Friday, October 06, 2006

CFB Weekend Preview

Game of the Week: LSU at Florida

It's always a special Saturday when your favorite team coincides with the national Game of the Week.

("Special" is probably not this week's alliterative "S-word" to describe the Saturday schedule. I'm nominating "Settle-It Saturday": Florida has to prove they're legit contenders, as does Oregon. Is that it? Yeesh. This is why they can't commit to a new S-Word adjective for EVERY Saturday.)

Anyway, I'm picking the Gators. I'm sure you're shocked. LSU's defense scares the hell out of me; it's the best D in the country (sorry, Ohio St fans). They absolutely obliterated Leak and Co. last year.

But (1) that was in Baton Rouge (though LSU has shown it can win at the Swamp recently, too). (2) Leak was in one of his first big games in the Meyer offense, which has since been tailored to suit him -- it's also had a full year more to coagulate around the talent. (3) As with Alabama last week, there's a measure of payback to be had.

There's another reason to look to last week's Alabama win for cues: Big plays win big games. And in a game that is likely to be a defensive struggle, all it takes is one or two; this season, the Gators have been able to create them.

A few more game notes:

SEC Mania: Arkansas will keep it close at Auburn behind super-frosh QB Mitch Mustain... Georgia just isn't that good, but playing at home helps fend off Tennessee.

(You know what? They should just forget everyone else and call it "SEC Saturday." Hell, GameDay is even in Gainesville, which must make Chris Fowler happy.)

Is Oregon for real? If they can win convincingly AT No. 16 Cal, I think they'll deserve to be ranked in the Top 10.

More Pac-10: Washington will finally justify me ranking them No. 25 in my personal Top 25 by keeping it close at USC.

Red River Shootout a dud? Much like the let-down once the Red Sox vanquished the Yankees in the ALCS, it's just not the same now that Texas conquered Oklahoma en route to last year's national title.

More Big 12: Home-field adv. will make all the difference when Iowa State beats No. 22 Nebraska and Texas Tech out-guns No. 23 Missouri.

Running down the Top 25 schedule:

1 Ohio St over Bowling Green
2 Auburn over Arkansas (Close!)
3 USC over Washington (Close!)
4 WVA over at Mississippi St.
6 Michigan over Michigan St.
7 Texas over 14 Oklahoma
10 Georgia over 13 Tennessee
11 Oregon over at 16 Cal
12 Notre Dame over Stanford
13 Clemson over at Wake Forest
18 Georgia Tech over Maryland
19 Iowa over Purdue
20 Boise St over LA Tech
Iowa St over 22 Nebraska (Upset!)
Texas Tech over 23 Missouri (Upset!)

(Don't forget to log in all day Saturday for the weekly CFB Comment Tailgate of pre-game, mid-game and post-game analysis!)

-- D.S.

46 comments:

manninghamheisman said...

Hey guys....just incase you were wondering how I look at rankings....the only poll that is accurate until we get BCS is the Harris poll. The other 2 polls snubbed us Wolverines. I mean Lou Holtz, Mark May and all the other 4/5 ESPN clowns all agreed on that last Saturday in the final roundup. Lou said if there are 2 teams he would not want to face it would be OSU and Michigan. Also everyone else said that. I was all pumped and then found that AP and USAToday screwed up the numbers and got us at 6. Even though the other teams (2,3,4,5) above us clinged on just barely. This is BS. Get rid of the USA Today and AP Poll. I mean ever since Tressel voted for himself and that Duke alum clown voted for Duke because he was from there I hate the Coach's poll. Also in 1997 Nebraska though they split the #1 with us just because someone voted for Nebraska as a gift. Sorry for rambling on. Asking coaches to rank teams is sooo wrong. We should be #2. I hope we can win the next 8 and get to #1 and prove all these idiots wrong. God bless the BCS for replacing AP and USAToday

Dan Shanoff said...

The Harris Poll is horrible. Every "human" poll has SERIOUS flaws.

Frankly, the best poll you're going to find is the BlogPoll (disclosure: I vote in it).

The voters watch more football than any AP voter or coach, and biases are totally transparent -- which is more than you can say for anyone else.

-- Dan

Brien said...

I have to add this because, once again, the "big boys" snobbishness when it comes to CFB rears its ugly head again.

