BlogPoll Ballot Week One

Submitted by Brian on September 4th, 2012 at 10:15 AM

After a single week of play:

ALABAMA. Yeah, that'll do.

WEST VIRGINIA. I'm riding the Red Bull express until someone keeps them under sixty points, and possibly beyond that.

BIG TEN STUFF. Dammit, stupid things that exist. I dinged Wisconsin significantly from the preseason given their semi-struggles with UNI. No idea what to make of MSU's win over Boise, but raise your hand if  you tackled LeVeon Bell five yards downfield. That's everyone.

VA TECH. Looked pretty janky last night, but at this point in the season a win over an actual school is worth quite a bit. Same goes for Clemson, though I think the Orange Bowl last year and Clemson's general Clemson-ness makes me leery when maybe I should not be.

SOUTH CAROLINA. Also looked janky against Vandy. I am suspicious they'll have enough offense to live up to their lofty preseason rankings.

MICHIGAN. Possibly homer overreaction to ugly loss, but I'm just looking at Michigan's lines and it's not pretty.

Comments

snarling wolverine

September 4th, 2012 at 12:35 PM ^

I would say the reverse: his completion percentage was boosted by MSU calling lots of short, safe throws to the TE and TB.  

His INT total doesn't tell me much.  I just thought he showed a lack of poise in the pocket when under pressure - and Boise does not have a great pass rush.    

snarling wolverine

September 4th, 2012 at 12:34 PM ^

 

Umm, it was his first game as a starter. What did you expect/want to see from him?

 

I'm not sure what your point is. Next game, it'll be his second game as a starter. First-year starters don't necessarily make huge strides in a matter of weeks.  Griese, Brady, Navarre, Henne, Forcier, Denard - they all made plenty of mistakes throughout their first season as starters.  I would argue that some of them didn't show much, if any, improvement as that first year went on.  For QBs, it seems like the bigger improvement is made in the offseason.

I am not evaluating his NFL potential; I'm saying that he doesn't look ready for prime time right now, which makes it questionable to consider MSU a top 10 team.

 

elm

September 4th, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

And after seeing LeVeon Bell on Friday, do you expect them to be 10th in the B10 in rushing this year too?  They have a great defense, what looks like a good to great running game, and a QB who just made his first start and won against a ranked team.  Maxwell will likely improve as the season goes on and I expect that MSU will be our toughest remaining test on the regular season schedule.

Do I think they'll end the year deserving to be in the top 10?  No, because I expect Michigan will beat them in AA.  But right now?  Unless you think BSU's days as a top team is over, they have as much of a right to be ranked there as anyone else (other than Bama...)

elm

September 4th, 2012 at 1:28 PM ^

No, I wasn't implying they're top 10.  I just meant that MSU victory of BSU was one of the better wins in terms of quality of opponent for any team in the top 25.  For instance, I think BSU is as good if not better than Georgia Tech, against whom Virginia Tech played poorly but won.  Personally, I'd rank MSU around 10, putting Georgia and maybe OSU or VT or Arkansas (if I can get over the fact that they have John L coaching them) above MSU but maybe sliding WVU down.  I think putting MSU anywhere between 8 and 15 is plausible.

ClearEyesFullHart

September 4th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

     Boise doesn't have a 4 or 5 star player on either side of the ball.  I highly doubt MSU is going to be able to run the ball in the B1G now that thats all you need to defend.  Even Boise's 2* smurfs crushed Bell a few times on short yardage(3'rd and 1, 4'th and 1) before they wore down in the second half.

     MSU has a good defense, and has shown an ability to slow down Denard considerably.  But you just aren't going to win many games if you cannot move the ball.

The Dutchess

September 4th, 2012 at 10:25 AM ^

As someone pointed out on the board over the weekend, most of the statlines vs. ND in UTL were actually worse than the Bama game.  I still think we got beat way worse vs. Bama, but the point is that very early season kinks can be worked out.  25 is too low, I would say 16-19.  #8 for MSU is stupidly high.  I didn't see the game, but it looked like that time-out call cost Boise the game, and they're going to end up 8-4 this year.

