December 31, 2006

Bowl Day - What used to be...

Ready to ring in games on New Years'! And, the 2nd, and 3rd, and 8th. Ugh.

While tomorrow will be a great day with six bowl games featuring conference champions from the Big XII and Pac-10. However, I harken back to the day of watching all the games on the 1st and crowning the national champion that night.

The noon-1:00 pm slot contained the Citrus, Cotton, and Gator Bowls. ABC would televise the Citrus Bowl, CBS the Cotton, and NBC would carry the Hall of Fame. Things got even better for those of us with cable when the Outback Bowl came along and added an eighth game for the day.

Next up at the 4-5 range was the Rose on ABC, and the Fiesta on NBC. If the national championship game was here, it did not move to another time, this was its slot and that was that. Notre Dame won their championship in the Fiesta Bowl in 1988 and we still had two bowls left.

The Sugar and Orange Bowls would wrap up your day. The Sugar on ABC, the Orange on NBC. (Hell, NBC used to be a player for all college football - not just Notre Dame and the Gator Bowl). One day, eight bowls and all was settled.

Now, we will still have two bowls PLUS the national championship game after a 5-day delay. Sometimes the newer things aren't better.

December 29, 2006

C-A-T-S, Cats! Cats! Cats!

Who knew that Rich Brooks had a brass pair calling for a fake punt followed immediately by a 70-yard bomb from Andre Woodson to Demoreo Ford. Kentucky controlled most of the game after that point, giving up worthless yardage and points down the stretch to wrap up a 28-20 win over Clemson in the Music City Bowl.

Normally a trip to the bowl in Nashville is not a desired event, but 35,000 Cat fans packed the stands and witnessed UK's first bowl win and 8-game winning season since 1984. Since WWII, Kentucky has only fielded eight teams that went on to win eight games in a season. The Wildcat fanbase has been a divided house since the hiring of Brooks, but after the old man's calls today, I think fans are completely on the same page.

This is a team that will enter 2007 on a high, returning 73 players out of a 79-scholarship roster, thanks to NCAA probation. The Cats have earned respect with this win over Clemson and finished 4-4 in the SEC in the process. Recruits have mentioned that UK had things going in the right direction, but until now, not all of us were convinced.

Today silenced this critic, for sure.

Photo Credit: University of Kentucky Sports Information

Thank God for the Pokes and Tide

What is going on in this bowl season with blowouts ruling the day? Some are understandable. Kansas State played one miracle game at home against Texas, otherwise the Wildcats were a fair to middlin' team. Rutgers was one overtime play away from the BCS. 37-10 Rutgers.

Texas A&M and California was expected to be a much different game. Cal has been living more on reputation than actual results. Losses to physical teams had become the norm with the Bears - losing to Tennessee, USC, and Arizona. Texas A&M is physical defined. What the Aggies lack is the Wrecking Crew of old. Speed killed in San Diego and now Cal gets nine months to focus on getting revenge, hosting Tennessee. 45-10 California.

Which brings us to the lone competitive bowl played to date amongst 12 games completed. Oklahoma State was the better team for most of the game, but handling prosperity is a problem for a lot of middle of the pack teams in conferences. Alabama scored on a punt return then immediately got a gift of a fumbled kickoff, cashing in for a 31-31 tie. The Cowboys went back down the field to kick the game winning field goal. We have our first nominee for a bowl game classic and it took a pair of 6-6 teams to make it happen. Oklahoma State 34, Alabama 31.

What is going on?

Photo Credits: Star Ledger (Rutgers); Contra Costa Times (Cal); Oklahoman (OSU)

December 28, 2006

Momentum a sham

The End of the (Jeff) Bowden Era: Happy Days.

I didn't watch the whole game last night due to being out with friends and seeing We Are Marshall however, it was plenty enough of a shock to see the 44-27 final score. My viewing came catching glimpses of the game at a restaurant and seeing UCLA lead 10-7 after the first quarter.

I get home to find the old adage of taking a team because they have the "momentum" to be completely trashed. UCLA had defeated their crosstown rivals in a huge game, ending the Trojans national championship hopes. Florida State was last seen circling the toilet bowl at home to Florida.

The Seminoles were headed 2,600 miles west with turmoil in the coaching staff. UCLA appeared to heal wounds of the season and come to San Francisco as a cohesive unit looking to build upon the win and point toward a big 2007 splash.


Coming up today are three classic examples of "momentum" games. Kansas State already won their big home game with Texas but stumbled against Missouri the next week. They play a possible disappointed Rutgers team that went 10-2 and yet must play three days before New Years'. Meanwhile, Alabama is the definition of disappointment and they host an Oklahoma State team coming off a bounce-back season under second-year coach Cale Gundy. Lastly, Texas A&M also beat Texas in their last regular season game and will face a California team that also had higher hopes coming into the season than where they stand right now.

Sound familar?

December 27, 2006

Not convinced.

Heading into the latter, more meaningful half of the college basketball season, its time to take a peek at the RPI ratings on Teams will be entering conference play in the next week or so, from here on the RPI non-conference ratings are set. Some teams helped themselves whereas others have work to do. While its a good thing being ranked without beating anyone, the conference slate could toll bells for these paper tigers.

Connecticut. The Huskies lost everyone from last year's Elite Eight team and notably, Jim Calhoun scheduled his troops to play a ton of stiffs. UConn's schedule of strength is #311 in the country out of 336. To date they haven't played a single game away from Gampel Pavilion. However, to their credit, the Huskies will play at LSU, Indiana, and at Georgia Tech before the year is done, but for now, the Huskies do not deserve the #12 AP ranking they have received. Much more is to be learned about this team in the coming months.

Ohio State. The Bucks' wins have all come at home with the highest RPI ranked team being Loyola-Chicago at #42. They have only won one game away from home on a neutral court in Indianapolis against Cincinnati in crushing fashion. What is known about the Buckeyes is that they have two sterling losses at North Carolina and Florida. Those losses won't hurt them, but their #6 ranking is still based on projection rather than performance.

Alabama. Currently the Tide sit at #8 in the AP, owning wins over Iowa and Xavier on a neutral court in the Virgin Islands and having won at North Carolina State. Before trumpeting the horn for the Tide, it should be mentioned that those three teams have records of 7-6, 8-4, and 7-4 respectively. The only other appearance away from Tuscaloosa was a 14-point loss to Notre Dame in South Bend.

Texas A&M. The Aggies have losses at LSU and against UCLA in Anaheim, however their "best" win was a triumph at Auburn. Unlike Connecticut, the Aggies have no more games against any eyebrow-raisers to help them out. The Big 12 is down so they should be fine, but any unforseen stumbles could cause problems.

LSU. The Tigers will be pulling for the Aggies as they are their best win, having defeated A&M in Baton Rouge. LSU has lost to Wichita State at home, Texas in Houston, and to Washington on the road. The problem is that they have the before-mentioned Connecticut left on the non-conference slate. Will a win over the Huskies help?

Clemson & Oregon. The last of the undefeateds. Clemson's best mark is a road win over South Carolina. Oregon came across the country and beat Georgetown in D.C. Neither win completely punches their ticket, so both teams will need to prove themselves.

December 20, 2006

The Bowl Games I care about... Part I

TCU got things started with a 37-7 rout of Northern Illinois last night, but we all saw this one coming, right? TCU is a fairly respectable program that righted the ship after starting 3-2 for the year, ending up at 11-2. My perception of the program is that you can go and play at Texas or A&M after waiting two years behind other guys or you can play at TCU right away.

That aside, the bowl games for me truly do not start until the 27th. Why the 27th, is this an arbitrary date? No chance. Florida State will take on UCLA in the first bowl game that pits BCS school vs. BCS school. Call me crazy but if we're never going to put a undefeated, non-BCS team in the title game then why should I care about watching the lesser ilk of the non-BCS world?

The Noles-Bruins tilt kicks off a streak of 19 out of 24 bowls having BCS vs. BCS matchups. Alright, I am counting the Fiesta Bowl as Boise State and Oklahoma is interesting to me although Boise isn't a BCS school. However, its only the bowls that do feature the BCS pairings that hold my attention.

Here is yet another bowl rundown - The Pre-New Years' Bowls

Emerald Bowl: UCLA vs. Florida State
What is at stake here? UCLA is quickly becoming a media darling for 2007 after their win against USC. The Bruins can cap their season and begin to think big with a win. Florida State is here because this is where the conference sends its next to last team. Bowden still recruits well as evidence by their ranking on Rivals, however, the Seminoles are not the feared group that finished in the top five of football for 14 years running. Their 2007 slate is murder and a win would at least give hope heading towards next year.

Independence Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma State
Alabama needs to just get this game over with and find their coach for next year. Oklahoma State is an offensive dynamo with no defense. They are motivated to play here, the Alabama kids just want to stop answering questions about who is next to captain the ship. The surprising bit about this game is that Alabama throws the ball well despite all the notions that the Tide has no offense.

Texas Bowl: Rutgers vs. Kansas State
Greg Schiano isn't bolting to Miami after all, but the Scarlet Knights deserved better than a December 28th bowl in Houston. Kansas State got their signature win for Ron Prince against Texas. The sad part was to watch them promptly lose to Kansas the next week out, 39-20. RB Ray Rice of Rutgers and QB Josh Freeman of K-State are the players to watch.