On Sunday night, on ESPN, the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois, will be up against the Redhawks of Miami University.

A lot has been written and said in the national media about Wolfe and the Heisman. Some folks (Mark May, Ivan Maisel, Pat Forde) have Garrett at #1 ... others won't even consider him because he's from the MAC.

First thing about the MAC ... six of the 32 starting QBs right now in the NFL came from the MAC (their schools were in the MAC when they played): Roethlisberger, Pennington, Culpepper, Leftwich, Frye, Gradkowski. Almost 25% of the QBs in the NFL came from the "weak" MAC.

Second thing about NIU ... they have six players in the NFL: Michael Turner (SD), Ryan Diem (IND), Justin McCareins (NYJ), Randall Hill (TEN), Hollis Thomas (NOR) and Sam Hurd (DAL)

Finally ... I would ask folks out there to watch the game on Sunday ... and judge for yourselves with regard to Wolfe. He is an amazing back with a Denis Savard-like spin-a-rama move and breakaway speed. See him for yourself ... then see if you think the only great players play in the BCS.

If you're sports-savvy ... and I know you are ... you'll listen to what your eyes tell you ... not what some sportswriter with a bias tells you.

C'mon, folks, let's show a little love to the MAC ...

Brien

PS: With my luck, Miami (107th vs the run) will hold Wolfe to 50 yards :(

Brian in Oxford said...

So no chance of Michigan laying their annual egg before OSU?

How about we just take the conference champions and throw 'em in a playoff at year end? Let ND qualify if their record is at least as good as the other champs. Then if there are 10-11 teams, let voters seed them, and top teams can earn a bye. My guess is that the football factories would NOT want a bye, with the lost revenue. Hmmm......

manninghamheisman said...

Blog Poll is great but...It doesn't get figured into what ultimately counts. E.g if at the end of the year michigan was #1 on the blog poll but nowhere else then we would never be able to consider ourselves national champs.

Infact I think you contradict yourself heavily. You say all human polls are flawed. But the blog poll is 100% done by humans.

I'm a math guy. The BCS takes into consideration how many pts a team got beaten by, schedule strength, etc, etc.

The Blog Poll is so-so. But will it always look down on Boise State going 12-0 with a Mickey Mouse schedule? It depends...What if too many pollers went to school there. It's too subjective. We need a representative sample if we go that direction.

In conclusion, I say let's only use computerized polls. Blogpoll has a nice concept but 1) it's soo humanized it can be dangerous, 2)Computers don't favor anyone.

Hisjazziness said...

Hey, I picked Michigan to be in the BCS title game this year (vs. Auburn) so I'm with you. But, Michigan fans need to calm down. There is a lot of work to be done. If you are undefeated and ranked at 6 after OSU...then you have something to compain about.

FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

You are out of your fucking mind Dan. Iowa St. over Nebraska give me a break. No way the Huskers lose to the Clones. After last weeks near debacle against Rawk Chawk, the Bugeaters will crush the Clones the way they did during the Osborne era.

TF said...

Manninghamheisman,

While there are a number of teams that can lay claim to #2 right now (I'm a Gator, and I don't think we're the 2nd best team in the country right now)

We're only 5 weeks into the season and while it's always nice to say we're number 2 just keep winning and Michigan will probably be there.

Human polls are hard to deal with, they have SEVERAL flaws, and just don't make sense week to week. However they are THE most effective way to rank teams now. Computer Polls become even worse over time.

Right now Washington is ranked 8 in the Massey Ratings. They're playing great, but eighth? Wake Forest is 9th in the Colley Ratings.

Until someone finds the "ultimate" computer poll, human voting is the best way to go.

Joe (Dayton)

manninghamheisman said...

hisjazziness,

I can see where you are coming from. But 2,3,4,5 won a flip of a coin. How can they ranked higher than the AUTOMATIC winners? We haven't had ONE close game yet. That seriously should jump us to atleast the top 5

manninghamheisman said...

i agree with dan...I say nebraska loses to iowa state. it'll be close but iowa state is tuff

manninghamheisman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff Rogers said...

Can we PLEASE get this right. Urban Meyer is a DEFENSIVE coach. It is NOT his offense. It is his offensive coordinator's offense. It's so annoying how the media has no idea about any of this and how they blindly give Meyer credit for this spread option that he has nothing to do with. He's a defensive coach. Please let's try to remember this from now on. Thanks.

