Student Body Right . . . Student Body Wrong  

Posted by Walter

I was right about the world's largetst outdoor cocktail party. Georgia is terrible, but Florida is utterly overrated. They are still very soft, and Chris Leak looks like a man who has been completely beaten down by his fan base rabidly calling for his backup all season.

I was wrong about Clemson. They looked just atrocious on Thursday night. Just when we think they might be taking the next step to national relevance, we are reminded that they still have Tommy Bowden as their head coach. His gameplan against VTech was as stupid as it was ridiculous. Against 8 and 9 man fronts hs continually ran the football and threw swing passes on 2nd and long. I didn't see a single vertical pattern all night. Just an utter embarrassment. That said, this team has the talent to be a contender for the national title in 2007.

I was right about Steve Kragthorpe and Tulsa. I annointed them one of the most underrated teams in America during the preseason and their 7-1 record highlighted by a big win against UTEP this week proved me right. Kragthorpe is not long for Tulsa, and is on his way to bigger and better things.

I was wrong about Missouri. Fool me once shame on you Gary Pinkel. Fool me twice shame on me. How did I not see this coming? I don't know. Bob Stoops vs. Gary Pinkel was the mismatch of the week.

I was right about Oklahoma State. What an offense! Nebraska is proving to be nothing great, but the Cowboys did put up 41 on the black shirts. There really are a ton of weapons on this Oklahoma State team in QB Bobby Reid (229 yards 2 TD), RB Dantrell Savage (117 yards 2 TD), and WR Adarius Bowman (86 yards 1 TD). This set of skill position players may be the best kept secret in the country. With games left against Texas (this weekend) and Oklahoma (to close the season), the Cowboys may yet have something to say in this Big 12 race.

I was wrong about Miami. I don't know why I picked them. Perhaps I just couldn't believe they were actually as bad as they have looked. Perhaps I wanted them to win so my Eagles have a built in excuse when they inevitable lose to the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl (thus costing them their ACC division). Either way, I was wrong.....the Canes stink!

I was right about Oregon. In typical fraud fashion, a week after getting killed by Washington State they roll up 55 points on hapless Portland State. Hope you guys are proud of yourselves. On a side note, Bill Doba's Washington State Cougars had their second straight outstanding win this week, absolutely mauling a UCLA defense that led the Pac-10 in most statistical categories.

I was wrong about Tennessee......this week. The apocalypse is coming for Phil Fulmer and Erik Ainge. It just has to!

I was right about Hawaii. They are just awesome and it's time to start taking a long hard look at Colt Brennan as someone who is more than just a system kid. Brennan currentle leads the NCAA in passing efficiency (185.00), touchdowns ( only 5 INT!!!), and completion percentage (74%), and he is 3rd in yards (2,934). This kid is 6'3'', possesses good zip on his passes, throws a perfect deep ball, and is only a junior. Is it so hard to believe that one of the top 3 quarterback prospects for the 2008 NFL draft plays his college football in Honolulu?

I was wrong about the USC offense. Dwayne Jarrett is a superior talent, but the most indispensible player on that unit is his alter ego Steve Smith. Smith has 40 catches for 680 yards this season, but has played his best football when the Trojans have needed it the most (11 catches for 258 yards and 2 TD vs. Oregon State, and 11 catches for 182 yards and 2 more TD vs. Washington State). I can't wait for some team like the Detroit Lions or Oakland Raiders to choose Jarrett with a top 5 pick, while a more shrewd team like the Patriots or Ravens snages Smith in the 2nd round. Who would you bet on having a better NFL career?

Student Body Right... Student Body Wrong...  

Posted by Frazier

Ok, it was another decent week with the prognosticating and all. Except for being completely and utterly wrong on another Thursday throwdown. Anyways, the huge game between WVU and Louisville this Thursday got a hell of a lot more important, and the eyes of college football nation will be squarely on the beasts of the Big East. Frankly, it should be a compelling game no matter the national title implications, but those will only add spice to what should have already been a tasty game. As for last week's, well, there are always some hits and misses.

I was right about:

The South Carolina-Tennessee game. The Gamecocks looked in good shape going into the fourth quarter, and gave the Vols everything they could handle, but Fulmer and company still escaped with the win. Spurrier is close, but he ain't there yet.

I was wrong about:

The Clemson-Virginia Tech game. My real problem is that I forgot that Tommy Bowden was prominently involved (he is a third tier coach with guys like Dennis Franchione, and other overrated bums). Yikes, the Hokies simply burned Clemson up and down the field, and shoved the football right down their throats. Not entirely sure what Clemson was up to.

I was right about:

Clemson, they have now managed to choke away a pair of games this season, and they might have a couple more whiffs in them. They were playing as well as any team in the country, with a real chance with an at-large BCS birth, and they go and get absolutely throttled on national television. Things really seemed to be breaking right for them. Another disappointing season for the Tigers.

I was wrong about:

Oklahoma St. This is another Jekyll and Hyde team. They have streaked to huge leads in big games before, and totally choked them away. They also have the ability to have an enormous quarter, than stop scoring for the rest of the game. They were uneven, as always, against Nebraska with one 20 point quarter and one 21 point quarter and nothing else, but they took it to them for a huge win.

I was right about:

The Georgia-Florida game. The Bulldogs are always going to keep this rivalry game close, so the spread was absurd. I predicted a 21-13 final, but Georgia ended up a point better, for a 21-14 defeat. Still, hard to nitpick this one.

I was wrong about:

Texas' defense/Texas Tech's pyrotechnics. They really opened the floodgates early. Basically, the Red Raiders caught the boys from Austin off-balance, and made them work for it. Of course the Longhorns defense figured it out in the second half, totally stopped the run, and made the huge comeback. Still, I expected the whole game to play out like the first half did.

I was right about:

McCoy lighting up questionable (at best) defenses. Seriously, I haven't seen anything from him this year. He is playing well against a bunch of bums. I'm not saying he's necessarily lousy, I just don't have anything to base a real evaluation on.

I was wrong about:

USC. They were the Colt McCoy of teams. Absolutely nothing to base an evaluation on. Well, it turns out that they aren't very good. Their defense and special teams let them down, and they got destroyed in the turnover margin which Carroll has been preaching for years in So Cal. They found a dozen different ways to lose this game, and although they rallied late, they didn't even seem interested in this one until their backs were against the wall. A young team that bought their record, and was happy enough to gloss over an array of weaknesses.

I was right about:

The Georgia Tech-Miami game. Although Miami scored more than expected. Still, they are pretty terrible, and Coker needs to go. Right now. Seriously.

I was wrong about:

Nebraska. With Callahan in charge, they are doomed to mediocrity. It's not that he changed the offense or any of that shit, he just has a poorly coached team. They blew the Texas game, and then came out flat against the Cowboys. Ugh.

I was right about:

The Oklahoma game. The classic situation where a team simply can't break through against a long-time tormentor. Mizzou had every chance to win this game, and found a way to lose it. Turning the ball over 4 times is exactly what a wounded team needs, and it's exactly what the Sooners got. Thanks Mizzou.

Quick Hitch  

Posted by Walter

We here at the the323 can be very hard on coaches when they act stupidly (see Smith, John L.) or irresponsibly (see Coker, Larry), but being a former coach myself I think we would be remiss if we didn't recognize some of the outstanding coaching jobs that are currently on display in college football. Now anyone who watches ESPN knows names like Greg Schiano (Rutgers) and Ron English (Michigan D-Coordinator), and I am not here to toot their horns any louder. Instead I would like to focus on two coaches who have done outstanding jobs in very difficult situations:

1) Steve Kragthorpe - Tulsa

I was on the Kragthorpe bandwagon in the preseason when I named his Tulsa Golden Hurricanes as one of the most underrated teams in the nation. Kragthorpe's bunch have not let me down running their record to 7-1 with an impressive 30-20 win over UTEP this past week. Before Kragthorpe showed up at Tulsa four seasons ago they were known as one of the worst programs in Division 1A (think Temple, Buffalo, etc.). They hadn't had a winning season since 1991, let alone a bowl birth. Enter Kragthorpe, who has taken this team to winning records in 3 of his 4 seasons AND has transformed the program into a true Conference USA powerhouse. Unfortunatley for the good people of Northern Oklahoma, however, Kragthorpe is quickly outgrowing Tulsa. His attacking, up tempo offense is the spitting image of some of the great BYU teams if the 1980's, and Kragthorpe is assured to attract all kinds of attention from bigger programs this offseason. He would be an ideal hire for a reeling program like Miami, that lacks discipline and offensive creativity.

2) Paul Johnson - Navy

Like Kragthorpe, Johnson inherited a program that was in absolute disarray. While Kragthorpe was starting his magic at Tulsa, Navy took their place on the mantle as one of the worst teams in 1A football. However, that distinction was short lived thanks to Johnson and his exceedingly complex and creative triple option rushing scheme. Make no mistake about it kids, the offense you see at Navy today is not your father's wishbone or wing-T. It is a creation unique to Johnson that utilizes the intelligence of his players to make up for their inferior athletic ability. This was most evidenced by the first half against Notre Dame this past week. Notre Dame outweighed the Midshipmen by nearly 50 pounds per player in the trenches, but Navy was able to rumble up and down the field to the tune of over 200 first half rushing yards and 14 points. While the end score indicated a blowout (thanks to superior ahtleticism and depth by the Irish), anybody watchin that game had to be impressed with Paul Johnson's offense.

Just a thought, but if the Nebraska brass ever tires of this dreadful Bill Callahan experiment they might consider placing a call to Johnson. His triple option scheme is very different than the Tom Osborne option attacks that endeered themselves to the Lincoln faithful, but Johnson might be the one coach in America who could bring the power running game back to Nebraska at a level that even approximates what they once had.

Quick Picks...  