Holiday Bowl: California vs. Texas A&M
At first glance the Bears should dominate this game because I would guess they won't repeat their 2004 failure against Texas Tech after missing out on the BCS that year. Cal is a great team when they can run the ball and not throw interceptions. In their three losses, the Bears rushed for 106 yards as their best effort and had a 3 TD/ 7 INT ratio. Texas A&M comes into this one off an extreme high, ala UCLA, after downing Texas in Austin, 12-7. The Aggies are a team without a trend for losing their three games. They've won with good and bad running and passing days. The Wrecking Crew has still not gotten back to the fearsome 90's - allowing seven games of 100 yards or more rushing. Both Oklahoma teams went for 220+. One thing is for certain, both teams want this game to build a strong start for 2007. This could be one of the best games and the Holiday Bowl is usually a setting for fantastic finishes.

Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
This is a head and heart game for me. My head says take Clemson, my heart goes with Kentucky. The Wildcats have three advantages in this game. First, they will have the crowd with over 40,000 Wildcat fans getting tickets. Second, they have survived 2006 with a favorable turnover margin (+9) that leads the SEC. Last, they see Nashville as a reward where as the Tigers do not. Clemson wins everything else on the field. They are bigger, stronger, and faster. The Tigers should roll over the bad Kentucky defense that allowed two 300-yard rushing days to Louisville and LSU. On the flip, UK can score. The Cats passed for 28 touchdowns and only LSU held the Cats QB Andre Woodson under a 100-rating. The Tigers only allowed six TD passes all year, but did give up seven 100-yard rushing games. The problem is that running the ball was a Kentucky weakness all year long.

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Missouri
The Sun Bowl is much like the Holiday Bowl in that be prepared for close game. Last year was a shootout and this could be a repeat. Oregon State got their moment beating USC. Missouri is still searching for their moment. For appearance sake, both teams want to be here, however as of last week, Missouri had only sold 10,000 of their ticket allotment.

Insight Bowl: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Okay, this might be the least of my favorite BCS vs. BCS matchups in the 2006 bowl season. Minnesota rallied to get to 6-6 and save Glen Mason's job, again. Texas Tech has plateau'd under Mike Leach. In his eight years at Lubbock, Tech is 62-38, but has never won more than nine games. To his credit, the Raiders have never won fewer than seven, but I get the feeling that the fanbase is growing restless of third place behind Texas and Oklahoma. I could be wrong. All that aside, this is a classic battle of opposing styles. Minnesota will run the ball, Tech will fling it all over the field. Tech's puzzling moment came in a 30-6 loss at Colorado. Minnesota to its credit only lost to bowl teams and only beat a reeling Iowa squad at the end of the year. Rightfully so, this game is on NFL Network. I don't imagine too much protest about not seeing it as opposed to the New York fans wanting to see Rutgers on the Network's other broadcast.

Champs Sports Bowl: Purdue vs. Maryland
The Battle of the Once-Praised Coaches. Tiller at Purdue = the above discussion of Mike Leach. Tiller stands at 83-53 in his 11 years at Purdue, but outside of a watered down Big Ten Championship in 2000, the Boilermakers have been a solid, not spectacular club. Ralph Friedgen at Maryland started like a house on fire, posting 31 wins in his first three seasons before winning only 10 games over the last two. Both teams will say they are looking to build upon this win, but something tells me that the winner will only end up in the Part I review of Bowls I Care About for 2007 as well.

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Iowa
If Colt McCoy quarterbacks the Longhorns after a pinched nerve ended his day against Texas A&M, then Iowa could look more desperate than the Americans at the bowl's namesake. Iowa stinks, period. Kirk Ferentz' hopes of going pro ended after this year when the Hawks sputtered to a 2-6 Big Ten finish, 6-6 overall. Who knew that an overtime win over Syracuse would be indicative of the Iowa 2006 season? Barely surviving against comatose teams. If you can run the ball and have a quarterback that can at least pass for 150 yards, you can win this game. Texas on the other hand has NO motivation for this game. Back-to-back Rose Bowls and now you get to party down in San Antonio? Great. Still, the Longhorns are too talented to screw this up.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech
Nothing like being able to drive to your bowl game. For Georgia this is their fifth game in Atlanta in four years. For Virginia Tech, they are the quietest 10-win team amongst the BCS teams. They beat a solid Wake team, but lost to Georgia Tech and Boston College. Georgia is looking to gain more experience for their quarterback situation. Matthew Stafford appears to be the winner, but Joe Cox is sticking around campus. Either way, Georgia is using this extra time to get that nailed down for 2007. Virginia Tech is anonymous. Seriously, name any player at a skill position, I dare ya! However, Beamer excels when his team is not known. Tech's motivation is simply to keep things rolling in Blacksburg. This game should be even, but really will feel like an exhibition game. Both programs have nothing to prove.

Tomorrow or thereabouts will be the run-down of the post New Year's Day Bowls...

December 05, 2006

The mess that is, but Michigan isn't special...

There really is nothing like watching your rivals melt the frick down. However, the sad part is that I could identify with them being a Notre Dame fan. I still wait for the year when Notre Dame gets #2 with a loss and the world will turn on its head.

But, you want to talk screw job? Auburn 2004 puts any one else's problems to bed. Auburn conquers what is annually the best conference in the nation and gets bupkus for it. You want to talk screwed? Even Miami of 2000 can't compare to their argument. They lost because of the pre-season polls. The funny thing is that everyone NOW wants to talk about Michigan being so much better, then why were they ranked below Florida to start the season? Was Florida to be screwed because their one loss came in an earlier scheduled game than Michigan? Pre-season polls are a culprit in this to be certain. They need to be dumped.

Before we get to poking fun let me say this, college football needs a playoff. There really is no reason why this cannot happen. Missed classes? Too much travel? Tradition? Puhleeze. As much as I will enjoy watching a traditional Rose Bowl this year, I am quite sure Michigan fans could do without the trip to Pasadena in favor of settling it on the field.

With the whining that is coming from the Wolverine fans, there are simply certain things that are absurd and beliefs that Michigan fans hold that I don't want to ever hear again. It's time to put all of it "on notice"...

1. Goal : Rose Bowl. One way to stoke your fire is simply to go out to Pasadena and beat USC, followed by Ohio State demolishing Florida. Make your points, campaign in vain to everyone. However, the built-in excuse is already forming. "We got screwed, how could we be motivated." The goal is the Rose Bowl each and every year so either its good enough to be in Pasadena or I never want to hear how special it is to make the trip out west.

2. "On a neutral field..." One of the common complaints is that Michigan, OMG, had to play Ohio State in Columbus!!! It's just not fair! Okay then, rip up the contract with Ohio State and play each year in a rotating site between say Cleveland and Detroit. Split the tickets 50/50 and that way, whenever each team has a year like your having, then they will have won/lost on a neutral field. Florida and Georgia do it, Auburn and Alabama did it, so there is precedence.

3. Reverse Argument.
4. Bo.
5. Big Ten Titles are Special.

- All three are linked. Conference titles should mean something so we're told. Oklahoma and Nebraska circumvented the system and Notre Dame sits as a threat to the system in that conference champions should only play for the title. I have a hard time believing that an one-loss UCLA team that just lost to USC at the Coliseum would get an argument over Michigan should the same scenario ever present itself. Bo would roll in his grave. A team that didn't win their all-important conference should get to play in the title game? No chance.

Simply put, any fan in their place would argue either way. If your Florida your going to argue conference titles, if your Michigan your going to argue the system.

6. Wisconsin = Awesome. In theory, all the conferences play each other except the Big Ten, or at least conference champions that is. The SEC would match up division champions if undefeated, the Big XII and the ACC as well for that matter. The Pac-10 all play each other as well as the Big East. Only in the Big Ten can you get a computer (they use them for something) to spit out a schedule where a team can win the conference by avoiding one of the two powers. 2005 Purdue could have run the table and won the conference without playing either team. Wisconsin only exists as a one-loss team because they didn't have to play Ohio State. What is Wisconsin's biggest win? Think about that and ponder at the same time the same Michigan fans who argue their win over Notre Dame and yet routinely give the Irish no credit for who they have beaten. Which is it? Are the Irish a credit to your win total because of our strength or have we not beaten anyone?

Lastly, Florida owns 8 wins over winning teams, whereas the Wolverines own 5. Florida's opponents also are five games better than UM. 89-56 for Florida, 84-61 for Michigan.

Look, all fun aside, we need a playoff to avoid all this mess. Even the computers (not polls) couldn't determine between Florida and Michigan, ending in a direct tie. Off the top of my head, I can't think of the last time that five teams could lay legitimate claim to the title. Lets turn the system into what its already designed to be by putting the top four teams (Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, LSU by rank, Louisville by opinion) seeded against each other and have the title a week later.

It would be a start.

December 03, 2006

My ballot...

No, I am not an official voter. This time I won't break it up - you get the straight poll. In parenthesees are the wins over BCS winners and their opponents combined record.

1. Ohio State (6) (73-71)
2. Florida (8) (89-56)
3. Michigan (5) (84-61)
4. Louisville (7) (77-67)
5. Wisconsin (3) (59-74)
6. Boise State (1) (64-70)
7. USC (8) (85-61)
8. LSU (5) (81-65)
9. Auburn (5) (78-68)
10. Oklahoma (5) (80-77)
11. Notre Dame (4) (77-67)
12. Virginia Tech (4) (72-62)
13. Wake Forest (4) (68-77)
14. West Virginia (4) (73-59)
15. Rutgers (3) (73-61)
16. BYU (0) (64-76)
17. TCU (1) (56-76)
18. Arkansas (4) (80-65)
19. Tennessee (5) (84-62)
20. California (6) (71-49)
21. Texas (4) (78-54)
22. Texas A&M (4) (71-61)
23. Boston College (4) (73-61)
24. Houston
25. Oregon State

-Alright, I didnt have time or the desire to look up Houston and Oregon State's statistics.

