Thursday, November 30, 2006
As expected, North Carolina scored almost at will in the post. Othello Hunter and Matt Terwilliger didn't play poorly (Terwilliger in particular impressed my untrained eye with his work defensively), but they are no Tyler Hansbrough and Brandan Wright. Obviously, a better inside presence is forthcoming for Ohio State, so I'm not too worried about that.
I also think that the Buckeye's lack of depth showed as the game went on. Much was made of North Carolina's depth, and they had nine guys play more than ten minutes (with a tenth playing nine minutes). OSU, by contrast, had their usual eight. The game was played at a pretty high pace (76 possessions), which meant two things for OSU: increased opportunity to foul (and therefore some foul trouble), and more time on the court running around for those who weren't in foul trouble. Some of the guys looked a little tired toward the end, and some (Hunter and Ivan Harris, in particular) didn't get a chance to play as much as you'd want due to foul trouble.
But there was a lot of good to take away from the game. The Buckeyes shot extremely well, going 13 of 26 on their threes. Ivan Harris was excellent again, going 5 of 8 on his threes en route to 18 points. They also showed the ability to drive to the basket. Mike Conley occasionally looked like Allen Iverson, blowing past defenders and around big men on his way to layups. Ron Lewis was even more impressive, scoring 24 of his 30(!) points inside the arc.
Overall, the team proved that they were as good as they looked against the Loyolas and Kent States earlier in the season. The only real weakness on the team is a major presence inside. If they had had Terence Dials for this game, I believe they would have won. However, they aren't getting Dials. They are getting a guy that is viewed by just about everyone as better than Dials in just about every facet of the game. We know now that the rest of the team can play with the best in college basketball. If Greg Oden can do likewise, this could be a scary good team.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
First, there were three letters to the editor in the Lantern about the tickets (and lack thereof). The first letter is from a guy who didn't hear about the lottery and was therefore out of town on Monday and missed the lottery. The athletic department doesn't promote a lot of the ticket opportunities very well specifically because they know that word of mouth alone will result in more demand than they need. It's a logical thing to do, but results in unfortunate situations like this. The other two letters say pretty much the same thing I said Monday, but at least they confirm that I'm not just a lone crackpot on this ticket situation.
Next up is a breakdown from the university of how their 16,000 tickets are distributed. Looking at all the people they need to give tickets to, it's tough not to appreciate how difficult their task is, trying to keep so many people happy. But then, other parts of it just serve to make me angrier. In particular:
- They claim the student lottery distributed 1,100 tickets. But if you count the winning numbers, either by hand (as two people I know did) or by importing them into Excel (as I just did), you will find that there were 1,000 winners. Where are the other one hundred tickets? True, one hundred tickets isn't much to get worked up about, but why claim you're giving out more tickets than you are, when it's so easy to prove you wrong? That bugs me.
- The "President's Club/Buckeye Club/Development" segment (the big time donors, for the uninitiated) gets by far the largest piece of the pie, receiving 4,900 tickets. For comparison, that's almost ten times what the season ticket holders received, almost five times what the students received, and nearly twice what was allotted for the players, coaches, staff, and their families.
They will want to be careful. With tuition and other costs of post-secondary education rising, some students (everywhere, not just at OSU) are feeling like they aren't getting the same bang for their educational buck, like they are no more than a source of revenue for the university. The athletic department isn't helping, as tickets are getting more and more expensive and tougher and tougher to resell. Now the department is telling students (in particular, but also season ticket holders and, to a lesser extent, alumni) that they aren't an important enough revenue stream to warrant anything resembling the consideration for tickets that the big time donors receive. They aren't helping to foster much love for the ol' alma mater, and it might come back to haunt them when they need new donors down the road.
