Thursday, November 09, 2006

Where Do I Rank 'Em? (How 'Bout No. 2?)

Make no mistake: Rutgers will be the No. 2-ranked team on my Top 25 ballot on Sunday.

(Talking more realistically, someone needs to explain why Rutgers SHOULDN'T replace Louisville at No. 3. If you watched the game, I defy you to pick out a more impressive defensive showing -- particularly given what a juggernaut the L'ville offense is/was -- this season. If Louisville was the third-best team in the country, where do you possibly rank the still-unbeaten team that just beat them, if NOT No. 3? Anything else is complete b.s.)

This confirms that poll voters have been GROSSLY underrating Rutgers -- I'm quite sure because of Rutgers' rep -- by ranking them in the mid- to high teens.

That was one of the most amazing CFB games -- and especially one of the most amazing CFB halves -- I've seen in a long time. Particularly factoring in the stage of the season, the records of the two teams and the national-TV solo spotlight, I'd rank it as the best team performance of the season, ahead of Ohio St beating Texas, Arkansas beating Auburn, Louisville beating West Virginia or Michigan beating Notre Dame.

Consequently, I would like to think that poll voters, self-proclaimed media "experts" and fans will finally believe in the strength and talent of this Rutgers team and accept them -- if they win out, which would include a win over West Virginia -- as a legitimate pick for the BCS title game.

(Hell, given the defense I just saw dominate Louisville's X-Box offense, I'm quite sure that Rutgers would give Ohio State or Michigan a hell of a game. Although given the realities of the BCS formula and what I'm sure will be a continued PC- and human-poll bias against Rutgers that will spike their BCS rankings, I can imagine there are a fair number of happy fans of Florida, Texas, Cal, USC and Auburn. Oh, and people everywhere who hate the BCS.)

My upshot: It's totally fair to join me in jumping on the Rutgers bandwagon and root like crazy for a team that has historically sucked so horribly, but it's totally unfair to continue to hold that legacy against them in the polls or the BCS rankings. I'm so serious: Rutgers as No. 2 (though I'll happily agree with any/all who want to rank them at No. 3), and an utterly worthy BCS title-game team.*

By the way, after tonight I'd put Rutgers RB Ray Rice -- who had 75 yards IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ALONE -- at the TOP of my Heisman list. (Yes, ahead of Troy Smith, who -- let's all admit it -- is given preferential treatment mostly for being the QB on the No. 1 team in the country. But, hey, he's my clear-cut No. 2. So stop griping, OSU fans.)

Wow, I'm SO freaking ecstatic about this Rutgers result.
Hell, you can't be a college football fan (well, maybe outside of Louisville) and NOT be happy about it. My close college buddy called me just as Rutgers was finishing off their winning drive and said, "Now I know what it must have felt like for the rest of the country to watch Northwestern in 1995." Amen to that. You know I can digest it into my standard catchy slogan:

We're all Rutgers fans.

-- D.S.

* - For now... who knows what will happen when Rutgers plays at West Virginia on Dec. 2 in what could very likely be Rutgers' play-in game for the national title. Think West Virginia isn't going to kill themselves at home trying to play the spoiler? And for the record, the Big East tie-breaker for the league's automatic BCS bowl bid is by highest final BCS ranking.

So what we're looking at is the very real possibility that even if Rutgers climbs up to that deserving No. 3 spot NOW, if they lose at West Virginia on 12/02, we end up with the delightful proposition of having the BCS formula implode while sorting through the remaining BCS-favored one-loss teams to determine an opponent for the winner of the Ohio St-Michigan game. Currently, that list could include any/all of the following: Florida, Texas, USC/Cal winner, USC/Notre Dame winner (if USC beats Cal), Auburn (amazingly, without making the SEC title game), Arkansas and the Ohio St-Michigan loser. Ah, screw it: Just win out, Rutgers!


Christian Thoma said...