- There's only one issue here, and its my system and reasoning as to why I take Florida over Michigan. The Gators have beaten eight BCS winners vs. Michigan's five and the Florida opponent's record is five games better than Michigan's.

- With that said, the BCS games in my mind are set...

NC - Ohio State vs. Florida
Sugar - Notre Dame vs. LSU
Orange - Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Fiesta - Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Rose - USC vs. Michigan

Of course, this will all be revealed tonight at 8:00 p.m. on FOX.

However, AOL's Fanhouse is weighing in on the issue already and keeping everyone on the edge of their seats.

November 29, 2006

Awakening the Basketball in me...

Usually I wait until there is no more college football on Saturdays to start worrying about college basketball, however, in another move to go ahead and jump the gun, I can tell you right now the four #1 seeds for this year's NCAA Tournament.


In November.

The four regionals this year are in San Jose, San Antonio, St. Louis, and East Rutherford. (What, no Syracuse to complete the 4-S sweep?)

Already this thing is laying out nicely...

North Carolina (East Rutherford)
Florida (San Antonio)
Kansas (St. Louis)
UCLA (San Jose)

It's really that simple.

Naw. We have a ton of time left in the basketball season and things will start heating up in December, but for me the #1's are set and everyone else is rushing to see which region they will be #2 in.

Oh, and Ohio State #1? Huh?

November 27, 2006

USC will beat Ohio State...

In the ever rush to join a media that prides itself on predicting at the earliest possible time, put me down for taking USC and any points that Vegas is willing to give me against the Buckeyes. Yes, Ohio State could render all the Michigan-USC debate moot, however, I think USC put that argument to bed with a 44-24 whipping of my beloved Irish. The Trojans had a -1 turnover margin and yet only came up six points short of what Michigan did with a +4 margin.

The poll takes a new look this week with 1-2 fully solved. My Irish barely get into the BCS on my system, but without giving it all away, here it is - as always wins over BCS winners in parenthesees and the opponents record in the second set.

1. Ohio State (6) (73-71)
2. USC (8) (77-53)
3. Florida (7) (79-53)
4. Michigan (5) (83-61)

- Still the same argument here as the loss by Notre Dame means that Michigan only has the win over Wisconsin as a win over a one loss team. USC and Florida could end up with 9 and 8 wins over BCS winners if they both win next week.

5. Rutgers (3) (61-57)
6. Louisville (7) (72-58)

- The most important thing to me is head-to-head analysis. With West Virginia bowing out to South Florida this puts the two Big East teams against one another. Much like I kept Arkansas ahead of Auburn for most of the time when Auburn's resume impressed more, I will do the same here.

7. Wisconsin (3) (42-72)
8. Boise State (1) (61-68)

- No one is talking Wisconsin as they are the fraud of the system - having one loss but they didnt have to play Ohio State. Boise State has clinched the Fiesta Bowl with a 12-0 season. They will play the Big 12 champion.

On to the teams with two losses...

9. LSU (5) (80-62)
10. Auburn (5) (77-67)
11. Arkansas (4) (67-63)

- Said before, head-to-head is the ultimate criteria for me, however, we have three teams here who round-robin'ed each out in the SEC. I put it to a vote with my friends at the Tennessee-Kentucky game and we came up with the following to separate these three teams. Important criterias mentioned were strength of schedule (favoring LSU), wins over BCS winners (LSU and Auburn), and when and where you lose. LSU wins out with a point in each category - earlier losses and both on the road while Auburn and Arkansas each lost at home. Arkansas gets a chance because if they beat Florida they will have an SOS record of 78-65 with five wins. Stay tuned.

12. Notre Dame (4) (75-63)
13. Virginia Tech (4) (71-61)
14. Oklahoma (4) (71-73)

- This group rounds out the BCS at-large qualifiers, meaning they can be chosen by the bowls. Oklahoma can win their way in with a win over Nebraska. Virginia Tech will be punished by the weak ACC and Notre Dame will get their shot again at Michigan in the Rose Bowl thanks to their name. One other debate amongst the friends this weekend was a mention of to whom you lost. Opinions changed in a hurry when that logic would put Notre Dame up at #9 with losses to two of the teams still left in the national championship hunt. (Michigan and USC) Notre Dame gets the nod here with the better opponent SOS.

15. West Virginia (3) (62-57)
16. Wake Forest (3) (59-73)

- Here are the arguments against these teams. First, if Notre Dame hasn't beaten anyone of note, then who has West Virginia taken down to date? 8-4 Maryland. Wake Forest? Their best win is a home tilt over Boston College at 9-3. Same conference, same record, but the Irish traveled to Atlanta for their win over a 9-3 team. Of course, Wake could beat Georgia Tech in next week's ACC championship and end all debate.

17. BYU (0) (64-76)
18. TCU (1) (51-66)

- Small conference love as the two close out the two-loss teams list.

19. Tennessee (5) (82-61)
20. California (6) (70-48)

- Vols get the head-to-head nod over the Bears despite fewer wins over BCS winners and Cal's better opponent SOS. One thing about Tennessee, the Vols are a true 9 win team having their five wins all against teams with 6-8 wins and their three losses against teams with double-digit wins.

21. Texas (4) (78-54)
22. Texas A&M (4) (71-59)
23. Nebraska (4) (70-60)

- Same argument here as the SEC trio above - all three beat each other but on the road (Texas at Nebraska, Nebraska at A&M, A&M at Texas). SOS determines the order.

24. Hawaii (1) (58-72)
25. Georgia Tech (3) (67-64)

- Hawaii could get another win over a BCS winner if they beat Oregon State this Saturday. Georgia Tech and Boston College were the only remaining three-loss teams but I gave Tech the nod for being in the conference title game while Boston College is locked out by Wake Forest.

November 19, 2006

Only three options remain for Ohio State's opponent...

Sadly, one of them is not Notre Dame. I love my Irish and I would take the opportunity of playing Ohio State if it came to it, but no, with Michigan no longer having any more games left on their slate, they have essentially locked out the Irish.

I cannot erase a 26-point loss to Michigan, at home with a clear conscience.

For me, there are now only three options left for Ohio State's opponent... USC should they win out, Arkansas and/or Florida should they win out or Michigan if neither wins out. USC hosts Notre Dame and travels to UCLA. Florida travels to Florida State and Arkansas "hosts" LSU in Little Rock. Both the Hogs and Gators will meet in Atlanta on December 2nd.

If your a USC fan, cheer on your team.
If you like Arkansas or Florida, cheer for your team and Notre Dame.
If you like Michigan, cheer for Notre Dame to beat USC, LSU to beat Arkansas, and Arkansas to beat Florida.

Here are the standings with wins over BCS bowl-eligible teams in the first set of parenthesees followed by their opponent's combined record in the second set.

1. Ohio State (6) (71-69)
2. USC (7) (63-47)
3. Florida (6) (65-46)
4. Michigan (5) (80-60)
5. Arkansas (4) (52-65)

Those are the national champion hopefuls, everyone else is jockeying for position in the other BCS bowls. Yes, Arkansas is below Michigan, but the Hogs will add LSU's 9-3 and Florida's likely 11-2 to their slate if they win out. Suddenly they would have six wins over BCS winners and a 72-70 overall opponents record. Good enough to get over Michigan? I would say yes.

6. Louisville (4) (62-48)
7. Notre Dame (4) (64-60)
8. West Virginia (3) (51-53)
9. Wisconsin (3) (42-69)
10. Rutgers (3) (52-53)
11. Boise State (1) (45-66)

Group Two of the BCS chasers. Louisville becomes the benefactor of Cincinnati's win over Rutgers. Should the Scarlet Knights go down in defeat at West Virginia then the Mountaineers and Cardinals would be tied with UofL getting the BCS bid thanks to their November 2nd win. Notre Dame will go regardless, either as a justified 11-1 with a win over USC or as the 10-2 media darling/whipping boys who will praise/complain for six weeks about the Irish presence in the BCS. West Virginia is a big LSU fan, hoping Arkansas will lose out from here and end up with three losses, perhaps opening up a BCS at-large bid. Wisconsin is done, as one conference can only send two members. Rutgers would need to reverse fortunes and beat West Virginia, making them the champions of the Big East. Boise State needs to just win at Nevada and they will qualify for a BCS game finishing in the top 12.

12. Auburn (5) (72-52)
13. Texas (4) (66-49)
14. LSU (4) (65-56)

Auburn's season is over while LSU and Texas could add one and two (Texas) more wins over BCS bowl teams. The BCS only takes the top 14 teams and these could be the last qualifiers as non-champions. However, LSU and Auburn could get locked out by Arkansas and Florida.

15. Boston College (4) (61-55)
16. Oklahoma (3) (59-54)
17. Georgia Tech (2) (55-60)
18. Virginia Tech (3) (58-55)
19. Wake Forest (2) (43-60)

Someone will win the ACC but it won't be Virginia Tech who got locked out by Georgia Tech this past weekend. The Yellow Jackets could strengthen their resume with a win at Georgia this coming weekend. Oklahoma could finish at 10-2 and be at least an option for a BCS at-large.

20. TCU (1) (43-62)
21. BYU (0) (53-64)
22. Hawaii (0) (45-68)

The march of the non-BCS two-game losers. Hawaii can at least point to having lost to an undefeated Boise State team. TCU has the Texas Tech win keeping them above the fray. All the opponent records are not flattering.

23. Nebraska (4) (64-52)
24. Clemson (3) (62-60)
25. Tennessee (3) (69-52)

November 12, 2006

After the chaos...

Before yesterday, Notre Dame was sunk in their hopes for a national title. Lou Holtz seemed like a delusional former coach expressing that the Golden Domers were still in this thing. Today, I wake up and the Irish are at #5 in the AP poll, giving them hope with USC ranked ahead of them. It's still a very long shot, but they could end up in Glendale after all...