Posted by Frazier

Ok, these are real "quick" picks this week. Some of us actually had to work for a change, and so it's not the usual Frazier content you've all grown to love. Last week was a 5-3 victory, but I expect more out of myself, and so does 323 nation. Anyways, I am a total moron for going against my Costanza thinking, and I promise I will never do that on a non-Saturday game again. Anyways, on to the picks.

Oklahoma +2 AT Missouri

I do NOT believe in Mizzou. I DO believe that teams that meet unexpected success often struggle against teams that traditionally maul them. Stoops has gone from an overrated, to underrated coach pretty damn quickly. It's Sooner time, 20-13.

Georgia Tech -4.5 vs. Miami

I can't pick the Hurricanes. This is the game that will show whether they will turn things around the rest of the year, or whether they are actually horrible. History tells me I should back Miami, but I guess I'm just hoping the king is dead. Also, they have virtually zero offense. Georgia Tech rebounds, 24-16.

Oregon St. +14 vs. USC

I'm taking the points against USC until they blow someone out. It's really that simple. Is Oregon St. any good? Does it even matter, especially at home? USC doesn't break a sweat, again, 28-17.

Georgia +14.5 vs. Florida (In Jacksonville)

Florida hasn't exactly been blowing teams out either these days, and since it's such a rivalry game, I think the Bulldogs come to prove something. They might not be good, but they aren't going to suffer a blowout in this one. Simply too much pride on the line, and they keep it close, but Florida handles them, 21-13.

Nebraska -5.5 AT Oklahoma St.

The good news for Nebraska is that Oklahoma St. is also suffering a let-down after blowing an overtime game to Texas A&M by botching an extra point. So both teams are licking their wounds today. Basically, is Callahan any good at coaching at all? Well, he'll have to show us. OSU has been a streaky team for awhile now, I guess I figure they won't handle adversity well. The Huskers take it, 34-21.

Texas -12 AT Texas Tech

The Red Raiders have really struggled against good programs, even for all their offensive pyrotechnics. And this year they've just struggled in general. The Longhorns have been taking it to weak opponents, and Colt McCoy is at his best against second-rate opposition. Also, any game in Texas is a home game for the Longhorns, they cruise 37-20.

Tennessee -4.5 AT South Carolina

I really do think that Spurrier is going to break through one of these days, and I hate Ainge, and I hate this pick. But I also think that the one game Tennessee is supposed to trip up in is the one they escape. They will be blowing their season later, just not in this one. They slip past, 27-20.

Last week: 5-3
Thursday: 0-1 (as usual)
Season: 25-15-1

Week 8 Picks  

Posted by Walter

@ Missouri -2 over Oklahoma

I am a believer in this Missouri team. I'm not certain why, especially with Gary Pinkel at the helm, but they have proven to be a very balanced, steady team. On paper, the Pinkel-Stoops matchup looks like a laugher....and it is. But, the Tigers have two big things in their favor. First, for once Missouri has better personnel than the Sooners. At the begining of the season the two best Sooner offensive players were Bohmar and Peterson. Neither will take the field on Saturday, while Missouri will trot out arguably the best QB in the Big 12 this season (Chase Daniel) and a top RB (Tony Temple-averaging over 5 yards per carry this season). The bottom line is that the Oklahoma defense, usually a strength of a Bob Stoops coached team, has not shown me anything this season to indicate that they have the ability to keep this game close while the offense tries to find itself. Call it Missouri 27-13.

Miami +4.5 over @ Georgia Tech

I hate this pick. I hate the Hurricanes, I hate Larry Coker, and I hate the fact that they will win this game. Ugh, I need to move on before I throw up in my mouth.

@ Oregon State +14 over USC

Taking the points against USC seems to have become an almost weekly ritual on the323....and deservedly so. This is a show me game, and USC hasn't done anything to show me that they have the ability to blow out even mid level Pac 10 competition. While the Beavers did not begin the season well, they have played much better as of late. In their last two games Oregon State has posted impressive victories at Arizona and at Washington (two teams that gave USC fits). More importantly, though, has been the reemergence of tailback Yvenson Bernard as a real offensive gamebreaker. Bernard has been over 100 yards in each of the past two games (which is especially impressive agaisnt Arizona at Tuscon) and has established himself as the grind it out workhorse that the Beavers can rely on the shorten this game. Expect Oregon State to hand him the ball at least 25 times in an effort to keep the USC playmakers on the sideline. Bottom line, though, is that I am not betting this is the game that everything finally starts to click on the USC offense. Call it USC 30-20, although the game will be a lot closer if John David Booty keeps throwing interceptions.

Georgia +14.5 over Florida @ Jacksonville

This is purely a gut feeling pick. Georgia has been terrible this season, but they ALWAYS give the Gators trouble no matter what the teams' records are. Also, I've got a feeling that Urban Meyer might try and integrate Tim Tebow into his gameplan more. This may not be the best idea against a Bulldog defense that boasts at least 5 future NFL players (though they have underachieved all season). A win in this game would go a long way to saving the Georgia season. I expect the Bulldogs to give the Gators everything they can handle! Call if Florida 20-19.

@ Oklahoma State +5.5 over Nebraska

Oklahoma State is somewhat of an underrated team. Consinder the following players on the Oklahoma State offense: QB Bobby Reid (1387 yards, 17:6 TD ratio), RB Mike Hamilton (489 yards, 4 TD), RB Keith Toston (308 yards, 2 TD), WR Adarius Bowman (791 yards, 9 TD). That is some firepower on offense, and I just don't think Nebraska has the ability to keep up. Bill Callahan has folded up in every pressure game this season whether its botching the gameclock or rolling out absurdly conservative gameplans against USC. Though they are only 4-3 the Cowboys have put up points in every game this season (the fewest they've scored is 25). Call it Nebraska winning a close shootout 34-30.

Texas -12 over @ Texas Tech

I hate to pick this game. But I did pick it because I have to. But I don't have to write about it. So I won't. Call it Texas 35-17.

@South Carolina +4.5 over Tennessee

Bear Bryant (who I am dressing up as for Halloween by the way) once said being a great coach means that you "can take his'n and beat your'n, and take your'n and beat his'n." Steve Spurrier can do this. Phil Fulmer can't. Tennessee has better players, but South Carolina has better coaching. Tennessee was exposed somewhat against Alabama, and my guess is Spurrier will take the baton and run with it. Look for Erik Ainge to continue his regression in hostile Columbia, fueling the Gamecocks to victory. Call it South Carolina 27-26.

Quick Picks  

Posted by Walter


Clemson -3.5 over @ Virginia Tech

3.5????? That's it? I know the game is in Blacksburg but have the oddsmakers even been watching the games this season. Virginia Tech has lost 2 of its last 3 games and is playing its worst football in several years. Included in those two losses was a 38-27 beatdown at the hands of Georgia Tech (a team Clemson just slapped around) in Blacksburg. Further, Tech's decision to go with a two quarterback rotation doesn't inspire much confidence. Yes Sean Glennon has been terrible recently (espeically at Boston College), but having him looking over his shoulder every time he misses a reciever isn't going to help his production on the field.

Clemson, on the other hand, is playing some of the best football in the entire nation. Aside from the hiccup in Chestnut Hill, Clemson has been nothing short of dominant.....and getting top WR Chanci Stuckey back will only help. Earlier this week I posited that this Clemson team was showing us what would happen if a big 10 team played in the ACC. Well I've given it some more thought and I can do you one better.....this Clemson team is what would happen if some of the late 1990-early 2000 Wisconsin teams played in the ACC. The similarities to the Badgers are striking. The Tigers have been winning with outstanding offensive line play despite having few big names, and like Wisoconsin it doesn't seem to matter who is toting the rock. Even the passing games are similar. Wisconsin always had explosive reciever play (Chris Chambers, Lee Evans, Tony Simmons), very similar to that of Clemson this season (Stuckey and Aaron Kelley). And I defy you to tell me the difference between Wil Proctor and former Badger QB Jim Sorgi! In fact, has anyone even seen those two in a room together?

This one might be a runaway. Call it Clemson 34-17.


The big man was brave enough to post his non-Saturday pick with mine this week. Probably because I broke through last Friday. Now, my Costanza senses would tell me to pick Virginia Tech, because that's the opposite of what I would normally do. But who said Costanza knew shit about college football? This line is preposterous. I urge you to head down to your local neighborhood bookie and rob him blind on this one. Virginia Tech is playing quarterback russian roulette, there is no way of telling which one will shoot themselves in the foot first. This one is almost too easy, especially after I dissed Clemson last weekend and they destroyed Georgia Tech, oh, and Calvin Johnson didn't have a reception. Now THAT'S a defensive effort. The Hokie home field advantage was shown to be a fraud when the very same Yellow Jackets came to town and walloped the boys from Blacksburg. Clemson is going to eat them for lunch, well, maybe dinner, 34-14.

Quick Hitch...  

Posted by Frazier

Ok, I may have hinted at this in the power rankings this week, but I'd like to expand a little bit. Every now and then I start talking about "second tier" programs and coaches. I may mention that a coach like Kirk Ferentz is in danger of joining such a club. Basically by putting together good, not great, teams, and failing to win the "big game" that will shoot them to national prominence and a shot at the title. I've also mentioned guys like Beamer who has had some really good Virginia Tech teams, but has generally lost to Miami, or suffered an upset, that has prevented them from reaching national heights.