"Smith fans have a hard time explaining why their guy deserves it over another top-performing QB, say, Texas redshirt freshman Colt McCoy" mean besides the fact that Smith schooled McCoy when they met earlier this season?


Christian Thoma said...

Also, the PCs won't be the problem for Rutgers; it's had Rutgers higher than the Humans all season. Currently 9th, but I expect it to shoot up.

Unknown said...

Yep. Up to the humans to give Rutgers some love.

I would be (and expect I will be) upset if the Knights aren't in the T5.

Ingrid and Jim said...

I wrote for the sports section of the Rutgers newspaper, the Daily Targum. As part of my duties my senior year (2001, Schiano's first season), I had the good fortune to be able to accompany the team to Miami and West Virginia for road games. The results were something like 49-0 and 80-7.

This is incredible.

Ingrid and Jim said...

My dad had a good explanation for Rutgers' amazing comeback:

The mafia paid a little visit to the Louisville locker room at halftime.

Definitely plausible considering it's Rutgers.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Great Game from Rutgers, definitly a game where my fiance and I were whoite knuckled as if we'd been life long Rutgers fans.

Joe (Dayton)

Dan Shanoff said...

Jim, you must be THRILLED. Thanks for chiming in with that awesome detail. Enjoy the ride, man!!!

Christian Thoma said...

Great, now we have a Rutgers grad jumping on the stupid Jersey mafia bandwagon. THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MORE MAFIA IN NEW YORK CITY THAN THERE EVER WAS IN JERSEY. GANDOLFINI IS AN ACTOR, NOT A REAL MOBSTER.

Unknown said...

i don't know what to say

i guess i'll go with..

that was exciting but just not great football

also i find the Rice thing like Woah! he had a bunch of yards on Louisville's run D??? When has that happend before???

i'm dissapointed with those who would bet on rutgers to beat a real (read: non-Big Least) top15 team

rukrusher said...

With apologies to Vin Scully, I can't believe what I just saw.

Go Rutgers.

Stuff it NDyank

Christian Thoma said...

I don't think Auburn can make it.

If Arkansas wins the SEC, they definitely should get the nod over Auburn (based on 1 loss apiece and head-to-head). If Arkansas doesn't, the resulting computer drop for Arkansas would hurt Auburn as well.

Auburn's best chance (without going to the SEC Championship game) is for Arkansas to lose once more, and then win the SEC Championship.

The heroin sheik said...

I am telling you all, it is 96 all over again. WVU beats rutgers. UF runs the table. We destroy the UM/OSU winner.

That was a really fun game to watch. I have a friend who is a rutgers alum who has been telling me how great they have been for the last ten yrs. Sire she is crazy but she is right this year. I can see them being a solid #3. At least til they play WVU.

TJ said...

I agree with everything, but I think I still have Rut around #6 (behind OSU, Mich, and the SEC teams) with the caveat that Rut are definitely #2 if they beat WVU and win out.

Ingrid and Jim said...


You seem to be forgetting that the Navy win was 34-0, and we beat Illinois 33-0, and we just shut out the best offense in the country in the second half (and really except for a couple big plays, dominated most of the game).

Yes, I'm a Rutgers grad. But they have earned the right to play-in for the championship game vs. West Virginia on 12/2. If Rutgers was Oregon, Nebraska, Iowa, or some other mid-level team from any other conference, they'd be #3.

Anyway, if the Orange Bowl is the worst we do... it's still beyond my wildest dreams.

Go Rutgers! Go Jersey!

john (east lansing, mi) said...

benvious -

Dan is just being cheeky (mostly. I think.). If you've been reading all week/month, he keeps dropping Michigan to #3, accepting any logic possible for such a drop. It's dumb, but since the polls and BCS might as well look like a tournament chart right now (with [OSU/UM winner] penciled in at #1 until we learn who that is), it doesn't really matter (I'm assuming UM jumps RU in his crazy little brain-poll w/ a win at Columbus).
And many may disagree, but if what Dan wants is Rutgers at #2 regardless of the UM/OSU winner, then he might as well stick them up there already as a placeholder. I guess.
Even though it's crazy.

amr said...