There is still a sliver of hope for us ticketless students, however. The athletic department has announced that there is going to be a second lottery on Thursday night for the unclaimed tickets from the earlier student and faculty/staff lotteries. I'm guessing it won't be more than a few hundred tickets, but hey, it'll help.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
So, with no further ado, let's take a look at the team. Let's begin with the starters:
Mike Conley - One of the Thad Five, he has been starting at point guard all season, which was something of a surprise to me. I thought he was good, but nowhere near good enough to displace Jamar Butler (which he has only sort of done, as we'll discuss). I must admit, though, that he has exceeded my expectations. He has been distributing the ball very well, averaging 6.3 assists per game even without Greg Oden to feed the ball to in the middle. Even more impressive, he averages 2.9 assists for every turnover, which is good for anyone, and great for a true freshman point guard. He's also averaging 3.2 steals a game. The only negative is that he doesn't have much of an outside shot, going 1-7 on his threes. As the Wonk mentioned, at least he seems to be aware that he doesn't shoot well from outside, since he's only attempted seven threes. He does a good job driving to the basket. He's going to be something special before he's done here.
Jamar Butler - Butler plays shooting guard when Conley's on the floor and point guard when Conley's out. I was going to write here that Butler's taken on more of a scoring role, but the numbers don't exactly back me up there, as he's averaging 8.8 points a game - not exactly a gaudy number. He's still averaging 5.7 assists per game, which is a good number (as is his assists to turnover ratio, 2.1). He's only shooting 36.8% from behind the arc, which (while not terrible) does explain his relative lack of point production, since 82.6% of his shots are threes. Presumably his three point average will creep up toward 40%, and his scoring average will increase accordingly. He's in something of an unusual situation when he's playing with Conley: he's a distributor asked to be a scorer, instead of the other way around. The double role will take some getting used to for him, I expect. It also makes him tough to evaluate: 6 assists is good for a shooting guard, but decent for a point guard, while 9 points is acceptable for a point guard, but not enough for a starting shooting guard. He's an excellent point guard occasionally playing shooting guard, with all the positives and negatives that come along with it.
Ron Lewis - The scorer of the starting five. He's averaging 17 points and five rebounds per game. 59% of his shots are threes, and he hits 47.2% of them, which is good. Last year, his outside shot was the weak part of his game, offensively, and he seems to have worked on it. He's been asked to shoulder more of the scoring load, and he's handled it with no problem. The only question mark I have about him is his defensive ability. I don't mean to say that he isn't a good defender, just that I don't know if he is or not. I can't say I'm a great evaluator of defensive basketball skills, and the team as a whole hasn't been tested all season. Out of all the starters, he's the one I'm least worried about on a nightly basis. His job is to score, and you can count on him to get it done. If the three is falling, he's not afraid to shoot. If it's not, he's not afraid to drive.
David Lighty - Another of the Thad Five, he's considered the defensive stopper of the starters, if not the team, which is another way to say "his contribution is difficult to quantify." His numbers are alright (8.3/3.2/1.5), but not great. And, like I said, I can't tell you if he's been that great on defense or not. But he's still starting and getting plenty of playing time, so apparently Thad Matta's satisfied with his performance. And since Thad's the one getting the big bucks to know what's what basketball-wise, I'll defer to his judgement.
Othello Hunter - The least-heralded of the Thad Five, and a pleasant surprise so far. He's averaging 7.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. You add in the 1.8 blocks per game and you have a solid interior player. He's no Terence Dials, but he's not being asked to score like Dials was last year. All he has to do is be a solid role player, and he's done that and more. He rebounds well, and he's a capable scorer. He'll complement whatshisname nicely when he returns (arrives?).
Daequan Cook - Cook is the best scorer on the team, and he may be the best player on this team under seven feet tall. He leads the team in points (17.8) and is second in rebounds (7.2). He's hitting 48% of his threes, though only 33.8% of his shots are threes. He also throws in 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. My usual note about defensive ability applies, but from what we've seen so far, he's the real deal. Everyone's worried about Greg Oden leaving at the end of the year, but by season's end, we may be just as worried about Cook leaving.
Ivan Harris - Ivan Harris is a shooter, plain and simple. If the shots are falling, he puts up a lot of points. If they aren't, he's still shooting, which is not a good thing. Fortunately, the shots have been falling for most of the season. He's third on the team at 11.3 ppg, and he's hitting on 46.4% of his threes. I have to think a guy like Harris would drive a coach crazy. When he gets the ball, there's a good chance he's shooting, regardless of whether his shots are falling, how much time is left on the shot clock, if he's open or not, or if he's even on the appropriate side of half court. But you don't want to tell him to stop, because if a guy is making almost half of his threes, he can put up points in a hurry. Here's hoping he keeps hitting at this pace all season.
