Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tuesday 09/04 A.M. Quickie:
App State, Clemson, Pedro 3KK, NFL Kickoff Week, More!

What happened in college football this weekend? Check out my CFB wrap-up post from Sunday, which breaks it all down, including – of course – App State over Michigan.

Clemson beat Florida State last night. Two things: FSU, like Notre Dame, is in the "Good Thing Michigan is THE Story" column, because the Noles are off to a tough start, given all of the offseason changes (like a new O.C.). The offense seemed to sputter...again.

Meanwhile, I know Clemson was playing with huge emotion at home on a Monday night in a season opener (the perfect moment to pull an upset... although it wasn't an upset if you didn't have FSU ranked to begin with). But they're legit. The Tigers have those spectacular RBs, but new QB Cullen Harper did just enough passing to keep FSU honest.

New CFB Rules: More yards, more points, more clock. It stands to reason that changing (back) the clock rules (in addition to the new kickoff rules) would add more time – and, consequently, more plays, yards and points to games. College games were up 56 yards and 3 points, on average, over last year's season openers (h/t: Weiberg, USA Today)

Appalachian State Upset Hangover: In this week's Blog Poll, I refuse to rank Michigan in my Top 25 – and can't understand how any self-respecting voter (blogger, AP voter, coach, whoever) could do it either.

I did, however, radically change my Top 25 now that we actually have real performance data to use. Virginia Tech is out of the No. 1 spot, pending next week's result at LSU. Instead, I have West Virginia at No. 1. Sure, WVU's D isn't great. But the offense is simply spectacular.

More: I didn't have Georgia ranked last week, which was a mistake. I (over-)corrected by putting them near the top of the second 10. Clemson was also unranked, but jumps in after beating FSU. For non-BCS sleepers, I like Tulsa. Meanwhile, I punished higher-ranked teams that didn't deliver, even in victory. I dropped Texas into the mid-teens and dropped Auburn out altogether.

Here's my full Week 3 ballot (which I'm allowed to revise through late tonight, but don't necessarily plan to).

NFL Kickoff: Thursday. It's coming. In the meantime, get those last-minute tweaks to your fantasy team done and start lining up your predictions for the season. We'll do playoff picks tomorrow and individual awards on Wednesday.

More NFL: Leftwich Watch. Could the ex-Jags QB end up near his DC hometown? Sounds like the Ravens are interested, among others.

Simeon Rice to the Broncos: Can only help, right?

How revamped are the Patriots on offense? Enough that they could release their leading WR from 2006. "Leading" is relative, of course.

MLB Milestones 1: Pedro Martinez gets 3000 Ks. That's not an unexclusive club. Only 14 other pitchers are in it, making it more exclusive than 3000 hits and 500 homers. It is one of those clubs that won't be joined anytime soon. Man, has this been a year for MLB Milestones or what?

It was also Pedro's MLB return from injury. If he can be moderately effective, it's like picking up a quasi-quality SP for the September stretch run, without giving up anything (um, except that big contract they owe him).

MLB Milestones 2: Ichiro reached the 200-hit mark for the 7th straight season, tying an AL record. I think it goes without saying that even with his abbreviated MLB career, Ichiro is a first-ballot Hall of Famer (particularly when you count his career in Japan, as any self-respecting member of the PBWAA would... right?)

MLB Studs: The Indians own Johan Santana. Not many – if any – other teams can say that. But wow, they do.

MLB Dud: What happened to the Phillies' charge in the NL East?

Mickelson gets mouthy after win: It takes a tough (or tired) player to win one of these PGA "Playoff" events then threaten to skip the next week's event. But that's what Phil Mickelson did.

US Open: Roddick to quarters. Meh: No one is beating Federer anyway. (Meanwhile, James Blake's ouster is one less reason to watch anyway.)

Sports Media: Didn't see the App State upset over Michigan? If you have Fox Sports Net (a better bet than wondering if you have the Big Ten Network), check your schedules for a replay today.

Varsity Dad: This is hilarious. (h/t: Fanhouse, Ballhype, Card Chronicle)

-- D.S.

54 comments:

Troy said...

