Posted by Walter
but it looks like Dodge beat him to it.
#1 Ohio State
Walter: With nothing new to say about the team and Troy Smith having all but locked up the Heisman, I think it is prudent to turn to another member of this team that has performed brilliantly this season without much fanfare. Going into the year the Buckeyes had to replace 9 defensive starters that included several first round draft picks. Three months later it is clear that they haven't missed a beat. And while everyone will talk about James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman (who have been great by the way), the real rock of the defense has been senior defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock. Pitcock was known primarily for his runn stopping capabilities coming into the season and looked like a late first round pick. In 2006 he has reinvented himself combining his stoutness against the run with his new burst of quickness to post near double digit sacks. Pitcock has been a steadying presence all year for the Buckeyes and has solified his spot in the middle of the first round. He isn't as flashy as many of the other Buckeyes but I will guarantee that if you ask any of them they will agree that he is the most important member of that defense.
Frazier - They are undoubtedly the top ranked team out there, and a prohibitive favorite to take the glass football home with them. We're all awaiting their opponent in the BCS Championship game. One word of caution, for two years in a row Oklahoma made the title game by beating a Big 12 conference that didn't have a lot of non-conference wins, and like Ohio St. they beat a Texas team that may not have been as good as people thought. I'm not saying that the Buckeyes are a paper tiger like those Sooners teams were, I'm just saying it's not impossible that they are, either.
Walter: Well any chance of me making an argument for Michigan here was wiped out when the Trojans absolutely stormed the Irish last Saturday. True the Irish stink, but USC has been a totally different team since losing to Oregon State and they are just starting to click on all cylinders offensively. Dwayne Jarrett finally looks healthy (and hungry!), and while John David Booty has flashes of brilliance, he will need to play more consistent the rest of the way. I am still somewhat wary of the Trojans running game and pass defense (I mean did you see how the mediocre Rhema McKnight repeatedly torched top USC cover man Terrel Thomas) but they have the best pass offense in the nation (well, on the main land at least). If they get through a tough UCLA team this weekend, they will give Ohio State all they can handle.......assuming Booty flashes more brilliance than ineptitude.
Frazier - My feelings about the Trojans haven't changed one bit. They are a total sleeping giant. Occassionally they get restless and decide to kick some ass before drifting off into dreamland again. Booty is probably the biggest culprit on the team. He totally out-classed Quinn for periods of that game, and then made some of the most befuddling, stupid decisions possible. Sometimes he literally looked like he got confused which team he played for, or threw up prayers on first downs. On the other hand, their defensive speed is impressive, and Jarrett is an unbelievable talent who is playing up to his potential right now. On the right day, they can give the Buckeyes all they can handle.
Walter: Well after the beat down USC laid on the Irish that win has lost a lot of its luster huh? Hey what can you do? Michigan surprised everyone this season and should finish the year at #2. They will return most of their skill guys next season and should battle USC to open the year at #1. Plus in 2007 they get Ohio State and Notre Dame at home. Of course, all this assumes USC beats UCLA on Saturday, because if they lose Big Blue definitely deserves a shot over a one loss Florida team.
Frazier - So is Michigan's most impressive win of the year now the one over Wisconsin? It's impossible to say. I am very excited to see this team play a good squad from another conference. It will definitely clear up some lingering questions. Still, they have had an excellent year, and Lloyd Carr deserves a lot of credit for turning things around there this year.
Walter: The Gators at #4? It's a war of attrition, they still stink. Preview of this Saturday's SEC title game.......Arkansas 59, Florida 10 (but Tebow gets a TD run late in the game).
Frazier - Yeah, not loving the Gators. But what can you do? They are a one-loss SEC team, and have been holding serve. I have a feeling that they are in for a long day against the Hogs, unless they are betrayed by continued shaky play by their quarterbacks (not including McFadden, obviously). In the land of the two-loss teams, the one-loss team shall be king, I guess.
Walter: If Jamarcus Russell comes back next season (which is looking less and less like a possibility considering the struggles of Brady Quinn and the fact the Russell would almost be guaranteed a top 10 pick-hey you heard it here first) LSU would be in the mix with Michigan and USC to be a preseason #1. As things stand now, their huge win over Arkansas has positioned them for a well deserved at large BCS birth. Les Miles has done a really nice job this season, notching 10 wins against a murderous schedule. If this team was in any other conference they'd be playing for the national title.
Frazier - There is a reason that LSU kept creeping into our power rankings with more losses than other programs, they are an excellent team playing a brutal schedule. Really nice win last weekend, and a potential Rose Bowl in their future. The Tigers are an ultimate "under the radar" squad, but could potentially end the season ranked as high as #2, which is an incredible feat. This is a team that no one wants to play right now.
#6 Boise State
Walter: Nevada has had a nice season, and BYU is as hot as anyone in the country right now, but as far as the WAC and MWC go this year there is Boise and there's everyone else. Boise is head and shoulders the best team in those two conferences this year and they proved it with a dominating performance at Nevada. Now I'm not saying they deserve to go to the BCS title game over USC or Michigan (or even-gulp-Florida), but wouldn't you just be a little intrigued to see what they could do on a neutral field against Ohio State? Maybe a little? No? Yeah me neither.
Frazier - I am incredibly excited to see the Broncos on a neutral (well, it won't be neutral, because whoever they play will bring a national bandwagon, but close enough) field against elite competition. If they could pull a Utah and stormed their opponent, that would be great. Hopefully they will get a more legit challenge than that Utes team did when Walt Harris bailed on Pitt and his team didn't even get off the bus. (Possibly one of the most embarrassing bowl preformances of all-time).
