Comments welcomed, as always.
Something I will defend to the death is my omission of Cal. Wins over I-AA Sac State, awful awful NMSU, UW, Arizona, and Illinois, losses to the only two half competent teams they've played. They trailed Illinois in the fourth. I hated putting them and their no-QB having, no-defense having asses in at all, and now I don't have to. Like Texas Tech with two losses.
Also Texas Tech and Auburn get no love because of the level of competition they've defeated. Sorry, TT, I don't think Nebraska is any good.
|1||Southern Cal||Their margin over the rest of the field is now very thin, but a margin it is.|
|2||Texas||Texas Tech appears to be the last serious hurdle... but who knows how serious they are anyway?|
|3||Georgia||As discussed earlier, VT and UGA are very similar teams. Georgia's played better competition.|
|4||Virginia Tech||Um... yeah. Schedule is about to ramp up.|
|5||UCLA||Giant jump based on everyone else eating it, but they didn't exactly cover themselves in glory either. Past this point... it's a mess.|
|6||Alabama||A last second field goal to beat Ole Miss? Er... that Florida win doesn't look so hot any more, does it.|
|7||Florida State||Yeah, they lost. So did basically everyone else.|
|8||Miami||Functional DNP vs. Temple.|
|9||Penn State||Loss of Williams will hurt very badly.|
|10||LSU||Arizona State close call keeps looking worse. Florida win doesn't really impress much given the offense's failing to exist. Not going anywhere.|
|11||Boston College||Thrilling last second victory! What a game!|
|13||Oregon||I dunno. I think they're pretty decent, but I'm really uncomfortable with them here.|
|14||Ohio State||Won via gift. (Ok, ok, you gifted them five fumbles as well.)|
|15||Wisconsin||Won via gift.|
|16||Michigan State||Maybe you do hate winning.|
|17||Minnesota||You hate winning too.|
|18||Auburn||Why is this team behind the Big Ten clusterintercourse? Wins over WKU, Ball State, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Miss State. Loss to the one non awful team they played.|
|19||Texas Tech||Opportunity to prove it Saturday.|
|20||Florida||Not to go all Sports Guy, but how do you think Orson felt watching Urban cry in the postgame? That's never, ever a good sign. It's like having a quarterback named "Joey."|
|22||Georgia Tech||Functional DNP vs. Duke before Miami showdown.|
|23||Fresno State||Last best hope against USC?|
|24||West Virginia||Um... I guess?|
Dropped Out: Cal(#15, ITYS),Louisville(#21), Colorado (#24)
Games I Saw: Michigan-PSU, UVA-FSU (half), MSU-OSU(half), Minnesota-Purdue(bits of the first half); Iowa-IU (yes, I taped it... help me); LSU-UF.
Help Requested: Anything you've got. This is a disaster.
Update: Dropped Michigan for UVA at #25, dropped Iowa for WVU at #24.
3-2 over BC, 9-2 over Merrimack. Michigan stands 4-0-0 on the year.
- ETA on "Hobey Baker" chants for Johnson: 2 weeks, and he'll deserve each and every one of them. Incredible player who can literally do it all. He crushes opposing forwards. He skates with them. He dekes them out of their jocks. He can shoot hard an on target from anywhere with little provocation. He makes all the right passes.
- Cogliano scored his first points of the year with 2-2-4 against Merrimack but his best play was a straight nasty bit of stickhandling that got him past two Warriors and garnered a hooking call. I was disappointed with him in the first few games but he's beginning to assert himself.
- We are going to have trouble scoring on a consistent basis. We've got Hensick and Cogliano, Porter and Kolarik, and Hunwick and Johnson, but there's very little after them. Ebbet and Kal will score periodically but they're not to be relied upon. I miss Tambellini badly.
- David Rohlfs got skated around on almost every shift against BC. He's going to have to be protected against skilled teams. Ditto Tim Cook, who many say is improved but... uh, yeah. I don't see it.
- Only two goals against BC sounds good but both were very soft and made me think uncomfortably about that guy from last year who liked punching people. Ruden was his usual self: solid positionally and completely unable to control rebounds.