The real criteria for this designation has a couple of factors. First, the teams must consistently either be legitimately good, or show real promise before things go south. Second, the team must be one of those "sleepers" that people think might be able to win a championship if they get past major hurdles. Third, the coach must not have a title, and must have real national recognition. Fourth, it can't be a major program. In other words, Mack Brown might have had a shot at being considered a second tier coach prior to last year, but Texas will NEVER be a second tier program. Fifth, the school must have a defining game, or possibly two, that will make or break their season. This game is always against a traditional power school, which we can call the nemesis school. The nemesis school finds ways to beat the second tier program even during years when they are down and not favored in the game. For example, for years Virginia Tech needed to beat Miami to be national players, and they basically never pulled it off. Only the unique physical genius of Mike Vick got them to a title game. Or various ACC schools needing to beat Florida St. and being unable to do so (the Phillip Rivers NC State teams are an excellent example of this phenomena). Forever Tennessee lacked wins against Florida, their major hurdle every year, and therefore lacked a title (and the big man will dispute whether their championship really even removed Fulmer and the Vols from "second tier" status).

Now, a team like Iowa meets most of these criteria. The only real problem is that they lack a nemesis school because of a floating Big Ten schedule, but every year they basically have to overcome Michigan and/or Ohio St. This was the same deal with LSU which finally overcame in the SEC, despite difficulties with Florida and/or Auburn for years. But there was a time when Nick Saban had an excellent chance at landing his team in second tier status. Now Iowa is in danger of falling to that level.

The whole theory developed from the Kansas St. teams in the 90s. Snyder scheduled cupcake after cupcake, and beat the tar out of those teams. All they had to do was find a way to beat Nebraska, and they had clear sailing to the national title game. And every year Nebraska found a way to win. Sometimes Nebraska was simply loaded, but even in the years where Nebraska scuffled a little bit, they would always wreck on Kansas St. A similar situation played out when Texas couldn't beat Oklahoma for years, even when Oklahoma wasn't firing on all cylinders.

Here are some past, current, and potential second tier programs: Wisconsin (under Alvarez), Virginia Tech, Iowa (getting closer to being official), Kansas St. (under Snyder), NC State (with Rivers), Tennessee (either under Fulmer, or with Manning, feel free to debate), Cal (an excellent prospect), John Cooper with Ohio St. (when they were loaded and kept blowing games to Michigan), Mack Brown with Texas (until VY showed up), Nebraska (for years when they kept losing to Miami, or otherwise blowing the Orange Bowl), and I'm sure you can think of many others.

Special Note: Florida St. was the all-time "nemesis" school. They managed to OWN everybody in the ACC for over a decade, and prevented numerous teams from breaking through. The list includes NC State under Rivers, Virginia with the Barbers, Maryland a few years back, Clemson until very recently, and North Carolina under Mack Brown (history will tell whether it was Mack who broke through, or just VY carrying him. Bowden and company also extended Nebraska's futility by a year, and sent Virginia Tech packing the one year they finally overcame their demons. Of couse Bobby himself was pretty close to making the list himself for a long time, but now has two titles and the right to talk shit to everyone else on this list.

The Great Debate: Football in New Jersey?  

Posted by Walter

The following is an email exchange between myself and Frazier debating where the state university of New Jersey (Rutgers...duh!) should debut on the Power 10.


Rutgers is one of the few undefeated teams left. Frankly their victory over Pitt is far more impressive than any victory either Louisville or WVU has had. Furthermore the Knights have been way more impressive on the field than either of those teams. If we keep Rutgers off and those two on we will be no better than the national pollsters. The whole point of our rankings is to reflect the present hierarchy of teams. If Rutgers is left off and the other two big east teams left on we are just admitting that our rankings have been and always will be dictated by the preseason polls.


Part of our prerequisite is having a "shot at winning the title" which favors the one loss teams over Rutgers. I hated the Texas win over Nebraska, but it was a win in tough conditions. Tennessee and California both need to be dropped a little, because the huskies used their backup QB to cause severe damage, and Alabama probably should have been able to find a way to win. Rutgers can sneak into the top 10, although I am not huge on that Pitt win, and I think everyone ahead of them would beat them soundly.


I agree that WVU should be ahead of Louisville but I am still not with you on Rutgers. They absolutely dominated Pitt at Pitt, and low and behold they have just as much a chance at the national title as WVU or Louisville (if they win those head to head games). Rutgers has one of the top defenses in the entire nation, AND a Hesiman trophy candidate in Ray Rice. Pitt may not be that great but they were playing as well as any team in the big east and Rutgers went on the road and walloped them. If Rutgers goes undefeated they might very well play the OSU-Michigan winner in the national title game. They need to get their props. They have three very impressive wins this season (at South Florida, at Navy and at Pitt). Neither WVU or Louisville can boast a single win better than any of those (well maybe Miami at home if the Hurricanes keep winning)! The facts are that Rutgers is playing as well as the Mountaineers and better than Louisville right now. Keeping them behind all those 1 loss teams is just falling into the trap of refusing to move teams up because of where they started the season.


WVU beat Maryland, who is at least as good as Pitt. South Florida has losses to Kansas and Cinci which is hardly impressive. Navy lost their quarterback early, so that win doesn't even count. I’m sorry, beating Nebraska in Lincoln during a snowstorm is more impressive than beating Pitt. I don't care how stupid some of the coaching was, or how they probably should have lost. Texas made the plays to win. And frankly, I'm not sure I'd even favor Rutgers over Boise St. for example. I just don't have anyone to compare Rutgers to except Louisville and WVU, and I think both of those teams are significantly better.


Consider the following:


They are 7-0. Looking at the 6 games they won against 1A opponents (Howard is excluded) these are the numbers:

combined opponents record - 24-22
combined scores of games - 151-53 (roughly a 3:1 ratio)


They are 7-1. Looking at the 6 games they won against 1A opponents (Buffalo is excluded even though they are technically 1A) these are the numbers:

combined opponents record - 26-19
combined scored of games - 170-64 (just under a 3:1 ratio)


They are 7-1. Looking at the 6 game they won against 1A opponents (Sam Houston St is out) these are the numbers:

combined opponents record - 23-23
combined scores of games - 308-89 (over 3:1 ratio)


They are 6-1. Looking at the 6 game they won (all against 1A teams) these are the numbers:

combined opponents record - 26-18
combined score of game - 174-57 (over 3:1 ratio)

OK so where does this leave us. Well certain things are clear:

1) Florida's slate of wins is the most impressive - their opponents have the highest combined winning % and their score ratio is among the best
2) Texas' slate of wins is the least impressive - their opponents % is at .500 and they have only beaten two teams all season with winning records; plus their score differential is DRASTICALLY SKEWED by wins over North Texas, Rice, and Baylor (combined score of those games = 171-45)
3) Rutgers' numbers stack up with these three one loss teams - their score differential is outstanding (and they didn't pad their stats against terrible competition) and their opponent's record is better than you think (over .500 AND the last four teams they have played have a combined record of 21-10)

So what to do? Well based strictly on these numbers I would rank the 4 teams Florida-Auburn-Rutgers-TX. But clearly there are other factors at play. The biggest other factor is that Rutgers is the only one of these teams not to have lost a game. Also, we can rate Florida ahead of Auburn since the Tigers won that game. I honestly believe the case can be made for Rutgers being ranked ahead of all three based on the fact that they haven't lost and they have been improving all season (see their last 4 games: against the best competition they have played all year the Knights have won the games by a combined score of 100-37).

I still maintain that it should go Rutgers-Auburn-Florida-TX


Absolutely destroying Maryland is more impressive. Absolutely destroying Miami is more impressive. Maryland’s only other loss was a nail-biter on the road against Georgia Tech. Pitt's other loss was to Michigan St. The polls are also based on fucking knowing anything about football. WVU fucked up Georgia in the sugar bowl last year and have destroyed everyone this year. They have a great offense, and two ridiculous options on the attack. WVU’s closest margin of victory was 17 points over East Carolina. Louisville has possibly the best pure quarterback in the country, one of the nation’s top offenses, and a top five coach.

I refuse to forget all those factors and simply look at scores. Also, Rutgers has a 2-point win over South Florida who is a solid team, but if either WVU or Louisville had an escape like that we would have blasted them.

Finally, Pitt is fucking lousy and Wanny is a shit coach. You know too much about football to fucking buy into this shit. Rutgers is having a nice year but if you had to put your life on the line would you favor them over Texas? Really? How about Louisville or WVU? I wouldn't.

On to your follow-up e-mail:

Which of the teams you mention lacks a win over a ranked opponent? Beating Nebraska in a snowstorm is better than beating Pitt. Beating Oklahoma in a wild environment is better than beating South Florida (come on, that's not even fair).

Beating Florida is a hell of a lot more impressive. How about beating South Carolina? How about beating Tennessee? How about beating LSU? Those teams are fucking better than S. Florida and Pitt. Shit, if Auburn escaped S. Florida by 2 points the entire country would be going ape-shit. Rutgers beats Pitt by 10 and you go nuts, Florida beats Tennessee in Knoxville and we barely mention it?

LSU would roll Pitt by 30 points. Which South is better? Carolina or Florida? hmmmm, I'm taking Spurrier. Computers are the ones who give credit to the wins and losses, the opponents records, and the scoring differential. Human beings understand that winning on a Thursday night in Columbia against Steve Spurrier is a better win than against South Florida on some balmy day when no one is paying attention.

If Auburn, Texas, Florida, LSU, Cal, Tennessee, Boise St., WVU, Louisville, Boston College, Clemson or Wisconsin (as an example) had played the same schedule as Rutgers, they would be undefeated too.

Debut rutgers at 8. let them earn it.


Fine Rutgers at 8 is a good compromise. I agree that they should earn it but we should also be receptive to rewarding them for what they have earned so far. And as for your argument, yes you do make a good one, BUT let's not lose sight of the fact that Rutgers has yet to lose a game while Auburn, TX et al have. Obviously it would be a different story if Rutgers played in the SEC or Big 12 but the same could be said for WVU and Louisville, the teams we have rank in the top 5. You claim that if Auburn had escaped South Florida with a two point win the entire nation would be going ape shit. Perhaps, but if Auburn had escaped the Arkansas game with a 2 point win they’d be the clear #2 in the nation right now! If Rutgers had a loss there is no doubt that every single one loss team we have mentioned would be ranked ahead of them. But they have to get some credit for not losing.