Matt Terwilliger - Most of the time, you know what to expect from Twiggy. He's a decent big man, but not spectacular. He seldom does something really impressive, but he doesn't do much wrong, either, which is what you want to see from a backup big man. He's averaging 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, which isn't bad for a backup, and he's hit 61.9% of his shots, though he's only had 21 attempts. Considering he's not playing that much less than Othello Hunter, though, I'd like to see more production from him. I am still willing to lead his fan club, however, for two reasons: he's the only person on the team that's perfect from behind the arc (one for one), and he had a really awesome dunk against Loyola (which I still need video of, incidentally). If he can occasionally display unexpected awesomeness like that, he'll be okay in my book.
Greg Oden - He's done a great job of wearing street clothes thus far, though I question his decision to accessorize with a towel. As for actual basketball-related skills? He grades incomplete thus far, but I'm hoping awesomeness is forthcoming.
Monday, November 27, 2006
But I'm also angry.
If you count the winning numbers, you will discover that there are 1,000 of them. And if you take a look at the numbers that won, you'll see they run from roughly 14000 to 20000, suggesting that approximately 6,000 students entered the lottery.
One thousand tickets. For a demand of six thousand. At a university of roughly forty thousand undergrads.
Who the hell thought that one thousand tickets would be enough for all the students?
One thousand tickets for students would be acceptable if the game was being played at Northern Arizona. But it's not. It's being played at University of Phoenix Stadium, the state-of-the-art home of the Arizona Cardinals, seating 63,400. That means that OSU students, the ones that pay all that tuition money, the ones that bought all those season tickets, the ones who yelled themselves hoarse against Michigan, were allotted 1.6% of the seats at the National Championship game. Who should we blame? It sure seems like the people running the National Championship are a good target. If students only get 1,000 tickets, they must not have given many to the university. Three or four thousand tickets are just not enough for a school this size, and they should have given us far more.
They did. My understanding is that the university was allotted 16,000 tickets. I don't have any concrete info on that, but the number seems reasonable, even a bit low maybe. Assuming it is accurate, the university intends to distribute 6.25% of its tickets to students. Am I crazy, or does that seem like an incredibly low number?
Listen, I try to be a realist. I don't ask the university to give all, or even most, of the tickets to us students. I understand there are boosters and alums to keep happy. But the athletic department has 40,000 future alums right here on campus. Six thousand of them stood in line for a chance to see their team, their fellow students, their friends on the biggest stage in college football. In reality, no more than four or five thousand of them would have actually made the trip to Glendale. Is it too much to ask that the university reserve 30% of those tickets for the students currently paying tuition, the students that can't afford the $2,000 bowl tour packages, the students that will be potential donors in ten or twenty years?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation. Maybe the university was allotted far fewer than 16,000 tickets. Maybe they will release more tickets for the students. Maybe only one thousand students actually want to go to the bowl game. I don't think any of that is true, but it's possible.
All I know is that right now, thousands of students that wanted tickets will not get the opportunity to buy them. And I'm one of them. If, twenty years from now, the athletic department calls me up to ask for a donation, I will tell them that I ask one thing in exchange for my donation: a ticket to the 2007 BCS National Championship game. Until I get that, they don't get a dime from me.*
*That's a lie. I'll still sign up for my one ticket per year. OSU football tickets are not something I'm prepared to give up in order to make a moral stand. But no more than the price of that yearly ticket!
- I feel dirty for moving USC above Michigan. I kinda think Michigan's better than USC, but USC has played a tougher schedule. Basically I rank them this way because I don't want a rematch for the national championship game, but USC is the only team I feel is good enough to warrant getting in over Michigan. Brian lays out the argument for ranking USC above Michigan, and it's pretty compelling. At least he makes an argument using actual information and working within the framework of the BCS, instead of forming a weak argument claiming that Michigan is more deserving, failing to back it up in any meaningful way, then closing with a half-assed plea for a playoff. You'd have to be pretty stupid to do that.