Volverine

September 4th, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

Glad to see Tennessee crack into the top-25, and I agree with you that they'll be a top caliber team. I don't think 9-3 is unrealistic for the Vols and that should put them right around 20.

As for Michigan, I think you even know that's an overreaction. We probably shouldn't have been a top-10 team and I wonder if people voted Michigan in the top-10 to make the matchup with Bama a little sexier ("Check out the top 10 matchup between two storied programs, blah blah blah"). I still think Michigan will go at least 9-3 and I don't think Ohio State is as good as people are saying. Buckeyes in the top 10? Come on, man. 

Volverine

September 4th, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

Why? I like Dooley. I think he's recruited well and I like his hiring of Sal Sunseri. He has shown a willingness to get the staff when it's not working and go and get people he thinks can maximize his talent.

He's also come to the law school a couple times and I've shot the breeze with him--he's a really cool guy haha. I'm probably biased because I like him as a person. 

Volverine

September 4th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

I can definitely understand your frustration with the DeAnthony Arnett situation, but I've actually talked with him about DeAnthony and this is basically how he feels.

First, he felt that getting DeAnthony to commit to UT over UM and MSU was a HUGE win for the program. He thought it helped reestablish Tennessee as a premier program that can recruit outside its region. He feels that it's important to recruit within a 250-miles radius of Knoxville and lock down the prospects he wants from there; after that, he wants to be able to reach out of that radius and get "elite" (my words, not his) players.

Second, he didn't want this big recruiting win to go wasted. He initially set the rule of not transferring to another D-1 program because Arnett's initial reason for wanting to transfer was not becuse of family concerns. Dooley had a legitimate concern that Arnett would transfer to a rival school. Not that that makes his limitations any better, but you can at least understand his concern. Once it becamse obvious that Arnett would transfer to a school in Michigan, Dooley wanted to release him but didn't want to seem soft or make it seem like he was responding to public pressue.

I think Dooley has a good understanding of how to take Tennessee to where its fans think it should be--among the SEC's best. While I wish he would build up the rivalries a little, he kind of treats every game like a rivalry game, so that's a bit different. 

hvsiii

September 4th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

Illinois is the only team I have an issue with.  They are not a very good team.  WMUs defense played them pretty well.  If WMUs offense would have done anything in that game they would have had a shot at beating them.

Logan88

September 4th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

Agreed. That one is a complete mystery. Illinois racked up 250 yards of offense against WMU and that vaults them into the Top 25?

The trend I tend to notice with Brian's selections is that he tends to overrate offensive teams (well, teams that run an offense that he likes, e.g. WVU, Illinois) a little too highly. IMO, of course.

WolvinLA2

September 4th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Seriously.  Way too much homer overreaction to the Bama loss.  Bama makes lots of teams look like shit, they did that to a few top-15 ish teams last year, not to mention the then-number 1 team in the MNC game.  That's a major drop for losing to such a good team. 

My biggest issues with the teams above us:

Do you really think Illinois is now better than us?  Would they have scored a single point against Alabama?  I think that game may have been 70-0.

MSU still at 8?  They didn't look any better than us in their game.  Boise is not Boise, and MSU snuck out of that one at home.  They couldn't throw, couldn't pass protect, played so-so defense against a team with exactly zero playmakers, and won because they got 4-point-something yards per carry from their workhorse who ran over relatively small and very inexperiences defenders.  If they played that game at a neutral site, they may have lost.  Had they played Bama in Dallas they would have lost 63-7 (or maybe 41-14 too, but still, them being #8 is silly).   

elm

September 4th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

If memory serves, Brian has a history of ranking Illinois too highly at the start of seasons.  I agree that they're not 23rd in the country, but I'm not surprised to see him put them there.

CompleteLunacy

September 4th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

Homerism be damned, Michigan was overrated at #8 and got humiliated. Yeah, it was Alabama...but they have a lot to prove going forward, and especially this weekend. The lines scare me too, but I'll wait a couple more weeks against not-#1 teams to see how things develop.

