Thursday, November 02, 2006

Want a College Football Playoff?
You've Got One in WVA-Louisville

Tuesday A.M. Quickie here: Knicks win! (and other NBA observations), the state of Boise, Malkin Mania, NFL Quick Hits and more.

West Virginia-Louisville is the biggest game of the college football season so far, edging out Ohio St-Texas. If this game's winner proceeds to win out, it will be the second-biggest game of the season, period. (Behind, OSU-Mich, obvs.)

Why? Because, as I've been saying since the summer, it's a de facto national-championship semifinal game: The winner -- again, if they win out -- will likely be the second team in the BCS title game, meeting the Ohio St-Michigan winner.

Now, "winning out" is suddenly no guarantee (The Rutgers Factor! Can you believe we have a "Rutgers Factor?!?!"), but it will be very hard to deny the legitimacy of West Virginia, if they beat a Top 5 team on the road (or Louisville, if they beat a Top 3 team at home).

What makes this all the more intriguing is that WVA and L'ville have the entire stage to themselves tonight in primetime: Every college football fan will be paying attention, and there are no other games to distract us.

A spectacular showing by one or the other (or both, as in last year's wild barn-burner) will do more than all this season's previous games combined.

There's a fascinating kicker from Big East commish Mike Tranghese in Pete Thamel's profile of the Big East in today's NY Times, which ends with Tranghese's feelings if an unbeaten Big East champ is nudged out of the national-title game by a one-loss champ from, say, the SEC:

"I'd be disappointed. But if the worst thing that happens to the Big East is that we have a 12-0 team who finishes third in the country left out of the championship game, and we go play in another major bowl, it isn’t so bad."

I appreciate the attempt to manage expectations and I appreciate how far the Big East has come from two years ago when the league was a BCS laughingstock, but this is precisely the wrong thing you'd want to hear from a commissioner of a conference trying to earn everyone's respect. I wonder how WVA or L'ville (or Rutgers) fans/boosters/coaches feel about that?

Comments Question: What's your take on the game? The stakes? Is this game getting enough hype? Too much? Too little? Have at it.

-- D.S.


Big D said...

What happens when there are 4 undefeateds (OSU/UM, WVU/Lville, Rutgers and Boise St.)?

I know, I know, these things tend to work themselves out. It hasn't happened yet, and it's a bit of a look-ahead. But it would be amazing to see how it got treated...

NA said...

Rutgerts plays WVU/LVille both... so there couldn't be more than 3.
osie State hasn't played anyone, so they are out and forgotten, like Tulane a few years ago.

BLUE said...

I'm going to watch the office, and Grey's anatomy, because who cares about 1-AA football.

nyc-steelers fan said...

WVU takes this one easily. I don't know how in the hell Louisville is rated so highly. Oh, they beat Miami. Woo-hoo, throw a freaking parade. The WVU/Rutgers game may, just may, be the playoff game you're talking about, but I'm pretty sure WVU takes that one, too.

So, no, tonight's game does not deserve the hype - its significance is only to get WVU over one major hurdle, when they handle the cardinals, and boost their SOS enough that the computers won't put Auburn above them in the final BCS.

Btw, UF is up for their trap game this weekend. I lucked out picking the beavers over the trojans last week; this week its the commodores getting the lucky bounces and calls at home...

Liam said...

The hype is understably huge for the game. But let's see how it unfolds on the field. Sometimes what really happens doesn't fit the hype. I'm hoping for a close hard fought game.

Shackman1949 said...

Dan, I think that this game is getting just the correct amount of hype. Not too much, not too little. I'll be glued to the tv simply because I've haven't seen either of these teams play this season.

The real gnashing of teeth will start if either Louisville or WVU finish undefeated and get left out of the BCS Championship game. Personally, I feel that there are a couple of one loss teams in the nation that are better than an undefeated Big East team (maybe Florida or perhaps, Texas, or USC for that matter (provided they get past ND.)

Richard said...

Actually, DS, an undefeated Big East team not going to Glendale would the the BEST thing to ever happen to college football for obvious reasons (although it would suck for anyone affiliated with that particular school).

A week ago I predicted on your blog that WVU and Michigan would meet in Glendale, so I'm sticking to that prediction tonight.

But, like I've said, Boise State is still undefeated and until they get knocked off, they deserve as much a shot as anyone else at the "national championship" (which isn't really a national championship because the NCAA doesn't recognize it).

Meanwhile, one month and counting until the ACC championship. I;ll be in the South Endzone wearing gold. Although that may not narrow it down too much considering the 3 teams that stand the best shot at getting there.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Can anyone explain to me why WVU is gettting so much hype? They have not beat one solid team in two years. OK they beat an OK Georgia team (and by their play this year I almost am willing to call them a bad team) by three points in a bowl game last year, but other than that they have not played a single team of any substance. The only top 25 (or even top 35) team they played in two years is Va Tech and they got smoked. So what is it about WVU that puts them ahead of any one loss team other than the fact that they haven't lost to any teams outside the top 35.

