Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Fallers: Many in an upset-filled weekend in college football. Florida took the most severe hit after losing to poll debutant South Carolina and that guy who looks somewhat familiar. Florida State's dismal stretch has dropped them all the way to #21 with Florida and Miami upcoming. Both Georgia and Alabama dropped narrow games against ranked SEC foes and dropped four spots. Bama's chart is remarkably coherent now.
Risers: The Old Ball Coach has new tricks at South Carolina and makes an impressive debut at #19. Pitt Sports Blather dropped them in at #12(!). The teams immediately in front of the other USC mostly benefited from the mass destruction in the middle of the poll: Fresno State, TCU, Michigan, and Louisville all experienced nice gains.
Outrage!!! Texas Tech is still ranked? Is UTEP really better than the major conference teams behind it? Very little this week, though--everything seems reasonable as the teams begin to dictate our ballots in great detail.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: Not much this week. See below.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Voters are clearly undecided on what exactly to do with a team that has one loss by a billion points to a crappy team and several other hair-raising escapes, as UCLA is the new King of Variance.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is actionBERG again, no doubt due to his tendency to rank any Texas team with a good record against crappy competition way, way high: TCU is #10, UTEP #13, and Texas Tech is #19. In other wackiness, WVU is #9, Ohio State #14, and Notre Dame #16.
Mr. Numb Existence is the DJL Zone. Everything on his ballot is relentlessly reasonable, as one might expect.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The Straight Bangin' Award has returned home, sort of. It's the same guy at new digs, as Joey takes his namesake award, though the margin this week is fairly low: Michigan checks in at #20. In front of Rutgers, even!
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive are the GT guys at Golden Tornado, who were forced to freak out by recent events as they were amongst the heavy Auburn doubters. The Tigers shoot from #24 to #10. They also excised former #14 Texas Tech entirely and punished Wisconsin and Florida heavily for their losses.
Mr. Stubborn is TrojanWire... and this is a really weird ballot. LSU drops three places for beating Alabama. Va Tech moves up four for doing nothing in particular. Florida and Florida State go nowhere. Cal moves up 5 for getting waxed by USC. What is the deal?
|1||Texas||Kansas was supposed to have a good defense.|
|2||Southern Cal||Thought about putting Notre Dame here, but no.|
|3||Penn State||Gameday in EL? MFer!|
|5||LSU||Forced to respect them now.|
|8||Ohio State||What they did to a very good Northwestern offense bodes unwell. Jury still out on the offense: the last five opponents have been flailing retards on defense.|
|9||Notre Dame||Another year, another week of Notre Dame fans waxing eloquent about Navy and how they're doing the Middies a big favor by playing them every year. The mighty sacrifices of winning for 40 straight years.|
|10||Oregon||Main beneficiary of this carnage below.|
|11||Auburn||Georgia con Shock does count as anyone, though they squeaked by.|
|12||Georgia||Let 'em score.|
|13||UCLA||Finally got what was coming to them.|
|14||Fresno State||Playing Oregon toe-to-toe continues to look better.|
|15||West Virginia||I guess.|
|16||Michigan||Functional DNP vs Indiana.|
|17||Wisconsin||No, this sequence doesn't make sense...|
|18||Minnesota||...but what does in the Big Ten?|
|19||South Carolina||Goddamn. I commend Orson for retaining his sanity in the aftermath of the OBC's suddenly scorching hot jilted girlfriend routine.|
|20||Florida||Yeah, well, Vandy... I dunno. Weird day for the middle of the poll.|
|21||Florida State||No QB problem rears up again. Was fortunate to beat Miami.|
|22||TCU||Hard for me to take them more seriously.|
|23||Oklahoma||Picked itself up off the mat.|
|24||Toledo||Yes, I'm out of teams.|
|25||Boston College||And... scene.|
Dropped Out: Texas Tech(#20), Northwestern(#25), Colorado(#22)... etc.
Games I Saw: Michigan-IU, 'Bama-LSU, Auburn-UGA, bits of USC-Cal.
