Sunday, September 10, 2006

CFB Hangover: Buckeyes Are King

It's easy (and obvious) to say that Ohio St is clearly the No. 1 team in the country. The question is: How far do you drop Texas?

Guess what: UT STILL might be the 2nd-best team in the country. There's no shame in losing to Ohio St, and the only thing keeping them from meeting in a rematch in the national-title game is another team(s) running the table.

(Update! 7 p.m. Sunday: Upon further review, and the wisdom of the readers who contributed to the comment section, I'm going to say that UT does NOT deserve to be No. 2, and me putting them there isn't just wrong, but goes against my entire philosophy to take what you see on the field and apply that immediately to the next poll. UT lost to the No. 1 team in the country -- there's no shame in that, necessarily. But they certainly didn't play so great in defeat that you might consider leaving them. So, if I could re-do my ballot below, I would say that they should remain in the Top 6 and enjoy a very rare opportunity to be a one-loss team listed among the remaining unbeatens with a shot at the BCS title game. -- D.S.)

Let me ask you this: If Texas played Notre Dame, who do you think would win? How about Auburn? How about West Virginia? (Those are the only three teams with an arguable case for No. 2.) Even with the loss to Ohio St., I'd take Texas in every one of those matchups. (And I'm no UT partisan. Far from it.)

That said, the Longhorns still got whupped at home, and Ohio State established itself as the OBVIOUS No. 1 team (in fact, it'll be interesting to see which – if any – poll voters are stupid/ridiculous enough to pick any other team for No. 1.)

Here's what is so impressive about OSU's win last night: They not only showed they have the offense to score on anyone (UT's D was no slouch, particularly at home), but OSU's defense silenced any critics that there was any drop-off from last year.

Meanwhile, I never said Notre Dame was bad -- just overrated at No. 2. That was a pretty impressive performance kicking Penn State's ass. I'd put ND in the Top 5... but not ahead of West Virginia, who never should have been dropped to No. 6 anyway.

Speaking of the Top 10, I think there's an obviously solid Top 9, who make up the most likely BCS title game contenders, followed by a scrum below. (Notice how I dropped FSU out from last week, among other things, because they basically survived against Troy. Troy!)

I have Oregon in that "ten-uous" 10th spot now, but only because winning at Fresno was the most impressive road win of the week. No, Iowa surviving at Syracuse doesn't count. Georgia blanking South Carolina in Columbia is pretty solid.

My updated Top 9 (Plus 1):
1. Ohio St.
2. Texas
3. Auburn
4. West Virginia
5. Notre Dame
6. USC
7. Florida
8. LSU
9. Michigan
10. Oregon

Looking ahead to a wild next week. This might be one of the best "Week 3s" in recent memory, in terms of how much it impacts the national title picture:

Direct BCS Title implications: (What does that mean? Essentially, that the loser of these games is effectively out of the BCS title-game picture... at least for now. They'll need all the other remaining unbeaten teams to lose before they're let back in.)

LSU at Auburn: Perhaps the biggest challenge to Auburn's BCS hopes. But if they win, I move them up to No. 2. This is why the SEC is the most brutal conference in the country. Very few "off" weeks.

Michigan at Notre Dame: Another survive-and-advance game among two of my "Big 9"; Michigan will be much tougher than Penn State, which gave ND surprisingly weak of a game.

Florida at Tennessee: UF looked awesome thumping UCF; the Vols looked shaky surviving vs. Air Force. Gators need a "statement" win at Rocky Top to truly be considered among the national elite.

Nebraska at USC: OK, NOW we see if the Huskers are back in business. A win here – even making it a game – would speak volumes. Meanwhile, if USC wins, this goes from "Oh, well, they ONLY beat crappy old Nebraska" to "quality non-conference win."

Just plain interesting:

Oklahoma at Oregon: Two teams trying to establish themselves as bonafide conference (if not national) contenders. The winner gets a HUGE boost: Mainly, they get to continue standing tip-toe on the periphery of the BCS picture.

Texas Tech at TCU: Don't be surprised that this game is listed. Two teams in the Top 25. Great offenses. Both trying to sneak into that extra BCS bowl picture.

Miami at Louisville: Apparently, UL didn't need Michael Bush, and they wanted to show everyone, by racking up 62 points yesterday. Miami's D is a little more stingy than Temple's. L'ville needs this win to keep them on track for a BCS showdown with West Virginia.

Clemson at FSU: Was "BCS-interesting" right up until Clemson lost in a thriller at BC yesterday. But they can prove they still belong in the upper echelon of the ACC by ruining FSU's season in Tallahassee.