Brien said...

Jeff,

I think the perception of Meyer as an offensive coach goes all the way back to his days at Bowling Green, when he had an absolutely explosive offense.

BGSU also had a good defense, but they would put the points up on you. So, I think when people see that, they associate the coach with the offense (the notion being that defensive coaches win 10-7 games, not 49-14 games).

Brien

Maher said...

as long as my bucks keep winning everyone from the state up north can just calm down.

it will not matter on 11/18 where you are in the top 5, so long as you are in the top 5.

if you win at the shoe, then you will have every right to jump into that 2nd spot. when you lose, then it won't matter what you were ranked :)

Maher said...

I saw GW in person at OSU on 9/2. He was impressive, but he didn't have breakaway speed. He broke a couple big runs, but would always be taken down from behind.

As much as I hate to say it, I still put AP at the top of my heisman. I hate Oklahoma, but at the end of the season if he and GW have similar numbers, you have to give the nod to the player who faced the better defenses week in and out. Is the MAC better than the BigXII?

TF said...

Meyer is a good hybrid between the 2. He was the WRs coach at Colorado State and Notre Dame (and if you watch those games from when he was there they did use some shotgun spread, especially with Jarius Jackson at ND)

While the receivers coach at Notre Dame he studied Louisville's spread offense and, later, the run-oriented versions practiced by Northwestern and Clemson, which he used as the basis of his own offense. (credit SI.com)

Meyer is largely the guy who perfected the offense which many schools are using in one form or another.

However! Meyer is a very good defensive coach and knows that side of the ball just as well as the offensive side. Thus the reason UF's defense has been much improved this past year and 1/2.

Joe (Dayton)

Worldwide Reader said...

CFB is a joke until they institute a playoff. It's that simple.

I really, really hope OSU/Michigan, USC, and FLA/AUB go undefeated, and one of them gets left out of the national championship.

Then, maybe then, will the anti-playoff people start to think rationally for once, and at least consider the idea?

The top 8 BCS-ranked teams get in. Will #9 & #10 have some complaints? Sure. Too bad. Take the top 8 at the end of the year and let them play it out on the field.

Imagine if there was no Super Bowl and the "championship" was awarded to the team that a bunch of writers determined was "best"? Would you take that league seriously? Me neither.

PS - Dan, FLA loses by 10 tomorrow.

Worldwide Reader said...

CFB is a joke until they institute a playoff. It's that simple.

I really, really hope OSU/Michigan, USC, and FLA/AUB go undefeated, and one of them gets left out of the national championship.

Then, maybe then, will the anti-playoff people start to think rationally for once, and at least consider the idea?

The top 8 BCS-ranked teams get in. Will #9 & #10 have some complaints? Sure. Too bad. Take the top 8 at the end of the year and let them play it out on the field.

Imagine if there was no Super Bowl and the "championship" was awarded to the team that a bunch of writers determined was "best"? Would you take that league seriously? Me neither.

PS - Dan, FLA loses by 10 tomorrow.

manninghamheisman said...

Chris Maher,

You heard it here first.

If we win our next 3 games then we will win it all this year.

MSU at home - scary but we'll win
PSU away - scary...but Morelli can't score and also Henne loves to impress in his hometown
Iowa at home...not worried

Then we have 3 cupcakes and we go into Columbus, the state where Manningham is from. And we have sweet revenge for the last few years.

I say if go into Columbus 11-0 then we win it all.

manninghamheisman said...

the frog,

I don't think we need a fully blown playoff system. I just think we need a 2 and 1...i.e. top 4 teams are only in the playoff bracket

Dan Shanoff said...

Wolfe is in my Top 3 Heisman. He won't win, because of the bias against smaller-school players, but I think he'll earn the honor of being one of the 4-5 players invited (which means he has to come in 4th or 5th).

Brian in Oxford said...

Instead of rounding up to fill out a power of 2 (16 teams, 8 teams, or 4)....just take the teams that deserve to play for it (conference champions and really strong independents....no 2nd place teams, unless you've got a tie in a league with no playoff or legit tiebreaker -- big 10 where they didn't go head to head)

If that leaves you with 9, 10, 14 teams....just rank them and give the higher seeded teams a bye, like back when the hoops tourney had 53 teams in it back in '84.....play-in games, so to speak.

