Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Florida Gators: National Champs
(Bowl Championship Shellacking)


I'm still filtering last night's result.
(And sincerely trying to avoid the type of gloating or other insufferable opinions that so many of you think I will display and/or have earned. Come on! This morning, the biggest post-game storylines seem to be:

*Florida's near-perfect execution and game plan. What was more impressive: The Gators racking up 41 points on offense or the D holding Ohio State's offense to 70 yards?

*Troy Smith's abysmal game that completely re-wrote his legacy as a big-game QB. (And Chris Leak's amazing game, completely re-writing his legacy as an uninspired fizzler.)

*Jim Tressel's early decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 from inside his own 30, which was less about the resulting points than about how Meyer had thrown the normally unflappable Tressel completely off his game.

*That Harris Poll voter Jim Walden who picked the Gators as No. 1 back when the BCS title-game matchup was set.

*Ohio State's 51-day layoff (which is the flimsiest excuse, but is yet one more reason the Big Ten should schedule the Ohio State-Michigan game for the same day as the other conferences play their title games.)

*What about Boise State? Ranked No. 5 in the final AP poll (ridiculously behind USC, despite the "Oregon State Factor") and No. 6 in the final coaches poll (ridiculously behind Wisconsin). Ranked No. 2 by Urban Meyer. Since all rankings behind No. 1 are cost-free, it's easy to WANT to rank Boise at No. 2. Where did I rank them? See below for my final Top 10.

*And what about that CFB playoff? The BCS honcho came out in favor of a four-team playoff with a "Plus-One" title game, but as I point out below, this season exposed that plan with its own problems.

I'm going to post separate items for my final CFB Top 10 and thoughts on a playoff, because I want your Comments on them, specifically. Coming shortly.

More of today's top storylines:

Baseball Hall of Fame Vote: Ripken and Gwynn are locks. The biggest question is how close to unanimous it will be. We know for sure that it WON'T be unanimous: There's a dipshit voter named Paul Ledewski out of Illinois who refused to vote for either, simply because they played during the purported Steroid Era; he should lose his voting privileges. This is the sportswriter equivalent of a baseball player throwing a game in the World Series.

The other huge HOF storyline will be how far away Mark McGwire is from selection. Wouldn't it be intriguing if he didn't make the minimum number of ballots to stay on the ballot next year?

The biggest winners in the 2007 NFL Draft will be the Tampa Bay Bucs, picking third but likely to end up with the draft's top talent – WR Calvin Johnson – because there's no way that the Raiders and Lions (picking 1st and 2nd) take him. (We've seen this before: Both Braylon Edwards and Larry Fitzgerald were the top talents in their drafts, but passed over because they were WRs.)

NFL Coaching Search(es): Wait: What if Pete Carroll left for the Dolphins AND Carroll's top assistant Steve Sarkisian left for the Raiders? And what is happening in Pittsburgh? Meanwhile, consider me bullish on Bobby Petrino's chances in Atlanta. He's too innovative not to unleash Michael Vick. (Or will he install his spread for... Matt Schaub?) Speaking of Petrino, his ex-team Louisville is reportedly targeting Tulsa's Kragthorpe, which would be a great hire (and yet another coach who professed to be happy where he is but ends up bolting.)

-- D.S.


Hende said...

Congrats to Flordia and the SEC, for answering all the questions thrown at them. Florida is the best team in the nation, and from the best conference.

This was a win-win for Shanoff. Obviously he was correct in picking Florida to win, but at the end of last year's bowls, he picked Ohio State to be NC this year. Even if Florida had lost, he could have preached his clairvoyence in declaring Ohio State champions back in Jan. 2006.

big.aaron said...

Dan - I would gloat like mad. All the experts that post here didn't give Florida a shot in hell.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Nothing's happening in Pittsburgh. It's just going to take the Rooneys a couple of days to figure out whether they give the job to the senimental choice, hometown boy Russ Grimm, or to the offensive guru (Ken Whisenhunt). They had to take care of that annoying little "must talk to a minority candidate" thing first, too.

I'll take the Whiz. If Grimm gets it, I see bad things happening in the Steelers' future.

Bear said...

Now does this prove that the SEC is the best conference in the nation? I mean, if Florida has to be scrape by to win it's regular season games, then dominates when it plays another conference, doesn't that say something?

Michael said...

The 4th and 1 decision was stunning. Tressel doesn't strike me as 'arrogant', so I can't blame it on that. It seemed more like total panic. Stunning.
As a Michigan fan living in Buckeye-heavy country, the sounds of silence this morning are priceless.