Logan88

September 4th, 2012 at 10:39 AM ^

WVU...no, just no. The #4 team in the country does NOT give up 545  yards and 34 points to lowly Marshall. On a side note, though, they should fit in just fine in the Big 12 (good stick, no glove).

Oklahoma should get dinged pretty heavily for their crappy performance against UTEP.

Ummm....Illinois? WTF? That's a typo, right?

BlueBarron

September 4th, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

I just don't see Illinois, Utah, South Florida, and Louisville having better teams than us...

Also, it doesn't seem fair to put Alabama at the #1 spot and then drop Michigan all the way down to 25. Despite our flaws, dropping down that far doesn't seem right after losing to the #1 team.

dcwolverine1993

September 4th, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

Wisconisn for their game, but leave OK at #5?  They were tied at half at UTEP and they were up a field goal after 3 quarters.  They didn't put the game away until a long td with under 3 minutes to go.

 

It started late, so no one saw it, but it wasn't a top 5 performance

Qmich

September 4th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

His stability radius is tiny.  In this case, a small unmodeled plant dynamic (injuries) with unreasonable system input (Alabama) seems to have him on the cusp of those dark days after RR was fired.  

He should try loop transfer recovery to help regain some stability robustness.

Perkis-Size Me

September 4th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

I'm all for us dropping into the 20-25 range, but Illinois being ranked ahead of us is borderline insulting. Notre Dame jumping 10 spots is a little suspect to me, but they did dominate Navy. I'll take a "wait and see" approach to them.

One Inch Woody…

September 4th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

Wow are you serious.

  • We  play undoubtedly the best team in college football, with a coach known to dominate any competition that he has a long time to prepare for.
  • Their offensive line is ALL NFL level.
  • And STILL manage to stifle McCaron's passing (you're going to complete some passes with such a dominant run game, but holding him to 52% completion or something is INSANE), and pressure him constantly, and get a couple sacks.
  • Our offense looking for the first time in 2 years BALANCED and SUSTAINABLE with intermediate passing and run plays that would work against slightly lesser competition.
  • Gardner and company occasionally torching their secondary
  • The secondary of BAMA fergodsakes, which should be one of the top in the nation and goes and trips receivers and pushes them to the ground when the ball is in the air.
  • Our offensive line managing to limit them to around 1 sack, but many hurries.
  • And, last but not least, scoring the MOST POINTS on Alabama since Cam Newton in 2010. And our offense managed to do better than LSU's offense despite the fact that Saban had MORE time to prepare for us.

We should be 14 in my opinion. And Michigan State and Ohio State as #8 and #9? What a joke, if they played Alabama they would have been blown sky high out of the water.

dragonchild

September 4th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

We didn't play the "undoubtedly" best team in college football.  We played a national title contender, but FWIW, I don't see that as an excuse.  I think this team has pride and is kicking itself for not executing.  I think better of Michigan than to shrug off a loss as "well, they're a great team".  If that's valid, then what does "This is Michigan" mean?

Their O-line is the best in the country, and most will probably go in the draft.  But "NFL level" sounds like taking pressure off Michigan by saying it wasn't worth trying.  Michigan doesn't even have the best lines in the conference, so if this issue is beyond hope we might as well stop playing.

Our offense was "balanced" like a political pundit trying to find a hypothetical middle between two extremes.  We ran the ball 29 times when it didn't make a lick of sense to run it even once.  Alabama was totally dedicated to stopping the run.  Denard had a bad passing day, which is what Alabama was betting on, but it was the only chance their defense was going to give.  As you noticed, we torched their secondary on a few occasions -- why didn't we keep stretching the field vertically??  It was gonna be risky but if they were gonna keep 8 in the box all day (if there's a definition of "overplaying the run" I'm not sure if there's anything more literal than that) we should've thrown the ball fifty times.  We wasted too many drives running the damn read option against a defense that was not only dedicated to stopping it, but DESIGNED to stop it.

I honestly don't know where we're at.  I'm glad we're not #8 anymore -- that was too high -- but as long as we're not overrated I really don't care where we're ranked after one whopping game.