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.

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.

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.

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?

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)

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

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.)