With that being said, apologies to not having my post up from last week. Alas, the Louisville fans didn't get to see their name in lights as being the team who gets to face the Big Ten winner in Glendale.

Here we go... numbers in parenthesees are the number of +.500 BCS wins and the overall record of their opponents.

1. Michigan (4) (57-49)
2. Ohio State (3) (52-55)
3. Rutgers (3) (42-38) (played 1 I-AA opponent)

- Here are the remaining unbeatens with national championship aspirations. In my opinion, if Louisville could have been considered, then you have to rank the Scarlet Knights at #3 for now.

4. Florida (5) (59-42)
5. USC (5) (52-41)
6. Louisville (3) (51-39)
7. Notre Dame (3) (55-48)
8. Arkansas (3) (45-46) (1 I-AA opponent)
9. West Virginia (1) (41-38) (1 I-AA opponent)
10. Boise State (1) (39-47)
11. Wisconsin (2) (36-50)
12. Wake Forest (1) (31-49)

- This rounds out the once-beaten teams and well, Boise State. The Broncos are still looking good for the Fiesta Bowl after the game winning kick against San Jose State. Florida and USC have the superior resumes while Wisconsin and Wake Forest's resumes prove why their still amongst the list.

13. Texas (4) (61-41)
14. LSU (3) (54-46)
15. Georgia Tech (2) (50-39)
16. Auburn (3) (60-51)
17. Oklahoma (3) (56-50)

- These are the first thought of two-loss teams. Texas and Georgia Tech control their destiny to make the BCS as they can win their conference championship games. LSU and Auburn would need help and some key losses by the teams ahead to get there. I finally put LSU over Auburn due to LSU's losses coming on the road while Auburn's wins and losses against BCS winners have all come at Jordan-Hare. Oklahoma could get into the BCS due to the impression of their "loss" to Oregon. The consensus could view the Sooners as an 11-1 team.

18. Maryland (1) (48-41)
19. Virginia Tech (1) (44-44)

- The ACC pair have a win over Clemson in common and they have lost against Georgia Tech. Maryland's other loss was at West Virginia and Va. Tech lost to Boston College. The difference is that Maryland can still make the ACC Championship Game whereas Virginia Tech is locked out with Georgia Tech having qualified.

20. California (4) (51-42)
21. Boston College (2) (49-41)

- While their opponents records are better than the two teams above, their losses include a losing team (NC State at 3-7, beating BC) and a .500 team (Arizona, 5-5, beating Cal yesterday).

22. BYU (0) (49-58)
23. TCU (1) (39-47)

- The non-BCS teams get in because we have no more 2 loss teams left.

24. Nebraska (3) (61-41)
25. Clemson (2) (56-55)

- The Huskers get back in with back-to-back wins over winners. Clemson hangs on to the win over one-loss Wake Forest.

BCS scenarios

- The SEC title game is set with Florida to face Arkansas. Winner goes to the Sugar Bowl or even perhaps Glendale. LSU and Auburn can each finish 10-2 but wouldn't control their fate.

- The Big Ten is easy, the Ohio State-Michigan winner goes to Glendale, while the loser settles for Pasadena. Wisconsin cannot go to the BCS as only two teams are allowed per conference.

- The Pac-10 will be decided this weekend when USC and California hook up in L.A. The Pac-10 can get two if Cal beats USC and then the Trojans in return beat Notre Dame. That would leave both at 2 losses and a 10-2 USC team making a strong case for a bid.

- The Big 12 is down to Texas or Oklahoma against Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship. Oklahoma is another candidate at 10-2 if they win out and Texas beats A&M.

- The ACC will only send their champion. Georgia Tech has qualified for Jacksonville with Boston College, Maryland, and Wake Forest sorting things out on the other side. The teams are ranked too low to end up as automatics outside of the conference championship automatic bid.

- The Big East would send Rutgers if they win out or the highest ranked team if the Rutgers-WV-Louisville round-robin comes to fruition. Each team would have lost on the road, but West Virginia would be the likely team to advance with having suffered the earliest loss. I truly believe that West Virginia is the only attractive at-large bid for the BCS bowls due to crowd sizes, Louisville or Rutgers would get trumped by 10-2 teams such as Oklahoma, Notre Dame or even LSU who have greater fan bases.

- Notre Dame goes by winning out, erasing all doubt. The Irish can still advance if USC wins out and they would be left at 10-2 against other 10-2 qualifiers.

- Boise State will go so long as they stay undefeated.

Here is my predicted shakedown with the conference champions and automatic qualifiers. Michigan and Boise State will remain ranked ahead of at least one other conference champion, that keeps them in the BCS.

NC - *Ohio State vs. *USC
Sugar - *Florida vs.
Orange - *Georgia Tech vs. *West Virginia
Fiesta - *Texas vs. Boise State
Rose - Michigan vs.

- This scenario would leave an 11-1 Louisville and Rutgers competing with 10-2 LSU, Arkansas, or Auburn, and Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, and California for the final spots. Three slots and eight teams, who would you pick? The 10-2 teams would bring the greater fanbases and something tells me Notre Dame would not be passed over three times, especially with losses against two of the top three teams in the country at the time. (USC, Michigan)

- While the qualifying scenarios seemed paired down there is a lot of football left to be played. The SEC, ACC, and Big 12 won't decide their entrant until December 2nd. By virtue of the standings and schedule, neither will the Big East. Only the Big Ten and Pac-10 will be done by this next weekend.

November 06, 2006

Notre Dame 45, North Carolina 26

I could talk a thousand words about my experience at Notre Dame this past weekend, but lets just say it with pictures, shall we...

Lets start by saying that 7:15 a.m. in South Bend is a COLD time to be out and about. I think the temperature was around 35 when we first arrived. I was basically like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, happily telling anyone that it was my first game at Notre Dame... even the parking attendants when we got lost. We left the Indianapolis hotel at 4:30 a.m. For those who are curious, I woke up at 2:05 a.m. after going to bed at 10:00 p.m. on Friday in the hotel. Apparently my body decided that 4 hours would be all I would need.

The next shot is about 15 minutes later after I have stopped gawking at the stadium and rejoined normal society by putting one foot in front of another and walking. Do we look cold in this picture? The guy who took it was one of the parking attendants and he just laughed when I asked if he did this much.

The plan was underway and we were going to take the 6+ hours to tour the grounds and get some food. First off, lets just say I had heard through the grapevine that the South Dining Hall was the place to eat. Wrong! $11.25 for a buffet plate at 9:00 AM was not my idea of trying to stay on the cheap. What was cool were all the halls out grilling their own food and hawking their wares to make money for themselves. Gotta love the entrepreneurial spirit of the Notre Dame student body!

You simply must have the obligatory shot of the Golden Dome on any trip to Notre Dame. I am just amazed that yours truly with my meager photography skills pulled off the picture that you see to the right. Granted, I did some photoshopping to get rid of the ND trash can that you no longer see, but the rest of the picture was all me.

This is the typical shot that you see on a camera when the game is about to return from commercial and some broadcaster wants to wax poetic about Notre Dame, the campus, Rockne, the Dome, whatever.

So the time crawled towards 1:00 p.m. and the gates opened and we were one of the first 500 in the building. I couldn't wait to get to my seat and see the view. This is what I saw from Section 126, Row 16, Seat 14. Beautiful.

Here we are, happy as larks that the game is about to begin. Gotta love the self-portrait with the help of the handy-dandy viewing screen on the borrowed digital camera. Good stuff. At this point, I think we're slap happy more than anything else. It's already a 12 hour day for me at this point and we've not even seen the clock move towards ticking down to kickoff.

You wait your whole life for this next moment...

Here come the Irish!!!

The Game

Alright, here begins the fan talk. Notre Dame took the ball straight down the field and led 7-0. Thank goodness, I thought. Let's get an absolute blow out game. Put the thing out of reach early and play some of the freshmen. Then North Carolina answers. 7-7. Alright, its early I think. Then 14-7, 21-7, 24-7 Notre Dame. Atta boys. I'm hungry and I go down right after the Irish score, only to watch the Heels run back the kick, 24-13 after the missed PAT. Then Zibby gets a punt return, and the place explodes. 31-13, Irish. Then the stupidity occurred. They get another series of big plays after we fumble the damn punt. 31-19. Irish come back, score, 38-19 on a long pass to Samardzija. Sweet.

Then I melted down. A 71-yard touchdown pass by UNC. The play was probably called "throw it up because the left corner can't guard anything" on two. It was a travesty, a sham, and a mockery - a travishamockery.

I was there at my first game in Notre Dame Stadium and I said to the guy in front me that we were dead meat in Los Angeles if we keep this up. Good lord, it was awful.

But the boys recovered, marched down and scored one last time for the final margin, 45-26. I didn't have the camera out, because I wanted to remember everything.

But finally as we watched the band play, we were still all smiles...

November 03, 2006

Rudy Suits Up

"This is the most beautiful thing these eyes have seen."

There they are folks, I finally will be attending a Notre Dame game at Notre Dame Stadium. The journey began a long time ago upon the knee of my grandfather who passed away too early. It was the man who started it all, telling his young grandson of the Four Horsemen, Ara, Leahy, and the ever-present Rockne. The tales were spun and my catholic upbringing only drove the point home.

"My son, how did we do today?"

My grandfather passed away and the torch fell to Father Mac at St. Leo's Church in my hometown. With that one simple question before Saturday mass he would keep the fire going for me. While we never had much Notre Dame artifacts lying around in the house to prove our loyalty, the game would never miss a second of appearing on our television set. The Irish were always a concern amongst my grandparents. My grandmom who didn't care much for sports would always pop in for a bit to see the score.