Geoff-Detroit said...

Can we bring on Spring Training? College football gives me a headache.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Agreed, michael. Going for it at your own 30 yard line, down 10, with the game still in the first HALF was purely panic setting in.

Biff said...

Great article on anti-BC$....

Click Here

I love how people still can say, Boise State wouldn't stand a chance with Florida... when 24 hours ago they were saying the Florida wouldn't stand a chance with OSU. That's why we play the game... or should have.

BSU for national champions! The ONLY undefeated DIV 1-A team.

Lance A Boyle said...

On the Hall of Fame voting, I hope Gwynn and, especially, Ripken don't get unanimous selection. A number of years ago, my all-time favorite player, Tom Seaver, wasn't unanimous because a couple of jerk writers withheld their vote to protest the "Pete Rose snub." We all know now that Pete was playing us, but you can't retroactively change the votes for Seaver. And if Tom Terrific isn't unanimous, then Gwynn shouldn't be, as much as I like him. And I don't believe that Ripken is anyway.

Eric said...

I still think if you play that game 10 times, OSU wins at least 5 times. That being said, congrats to Florida for being far more prepared for the game than OSU. Now, I know no one wants to give the “days off” argument any credit, but let’s be honest. How the heck did Buckey, Boise, and Texas (last year) win their games? I think the big layoff seriously hurts teams that are either favored big or incredibly overconfident. This doesn’t bother me at all – I like upsets and most people like underdogs – but it’s something we, as sports fans, should have an honest discussion about. And why isn’t anyone talking about the loss of Ted Ginn Jr.?
Further, this doesn’t prove the SEC is better than the Big Ten. Had the Big Ten won ALL its games, that wouldn’t have proved they were better than the SEC. Any competitive D1 team can beat any other team on any given Sunday. There’s no way to resolve the argument about the “best” conference and it is lame to try. I hate that discussion.

Eric said...
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Dave said...

Hey! Don't you start forgetting that Wisconsin had a great season and beat Arkansas real good and that Penn St. beat Tenn. too! Don't forget that the SEC "just isn't that tough."

Unknown said...

- I just don't see this game as rewriting Troy Smith's legacy. He's still a big-game winner. But no big game winner wins them all. 'cept maybe Joe Montana and Michael Jordan, but that's a different argument.

- Kragthorpe did say he would stay at Tulsa. But wasn't that last year? A year later should be a different story. There shouldn't be backlash if he goes to L'ville.

- You can gloat Dan. You're a fan. Go for it. The annoying thing are people who completely turn around and say that OSU was overrated, no good, etc. Troy Smith is awful, etc. To do so undermines the Gator win.

- I still think Russ Grimm is the guy for the Steelers. So I can't agree with ya ma4tt. Whisenhunt...I just don't feel like he's the guy to lead the whole team. I think he'd try to change the Steeler philosophy and take the team in a direction that it doesn't need to go.

- CFB is over for another year. Normally I'd be ok with this, but my standby sport between CFB and Baseball isn't shown in Virginia! Damn the Versus channel! Yeah, I like hockey.

Roge said...

As a lifelong OSU fan and an alum, I have to say that Florida freaking DOMINATED that game. We had no answers for anything, and they were clearly superior that night. Congrats.

I have a few questions about OSU's game plan. Why the heck was up with the rush 3 guys from the first snap defense? Where was the pressure on Leak? And how can you have 8 guys dropping back in coverage and not have anyone covering the flats?

I started at OSU in 1999, so I lived through 2 years of Steve Bella-sorry and I'm telling you he was infinitely better than Troy Smith was last night. What a shame.

Ok, that's my little rant. Congrats Florida. Enjoy it!

Unknown said...

BTW, the 'annoying little must talk to minority candidate thing' isn't so annoying or little. If there's one team that wouldn't just go through the motions, its the Steelers. Rivera and Tomlin are real candidates for the job. I'd actually take Rivera over Whisenhunt.

Lenny said...

Kragthorpe has ties to the Louisville AD. That makes a lot of sense. Hopefully, Kragthorpe can get Brohm to stay because if he does, the Cardinals may be the team to beat next year.

As for the NC, I'd still give it to Boise St. They are undefeated. Until someone beats them, they are the champs in my book. If Florida and BSU played, it'd be one heck of a game!!

Eric said...

