Is Football this Year Just Bad?

Submitted by Ziff72 on November 22nd, 2011 at 1:55 PM

This may end of as a confusing neg bomb for me, but let me try and explain what has me a little confused.

1. I think everyone agrees that the Big Ten is horrible this year.

2. Many of the supposed top teams around the country have tanked.

3. The top 3 teams in the country are quarterbacked by Jordan Jefferson, AJ McCarron and Tyler Wilson.

4. If the Big Ten sucks why do I not fear any bowl match ups as being potentially embarrassing?  Can every conference be down at the same time?

My questions to the Mgocommunity are

Do you feel like the quality of teams in the Top 25 are down this year?

If so why?   Bad QB play? Pairity?(Min and Ind disagree... still seem to be plenty of  really shitty teams but not as many great ones).




Picktown GoBlue

November 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 PM ^

After the top handful of teams, there is certainly a dropoff this year, and there are fewer teams at the top compared to most years.  Still some entertaining games (except for that first meeting of #1 and #2).  Note, there aren't any runaway Heisman contenders either this year.  Any college football is good (heck, I've been watching MAC games on weekdays the last few weeks), so that's why I'd only call it a down year in general, and an up year for us so far.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:01 PM ^

I think this is important to note a good defense will win you more games than a good offense. A good defense will give your average QB more chances to make plays. A solid running game moves the ball and takes time off the clock. Which will leave 1 on 1 matchups for your avg QB to throw to. It slows the game down for them and makes the plays more simple. In turn which the longer you hold on the ball the more your defense can rest allowing the D to make more plays. Which wears down the others teams defense more giving your QB a bigger advantage. Look at the past few championship teams is any one of those QB's a stud in the NFL no. All those teams were elite on defense and a very basic offense but it works. Its almost football 101. It's basic but there is a reason why it works. 

Hardware Sushi

November 22nd, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

I don't think so, it's just a new storyline for lazy or bandwagon journalists.

It's college football. Some years there are distinct national title and conference championship teams filled with NFL first-rounders, some years are a mishmash of teams in transition, or teams that come on late, or one non-conference game that changes perception, or the top NFL prospects don't align with the top teams...

I've enjoyed this season a lot, so I think college football has been good. 

Also, stop being so damn negative all the time.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

It's ESPN trying to force this sally-boy offense of Oregon down our throats.  Stanford's power running game? Nope.  All they talk about is the flashy uniforms and crazy offense Oregan puts out to that tiny stadium every weekend.  The SEC speed everyone is excited about is a passing fad.  The ground and pound style of the Big 10 is the only way football can continue to be relevant in this day of boy/girl sports.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

2007 was a lot worse.  The national title game featured a two loss LSU team and an OSU team quarterbacked by Todd Boeckman (who would be benched a year later).  Especially with all the injuries Michigan was a pretty weak team yet still easily finished second in the Big Ten, while Illinois got a Rose Bowl invite despite going 9-3.

You just aren't going to get teams like USC had in the middle of the decade or players like Young, Tebow, and Newton coming along every year. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

I see what you mean with 07, but look at USC, V. Young Texas, Tebow Florida, Sam Bradford @ Oklahoma and the Miami teams in the early part of the year.   I think all those teams blow LSU out of the water. 

As for 07.  I think I'd take that LSU team with Flynn and that offense and defense over this version.   OSU had Boekman true but they also had Beanie Wells and a ridiculous defense. 





November 22nd, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

means much more now than it has in the past.  A gimmick offense and mediocre defense can win you a lot of games and occasinoaly put you in BCS bowls - Chip Kelly is a great example of that.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

There are only a handful of programs that can compete with the best teams in the SEC and most of them are down: Michigan, Ohio, USC, and Texas. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

I wouldn't call any of those teams "down", excepting maybe Texas. I think the parity amongst the other conferences makes the perception of those conferences being "down" easier to accept, even if it isn't necessarily true. It seems that the SEC has become a conference of  a couple of elite teams with everyone else being meh this year, while the other conferences got more competitive within, but everyone still uses the recent perception of the SEC being tough top to bottom and the other conferences being one/two team powers and applies it to this season. That is why I think the perception that LSU and Bama are that much better than everyone else is wrong.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

1. I don't think the Big Ten is that bad this year. We get a bad wrap because our teams play great defenses. I just don't think America likes defense and they enjoy watching the Oklahoma States and the Baylors and the Oregons who score a lot of points. The Big Ten has like 6 teams in the top 25 for defense. Furthermore, you haven't had a true national championship contender like Wisconsin step up as they should have. The Big Ten should have an undefeated team with a couple other strong teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Nebraska). 