Power Rankings (Week 8)  

Posted by Walter

Yeah, this is what the rest of college football nation is afraid of.
It's kind of less intimidating than James Laurinitis flying towards you.

#1 Ohio State

Walter: Still nothing really new to say about this team that hasn't already been said. The most impressive thing about the Buckeyes is that consistently dominate by simply going about their business. I believe this is a function of their leader, Troy Smith. Smith has made this Heisman race an absolute runaway by just being consistently excellent every week. No he does not have the late game heroics of Brady Quinn, but that is simply because Smith's team hasn't fallen behind this season. Smith has been ruthlessley efficient, mind blowingly accurate (especially for a guy who was known as a running QB less than two seasons ago), and completely mistake free. This guy embodies the entire Buckeye program right now.

Frazier - I'm almost tempted to say something about the Buckeyes this week. It was nice they got in some practice for the Michigan game against an Indiana team that had shown real improvement this year. It looks like they are going to find ways to utilize Ginn's speed in the future. Unless Ohio St. blows a gimme, or Troy throws about a dozen interceptions against the Wolverines, he wins the Heisman. While their schedule hasn't been brutal this year, especially with the way Iowa has fallen apart, they have dominated every aspect of every game they have played. A ruthlessly efficient bunch.

#2 Michigan

Walter: Well, with their win over Iowa the stage seems to be set for the game we have all been waiting for. I think the hype machine can officially begin, seeing as it would take a borderline miracle for either Michigan or Ohio State to not be undefeated when they meet in November. Michigan was very impressive in their victory over Iowa, especially on defense. However, let's not lose sight of the true MVP of this team. Yes the defense has won games for them, but little Mike Hart has literally been the heart of this team (ugh what a terrible pun). He has rushed for 100 yards in every game but one (a 91 yard effort against Wisconsin), and has really put the offense on his back since Manningham went down. Chad Henne is a solid QB who is great throwing the deep ball but less accurate on the underneath stuff. Henne puts up big plays, but he isn't as adept at moving the chains. As such, the bulk of that responsibility has befallen Hart who has proven to be more than up to the task.

Frazier - My only concern is that Manningham is 100% when the Wolverines and Buckeyes meet in their mini-championship game. Without him their offensive balance has been thrown off a little, and their are a defense oriented team these days. That being said, their defense is beyond ferocious. It's basically time to let the countdown begin, and hope that no key players get injured.

#3 USC

Walter: It's make or break time for the Trojans. They are entering perhaps the toughest stretch of schedule anybody in the nation faces all season starting this weekend at Oregon State. While it may be tempting to look past the Beavers to matchups in LA with Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame, it would be a bad idea to overlook the Trojans' trip to Corvallis. Since getting shellacked by Boise State the Beavers have really played well. They have a physical offensive line that will pound the football, and believe you me the Corvallis crowd will be rocking come gametime. USC has Stanford next week so they won't be looking ahead to anyone, but they could be in for a world of hurt if they believe they can take this week off too.

Frazier - I know that we've been downplaying USC for awhile now, but maybe we should reconsider, at least a little bit. They may have failed to put away Washington, but they also weren't taken to overtime by their back-up quarterback like Cal did. They may not have delivered a virtuoso performance against Washington St. but they didn't get throttled like Oregon did. What we really learned is that there is a huge middle-class in the Pac 10, and that the Trojans are still an upper echelon team. Their toughest work is still ahead of them, so it's still hard to judge them, but it's still not time to send Carrol our condolences on the loss of his dynasty.

This dude has yet to be seen hanging
around the USC campus.

#4 West Virginia

Walter: Much like the OSU-Michigan tilt, the final stage is set for the WVU-Louisville game which should be a classic. Still, this matchup seems like an appetizer doesn't it? I mean, the Mountaineers haven't played anyone this year (although that Maryland win would look much better if the Terps knock of FSU Sat.) so we don't really know how good they are. And Louisville all of a sudden looks very mortal. Still, the winner of this game has a great shot at going undefeated and sneaking into the BCS Title game, and the more weeks go by the more it looks like West Virginia is the better team.

Frazier - I am still incredibly excited about this battle. For nothing else it will feature two of the best, most interesting offenses in the country, and two of the brightest coaching minds around. Oh, and it could provide an entrant in the national title game. With Rutgers having such a good year, which will only hope their strength of schedule, the winner of this one will have a legitimate shot at all the marbles. Right now, WVU is just playing better. They have hit their stride at the right time. The offense is still incredibly potent, Pat White has been burning teams with both his legs and arm (if he becomes a better passer, like Troy Smith has, he will be the top offensive player in the country). Also, their pass rush finally found its' groove as they throttled UConn on the road.

#5 Louisville

Walter: I still can't shake the sneaking suspicion that the Mike Bush injury is going to catch up to this team very soon. Brian Brohm has shaken off the rust from his injury, which is good, but I can't help but feel that the first half against Syracuse was a harbinger of things to come. West Virginia has two weeks to prepare for the showdown at Louisville (which appears, to me, to be the biggest football game in the history of the state of Kentucky), and right after that game they have to face an undefeated Rutgers team (@ Rutgers) that will have had 11 days to prepare. I've said it before, this is the time of year when great coaches (of which Rich Rodriguez and Greg Schiano are) can gameplan their asses off and shut down any scheme you throw at them. What they can't gameplan for is great players making great plays. Louisville still has Brohm, but I'd feel a whole lot better if they still had Bush.
This Bush will have as many yards as Mike Bush the rest of
the year. But at least Mike doesn't face record low approval ratings.

Frazier - For every step forward that WVU has made, it looks like Louisville has made a step back. Brohm and the offense still don't look comfortable, and Mario Urutia hasn't caught a long ball in awhile now. The defense has continued its' totally unheralded, but solid, play, and Petrino is still an excellent coach. The biggest problem for this team is it has one shot, and that shot is coming against a WVU team that is looking poised to do something big. With a lot of extra practice time before the big game, Petrino has every chance to have his boys finally firing on all cylinders.

#6 Auburn

Walter: They aren't going to get a whole lot of credit for beating Tulane this past weekend, but they have won the games they needed to this season (outside of Arkansas) and seem poised for a fairly easy ride into the SEC title game. Their toughest remaining opponents, Georgia at home and Alabama on the road, do not fit the profile of team that have given them trouble in the past 12 months (power running, hard hitting, physical-see Arkansas, LSU, Wisconsin). To be perfectly honest, the best thing Auburn can hope for is a rematch with Florida in the SEC title game. Beating the Gators twice in one season may be the only thing that will land them a spot in the BCS Title game over some of the other 1 loss teams.

Frazier - And things officially start to get tricky. Basically, the SEC is so good that their best team is pretty much automatically the best one loss team around. The SEC is going to have a very tough strength of schedule component, so if they can win games they shoud win, they will face Florida in a rematch for the shot at the title game. Basically, they need to win out, have Florida do likewise, and hope that USC falls and that Rutgers, Louisville and WVU either get upset, or all beat eachother. All four things are distinctly possible, so Auburn will have a lot to play for every time they take the field. That being said, the injuries to the running game are something to be concerned about. They need enough offense to balance what has been an excellent defense all year.

#7 Florida

Walter: The same can be said for Florida. The only way they make the title game is if they beat Auburn in a rematch. That said, their road to the SEC title game is much harder. They play Gerorgia this weekend in Jacksonville (don't laugh, the Bulldogs suck but this game is ALWAYS closer than it should be), then have to travel to Vandy before Spurrier's return to the Swamp. If I'm a Gator fan I'm watching out for that one. Spurrier's ego is so huge he will bust out anything and everything to win that one, and the closer that one is the more pressure Urban Meyer is going to feel to win it. Also, let's not overlook Florida's season ending trip to Tallahasee. The Seminoles are a joke right now, but they hit their stride late last season and will definitely be up for a chance to play spoiler agains the Gators.

Frazier - The Gators are the dancing partner for Auburn. They pretty much need eachother right now. Of course Auburn already has one win over this team, and I'm STILL not sold on their quasi-quarterback rotation. I think that loss just heaped more pressure on Leak, and playing under the glaring spotlight has never been his strength. I think Meyer needs to be careful to not overcompensate and put too much emphasis on Tebow. The kid has talent and has been used perfectly this season; Meyer shouldn't stray too far from that formula.
Leak and Tebow have been a two-headed monster at quarterback
this season. Although slightly more ferocious than these dudes.

#8 Rutgers

Walter: I lobbied hard for the Knights to debut higher on this list (see the separate post on this subject) but eventually I compromised. What Rutgers has done this season is nothing short of amazing. They have three wins (@ South Florida, @ Navy, and @ Pitt) every bit as impressive as any three wins either Louisville or West Virginia has had. The Knights have a legit Heisman candidate in Ray Rice, and they are playing their best football of the season right now. What they did to Pitt last weekend was astounding. My esteemed co-blogger was thoroughly unimpressed with Pitt, but I, on the other hand, considered them a tough team with a veteran QB. Rutgers passed the test with flying colors and now has to be considered among the best teams in the nation. Worth noting, however, with all eyes on the WVU-Louisville matchup on Nov. 2, don't sleep on Rutgers who could stake every bit the claim to an appearance in the national title game as either of those teams if they win out (which would include victories over both). Anyone else get the feeling their final game against the Mountaineers in Morgantown might mean just a little bit more than we thought preseason?