Initial reaction to your ballot (other than your ridiculous USC "statement" pick): You're overreacting with Tennessee. They lost on the road to your #4 team, by 2 TDs in a game that actually was in doubt with 5 minutes left. Tenn's offense looked good, and while the defense couldn't stop Cal with any consistency, that seemed more because Cal's offense was awesome.

Anyway, in reaction to big statement games, you tend to really reward the winning team while punishing the hell out of the losing team. If the winning team is really that good, doesn't that help the losing team's case to not drop that far? And if the losing team is so shitty, can the winning team really be rewarded that much?

thistlewarrior said...

Holy Mother of God, FSU's O-Line is bad! Poor Wheatherford, he's going to be running for his life all year.

A bit unrelated, but that chic on ESPN's First Take is an idiot. Yesterday morning when they were going on and on about the Mich. debacle, all she kept saying was "if [App St.] is so good, then why aren't they in the higher division?" and such. Appearantly she has no idea how the separation of divisions work (# of scholarships, game attendence, enrollment, etc.) and the huge am't of red tape and what not a school has to go through to switch. I just wanted reach in the TV and smack her.

Sorry about that, my rant is done now.

Troy said...

Appearantly she has no idea

Is it really that surprising that someone at ESPN doesn't realize that college football teams are attached to colleges?

Matt T said...

Smoltz will likely join that 3,000 K club next year.

rafael said...

Why is james blake a reason to watch tennis anyway? Has he won anything or is it just because he's American?

PatriotsNation said...

"NFL Kickoff: Thursday. It's coming. In the meantime, get those last-minute tweaks to your fantasy team done and start lining up your predictions for the season. We'll do playoff picks tomorrow and individual awards on Wednesday."

Tomorrow is Wednesday Dan!!

ToddTheJackass said...

MLB Studs and Duds from yesterday:

Studs:
1. C. C. Sabathia - W, 8.0IP, 0ER, 6H, 6K, BB
2. Jason Bergmann - W, 7.0IP, ER, 4H, 9K, BB
3. Felix Hernandez - W, 7.0IP, ER, 5H, 5K, 4BB
4. Mike Lowell - 3/4, HR, 4RBI, BB, SB
5. Brian Giles - 2/4, 2HR, 2RBI, 3R, BB

Duds:
1. Carlos Zambrano - L, 4.1IP, 8ER, 7H, 6K, 5BB
2. Jesse Litsch - L, 3.1IP, 7ER, 7H, 2K, BB
3. Matt Cain - L, 2.2IP, 6ER, 5H, 5K, 2BB
4. Roger Clemens - L, 4.0IP, 5ER, 8H, 2K, BB
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka - 5.0IP, 7ER, 10H, 3K, BB

mirthywvu said...

ahh, Dan, you jinxed my WVU boys, I appreciate the respect and all, but wow, anyone ranking them #1 this early makes me nervous. And yes, our secondary still makes me nervous too, our offense is awesome, our defense needs to definitely improve before Louisville or we're toast!

Todd said...

A half-hearted refutation from a Michigan fan:

- Didn't you say App State should be ranked in the top 25? If so, isn't it a bit of a stretch to drop Michigan so far after losing to them?

Obviously, you would have dropped a #7 ranked Michigan if they had lost to a #19 Ohio State (per your poll last week), but you wouldn't have dropped them all the way out of the top 25.

- Also: I thought you'd appreciate the only response I can muster to other fans ragging on Michigan this week:

Look, you play 'em. Then we'll talk.

CMFost said...

Does anyone else feel like all the division races in the American League are over and you have the Yankees. Seattle and Detroit fighting for one playoff spot?

I mean look at the leads:
Red Sox 7 Game Lead
Indians 6 Game Lead
Angels 6.5 Game Lead

you can also say the NL East race is also over Mets +5

CycleDan said...

It seems that as every team in the country tries to recruit Florida along with University of Florida taking the top in state recruits, Miami and Fl. State have fallen a little. Maybe we see the emergence of USF or UCF as well.

It will be a tough season it seems to predict in college football. There is much more parity than in previous years. I would love to see a team such as Louisville of WVU from the Big East win the NC but I don't see it happening this year.

Matt said...

CM...

i would love to say the indians have locked up the central but they play something like 23 games in 23 days and started a 10 day road trip against minny. IF they still have a 5 game lead by monday then i can buy my playoff tickets..