Finally, it gives me no great pleasure to say "I told you so" about Northwestern and 1-AA powerhouse New Hampshire. Apparently, my Quickie Curse only works with teams I DON'T like.

Commenters Question: What do YOU do with Texas in the rankings? (And why?)


Anonymous said...

I think you have to drop them below 2 only because they lost at home. Anything less though then top 5 would be ridiculous. They are still argueably the second best team.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sold on Ohio State's defense. Texas did move the ball really well and I think that things would have been awfully different had UT not fumbled at the 2 yard line. Them going up a TD at home would have been HUGE. But McCoy played like the freshman he is, and that is Texas' weakness.

Top 5:
1. OSU
2. LSU
3. Notre Dame
4. WVU
5. Texas

Heisman Ballot:
1. Troy Smith
2. Brady Quinn
3. Adrian Peterson

Anonymous said...

I see the top 5 as this
1) the suckeyes
2) WVU
3) UT
4) ND
5) UF but with a win next week I put them top three (call me a homer) Texas looked good but with a freshman at qb you never know. ND proved yesterday that they are for real. I still think people will overlook WVU because of that weak schedule but it is the same team as last yr and they are stacked. The gators have the benefit of two good playcallers and I figure if leak struggles on saturday tebow will get his number called and it coul dbe his spot to lose. How does a back up qb lead a team in rushing? Are tebow and harvin this years slaton and white?

Anonymous said...

Texas may be talented, but its what is shown on the field that counts. They lost, so they drop. BUt have the chance to climb.
Ohio State's defense will be fine. It is easier to fix run D than pass D, so they'll get better.

Top 5
1 Ohio State -- Obviously
2 Auburn -- Very solid, we'll see next week
3 West Virginia -- Until they face a run defense
4 Notre Dame -- Good win, but Michigan the true test
5 USC -- Just to include the West.

Anonymous said...

Texas? Drop 'em to No. 5. There's plenty of games left for them to move higher. Penn State's a more interesting question. Did they lose on the road to a superior team, or did they get badly exposed? If the former, drop them to No. 20 or 21; if the latter, drop them from the top 25. And I say this as a great admirer of the Penn State program, and someone who desperately wanted them to win.

All together on three. One, two, three:


Anonymous said...

you're a fucking idiot if you think UT is still #2. They got straight ass raped. Colt McCoy has a long way to go just to be Major Applewhite. Getting manhandled at home is a clear indidication Texas is a 3 loss team at best.

"Where have you gone Vince Youuuuuung the longhorns turn a lonely eye to you...."

Kevin said...

uhh...isn't the only reason they're at #2 to begin with the arbitrary preseason poll? Judging by what's happened on the field, they should probably be somewhere around #5-6.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you start off early in the week about how coaches shouldn't keep a team in a certian spot just based on a presason poll. Now, after Texas got beat by Ohio State, at home no less, you seem to want to throw that fact out the window.

Texas should be treated as any other team. Judge them by the play on the field, not by some pre-season poll or any type of expectations. They fell flat on their face after a little adversity of a fumble at the goalline. Their offense is still questionable, I don't have to much faith in McCoy.

I would probably keep them in my top 10, 10th or 9th. However, to keep them at #2 is as far worse than keeping ND at #2 after it's poor performance at GT.

Anonymous said...

I can't justify Texas at #2. Yes, they still may be or end up being the 2nd best or even best team in the country, but they lost at home by a comfortable margin. For now, they have to drop to 6th and prove their way back up to the top. They certainly will have the opportunity with some big games, we shouldn't give them a free pass for now, it's only September.

Paul L Carter said...

Dan, I like your top ten, but I would swap #2 Texas and #3 Auburn because Texas lost at home.

That game would have gone to the wire had a)McCoy not missed his WRs on a couple of key plays b)thrown the ball away on a couple of other plays c)the WRs not dropped passes by looking up the field before catching the ball.

Mc Coy and the WR corps should get better as the season progresses; I think UT and OSU will meet again in the title game, and the Longhorns won't get whupped the second time around.

Paul L Carter said...

"That game would have gone to the wire"

I forgot to start that sentence with "Even with the fumble"

CorrND said...

I think Texas has been exposed, at home no less. No way they stay in the top 5. I'd say they're going to drop to 7.

Given that the #2 will be vacated and the intertia/attrition nature of the poll (particularly in the top 10), I find it interesting that no one is mentioning idle USC for the #2 spot. It's pretty likely they'll slide into the #2 spot in the coaches poll, with ND #3. I'm betting on ND jumping USC back into the #2 spot in the AP. Auburn #4 and WVU #5 in both polls.