There's a distinct possibility that the CCHA doesn't blow this year. A lot of teams have opened up with very strong results:
- Michigan is 4-0 with a win over BC.
- MSU is 2-0 and beat North Dakota.
- Alaska-Fairbanks took 3 points from Minnesota in Minnesota.
- UNO is 2-0 with a win over UNH.
- Lake State took 3 points from ECAC contender Colgate.
- OSU split with Colorado College.
Northern Michigan's split against St. Cloud--a team likely headed for the WCHA basement--hurts, as does BG's loss to Merrimack and WMU's loss to Robert Morris (enjoy your lovely parting gifts, Jim Culhane), but other than that no CCHA teams lost games they were supposed to win. Several teams outperformed expectations, which will really help out in the pairwise towards the end of the year.
Games to keep an eye on this weekend:
- ND is going into the lion's den (OMG CATHOLICISM!) with a road weekend against DU and CC. A split here would be a tremendous result for the CCHA. Wouldn't get your hopes up, though, Jeff Jackson or no.
- Northern has a home and home with and improved but still bad Michigan Tech team. If NMU is going to be one of the CCHA's better teams (and they probably should be) dropping more points to WCHA bottom feeders will not help matters.
- Fairbanks travels to Alaska-Anchorage for a pair. If UAF can take 3 or even 4 points from a meh UAA team in their second consecutive weekend on the road they'll announce themselves as a CCHA contender and greatly help the PWR comparisons. Michigan also takes on UAF next weekend for a pair at Yost. They could come in smokin'. [UPDATE: I'm mistaken on the location of the UAF series. It's at Fairbanks, making the weekend look even more daunting. Thx to reader Puckhead.]
- A two part cheer directed at BC freshman Brett Motherwell: "I did your..." "Moooootherwell."
- Students screaming "dance" in the first period against Merrimack whilst up 6-0 and again up 7-0.
- A treasured "Goalie Goalie Sieve Sieve Sieve" against the Warriors.
- "If you're not good at hockey, go to Merrimack /
If you're not good at hockey, go to Merrimack /
If you're not good at hockey and you know you really suck, go to Merrimack"
The Next Weekend
One game against Michigan State at Yost. State's gotten out of the gate well and this one will be a typical MSU-UM game in which the Wolverines badly outplay and outshoot the Spartans but can't put it away due to Angry Michigan Safety Hating God. I have doubts about Sauer's preparedness but none about Vicari's. Call it 3-2, MSU.
Michigan Monday Catfight Part III! Er... no, not really. Here it is. I was going to disagree with him about his main thesis, which is this:
This looks like a completely different team from week-to-week, half-to-half and sometimes even play-to-play.
But upon watching about 2/3rds of the game I have to say that this:
The offensive line is so porous that it looks like even mediocre opponents are holding a Tupperware party in the backfield, then the line turns into a cohesive unit against a solid defense.
is both true and utterly mystifying. Michigan still had its issues but if you were to scale the problems they had against Minnesota to the talent level on the PSU line you would get total disaster, which didn't happen. Tamba Hali did nothing all day save for one admittedly badass sack. Lentz had a couple instances of really poor pass protection, but other than that they did a very good job against a very tough defense. Who knows why? [OMG HOLDING!!! -PSU ed. I'll get to you and your crazy ass in a second.]
Iowa has also been smote by Angry Michigan Safety Hating God. Iowa's "possession" (read: white) receiver Ed Hinkel has a broken arm and is out for the year. Defensive backs Antwaan Allen and Charles Godfrey also missed the Indiana game, both with sprained ankles. Both are questionable against Michigan.
Right. Yeah... uh... well... you PSU guys are crazy. Like the guy who gets caught outside in a nuclear holocaust crazy:
Our biggest rival is, and has been since we entered the Big Ten, the referees. Their colors are white and black. Their mascot is a zebra. And they are unbeatable. No amount of talent on the field or coaching on the sideline can stop them.