Frazier - Some day I may be able to forget Tyler Palko running for his life against Utah. Basically, that game scarred him for life. And some day maybe I'll forget this Pitt team losing to Ohio last year. Not the Buckeyes, but the Bobcats. And some day maybe I'll forget that the man with the porno mustache is in reality, Wanny. But that day is not today. Pitt is terrible. The only reason I thought last week would be close is that I didn't give Rutgers enough credit. Although they absolutely escaped in a 2-point victory against S. Florida, and Navy lost it's quarterback early in that game, and in the Midshipmen offense, the quarterback is pretty much everything. I am willing to admit I underrated Rutgers. They have a serious role to play in the national title conversation, which is an incredible thing to say, and they have a legit Heisman caliber running back. WVU and Louisville get more love because we know more about them, about Brohm and Slaton, Rodriguez and Petrino. Now, Rice and Schiano have to give us a reason to remember those names as well.

#9 Texas

Walter: I don't have a whole lot to say about this team. They got killed by Ohio State, beat an undermanned OK team, and then sqeaked by Nebraska thanks to sheer idiocy by Bill Callahan (that's two games he's cost the Huskers this season). Texas, and their prodigal QB Colt McCoy, have made their living this season by beating up on inferior competition (Sam Houston State, Rice, North Texas to name three). These Longhorns remind me so much of some of the early 1990's Nebraska teams that padded their stats and ran up the score on weak opponents. Only those Huskers dominated big time teams as well. These Longhorns don't. When the Huskers were doing it, there was national outrage that Tom Osborne would schedule such cupcakes. Why then do we embrace this Texas team when Mack Brown is doing the same thing, but losing to the big boys when they play? At least Osborne's teams legitimized their numbers.

Frazier - Fuck it, I am taking a moment to defend the Nebraska teams of the 90s. Because if you want a more apt comparison to this years Longhorns, look no further than Kansas St. in the 90s. Now, THAT was a team that scheduled cupcakes. Annually all they had to do was beat Nebraska and land in the title game, and they simply could not do that. In fact, Nebraska typically took them behind the woodshed and made Dan Snyder pay for walloping the Creightons of the world. Also, Callahan's game plan against USC was indefensible, but they would probably still have lost that game. The Texas debacle was the only game he really lost for his boys. He didn't lose the USC game, he just didn't give his team their best chance at winning. Oh, I forgot to talk about Texas. Well, the Oklahoma win was nice, the Nebraska one was a total gift, and they got blown out by Ohio St. Texas did make some plays at the end of the Husker game, and do deserve credit for that, but frankly it should have been a loss, and then we're hardly talking about this team at all. They will have a chance to show us who they really are when bowl season comes around.

#10 Tennessee

Walter: They get dropped for two reasons: (1) they almost lost to an unranked Alabama team, and (2) Erik Ainge looks like he is about to remember who he is. Let's be honest, Ainge has been fantastic this season. He has done a fantastic Peyton Manning impression in Knoxville, but that's all it is-an impression. Ainge is not a heisman contender. He is not an all-america quarterback. He is not an all-SEC quarterback. He is Erik freakin Ainge. The same Erik Ainge who struggled since his Freshman season when all the pressure was on him. The same Erik Ainge that loses his command of the offense at inopportune moments. The same Erik Ainge that is prone to turning the ball over (witness 3 INT against 'Bama). The Vols are about to begin an aboslutely brutal stretch of game at South Carolina, at home against LSU, and at Arkansas. This is not the time you want your quarterback questioning himself. Let's leave it by saying that I wouldn't bet against this being the Vols last appearance on the power 10.

Frazier - Hard to get excited about our #10 position this week. Cal looked poor against Washington, and the Huskies backup quarterback almost led a stunning comeback. So they get dropped. Tennessee was taken to the wire by Alabama, so they dropped, but not as far. Mostly because Alabama also hung with Florida for three quarters, and has been playing tough this year. Remember, I've been warning you about Ainge for weeks. He WILL lose this team another game this year, basically by himself. Just mark my words.

Quick Hitch...  

Posted by Frazier

Well, Larry Coker is at it again. In a desperate attempt to save his job he is planning on reinstating receiver Ryan Moore. Of course it just so happens he might make it back on the field in time to play Georgia Tech in an absolutely crucial ACC game. Of course he is. Also notice that Coker seems much more concerned about Moore's physical shape than serving his punishment. Coker gives no reason for his reinstatement, no "he has served his punishment" or "he has completed the rehabilitation program" or "he has met the academic goals we set" instead Coker was concerned about whether he had enough practice time to be effective. "He's not cleared to play yet," Coker said. "We'll see how the week goes. That's why he needs to practice. Again, he's talented. The question was asked, how did he look? He looked good." The question obviously wasn't "has he been punished enough for someone who assaulted two women?" Coker is an absolute fraud. Once again, the U's priorities are football first, everything else second.

The Zookies  

Posted by Frazier

This Week's Best in Shaky Coaching

Well, it's a new week for the Zookies. Once again we took a look at some terrible in-game decisions, and a couple of season-long issues. The winners these week really showed a flair for the dramatic, grasping defeat out of the jaws of victory. Without further ado, here are the "winners".

Bronze Medal

Pat Hill, Fresno St. Really a shocking guy to end up here. A coach who has really brought this program from nowhere to the edge of the national stage, and one of the hottest coaches around. Until this year, of course. Starting with an upset bid went awry against USC last year, the Bulldogs are on a frightening 1-10 run. After breaking the Top 20 late last season they went on a four game dive to finish things up. This year they started promisingly against Nevada and proceeded to drop their next six. While some of their opposition has been pretty fierce, including a trip to LSU, they have also suffered defeat at the hands of one-win Utah St. Yikes. pat, you're better than this. Turn this garbage around.

Silver Medal

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern. Normally the 323 would refuse to put the young coach of the Wildcats on such a list. The school is still reeling from the tragic death of their coach, and Fitzgerald was thrown into an impossible situation. It's been a hard year, both on and off the field, for these young men. While we were willing to forgive a home loss to 1-AA UNH, we could not provide any cover for surrendering the biggest comeback of all-time. To friggin John L. Smith to boot! The second half play-calling is really the problem here. A 38-3 lead with 8 minutes left in the third quarter is an absolute lock as long as the clock keeps ticking. From that point on Northwestern had SEVEN drives, and burned a total of ELEVEN minutes. I mean, even two minutes a possession and they win this game. Look, Pat, just run the ball. That's all you need to do. They threw two interceptions late in the game, WHY?! They threw with a 38-17 lead deep in Spartan territory. Just relax, run the ball, kick the icing figgie, and call it a day. No need to call for a pass, no need for a touchdown in this situation. Ugh, I hate doing this, Pat, but you gotta put away John L. and his crew of morons.

Gold Medal

Bill Callahan, Nebraska. Another one from the clock-management all-stars. Just a pitiful performance. I'm not even going to kill his decision to throw on the crucial fumble. It was a good call, and a terrible turnover. But if he doesn't fumble, Callahan looks good. The real problem with old Bill was his use of the clock at the end of the game. With Texas nearing the ten yard line, Bill and his squad had over minute on the clock and a full compliment of timeouts. Well, he let it run. And run. And run. After a short gain, he called a time-out with 30 seconds left, at a time when Texas was scrambling and looked in danger of screwing up their play call, or taking a delay. Of course Texas didn't have any timeouts left and were eternally grateful. Furthermore, Bill wasted a couple more timeouts to "ice" the kicker. Well, the kicker was hardly iced for essentially an extra point, and Nebraska got the ball back with virtually no time left and no timeouts to even attempt to work with. So Bill wasted his timeouts AND the clock. Nebraska got the ball to midfield in about fifteen seconds. You think another 30-45 seconds may have given them a shot to get within field goal range? Bill, your team blow a lead with seconds remaining, and your inept use of the clock denied your boys any chance at a victory. Way to go, dumbass.

Hey, Bill, you guys have a lot in common!
You should totally hang out, maybe he can
help you work the clock in crucial situations.

Student Body Right . . . Student Body Wrong  

Posted by Walter

I was right about Oregon. Meaning no disrespect to Bill Doba and Washington State whatsoever, Oregon proved this week that they are, and always have been, total superfrauds. Let's examine their season, keeping in mind that at one point the Ducks rose all the way to #8 in the rankings.

Game 1: a 48-10 win over the now 0-8 Stanford Cardinal
Game 2: a 31-24 win over the now 1-6 Fresno State Bulldogs, though it is worth noting that the Ducks needed two special teams meltdowns by Fresno (a blocked FG, and a brain fart allowing the Ducks to score a TD on a fake FG) to win this one
Game 3: a 34-33 "win" at home over Oklahoma, and I don't think anything needs to be said about this (**note** for those of you keeping score, Oregon should be 1-2 right now)
Game 4: a 48-13 dismantling of an Arizona State team that was mired in the middle of a horrific 3 game losing streak
Game 5: a 45-24 beatdown is laid on them by the first good team they have faced all season, California, which was actually far more lopsided than the score indicated (at one point Cal was up 38-10)
Game 6: a 30-20 win over a UCLA team playing without their starting quarterback and best offensive player (Ben Olson)
Game 7: a 34-23 beat down at the hands of Washington State, a team that is solid but certainly not spectacular, but still managed to jump out to a eye-popping 27-3 halftime lead

So what does all this tell us? Well Oregon finds itself at a very undeserving 5-2, proving once again that it's better to be lucky than good. Bottom line, if not for: (1) poor Fresno special teams play, (2) poor officiating against Oklahoma, and (3) a fortuitous injury to Ben Olson, Oregon probably finds itself at 2-5 right now.

I was wrong about the Pac-10. In the preseason I actually referred to this conference as potentially "loaded." WOW was I wrong. Even it's undisputed top 2 teams (USC and Cal) have been completely uninspiring this season. Frazier, I agree that Notre Dame is overrated, but given the track record of the Pac-10 this season, would you really feel comfortable predicting a USC domination in a non-league game?