- LSU vaults over Wisconsin and Rutgers, mostly because "LSU, top five team" doesn't sound as silly as "Wisconsin/Rutgers, top five team."
- Auburn moves up, because someone has to, and the BCS computers like Auburn. When I have to pick sides, I prefer to pick the side made up of things that lack the ability to say "style points."
- Oklahoma moves up because I've decided to remove the loss to Oregon from consideration, seeing as it wasn't really a loss. So it moves to a notch below "unimpressive win," and they're a one-loss team in a kinda weak conference. That's top ten-worthy.
- Big drop for Arkansas as it turns out their best quarterback is their running back. Smaller drops for Texas and West Virginia, as they also need quarterbacks, but their QB problems are either due to injury or something we already knew about.
- Huge drop for Notre Dame. Perhaps too big, but how do we know they're any better than the teams around them? They've played two very good teams and gotten crushed, which suggests they aren't top-10 material. They needed dramatic comebacks to beat UCLA and Michigan State, which suggests they probably aren't top-15 material. I don't entirely blame them for the weak schedule, but the fact remains - they haven't proven anything this season.
- Another Georgia Tech loss, another Calvin Johnson disappearing act. The question is no longer "Why don't they throw to Calvin?" The question has become "Why doesn't he perform in big games?"
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I'm in the midst of an annual tradition that, while less beloved than most associated with the Buckeyes, is nevertheless a regular part of my football season activities: the post-Michigan illness. Jumping in an ice-cold lake teeming with all sorts of little bugs, screaming for three hours at a game, and getting zero sleep inevitably leads to me getting sick. So no post yesterday. But anyone, on to the bullet points:
- I didn't drop Michigan after The Game, because I do honestly think they're the second best team in America. Plus, as losses to OSU's go, a loss to Ohio State looks a lot better than a loss to Oregon State.
- However, that doesn't mean that I'm in favor of a rematch. If Michigan had lost to OSU early in the season, that would be one thing. But if they lost in their last game, why give them another shot? If we're going to make the argument that the regular season means anything, there shouldn't be a rematch.
However, if we're going to make the argument that the BCS should give us the best two teams in the national championship game, there should be a rematch. And I understand that logic, and I generally agree with it. But not in this case. Michigan had their chance, they lost. Give someone else a shot at it.
- Florida won big, but against a 1-AA team. That's the equivalent of a bye week to me. The way I feel about playing a 1-AA team is that it cannot help you in my rankings, it can only hurt you.
- Rutgers is only that high because I can't see dropping them below a team they just beat. But a loss to Cincinnati is a bad loss. I might change my mind on their ranking. I may just wait, however, since I think the wheels are about to fall off of Rutgers.
- Penn State's back in the rankings, almost entirely because I like the Big Ten. Sure, you could argue that a team whose three losses all came to top-5 teams might not be that bad, but I won't make the argument. I'll just acknowledge my bias and move on.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
- Two of the top scoring defenses in the country gave up a combined 81 points.
- Michigan's vaunted run defense gave up 187 yards to the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State's turnover machine of a defense did not force any turnovers (though I don't think that interception should have been overturned. Big Ten officials use a screwy definition of "indisputable video evidence"). On a related note, Chad Henne actually looked pretty good most of the game.
- From what I can gather, both sides feel ripped off by the refs, so I guess they didn't do too bad of a job (or, alternatively, they were bad, but at least the bad calls evened out).
- Speaking of the refs, don't let anyone tell you that personal foul call late in the game was controversial. You aren't allowed to lead with your helmet or hit with the top of your helmet. Easy call, and a correct one.
- One thing that did go as planned: the performance of Troy Smith. One of those fumbles was his fault, and he probably shouldn't have thrown that pass that got picked off (but he makes those plays often enough that I won't argue against his decision too much). Other than that, he was fantastic. I agree with those that say he locked up the Heisman with that game. He's definitely given the best performance of any OSU quarterback against Michigan, and I'd argue that he's the best quarterback we've had.
