (6-2)
- The Tigers could shake up the SEC winning at Georgia and home against Alabama down the stretch or they could fade into a four-loss team. I predict a split, ending Alabama’s undefeated season, but after losing between the hedges.

21. Georgia Tech (5-2)

- Reality will set in quick for the Jackets who close at Virginia, at Miami in a makeup game, then home against Georgia. They should beat Wake Forest to get bowl eligible.

22. Michigan (6-3)
- Quietly saving their season and making my life hell hearing at work about how they could rally and win the conference. Someone end this team. I might even have to cheer for the Buckeyes on Nov. 19th, because Indiana on Nov. 12th isn’t doing it.

23. Texas Christian (7-1)
24. Fresno State (6-1)

- Let’s give some love for the little guys. TCU is a head-scratching loss from being 2004 Utah while Fresno State quietly pines away for their shot at USC (Nov. 19th.)

25. Oklahoma (5-3)
- Another team quietly saving their season. Sooners could win out and play on New Years Day for the fifth straight year in the Cotton Bowl.

About Me

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