Anonymous said...

uh, Texas' defense was really bad. That's not a good football team people.

Vince Young won them games last season, not the team. Vince Young.

Mack Brown is a bad coach. Vince Young covered up a lot of boo boo's. Except the herpes Brown got on his lip.

MP said...

Wow, previous commenter is a moron, especially since Shanoff predicted New Hampshire TO BEAT Northwestern. Can you even read, anonymous?.

As for Texas, I think they're still a Top 10 team, but I wouldn't put them in the Top 5. They didn't even give the Buckeyes a fight.

And ND over Michigan next week...not just because the Irish are at home, Michigan just isn't that good of a team. At least that game will likely be closer than the blowout that OSU will put on them at the end of the season.

xcdannon said...

I still think Texas is a (potentially) great team, but I drop them because:
1) I rank by what teams have done and not expectations
2) NIU scored more points on OSU than Texas

Anonymous said...

Texas must drop from #2 because there are unbeatens that are better than them that should move up.

I am also wondering what Penn State team showed up in South Bend yesterday...WOW! They looked horrible. ND/MIchigan is going to be a good game, but I think the Irish will beat them in a solid game.

Hey, my team won last night: GO BUCKEYES!!!

Anonymous said...

I would drop them to about number 5 because they looked pretty bad, even though it was against ohio state. they should have made it a lot closer being at home and osu's defense isnt great(good but not great).

MoL said...

As a forward thinker...what happens if UT runs the table and OSU ends up losing later in the year -- where do you position the two teams at the end? In the world that is the BCS, if you are going to lose, you want it to be early (see: OSU 2005). But if OSU loses late will voters forget about last night and rank UT above OSU? I don't think you can do that.

Anyway, maybe because it's still 2 weeks away, but folks seem to forget how well MSU plays against ND. That is about all that is guaranteed from the Spartans -- they're going to show up and make a game with the Irish. I don't see them leaving East Lansing on the 23rd with a win.

Anonymous said...

Shannoff can't spell UNH.....

Anonymous said...

Texas is top 10, I think the pollsters put them in the right spot.

Anonymous said...

I'm only 2 items into this one and I already have to answer your first 4 questions: 9, Notre Dame, Auburn (in a route), and West Virginia (in a route).

Anonymous said...

Apparently, my Quickie Curse only works with teams I DON'T like.

Except that you were at least 10% responsible (along with Dusty, Bernie Mac, Mark Prior, and Alex Gonzalez) the the Cubs in '03, what with your Prior-and-Wood-can't-possibly-lose-back-to-back-games pronouncement before game 6.

Yes I'm still bitter about that game, especially as I start to see people around here dusting off the old Marlins jerseys they havent touched in just about 3 years...

Jake C said...

Not to point out just how wrong you were about Notre Dame...but, I am anyway. You really hate them don't you.

When they beat Michigan, will you THEN give them respect or follow it up with, "We'll see how they handle Michigan State in MSU"?

My guess is the latter.

Dan Shanoff said...

This is why I love the Comments (and you Commenters):

I will admit it: My reaction to keep Texas at No. 2 is WRONG.

Anonymous said...

good lord there's ome vitriol here. what's with the slurs?

Too many of you are sleeping on USC (as corrnd says). I'd say they're #2 until they're knocked off...

1. OSU
2. USC
3. LSU
4. Auburn
5. ND

Nateusmoore said...

Jesus, Shanoff. Are you kidding me? Notre Dame rolled...and when I say rolled I mean effing rolled. Brady went for 300+ with three touches and, for a second straight game, zero interceptions. Notre Dame's D is unreal and you are just a hater. You said you are not an Irish-hater... if that's true then Jo-Pa is a spring chicken. Get a clue Shanoff, I usually agree with you but come on, get a fucking clue.

Anonymous said...

After ND beats Michigan, will all you haters just say Michigan sucks as well. I don't think Notre Dame can do anything to impress you. If Notre Dame beats USC 50 to nothing, you probably would say that USC was overrated all year.

Anonymous said...

[quote]Finally, it gives me no great pleasure to say "I told you so" about Northwestern and 1-AA powerhouse New Hampshire. Apparently, my Quickie Curse only works with teams I DON'T like.[/quote]

That said, thanks for picking the Gamecocks to win over Georgia. It looked like they read the playbook with a bad case of dyslexia.

/sarcasm off

Jaden, Cola SC