this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
- USC's still proven significantly more than any of the teams behind them, IMO, except LSU. So they don't drop far.
- The more I watch the top three teams in the Big East, the more I think they're just plain good at football. So WVU benefits more than Rutgers falls for their game. I wish they had some comparison points against a Purdue or a Georgia or a Oregon State or something.
- Oregon State leaps up and BYU declines. Oregon State went 6-3 in the Pac 10, beat USC, and beat Hawaii. Dismal loss to Boise is an anchor but of the teams in the dingy area of the poll, who has accomplished more? A re-evaluation more than a huge boost for beating Hawaii.
- Rest of the movement in the lower sections of the poll is noise from my clean-slate policy. I corrected some wild swings (Boise shooting up six for no reason).
Watched: USC-UCLA, UF-Ark, Wake-GT, Rutgers-WVU, UConn-UL, and I thought about Hawaii-Oregon State but no.
Saw a lot this weekend: A&M-Texas, Arkansas-LSU, USC-ND, bits of Wake-Maryland, WVU-USF once it was clear WVU was in trouble, Florida-FSU, Clemson-South Carolina, BC-Miami. Let's hear it for spreading games out over three days.
- I've decided Wisconsin goes no further forward than the tail end of the top ten until their bowl game. Their best win is Penn State. After that... Purdue? Thanks to their embarrassing nonconference schedule and missing OSU, we have desperately few data points on Wisconsin and it would be the height of conveyor-belt mania to stick them above Arkansas or Notre Dame just because they happen to play more than one good team in a year.
- Wooo LSU! Okay: I've been a skeptic all year, but with everyone else losing and LSU claiming a couple quality wins, they bounce way up.
- The rest seems pretty standard to me, except maybe the PSU vote at #25. But whatever.
Saw: WVU-UL; Michigan-Ball State (yow!); OSU-Illinois; Tenn-LSU; Texas-Okie State; Arkansas-South Carolina.
Uh... well, it's like this. Many people saw the UL-WVU game as cosmic proof that the Big East teams were terrible and utterly defense-free and said as much. Apparently none of these people vote in polls. IMO, that game was tennis where serve was broken once on West Virginia's disastrous backwards drive in the third quarter that ended with a shanked punt returned for an easy touchdown. Many of Louisville's yards came on wide-open post routes over the middle -- 'Eer linebackers are apparently prohibited from not biting viciously on even the most token of play fakes -- they could not even think about stopping Steve Slaton, and only a fluky spree of turnovers gave them the comfortable margin they maintained by holding serve against the aforementioned bitin' linebackers.
Are both these teams real good? Yes. Are they incredibly good? Well... maybe. I am less eager to punish WVU and elevate UL for a game that seemed virtually equal both in yardage and my head.
No doubt a controversial minority will elevate UL over Michigan because of the close game against Ball State, ignoring the other nine games both teams have played and, for that matter, the Ball State game itself, in which Michigan outgained BSU by 200 yards and was only threatened because of a dogged determination to rest the starters before the game was actually put away. Hell, while you're at elevating Louisville to heights undreamt, why not put them #1? After all, Illinois is just about as bad as Ball State and OSU was actually outgained by the Illini.
UL at #2 is movement for movement's sake.
Arkansas runs a high school offense, but I mean that in the nicest way possible. Somehow they've cobbled together a system that takes a non-functional quarterback and three completely insane athletes (Marcus Monk, Darren McFadden, and Felix Jones) and gets them running past stunned defenders via some strange formation and playcall alchemy that turns inevitably-doomed Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draws into actually surprising quarterback sweeps, counters, reverses, options, and the like. The overall effect is a low-rent system flooded with electricity in the form of impossibly fast guy and the hazy memory of a Division-C state championship game from long ago.
They still don't have a quarterback. But I'm sold anyway.
- Auburn! I'm tired of your close calls against mediocre opponents. I'm tired of your three-score loss to a team I had ranked below you. You're down five, and don't you forget it.
- I think I need to restore BC somewhere late.