What does it take for Boise State to make the national title game?

TJ said...

OK, so... holy crap. Not holy crap that Rutgers won, but holy crap they looked great. If you chalk up the first quarter to nerves, then Rut was easily better than Louisville. By a lot. The running game is scary (Arkansas-esque, if you wll) and the defense is swarming. I'm pretty sure--right now--Rut would beat UF on a neutral field. They impressed me that much.

MoL said...

Nice win for Rutgers, but if they win-out and reach the desert, they'll get totally schmotzied by OSU/UM. It'll be one of those crappy championship games where they regress to the mean.

As much as an OSU fan I am, why don't we go for total BCS anarchy here? Let's have OSU lose to NU this weekend then crush UM next week. Then WVU beats Rutgers and what we have is a bunch of one-loss teams. Now how about them apples?

Unknown said...

and why are you so threatened by Shanoff that you have to rail against him every post? lol

Big D said...

Just a random thought about the game...

How about the kicker, Ito, nailing the game-winner, then absolutely flattening (and getting flattened by) the kick returned for Louisville on the ensuing kickoff? He saved the TD and saved us all from watching a bunch of Jersey guys riot on the field if Louisville had returned that kick to end it.

By the way - why didn't Rutgers just employ the 'ol Wisconsin "Oops - we were offsides on the kickoff? Gee, let's kick again - we promise to get it right next time..." move to run out the final :23ish after kicking the field goal? Just run offsides, squib the ball, and kill the clock.

Cheap, sure. Completely legal, winning tactic, yup.

Jon said...

Rutgers Defense is just sick. Brohm is going to have nightmares of guys in red jerseys crushing him.

Too bad for Rutgers that Schiano will probably be gone after this season. Miami will have an opening and I don't think Corzine will be willing to open up NJ's wallet to pay him.

CMFost said...

Hey Can anyone tell me what happens to the BCS say if Ohio St, Michigan and Rutgers all lose a game between now and the end of the season and you have no unbeatens?

Christian Thoma said...

"By the way - why didn't Rutgers just employ the 'ol Wisconsin "Oops - we were offsides on the kickoff? Gee, let's kick again - we promise to get it right next time..." move to run out the final :23ish after kicking the field goal? Just run offsides, squib the ball, and kill the clock."

Because then Louisville would decline the penalty on the offsides. Wisconsin didn't force the clock to run down, the opponent allowed it to (after a horrible runback) by not declining the penalty.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really KNOW if Dan was fired? Because looking from the outside, I'm much rather write my own columns on blogger and rake in the Google Ads dollars than punch a clock at the Worldwide Leader and wake up at 6am for morning chats 5 days a week.

But, that's just me.

jhawkjjm said... qb has ever schooled another qb, they don't play against each other. Smith is now getting all the hype that Brady Quinn had... best qb on a top team. Smith is a COLLEGE QB with very little pro future as a qb.

Now I'm not a big fan of Texas, but love controversy. Would Texas be ahead of Florida in the BCS is the Pac 10 officials didn't screw Oklahoma? If Florida and Texas win out, I want to see what the numbers would be if Oklahoma won that game.

The King of Carrot Flowers said...

