Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Poll Bashin'/Tebow 4 Heisman

Let me first start off by saying congratulations to Lloyd Carr on a fantastic coaching career that spanned almost 40 years. Things didn’t end the way he had hoped but that won’t take away from what he accomplished including Michigan’s only National Championship since 1949. It’s bittersweet to see him go. On one hand, the face of Michigan football for the last 13 years is stepping down. On the other, things could be looking up in a hurry for the 'M' program. Hopefully, Saturday will mark the last time that Michigan will face a significant coaching disadvantage against Ohio St. for a long, long time. Michigan’s play-calling and in-game adjustments have been notoriously weak but the most glaring weakness has been preparation. Michigan has consistently fielded poorly coached athletes for the better part of this decade. Ohio St.’s players have been more disciplined and technically sound since Jim Tressel took over in 2001. Given the fact that Michigan and Ohio St. recruit the same caliber player, Michigan’s 1-6 mark against OSU over the last seven years can be pinned directly on the coaching staff. It’s one thing to have a superior play-caller at the helm who can win the game on the sideline. It’s another thing to have a coach who prepares his team to win in practice. You don’t have to have the former to have the latter. Michigan has had neither. Whoever takes over next year will—at the very minimum—have one of the two. The good news for Michigan fans is that there isn’t—and never has been—a talent deficiency in Ann Arbor. The difference between Ohio St. and Michigan on the field has seemed much greater than it actually is. The right coach should have Michigan back to competitiveness against the big boys soon.

A theoretical debate that college football fans and analysts have partaken in over the last few years looks like it’s going to come into practice in two weeks. There is an excellent chance that Oklahoma will beat the winner of the Kansas/Missouri game in the Big XII Championship game. That would leave Ohio St. and West Virginia to duke it out in the “public perception” poll for the second BCS Championship spot. Have you guessed the debate? Yep, “does a one-loss Big East team deserve to make it over a one-loss team from a major conference like the SEC, Big Ten or Pac-10?” Given the Big Ten’s relatively weak season, it’s tough to argue that Ohio St. is all that more deserving than West Virginia. This could be the season that leads to the Big East’s legitimacy as a player in the BCS Championship game. Plus, that would mean another embarrassing end of season for the BCS.

I’m all for Tim Tebow winning the Heisman Trophy. By the time his season is over, Tebow will have over 50 touchdowns, 3,000 yards passing, and could have 1,000 yards rushing. Those numbers are absurd. With no other obvious choices, I think Tebow has earned top-billing at this point. The crazy thing is that he probably isn’t a good enough passer to go pro anytime before his senior season. He would be the first sophomore to win the award. I don’t want to get a head of myself here but given Urban Meyer’s scheme and Tebow’s athleticism, there’s no reason to think he can’t put up similar statistics in each of the next two seasons. Barring injury, Tebow could become the second two-time winner. With better Florida teams on the horizon, anything is possible.

The polls are actually fairly reasonable at this point with the exception of the following…

Kansas at #2

You know where I’m going with this one so I’ll save you paragraphs of ranting. Kansas hasn’t beaten anyone of note. Its schedule is a joke (101st SOS according to Sagarin). Kansas will get to prove itself worthy over the next two weeks against Missouri and Oklahoma. If it wins both, it’ll be in the BCS Championship game. So, this sort of insanity—Kansas at #2—won’t result in any injustices. Kansas will decide its own fate. It’s just annoying that this many “experts” would be willing to vouch for Kansas as the second best team in the country. Why not Hawaii at #3?

Missouri at #3

See Kansas with a few additions. While I’m almost certain that Kansas is not the second best team in the country, I think it’s evident that Missouri is not the third best team. Missouri is clearly not better than Oklahoma who the voters have rated 9th and 10th respectively. Shelve the groupthink, please! It’s nauseating.

Hawaii/Boise St./Air Force/BYU

Hawaii is a joke. I’m not going to waste another sentence on them. As much as I like rooting for Air Force and BYU, it burns me to see these teams beat up on the lousy Mountain West Conference and then get ranked for it. Pollsters are shallow. They look at records only. So, at the end of every season, teams from the MWC or WAC creep into the rankings. Since pollsters seem to be oblivious to which teams fatten up on weak schedules, I’m going to provide a little “game” that will help identify frauds. If you are considering ranking teams from the MWC or WAC, ask yourself if those teams would have a better or worse record if given the same schedule as an unranked BCS Conference team. For instance, would Air Force have a better or worse record than Florida St. if given the same schedule? Air Force would be no better than 4-7 with FSU’s schedule. FSU is 7-4 and unranked. So, please don’t vote for Air Force over Florida St. Don’t vote for Florida St. either but if you’re going to vote for one of the two, vote for the one coached by Bobby Bowden. Hawaii would have six losses with Kentucky’s schedule. You can do the same thing with Boise St. and Cal or BYU and Michigan. Feel free to use this “game” at your discretion. I came up with it to help you.

Auburn over S. Florida

I’m not sure how Auburn can be ranked ahead of S. Florida. I’m all for Auburn being ranked despite four losses but not in lieu of S. Florida which won at Auburn and sports a 7-3 record. Each of S. Florida’s three losses has been by seven points or less and two were against ranked teams. Its resume is better than Auburn’s.

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