- Mike Hart also had an excellent performance. He doesn't make the exciting runs like a Steve Slaton, but he cannot be tackled by one man. I know our rush defense isn't exactly fantastic, but still, watching him shed tackles time and time again was impressive.
- That's not to say that our running backs weren't good. Antonio Pittman did better than anyone has against the Michigan defense. And is it just me, or did his long touchdown run look a little familiar?
- Beanie's touchdown run was even more impressive. A spin to get out of the backfield, splitting a couple defenders, then hitting the afterburners. It was great to watch
- Oh, and the field? Not very good. If they're confident they can get it up to par by the start of next season, great. But if there's any doubt, just go with FieldTurf. Grass is great, but crappy grass sucks.
Friday, November 17, 2006
However, the game goes on, as I imagine Bo would want it. Hearts will be heavy tomorrow on the Michigan sideline, but the team will play on, as they should. Bo and Woody made this rivalry what it is: a game that is bigger than any one single person. Michigan will be playing for Bo tomorrow, certainly, but not just for him. They're also playing for Fielding Yost, Fritz Crisler, Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, and hundreds of players and coaches over the years.
And of course, for our Buckeyes, it isn't just about Jim Tressel's record against Lloyd Carr, or Troy Smith's Heisman hopes, or even a berth in the national championship. They're playing for the glory of a program that has been headed by Paul Brown and Woody Hayes, two of the greatest coaches in football history, a program that has produced five Heisman Trophy winners: Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, Hopalong Cassady, Archie Griffin (twice, of course), and Eddie George. Hundreds of players over the years have had their success or failure judged by their record against Michigan, and this team is no different.
Since 1935, this game has decided the Big Ten Championship twenty times. Twice before this have both teams come into the game undefeated. This, however, is the only time the teams have been ranked #1 and #2. The winner will play for the national championship. In short, the game could not be bigger.
But you know as well as I do that the records don't matter. This game would be the most important on the schedule regardless of record. Whether the teams have everything to play for or nothing, this is the game the players and the fans want to win the most.
That's it for me until after the game. Here's hoping for a good, hard-fought game, and a Buckeye victory. Enjoy the game, and go Bucks!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Rather than describe the scene, I'll show it to you:
This is Mirror Lake on a normal day. Scenic and calm.
This is Mirror Lake on the night of the jump. Crazy, loud, and fun.
And here's some video, set to a crappy rap mashup, that gives you a sense of the scene.
It's yet another example of activities that are considered normal in college, yet clear examples of insanity out in the real world. I'm looking forward to it.
MotSaG isn't done, though. They also brought back Tressnac the Magnificent to display psychic powers both astonishing and humorous. My favorite line of the whole post: "May you return to your office to discover John L. Smith measuring for drapes." If only there was an opportunity to break that one out in normal conversation.
Next up, there's some love for Troy Smith from the big boys. Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel interviews him, with predictable results. Troy says nothing interesting, and no non-Buckeye fan has any real incentive to read it. Buckeye fans will eat it up, though, because it's Troy freakin' Smith. Pat Forde also checks in on ESPN.com with talk of Troy's dominance of Michigan the past two years. Again, nothing you didn't already know, but still worth a read.
Mandel's up again with an article about Michigan's defensive coordinator, Ron English. Replacing Jim Hermann with Ron English is probably the best move Lloyd Carr's made in years. I was sorry to see Hermann go, and now that I know his replacement is actually competent, I miss Jimbo even more. Though I am glad the mini-movement to call the Michigan defense "the English Majors" never got going. That would have gotten really old really quick.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
But fortunately for Michigan, this debate is win-win. Because not only did Michigan Marching Band invent "The Victors," they also were the first to perform "Script Ohio." That’s right. We invented your march Buckeyes. Performed by the Michigan marching band in 1932, the Ohio State marching band copied it starting in 1936.
