to play football, not to play trumpet
On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of attending my first Michigan away game, attending it as a 29th birthday present, which fell on that same day. My accompaniment for the game was none other than a friend and MSU grad from New York. You see, I had gone to the MSU at OSU game with him a few years back and we decided that Penn State was a good game to spend a weekend at my in-laws cabin in Central Pennsylvania. My immediate family and in-laws were there. And they are all Buckeye fans (except my 3 year old son, who is very much into saying Go Blue, though he still doesn't grasp the concept). Yada, yada, company you keep, bla, bla, bla.
Sparty and I got our tickets well in advance. A homecoming game at night seemed to predicate that. Our reasoning was confirmed as I saw very few scalpers outside the stadium. At Penn State, they have giant rolling grass hills that can more than accomodate the parking for the game. The problem is that you have to buy parking passes. In advance, they are $10, but on gameday, they charge $40. Both he and I had known about the parking passes, but failed to buy them in advance. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought the passes. We parked off the road about a mile from the stadium, which was free. We also had literally zero traffic until we hit the highway, which was nice. The parking was on Puddintown Road. Unfortunately, we missed out on the bulk of the tailgating, which was huge due to the cheap price of parking. There were likely tens of thousands of vehicles all crammed into a few giant lots.
(Damon's Grill, stock)
We rolled into Happy Valley at around 11:40am. State College has the lower-middle class feel of any random rural Michigan town, only larger. Picture Jackson, MI with a college in it. Sparty insisted we stop at the first spot we found to watch Michigan State adequately beat Indiana. That first place was a Damon's Grill by a hotel, which meant that a large portion of the lunchgoers were Michigan fans. It was a generally suitable "generic sports bar" to a T. Slightly dingy, but with a bevy of HD TVs on every wall. Their menu featured an item for each Big Ten school. "The Wolverine" was a chicken and bacon club with pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo. It sounded delicious, but I got the generic appetizer sampler as I prefer food without spit in it. The phrase "Can I get a liter of soda... for a Michigan Fan?!?" resounded.
During the first half, I found myself rooting hard for Indiana. But by the second half, I was pulling for the Spartans to pull away so we could make our way to campus. Sometime in the 3rd quarter, Sparty informed me that Gardner would throw two picks and lose a fumble. Had he known who Nostradamus was, I'm sure he would have reminded me of this fact. A small part of me wanted Gardner to lose an inconsequential turnover in the second half so that smug bastard would be wrong. We left Damon's towards the start of the 4th quarter once MSU went up three scores.
After a short walk in unseasonably sunny and warm weather, we arrived at the stadium. I haven't been on a college campus in about 4 years, so I'm just entering that phase where being on campus means I'm the awkward old guy. We didn't stop to tailgate with anyone. I had a decent beer buzz, but what was I supposed to do? Swoop in and pick off a football being thrown from father to son, then offer myself one of their beers? I'm a pretty social guy, but nobody prompted any conversations on my way in. No sarcastic Michigan comments, no "good luck" wishes. It dawned on me quickly that parking BFE was a bad choice, as sobriety would set in before game time. In briefly eavesdropping on passing conversations, though, I can confirm that soroity girls still literally say literally about literally everything. When I was younger, it was cute. Now it is just kind of grating.
So we sauntered through the tailgate for a bit before arriving at the stadium. It was the typical tailgate wares. Grills, beers, underage drinking, and footballs. The only thing I did see which was new was a game in which opposite sides threw a frisbee into a barrel. The barrel had an opening up top and a slit in front for the frisbee to pass. Teammates were able to bat the frisbee to help direct it. Points were scored for various outcomes. It was like east coast cornhole. There was also a game where what looked to be litter boxes were filled with sand, and inside the sand was a coffee tin that people tossed rings into. Likely an artifact of the past, when everyone from Pennsylvania was a carnie in some sense of the word. I did not see any cornhole, though we played it at the cabin all weekend.
(gate E, stock)
Upon reaching the stadium, my first impression was that it was a high school bleacher on sterroids. The entrance gates take you into a spiders web of beams that support a thin layer of sheet metal which makes up the floor of the stands. The corrugation of the stands gave the impression that the floor was paper thin. It was actually kind of spooky how little metal stood between you and a catastophic fall. It got even spookier remembering how thin the bleacher floors were when everyone started stomping in unison late in the game. The whole stadium shook.