The tradition continued with my mom, raised in the above household and ever aware of Notre Dame and how they were doing. Not too many times in life do you bond with your Mom during a game, but the times would come... the 1988 season of glory, that rainy September day when Rocket Ismail would take two back to the house in the Big House. We both were yelling at the TV when he took off on the second jaunt. Then, our most favorite, was Jerome Bettis running over Florida in the Cheerios, er Sugar Bowl.

I endured the heartbreak of 1993, enjoying being the only person who called Notre Dame over Florida State in my entire school - only to watch in despair as David Gordon's kicked ruined everything the next week.

We've documented the pain of the Davieham eras.

Now, I come to today, when I will hit the road immediately after work and head home to a place away from home. I will be the first in my family to see a live Notre Dame game at the Stadium and I will feel a bit like Ned Beatty, walking in to see his son.

I am getting goose bumps already...

October 29, 2006

Top 25 - October 28th

We have a bit of a shuffle and with the new grouping system we have some weird results this week. One thing is for certain, in the system wins over one-loss teams are highly valued. Louisville or West Virginia will bolt to #3 in next week's poll due to the system, but for now their ranking accurately reflects their resume to this point in the season. Without further adieu...

1. Michigan
2. Ohio State

- These are the only two undefeated teams that have wins over one loss teams. Winner on November 18th goes to the National Championship Game, the loser to the Rose Bowl.

3. Arkansas
4. Auburn
5. Florida
6. Tennessee
7. USC

- Perfect shakedown amongst the SEC teams in that Arkansas beat Auburn who beat Florida who beat Tennessee. USC, even with the loss on Saturday to Oregon State, still has the win over one-loss Arkansas boosting them.

8. Rutgers
9. Louisville
10. Boise State
11. West Virginia

- Again, the winner of UofL and West Virginia will vault to #3. Boise State actually gained status with Oregon State's win. The Broncos beat the Beavers earlier in the season. Rutgers still has the chance to shock everyone and run the Big East table.

12. California
13. Notre Dame
14. Texas
15. Boston College
16. Texas A&M

- Cal is now the best of the one loss teams with multiple wins over winning teams. They have four wins. Notre Dame hovers at four as Navy joined their list but UCLA moved to being a .500 team or below after their loss to Washington State. Texas was left for dead before coming back against Texas Tech. Their win over Nebraska last week gets a bit tainted after the Huskers were dropped by Oklahoma State. Boston College is one hail mary from being undefeated and has the inside track to the ACC Championship Game.

17. Wisconsin
18. Wake Forest

- Wisconsin has wins over two winners, however, Indiana and Purdue could each end up .500 before the year is out. That would make the Badgers more like the Demon Deacons, who still only reside here as a one loss team.

19. LSU
20. Georgia Tech
21. Oregon
22. Virginia Tech
23. Clemson
24. Oklahoma
25. Maryland

- The two loss teams in a bit of a breakdown. LSU's losses are to one-loss teams. Everyone else has a loss to at least a one-loss team and another team.

- Next week I'll tweak the system. First thought is to combine the wins over one and two loss teams. Conversely, it can be viewed that wins over those teams are potentially wins over 10-game winners.

- I'll also have to spread out the status of the two-loss teams. There is a difference between losing to two dogs and what LSU has on their resume. Of course, the Bayou Bengals take on Tennessee this next weekend and they could shake up the standings that much more with a win.

Now the general impressions:

- USC's run ended, but we all expected it to California, Oregon, or Notre Dame. Oregon State?

- Is it just me or is Michigan getting too much credit for a 17-3 win over Northwestern on Saturday? The Wildcats are swiss cheese on defense and the Wolves should have gotten more than 17 points. Yes, the defense was fabulous and I was never worried about them losing, but come on, call it what it is folks, the defense is carrying this mediocre offense.

- Ohio State rolls. I know I have the new system, but Ohio State is the best team in the land.

- The SEC is absolutely brutal. Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee could all wind up 11-1 before Arkansas and Florida would head to the SEC Championship Game. This leaves out LSU who could upset Tennessee and Arkansas and still leave the conference with FIVE 10-game winners. (Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, LSU).

- USC's loss is not Notre Dame's gain for the BCS. The USC - Notre Dame tilt looks like a knockout game for the BCS bid in my mind. If USC beats Oregon and California, then the Trojans and Irish would meet on Thanksgiving Weekend at one loss apiece. Winner is in, the loser would be suffering. If USC loses again it only can hurt the Irish that much more. To sum it up, I think Notre Dame has to beat USC to make the BCS.

The only contrary to that belief is if it ends up as a competition of Louisville or Notre Dame. The Cardinals don't sell out their home stadium and they don't have their marketable players, Brian Brohm or Michael Bush. So long as it comes down to that, then the Irish could slip in.

NC - Ohio State vs. West Virginia
Sugar - Arkansas vs. Notre Dame
Orange - Boston College vs. Auburn
Fiesta - Texas vs. Boise State (auto)
Rose - Michigan vs. USC

October 24, 2006

Top 25 - October 21st

1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. USC

- Following the system I put in place some weeks ago, Michigan now ascends to the top spot for two wins over one loss teams and two other wins over BCS conference winners. They have beaten five total winners factoring in Central Michigan. Ohio State has a 1-2-1 breakdown of one loss wins-BCS winners-winners non-BCS while USC has a 1-2-0 breakdown.

4. Arkansas
5. Auburn
6. Florida

- Absolutely no change here. Auburn and Florida have the impressive resumes and Arkansas holds the "we won at Jordan-Hare by 17" trump card that puts them fourth.

7. Boston College
8. Tennessee
9. Texas A&M
10. Notre Dame

- This group vaults over the remaining undefeateds based on their results. BC, Tennessee, and A&M round out the teams with wins over current one-loss teams. Notre Dame has four wins over BCS winners. After their wins over one loss teams, BC has four wins over winners, Tennessee has two and A&M has two.

11. Rutgers
12. West Virginia
13. Louisville
14. Boise State

- Undefeated teams without wins against one loss teams. However, Rutgers is the actual beast of the Big East right now with four wins over BCS and non-BCS winners. The remaining undefeateds only have one apiece with Boise State's coming against a non-BCS in Hawaii.

15. Wisconsin
16. Texas
17. Clemson
18. California
19. Missouri
20. Wake Forest

- The remaining teams with one loss. Wisconsin, Texas, Clemson, and California all have two wins over BCS winners. Missouri has one win over a BCS winner with a win over a non-BCS winner, and Wake Forest is only here because they have one loss.

21. LSU
22. Georgia Tech
23. Oregon
24. Georgia
25. Virginia Tech

- Alright, with the two loss teams I can be somewhat subjective. LSU hasn't beaten anyone of worth, but their two losses were on the road at Auburn and Florida. Georgia Tech and Oregon have two wins over BCS winners, Georgia has a win over a BCS winner and Virginia Tech has a win over a non-BCS winner. All have their flaws and such, but they're so far down and two-loss teams will become important in mid-to-late November.

October 18, 2006

Top 25 - October 14th

With some explanation... because we're dropping all pre-season bias.

1. USC
2. Michigan
3. Ohio State

4. Arkansas
5. Auburn
6. Florida

7. Notre Dame
8. Tennessee
9. California

10. Boston College
11. Texas A&M

- These teams all have one win over a one-loss team (some, two - USC, Michigan, Auburn, Florida). I have to put Arkansas #4 for winning at Auburn. Auburn is next for beating Florida. Notre Dame, Tennessee, and California each have one win against a one-loss, but Notre Dame has two wins over BCS winners. Tennessee and Cal each have one and UT beat Cal. Boston College and Texas A&M have a win over a one loss but BC has better quality wins. Each lost their lone game very late.

12. Louisville
13. Rutgers
14. West Virginia
15. Boise State

- The undefeateds with no wins over one loss teams. Louisville has two wins over BCS winners while Rutgers has three wins against winning teams and West Virginia and Boise State only have one win apiece against winners.

16. Wisconsin
17. Nebraska
18. Texas

- All three have wins over BCS winners, but Wisconsin has one win over another above .500 team. Nebraska lost on the road, Texas lost at home.

19. Georgia Tech
20. Oregon
21. Missouri
22. Clemson
23. Wake Forest
24. Pittsburgh

- Remaining one loss teams, without a win over a one-loss. Tech has two wins against BCS winners as does Oregon, but Tech went on the road for one of the wins. Missouri has a win over a BCS winner and another +.500 win. Clemson only has the win over FSU as its BCS winners win and Wake Forest only gets here for having the lone loss. The Deacons have zero wins over winners but have five BCS loser wins while Pittsburgh only has three.

25. LSU

- The Tigers are simply the best two-loss team in the land. If they keep winning they will zoom up the charts, however, their wins are not impressive as their only win against any winner came against UL Lafayette. Their losses however, were at Auburn and at Florida. LSU still has a game at Tennessee, home against Alabama, and at Arkansas to boost them.

October 16, 2006

The Groups

The undefeated:

Ohio State
West Virginia
Boise State

- We'll lose three of these teams for sure as four of the combatants will face each other. USC is the lone gunman of the group who can win out without beating one of the other foes. Ohio State and Louisville would be favored because of their hosting Michigan and West Virginia. Rutgers could beat both Louisville and West Virginia. Boise State won't garner the computer respect to break into the group. They're playing for a BCS berth, period.

The once beaten, by an undefeated:
Notre Dame

- The interesting point to be made is that the first three all lost by healthy margins. Texas by 17 to Ohio State. Notre Dame by 26 to Michigan, and Arkansas by 36 to USC. Nebraska lost at USC by 18, and Wisconsin was dropped by Michigan in Ann Arbor by 14.