Indians completely dominated the "best pitcher in the AL" this year 5-0 this season...he has never lost to the same team more than 2x before this year.

oh and CC is the cy young winner this year.

he should have over 20 wins already..they was a stretch of 7 games where he didnt allow more that 2 runs and won like only 2x with a bunch of NDs in there. i think CC hasnt given up 2 runs or more in like 11 straight games. Insane.

CycleDan said...

CMFOST,
I agree. 4 of the 6 division races in baseball are pretty much over. A 5 game lead really requires a collapse of the front runner since it represents a lead of 20% of the remaining games now.

NL West and Central are still wide open. In the AL, probably 91 or 92 wins takes the Wild Card. The Yanks, Mariners and Tigers are all decent teams with some serious problems in given areas. All of those teams seem to get real hot and then real cold. One of those teams is going to rip off a winning streak of 6 or 7 games to pull away I would guess.

Yanks would seem to have the best all round team but this year they are choking away the games they seem to really need to pull out in front. Also the Mariners just got off a 9 game losing streak yet are only 1 game out. Go figure. Nobody really wants it.

Lawdog1214 said...

College Football:

As long as a team from the SEC doesn't win the national championship I could care less who does.

Of course, I would love to see THE Ohio St. Buckeyes win it, but I have to be realistic and realize that it just ain't gonna happen this year.

As for Michigan losing to App. St. I'm not so happy about it. It is the end of Lloyd Carr and his poor coaching skills.

I guess that just goes to show you how poor of a coach John Cooper truly is/was. Great recruiter, but a poor game day coach.

eric said...

Buckeye fan here...but do you really think Hart is out of Heisman contention? He only dropped 180 yards while missing significant time nursing an injury. Lets not break out the jump to conclusions mat just yet...Hart is one of the best RBs in the nation, and to discount that fact because some of the special teams OLinmen can't block seems a bit of a stretch.

Henne being dropped? He should NEVER have been there to begin with.

The heroin sheik said...

What is cool about the AL wild card race is that the mariners and the Yankees have to play the Rays who are tearing it up right now. Normally I would want the Rays to bring up some minor leaguers to give them some experience int he bigs but with so many games left that might matter inthe wild card race I think they should let the guys we have there now keep playing as they are really playing like a team right now.

With all the talent in Florida I think it would be cool if all the Div I teams formed their own conference. All we would have to do is add one more team like FAMU or BCC and we would have 8 teams. Of course the only problem is that Florida wouldn't be playing all those historic rivalries in the SEC.

bkelly126 said...

Tennessee = "all-but-done"?!

ok, they lost and the difference was a fumble recovery for a td and one of the best punt returns I've ever seen. you can call the all-but-done if they don't show up in 2 weeks down in the swamp

Sheldiz said...

re: tennis -

would it have been cool to see blake advance? sure. will the fact that he hasn't make me stop watching the open? hell no. its never stopped me before.

there's still a lot of great tennis to be played, regardless of how many americans are still in it.

TBender said...

Sheik:

Sounds like a good idea, but it wouldn't work.

Reference: SWC.

CycleDan said...

The worst thing about a conference in such a small geographical area such as a FL only league is that games wouldn't generate a lot of interest in other areas translating to lower TV ratings and revenue.

Eric said...

You're wrong in dropping USC and Hawaii. USC had 4 of 5 secondary second stringers in at the start of second QUARTER. The o-line did nothing but zone blocking schemes all night and Carroll juggled running backs and receivers constantly just to see how they'd react. They were serious about winning the game, but after gaining a quick 21 point lead this game became nothing more than a workshop to test young talent against a different defense. I guess we'll wait for Nebraska.

Dropping Hawaii is inexplicable. Brennan threw 6 TDs in the first half and then sat the rest of the game. The defense pitched a shut-out until the fourth quarter. You raise up your SEC teams for their blow outs over lesser opponents, why not Hawaii?

pv845 said...

@ Eric: one reason, he is a homer!

Again, no love to my Royals and the gem that Zach Greinke threw?

CMFost said...

PV - Who are these royals you speak about?

Eliezer said...

I'm with you, Rafael. Either you are a tennis fan, in which case you will be watching the US Open regardless of whether "he" is American or "she" is hot, or you aren't a tennis fan, in which case, why were you watching at all?

pv845 said...