When Saginaw PG Tory Jackson committed to Notre Dame, I levelled an accusation at Tommy Amaker's defenders that the 2007 class would end up being as disappointing as the last two classes. 2007 SG Alex Legion--currently a 5-star ranked in the top 20 by both Rivals and Scout--went a long way to making that prediction look about as good as all the rest of mine by committing today.
This is an unambiguously super-awesome development for the Wolverines as Legion's extremely early commitment is both an impressive piece of recruiting by Tommy Amaker and possibly an indication to the rest of the loaded instate '07 class that Michigan is a place to consider taking your game. That didn't work out so hot this year, but given the choice between having Legion and not, er, I'll take Legion.
It's day two of our five day format-killing Ohio State blowout! Today: the coaches. A study in contrasts. One has a gruff exterior that hides a heart of gold, the other a gelatinous sheen that hides dark, tentacled horrors. Let science decide between them:
|"Could you maybe go to the gym or something?"||NCAA As Husband||"One of these days, POW, right to the moon!"|
|Gruff imparter of wisdom||Uncle Genre||Creepy offerer of babysitting services|
|No||Thought Maurice Clarett Was A Good Idea?||Yes|
|Unfortunately necessary bridge between punts||Offensive Philosophy||What do you mean, "this isn't the Battle of the Somme?"|
|"I am a football coach."||What Attire Implies||"I take deleting things from my hard drive very, very seriously."|
|Wildly schizophrenic||Treatment of Sideline Reporters||Robotically dullsville|
|Split||National Championship Drawback||Due to obviously phony pass interference|
|2||League Championships since 2003||0|
|1-0||Record versus Penn State since October||0-1|
|1||Head to head wins in 2003||0|
|Received spyware from the Accuser after placing Celine Dion album into CD-ROM drive||Relationship with Satan||Calls on a regular basis to ask for money and to assure him that the end times are nearing|
|"I like 'em both."||Catchphrase||"I don't recall."|
|Finding good homes for all these beautiful kittens||Offseason Troubles||Raising bail|
So, there you have it, irrefutable scientific proof that Carr is vastly superior to Tressel. Carr in a blowout, 11-0-3. You can't defy science, unless you're from Kansas.
(A note: mgoblog is generally a PG-13 website. This post ain't. The F word shows up. A lot, for versimilitude and shit. Also the word "shit" appears.)
(A second note: A while ago I posted a much-abbreviated version of this story on a message board. Ohio State fans found and copied it as a classic example of someone making stuff up in order to tarnish the good (ha!) name of Ohio State. This is not the case. Every word of this story is true. You can't make this stuff up.)
(A third note: I wish to preclarify my positions here given previous debacles with opposing fanbases. Ohio State fans are probably a lot less sensitive than Notre Dame fans, but this is going to be less benign than "you have sucked in the recent past." I think that OSU has a problem with a significant section of their fanbase. Yes, there are dicks that support every team, but I don't think I'm going out of my gourd to suggest that OSU fans have a well-deserved reputation for being uncouth. I do realize that Michigan fans are not immune to this disease.)
The thing started going wrong well before we ever got to Columbus. We ended up in Dayton after a missed turn and arrived in the evilest place in the universe late after traversing the two legs of a right triangle instead of its hypotenuse. As such, parking was impossible. The officially sanctioned lots were full and we, out of town idiots in hostile territory, had no backup plan more sophisticated than "we could drive around and stuff."
We executed the plan and eventually found a strip-mall lot with a miraculously open spot and a woman wandering around, glaring owlishly into the windshields of the cars packed into the lot, looking for some magic symbol of passage--or at least the right to peaceful repose instead of a quick trip on the back of a tow truck. Clearly we weren't home free yet. Also I had to go to the bathroom.