I was right about Michigan. WOW is that defense terrifying! While I was watching them absolutely dismantly Iowa, it hit me.....the 2006 Michigan Wolverines are what would happen if we took a really good SEC team and stuck them in the Big 10. Think about it, the Wolverines run the football, they throw the ball deep, and they have speed, speed, speed, at every defensive position. Even looking at this team you think they'd be straight out of Florida. Every player is just ripped up (there are no bellies on the Wolverine defenders), and even their big uglies can run. This is an SEC style team playing in, and dominating, the big 10!

I was wrong about Clemson. They are the class of the ACC this season and should be even better next year. Keeping with the theme of the last paragraph, the Tigers are what would happen if a Big 10 team played in the ACC. They dominate with a power, zone running game, a dominant offensive line, and generally just being bigger and meaner than you! With the influx of BC and VTech into the ACC, could this be the direction the conference is going in?

I was right about BC.....kind of. To be honest I thought they would lose the game against FSU because the 'Noles needed it more, but I would never pick or bet against them. Like the Clemson Tigers, the Eagles are the class of the ACC right now and should be even stronger next season. The bottom line is that we may be seeing a changing of the guard in the ACC with several teams ready to dethrone FSU.

I was wrong about Texas A & M. Lost in the shuffle this past weekend was a huge road victory over Oklahoma State. Dennis Franchione really has this team playing well, and with a lot of confidence, although now that people are taking notice the time is ripe for one of his team's patented 3 game losing streaks.

I was right about John L. Smith. Yes, that's right, even when his team completes the biggest comeback in NCAA history I will find a way to rip him for his incompetence. The fact that the Spartans executed such a comeback against Northwestern just serves as yet another illustration that Smith's Michigan State teams are capable of so much more than they perform.

I was wrong about Colt McCoy. Though he wasn't great against Ohio State, I think he deserves some slack since it was his 2nd collegiate game. The undisputed facts are that his stats this season are other worldly, so much that it has been suggested that super freshman Jevan Snead may want to look elsewhere. All you need to know is that in his first season of Big 12 play, McCoy has a nearly 7:1 TD to interception ratio. WOW!

I was right about Roslyn High School. There was some magic in the air as they dominated Westbury from the opening gun to the tune of an 18-8 win. My cousin playing in the game played well, and my cousins performing in the halftime show were just outstanding. Plus it was a beautiful day. Go Bulldogs!

Student Body Right... Student Body Wrong...  

Posted by Frazier

Well, I pulled George Costanza on Friday and finally got a non-Saturday win. I simply went against all my instincts and laid a massive number of points on the road. Who knew? That win helped me to another winning weekend, although it was a close shave. On the other hand, sometimes you're more right about the ones you get right than the ones you get wrong. Always an adventure.

Yeah, all it took was to act like this guy to get a win.
Maybe I should have just been content being wrong.

I was right about:

Michigan handing it to Iowa. The Hawkeyes managed just 41 yards on the ground. Wow. That front seven has been incredible this year. Once again the Wolverines were paced by their defense. This time they simply chose to grind out the win.

I was wrong about:

I refuse to give that defense enough credit. Why I ever though Iowa was capable of putting up double digits is beyond me. Look at all my Michigan picks, I get the spread just about right, but I always overestimate how much anyone can score on them. And yet I keep hyping their defense. Odd.

I was right about:

The UConn-West Virginia game. I haven't been giving the Mountaineers enough credit, they have really been dominating people. Pat White was the difference maker this time.

I was wrong about:

The WVU defense had a much better outing than I expected. Their pass rush has really stepped up in the last few weeks after a frighteningly slow start. They are create pressure up front, and wreaked havoc in the backfield last week. They also jumped some routes and played an opportunistic, gambling style which makes them capable of extremely good, and extremely bad, performances.

I was right about:

Both Texas and Nebraska are pretty lousy. I don't understand where all this McCoy love is coming from. He barely held off a mediocre Nebraska squad. If not for a totally egregious turnover (one of the worst you'll ever see) Texas is lodged somewhere in the 20's at this point. Callahan will be hearing from the 323 later in the week for his clock management (or lack thereof).
I'm betting that this one can't be found on
Bill Callahan's bookshelf. Um, maybe he
should add it to the reading list.

I was wrong about:

At least Nebraska came to play, which they did not do against USC. I thought they'd completely roll over and die, but they really put up a fight. Both these teams stink though. They just do.

I was right about:

The Louisville game. They were in control throughout, but didn't put them away. They need to take some time and figure out what is going on, because WVU has looked hot as hell recently.

I was wrong about:

Totally dismissing Washington. Willingham has his guys playing hard, and they almost pulled the stunner against Cal. I think the Golden Bears need to lose this Jekyll and Hyde shit before they blow their season (again).

I was right about:

Alabama playing Tennessee close. Hey, Ainge, how are your 3 interceptions doing? Don't worry, he's beginning to revert to form. Just give him some time.

I was wrong about:

Clemson, probably. Either them or Georgia Tech. But I'm beginning to think that Tommy Bowden actually has a capable team this time. Of course that means they will turn around and start blowing games. But the way they dominated Calvin Johnson was absolutely shocking.

I was right about:

Notre Dame. They stink. Honestly, they are terrible. I couldn't possibly be more sick of them. The national media needs to get up off their knees. The Golden Domers are LUCKY to have avoided devastating losses to both UCLA and Michigan St. I don't care how uninspired USC has looked, if the Irish stroll into LA and play like that again they are going to get completely obliterated.

I was wrong about:

Rutgers. I was totally wrong about their alleged "showdown" with UConn. An excellent year by them is huge for WVU's or Louisville's national title hopes. Unles of course the Scarlet Knights beat them, which is beginning to seem like a distinct possibility.

I was right about:

Rutgers handling Wanny and company. And I still think Palko is a bum.

I was wrong about:

Oregon. They were a sham. Absolutely. The big man has me on this one. A bunch of bums.

I was right about:

Texas A&M. They weren't quite able to seal the deal and blow a game to hapless Oklahoma St. but they came damn close. A classic Franchione outing, but his team saved themselves in the final seconds. Don't worry, they have plenty of more chances to fall apart in big games.

I was wrong about:

Florida St. Yikes. I know I defended Bowden, and I stand by that, but they've lost a little swagger. ACC teams which for years found ways to lose to FSU teams that were underperforming are finally finding ways to win. I can't count the number of times that a Chris Rix or Wyatt Sexton led team found a way to beat an ACC opponent which had every reason to win the game. Now those teams are getting their revenge at the 'Noles expense. Still, I expect FSU to make someone's life miserable by the time the season enters the home stretch.

Quick Hitch....  

Posted by Frazier

Ok, I've had it. Apparantly some Florida St. boosters are asking for Bowden's job. Very interesting. Apparently it's not okay to be a coaching legend and ONLY 4-3 on the year. Oh yeah, their 3 losses have included ones to the #20 team (BC) in America (a game where FSU started 5 true freshmen) by 5 points and a tough, 7 point loss to the #12 team in the country (Clemson). Ok, the loss to NC State wasn't great, but they have played the 'Noles tough for years, and have been good at home, also knocking off BC in Raleigh. Bowden has been forced to play 17 freshmen in key roles this year. Yikes.

Also, they did make the Orange Bowl last year, and while 8-5 isn't the best record of Bowden's career, they did beat #5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. If they had any kind of kicker they would have knocked off #3 Penn St. to finish the year as Orange Bowl champs.

In the previous three years FSU has gone 27-11 and appeared in the Orange Bowl twice. The other bowl was a Gator Bowl victory over WVU. They ended up with a #8 ranking to end 2003.

Compare him to another legend, Joe Paterno. This year PSU is similar to FSU, but with less upside, and sitting at 5-3. Everyone knows they had a magical run last year, but prior to that they finished 3-9 and 4-7. Now people were calling for Paterno to step down too, but a little patience paid off last year, as they finished 11-1 and the consensus #3 team. Any year where USC and Texas weren't easily the best two teams in the country and the Nittany Lions may have found themselves fighting for the title.

Florida St. fans owe everything they have to Bowden. Furthermore, the man still hasn't had a single fucking losing season since his first at the helm, thirty years ago. He hasn't finished the season unranked in TWENTY YEARS! Oh, he's also a gentleman, and one of the most respected, and nicest people in all of sports. Also, he landed the top defensive recruit in the country last year, so he is still drawing talent to Tallahassee, and he had virtually his entire defense drafted last year. Look, a made extra point in the Orange Bowl, and a couple plays against Clemson or BC, and everyone is talking about how Bowden is back, and FSU is getting all the hype they're used to. Whatever, Seminoles fans are fucking idiots. Someone should tomahawk chop these morons in the jugular.

Quick Picks....  

Posted by Frazier

Last week was another solid outing for me, so I'm probably due for a letdown. Still, I pick 'em, they play 'em. We have another non-Saturday game, so feel free to ignore my selection in the UConn-WVU tilt. This week is "Big East Love" weekend. While the Big East has been totally ignored this season, there are several teams playing some real ball this year. So we're shining the spotlight on this overlooked conference. Let's see how they play.

Texas -8 AT Nebraska

I still don't think that the Longhorns are necessarily any good, but I'm pretty much positive that Nebraska is secretly lousy. I have a feeling that they will once again play not to lose, meaning that they will. This is the biggest game left for Texas, and I think they come out big. Nebraska just hasn't shown enough fire. Texas extinguishes them, 30-14.