Lville is in the same boat. Who cares if they beat each other...they are both unproven teams who haven't done anything significant the entire year. To call this a semi-final for the NC is an insult to the NC. Just give the trophy to the winner of Mich-OSU if you want the winner of this game to play in the NC game.

Brave Sir Robin said...

I'm pumped for this game. I want to see who OSU plays in Glendale.*

*said with more bravado than I really feel heading into the Michigan game.

henry s said...

if Michigan wins their next two, then loses a well-played, close game to OSU, I'd have to think the NC Game would be a rematch, no matter what else happens...think about it: Michigan would have one mega-quality win (the rout against #2 Notre Dame ON THE ROAD) and a mega-quality loss (against the #1 team ON THE ROAD), with a rugged Big Ten schedule in between...don't see how you could compare Louisville OR WVU (not to mention Boise State or Rutgers) with Michigan, in that scenario...(having said that, if OSU loses to Michigan, in anything other than a close game, there would not be a rematch)...

Jason said...


given that absolutely pathetic schedules Oklahoma used to stroll to the NC game on, it's only fair that a major conference team that goes undefeated (even by playing cupcakes) deserves a shot at the NC. Fair is fair.

Brave Sir Robin said...

You do realize the Big 10 blows this season right?

TJ said...

My favorite part of that article you link to is when helists "at Kansas State" as Lousville's premiere nonconference victory.

TJ said...

an undefeated Big East team not going to Glendale would the the BEST thing to ever happen to college football for obvious reasons

Wait... what obvious reasons? Am I missing something?

Richard said...

Obvious as in showing what a load of crap the BCS is.

Oh just a thought: If OSU and Michigan has a rematch in Glendale, wouldn't that completely invalidate the 1-A regular season? It would be a slap in the face to BCS supporters who claim that the regular season is a giant playoff. If OSU/UM loser gets another crack at them, what was the point of the first game???

ndyanksfan05 said...

I agree that a rematch doesn't seem right. Those two teams are getting their shot at the NC during that game, why give them two shots. Let someone else have a chance to unseed the top team in the country (Florida or Auburn should get a shot if they can win out). OSU and Michigan should go into that game thinking they have to win two games to win a NC not play close and then win one game.

Mike said...

Rayden: At last one of them has understood.

Because we all need a bad pop-culture reference to add spice to this.

ToddTheJackass said...

The problem with the Big East is that there's so little beyond West Virginia, Rutgers, and Louisville. The rest of the pack just isn't that competitive, meaning that it's hard to know if any of these teams are good at all.

For all of the talk about how down the ACC is this year, it's middle of the pack is way better than that of the Big East. While I'd definitely take West Virginia over my beloved BC team, I think either BC or Clemson could easily take Rutgers, and wouldn't put it past Georgia Tech, Wake, or V-Tech (if they were playing in Blacksburg).

I won't fall victim to the Rutgers love-fest. Partially because I hate New Jersey, and because I want them to beat someone first.

-Todd (Boston)

Erik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erik said...

ndyanksfan05 - "Can anyone explain to me why WVU is gettting so much hype? They have not beat one solid team in two years. OK they beat an OK Georgia team (and by their play this year I almost am willing to call them a bad team) by three points in a bowl game last year, but other than that they have not played a single team of any substance. The only top 25 (or even top 35) team they played in two years is Va Tech and they got smoked. So what is it about WVU that puts them ahead of any one loss team other than the fact that they haven't lost to any teams outside the top 35."

Quoted for truth. Everyone remembers that WVa whacked Georgia in the first quarter-plus-a-minute in the Sugar Bowl last year. Except WVa then proceeded to get shut down and damned near beat.

That was their last meaningful win.

I don't know why I'm the only person who remembers this.

Unknown said...

Dan, this one is for you


this is the list of out of conference wins for all three unbeaten BIG EAST teams:

RUTGERS: North Carolina (1-7), Illinois (2-7), Ohio (6-3, 2-2 ouside the MAC), Howard (3-5 IN DIVISION 1-AA!), Navy (5-3, but as Navy is independent they're 5 wins are against teams that are 10-25 and against UMASS who is DIVISION 1-AA)

LOUISVILLE: Kentucky (4-4), Temple (1-8), Miami (5-3, but only 2-2 in the currently sub-par ACC), Kansas ST. (5-4, but 2-3 in the Big 12 and those 2 Ws being against OKST and Iowa St. who are 2-7 in the conference), Middle Tennessee St. (5-3 in DIVISION 1-AA)

WEST VIRGINIA: Marshall (3-5), Eastern Washington (2-7 in DIVISION 1-AA), Maryland (6-2, ACUAL PROPS HERE ), East Carolina (4-4), Mississippi St. (2-7 and 0-5 in the SEC)

so to recap: how many teams have these 3 beaten that has a WINNING IN/OUT CONFERENCE RECORD OF THEIR OWN?