Our seats were located in EHU, directly below the luxury suites. The stadium is much more compact than the Big House, giving it the illusion of being much smaller. The announced 107,000 + crowd did not seem to add up to a packed Michigan Stadium. The benefits to this, though, were crowd volume, and though our seats were nosebleed, they were still awesome seats. The only bad seats appeared to be the third deck in each endzone.
(view from EHU, stock)
What struck me about the crowd was not the raucousness (though that was there), but the fact that everything was done in lock step. The "We Are" "Penn State" thing is annoying, but in person, it is a very intimidating thing. There was no argument over standing or sitting. It seemed everyone knew when to stand, which corresponded to all plays in the fourth quarter and OT. The crowd quieted on their offensive possessions. You all saw how white the white out was. None of those shirts were handed out, only the pom poms. I just had a sense of a crowd who knew exactly what they were doing. The student section was clearly GA. They filed in slowly and steadily, like a swimming pool being filled with milk, the sea of white creeping slowly up to the upper deck.
At one point in the game, I got a text message that asked "Are you sick of that stupid wildcat call yet???" to which I replied "Rawwaaawwwrrrr!!!". There is no way to overstate how annoying that cat call was. It was played at every opportunity, and then some. It sounded like a really loud gay guy kept teasing his friend for being too sassy, "Rawwwrr!" PSU needs a new DJ in their stands, as the sound was so crappy. There was no cross fades between songs, and that damned wildcat interrupted the canned music, completely out of beat. I'll hear that raaawwwawwwr in my nightmares, I'm sure.
I won't go into the game, other than the fact that there were some plays in which our receivers were further away from a PSU player than I was. It was nauseating to see us not capitalize on this.
The crowd was as expected. Overtime was surreal. Trying to portray how it felt to be sitting after the PI call in the 4th overtime would be pointless. I had my head in my hands, surrounded by a hornet's nest of activity. There was never another moment in my life so contradictory. My emotional state was completely out of mesh with the entire crowd. It was weird. Sparty was standing next to me jumping up and down. He's a dick. The crowd was loud. One giant unison of dick. They shook my hands, said "What a game!" I extended my hand as well. They were all dicks.
My reception by the fans was overall pretty tame. Coincidentally, my contact ripped in half just after the game ended, causing tears to pour down my cheeks. It was no use explaining this. The hive must have seen it funny to see a grown man cry. Sparty was filled in on the contact situation, he thought it hilarious.
Walking back out through the tailgate, I heard two "Michigan sucks" and a single "F*** you" from a guy driving by in a car. Car guy is always the most offensive, as he doesn't have to answer for his taunts. That's to be expected, although it got pretty scary when the crowd turned on the refs late in the fourth. I'm sure my reception would have been more colorful if Michigan had pulled it off.
Altogether, the experience was a solid B. It did not exceed my expectations, but given the outcome of the game, it went about as well as I could expect. I did get very drunk back at the cabin, still alone in my misery, surrounded by Sparty and the OSU fans. But that one was on me.
For the past few years, I have attempted to create an objective look into conference superiority. I was sick of the SEC love, and felt that I could develop a metric which allowed for an accurate indication of how the conferences stacked up, sans TV contracts, media bandwaggoning, and regional affiliation.
Before, I used a method that assigned points to each conference based on the W/L percentage of the conference they beat, which I called CPR (Conference Power Ranking). The more I picked over it, the more I realized that the CPR had one fatal flaw - beating Purdue was exactly equal to beating Ohio State or Michigan. It assigned the same number of points. My argument was that over the course of a season, those would balance out, but that was a pretty hollow argument.
This year, I've come up with what I consider a better method of tracking conference power, which I have dubbed the MOVE Rating. Sounds sweet, right? That's because a metric is only as good as it's acronym (Margin of Victory Evaluation). Has a nice ring, right?
So what is MOVE? Because of a small sample size (10-20 out of conference games against a BSC Qualifier for each conference), I set out to attempt to make every game an average vs. average scenario. I feel I have achieved this by using the following formula to handicap the games:
-(Team CMARG-Opponent CMARG*) + AM = MOVE POINTS
*expressed as the EM or expected margin
In this formula, CMARG represents a team's "conference margin" (margin of victory, but a negative number represents an average loss) in that school's conference. So To give an example, Michigan's CMARG over B1G schools last year was 16.38. This means that Michigan beat the "average" B1G team by 16.38 points. That formula is simple, add up all the margins of victory, including negatives, and divide by the number of conference games. Instant CMARG! So since Michigan won by 16.38 over the average B1G team and Alabama won by 24.12 over the average SEC team, the EM (expected margin) of that game was Alabama -7.74. The final tally saw Michigan lose by 27.