One loss teams by one loss teams on the road:

- Missouri and Florida joined the ranks, California has dominated since Knoxville, Clemson the same since Boston, and Oregon was defeated by California.

One loss teams by one loss teams at home:
Georgia Tech
Wake Forest

- Closer margins (okay, except Auburn) but they still lost at home. Tennessee lost by one point to Florida, Georgia Tech by four to Notre Dame, and Wake Forest gagged the fourth quarter to Clemson.

One loss teams:
Boston College
Texas A&M

- Texas A&M's loss to Texas Tech just looks bad now. Boston College gave up the hail Peter, Paul, and Mary to N.C. State - who just lost to Wake Forest, who lost to Clemson, who lost to Boston College.

The Discussion:
- The first thing is to set the undefeateds apart. Should we throw out all things pre-season and simply rank the seven unbeatens as the top seven teams in the country? Do we take the neutral field point of view? Is it too late, am I prejudiced beyond return to think that Texas and Notre Dame are so much better than Nebraska and Wisconsin. Both lost to undefeated teams, heck, Nebraska and Wisconsin on the road even.

- When we think about losses a hierarchy develops:

One loss to undefeateds on the road
One loss to undefeateds at home
One loss to one loss on the road
One loss to one loss at home
One loss teams

The flip side of the coin is to think about the wins the teams have within the hierarchy. Obviously, you can't defeat an undefeated team, so simply slide everything down a notch. I end up with seven categories, four above the water line, and three below the line. The quality wins are the first four categories while the bottom three indicate you've been dining on snack cakes for opponents. First the list:

Wins (multiple) against one loss teams
One win against a one loss team
BCS teams over .500
Teams over .500
BCS teams at or below .500
Teams under .500
Non D-I wins

Let's review the good categories. Everything cascades downward in that if your in the first group, you still might have other wins that put you in the lower groups.

Multiple wins against one-loss teams:
Michigan (plus one BCS over .500 (at Penn State)
USC (plus two BCS over .500 (at Washington State, Washington)
Auburn (plus two BCS over .500 (Washington State, at South Carolina)
Florida (plus one BCS over .500 (Alabama)

One win against a one-loss team
Ohio State (plus two BCS over .500 (Penn State, at Iowa)
Notre Dame (plus two BCS over .500 (Penn State, Purdue)
Arkansas (plus one BCS over .500 (Alabama)
Tennessee (plus one BCS over .500 (at Georgia)
California (plus one BCS over .500 (at Washington State)
Boston College (plus two BCS over .500 (BYU, Virginia Tech)
Texas A&M

Multiple wins over BCS teams > .500:
Georgia Tech

One win over BCS team > .500
West Virginia

All other undefeated and/or one-loss teams with NO quality wins:
Wake Forest

This provides only a cross-check of the best teams. To me, the race is for the 1 and 2 slots but then also for the coveted BCS at-large bids.

After careful thinking I have my Top 25 in my next post.

October 08, 2006

Top 25 - October 7th


1. Ohio State
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. USC
5. West Virginia
6. Louisville
7. Tennessee
8. Texas
9. Notre Dame
10. California
11. Clemson
12. Auburn
13. Boise State
14. Oregon
15. Georgia Tech
16. Missouri
17. LSU
18. Nebraska
19. Virginia Tech
20. Rutgers
21. Georgia
22. Arkansas
23. Oklahoma
24. Iowa
25. Navy

- Three undefeateds were removed from the race this past weekend: Wake Forest, Georgia, and Auburn. The SEC only proves itself to be the toughest when two undefeateds go down by double-digits, at home.

- The top four teams are the elite of the country. Florida is 2 for 2 in their mid-season gauntlet and now look like a decent bet to make it through unscathed. They also get Florida State at home to end the year. I moved Florida to #2 because if they finish unbeaten then they will have the best resume. I don't like punishing teams, so Ohio State would remain #1, but the Gators would be their opponent in Glendale.

- The next group is only Louisville and West Virginia. Five years ago the Cards' wins over Miami and Kansas State would have been ultra-impressive, but now both of those programs are in decline. West Virginia's best win of 2006 still remains the Sugar Bowl destruction/hang-on against Georgia. Their fall slate has been awful but they've been dispatching teams with ease.

- Tennessee, Texas, and Notre Dame have one loss to one of the above six undefeateds. Interestingly, they've all come at home. Tennessee lost by 1 to Florida, Texas by 17 to Ohio State, and Notre Dame by 26 to Michigan. Because of who and by how much, that is how their ranked.

- California and Clemson are the one-loss scoring machines. California lost to a higher ranked Tennessee and Clemson lost very, very late to Boston College. Either team could be a legit BCS team if they win out, especially because they would each win their conference if they accomplish that.

- Auburn drops just the same as Notre Dame did when they were #2 and got ran over.

- Boise State is knocking on the door for the automatic BCS ranking. The Broncos, in my opinion, still need some top teams to lose (maybe more than once) to avoid being the "token" BCS team.

- Oregon got waxed, but California is that good.

- Georgia Tech is starting to believe they are a conference championship caliber team. They play at Clemson coming up and that game will be a do or die for both.

- Missouri shoots up the rankings for destroying Texas Tech in Lubbock. Two pick sixes surely helped but the Mizzou secondary is for real. I believe. The winner of the Missouri-Nebraska game will be your North champion.

- LSU is the best two-loss team in the country. The key for the rest of the year will be motivation. The Tigers still play Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas and with their current situation they would go from championship contenders to fighting for a NYD bowl. Will that be enough to keep the troops amped?

- Arkansas zooms in thanks to the win over Auburn. They now control their own destiny for winning the SEC West. With zero losses in conference the Hogs could lose only to LSU and still go to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.

- Oklahoma remains ranked because of the Oregon/Pac-10 conference fiasco. Good to see the conference has all the problems worked out, right Ty Willingham?

- Navy gets a decent win at Air Force and they play Rutgers this week. Chance for the gamble on ranking them to prove itself. The game is the only other Top 25 meeting of the week, "rivaling" Florida-Auburn. How many people had this game circled on their calendars in August?

- The week coming up as a whole shapes up to be a challenge for the top teams. Ohio State goes on the road against Michigan State, Florida heads to Auburn for a primetime showdown, and Michigan goes against revenge-seeking Penn State.

October 02, 2006

Top 25 - Sept. 30th weekend

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Florida
6. Michigan
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. LSU
10. Texas
11. Georgia
12. Notre Dame
13. Florida State
14. Oklahoma
15. Clemson
16. Boise State
17. Tennessee
18. California
19. Georgia Tech
20. Virginia Tech
21. Nebraska
22. Rutgers
23. Missouri
24. Wake Forest
25. Washington

Talking Points:

- Really, my #2-8 are interchangable. Ohio State controls its own destiny to Glendale, however, we have a seven-team jump ball in the corner of the end zone for the team that will be their opponent. We have a ton of football left and while the West Virginia-Louisville winner has a great shot at being undefeated, they will get leapfrogged by any of the other teams in that pack if they run their tables.

- I can't put Georgia in the Top 10 with their deteriorating QB situation. The Dawgs will meet reality this weekend against Tennessee. They might win thanks to the home crowd, but no chance they get past Florida later this month.

- I made LSU the best one-loss team on the poll, they have a four-point loss on the road against undefeated Auburn. Texas lost to undefeated Ohio State but by 17 at home. Notre Dame by 26 at home to undefeated Michigan. Oklahoma could vault up to the top of the heap if they derail Texas. Some would say the Sooners haven't lost this year.

- Maybe Notre Dame didn't squeak past Georgia Tech. Maybe the Irish beat a solid, tough Yellow Jacket team in Atlanta. Think Frank Beamer wouldn't like some of those 51 points back from the game last year?

- Boise State will play in the first-run Fiesta Bowl this year. I viewed Utah as a solid choice to win this weekend and the Broncos destroyed them away from the smurf turf. I am sold completely about them now. Fresno State was supposed to provide competition but the Bulldogs have lost 7 of 8 since the 50-42 loss to USC last year.

- The best game of the week is not in Dallas, it may not be in Gainesville, I think its going to be in Berkeley when Oregon travels to California. The Bears look like the preseason hype Bears and the Ducks crushed Arizona State on the road. Both are legit threats to USC.

- Best finish last week was in Lincoln (Nebraska 39, Kansas 32, OT). I think I am a firm believer now that if your the road team and you've come back in the game and stunned the home crowd, you go for two and the win and don't play for OT. Complete opposite belief if your at home.

- Were down to the Dirty Dozen of undefeated teams, which are now all ranked in my polls. Wake Forest, Missouri are going to be underdogs in their quest to stay unbeated with games against Clemson and at Texas Tech respectively.

September 24, 2006

Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Florida
6. Michigan
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. Texas
10. LSU
11. Georgia
12. Virginia Tech
13. Notre Dame
14. Florida State
15. Iowa
16. Oklahoma
17. Clemson
18. TCU
19. Boise State
20. Tennessee
21. Nebraska
22. California
23. Georgia Tech
24. Washington
25. Wake Forest

Talking Points:

- Notre Dame and Georgia drop a spot for needing improbable comebacks. Georgia moves out of the Top 10 because they are one confident opponent away from being removed from the unbeaten ranks. While I feel good about the Irish win there are still major concerns.

- The only other explanation required is about teams 22-25. California gets back in after crushing undefeated Arizona State. Georgia Tech and Washington get in for nice wins this week and combined that they've lost to Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Wake Forest gets in as the last team because they beat Connecticut and Mississippi on the road easily. The two opponents aren't heavyweights, but the Deacons showed no sign of struggle in either game.