The Royals are a team that once was a proud bunch. Many thought they were extinct after the late 1980s, but a small few occasionally show up and try to play.

Actually the Royals are doing well this season after a disasterous first 6 weeks. I mean 11-26 in mid-May to 51-49 now. I will take that after what we have had in the past couple of years (decades).

steved104 said...

@ eric -
I posted about the SC comment on Sunday - sorry for the repeat, but wanted to share again...

Dan - the USC comment that they don't deserve to be #1 is short-sighted (as per usual for you these days). They clearly used 1/8 (if not less) of their playbook against a fairly weak opponent. They also didn't start their starting C (injury), lost Cushing (top LB) early, Turner (the #1 WR) didn't play, and we all know about the RB turmoil/transfers/injuries. Give Pete and crew enough credit as they easily dispatched an inferior team without a single complicated play (the entire game was run up the middle and 8-10 yd outs for Booty). Nebraska will be a bit different - SC will be healed and open the playbook - make your "instant judgments" you love so much then.

GuyInTheCorner said...

Last year, if anybody remembers, I was driving the Colt Brennan bandwagon. This year... much of the same. He just threw for 416 yards on Saturday night. The only guy who threw for more was Graham Harrell from Texas Tech who threw for 419 and it took him 55 attempts and a whole game whereas it took Colt 40 attempts and only one half. He also threw for only 4 TDs to Colt's 6.

Think about what happens if he plays both halfs!

68/80 Passing, 832 Yards, 12 TDs, 0 INTs

Jen said...

I keep tabs on the Royals since DeJesus is my cousin's friend. I am glad to see that they are ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. I hope that Buddy Bell's replacement can come in and keep their momentum rolling.

I am a female but I can't stand when the chicks are on the field asking the head coaches the DUMBEST questions ever written: "So, Joe, what do you think needs to be done to get the team back in the game?" I would love for a coach to go off on her and say: "What the HELL do you THINK we need to do!!? Our O-line sucks and the QB needs to get rid of the ball!" If I heard that girl on First Take I would have heaved my TV across the family room.

Sparty said...

I am paraphrasing but Tiki Barber said "waaaah, tom coughlin was mean, waaaah, so i quit, waaaah."

pv845 said...

@ Jen: My favorite question by a reporter (male or female): how does it feel to win (or lose) the game?

Jen said...

pv~ That's when the coach should REALLY come back with a classic smartass answer!!!
Where are Dickerson and the other ex-players that used to do the sideline reporting!? They know the game and give their input, not ask such dumb questions!

Lawdog1214 said...

Ok, a few more things came to me about the Michigan loss.

Why in the hell did App. state kick a field goal on 1st and 10 with 30 seconds left?

I would have run the ball up the middle and sent the kicking team on the field. Just to waste 4-8 seconds before michigan decided to call timeout and if they didn't snap the ball with 2 seconds on the clock and win the game.

Why was Manningham single covered on the next play?

Umm....how about a deep zone that doesn't let Michigan get into scoring position and thus save the theatrics of a blocked kick.

If the kick wasn't blocked, Michigan wins that game and it is completely the coaches fault.

The kids bailed the coach out.

Am I the only person who thinks the coaching was terrible at the end of the game for App. State?

CMFost said...

NEW Top 25 Coaches Poll is out



check it out


Here is the top 5
1.Southern California
2.LSU
3.Florida
4.West Virginia
5.Wisconsin

pv845 said...

You might be the only one that thinks that. The reason why App. State kicked the field goal is that App. State had no more time outs. From whay I understand, they ran the clock down as much as they could and kicked it. They try a runing play there and something happens, then you never have the kick.

The defense on Manningham was terrible though.

Sparty said...

um, appy st won. who cares...

TBender said...

CMFost:

Interesting. I would have put Texas much lower.

Ark State's drives (excluding 2 3-and-outs):
Plays - Yards - Result
7 - 47 - FG
9 - 47 - Missed FG
10 - 60 - Missed FG
7 - 66 - INT
7 - 46 - Turnover on downs
9 - 52 - FG
13 - 93 - TD

As of right now, Longhorns have no defense.

Melbye said...