The parking attendant took pity on us and told us that we could acquire a pass from the sports bar situated in the strip mall. We attempted to do this but were rebuffed; the sports bar was "out" of passes. A return trip to the parking lot coupled with some peeking inside windshields revealed that the pass consisted of "Michigan Parking" scrawled on a piece of paper. Phil, who is diplomatic, and Raffi, who is crippled, were dispatched back inside to guilt the bartender into giving us said piece of paper and succeeded in their mission. ("You done spell Michigan with one U or two?") This task grudgingly accomplished, we were ready to head off into the belly of the beast.
Let's just get this out of the way: things are not going to go well here. Disaster looms. Disaster did not loom over my 2000 trip to Columbus, and after the events described here I wondered why this trip had come to such a bad end. The worst thing that happened in 2000 was a trucker screaming "what is that, fucking pleather?" at my uncle's jacket and, incidentally, me, as I was wearing it because I had neglected to remember that it was cold as shit and left my jacket at home. In 2000 the Buckeyes were dispirited, beaten down by the cruel trick of fate named John Cooper and trudging through a season that would end with a dismal loss in the Outback Bowl. In 2002 they were gunning for a national championship under Jim Tressel. Also, in 2000 they lost. In 2002, they didn't. However, in retrospect neither of these sweeping sociological reasons really suffice to explain what happened. No, in the end, it was the capes.
I don't remember whose idea the capes were, but I do remember that once said idea--going to the Ohio State game with huge Michigan flags draped across our backs like mighty capes--was conceived, it was inevitable. There wasn't any debate about the wisdom of garishly declaring ourselves the enemy amongst the wretched and drunk of Columbus because the idea was clearly idiotic on its face. But one night when I was in college I played something called "SHANKAI JUKU DANCE TROUPE," which consisted of a friend and I screaming "SHANKAI JUKU!!!" over and over, jumping up and down on the furniture, tearing the massive pile of former residents' mail that lived in the family room into tiny bits (a felony), and throwing the bits around the room--we were not the kind of people who would forgo doing something awesome and ridiculous because it was stupidly dangerous.
So. Flags were procured and string to tie them with was procured and we, parking pass in hand, donned them in their glory. They were spectacular, aside from one problem: since flags are generally longer than they are tall and people are generally taller than they are long, we had to wear them sideways, turning the famous block M into more of a block epsilon. Anyone with a lot of math knowledge and no football knowledge whatsoever who happened to run across us would think that the four of us were really into summations. Nonetheless, they were spectacular. No, screw that, I love math: they were fucking amazing. Few things in my life can match their wonderful, useless stupidity.
Capes flowing gracefully behind us, we set off in the direction of the game. Not a minute into our journey a shirtless man grilling something on his balcony cried out to us. "Fuck Michigan!" he exclaimed. We would soon learn that whenever an Ohio State fan does not have anything else to say, he says "Fuck Michigan." It is appropriate for any situation you find yourself in, from meeting a new coworker to cops busting your meth lab to being confronted with your infidelity on Jerry Springer. It's a "Roll Tide" for the gap-toothed central Ohio set. I heard or read "Fuck Michigan" probably over 100 times during my brief sojourn in Columbus. Perhaps this will suffice to explain the thing's magnitude: I assume the "Ruck Fival" t-shirt scourge is a nationwide thing. You've all seen the slack-jawed moron who wears this incredibly clever shirt into the stadium. These things exist because you can't wear a shirt that says "Fuck Rival" into a stadium... unless that stadium is Ohio Stadium and that opponent is Michigan, in which case approximately 10% of the crowd can and will wear shirts that say "Fuck Rival" and declare to fans of Rival who pass by that Rival can indeed get fucked and how. I think this is "hegemony" or something, but I'm not sure since I am not a humanities grad student. And thank God for that.
In any case, I merrily responded to our first-but-certainly-not-last "Fuck Michigan" of the day with a listing of the multitude of times in the 90s when all that stood between the Buckeyes and a national championship game (de facto or otherwise) was an undermanned Michigan team. Each meeting had been a Buckeye-soul-equivalent-crushing Michigan victory, often times in ridiculous and unexplainable fashion (313 yards for Tshimanga Biakabutuka, etc.). I finished it with a predictive flourish: "...and 2002!" The shirtless man said "Fuck Michigan!" again.