That is represented by this for Michigan:
-(16.38-24.12) + -27 = -19.26
and this for Alabama:
-(24.12-16.38) + 27 = 19.26
What that boils down to is that the AVERAGE SEC team was 19.26 better than the AVERAGE B1G team, according to the results of that match. This also accounts for bad teams. Por ejamplo, Illinois lost to Arizona State by 31 points. The MOVE Rating on that game saw Illinois lose 0.40 points for the B1G, as Illinois was expected to lose by 30.6 points, the EM on that game. Their CMARG was -23.38, while Arizona State's CMARG was 7.22.
So now that you see a couple of games worth of MOVE ratings, all you have to do is throw all of a conference's MOVE scores in a pot and divide by the total number of games to receive a MOVE rating for the conference. It's important to note that I am only evaluating the 5 auto-qualifying conference at the time being. I may expand my data to the entire FBS if I have enough time.
Now, there are still some flaws to this system. It does consider each conference to be equal, so if your conference plays a bunch of ACC schools, there will be a bit of a uptick in your MOVE as compared to if your conference plays a bunch of SEC schools. I plan to mitigate that in one of two ways - either take all the conference vs. conference MOVE ratings and divide by 4, or by comparing the MOVE rating for each game compared to the opposing conference MOVE rating, find the difference, then assign a "MOVE2" rating. How much did you beat a team by MORE than the average team beat that conference? For the time being, we will just allow the MOVE rating to stand on it's own.
Ready to see some numbers? I decided that to test my system, I would go back to 2012 and plug in all the data. Let's just say I was disappointed with the results.
Here's your first look at actual data. It's listed in decending order by the MOVE scores. What it says is that the SEC is, on average, two touchdowns better than the average AQ team. Yikes. Also notice that aside from the dismal ACC, the B1G did not do well. Not well at all. What happened to me disproving the superiousness of the SEC or the baditude of the B1G? I'll go conference by conference, but first a couple of notes.
GAMES = Number of games played against AQ schools, including bowls.
W% = Win percentage in those games.
MARG = Average margin of victory (or loss) in said games.
MOVE = Average MOVE score in those games.
- Having a MARG that is noticeably higher than your MOVE indicates that, on average, you are sending out your better teams to play against inferior opponents. For the B1G, think the opposite of "Rose Bowl, Illinois vs USC".
- If you add up all the MOVE scores in this chart, it will not equal 0, however if you multiply the GAMES by the MOVE, then divide by the total number of GAMES, it will be close. It does actually 0 out for auditing, but the fractions are rounded, so the number is a bit off.
On to the conferences...
- The ACC looks worse than they actually are, as more than half of their games are against the SEC.
- Their best performance was actually a 9-point Boston College loss to Northwestern. BC was a 22-point dog, as Nortwestern was good and BC lost to a weak ACC by an average of 15.25. They gained 13 points in that matchup, despite walking away with a loss.
- The most out of whack stat? A 7-point Clemson win over Auburn netted an ugly -36. That's because Auburn was a 43-point dog, after being smashed by the SEC and playing a Clemson team that went 7-1 in the ACC for an average CMARG of +19.13.
(As the B1G is our conference, I will go team by team. It's... not pretty.)
Illinois - As mentioned before, Illinois lost by 31, and yet still almost broke even against an undermatched Arizona State team. They netted -0.40 MOVE on the year.
Indiana - Did not play an AQ school all year. Sadly, this made them the B1G's third best performing team, as 9 B1G teams scored a negative MOVE score.
Iowa - Netted a 0.04 for the year for losing by 3 to an Iowa State team that performed only slightly better in the Big 12. They finished second in the entire B1G in MOVE. With a 0.04. Maybe the ESPN talking heads were right...