HOF – Ripken is one of the most overrated athletes of my generation. I think it is ridiculous that people care about unanimity or “first ballot” – no one, save for the ex-player’s fans, remembers that stuff. Personally, I think players should be eligible once, and if they don’t get in, so be it. It isn’t the Hall of Mediocrity. I think Simmons has said this, but you should just be able to look at a player and say “HOFer” or “good player” and know the difference. If you have to think about it, then he isn’t a HOFer. Gwynn – HOFer. Ripken? HOFer, but not by much. I think of the All-Star Game appearances first (since the consecutive games played streak means nothing to me – its just a statistical probability that SOMEONE would be able to go their career being healthy enough and good enough to play every game) and the MVP second. That’s enough for me. By that token, I’d throw McGwire in the HOF as well. No one else gets in (in my hall, anyway). Think about it – in 50 years, how are you going to be able to sort the actually great players (Ruth Mays, etc) from the fringe guys? It won’t even be fun to visit Cooperstown then.

Mikepcfl said...

Lance, neither Ripken or Gwynn will be unanimous. As Dan posted, one writer already said he turned in a blank ballot. One reason he gave was that if none of the all-time greats werent uninimous, then neither should Cal and Tony. That is complete Bullshit. I agree with you that Seaver or any number of stars should have been unanimous, but to use that as a reason to keep it going is assinine. It just shows how out of touch these writers are. They think they are these gatekeepers, when they are just looking for attention and to tout their own (imaginary) self-importance.

Lance A Boyle said...

I think someone should start a competing Baseball Hall of Fame. Set it up just like you would the Museum of Natural History. There you have different eras of mankind. For baseball, set out the different eras: Formative Years, Deadball Years, Ruthian Years, Integration Years, Pitching Era, Steroid Era, and Negro Leagues. Form a committee of non-biased persons (include Costas, Bill James, old-timers, historians, etc.) and let them select players from each era. That way McGwire and Bonds can be selected to the "Steroid Era" Hall of Fame with no reservations. Babe Ruth can be a unanimous selection, as can Honus Wagner, etc. Heck, throw Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe in their own category, basing judgement on what they did on the field. The recordbooks are already beyond repair thanks to both the Steroid Era and the Pre-Integration Era. One of the reasons Jim Rice doesn't get elected is because his stats are compared with the juiced players that followed him. Maybe now's the time to go in and at least try to rectify the injustices in the Hall of Fame.

BottleRocket said...

What's crazier, Jay Buhner getting one vote or Bichette getting 3?

Mikepcfl said...

Already there are some posts saying Ripken is overrated. I was going to post a list of his accomplishments, but that would be too long. But here is what Mr. Sabermetric (Rob Neyer) had to say when asked if Ripken was overrated:

Rob Neyer: (1:40 PM ET ) Umm, the Streak was nice and it's what people remember about Ripken. But when I evaluate his performance, it's irrelevant. If you forget the Streak and just look at the numbers, he's obviously one of the top three shortstops ever.

So if the greatest baseball stat geek of all time thinks Ripken is top 3, that doesnt include stuff like the streak.

NA said...


Look at Bichette's stats. They are a lot better than you would think. That being said, that was my first thought also.
Man, Colorado helps

Gregg the Obscure said...
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Gregg the Obscure said...
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Gregg the Obscure said...

Congrats both on the Gator win and on calling it!

Can’t agree about the Petrino hire. Do you think he’s another Jimmy Johnson?

These are the men hired into their first NFL head coaching job from an NCAA head coaching job since Jimmy Johnson (plus team and year of hire):

Bobby Ross (SD 1992);
Denny Green (MN 1992) ;
Barry Switzer (Dal 1994);
Tom Coughlin (Jaq 1995);
Dennis Erickson (Sea 1995);
Rich Brooks (StL 1995);
Steve Mariucci (SF 1997);
Mike Riley (SD 2000) ;
Gary Moeller (Det 2000);
Butch Davis (Cle 2001);
Steve Spurrier (Was 2002); and
Nick Saban (Mia 2005).

The only SB win was Switzer’s (with Johnson’s team) and Ross is the only other get to the big game. None of those men are still in the positions mentioned above.

Now look at who these teams could have hired

SD 1992 Mike Holmgren (GB);
MN 1992 Bill Cowher (Pit);
Dal 1994 Jeff Fisher (Hou/TN);
Jaq 1995 Dom Capers (Car);
Sea 1995 Mike Shanahan (Den);
StL 1995 Ray Rhodes (Phi);
SF 1997 Dick Vermeil (StL);
SD 2000 Mike Sherman (GB);
Det 2000 Bill Bellichek (NE);
Cle 2001 Herman Edwards (NYJ);
Was 2002 Tony Dungy (Ind); and
Mia 2005 Mike Nolan (SF).