Okay Dan,
How exactly do you feel about Boise State then? They have been in the top 25 for about three years now, which would mean they have "paid their dues" and can be ranked high in the BCS just like WVU was this year. Nice game by Rutgers, but it doesn't mean they can just launch into a #3 ranking! That is just laughable. Has anybody ever thought that if the whole conference is over-rated then every win against them is over-rated. If I was a school in the Big 11 or SEC I would jump to sign up to play these Big Least teams and get a "quality win" Think about it, play a less than quality team that counts as a big win in the computers. It is like beating the system. Finally if the BSC is all about money, why would they ever rank Rutgers up there anyway, nobody in NY even knows they exist and the R is a pretty small market team.

wonkisports said...

my freshman year Rutgers was 0-11 and it hurt deep. Sweet redemption last night, even sweeter rushing the field as an alum who can still jump down 8 feet off a fence. To the naysayers, Louisville has one of the most prolific offenses in the nation (in par with Ohio State and Michigan). Rutgers D has an SEC flair to it as well. If Teel can play smart and we let the running combo of Rice and Leonard do their thing, we are arguably in the top 5. We win out and let the one-loss teams kill each other, and we're in the running. Dan, i wish you programmed the BCS computers.

Big D said...

@ chrth:
"Because then Louisville would decline the penalty on the offsides. Wisconsin didn't force the clock to run down, the opponent allowed it to (after a horrible runback) by not declining the penalty."

Thought penalties on the kicking team on a kickoff couldn't be declined? I mean, Wisco did it twice before finally launching a normal kickoff. And considering it was JoePa and Penn State on the other sideline, I would assume (perhaps incorrectly) that he would know the rule and decline the penalty.

Didn't end up mattering anyway, but just imagin if that kid takes another one back 100+ yards?

Jen said...

wonki~ When did you graduate? My cousins are also alum and one was at the game with his wife last night. That would have been insane to experience that!

I slept through the second half and woke up to my husband saying "Jen! Jen! Rutgers just won!!"

I think it was great. I was pulling for them to knock Louisville off their high horse.

Christian Thoma said...

@big d:

"NCAA Associate Director for Playing Rules Administration Ty Halpin said that, by rule, Penn State could have accepted a 5-yard penalty where it ended up with the ball."

Since they had got the ball at the 5, they traded the clock for the possible field position.

Big D said...

Cool - I must have missed that. Thanks for the info.

Proving once again, that when it's all said and done, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Unknown said...

actually, I have seen where Troy Smith is considered a decent pro prospect at QB. Not that that matters.

slaskaris said...

"also i find the Rice thing like Woah! he had a bunch of yards on Louisville's run D??? When has that happend before???"

- I knew last night that someone would say Rice only looked impressive because of the Cards D being weak. One problem, Rice is the third leading rusher in the NCAA. Besides, anybody watching that game realized just how talented and dominate that kid is - I'm with DS on this guy!!!

john (east lansing, mi) said...

mike (Re: "Louisville should have been #2 last week") -

... since when has that logic ever been used by anyone except D.S. for ranking teams? Ever?

It's not "just put some teams in order, leave out the situations which will sort themselves out later on." Ask Oregon State if you don't need to worry about where a team is ranked, since they'll get their due after beating a top-3 team. (I know that's a ridiculous comparison, but the point is, your logic is... all I can come up with is, cancerous.)

"face it"? Sorry, boss. Your point is far too nonsensical to use a tone like that.

Besides, what in the blue fuck do you want from me? I had just admitted that Dan's logic was excusable (i was excusing it, anyway), though stupid.

Also, your math is spectacular. UL beat the old #3... so they should be... #2. Just like Michigan should have been #1 after beating the old #2 (I'm not griping about Michigan's ranking throughout the season, I'm pointing out how stupid your argument is). How could you act like a team should jump the team ranked above the team they beat? What kind of system is this?

Anyway, great post. Keep it up, slugger.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

slaskaris -

If you watched the WVU game last week as well, you know how Louisville loves to let RBs right through. Similarly, Rice is the third-leading rusher, [having played a bunch of Big East teams].

I'm half-sold on Rice, I was impressed with the guy, but I think if you put (say) Mike Hart, even with Rutgers' line in front of him, against UL, he runs for 131 or more, too.