2. LSU and Alabama seem to just be on another level than anyone else. I don't think teams have tanked, but there have been a lot of close upsets. 

3. Tyler Wilson is a pretty good QB, especially for a first year full time starter.

4. You don't fear a bowl matchup because Michigan has gotten better as the year has gone on. Furthermore, our potential matchups just don't seem that bad right now. In other words, they're matchups which favor Michigan's game.

As I said, there have been a lot of close games that have ended in upsets. There's a lot of scandal that's tearing up some teams. Some teams are rebuilding. There are a lot of explanations you can toss out there. I think it's a good season, despite the lack of a lot of "elite" teams.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

IMO there are only two elite teams in the nation:  Alabama and LSU.  The Big 12, Big East, and Big Ten are all down.  The Pac 10 has three good teams and only two of them can go to bowls.

Dallas Walmart…

November 22nd, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

Agree that there is a big drop off from the top teams to the rest of the country.  Alabama and LSU are a clear step above everyone else.  Oregon and Arkansas are probably at a level above everyone else, but not really close to the first two.  Then in the 5-20 range it seems like there are a lot of good but not great teams.  Since the B1G has a lot of teams in that range, I could see them having a good bowl season, which is ultimately how the strength of a conference seems to be judged. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

........are all that much better than everyone else in CFB. I think that is a perception carried over from previous years where the SEC, as a whole, has been pretty tough top to bottom. That isn't the case this year, and no one is even talking about it.

Think about this; The ACC, this weekend, has a chance to be 4-0 against the SEC on the year, after this weekend, with Clemson winning two of them against both Auburn(middle of the road SEC team in most years, but near the top this year because the rest of the league sucks) and South Carolina, which while not being quite LSU/Bama level, is clearly in the top half of the SEC.

One of the big three in the SEC, Arkansas, was losing big-time to Texas A&M before the Aggie's collapsed in the second half. Since A&M also pulled the same stunt against OkSt. a week later, their is precedent that it wasn't just the stellar second half play of Arky in that game that earned them the win. Many people are giving Arky props, even though they lost to Bama by a bunch, as having a NC caliber team this year, particularly if they beat LSU this weekend.

To me, it is an undeserved perception that the SEC overall is tough this year. I think that conference overall is clearly down this year which makes the perception, if one just assumes they are strong, that LSU and Bama, with an arguable Arky, are clearly that much better than everyone else. Of course they are good, that isn't disputed by me. I just think that conferences like the B1G, and especially the ACC, are much better across the board this year than they have been, but people still wish to use the historical perception of one/two/three good teams and everyone else is trash. And what you end up with is those same people looking at teams in the B1G and ACC with more than one loss and thinking they aren't really top-flite CFB teams this year, when in reality, IMO, those teams are pretty damn good and a lot better than people are giving them credit for.


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

Most overrated team in the country. They only have one win over a ranked opponent: at home against a flimsy #14 South Carolina team, whose expected to be powerful offense never showed up this year and also only has one win over a ranked team (#13 Georgia) which came at the beginning of the year before the Dawgs started rolling. (run-on ftw)

Based both on results and "eye test", I concede LSU and Alabama are probably the best in the country by a good margin. But that doesn't mean the rest of the SEC is that great. Miss St, Ole Miss, Vandy, Tennessee, and Kentucky are poor teams. The next tier of teams is made up of very mediocre Auburn and UF.

I am actually optimistic about how the B1G will fare in the Capital One, Outback, and Gator Bowls. Assuming the seasong unfolds as I expect (Wisconsin wins B1G, Michigan beats Ohio), my picks are:

Capital One: Georgia over Nebraska

Outback: Michigan State over South Carolina

Gator: Penn State over Florida


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:21 PM ^

I feel like a lot of B10 teams are flawed this year.  Lots of teams have one really good unit and a sharp dropoff on the other side of the ball.  Or they have most of the pieces but just lack a really dominate WR, RB or QB.  They're 2/3s of the way to having a strong offense, but close doesn't count in football.  See also Nebraska's defense:  9 of 11 on the field are very good but the interior line is crap so everyone just runs on them and they suffer.  