But no whining from 2nd-place teams that they didn't get to play for it. Go play in the Humanitarian Bowl or something.

hawkguy86 said...

mannighamheisman,

You say the other 2 polls are no good b/c they snubbed your wolverines. So does that mean that the only good polls are ones that rank Michigan #2?? So when Michigan isn't ranked #2 in the BCS poll does that mean it will be no good too. Like many people have said, if you run the table and beat OSU the cards will fall into place and you'll be ranked up there deservingly. Until then, you may have to face the facts that there are some teams out there better than yours.

TF said...

Just for the sake of argument Rick Tellshow does figures out the BCS standings using the formula. He's usually be pretty money because he's got the formula down.

www.tellshowbcs.com

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Auburn
4. Florida
5. Michigan
6. WVU
7. Louisville
8. Oregon
9. Texas
10. Notre Dame

Joe (Dayton)

jen said...

I am just happy that MY Bucks are undefeated and holding onto their #1 spot. ;)

jp / john paul / paul said...

barring anything... right now it would be auburn-ohio state at glendale...

still, we would rather have the national championship decided on the field instead of splitting it.

that is why matches like mich-osu, wvu-louisville are HUGE!

Geoff-Detroit said...

I used to get worked up about the polls, and have a lot of friends that still do. But really it is pointless. Michigan isn't ranked higher because they were ranked too low to start the season. They have played just as well as anyone in the country and if say they started the year ranked #1 they would still be #1. By the end of the season it will all work itself out anyway (well, kind of) and if they are good enough to be #1 they will be. No point in getting mad about where they are ranked in like the 6th week.

If they beat OSU and somehow USC and Auburn are 1 and 2, and Michigan gets locked out of the title game... then get mad.

jp / john paul / paul said...

dan, is there any chance that a "mid-major" can crash the bcs party? or did TCU blow that opportunity already?

FreKy J said...

The fact that human polls are always flawed and biased and screw things up is why I decided to see how college football rankings fit into a ladder rating. I'm sure some of you are sick of me plugging my little rankings by now.

Of course my rankings don't mean anything to anyone. Here they are anyway: Ladder Ratings

On the plus side, Michigan does rate third on the ladder.

Brien said...

Wolfe is in my Top 3 Heisman. He won't win, because of the bias against smaller-school players, but I think he'll earn the honor of being one of the 4-5 players invited (which means he has to come in 4th or 5th).

Dan,

What if he stays on pace and breaks Barry Sanders' record for yards in a season? Wouldn't that bias have to make way for "reason"?

I mean, c'mon, if he breaks Sanders' record for Best. Season. Ever. ... doesn't that make him, at least in 2006, the Best. Player. Period.?

Remember, he put up 177 vs. OSU, and we still have a game left at Kinnick Stadium against Iowa ... if he breaks the record, he has to have a buck-fifty, buck-seventy-five against Iowa ... or ... he has to put up four bills against someone.

Brien

xcdannon said...

the only way Georgia will even keep it close against Tennesse is if JT3 plays well. Otherwise, they'll get exposed as the overrated team they are just like Florida State did on Thursday.

I think Cal will beat Oregon, however. And Nebrasks won't lose to Iowa St. The only other pick i disagree with is Texas Tech over Missouri. That one will be interesting.

Richard said...

Dan,

Did you see that North Dakota is suing the NCAA for banning them from postseason play due to their nick name, The Fighting Sioux.

Finally a school got smart in this. Since they had the nickname for decades and have never been banned before, I'd guess they have a lock down, air tight, multi million dollar settlement coming to them.

The NCAA is over stepping it's bounds on the nickname ban. Especially where it allows Seminoles, Utes and Chippewas while banning Fighting Sioux. If the Native Americans have a problem, let them take the schools to court over it. The NCAA should not assume to know what nicknames are offensive to who.

manningham86 said...

Wolfe sucks compared to Mike Hart. Mike Hart has intangibles that nobody else has. Numbers that Wolfe put up are pretty but will he win it all for his team? Does he do all the small intangibles that Mike Hart does?

manninghamheisman said...