That group went 8-3 in Super Bowls by the teams that did hire them. Five are still with their teams today. Three others have moved on to other NFL head coaching jobs.

A good NFL assistant (even if he’s a former head coach who didn’t do so well the first time, like Shanahan or Bellichek) has a better chance at success in the NFL than does a straight-from-the-NCAA guy. (Not saying the Lions would have won three Super Bowls with Bellichek, but I doubt they’d be on their fourth coach in six years, either.)

I think Petrino’s likelier to be another Rich Brooks.

Kevin said...

Why is nobody talking about the inherent conflict of interest in the HOF voting? The longer Big Mac stays on the ballot, the longer voters can write about why they are/aren't voting for him and other things about the issue. Put McGwire in, and there's a couple weeks to debate it, then the issue fades away and nobody really gives a shit anymore (see: Rose, Pete). Also, voters might be more compelled to vote for a player they know they can write stories about than a player that doesn't command such headlines.

Kevin said...

The 4th-and-1 decision was the right one, in my mind...they were down what, 21-7 at the time? (might have been 24-14, I can't remember), and Florida had ALL the momentum...why not go for it, you've got better than a 50-50 chance of making it, and you can steal back a lot of the momentum.

Boise would have to be really lucky to beat Florida, or OSU, USC, or LSU for that matter...we saw them play Oklahoma, and I don't think you can say they were much better, as overall the game was pretty even, Boise just made the big plays when it counted. OU would be a double-digit underdog to Florida/USC/LSU, so why wouldn't Boise?

Eric said...

Mike - Mr. Ripken was a 19 time all-star. 2 MVPs. That puts him in the hall. But he’s still over-rated. He only won 2 gold gloves, and that was when his “fame” was at its highest (perhaps he received those two awards for what he meant to the game and did with the bat). His longevity is what/why he has the numbers he has. A typical season was 280/24/85. I could care less about that. All-Star year in and out? Sure. But the acclaim he gets is just nuts. Pitchers didn’t fear him. Players didn’t think hitting it to short would result in a certain out (see Smith, Ozzie). Give me Gale Sayers’ career over Jerome Bettis’ any day. Both are Hall of Famers, but Sayers did more for his team on the years he played. Again, Ripken is a hall of famer, but he wasn’t better than, say, Robin Yount, who got about 76% of the vote and no one really talks about (not with the same reverence/ultimate respect as “Cal”).

Brian in Oxford said...

Notice on the day Dan could have spent gloating about Florida, blogger goes down to keep him in check?

Just a little karma? Mildly amusing, if nothing else....

So, that '78 playoff game, one out, bottom 9, one-run game, runners on first and second (not third, thanks to sweet lou's b.s. stab in the sun at remy's single)....Gossage against Rice....are you telling me that's NOT a battle between 2 future hall of famers?

(Rice flew out to deep right-center, but Burleson could only tag and go to third, not score, because of the play before....then of course f'ing Yaz pops up.)

Mikepcfl said...

Eric, alot of your arguments and many people's arguments saying Ripken are opinions. For example Sayers vs Bettis or hitters didnt fear hitting it to Ripken like Ozzie. The stats say Ripken is one of the top 3 hitting shortstops ever. The fact we are debating his defensive greatness shows that he is an all-time great. Here are his defensive accomplishments:

Career Range Factor of 4.62 per game...higher than Omar Vizquel whom some say is almost as good as Ozzie.

1990 Cal set the fielding percentage record for a shortstop.

Two Gold Gloves

Led the league in assists several times.

These defensive accomplishments are from one of the greatest hitting shortstops ever. Maybe he didnt get the press for his defense, but the stats show he was a much better than average defensive SS.

Mikepcfl said...

And being compared to Robin Yount is a compliment. The Baseball Analysts list Yount as the 5 greatest shortstop of All-time, just behind Ripken.

LudaKris said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, or it already happened. I am not sure the Bucs get 3rd pick, they have to have a coin toss for 3rd/4th pick with Cleveland. Maybe the coin toss already happened, but I dont think so. I still do not think Cleveland will take Johnson, but still something to think about.

Unknown said...

Cleveland needs line help.

Anonymous said...

Anybody want to apologize to Walden now?