Michigan - With great power comes... a 16.38 CMARG. This caused us to lose 19.26 points to Bama, and 13.88 points to South Carolina. We were actually 8.88 point favorites in the SCar game, as their CMARG was only 7.5 in the SEC. The problem with being the big boys in a conference is that you have to produce. We did not, even in a close loss to SCar. Our MOVE for the year, fourth worst in the conference with -16.57.
Michigan State - A 1-point win over TCU in their bowl game netted a -1.25 on the year. Both MSU and TCU were very close to average, with MSU gaining a 1.25 CMARG and TCU holding a -1.00 CMARG for the year.
Minnesota - Conference MOVE champion! Minnesota represented the B1G better than any team, by averaging a -10.38 CMARG, while falling to Texas Tech by only 3 points. This gave Minnesota a 1.82 MOVE rating on the year.
Nebraska - In a word, bi-polar. How else do you explain a CMARG of -0.33 while going 7-2 in the B1G? Oh yeah, giving up 70 to Wisconsin and 63 to OSU will do that. But it is worth repeating, Nebraska went 7-2 in the B1G last year and STILL managed to have a negative margin of victory. That's amazing. Overall, they perfomed to expectations in their OOC schedule, losing to UCLA by 6 but gaining a fraction of MOVE (EM was -6.03) and giving a fraction of MOVE to Georgia by losing the bowl game by 14 (EM was -13.56). They finished at -0.21.
Northwestern - Won all three of their games, but due to an un-NW like 5-3 record in conference, gave up -1.33 MOVE. NW exceeded expectations against Vandy and Miss State, but lost -13 MOVE points to BC in their 9-point victory.
Ohio State - The expected margin of the Cal game was 25.25, but they only won by 7. Good for the third worst MOVE in the league, at -18.25.
Penn State - Speaking of bad, PSU gave -21.75 MOVE to Virginia in the 1-point loss. The EM on that game was 20.75. The -21.75 was their total on the year, good for second worst in the B1G.
Purdue - Bad. They managed to go -25.72 on the year by losing to Oklahoma State by 44. Worst in the conference.
Wisconsin - Charitable to the PAC-12. In two losses close losses, they gave double digit MOVE points to both Oregon State and Stanford. Finished with a -10.67 MOVE.
- Second only to the SEC in MOVE. They actually outperformed every conference they went up against, even though they had the average of a 3-point loss to the PAC-12.
- Baylor and Texas led the way with 28.03 and 24.34 MOVE ratings, respectively.
- The low point of the year saw Oklahoma State, a 2-TD CMARG favorite lose to Arizona by 21, good for a -35.11 beatdown. Oklahoma State, clearly concerned about how this would affect their MOVE, then throttled Purdue by 44.
- The MARG was higher than the MOVE for the PAC-12 in each conference they played. This is because bottom feeders Colorado, Washington State, and Utah all played no AQ schools.
- A 2-8 PAC-12 team in Cal lost to OSU by 7, gaining 18.25 points for the PAC-12. The aforemetnioned Arizona was the big winner though, getting 35.11 points for their 3-TD victory over Oklahoma State.
- All (begrudgingly) hail your power conference. The SEC was 12-5 against AQ schools and on average, an SEC school is worth 2-TD more than their non-SEC equivalent. That really hurts me to write. The good news is that the SEC is looking far weaker this year.
I won't be releasing any MOVE data this year until November, as the stats don't mean much until we get deeper into conference play. The good news is that the B1G has already gone 3-0 against AQ schools. Last year, it was 5-11 (the Lions special) all year. So going 2-11 will be a push type thing. OSU whould beat Cal, from there we only need 1-2 wins to exceed last year. The SEC will also see a big dropoff, as heavyweights Georgia and Florida have already lost OOC. As they are expected to do well within the SEC, that will translate to losing points as well.
Well, it's that time of year again, folks. The leaves have all shed themselves from the trees and the cold is starting to settle upon the midwest. The days are getting shorter and the nights longer. If you flip on the six-o-clock Sportscenter during this evening you will, no doubt, be serenaded to the soothing sounds of SEC bias while the moon is peeking gently through the window.
The geese have taken flight to the warmer climes down south, and so too do our football teams. For it is bowl season again. Time for us all to regale upon bowl seasons past, and look forward to our annual unfavorable bowl matchups.