- We're down to 19 undefeated teams. This week sees Ohio State travelling to Iowa as the only game between two unbeatens. Top 25 vs. Top 25 include Virginia Tech hosting Georgia Tech.

- The Top 3 all hit the road in somewhat tricky places. Iowa has had the OSU game circled for some time, USC needs to make sure Dwayne Jarrett is okay otherwise, Washington State could provide problems and Auburn finally hits the road, period. Michigan is also on the road at Minnesota and Oregon travels to Arizona State.

- Texas and Wake Forest play absolute dogs this weekend: Sam Houston State and Liberty.

- Four teams are out of action this week: West Virginia, Louisville, Florida State, and Oklahoma.

- Houston, Missouri, Purdue, Rutgers, and Texas A&M are all undefeated at 4-0 but not in the Top 25. Four could make statements this weekend as Houston plays at Miami (FL), Purdue travels to South Bend, Rutgers plays at South Florida, and Texas A&M hosts Texas Tech. Missouri hosts 0-4 Colorado.

Terrail Lambert, My Hero

Man crush.

I really wanted to post immediately after the game but my emotions and body were spent. My reaction is a lot like other Notre Dame bloggers in that you go from being ready to move on to next year and benching Brady to seeing his final stat line (20-36, 319, 5 tds, 1 int) in amazement.

I have been victim to bouncing ball heroics, so Terrail Lambert's interceptions, both juggling acts, soothe my soul since that day in Lexington against LSU.

If you've seen Fever Pitch I was the fifth member of the Red Sox clan drowning their sorrows heading into the fourth quarter. (I know, bad mix between football and a baseball movie. Sue me.)

The Irish were down 37-21 and new meterologist Brent Musberger kept reminding my tortured soul about the driving rainstorm that had now switched its wind direction back into the face of the Irish. Could their please be more salt to rub into this wound?

Maybe Charlie had said to the alumni that he would never beat the Spartans?

Touchdown, Shark. 37-27. We need this two-point conversion... nevermind. Fumble by Stanton! Fumble by Stanton! Two plays later the Irish had moved back to near midfield after some dumb penalties. Eventually, lightning struck as Rhema McKnight proved to be Maurice Stovall for a play and make it 37-33, PAT pending.

WHAT!??!??! He missed?!??!?!! "Ugh to come back all that way to be deflated by the missed PAT." Surely the heroic Stanton would come onto the field now. The one ready to scramble for first downs and break my heart. We have got to force him to throw.

Stanton goes back...

"Oh YEAH, RUN DANG YOU, RUN LAMBERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", I said in my mind but thoughtful to stay quiet with my sleeping, 2-year old nephew just feet away. My body shook and I did the only thing I could think of... I opened the front door, closed it behind me, and screamed like a madman into the Lexington night. Surely someone in the neighborhood spotted me and is having a great laugh today.

Back into the house now, 40-37 Irish and I am ready for the crushing drive and win by the Spartans who are now forced out of their self-induced offensive coma. The Spartans move the ball down the field with Stanton completing passes and making key, fourth down runs.

Just make them kick a field goal, guys. Then Terrail Lambert became my personal hero when I had just settled for an incomplete pass. I stared at the replay as the ball bounced around, off Richardson coming back to try and make a play, off Lambert heading over to deliver a hit on the Sparty receiver and ultimately off the Sparty receiver and into Lambert's hands like a gift-wrapped present.


:24 left, new rules=ballgame, without a snap and I love that Charlie immediately knew that and just started to walk onto the field, pointing to the clock and the clock keeper that could do nothing about it, unlike in other cases.

Notre Dame 40, Michigan State 37.

Give me a call today, Scott, because I have a priceless recording on my machine about the struggling Irish from you. Can't wait, pal.

September 21, 2006

Blogpoll 2.3

1. Its only the third week of the season and we've already seen some highly ranked favorites drop out of national championship contention. Preseason favorite Cal dropped to #21 after a loss and a pair of underwhelming victories. Who's your pick as the next NC contender to take a fall?

Florida is the easy pick. Their schedule is murder. So lets go with the team that is in the NC hunt but won't be very, very soon and that choice is Michigan. You can't win every game on emotion and the Wolverines did score a ton of points on Irish miscues.

2. By that same token there are several schools hanging around without a loss that all of a sudden look like surprise contenders. There are also a few one loss teams with a legit shot at getting back into it. Looking at the rankings who's the team no one's talking about with the best shot at crashing the party?

Texas needed Oklahoma to beat Oregon. (By the way, Stoops and OU, STOP THE FREAKING DUCKS FROM GETTING DOWN THE FIELD AFTER THE KICK!) They'll suffer because of the OU defensive lapse and will not enter back into the title game even if they run the table from here on out. I mean, come on folks, who is winning that North division?

To answer the question, I say watch for USC. We ALL have done everything in our power to write off the Trojans. Take a peek at their schedule again. This team gets everyone in L.A.

3. Every team has their quicksand away game. You know. That place you should win but somehow find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or at least scare the &*%^ out of you every year. Did you know that over the last 21 years Kentucky wasn't won once in Knoxville? Where is your team's yearly sandtrap?

Notre Dame going to Los Angeles used to be a fun game when I was an adolescent. Lately its been the 31-point beatdown palace. I don't like the Irish chances any better this year. Maybe not 31 points, but I never saw a win when I glanced at the schedule for 2006 right after the Fiesta Bowl.

4. Now that you've looked into the darkest place in your football soul, free Escalades aside, turn and look into your crystal ball. Conference play is either just starting or a single game in. Based on what you've seen so far, give the order of finish in your conference, and if you've got a Conference Championship game tell us who the winner will be. Independents must predict the remainder of their schedule. The results your predictions will be held against you at the end of the season.

The SEC - I love the SEC.
SEC East
1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt

SEC West
1. Auburn
2. LSU
3. Alabama
4. Arkansas
5. Mississippi
6. Mississippi State

Auburn defeats Florida in a rematch from a close Tiger win on the Plains.

However, Notre Dame is my team, so...

Michigan State - W
Purdue - W
Stanford - W
Navy - W
North Carolina - W
Air Force - W
Army - W

10-2 and let the nation rail about the Irish going back to the BCS. I love it.

5. In keeping with the spirit of Maize n Brew, name your beverage of choice on game days and why. It need not be alcoholic, as there are some of us who choose not to imbibe on game day. Further, it need not be limited to a single brand/type/category. If you enjoy drinking PBR and Kraft Turkey Gravy at the same time (which I have personally witnessed), please, elaborate. Finally, if you should feel so inclined, and this is not a requirement, add an anecdote involving said beverage choice.

Milk. But really, food is the bigger thing for me. Downing a Hardee's Thick Burger is the best way to go while watching some afternoon football. Oh wait, I don't get an afternoon of uninterrupted football until October 28th.

BONUS: What gridiron memory sears you so deeply, down to your appropriately-colored veins, that a simple acknowledgement, a "sorry" from the proper source - even if it didn't change the outcome - would lift a burden and cleanse a scarred corner of the soul? What injustice do you still carry, and want officially recognized?

1993 poll voters to finally come clean and admit they were going to do any dadgum thing to get Bobby the national title.

September 17, 2006

Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Florida
6. Michigan
7. Louisville
8. Texas
9. Oregon
10. Georgia
11. LSU
12. Notre Dame
13. Virginia Tech
14. Florida State
15. Iowa
16. Oklahoma
17. UCLA
18. TCU
19. Boise State
20. Boston College
21. Clemson
22. Michigan State
23. Arizona State
24. Tennessee
25. Nebraska

What We Know Now...

We know everything and nothing at the same time.

Separation Saturday is over and we're now down from 42 to 29 undefeated teams. Some went down hard (Notre Dame) while many were merely pretenders who ran into their first formidable challenge (Nebraska).

- Get ready for the myriad comparisons of Charlie Weis and Tyrone Willingham. I mentioned it before and already a stat circling around is that both coaches were 11-3 before losing big games to Michigan (38-0 for Ty, 47-21 yesterday for Charlie). What does this prove? Nothing. Simply put, the fun time had by all pundits will end so long as the Irish venture up to East Lansing and win the game. National Championship hype over, the Irish can go back to being under the radar that worked well for them last year.

- The SEC struggles to score points. 6-3 Alabama vs. Tennessee last year was trumped by 7-3 Auburn over LSU this year. When Florida meets Auburn later in the year, I am already calling the unheard of 3-2 win for someone. Oh, and by the way, LSU got absolutely jobbed on the one call of pass interference, no wait, the Auburn guy tipped it. If I am a defensive coordinator I now have a new way to defend. Drape the receiver then have your helping safety come over and tip the ball and all is fine. Ridiculous.

- 23 rushes for -11 yards. This was Tennessee's stat line against Florida trying to run the ball. Granted it includes the sacks of Erik Ainge totalling 29 yards in reverse, but that means that Hardesty, their RB, carried the rock for 14 yards... on 17 carries. Ouch. My friend Scott is right, you can't be that one dimensional in the SEC and hope to win.

- Louisville has the worst luck. Michael Bush is gone after three quarters and now Brian Brohm will miss significant time. Hunter Cantwell stepped in and performed nicely against a declining Miami program. Living in Lexington I run into my fair share of new Cardinals fans and they say that Cantwell is better. Uh huh, yeah, right. West Virginia is experiencing planetary alignment in their hopes for the title run.

- I wonder if Louisville doesn't do something at home, like bug the locker rooms because when they play in the Pizza Pit the Cards look like USC. Away from it and they look very mortal when playing a team with equal speed.