Now when the SEC mauls each other the storyline is how they have the most parity top to bottom and are the toughest league.  When the B10 does that everyone claims it is because we're a sea of medicrity.  Bowl season will answer that question.

I think the season feels flat because we don't have a clear Pacific powerhouse.  LSU put Oregon in its place early.  Stanford isn't the same without Gerhart and Harbaugh, loss of talent  is clearly catching up with them.  USC is good at surprising ankle biting, but it's not Caroll's USC anymore.  

It's pretty much a couple of elite brand names that look really good and only have one loss and those are mostly SEC and B12 schools.  If the PAC and B1G teams flail around in the bowl season I think it is clear sign that two of the leagues were struggling.  Whereas if we do well it is more of a sign that our conference has strong top to top (with us having 9 or 10 out of twelve at 6 wins).  


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

Agreed.  Also the media is clearly part of the problem.  They're hyping this SEC rematch idea to depth.  Ignoring 1 loss VT (who only lost to ranked Clemson) and basically making it sound like the SEC is the only conference playing football this year.  So it feels like football is bad this year because no other conference gets any love.  


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:45 PM ^

I thought VT was getting screwed as well, but look at their schedule. It is embarrassing.

  If LSU loses to Ark and doesn't get a shot it would be criminal.   They went out and played WV on the road and Oregon in a neutral site game as well as their SEC schedule.  They should go over Ala and Ark in that scenario.


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

........schedule and determing from that alone(competition-wise) that they are any good. Yes, they've had some bad games where they didn't blow their opponents out of the water but consider these points, regarding VaTech;

-One, they beat handily an ArkSt. team that is unbeaten in Sunbelt play. Meanwhile, the top SEC teams play Troy, an abyssmal team this year.

-Other than two bad games against Marshall and East Carolina outside their conference, the other two non-conference games were convincing wins against the aforementioned pretty decent ArkSt. team as well as AppySt., who beat Georgia Southern by a TD(and allowed less points to them than Bama just did). VaTech beat them by a score of 66-13.

-The ACC overall is likely to be 4-0 vs. the SEC for the year after this weekend. That would include Georgia, Florida, Auburn, and South Carolina, all in the upper half of SEC teams this season, with one of those going to the SEC championship game. This becomes even more important of a statistic if Auburn finds a way to beat Bama. And, Clemson, who is VaTech's only loss this season, would have two of those wins. Which leads to......

-VaTech, with a win this weekend, would play Clemson again, having a chance to avenge that loss. If that happens, they will have a quality win vs. a team that beat two of the better SEC programs this season, and still only have one-loss on the year. The argument is definitely there for VaTech to be included in the MNC discussion, assuming this happens.

Of course, if VaTech loses this weekend, all the previous goes out the window concerning any talk of VaTech being worthy of playing in the MNC vs an SEC team.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

I don't think it's a down year for college football at all. I think the biggest reason for the large, perceived separation between the top two/three teams and everyone else is due to parity across the entire CFB world. That parity has come from such things as hs kids going to schools they traditionally wouldn't have gone to in order to get playing time early, and good(even great) coaching at some non-traditional CFB power schools.

So, what the CFB world is left with is a couple/few SEC teams perceived to be head and shoulders above everyone else, coupled with the SEC as a whole being not quite as good as normal. Overall, I think there is more competition than there used to be within every other conference, which is a result of the good/great hs players being spread amongst a larger pool of teams. That is why you don't have a B1G team either unbeaten or at only one-loss this year, and why the Pac12 seems to have more than usual top teams in it's league. The ACC also is much more competitive at the top, and likely to be 4-0 vs. the SEC on the year after this weekend's games.

While the talent of the top ranked teams is down overall, the competition between teams in D1(FBS) overall is better than it usually is. I like it this way as it means many more games that are more interesting and worthwhile to watch over the course of the season.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Alabama and LSU should be good, they've had an extra 30 players to evaluate that other schools didn't. They both have punishing defenses that will keep them from losing despite both having stuttering offenses at times. Cheating has rewards.

