Saturday in Review 10/2/10

Hard nose football? Improbable comebacks? Les Miles relying virtually entirely on luck to escape from an inferior team? Must be Saturday…

#7 Florida-6, #1 Alabama-31

Well, take from this one what you will. Either Alabama’s as good as advertised, Florida was (and is) grossly overrated, or both. I mean, this was a demolition, and it came quickly and unrelentingly. As a matter of fact, I have trouble remembering the last time a Top 10 team was so convincingly mangled by an opponent. Oh, wait, no I don’t. Florida probably looks back to the Sugar Bowl fondly, because this team is a mere shadow of its former self. No Dunlap, no Cooper, no Tebow, etc., etc. It’d be fair to say that Florida this season has the same arrest record as their old teams, but half the talent.

Florida/LSU this week is going to be a mediocre game between mediocre teams, and after watching this one and the Tennessee game, I am just about convinced that Alabama won’t face another realistic test until Auburn comes to town in November. Mind you, that Georgia State game they’ve scheduled could be a trap…(NOTE: That was a joke, sort of like Alabama’s nonconference schedule.)

#2 Ohio State-24, Illinois-13

Well, Ohio State finally got to use some of their transportation budget. Honestly, I figured that they could pull the wool over our eyes for a bit longer and make it all the way to November before they actually played a road game. But no, reality finally set in for the Buckeyes, and they were forced to go all the way to Illinois, a team that won the conference in 2007 and has won 5 conference games since then. And the result? A very close game, with the Buckeyes narrowly escaping Illinois with a win. Ohio State could very easily go undefeated, so long as Terrelle Pryor stays healthy, and they could go to a National Title game, but I really hope that they don’t. The Big 10 hasn’t proven anything this season, and they won’t really be able to until the postseason comes around. I went into lengthy detail on that topic last week, so I won’t do it this week, but it really is something to think about. Ohio State is almost certainly the best team in the Big 10, but there’s a huge part of me that hopes they lose at least one game so that Boise or TCU or Oklahoma or Oregon or Nebraska or someone who’s not from the frickin’ Big 10 goes to the title game. Because, mark my words, if the National Title game comes down to Alabama vs. Ohio State, the Crimson Tide could win by 30.

#3 Boise State-59, New Mexico State-0

Boise State’s upcoming schedule looks like this: Toledo, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Idaho, Fresno State. After that they play Nevada, which should at least be a decent game, but my point is that you’ll be seeing a whole lot of scores like this for the next 6 weeks, thanks to the ludicrous concept of “style points.” Yes, I agree that a close game for Boise State could be disastrous for their national title chances, but who cares if they beat New Mexico State by 35 or 59? I have seen many 14 point games that were “closer than they looked,” but I doubt that anyone has ever seen a 5+ touchdown game that was “closer than it looked.” If any voter excludes Boise State from the National Title game because they “only” beat New Mexico State (or any of the other teams listed above) by 59, then they’re just as big of an idiot as someone who won’t give Mark Ingram the Heisman because he didn’t participate in the murder of San Jose State. Punishing Boise State for their conference schedule is on an equal plane of stupidity for rewarding Ohio State for their nonconference schedule. If 59 point wins are what it takes for Boise State to get a crack at the ugly crystal football, then I (and most of America, I’d wager) hope that they win all their remaining games in this manner. Even though it will be really, really boring to write about week in and week out…

#13 Stanford-31, #4 Oregon-52

I’m not sure if you knew this, but Stanford jumped out to a 21-3 lead and then blew it. Oregon’s offense is disturbingly hard to keep down, since Stanford was able to do so for one quarter and then allowed 7 touchdowns in the remainder of the game. Oregon’s offense hung up over 600 yards, and their defense (which is badly overshadowed by their offense) looked very, very good in the second half. Yes, the Pac-10 is good, but Oregon looks like they’re the cream of the crop in that conference. I’ll say it right now: if the season comes down to undefeated Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, and Boise State, I want to watch an Alabama/Oregon national title game over any other. (All Ohio State and Boise State fans, remember that when you make your effigy, I am tall and skinny and somewhat flammable.)

#5 TCU-27, Colorado State-0

TCU struggled a wee bit in the first half, and I think it’s fair to say that they’re the lesser of the 2 big BCS busters. True, TCU is still undefeated, and they have a realistic shot at winning the MWC, but since the Mountain West is all-but certainly tougher than the Big East and the ACC, there’s also the real shot that TCU loses. Honestly, it might be best if TCU were to lose. That way the BCS couldn’t pull the same garbage they did last season and shoehorn the ‘Busters where they might go out and embarrass one of the cash cows. So start up the campaign now: either TCU and Utah take one for the team and let Boise in as the only BCS Buster this season, or get a letter writing campaign going to let TCU and Boise play AQ teams in the BCS, not one another. Decide now.

