Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Poll Bashin'/Illinois destroys the BCS

There are few things in this world that would cause me to root for Ohio St. to lose the week before the Michigan game. First, the last thing Michigan needs to see is an angry OSU team. Second, beating a 7th ranked OSU team with a 10-1 record just doesn’t have the same ring to it as beating number one ranked and undefeated OSU. However, Illinois’ shocking win in Columbus made all legitimate, undefeated teams extinct. Hawaii’s schedule is softer than Oliver Hardy’s Mark Mangino’s love handles and Kansas’ best win is against 5-5 Oklahoma St. If Kansas beats Missouri and Oklahoma, then we can recognize Kansas. Until then, they are Hawaii II. Thanks to Illinois, the BCS is left with the following one-loss teams to fit into a two-team Championship game; LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Ohio St., Missouri, and Arizona St. The first five teams listed are unlikely to lose again. If Arizona St. beats USC, and Kansas beats Missouri, then we could be looking at seven one-loss teams from BCS conferences at the end of the season—or otherwise known as a BCS-buster. Even better is that of those five teams, there would be a one-loss representative from the SEC, Pac-10, Big XII, Big East, and the Big Ten. The only thing better than pissing off five teams and their respective fan-bases is pissing of five conferences and their respective fan-bases. So, thanks to Ron Zook for making this all possible.

As disappointing as it was to see Michigan pretty much concede the win to Wisconsin before the game even started, Michigan’s tank-job in Madison can end the ludicrous talk that somehow Lloyd Carr should be considered as having done the best coaching job in the country. I’m not sure when “being the first head coach ranked in the top 25 to lose to a I-AA team” and “losing the next game by 32 points at home” became legitimate qualifications for being recognized as a coach-of-the-year candidate but it was certainly materializing with some serious momentum before the Wisconsin-game. He is a good man but that doesn't change the fact that Carr was closer to being the worst coach in 2007 than he was to being the best. Beating a bunch of teams who everyone expected you to beat going into the games and doing it in ugly fashion can only be considered impressive by a few people who may or may not be Mark May or immediate family members of the Michigan coaching staff. Nonetheless, the news that Carr has apparently made it clear to the Athletic Department that he is, indeed, retiring after this season is going to be a huge story. I'll have more on this later.

There isn’t too much to bitch about since the season is almost complete and just about every opinion can be rationalized with the exception of a few head-scratchers. The polls are nearly identical at this point.

Hawaii and Kansas

I mention this every week and I already mentioned this above. Most TV people have already given Hawaii credit for an undefeated season which is equal parts premature and ignorant. Hawaii still has to play Washington and Boise St. While I don’t expect the Huskies to do much damage in Hawaii, I think Boise St. has a 50/50 shot at victory. So, Hawaii may not steal a BCS spot after all. As much as I can’t stand Kansas’ lofty rankings in the polls, it will have a chance to prove its worth very, very soon. Just like Arizona St. had an opportunity to prove it’s metal against Cal, Oregon, UCLA, and this week against USC, Kansas will have the same opportunity against Missouri and Oklahoma. Both are ranked in the top five of the BCS. Win both, and Kansas can take all of the number one votes it wants. However, the seven coaches who voted Kansas #1 are either completely incompetent, or are being savvy in their attempts to undermine the BCS. As much as I would love for it to be the latter, I’m pretty sure it’s the first one.

Missouri over Ohio St.

How does Ohio St. fall behind Missouri? Missouri has won win over a ranked team. Ohio St. has three. Missouri hasn’t beaten a team with less than four losses since September 1. I realize that Missouri beat Illinois and Ohio St. lost to Illinois. However, the Illinois team that Missouri beat on September 1 is hardly the same team that showed up in Columbus last Saturday. For starters, Juice Williams was knocked out of the Missouri game in the second quarter. Still, Missouri only beat Illinois by six. Interestingly, of LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Ohio St., the Buckeyes have the best loss and have beaten the most ranked teams (3, tied with Oregon). The “it doesn’t matter who you lose to but rather when you lose” mantra has never been more present in college football.

The order of the non-Ohio St. Big Ten teams

The Big Ten has five teams ranked in the USA Today poll after having two teams ranked just two weeks ago. Sorting out the non-Ohio St. Big Ten teams that are ranked is no easy task. The four non-OSU Big Ten teams ranked in the AP Poll are Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Penn St. Michigan went 2-1 against the other three losing at Wisconsin without Chad Henne and Mike Hart. Illinois went 2-1 against the other three losing at home to Michigan. Penn St. went 1-2 against the other three destroying Wisconsin 38-7. Wisconsin went 1-2 against the other three. None of the teams have any quality non-conference wins. So, it seems like Michigan and Illinois should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin and Penn St. since both went 2-1 against the other three. Michigan won at Illinois. So, it would be reasonable to rank Michigan ahead of Illinois. However, Illinois did win at Ohio St. If you think that’s enough to jump Illinois over Michigan, then that is at least reasonable. Either way, Michigan and Illinois should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin and Penn St. Penn St. beat Wisconsin by 31. So, the order of these four teams should go Michigan/Illinois (whichever order you want), Penn St., and Wisconsin. None of the polls has it that way instead preferring to do insane things like ranking Wisconsin ahead of Penn St. despite a 31-point loss to Penn St. with the same record.


Just when I thought the world was on to Virginia’s fraudulence, both polls handed them the keys to the BCS top 15. Two weeks ago, Virginia lost to NC State—yes, the same NC State team that lost to Central Florida and managed 10 points against Louisville—and fell out of the top 25 only receiving 33 votes in the AP Poll. After a one-point win against Wake Forest and a beat-down of a bad Miami (FL) team, Virginia bolted up to #16 receiving 539 votes. Did Darren McFadden and Matt Ryan transfer to Virginia?

Virginia Tech over Boston College

This erroneous ranking was a direct result of Virginia Tech being ranked too high to begin with. The Hokies had two tests this year. They failed the first one in the form of a 41-point loss to LSU. They failed the second one when they lost to BC at home. Virginia Tech has one notable win and that was against the schizoids at Clemson. Since the polls drop teams x amount of spots after a loss no matter what and raise teams x amount of spots after a win no matter what, the polls couldn’t help but to drop BC behind Va. Tech. Here’s a refresher: Both teams are 8-2. BC won at Virginia Tech two weeks ago.


There are a number of three-loss teams that should be ranked ahead of Texas. The Longhorns haven’t beaten a ranked team all year. Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois have two such victories each. With Texas A&M and—in all probability—an unranked SEC team as a bowl opponent, Texas will likely finish the season ranked in the top five without a single victory over a ranked team. Sounds fair.

Navy Rules!

For those of you who missed Navy’s performance on Saturday, let me fill you in on the particulars. Navy was down 21-3 with :33 left in the first quarter against North Texas. Then, from what I understand, Navy got pissed. Over the next three quarters and 33 seconds, Navy scored 71 points. In 28:03 of game-time—or less than a half—the :33 mark of the first quarter and the 2:30 mark of the third quarter, Navy scored 62 points. The Midshipmen finished with 572 yards rushing on 57 attempts. Eight different players scored offensive touchdowns for Navy. Six different players scored a rushing touchdown. Navy had 942 yards of total offense. I would be remised if I didn’t mention that North Texas quarterback Giovanni Vizza threw for 478 yards and eight touchdowns.

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