- Michigan State should be favored over Notre Dame, right? The Spartans have won the last 7 of 9 and they also own a 3-0 record with the same team that beat the same team Irish. Notre Dame has supposedly been exposed as frauds so it will be hard to play the "overrated Irish, underappreciated MSU" card, Spartan fans. Like my boy, Colin Cowherd says, put a $1,000 on it if Notre Dame is so overrated. Much like the Purdue game of last year, this Irish team will be absolutely focused for this game.

- I am also thinking Charlie likes the road games better, too. "It's you against the world."

- Kentucky, baby! 2-1, 1-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1987. Usually the Cats get Florida first and since they haven't beaten the Gators since 1986 its been a long time. The Cats took out Ole Miss 31-14 and look poised for a six win, bowl season. Unfortunately, the next game is against said Gators. Play with house money, Cats. Good luck.

- Interesting stat: Kentucky is 25th in scoring nationally at 33.0 ppg. Texas Tech is ranked 60th, averaging 25.0 ppg. Mike Leach used to be the o-coordinator under Hal Mumme in Lexington. Our fan base mentions his name a lot should the Rich Brooks administration fail to win six this year.

- ACC national championship hopes now rest with the Virginia Tech or Boston College. The two face each other on an ESPN Thursday Night in Boston, October 12th. The Big 12 is depending upon Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma State, or Kansas State. See you in 2007, gang.

- USC last lost a game at home on Sept. 29, 2001 to Stanford, 21-16. The Trojans get Arizona State, Oregon, California, and Notre Dame at home. Their road "challenges" are Oregon State and UCLA. We may not be done with the Trojans just yet.

- FYI: Auburn sits at #3 in my poll amongst others. Deja vu 2004.

- TCU and Boise State keep clearing hurdles to crashing the 2006 BCS party. Utah could put their chips back into the pot as the Utes get both at home on Sept. 30th (Boise State) and October 5th (TCU). The Utes could run their table and be 11-1 with a opening week loss at UCLA.

- The Heisman race is now completely Troy Smith's to lose. The Buckeyes wont lose, so as long as he posts the big numbers in their high profile, nationally televised games its all done but the engraving.

- Brady Quinn is not your No. 1 QB headed to the NFL next year. The Irish receivers have bailed him out more than most, evidence of Samardzija's touchdown against Michigan right before the half when the Shark had to reach 18 inches behind himself to snare the catch. Sorry Brady.

- Doak Campbell is off the list of intimidating road stadiums. Clemson had their way and the noise never got above a manageable level.

- Michigan vs. Wisconsin and Louisville at Kansas State are your only games of undefeated ranked teams playing other undefeated teams. We had 10 such games this past Saturday. Stop and Smell the Roses Saturday could be your moniker for the upcoming weekend.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Two friends of mine are Tennessee and LSU fans respectively. We are all crying in our proverbial beer this weekend after a tough Saturday.

My boys will have to sit and ponder the numerous what ifs that come with a one point (21-20 Florida over Tennessee), one score (Auburn 7, LSU 3) loss. For me? I get to pick up the pieces after a rout. No second guessing here after Michigan completely killed the Irish on Saturday, 47-21.

I got to a television after my duties of my daytime job finished and saw the 20-7 deficit. No big deal, I thought, Michigan is playing well and the Irish are just starting slow. Let's get to half and then make some adjustments. Sure enough, here came a recap of the scoring and I see a defensive touchdown. Relax. D and ST touchdowns are random gifts that boost close games into ones with marginal leads. The teams can be standing toe-to-toe but the pendulum on such luck of TDs off turnovers generally balance themselves out.

Well, I am still waiting for the pendulum back the other way.

Book end defensive touchdowns by Michigan didn't even explain the story in South Bend on Saturday. The Wolverines were an absolute buzzsaw that circled this game from the moment they started lifting weights in the spring. Mike Hart, who had totaled merely 22 yards in two games against the Irish busted out for 124 yards on 31 carries. Chad Henne who had come under scrutiny from pundits and Weis-Guys like me, responded with three beautiful TD passes to WR Mario Manningham. The entire Michigan offense, criticized for being too conservative in 2005, answered with a brilliant game plan and execution and put on a display not seen from the winged helmets since 1997.

Simply put, get ready for a jump in the polls by Michigan and suddenly the Michigan - Ohio State game could be one for the ages if Michigan can use this game to catapult them like the Penn State win in 1997 did.

As for the Irish, the Weis Era takes its first hit. Big losses were our mantra about why the school was justified for removing Tyrone Willingham in 2004. Well, now Charlie has something to match Tyrone, in the form of a 26-point loss and the most points put on the board at Notre Dame Stadium since 1960. The key now as it was then is to prove this is an aberration. Detractors of Weis and Notre Dame will be cheering like mad for Michigan State where as fans like me simply want to see a quick rebound against the Spartans and a "righting of the ship".

They say your never as bad as your last loss. Let's hope this is the case.

September 14, 2006

YOUR Viewers Guide - Sept. 16th

My mood about soccer and volleyball coaches and their scheduling habits.

Yes, once again we have another 2:30 soccer match at my school where I am S.I.D. I swear he scheduled the game on PURPOSE! But it gets better as we also get an eight-hour volleyball extravaganza that begins at 9:00 a.m. and won't stop until the last round of games at 3:00 p.m.

Bad for me is that the night games don't have the same appeal as last week. Cursed am I that the 3:30 slot will feature all the national championship shakeout action. I love my job. I just need to get to a bigger school with a spring sport, say baseball, where it never touches football season, but I digress.

So here is the guide for this Sept. 16th Super Weekend of College Football that I will only get to read about hours later. However, new for this year are predictions!

Iowa at Iowa State, ESPN, 12:00 noon
Nope fans, I will be line judging my second volleyball game of the day when this one begins, but you will get treated to a battle of unbeaten teams in the land of corn. Iowa State has spoiled Iowa's dreams before (see 2001) and the Cyclones could be in good shape to do the same with Iowa QB Drew Tate sitting on the sidelines. The Hawkeyes struggled against hapless Syracuse without Tate and Iowa State represents a serious upgrade compared to the Orange. Iowa State 23, Iowa 17

Michigan State at Pittsburgh, 12:00, ESPN 2 (regional)
ESPN 2 has gone all regional on us now? Other viewers will get BC-BYU but for those lucky to see this tilt I can only hope that Drew Stanton runs (and passes) wild on Pitt. Both programs had meaningless wins in their first two games and now they will step it up in this game. From an Irish standpoint, I hope the Spartans win because then we'll get a week to focus on revenge. Michigan State 26, Pittsburgh 21

Miami, FL at Louisville, ABC, 3:30 p.m.
The appetizers over with, we now move on to the main course where I will join everyone about an hour into the action. First we begin with the Biggest Game in Louisville's History while for Miami is simply a regrouping to get back into the national picture. Bobby Petrino's offense vs. Miami's defense. The Cardinals are without Michael Bush (UK did something right.) and they will rely on Brian Brohm more and more. However, the Miami offense hasn't shown me anything that they can hang with the Cards. In college, I'll always take the team that can score, because while they might not get their average, you always struggle to make yours. Louisville 27, Miami 23

Oklahoma at Oregon, ABC, 3:30 p.m.
Its the rematch of the Holiday Bowl, won by the Sooners, 17-14 last year. In this version we have Adrian Peterson carrying the entire offensive load for OU versus an Oregon team that is vastly underrated. If revenge is the word of the day, then the Ducks should fare better than UAB did against Oklahoma. Oregon can score and mentioned before, I'll take the better offensive team everytime. Oh, and Autzen Stadium is the loudest, small stadium you have ever heard in your life. Oregon 24, Oklahoma 17

LSU at Auburn, CBS, 3:30 p.m.
For the love of God, why couldn't this be the primetime CBS game? Sigh. Alas, the Loveliest Village on the Plains will host the second defining moment of the 2006 college football season. Its the Bayou vs. the Plains and both come in with wins over Pac-10 fodder and hapless opponents. Auburn gets credit for it being against a BCS school, but Mississippi State might not score for quite some time this season. Some games however, defy logic and the Bengal Tigers have won their last three games (Peach Bowl included) by a score of 130-9. Give me my first eyebrow raise of the year: LSU 16, Auburn 14

Michigan at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30 p.m.
The Lou Holtz in me says to fear the Wolverines. Fear their awesome defense. Fear their explosive offense. Fear, fear, fear. Problem is, I am not buying it. How many times has Michigan sent far better teams to South Bend only to walk away losers? How can anyone expect Lloyd Carr in his right mind to get innovative after the second quarter? And how, for the love of God can Charlie Weis get outcoached by this ragtag Michigan group? Puhleeze. I don't see a spanking, as Irish fans will never have a day to counter the 38-0 loss in 2003, but I have feared far better Michigan teams in the past and have come out okay. Notre Dame 23, Michigan 10

The Night Games. On paper the night games should provide dessert to a full day, however, I can see all three games getting out of control quickly. Nebraska doomed themselves against USC thanks to a mouthy cornerback. The Bowden Bowl could be an exciting back and forth affair but I doubt it with Jeff Bowden running the show. While not a blowout, it could be a yawner. Finally we come to Tennessee and Florida. The question to be answered is which Tennessee team will the nation see? The Air Force Tennessee would provide Florida will have a huge win, 62-37 style. If the California Tennessee shows up then CBS will be justified for their primetime choice. The problem? Florida tackles on defense and Erik Ainge hasn't been hit in the mouth, yet.

USC 44, Nebraska 14
Florida State 7, Clemson 6
Florida 27, Tennessee 14

Happy viewing, punks.

About Me

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