Snark aside, i'd say the reason things seem 'down' is that a lot of brand name schools have QB issues. OSU, PSU, Notre Dame, Florida, and Texas are all dealing with awful QB play despite having excellent (PSU, OSU, ND) to ok (FLorida, Texas) defenses. USC is recovering from the worst defense ever last year and still is 9-2. The Big East is trash.  Wisconsin has a Michigan 2009 level secondary that's been exposed in their 2 losses. Any team that can throw can beat Wisconsin. Okla State has no defense and it finally bit them.

I think overall it's just some bad QB play combined with some bad bounces making it look like there aren't many good teams. If Oregon makes that field goal or scores to beat USC, if Wisconsin knocks down the hail mary in either game, or PSU has a QB, then there's a challenger to LSU/'Bama and this season is about the same as 2006. It's just that the top 3 teams are in the SEC.

MI Expat NY

November 22nd, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

I'd agree that NCAA football is just generally bad this year.  In the Big Ten, I think only us and maybe MSU can be said to have exceeded expectations, with Purdue and Illinois being completely mediocre as expected.  Penn State is there in the W-L column, but does anyone actually think they're a good football team?  As a whole, this lines up as an underachieving conference.

Now, people are saying that the Big Ten is better than people thought because we like our bowl match-ups, but I think that is more of an indication of the crappiness of the SEC.  The SEC is three teams and nobody else.  I think it's telling that there has been only one true upset in all of SEC play this year, Auburn over South Carolina, and that took the derpiness of Stephen Garcia at QB to make happen.  

In the ACC, you have Clemson doing what Clemson does, Va. Tech doing what Va. Tech does and FSU and Miami failing to live up to expectations for the 7th consecutive year (approximate).  

In the Pac 12, UCLA might actually be in the championship game, and granted that's due to USC being ineligible, but after the top 3 teams, is there even a halfway decent team in the rest of the conference?

In the non-AQ ranks, Boise State and TCU have flopped, leaving only a highly suspect Houston standing, which makes everyone outside of an AQ conference seem worse than in your average year.

Finally, the one exception seems to be the Big 12.  I think this year, the Big 12, top to bottom is hands down the best conference in football.  Even their worst teams have marquis wins (ok, Kansas' is over Northern Illinois, but that's a good win for a team as bad as Kansas).  

So yes, in sum, I think this is a down year in college football.  It reminds me a lot of the 2007 season where a two loss LSU team beat the worst 11-1 OSU team in history in the title game.  Hawaii was in a BCS bowl.  Illinois was a surprise runner up in the Big 10.  Kansas and Missouri were in the running for a national title.  The difference this year, being, that the top 2 teams are far more legitimate.


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

Think about the USC, Texas, OSU, Michigan, OU teams from earlier this decade. They would easily blow out any Alabama or LSU. Take the top 10 teams from 5-6 years ago and each and every one of them would beat the top 2 teams from this season. Most of the top 10-15 would be lucky to be ranked in the top 25 if they were playing against the teams from 5-6 years ago. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:28 PM ^

We're on the same exact page but I have no idea what book we are in.

There are plenty of talented players but it just feels like there are so many traditional teams that are so uninspiring.  Could it be parity? 

Consider this statement 5 years ago.

Penn St, Ohio St, Florida, Texas, all have truly embarrassingly bad offenses. Would you be considered insane to say that?

Florida, FSU, Miami, OSU, Penn St, Texas, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, USC, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are all outside the top 10 and are not really relevant in the NC race.  Crazy.  




November 22nd, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Why does it have to be considered a down year when the usual suspects aren't playing in the big bowls?  In the long run, I think that will be better for college football than having the same teams every year.  That's why I think the NCAA should be doing more to get some parity in the ranks.  If that involves another Division I split, so be it.

but I will admit, I've pretty much only been paying attention to EMU and UM this year.  EMU had an up year, so I will say that it was not a down year for football....:)

Nick W

November 23rd, 2011 at 6:03 AM ^

I think there is a great deal more parity in the B1G than the SEC currently. The road teams in the B1G has been beat up pretty badly this year which has clustered the entire conference together tightly. Overall, we may be looking at more bowl eligible teams than the SEC this year die to the wider spread of talent in that conference.