"What's that you say? Unfavorable bowl matchups? But Michigan is playing Va Tech! Purdue plays Western Michigan, those don't seem unreasonable. Why... when I was still a youth (circa 2007-08) I remember playing 5 of our 8 bowl games in the HOME STATE of our competition. Indiana actually played a bowl game that year. I remember Illinois being sacrificed on the alter of a pissed off USC. The game was in SoCal. OSU was embarrased by an LSU team that had to travel all of an hour to get to the game. Michigan miraculously pulled an upset on Florida that NOBODY predicted. Florida had to endure nearly two hours on a bus, after all. Now THAT was an unfavorable bowl season."
True, my crotchety and slightly older grandfather.
While this year is not quite as bad as we had it a few years ago, we are still playing five away games this bowl season compared to zero home games. The away games are all held within a few hours of our competition. We are also only favored in three games. The aforementioned Sugar Bowl and Little Caeser's Bowl; as well as Illinois over UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl*. Since Illinois has not won a game since they ended apartheid, let's just call that game a push.
Sick of my attempt at witty banter? Here are the hard facts. Lines provided by Yahoo because, why not? I'm at work anyway and can't get to any of the good sports sites.
Little Caesar's Bowl - Detroit, MI (away game)
Insight Bowl - Tempe, AZ
Texas Bowl - Houston, TX (away game)
Fight Hunger Bowl - San Francisco, CA (away game)
|Illinois||6-6||10||-3 (Uh, no?)|
Ticket City Bowl - Dallas, TX (away game)
Gator Bowl - Jacksonville, FL (away game)
Outback Bowl - Tampa, FL
Capital One Bowl - Orlando, FL
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, LA
We're screwed because...
- The average bowl team in the Big Ten placed at a rank of 5.5 in conference (this makes sense as the top 10 teams made it). Our average opponent is ranked at 3.9 in its respective conference. That means we are consistently playing nearly two positions above our head. If you compare the 8 teams we have that are playing against AQ schools, you come out with a rank of 5.5 as well. You would expect a big drop in the rank of the AQ schools, but they are ranked an average of 4.1 in conference, nearly a spot and a half ahead of the good guys.
- We have the better W/L record in exactly one bowl game, and only because UCLA was allowed to embarass themselves in the PAC-12 title game. Four of the games match teams with identical records. The other five games have us playing teams with better records. Since the B1G record against the other Big 6 conferences was above .500 this year, this difference doesn't reflect poor OOC play. Instead it reflects the disparity in conference rankings outlined above.
- The eye test. Penn State plays arguable the best non-qualifier in Houston. Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, Virginia Tech, UCLA, and TAMU are all teams with names that have cache. More cache than say... Northwestern, Illinois, or Purdue.
- Half of our bowl games are in the state of the opposing team.
But it's cool because...
- Michigan is favored in a BCS game. Run that one through your head again...
What does it all mean?
The Big Ten has an image problem, largely due to the SEC pandering that ESPN has been hocking. Couple this with OSU's 'performance' problem in big games and Michigan's temporary loss of luster, and there has been a stigma attached to the conference for the past 5-6 years.
I think a playoff system will aid the Big Ten in returning to the dominant force in college football, if a playoff system is ever implemented. Home games would be nice. Picture Alabama coming to Ann Arbor in December. Pipe dream, yes. But that would be an equalizer.
The Big Ten may well go anywhere from 2-8 to 6-4 this year. The ceiling is not high. Not because it is a bad conference, but because not unlike a drunk OSU coed, we can't make it through a bowl weekend without getting screwed.
*Ironic that the head coach of both schools lost their jobs right before the Fight Hunger Bowl.
**I ranked teams by conference W/L record and ignored the conference championships (looking at you UCLA). After conference W/L, I looked at overall W/L. After that, BCS rank. If those three were all identical, I used a super secret method to determine which team was to be ranked higher (my uneducated opinion, akin to random computer rankings). Kinda cool.
So we all know that Denard has been climbing the all-time leaders list in several categories here at Michigan. I figured I would take the time to figure out exactly where he stands now, and where he projects to be by the end of his Michigan career. I projected him to have 14 games left, erring on the side of pessimism (not including a B1G title game next year). I then averaged his stats per game from his two years as a starter over 14 games and added them to his currently accumulated stats.