This continues for a long, long time, if you're interested. PSU fans have gone beyond the standard "the refs are dumber than seahorses" fan bitching and gone into a place where logic does not exist. If the referees were actually out to get PSU, why the tetchy PI call on Hall at the end of the game? Why rule the Henne fumble a fumble when it was so close? Why make an incorrect call in PSU's favor that is overturned by review? The sense, it no make. Not to mention that the refereeing conspiracy is pretty crappy when all your efforts only get the favored team a single shot from the ten with one second left. We need to pay these guys more next year... and include the ND game in the package.
You can check the fan comments on the next post to confirm that this isn't the delusion of one man, but rather an entire fanbase. It's uniquely paranoid. All fanbases have a litany of terrible calls that went against them. Only Penn State thinks that the referees are out to get them.
I almost felt badly for the deranged visitors who flooded Ann Arbor until I walked into Michigan Stadium and immediately got told that Michigan sucks by some cocky students. Cocky! Sure, Michigan was 3-3 and PSU 6-0, but it's amazing what a last second win over Mighty Northwestern and a squeaker in the annual PSU-OSU Worst Game Ever Played will do for your confidence. Ann Arbor was overrun with these guys who had forgotten eight years of total futility. Make it nine. I hope you had a safe trip home.
Also: your band plays nothing but that "hey" song and that song they play at NHL playoff games in Canada. You also have a four word fight song: "We are Penn State."
Yes, yes you are.
He could go to the hizzle shizzle. Odd article in the NYT about ESPN-speak drifting into sports writing, but I think the major problem is with incredibly annoying sportstalk radio phrases drifting into the common discourse. I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but two incredibly annoying phrases in specific, "drinking the Kool-Aid" and "thrown under the bus," are banned here. Any attempt to use them in a non-ironic fashion will result in your post being edited with [I AM A JIM ROME-LEVEL TOOL] replacing the offending phrase.
(Roundtable #10 is up at ATL. Check it out.
1. What would it take for you to vote someone other than USC #1 in the poll? If you already are, what would it take for USC to regain the top spot on your ballot?
USC's hold on #1 in my ballot is getting precarious given their struggles against Arizona State, Arizona, and Notre Dame, but there doesn't appear to be a challenger that has looked as impressive against a comparable schedule--sorry, Texas, but the Big Twelve is way down this year. Ohio State is a good win but USC's got a match with the ND win and the second tier (Oregon, ASU versus OK, CU) is advantage USC.
Virginia Tech is 6-0 but has had three functional byes against Duke, Ohio, and Marshall. Best win to date is over Georgia Tech. They struggled against a mediocre NC State team. USC's resume easily bests them. I think I'm actually going to drop them behind...
Georgia, who have only had one functional bye against ULM and has a win at UT, which roughly corresponds to USC's ND win. They nuked Boise but struggled against that other USC. Every other win has been fairly comfortable, though not a blowout. Still, UGA has a complete defense, a very good ground game, and an intermittently spectacular passing attack.
What about Alabama? They've only played one good team, Florida, and didn't exactly blow the doors off Southern Miss, Ole Miss, or Arkansas.
2. Which of the undefeateds is most likely to remain so? Who is least likely?
Most: Texas. They've got a game against Texas Tech and then the soft nubbins of the Big Twelve (Baylor, OK State, Kansas) before a game against A&M and then the championship game against whichever short bus-riding team makes it out of the North.
Least: Texas Tech is fraud city, baby.
3. If you were running the BCS system, would you let the computer rankings factor in margin of victory? Why or why not?
Um. Sort of. There is not enough information to get effective computer rankings without extra data, but pure margin of victory is often distorted by meaningless touchdowns. Why is the final score the only relevant piece of data when play by play is available? Computer rankings should be allowed to use any piece of relevant data. Margin of victory is a useful piece of information. Excluding it is stupid, especially when you cap it at 21, as the BCS used to.
Links to your ballot are desired here, as are any general comments you have to make. There are a ton of interesting conflicts after a wild, wild weekend in college football. Have at it.
Comments about the general state of college football and how they should affect the blogpoll go here.