Not exactly. It is true, the Michigan band did perform a script Ohio in 1932, four years before Ohio State first did Script Ohio. But Michigan just put together a formation that spelled "Ohio" in script. Starting in a Block O, marching that mimics actually writing "Ohio," setting it to "Le Regiment de Sambre et Meuse," the performance culminating in the dotting of the "i," basically everything that makes Script Ohio what it is - that all came from the OSU marching band. Saying Michigan invented Script Ohio is like saying the Wright brothers invented the stealth bomber. For more details on the whole thing, the OSU library has a nice page on the "controversy."
Moving on, the Dispatch briefly discusses the new field here. In short, it's supposed to be good to go. They say it took hold nicely, the seams are gone, and it's not going to impact the game. I certainly hope they're right, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Last up, John Porentas has an article at the Ozone about Tressel. Well, it's more an ode to Tressel. Check it:
Tressel's leadership is really characterized by three qualities. He is a rare mix of an individual who has a clear understanding and firm grasp of the big picture and is yet obsessively immersed in every detail of his undertaking. Those two qualities almost never coexist in people. That's why we have CEOs (big picture people) and accountants (detail people). Tressel, however, is both for his football team. He provides clear-cut big picture goals, but can call the parents and siblings of every player on his team by first name. He knows everyone's major, where every picture is hung in the WHAC, who every football alumnus is, the name of every team manager and trainer.
Listen, I love Tressel as much as the next rabid Buckeye fan. But I do not buy that he could identify a walk-on's sister by name, talk to her about her brother's major, then point her in the direction of some random picture of Archie Griffin. But then, I've been wrong before.
Regardless, it's an interesting article, especially the part about how players basically repeat what Tressel says in interviews. I've noticed the same thing. The younger players will occasionally say something interesting in interviews, but by the time they're seniors, it's all but a waste of time to interview them, because they're just going to spout the same old cliches. Not that that's entirely a bad thing. When's the last time an Ohio State player provided bulletin board material for the other team?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Basically, I just wanted to point you in the direction of the Battle of the Blogs at CSTV.com again, because my debate is up there right now. I'm up against Kenny of Westsider Rider on the topic of the Ohio State defense versus the Michigan offense. I finally won the battle of post length for our side, in a hard-fought struggle. We both make some good points and throw some numbers at each other. I'll leave it up to you to decide who wins the debate (subliminal hint: memememememememe).
I may be up there again tomorrow, as one of our bloggers has apparently gone missing, likely kidnapped by that diabolical Bo Schembechler. A man who will walk away from Woody Hayes and the Buckeyes for Michigan is capable of perpetrating any sort of evil. Continue to stay tuned.
In other news, Every Day Should Be Sunday has a report on the anarchy reigning in Columbus (side note: how can anarchy reign? Isn't that a little oxymoronic?). All I have to say is that everything they say in that post is completely and absolutely true. A snippet:
Armed gunmen announcing themselves as “the Loyal People’s Army of UzBuckistan” deposed Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman in rush through the city hall early Tuesday morning, and announced the declaration of new statehood for what they are calling “the Republic of UzBuckistan.” Mobs control the streets, and have prevented entry into the city at all points. Many appear to be intoxicated.It's a fair and accurate representation. We have taken control. We shall be victorious. All glory unto our leader, the wise and noble Tressel. Viva la revolucion!
“Death to Michigan, and death to all who oppose us,” said a masked figure identifying himself only as “Subcommandate Wayne” in a television broadcast Tuesday morning. “We have taken that which is ours, the pure nut at the core of this rotten fruit we call Ohio, and made it a perfect paradise for all who love and obey the Buckeye. We have everything, and need nothing–except beer, which we’re almost out of. ”
I'm just kidding. Most Michigan bloggers shower regularly, and their representatives did a fine, if very verbose, job in the battle of blogs. However, there is no evidence that they don't not club seals.
I'm up on Wednesday in the Battle, incidentally. So stay tuned.
Next up, we have the depth chart (pdf file) for The Game. No stunning changes, but here's some notables:
- Tim Schafer is still listed as the starter at left tackle. Alex Boone is second string. It would seem that whatever injury he has is still bothering him a bit. I'm not too worried though. As someone (Chris Spielman, I'm thinking, but I'm not sure) once said, injuries have a way of disappearing for the Michigan game. I'm guessing Boone will be magically healed a couple of series in.