I agree with manningham 86.

Another thing...if Wolfe is sooo good. Why the F is he with such a cupcake school? How about go to a real school like Michigan? Oh but I forget. Either he wasn't good enough to scouted in that direction or he didn't make the cut. Either way.

If you go a MAC school or anything lowly like Northern Illinois you're asking to have your Accolades sacrificed

manningham86 said...

True. I don't see no Wolfe in Maize and Blue

Dan Mega said...

Want to know why CFB needs a playoff system?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Notre Dame AUTOMATICALLY get a bowl bid if they finish with a .500 record?

jp / john paul / paul said...

with regards to the Native American vs NCAA issue;

it is a very subjective issue that the Native American communtiy must deal with the school concerned. the NCAA should basically not involve itself in such matters.

Boilermaker football blogger said...

Notre Dame uhas been snotty in the past and refused a bowl bid with a winning record if the bowl didn't meet their qualifications. that right there should tell you enough.

Chris W said...

Hey Shanoff, lets get some spreads in there. Saying OSU over BG isn't exactly rocket science. This is not helping me in my CFB pick'em league.

Dan Mega said...

The entire "bowl" system should end any debate on if CFB is better than the NFL.

Brien said...

If you go a MAC school or anything lowly like Northern Illinois you're asking to have your Accolades sacrificed

Guess you forgot Garrett's 73-yard TD scamper against Michigan last year, eh? How convenient.

Ad hominem attacks do nothing to enhance your argument. When you have to resort to name-calling, you've lost the battle before the war even begins.

Brien

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

Anyone named 'Manningham*' - Christ almighty, stop being such a homer.

You can read, right? Somebody just made the point that non-BCS players should be considered once in a while, if they play crazy good. So your rebuttal is, why doesn't Wolfe play at a 'real school?' Hopefully, Hart can continue to run over teams and throw up some T. Biakabatuuuuuuka (I love that name and player) numbers against OSU, and take home a Heisman. Or, what's looking more reasonable, but less likely, because apparently voters don't watch huge games, your namesake (who should be embarrassed), Super Mario Manningham, should continue to catch 2 TDs per game, and pick up the hardware.

But if those guys don't deliver like that, and Wolfe continues to prove himself, why not?

Maybe you haven't heard this, because I just barely caught it (and I spend a lot of time being concerned with CFB) - check out the box score for OSU-NIU. Did this kid seriously go for 285 all-purpose vs. this still-tough #1 team defense? Why don't I hear that EVERY DAY?

If Hart runs for 200 or more against OSU, go ahead and whine about how much better he is than Wolfe. Until then, give the guy his due. He can run some football.

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

Oh, and yeah. Everyone here knows whose side I'm ultimately on, and I will sure as hell admit to Homer-ism myself. But I'm not an ass. When someone or something is undeniable, I'm not gonna go ahead and try to deny it.

Adam B said...

Soooo, my wife was reading me from a book about how many women constantly fall in love with men for/despite who they are and then proceed to spend a lifetime to try to fix things about them. Why do I bring this up, because this is exactly what fans of college football are doing. We love college football for the week by week excitement knowing that one loss in any week more or less dooms our team's National Championship hopes. Yet, people continuously argue that the game is a joke without a playoff. Would I love to see more marquee non-conference matchups... Absolutely. However, not if it means that teams can begin to shrug off losses like they do in the NFL. The season-long playoff is ONE of many things that makes college football what it is. As many have said to Manningham, if Michigan goes undefeated (which would of course mean it knocked off Ohio State), then they will be in the National Championship game hands down. Until the end of the season, the polls are only meant to do one thing, generate conversations, excitement, and rivalries...All at which they appear to be successful.

Brien said...

Thanks, John.

Yes, Wolfe went for 177 on the ground and another 114 on receptions.

NIU coach Joe Novak had his staff go through the game film, and he found that Wolfe gained 14 yards against OSU's second-teamers ... the remainder was done against the first unit.

Garrett also hit Michigan for something like 165 last year, and Northwestern for 245 last year, as well.

MAC or not, you're putting those numbers up against Big Ten schools, you've done something.

Brien

Maher said...

but when he puts up the same yardage totals and TD's as say AP at the end of the year, you have to count that he played 8 games v. the MAC.