Remember when Palko was the only player
from his team to show up against Utah?
Thanks to his offensive line, he doesn't.
from his team to show up against Utah?
Thanks to his offensive line, he doesn't.
Walter: Wow is Darren McFadden terrifying. Running, throwing, returning kicks, he is just great at whatever he does. Now I know he's been playing running back for, well probably his whole life, but don't you get the feeling he could have been an absolute star at any position his first Pee Wee coach had put him at. It's the same feeling you get when watching Ladainian Tomlinson. Like whatever you ask McFadden to do, he's going to do it better than you've ever seen it done before. With him, Felix Jones, Marcus Monk, Mitch Mustain, hell, basically the entire team coming back for 2007, maybe the Razorbacks should be in the mix for preseason #1.
Frazier - Time to come clean. Darren McFadden is one of my favorite players to watch in years! I couldn't possibly be more excited about him. I've seen highlights and portions of some other games, but last weekend was my first chance to really hunker down and watch him work. Holy moses! He is absolutely relentless. He almost willed his team to victory against LSU, and shredded one of the best defenses in the country. Two weeks ago he saved the day with a huge kickoff return for a touchdown. Last week, just when things were looking their bleakest, he broke a huge 80-yard touchdown run that momentarily breathed life into his team. Houston Nutt deserves plenty of blame for not putting the ball in his hands on a HUGE fourth down play late in the game. McFadden had as many passing yards as his quarterback, and infinitely fewer mistakes. Ok, I could keep gushing, and will just have to let it go. If he doesn't finish second in the Heisman voting, than the thing is rigged. The man can do literally anything asked of him.
Walter: Well on cue here is another team looking forward to 2007. While Michigan will, and should, be the odds on favorite to win the 2007 Big 10 title, let's not forget that they will have to travel to Madison next season and beat the Badgers at Camp Randall. The Badgers always do well in their bowl games, and with John Stocco back healthy they are going to look to make a major statement for 2007.
Frazier - Another team we know literally nothing about, except that they won't beat themselves. It will be very interesting to see how they do against a non-conference foe. Consistency has gotten them this far, and their first year head coach deserves a tremendous amount of credit for guiding his troops so well. This team has played up to its' potential all season, pretty much every game, and that's a sure sign of a competent coach.
Walter: I originally had them higher but Frazier correctly pointed out that I was falling once again into the trap of forgetting just how terrible Pittsburgh and Dave Wannstedt are. With South Florida laying the smack on the Mountaineers this past weekend, the Cardinals lone big win looks far less impressive. That said, Miami did win and is bowl bound so it kind of evens itself out right? A little? No? Yeah, I guess not.
Frazier - Do you understand the Big East? Yeah, me neither. Who knows who's best, or second-best, or third-best, or if anyone deserves to be called "best" when everyone is going around shitting the bed. Wow, this conference went from "potential figure in the BCS title hunt" to "totally and completely irrelevant" in the course of a few weeks. Still, all but a handful of schools would switch coaches in a heartbeat, and probably only LSU, Ohio St. and Notre Dame wouldn't swap quarterbacks on a moments notice (and everyone other than OSU would definitely have to give it some thought).
Walter: I'm gonna say something and it's going to sound kind of weird. Thank goodness those stupid Pac-10 refs screwed up the end of the Oregon game. If Oklahoma was sitting here as a one loss team, we'd have to hear the endless parade of Big 12 apologists complaining when they didn't get a shot in the BCS title game. Let's be clear on something, Bob Stoops has turned in one of the all time great coaching performances this year, but the Sooners are nowhere near the level of Ohio State, Michigan and USC. The Big 12 was terrible this year, and they lost their only meaningful game to Texas (which doesn't look so great right now). Bob, I love you, but your team just ain't that good....and I am sure glad I don't have to hear how badly you got screwed.
Frazier - I have to agree with the big man here. Oklahoma slipped into a pair of title games by destroying a weak Big 12 conference, and then got shown the door on the national stage. I predicted at the beginning of the year that Oklahoma would return to this level, because Stoops went from an overrated to an underrated coach in the course of a few seasons. On the other hand, I never would have anticipated the Sooners reaching these heights without the best running back in the country (well, one of the best, call it the "McFadden Factor"). The loss of Peterson should have been devestating, but it's looking like this team is in excellent shape for life after AP. All that said, and I'm still not entirely sold on them, mostly because the Big 12 is a joke.
Walter: WOW. A last second TD pass to keep a 9 game win streak alive! Good times. I think new BYU head man Bronco Mendenhal must be channeling the spirit of Lavell Edwards (although he is still alive). BYU is the best show you haven't seen yet. John Beck is a great QB and Johnny Harline should run away with 1st team All America honors for a TE (he's the spitting image of former BYU and NFL great Todd Christensen by the way). Like Hawaii, if this team was in the SEC or Big 12 you'd already know that they cracked the top 25 last week. You'd also know that they are a 50 yard FG and a triple overtime game away from being undefeated. Once again, I'm not saying they could beat Ohio State, Michigan or USC, but it sure would be fun to see.
Frazier - I will never understand how the Mormons can attract such great football players. It's honestly kind of weird. That being said, they have done it again. They have been one of the hottest teams in the country for weeks, but are only now getting any recognition. Beck has been stellar this year, and his team has found ways to win (mostly by scoring and scoring and scoring some more). Not sure what their bowl future looks like, but it'd be fun to see them square off against a legit school from a BCS conference. Of course they'll probably end up in San Antonio or some other random destination playing against an obscure opponent for the feminine hygeine products bowl or some shit. Which would really rob the country of watching an entertaining team play a meaningful game.