DENARD ROBINSON CAREER STATS (all-time Michigan ranking)
|Pass YDs||Pass TDs||Rush YDs||Rush TDs|
|Current||4,814 (8th)||38 (6th)||3,216 (11th)||35 (7th**)|
|Total (Projected)||7,406 (3rd)||56 (4th)||4,820 (2nd)||52 (2nd**)|
ANY of those projected statistics would deem a player worthy of being suggested to be memorialized on a patch. To have all four categories up there? There will be a patch for players wearing 16, no questions asked.
Curious what kind of a season it would take for Denard to take ownership of 1st place on each of the lists?
How about passing for 4,902 yards and 50 touchdowns while rushing for 1,825 yards and 21** touchdowns? Does Denard have a shot at any of these categories? He better have a damned good bowl game this year. The rushing titles are attainable but unlikely. We would need to recruit all of Tacopants' 8-foot-tall younger cousins*** this year in order for him to think about the passing records.
Breaking it down even further, Denard would have to average the following stat line for the next 14 games to overtake our current leaders:
351 / 4 / 131 / 1.5
* - Projecting Denard - also a great name for a crappy Ann Arbor garage band or a chick flick featuring Julia Stiles trying to court Taye Diggs (or equivalent).
** - Records prior to 1949 are not official. If they were, Denard would project to 3rd all time in rushing TDs, well behind Willie Heston with 72.
*** - Raul, Ernesto, and Don Pablo Tacopants.
I'm not going to give a conference-by-conference breakdown this week, as I am pressed for time. A few notes:
-What is worse than having a team in your conference lose to an FCS school? Being the Mountain West this week, who fell four spots due to two crushing FCS losses. The Big Ten also lost a spot due to Minnesota's apparent lack of skillz. Once Jerry Kill has led a long an fulfilling life, I can revisit this loss and say that Minnesota has taken on the character of their coach. Their entire game against NDSU looked like one prolonged seizure. But I won't make that joke now, as it would be crude and inappropriate.
-The Denard WHHHHATTT of the week finds the Pac-12 gaining a spot in our standing after going 0-1 in this weeks OOC schedule. This is more due to the collapse of the Mountain West and the ACC than it is about a silver lining for the Pac-12.
-The Big 12 has all but wrapped up the Cy-Hawk Trophy Memorial Award this year after posting a perfect 3-0 record in Week 4 which included wins against Miami and two other FBS schools.
-Half of the Big Ten's 12 OOC losses stem from Indiana and Minnesota. Michigan is one of four teams to hand the conference a perfect 4-0 OOC record. Of those four, Michigan gained the most points for the Big Ten, scoring 1.966 non-adjusted points. Wisconsin was second (1.690), Nebraska third (1.540), and Illinois fourth (1.383). A large part of that is due to Michigan not playing an FCS school this year. In a follow up diary, I intend to go into more depth about the state of the Big Ten after OOC play. Look for that at some point in the next couple of days.
CPR - Week 4
|Conf.||Wk 1||Wk 2||Wk 3||Wk 4||Season||CPR||Rank + / -||CPR +/-|
Info on how I score the CPR rankings is available here.
When I was a young boy my mother sat me down and said, "Son, one day you will grow up to write a moderately valued diary on a sports blog with a small but passionate user base."
I was a child of the 80's, so the term 'blog' was completely foreign to me. I dismissed this idea as a residual effect of too much acid and 'Earth, Wind, and Fire'. My mom was involved heavily in the 'counter-culture' movement of her era.
Twenty-some years later, as I sit here pondering whether my mom was clarevoyant or had just stumbled into some really good acid, I ask for your help. I want to write the best damned moderately valued diary that I can. I need to live up to my mother's expectations. Being that this is only my third week doing this, I am very open to suggestions. If you guys have any, let me know, as I will try to incorporate them as best I can.
Not much movement towards the front and the rear of the line, as both the top 3 and bottom 4 conferences remain the same. The middle saw big drops by the PAC 12 (5-4) and CUSA (5-3, with wins over only WAC and FBS teams). It also saw two conferences make decent gains as the ACC (6-2) and the MWC (5-2) both climbed multiple spots.
The BIG 12 continues to dominate the OOC schedule, going 9-1 this week to accumulate a 23-3 record. This record is even more impressive if you take into account the fact that they have played the fewest FBS cupcakes (6) of any BCS conference and have the most wins (also 6) against other BCS schools.