Ok, seriously, how can no one vote -- a single vote -- for Appy? Makes no sense that teams that got clobbered can still be getting votes. Florida State, Kentucky & Washington got votes and no love for Cinderella? Telling me there isn't one pollster in NC?

Melbye said...

P.S. It hurts me to admit this, but Notre Dame sucks. No other way to put it. Jimmy going to run for his life. Jimmy knows Jimmy will have to be superhuman and not get hurt. Jimmy knows he's fucked.

Lawdog1214 said...

I care because those two plays alone could have allowed Michigian to win.

30 seconds is a lot of time to waste when just running the ball up the middle and then kicking the field goal.

Teams kick field goals all the time in less than 30 seconds. Just seems like a poor decision. But the decision is only poor because of the single coverage on manningham. If that ball isn't caught then I wouldn't even think about the poor time management.

CMFost said...

MELBYE - I know with the AP Poll you are not allowed to put a div 1-AA or FCS whatever the hell they call it team on your ballot, it is probably the same for the coaches poll

ndyanksfan05 said...

ND looked pathetic on Saturday - worst part was that Charlie's game plan was terrible. They are blitzing the hell out of us and we can't block ANYONE. I would have loved to see Jones throw the ball more than three times and mix in something other than QB keepers...
only positive was Jimmy did look pretty good when he played. Had some very strong throws (great out pass and a laser right over the ear of a turned around LB on a perfect slant)...hopefully he can keep it up and at least put up a fight against Penn State. Defense did a good job not letting the score get completely out of hand. GT was in the Irish zone to start with the ball what seemed like the entire game...

Sparty said...

Lawdog, but Michigan didn't kick the game winning field goal. It is over. Just like their season.

Sparty said...

Sorry to break it to you ndyanksfan05, G Tech offense is terrible, its not as if ND's defense shut them down.

Their offense sucked last year except for Calvin Johnson. All you ND fans thought you had a good defense after you played GT last year too. After Morelli tears you apart this Saturday, you will understand that the Irish just stink this year.

How you can say the score wasn't out of hand is beyond me. Worst opening loss in Notre Dames history. But the score didn't get out of hand?

PatriotsNation said...

Jackson making comeback!!


link

TBender said...

Sparty,

The ACC's leading rusher from last year disagrees with your assessment of Tech's offense.

Daniel said...

Michigan is out of both polls. Looks like the pollsters listen to you.

Sparty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparty said...

I know he lead the CrAppCC, but come on, G Tech? Not quite the offensive juggernaut last season, only 54th in scoring...

ToddTheJackass said...

Yea!!! BC #25 in the coach's poll... I'll take what I can get.

Oh, and Matt Ryan for Heisman! (doesn't have to win, but let's put him in the conversation at least).

CycleDan said...

Jen for sideline reporter!

TBender said...

Whatever Sparty.

54th in scoring is impressive considering the QB was Reggie Ball and the OC was a guy who believed Reggie was good.

Sparty said...

Georgia Techs offense was not that good. Had the talent to be better, but weren't. 54th is 54th no matter what. Not a great ranking for a team in a power conference.

Melbye said...

@CMFost: Where did you hear that they are not allowed on the poll? If there is no I-AA, just I-A schools now, who says that they are not eligable? Well I wanted to find out and according to one pollster

"By the way, according to the AP in New York, Appalachian State is not eligible for the Division I-A poll"

According to the AP website "Appalachian State is not eligible for the AP Top 25, which only ranks Bowl Subdivision teams."

So apparently, no matter how good you are, if you are going to be in the hunt for the tournament championship, you cannot be ranked in the AP/Coaches Poll...which makes sense as they would have to run their table and beat 7 top tier teams to make a BCS bowl rather than be in their divisional tournament and pull the $$ that comes with tournament games. Just imagine the year one of those teams would have to have to be eligable to play in a bowl game that would pay out gianormously for them.

But look at what those guys can do at their level. You have a group of guys that were either looked over by the bigger boys or chose to go to that level and be studs and play ball and they can do great things like beat a Goliath like that or win a national championship on a much more regular basis.

Like I tell my kids in class, great to have an opinion, but back it up with something...

Brian in Oxford said...

How soon until black national reporters start sticking up for Willingham, and yelling about ND sucking this year and calling for Weis to be fired? 0-2? 0-5? 3-8?