I had blown my rhetorical wad and thus returned to silence as we continued on. The people walking around us limited their hostility to evil-eyed glances but every minute or so a car full of booze-veined Buckeyes would zoom past screaming "Fuck Michigan!" I made a stop in a Value City Arena bathroom, where a grizzled old man saw me and said "Fuck Michigan." Eventually we reached the immediate surroundings of the Value City Stadium, having dodged Fuck Michigan flak every step of the way. I was striding in front, my companions flanking me, when I noticed something ominously wrong.
People have a sixth sense about moving in packs. When people you believe to be following you at an appropriate distance cease popping in and out of the edges of your peripheral vision, you notice something is wrong with the migratory pattern. This probably the case for deeply important evolutionary reasons favoring hunters who notice when their friends are being eaten by horrible toothy beasts.
Unfortunately, I would make a very bad caveman. My awaren
ess was at an ebb because of my single-minded focus on the fact that we were LATE LATE LATE because of the triangle thing and very possibly going to miss the kickoff. (The kickoff! I'm horrified to arrive at the stadium after the bands have taken the field. Not once have I ever missed the kickoff. Ever ever.) It took me some time to realize that I was no longer towing my three companions behind me.
I turned around.
(A moment for a digression on my companions, in case anyone is wondering whether we antagonized someone. Raffi, currently a med student at Wayne State, has cerebral palsy. This has turned his legs into things that don't work very well. He walks with crutches; we call him "Cripplewitz" or "Dr. Cripplington." He smiles and nods amiably when we do this, because he's the smiliest ambiabliest man in the world (this is why he is spectacularly unsuccessful with women*). Ryan is an electrical engineer who is a Michigan Marching Band alumnus, a hardworking man best described as fundamentally good if slightly boring. Sorry, man. Phil has just finished teaching math in Botswana as a part of the Peace Corps. He always liked John Navarre. When he left everyone threw a party and some people actually cried. Mother Teresa tried to come but couldn't get a ticket.
All right, all right, I know what you're thinking, "what about you, you nasty man?" All I can say is that while I am indeed prone to fits of volcanic anger, these are generally referee related and my preferred method of approaching stadiums at away games is a practiced look of arrogant disdain. After all, I went to Michigan. Twice, bitches! I didn't get a master's degree to go around looking humble. But, as mentioned, I was too busy panicking about the time to antagonize anyone. And even if I tried, I probably would have used a word like "festering" and confused Ohio State fans instead offending them.)
Anyway... I turned around.
The tableau that confronted me could not have been more frightening and alien. It was as if I had turned around to find that Columbus, Ohio had turned into the airless cratered moon. Ryan had been tackled into a bush along the side of the road. A man in an Ohio State jersey was attempting to shove Ryan's jaw into his brain. Raffi laid on his back, arms, legs, and crutches flailing in the air wildly, looking quite like an upturned beetle. My memory does not supply details as to Phil's disposition. A purple, vein-splattering rage descended upon me. We were walking to the game, saying exactly nothing to anyone save ourselves, and we had been descended upon like Crips walking into the wrong part of Compton. For a split-second I was ready to murder.
Instead, I ran over to Ryan and, instead of giving the drunk fuck the shattered skull he so richly deserved, merely attempted to pry him off my friend. Eventually he released his grip and tumbled to the ground, swearing incoherently and slurring obscenities. When I turned back to Raffi, Phil had reappeared and was busy flipping Raffi over and removing any stray rocks from his carapace. Later I would ascertain that my friends had not even made eye contact with their assailant. He had just charged at the first sight of blue.
Though I had managed to restrain my fists, my mouth proved too wily a foe to be locked down. I exploded. "What the FUCK I wrong with you fuckers? You fucking trash! You fucking human fucking trash! Who treats people like this, you fucking assholes? You stupid, pathetic shits!"
