Weekend Wrap Up  

Posted by Walter

My apologies to the323 nation! Due to a fire in my apartment building, and some overzealous fire fighting, I have been forced from my home and have spent the last 5 days moving. Still without internet access I will do my best to keep up with our weekly content before the holidays. By next week things should be back to normal.

BUT even enduring the hardships that I have I still managed to catch most of the day's worth of college football. I even attended the famed Harvard-Yale game on Saturday morning before adjourning to a bar to watch the epic Ohio State-Michigan tilt. So here we go with my notes from this weeks games:

-The OSU-Michigan game was shocking. I never in a million years expected that many points, especially given that neither offense really played all that well. Ohio State had three turnovers, including some really sloppy fumbles. Michigan's Mike Hart was fantastic, but Mario Manningham looked like he was still inured and Chad Henne played more like a Freshman than a seasoned Junior. On that note, if I were Lloyd Carr I would sit down and have a long talk with Henne. I have been ripping Henne all year for not being able to move the chains, and he proved me right on Saturday. Michigan was a paltry 4-13 on third downs (shocking given that they scored 31 points) and most of this was due to shoddy decision making by Henne. Several times he changed the play at the line of scrimmage when faced with a third and short, and every time there was a miscommunication with the recievers or with the line's pass protection. Lloyd Carr needed to step in early and tell his quarterback to run the play that was called in the huddle. Even if Henne was able to audible into a more preferable play, a team should be able to pick up 4 yards on any given play if they execute properly. If you watch this game on ESPN Classic you will notice how much Henne killed the Wolverines.

-Unlike my esteemed co-blogger I was very impressed with USC this Saturday. Their defense was nothing short of spectacular, and the offense played efficiently without their two top tailbacks. On defense the Trojans held Marshawn Lynch to 88 yards on 20 carries (outstanding!) and their somewhat maligned secondary forced two Nate Longshore interceptions. The bottom line is that in college football you win by keeping the other team's best players in check. Michigan didn't do it (Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman went crazy) and they lost. USC did do it (Marshawn Lynch and Desean Jackson were nearly invisible) and they won. Give Pete Carroll a ton of credit for this win. The USC-Notre Dame game this week should be another classic mostly because of the much improved play of the Trojan defense.

-Though Greg Schiano is getting all the national coach of the year attention (and deservedly so), let's not forget the job that has been done by Bret Beilema of Wisconsin. With their win over Buffalo, the Badgers set a school record with their 11th win of the season. Look for Wisconsin to be a chic pick to win the Big 10 next season with RB PJ Hill and QB Tyler Donovan returning......plus the loaded Wolverines have to visit Madison in what could be the 2007 version of Ohio State-Michigan.

-Props to Boston College. They are clearly one of the top 3 teams in the entire ACC this season (along with Wake and Georgia Tech) and seem poised for big things. They played an outstanding game on Saturday, absolutely demolishing a hot Maryland team. If BC wins against Miami on Thursday (which they should), and Wake loses at Maryland on Saturday (which they could), the Eagles would win the ACC Coastal division and play Georgia Tech for the right to go to the BCS. Tom O'Brien has done a fantastic job this season and could be in even better position for a BCS run in 2007 as the Eagles have their top passer (Matt Ryan), top three rushers (LV Whitworth, Andre Callender, AJ Brooks), two of their top three receivers (Kevin Challenger and Brandon Robinson), and top 8 defensive players (LB Brian Toal, LB JoLonn Dunbar, LB Tyrone Pruitt, CB Dejuan Tribble, S Jamie Silva, DE Nick Larkin, DT Ron Brace, DT BJ Raji) all returning next season.

-Two teams not getting nearly enough national love: BYU and Hawaii. Both have creeped into the national top 25 (BYU-21, Hawaii-25). Both have won 8 games in a row. Both have top quarterbacks (Hawaii's Colt Brennan is #1 in pass efficiency, BYU's John Beck is #2). Expect this to change over the next two weeks as BYU travels to Utah in a premier MWC game, while Hawaii gets two major BCS programs at home (Purdue and Oregon State). If BYU wins at Utah and Hawaii take care of business on the island (where they are extremely tough), these two teams could find themselves in the top 20 nationally.

-Finally, here is why Michigan and Ohio State should play again........there aren't any other options. Consider the following:

(i) USC lost to an unranked Oregon Stat team on the road.
(ii) Notre Dame got absolutely waxed by Michigan in South Bend.
(iii) Arkansas one loss is by 35 points to USC in Fayetville.
(iv) Florida's one loss is to an Auburn team that has proven time and again that they just aren't very good.

Now take the following scenarios and wha that outcome means:

(a) USC wins out - Putting them in the title game over Michigan is a statement that:

W over #17 California, W over #6 Notre Dame, 2 pt. loss @ unranked Oregon State
is better than
W over #12 Wisconsin, W over #6 @ Notre Dame, 4 pt. loss @ #1 Ohio State

(b) Notre Dame wins out - Putting them in the title game over Michigan is a statement that:

W over #3 @ USC, W over #19 Penn State, 26 pt. loss at home to Michigan
is better than
W over #12 Wisconsin, W over #6 @ Notre Dame, 4 pt. loss @ #1 Ohio State
[the fact that Michigan dismantled the Irish should preclude a Fiesta Bowl rematch]

(c) Arkansas wins out - Putting them in the title game over Michigan is a statement that:
W over #2 @ Auburn, W over #5 Florida, 36 pt. loss at home to #6 USC
is better than
W over #12 Wisconsin, W over #6 @ Notre Dame, 4 pt. loss @ #1 Ohio State

(d) Florida wins out - Putting them in the title game over Michigan is a statment that:
W over #9 LSU, W over #4 Arkansas, 10 pt. loss @ Auburn
is better than
W over #12 Wisconsin, W over #6 @ Notre Dame, 4 pt. loss @ #1 Ohio State

The point I am trying to make is that even given the best case scenario for the only four contenders for the BCS #2 spot, Michigan still has the better resume. They played OSU close at home when neither team clearly had their A game. The other 4 teams are all seriously flawed. We shouldn't penalize Michigan simply because the #1 team happens to be one that they already played. They lost to the #1 team in the nation on the road. All four of these contenders have a loss that is MUCH worse than Michigan's, and none of them have two wins any more impressive. Remember, Notre Dame and Wisconsin each have only one loss (to Michigan). USC's best wins, Cal and Nebraska, have each lost multiple games. Ditto for what would be Notre Dame's best wins (USC and Penn State), Arkansas' best wins (LSU and Florida), and Florida's best wins (LSU and Arkansas).


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