Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Quickie: Ugh and Awe

Now THAT loss hurt.

The Alabama shellacking? Expected, accepted.

This LSU loss? Not quite as bad as I felt after the Ole Miss loss in 2008, but worse than I felt after the seemingly devastating Auburn loss in 2006. Certainly worse than I felt about the LSU loss at LSU in 2007.

It's not that Florida played well -- they managed to survive 3 quarters of atrocious offense, mostly because LSU just isn't that good, then put together an inspired first 12 minutes of the 4th quarter, only to blow it in the final 2 minutes of the game.

It wasn't even the fake field goal that was so disappointing -- Urban should have known that was a strong possibility, and perhaps even used his last time-out to "ice the kicker" (really, to sniff out a fake).

It was the subsequent play, where LSU gained 25 yards and put themselves in a position for a few chances at the end zone.

(I'm not football tactician, but shouldn't Florida have been committing pass interference on every single play on those final fade throws?)

This Florida team isn't great, but I at least figured they could beat LSU in Gainesville. I figured they could still win the SEC East -- they still can, but it will take a win over suddenly awesome South Carolina.

But even if this Florida team isn't a great one -- and even, for three quarters, Florida didn't deserve to win -- in the end, I expected them to win. They didn't. It was extremely disappointing.

Then again, I could be an Alabama fan.

What a game by South Carolina -- one of the great efforts of the past decade in college football, plus the greatest win in South Carolina football history?

I wrote a tweet last night that I think was misinterpreted: I wasn't suggesting that a 1-loss SEC champ (say, Alabama) should leapfrog unbeaten teams for a spot in the BCS title game; I was only suggesting that any SEC snubbing in the BCS title game could potentially hasten the implosion of the BCS, because the SEC -- itself feeling snubbed -- takes its ball and goes home. Longtime readers of the blog have heard this theory before.

The Alabama loss is a pretty good reminder that there is a lot of football to play before we simply assume that Ohio State or Oregon or the Big 12 champ goes undefeated. (We can assume that Boise and the TCU-Utah winner will go undefeated.)

I will say that neither Ohio State nor Oregon will play a game as competitive as playing South Carolina on the road. (OSU's signature win of the season -- over Miami in Columbus -- suddenly looks pretty flimsy in the light of Miami getting clobbered by FSU.)

Expect some shake-ups in my Top 25 ballot: Obviously, Alabama will drop from No. 1 -- I am still wrestling with how high to put South Carolina (they beat Bama, but lost to Auburn at Auburn, and the Tigers barely beat Kentucky last night). Both TCU and Boise benefit from Oregon State beating Arizona in Tucson (and Boise gets a lift from VA Tech winning its 4th straight).

As I said, Ohio State's "signature" win of the 2010 season is now devalued. Oregon can't play defense. Boise beats up on mediocrities. Auburn can't put anyone away. The good news is that, coming up, we get some head-to-head quasi-playoff games between Nebraska and Oklahoma and between Utah and TCU. And you can always hope OSU loses at Wisconsin next week.

For now, my best guess -- and it absolutely reflects the uncertainty I have about the BCS-league teams, but one thing's for sure: If Alabama was so clearly the best team in the country, the team that beats them (with only one loss on their record, on the road, to another Top 10 team) deserves to be in the Top 2 until proven otherwise.

1. TCU
2. South Carolina
3. Boise State
4. Utah
5. Alabama
6. Ohio State
7. Nebraska
8. Oregon
9. Auburn
10. Oklahoma.

(FWIW: I have Air Force at No. 11. With TCU at No. 1, Boise and Utah in my Top 5 and Air Force just outside my Top 10, let no one say I don't have love for teams from non-BCS leagues.)

Looking ahead to next week: Ohio State at Wisconsin (perhaps the closest OSU will come to a tough game remaining on their schedule), Arkansas at Auburn.

Non-CFB: Nice to see some life from the Rays. The Twins are owned by the Yankees like USC football is owned by Stanford. Double-check your fantasy rosters.

-- D.S.


Steve said...

You forgot to mention your real team Northwestern giving up a game winning touchdown drive to Purdue running a basic high school offense.

Nebraska should be no worse than 3, they're destroying teams on the road.

the bankrupt museum said...

South Carolina #2 is as ABSURD as you ranking Houston #1 last year. Come On. Why can't there ever be any nuance? Alabama would probably pull this out vs. South Carolina 90/100 times - but it was an INSPIRED effort by South Carolina and it also exposed more weaknesses in Alabama than it did strengths of South Carolina. Seriously, Oregon wins by 20 on the road w/their backup quarterback and drops 6 spots?!?!

MizzouHoops said...

Where to begin?

A one loss team #2 in the country when there are 13 unbeatens? So Carolina has already proved they can be beat, and you have them second?

Secondly, you obviously aren't watching games outside the SEC. Nebraska manhandled KState in the Little Apple. And they are 7th?

Ohio State held a QB who threw for 480 yards the week before to 80 yards. The only 10 pts IU scored were against the second team. Pryor looked amazing.

Thing is you give TCU and Boise credit for continuing to win... and for beating horrible opponents, yet you dog Ohio State for beating Miami (who is now devalued) but did you keep Boise up top, even though their "signature" win is against Va Tech, who lost to JMU.


Bryan Bennett said...

Ohio State still has to play at Iowa later in the season and I would certainly consider that a competitive game. TCU and Utah not only play each other but must also get by Air Force which is no gimme. I think Nebraska has the easiest road due to the lack of a dominant team in the Big 12...and this is coming from a diehard Texas fan.