The SEC is trying to keep pace, but going 4-2 this week ensured that the BIG 12 gained ground on all other conferences. The two horse race for the innagural Cy-Hawk Trophy Memorial Award (CHTMA) has officially turned into a one point five horse race.
The Cy-Hawk Trophy Memorial Award, given to the Top Conference in the FCS.
CPR - Week 3
|Conf.||Wk 1||Wk 2||Wk 3||Season||CPR||+ / -|
The Bakers Dozen
Propelled by strong wins over Auburn, Ohio State, and Kansas; the ACC jumped 3 spots and nestled into number 6 in our CPR rankings. FSU showed flashes against Oklahoma, but came up short. The soon to be NKOTB both lost this week, as Iowa defeated Pitt and USC made short work of Syracuse.
The BIG 10 remained stagnant for the second week in a row, as a strong win by Illinois was offset by losses to two alleged conference contenders in OSU and MSU. Other teams, such as Penn State and Iowa sputtered but came through. The BIG 10 is starting to look like a microcosm of the NCAA conference picture as a whole; with a couple of solid players at the top, an extremely large middle class, and teams like Minnesota and Indiana fighting for food stamps.
The BIG 12 still looks tough, even after they packed up a little bit of snow and pushed it down the mountain, creating a snowball effect that will change the landscape of college football as we know it. As noted at the top, their 23-2 record is as impressive as it looks from the outside. The BIG 12 will have to fail miserably during the bowl season if any other conference intends on capturing the coveted CHTMA this season.
WVU continues to will the Big East to mediocrity. Without the 'eers, the Big East would have had nothing to hang their straw hats on. UCONN lost a close game to Iowa State and Pitt "Sparty nooooooo'd" away a win to Iowa. Many toothless babies were conceived in the cornfields of Iowa on Saturday. Yes, I am aware that all babies are born toothless. Except, of course, for Michigan babies, which are all born with a mouth full of teeth and grow up to be Michigan Men.
CUSA didn't really give themselves a chance to shine this week, as their only marquee game pitted Tulsa against Okie State. The rest of their OOC schedule consisted of teams that the average college football fan has probably never heard of.
The first two weeks must have been sweet for the MAC. They were 13-10, posting a few noteworthy wins along with some respectable efforts against big named schools (shoutout to Toledo!). Apparently, at some point this week, student athletes throughout the midwest woke up and realized that they played in the MAC. Consequently, the MAC posted a 1-8 record this week, with only Ohio (NTO) saving face.
The Mountain West climbed an impressive 3 spots in this weeks CPR, due to a 5-2 record which brought them to 12-6 on the season. They are currently the only non-qualifier that is ahead of a BCS conference, surpassing the Big East, ACC, and PAC 12. Their five wins all came against other FBS schools, including one against Washington State and the PAC 12.
I'm waiting to have one of those head asploding moments when some clueless ESPN drone suggests that the PAC 12 can rival the SEC for the best conference in the nation. I know it will happen. The PAC 12 has had the worst season among BCS conferences. Their 19-10 record is padded by 7 wins against FCS schools and 5 more against the worst conference (WAC) in the FBS. They are 4-6 against other BCS schools.
Here's a philisophical head scratcher... Can the SEC form a team SO TALENTED that another SEC team cannot beat them? Trick question, because when the SEC plays with itself, everyone wins. Right, Gary? As it turns out, NCAA rules state that there HAS to be a team that loses. Condolences to Tennessee and the state of Mississippi, as your teams were all losers this week. Speaking of losers, Auburn... lol.
God it gets boring breaking down the crappy conferences.
The WAC finished 0-4 against FBS opponents, cementing their place in the basement of the FBS and reminding me that I was supposed to be cleaning the basement while my wife is away getting groceries, and am instead creating a drawn out review of the week that was in college football.
Notre Dame finally played well enough to overcome themselves. If they stop turning the ball over, Lou Holtz may actually be proven right a few times this year. The service acadamies split their games against Northwestern (W) and SC (L). BYU got pounded by Utah, 54-10. BYU officials are checking into whether taking it that hard constitutes punishment for breaking the school's "no sex" policy.
Progress! The FCS got another win this week, as the Sycamores of Indiana State were triumphant over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. It wasn't even close, either, as Indiana State compiled a 44-16 win. This brings their three week record to 3-71. For those keeping score at home, that win percentage is 4% higher than the 2008 Detroit Lions.