But, I mean, this was a very big, very clutch performance. I don't want to take too much away from Rice, but I think Heisman frontrunner is pushing it (unless you're factoring in the inertia/team-not-individual points that are keeping Smith and Quinn at the top right now. In which case, sure, why not let somebody else have a turn at the top, since nobody is really going out there and taking it?).

iamunstoppable said...

RuTgErS iZ tHe BeZt tEAm EvaR!!!!!!!

quick, look to the east, the second coming of Christ... oh wait, thats just rutgers winning one great game in school history.

anoint them!

john (east lansing, mi) said...


The thing about playing in a real conference is that every team can give you a run at an upset. Maybe most Big Ten teams are out of the Top 25, but few of them belong outside of the Top, say, 50.

If you can have a bad week, and have a hard time putting away, say, East Carolina in Week 4, or Cincy in Week 7, or UConn in Week 10, it's to your great disadvantage to play 8 or 9 games per year against teams that can each beat you, if you have a real bad day against them. (Don't even mention Ball State, either.)

And I contend that almost all of the Big Ten teams can say that (especially, um, Wisconsin?). No, they're not beating everybody week in and week out (would be impossible for all of them to do so, anyway), but they are certainly able to give good teams a run at an upset any given Saturday, which is what you were complaining about anyway.
In the College Football season, the challenge is to prove that you're consistent. If you want it to mean anything, it ought to be mostly against teams that can beat good teams at least once in a while.

J Money said...

I too am hoping for Rutgers to win out and not just b/c I grew up in NJ and have lots of friends who went to RU and suffered through a generation of awful sports. I think it'd be great if Rutgers was 12-0 and yet only about 6th in the BCS, which is where I think they'd be. No way they'll jump ahead of the SEC one-lossers, etc. I'm not even ready to make the argument that Rutgers deserves to be compared to teams like Florida, Auburn, Michigan, OSU, etc.... but if you run the table is a supposed BCS conference, you deserve a shot.

Like so many, I am rooting for the BCS to take it up the pooper.

EPorvaznik said...

NYC-Stillers Fan,

Totally with you about the deafening OSU-Michigan noise, but to say nobody in the conference gave them legit upset threats just isn't right.

Two losses are still two losses for Penn State, but our 1st-year QB has his head out of his behind against the Bucks (in their house) and that 14-6 score wouldn't have been 28-6. Horseshoes and hand grenades aside, taking Michigan deep into the 4th quarter, having to rely on a 3rd string QB due to U of M's very impressive D, also belies your theory.

Trust me, I know it's tough living with Cowher's apparent decision to toughen up Roethlisberger with some Ls in his column, but try not to let it cloud your judgment.

Tim said...

I think we're all missing the important point here: my ASU Sun Devils are the last team to defeat Rutgers, so ASU obviously must be ranked ahead of Rutgers. Oh wait, that's right, we suck this year. Oh well. We can still cling to our claim of being the last team to beat Rutgers (as weird as that sounds to be a good thing).

Unknown said...

Hey, solomonrex...too bad it isn't that easy to "rake in Google Dollars" or I would be a millionaire over at my blog...You stay classy, Dan.

PS - Everyone is railing against a rematch if OSU and Michigan is close - what if Ohio State and Texas play again. Personally, I am against any rematch in the title game.

slaskaris said...

john (ann arbor, mi),

I agree with your points that obviously Louisville has a weak D and Rice is also puttin these numbers up against the Big East and obviously we all can't agree what that means. But my point is you can tell what a stud player he is by watching him play. Everyone could see how good Tomlinson was when he was at TCU despite the inferior talent he was playing against.

Basically, I just wanted to give Rice props and I think he deserves to be in the top 3 roght now in the Heisman race and could steal it with a big performance in a win vs WV. People do get bored of a one-man race and I think voters could get excited and vote for a late run by a great athlete who performs big in late games (see Charles Woodson coming late to beat Peyton).

xcdannon said...

hey, i've been liking rutgers all season...don't overhype it and spoil it for me!!