They said, "Fuck Michigan."
Phil placed his hand across my chest, giving me the international symbol for "cool it, there are twenty of them and four of us, one of whom walks with crutches." I muttered "motherfuckers," and turned back to the path, stalking my way to the game. Ten seconds later two more Ohio State fans--older, gentlemanly, not bombed out of their skulls--approached us and apologized for the behavior we had just experienced.
"That shouldn't have happened," one said. It would be nice to say that I thanked them warmly. I didn't. The only thing that managed to grit its way out through my teeth was a cold, terse "No, it shouldn't have."
The assaults receded to the verbal level once more and we finally arrived. A game happened. Its details are largely irrelevant to this story, except for the fact that, aided greatly by one questionable offensive pass interference call and the services of a man who was undoubtedly ineligible, the Buckeyes won 14-9. As we exited the seating areas of the stadium, an Ohio State fan said "good game" and shook my hand. The shirt he wore said "Fuck Michigan."
(Why did this happen? Why do these people act like this? How can this guy shake my hand and look me in the eye while wearing a shirt that essentially says "Fuck You, Brian"? I've thought long and hard about that and arrived at this conclusion: collegiate fan bases can take on the personality of iconic coaches. Penn State fans have absorbed Joe Paterno's paranoia. Michigan fans have taken on Bo Schembechler's mix of arrogance and cantankerous adherence to tradition. 'Bama fans will live under the shadow of Bear Bryant until the sun is a grey cinder. Ohio State fans have become Woody Hayes.
Hayes' hatred for Michigan was legendary and insane. What can you say about a man who refuses to get gas in a state because of a football team that plays there? What can you say about a man who said "I didn't like that SOB when he played for me, I didn't like him when we worked for me, and I certainly don't like him now," about Bo Schembechler, a man who counted Woody as a mentor and friend? A man who never referred to the school by its name? You can say "but he won a lot" and come off like an amoral mercenary. Or you can say "but he was really, deep down a beautiful person," and come off like a battered wife. Woody Hayes is a man you always say "but..." about. There's no justifying his childish outbursts unless you are a Buckeye of a certain tribal stripe, in which case you adulate him for it and emulate it, becoming just as emotionally immature as a man who was infantile enough to punch an opposing player at 65.
Woody made it cool to hate Michigan, to obsess about them every day, and to punch innocent people. Connect the dots.)
After the game the area outside the stadium was Pandemonium with a capital P--check your Milton. Abuse flowed freely; I told someone to live it up in the trailer park tonight because you never knew when a tornado was coming. He said, "Fuck Michigan." We reached the tunnel spanning whatever river runs by the stadium (Styx, probably) and trudged through it. As I reached the end of it, I felt a tug on the cape I had forgotten I was wearing. I felt another.
Again, I turned around. What confronted me this time was exactly what I had expected: a man who looked like an extra from Deliverance adorned in Ohio State finery, 32-ounce cup of beer in hand, and a woman who looked like she had just finished applying the entire contents of K-Mart's makeup department to her face.
"What's your problem?" I said.
What followed was inexplicable. The man looked at me muzzily for a moment, then threw all 32 ounces in my face. A red mist descended over my vision. Luckily, my friends were better prepared to aid me than I had been to aid them before the game, or I would probably be writing this missive from prison or the afterlife. Phil's hand immediately rested on my shoulder; Ryan stepped between us. The future balanced on a knife edge for a brief, tense moment.
I wiped the beer from my face and walked off once again, fists clenched, more angry than I had ever been before. Woody would have been proud.
So no, I don't particularly like Ohio State.
*(anyone desiring Raffi's number for possible carnal adventures--he's going to be a doctor, ladies--please email me.) n>
That darned BCS sure is livin' high on the hog these days. I don't figure we'll have any ballots left without Texas and USC #1 or #2 in some order, but I guess we'll see.
Ballots go here. Question of the week: how much credit should non-BCS teams with lousy schedules but good records get for winning, especially if they're squeaking out wins?