1!!! west virginia beat maryland and it was at home

so i don't care if they go undefeated they didn't try to schedule hard games and their in conference games don't matter

Richard said...


You're convieniently forgetting that WVU, Louisville and Rutgers still have to play eachother. Eachother would count as much higher quility wins.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Richard - even though they play each other, that doesnt mean they are good. An overhyped bad team beating an overhyped bad team does not a good team make.

BLUE said...

How does beating a team that hasn't beaten anyone constitute a big win. By that scenario, if WVU or Louisville beat Boise State then they would get vaulted way up in the standings. Mediocrity beating mediocrity smells of the MAC, not a BCS champion caliber team.

Jimmy said...

If they have another shoot-out like they did last year who cares what happens at the end. Sit back and enjoy. Unfortunately its cold here in The Ville and Brohm won't be able to properly throw the ball, which means a big loss for UofL. I hope its a good game that helps out the Big East.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

I'm just excited for Ohio State to have the chance to play 3 #2 teams in the country. Now THAT is crazy.

And Ann Arbor is a smelly whore.

Brian in Oxford said...

Louisville gets Pittsnogled tonight!

oh, wait....never mind.

Unknown said...

i acually want to point out that we have to give SOME credit to Boise ST. and the WAC

Boise St. did beat Oregon ST. 42-14 on a huge thursday night nationally televised ESPN game.

and Oregon St. beat USC last week...

also props to brave Louisiana Tech for playing AT Clemson AND AT Nebraska

i don't see rutgers/louisville/west virginia doing that

Ingrid and Jim said...

This game is meaningless because Rutgers beats them both.

TJ said...

Obvious as in showing what a load of crap the BCS is.

But that wouldn't happen. There would be enough pundits saying that an undefeated Big East team doesn't deserve a shot that it wouldn't be any more controversial than when USC and Auburn were passed over for OU in 03/04.

Richard said...

Well, we'd be able to tell whether the Big East was over hyped or good if there was a (gasp) playoff!!!

Anonymous said...

WVU just needs to meet a team that can stop the run, and is athletic enough to do that for a full game. Even UConn had them stifled for a half until they crapped out.

Natsfan74 said...

All this talk about how overrated the Big East gets me excited about how over-hyped the SEC is too!

Combine the top 3 teams from the East and West (UF, TEN, UGA/ ARK, AUB, LSU) and their combined non-conference opponents are 79-92 with almost as many wins (3) against 1AA opponents as against BCS Conference opponents (4) right now. Those 6 teams combine for 2 wins over a non-conference opponent with a winning record (Auburn over Washington State and Tennessee destroyed CAL). The first place team in the west (Arkansas) got beat 50-14 at home by USC!

Whatever happened to big non-conference games? In a ten year span, Ohio State will play home and home series with Texas, Virginia Tech, Miami, and USC. That's some non-conference scheduling.

nyc-steelers fan said...

So shanoff, one thing missing from your post, here... Who do you got winning? I know you post your college picks on Friday, but this is definitely the most important game of the week, even if I do think it is overhyped. I've already said my pick, WVU in a walk (er, run).

mirthywvu said...

I love reading these comments...everyone always has some excuse, some reason to complain. Just enjoy 2 pretty darn good teams playing against each other. At least the Big East scheduled BCS non-conference road games regardless of who they are...sure some of the teams aren't the greatest, but many of these teams schedule years in advance (remember Kansas State used to be pretty good). Most of you complain because, well, simply...wouldn't you like to be from WVU (like me) or Louisville or Ohio State or Michigan or Rutgers or Boise STate and love being undefeated! Sorry but all the others teams lost, quit making excuses. We beat Georgia on the road at the Georgia Dome when no one gave us a chance. Sure maybe we'll lose tonight, and you can say, "haha I told you so" but guess what, unless you're team is undefeated, you crapped the bed once too, so like I said, enjoy the game!!! It's better than having to watch Notre Dame/Navy every year, it's a high profile matchup, go Mountaineers!

Anonymous said...

I just wanna see what you guys think:

It'd be fair to say the SEC has 4 everyone-will-agree-they're-good teams: Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Georgia can no longer be thrown into this mix, rivalries be damned.