- The starter at right tackle is listed as Kirk Barton or Jon Skinner. I'm guessing this is a reward for Skinner playing well filling in along the line, but I'm not really sure. Can anyone shed any light?
- The Buckeyes intend to come out in a 4-3 for a change, playing Marcus Freeman, James Laurinaitis, and John Kerr. Makes sense, seeing as Michigan's not exactly running a spread offense. I haven't really seen enough of John Kerr lately to evaluate if he's made any progress, but Ross Homan looked good against Northwestern. I'm guessing both guys will play quite a bit on Saturday.
Monday, November 13, 2006
I got the poll done early, mostly to avoid studying for an accounting exam. Thoughts:
- There's two ways to look at the college football landscape this season: everyone's good, or everyone sucks. It's either "wow, look at all those teams that have a chance to win," or "wow, look at all those teams that apparently don't want to win." I'm kinda looking at things the second way. I feel like teams three though ten are all overrated, but who else is there?
- OSU and Michigan stay on top. There's no question there. The question will be how far to drop the loser of The Game. And I don't have an answer to that yet.
- USC has played well since their loss, and if they get through the rest of their schedule, they will have earned this ranking, so I stuck them there.
- I think I've figured out the SEC: it's like one of those post-apocalyptic pseudo-paradise civilizations you see in books and movies (I'm thinking The Island, but only because I saw it recently and Scarlett Johansson is nice to think about. You're welcome to think Logan's Run if you prefer). Apparently some teams have realized the truth: that if you actually win the SEC, you don't get a trophy; you get killed! And Arkansas is the idiotic guy who hasn't figured it out yet. So he's thrilled about the possibility of winning, while Tennessee and Auburn are running through the vents, trying to escape. On paper, Arkansas is probably the fifth best team in the SEC, but they're the only ones that actually seem interested in winning it on a week to week basis.
- Rutgers moves up because I've adjusted my thinking on the quality of the conferences. That isn't to say that I've decided the Big East isn't so bad after all; I've just decided everyone else is worse. I mean, is there any real difference between the Big 12, ACC, and Big East in terms of quality? The best team in the Big 12 just lost to Kansas State (!), and Wake Forest has become the best team in the ACC. With that much absurdity elsewhere in the country, I don't think the Big East looks that bad by comparison.
- Notre Dame has looked impressive in their quest to win the Commander in Chief's Trophy. With a win over Army, they will have beaten all the service academies. If this was 1945, I'd be impressed. However, it's 2006, and the service academies aren't any good. However, Notre Dame deserves credit for simply not screwing up, something most of college football has trouble with.
- Florida needed two blocked kicks to beat South Carolina. So you could either be impressed that they dug deep and made the big plays, or unimpressed with the fact that this game was that close. I'm just amused that they run their short-yardage plays out of the shotgun. When your best short-yardage back is a backup quarterback, you have a problem.
- JaMarcus Russell has exceeded my expectations in the last few big games for LSU, managing to avoid the backbreaking interceptions I'd come to expect from him. When he plays well, they win. And lately, he's played well.
- I don't think Wisconsin is a top ten team, but who else is there? And being a one-loss team in the Big Ten counts for something, so I stuck them at number nine.
- Cal's loss against Arizona was all kinds of bad. However, there's still plenty of talent on this team, and they still look like the second best team in the Pac 10.
- So, apparently that defensive secondary for Texas is really really bad. Nobody should give up that many points to this Kansas State team.
- I have West Virginia at 13, but I expect them to beat the #5 team. If the BlogPoll is supposed to rank teams based on who would win heads up, I'm sure doing a crappy job of it (it is, and I am, incidentally).
- I'm not sure what caused my enthusiasm for Maryland. They played well against Miami, but beating Miami isn't so impressive. I think I just wanted to move another ACC team ahead of Georgia Tech to punish them for not getting Calvin Johnson more involved. Listen, Reggie Ball: unless there is nobody within ten yards of another receiver, you throw to Calvin Johnson. Always. No exceptions. Alright?
- I'm really unexcited about those last five teams. But who else is there?