Florida St. -4 vs. BC

The Seminoles NEED this game. As I said in the mailbag, I have a feeling that BC has a couple of losses in them, especially when things are looking brightest. Also, the injury to Ryan is real cause for concern. Back-up quarterbacks are going to struggle in at the 'Noles backyard. Even if Ryan plays, his lack of mobility could be costly if FSU can fire up the pass rush. Bowden's boys are in dire straits, and playing for pride. They restore a little of it, 24-13.

Michigan -13 vs. Iowa

Wow, this is definitely a game I wouldn't want to put real money on. That's a lot of points to give a well-coached Hawkeyes team. However, the Michigan front seven is going to give Drew Tate fits, smack him in the mouth, and force him into bad decisions (like he made against Ohio St.). My only question is whether the Wolverines will score enough points. They have so much confidence in their defense that they totally went into a shell against PSU last week after getting a 14 point lead. But they are playing in the Big House, and there is also the potential for short fields, or defensive points. Also, they will want to put on a show. I think they do just that, 31-13.

Alabama +11 AT Tennessee

Once again, it's just a LOT of points. And I'm still not entirely sold on this Vols team. They confuse me a little, and have played some games closer than they should have. Alabama is due for a game that gets them some national respect. They are the proverbial "tough out" and this game is no different. Tennessee wins, but not by enough, 27-17.

Georgia Tech +7 AT Clemson

The Jackets still aren't getting any love. It's another big spread on the road, and last time they completely took it to Virginia Tech in this situation. This game is no different. Clemson has suffered some real defensive injuries, and Calvin Johnson is one of the best players in the country. Ball makes some plays, and finds his favorite target. Also, the Jackets defense has been tough this year, and held the potent ND attack to only 14 points. The spread is way too high, but it doesn't even matter. Georgia Tech pulls the upset, 24-20.

Rutgers +6.5 AT Pitt

It's officially Big East time at the 323. We'll start off with the Scarlet Knights, who have been getting absolutely zero love this year. I'm sorry, but any team that LOST to Michigan St. shouldn't be favored by this much over an undefeated team. Rutgers is on a mission this year, and only one of these teams is coached by The Moustached One. If Rutgers loses, they aren't going down without a fight. They keep the dream alive, barely, 21-20.

West Virginia -23 AT UConn

Wow, I can't believing I'm laying so many points on the road. An absolutely stunning decision by me. Also, since is the Friday game, obviously the wrong one. But I can't get over one little piece of information. UConn gave up 464 rushing yards to Navy AT HOME, and are ranked 105th in the country in run defense. I mean, I can't get over it. This spread is fucking immense, but WVU makes a statement in this one, 45-20.

Syracuse +17.5 vs. Louisville

I think that Louisville will be ok in this one. But the Carrier Dome can be a tricky place to play, and Robinson really is a competent defensive coach. Louisville is focused on their next game, and so they don't run away with this one. I can also see the 'Cuse scoring late garbage points even if they fall behind early. It's just a ton of points, and I can't pass it up. The Cardinals keep rolling, but Syracuse covers, 37-21.

Last week: 6-2
Season: 20-11-1

Week 7 Picks  

Posted by Walter

OK well in lieu of what has seemingly become a weekly custom of picking games involving secondary programs from major conferences (doesn't it seem like we've picked every Washington State and Oregon game this year), we are going to give the Big East some love and pick all the games in what promises to be a huge weekend for the conference.

Also, since I am headed out of town in a couple of hours to watch my cousin play high school football this weekend, my picks are noticably less verbose than usual. I am sure all you readers will find some way to console yourselves.

Rutgers +6.5 over @ Pittsburgh

I would feel more comfortable about this pick if the line hadn't fallen below afull touchdown, but I still like the Scarlet Knights to cover this one. Rutgers has come too far, too fast to get blown out by a Dave Wannstedt coached team. This is arguably the biggest game in the history of Rutgers football and my guess is Greg Schiano has his team ready to go. Look for Rutgers to get pressure on Tyler Palko, because if the ultra efficient Pitt QB has time to throw it could spell doom for what has been a dream season for the Knights. Rutgers keeps it close and has a chance to win late, but the home field advantage and the experience of Palko boosts Pitt. Call it 23-20.

@ UConn +23 over West Virginia

This one is simple. So far this season, the Mountaineers have been a different team on the road. They haven't really shown the same offensive explosion until the second half of road games, and their defense has been somewhat shakier (see East Carolina). UConn, is a solid if not spectacular team, and, sadly, provides WVU with their stiffest challenge to date. Playing at home look for UConn to rely on its own running game (which ranks in the top 10 nationally) and shorten the game againt the WVU offense. The Mountaineers win handily, but not by 23. Let's say 35-20.

@ Syracuse +17.5 over Louisville

This isn't a pick based solely on the Cardinals lackluster effort againt Cinci last week. As I said in our power rankings, this is the time of the season when good defensive coaches have enough information to really put together some complex gameplans. As such, this is the time when great teams need their star players the most. Looking at Louisville's two best offensive players, I see one sitting on the sideline for the season (Mike Bush) and one still shaking the rust off from missing several weeks with a throwing hand injury (Brian Brohm). The Carrier Dome is one of the toughest places to play in the nation and this spread looks too tempting especially given the way the Orange offense played in the first half last week against West Virginia. I say Louisville still wins (the Big East desperately needs them to, so that the matchup with the Mountaineers isn't mooted), but Greg Robinson makes it hard on them. Call it 31-21.

Boston College +4 over @ Florida State

Homer pick!! Homer pick!! Homer pick!!

@ Michigan -13 over Iowa

Michigan's defense is just way too big, way too mean, and way too talented for the Hawkeyes to contend with. The big knock on Iowa this season has been how soft they have played against big time competition. That won't fly against this Michigan team that has been absolutely mauling opponents all season. Chad Henne and Drew Tate look like quarterbacks going in opposite directions, and even without Mario Manningham the Wolverines passing game has enough in the tank to disect a suddenly suspect Iowa defensive backfield. Call it Michigan 27-10.

Alabama +11 over @ Tennessee

On paper, the Vols should win this game handily. That said, the Volunteer defense has been underachieving all season, and the suddenly potent Bama passing game might just have enough to keep this one closer than most people think. Crazy as it seems, John Parker Wilson to DJ Hall has been one of the three most potent passing combos in the entire SEC, and Ken Darby seemed to woken up with his 160+ yard rushing effort last week. Expect the Bama offense to put some points on the board early, but Tennessee to win going away. If this game was 5 quarters long I would never take the points. Call it Tennessee 30-21.

Georgia Tech +7 over @ Clemson

With Clemson clearly being the better team in this one, the real question becomes just how many points is Calvin Johnson worth? Well, I'm betting that his presence is worth at least a touchdown. We know that on offense Clemson will run the ball behing what has turned into a dominant offensive line. We also know that on defense they will be keyed on stopping Johnson. Clemson has some talent in the secondary, but those players lack experience. Look for Johnson to get his catches and yards, but with Clemson shutting down the rest of the Tech offense. Clemson wins it, but Johnson makes it a lot closer that it technically should be. Call it Clemson 27-24.

**Bonus Pick** @ Rosyln High School over Westbury High

Roslyn's only win is over Jericho. Westbury's only wins are over Jericho and Great Neck. I feel some magic in the air for Roslyn two weeks after getting the monkey off their back with the win over Jericho. Call it Roslyn 20-Westbury 19.

Last Week: 6-2
Season: 33-22-2

Power Rankings (Week 7)  

Posted by Walter

Coach Tressel is thrilled to be
heading the Power 10 for another week.

#1 Ohio State

Walter: Well, I admit it, I've just run out of things to say about this team. So I will use this space to address two players who I feel are as deserving as anyone of all-america status, but probably won't even be in the conversation. I speak of WR Anthony Gonzalez and RB Antonio Pittman. Gonazlez has put up 34 catches for 522 yards and 5 TD this season, probably not enough to get him on the AA team ahead of guys like Calvin Johnson and Mario Manningham. That said, Gonzalez has been a first down machine this season, and has played his two best games in the Buckeye's two biggest games (@ Texas he had 8 for 142 and a TD, and @ Iowa he had 5 for 77 and 2 TD). This is Ohio State's best WR, not Ted Ginn. As for Pittman, his stats don't blow you away either (126 carris, 673 yards and 8 TD). But make no mistake, he, not Troy Smith, is the most important player in the Ohio State offense. Pittman is one of two players to score a TD in every game this season (the other being Jorvorski Lane, who is essentially a goalline back for A&M), and he has been the mark of consistency that this team takes it lead from.

Frazier - Forget it. I'm using the space to run another funny picture. We all know they are the best team in the country right now, and there is only one game that matters.
Fuck it, I miss Terry Tate.

#2 Michigan

Walter: How ridiculous is the Michigan front seven, well Penn State's Tony Hunt came into the game with three straight 100 yard efforts. Not only did Michigan hold Hunt under 100 yards, but they held the Nittany Lions to -14 yards rushing for the game! I'll tell you what, this Michigan team may be the best in the entire nation. Not even Ohio State can match their combination of suffocatingly physical defense, and efficiency on offense. Still doubting the Michigan defense? Well take a look at what PJ Hill and the Wisconsin offense has done to every other team they have faced this year, and then look at what Michigan did to them. This front 7 is scary good. I think the Oakland Raiders would take all seven Wolverines over their starting 7 right now!

Frazier - Their defense is playing out of its' mind right now. That front seven has been absolutely devestating to everyone they have played. They knocked two Nittany Lions quarterbacks out of the game, and completely dominated Tony Hunt. They shut down PJ Hill earlier in the year, and they are holding teams to a paltry 30 yards/game on the ground right now. Not a whole lot else you can say about them. Although their play calling did get a little too conservative in Beaver Stadium. They let Penn St. hang around for too long, and then a careless defensive effort allowed PSU to close to within seven with a chance to tie in the final minutes. A perfect season can disappear just like that. Still, they are playing as well as anyone in the country right now, and if they were hosting the Buckeyes than they might find themselves national title frontrunners right now.