What other confrences have more than 3 such teams? Some people believe it to be the Big East. Not using rankings, but what you guys have SEEN this year, doesn't it always seem that every year, every conference just has a couple of hot-shots and then the rest of the field?

(again, rivalries be damned)

Richard said...

PAC 10 - USC, Oregon, Cal

ACC - Boston College, Wake, Clemson, Georgia Tech

Big East - Louisville, Rutgers, WVU

That's going by the great and powerful BCS

Jingoist said...

Is it me or wasn't the exodus of B.C., V.T. and "The U" supposed to spell certain doom for Big East football?

Last time I checked, the top 5 in the nation were claimed by members of the Big 10, Big 12, Big East, and the SEC (um, where's the ACC?). And which conference is the only one to hold 2 Top 5 spots?

I'd argue that Louisville and W.V. should be thanking the Eagles, Hokies, and 'Canes for leaving them a wide open door.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Maybe there is a correlation between those supposed good teams leaving and the fact the WVU, Louisville are now top five because they are undefeated (allbeit they haven't beat anyone of merit. And I do realize they beat Miami this year, but come on, they suck).

ndyanksfan05 said...

So basically, the good teams bail from the conference and the bottom feeders beat up on each other and crappy teams and go undefeated...just a theory, I really don't know how good WVU and Lville are, but that's because I have no basis for comparison because of their schedule.

Richard said...

Oh come can't go by rankings. Those are more about who draws high ratings and reputations than how good the teams are.

For instance, Boston College's resume is shockingly similar to Notre Dame's but youll never see the Eagles ranked ahead of the Irish.

All this could be solved with a playoff. Until that day, all anyone can do is make flawed assumptions about what would happen if there was a playoff with no upsets...

john (east lansing, mi) said...

nyc-steelers fan -

Your post from this morning makes me chuckle. While diminishing Louisville's win over Miami, you conveniently neglect to mention the quality wins WVU has produced this season.

Perhaps it's because none exist; in fact, your original point goes double for WVU, since they are ranked higher and have been for so long.

I say Louisville will score 60 and/or win by 21.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Also, I'd like to note my outrage at the fact that Boise State just "made a statement" (per article) against a 1-7 team.

Pardon my logic and my asking this question, but - what statement was that?

(My guess is something like, "We're definitely better than #75 in Div I-A!")

rukrusher said...

Since no one respects the Big East schedule this year I assume the Big East needs to go undefeated in the bowls this year to get respect. Then next year they would be allowed to play in the National Championship game. Makes sense to me. I again call for no rankings until December 15. That way no one can get upset about overrated or underrated. Play all the games and then submit your votes.

Anonymous said...

A few more points about a playoff.

There will be upsets. Good teams will lose games to teams that they would have beaten in a series. Therefore, lesser teams will win. I'm not saying it won't be exciting, but that fact compromises the entire reason of holding a playoff--to find the best team in college football.

Due to those upsets, some teams will have easier paths to the championship game. That adds a factor of unfairness to the system.

Teams will get a maximum of six days to prepare for an opponent they will not know of until the day they begin preparation. This could lead to messy games that don't reflect the teams' abilities.

Plus-one game, folks! When there aren't two undisputed best teams at the end of the reg. season, there virtually always are at the end of bowl season. This system has the added benefit that you can look back at previous controversial seasons and know for a fact that this would have settled those controversies. The worthiness of the system is falsifiable, and it passes the test.

'93: Notre Dame-FSU
'97: Michigan-Nebraska
'03: LSU-USC
'04: USC-Auburn

Playoff? Not so much.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

I didn't go far enough with this last time around.

Why in the blue fuck does everybody accept West Virginia and Louisville as Top 5 teams???

I can't think of a way to make it more obvious than it already is that neither team has proved anything all season. Please, can somebody come with me on this? I'm going nuts, when this , this, and especially this are plastered on the front page of, and everybody ignores the tiny asterisk: "* - by the way, neither team has actually beaten any team that could possibly hope for a winning season in the Big Ten, SEC, Notre Dame's schedule, etc."

Somebody try to suggest that there aren't 5 Big Ten teams and 5 SEC teams (among others) that would be undefeated with West Virginia's schedule to date, which is all West Virginia has accomplished so far.

Rutgers Man - I don't hate you. I think Rutgers has proven more than either of the others, so far, and with that defense, I like Rutgers over West Virginia, if not Louisville. Unfortunately, I might need to watch those bowl games before anybody can convince me that the Big East stacks up. Are any teams besides RU, UL, and WVU going to be representing the Big East in bowls?

That high school in Alabama can beat thousands of high school teams, but I don't even like their chances against Colorado U... (Similarly, Grand Valley State U can have their way with D-II, but even Fresno State should be able to take care of GVSU. I'm not so sure about Colorado for this example.)