#3 USC

Walter: Well the Trojans have been thoroughly uninspiring this season, but still maintain this top three status based on the rule of attrition. In fact, that might be the best way to describe this team this season. They keep winning, albeit unimpressively, while other previously undefeated teams fall from the ranks. Given the current landscape, and the Trojan's upcoming schedule, it appears that if the men of Troy can hold serve at home (against Cal, Oregon, and Notre Dame) they will be playing in the BCS title game. Here's to hoping one of those three knocks them off their perch though (my money is on Cal).

Frazier - They managed to get here by attrition. Their entire season reminds me of the NCAA Tournament with their "survive and advance" mentality right now. And sometimes it's good enough to win the title, but in football it just isn't going to be. They really need to show me some more life. Booty is looking like a substitute teacher right now. He has the lesson plan, and he knows the material, but it just isn't working for him. He needs to step forward and be a leader. Seeing Leinart leading his team by example in Arizona makes me think that as much as they miss his talent, they probably miss his leadership and heart more than anything right now. USC used to talked about dominance, about never thinking they would lose, about wanting to crush opponents and looking forward to game day. This team is like the nerd who scored the hot chick, all they can think about is not screwing it up.
Hey, USC! Don't screw this up!
Eyes on the prize(s)!

#4 Louisville

Walter: Two good things from their scare against Cincinatti: (1) they won the game, and (2) Brian Brohm was able to play an entire game and shake most of his rust off. That said, after a performance like that you have to wonder if maybe the injury to Michael Bush is finally catching up to this team. Brohm is great, and Petrino is proving to be a borderline genius, but it's hard to imagine a team could lose a player like Bush and not miss a beat for the whole season. This is the time of year when teams have enough game film and scouting to really be able to scheme effectively against even the most powerful offense. This is when you need your outstanding players to be outstanding, and where a team like Louisville really misses a superstar like Bush. I think this weekend's game against a much improved Syracuse at the Carrier dome has a chance to be a major upset. Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson is a former NFL and NCAA defensive coordinator, and I bet he comes up with something to slow the Cardinals down.

Frazier - It was tough keeping them ahead of WVU after their scare against Cincinatti. However, they deserve a lot of credit for playing and winning a close game, and now that Brohm is back they are going to get even better. Maybe shaking the rust off against the Bearcats WAS a good idea, so that he'll head into Syracuse reading to play at a high level. This is when they need to focus most, because they could get caught looking ahead to their apocalypse in two weeks.

#5 West Virginia

Walter: Hard as it is to believe, this game at UConn is by far the hardest that the Mountaineers will have played this season. No disrespect to UConn, but that does speak to the absolute absurdity of the WVU schedule. Now as for the game, this is another Big East contest that may be worth keeping an eye on. West Virginia has been sluggish on the road thus far this season (see East Carolina), and UConn will absolutely be up for this game. While the Huskies can't match WVU's talent, they are a solid team (3-3 this season), playing at home, and have the ability to run the football. UConn is extremely well coached and could provide WVU with some early fits. That said, come on......West Virginia you guys should be embarrassed with this schedule.

Frazier - If a team falls in the forest, and no one not from West Virginia is around, does it make a dent in the rankings? Seriously, does it even matter? All West Virginia can do is keep winning (and they certainly will this week) and pray that the computers suddenly fall in love with them. It would be a shame to have an undefeated WVU team behind a team like Auburn or Florida with a loss at the end of the year, but they have played some pretty pathetic competition. Anyways, hopefully everything works itself out.

#6 Auburn

Walter: What a difference a week can make. Auburn did get a little lucky against Florida (the botched punt), but the bottom line is that they made fewer mistakes than the Gators, and won the game as a result. The interesting thing will be seeing whether this game is a climax for the Tigers season, or whether they use this momentum to win the SEC and possibly clinch a berth in the BCS title game. On a side note, I cannot help but wonder how this season might have unfolded if redshirt freshman linebacker Tray Blackmon had not been suspended for the first 6 games. Blackmon is an absolute animal at linebacker, and his speed and tenacity makes the Auburn front 7 so much more formidable. Would his presence have been enough to stop the Arkansas running game? Who knows. But I can tell you he would have made a HUGE difference.

Frazier - Welcome back! I kind of missed these guys last week. Their game against Florida was certainly sloppy at times, but they made enough plays to win. They also managed to avoid costly mistakes which really made the difference in a close game. The win puts the Tigers in position to win out and have a very real chance at the championship game. While they may have that loss to Arkansas, I think there is a very real chance that the Hogs end up with a couple more SEC losses. After last weeks performance I can't help but wonder what exactly happened in that game? Further proof that in the SEC you have to come to play each and every week.

#7 Florida

Walter: You know, up until Saturday I felt bad for Chris Leak. I always thought he was a good player, and I thought the Gator faithful were treating him unfairly in this whole Tim Tebow fiasco. Well, after Leak's stinker of a game against Auburn I have no sympathy left for him. Leak quickly becoming a more contemporary Peyton Manning. A hugely talented, highly touted quarterback, who seems to always play his worst when the lights shine the brightest. Now I mean no disrespect to Manning (who I admire, and truly believe will one day win the Super Bowl), but don't you get the feeling that the 2007 Gators might be poised for a championship season under Tebow (a la the Tee Martin led Vols winning the title a year after Manning's graduation)?

Frazier - This offense just isn't tough enough to play with the big boys. Auburn smacked them around. What would Leak have done against that awesome Wolverine rush? Would he have actually started crying in the huddle? Well, if Florida keeps winning and Michigan can't handle OSU, we just might find out. I think it'd be hilarious. As for Tebow, he is definitely a better fit for this offense, and I like his toughness and athleticism, but I am willing to be that he would have made plenty of freshman mistakes against the Tigers. Meyer is no idiot. He has put Tebow in positions to succeed. He has given him limited looks, and a small part of the play book to master, and has used him as a change of pace player. As good as Tebow has looked at times, one only has to examine the work of other uber-recruits like Juice Williams, Matt Stafford and Mitch Mustain to find the flashes of brilliance that made them such coveted players, as well as enough mistakes, poor reads, bad decisions, and costly turnovers to give a head coach nightmares. Ultimately, Tebow will probably have more success than Leak, but he would not have lead the Gators to victory last Saturday, end of story.
Wait, why doesn't Chris Leak fit
in this offense?!

#8 Tennessee

Walter: Alright, it might just be time for me to issue a formal mea culpa regarding Erik Ainge and the Vols. I will not, nor do I believe I must, issue one to Phil Fulmer. All the Vols success this year has done, is magnify just how much damage Fulmer's conservative play calling has done to this progra low these last 10 years. With all the offensive talent that the Vols have had, it is very clear that Fulmer should have handed the keys to the offense to a play caller like Cutcliffe long ago. Who knows that might have been.

Frazier - Fuck you, Erik Ainge. I still think you're lousy. I also think that Cutcliffe is a genius. The Vols have looked pretty good the last several weeks. Although they are hard to figure out. For as much credit as you have to give them with the way Cal has played, you also have to subtract a lot from the Georgia win, since the Bulldogs lost to Vandy. So what does that mean to the Vols? It means that the state of Tennessee (and any other mediocre football team) owns UGA right now. It also means that I think the Vols are in for a couple of pretty impressive wins (possibly over Arkansas) and some tough losses (at South Carolina looks worrisome to me).

#9 California

Walter: Well, the Bears didn't beat Washington State with offense, but rather with defense. That is a scary thought. Cal has been consistently putting up 40 points over the past few weeks, and what happens when their offense has an off day? The defense nearly pitches a shutout against a talented Wazzou offense (remember what Alex Brink, Jason Hill and co. did to USC?). California is peaking at the right time, and it is just about make or break time for this team. As well as they've played, if Jeff Tedford's team can't come through with a victory over USC the season has to be considered a failure. One more thing, why isn't Desean Jackson getting more hype? Do people not realize just how good this guy is? The guy has sub 4.3 speed and is an absolute gamebreaker in the passing and return game. I mean is it me or is this guy the reincarnation of Rocket Ismail!!!!?

Frazier - I want to warn my fellow motorists out there. The big man is driving the Bears bandwagon right now, and it's careening out of control, and he may or may not be drunk. If the Bears defense can keep it up, USC is in a LOT of trouble. I'm definitely impressed with this bunch, and they are really a team to watch in the second half. Remember, it's been USC's defense over the last few years that have won championships, and defensive failures that doomed them last season. Tedford appears a step closer to reproducing that formula.
Get out of the way!
The Bears are coming through!

#10 Texas

Walter: While everyone wants to get excited about Colt McCoy's 5 TD passes against Baylor, I'm still not buying it. McCoy was OK against Oklahoma, and terrible against Ohio State. Until he does it against some big time competition I'm not buying. This weekend will be a great opportunity for McCoy, as the Longhorns travel to Nebraska. They should win the game easily, but I will be more intersted in watching McCoy play than in the actual score. I certainly hope that this Longhorns team loses again this year, because I just couldn't handle it if they ended up in the BCS title game. They already proved they don't belong on the same field as Ohio State, must we witness it again?

Frazier - Ugh. This is pretty much it for the Longhorns. They have to travel to Nebraska and beat the enigma that is the 2006 Huskers. Nebraska is running like they used to, but their defense was shredded by Kansas (among others) and they were a total non-factor when they "played" USC. Yet, this is the toughest game left on the schedule for Texas (by the time they play A&M, the Aggies will have blown a couple of winnable games). I'm not sold on McCoy either, but the Big 12 is an absolute joke this year. They have enough talent to win out, but their first real test since the loss to Ohio St. may not come until their BCS game. Yikes.

The Team

How's the look?