#16 Texas-20, #8 Oklahoma-28

Last week’s Saturday in Review was long, and this one is going to be going up late. Let’s just hit the high points and see if this thing can get posted by Wednesday morning: First off, while I love the Coaches’ Poll, why did they have Texas ranked 16th? Even before this game, Texas had looked underwhelming at best, and Virginia Tech-level overrated at worst. The loss to UCLA last week was as crippling to the whole Big 12 as it was to Texas, and the fact that Texas and Oklahoma played one another closely in their annual de facto Big 12 South championship game is indicative of parity in the conference which might or might not be a good thing, when you consider that the Big 12 looked pretty dang bad during the last week of nonconference play. Oklahoma’s had some close ones, but the remainder of their schedule is against a group of teams that’s so mediocre (or outright bad) that they’re now the prohibitive favorite to go to the Big 12 Championship game, which should be against Nebraska. Then again, we don’t really know that much about Nebraska, either. Texas will play them after a bye week, and we’ll see just how long this Longhorn tailspin lasts on October 16th.

#9 Wisconsin-24, #21 Michigan State-34

Wisconsin hasn’t looked like a Top 10 team all season. Sure, Michigan State’s playing inspired, but Wisconsin has beaten only one team convincingly–and that was 1-AA Austin Peay. I sincerely hope that this is phase one of the Big 10 beating up on itself, because the conference deserves nothing better after playing the shabbiest nonconference schedule this side of the Big East (see last week’s tirade for more details). Michigan State’s rivalry game with Michigan this week should expose one of the two teams as a false contender, but who will wind up exposed is anyone’s guess. (Spoiler alert: I really hope it’s the Wolverines.)

Tennessee-14, #10 LSU-16

I am legitimately surprised at how many people hate Les Miles. I don’t like the guy, but outright hatred is rarely seen for a coach who has been as successful at his job as Coach Miles. Then games like this happen and everyone is reminded why the fans hate Les Miles. His clock management skills are on par with those of a hobo who can’t tell time. Pat Forde of ESPN did an excellent spot about this in his weekly column, so I’d advise reading it. Forde gets paid to write, so he does it quite a bit better than I do. Read that then come back here.

OK, you’re back. Good. Tennessee needs to work on counting, while LSU needs to come up with an even semi-competent offense, especially since they face Florida on the road next week, followed by cupcake McNeese State, followed by Auburn and Alabama back to back. Don’t look for LSU to get out of that run any better than 2-2, and don’t be surprised if they emerge 1-3 from that four game stretch, firmly placing themselves in 4th in the SEC West.

Louisiana-Monroe-3, #11 Auburn-52

No, I will not review this, thanks.

#17 Miami-30, Clemson-21

First off, notice how few Top 25 teams were playing this week. It was like everyone’s scheduling committee decided to take a break at the same time. I guess the first week of October is just as good a time as any, considering that the real swing of things gets going during this month. Miami’s had a year that’s tough to define: they’ve only played one ranked team and looked fairly mediocre in the process. But they looked good against the teams they’ve beaten, though none of those teams are currently ranked. So, Miami is one of the myriad teams in need of an identity as we close in on the halfway point of the season. Beating (admittedly overrated) Florida State convincingly this week would go a long way to proving Miami is a legitimate team, and they still look like the best the ACC has to offer (again, an almost meaningless statement)

Clemson, meanwhile, is a team that still struggles to find legitimacy in the weird world of college football. Mark my words, another year with no national championship, and the lunatic fringe at Clemson will begin calling for Coach Dabo Swinney’s job. Is it right? No. Is it likely? Highly. Because, hey, the team hasn’t won a championship since 1981 (and were cheating then) but that’s just because Swinney can’t coach, right? (Yes, this sounds crazy, but remember that this is the school that fired a coach who led them to 8 straight winning seasons because he was 3-3 at the time. Must be fun to coach there.)

#20 Penn State-3, #18 Iowa-24

Well, turns out that Penn State really isn’t that good. At all. Like, their offense is a nonentity. At time of writing they’re 100th in terms of points scored. Even with a good defense, you’re not going to win many games that way. And when you remove the Alabama game, Penn State’s nonconference schedule consisted of Youngstown State, Kent State, and Temple. Considering that none of the teams I just listed are powerhouses, Penn State’s offense could very easily get worse now that they’re entering their conference schedule…

Iowa, on the other hand, is with Miami in the club of teams with no real ID thus far. They lost to their lone good opponent, but they’ve beaten their other foes (including a conference foe now) handily. So…let’s just see how things go for the Hawkeyes in the coming weeks. Not this week, though, since they have a bye.

#19 Michigan-42, Indiana-35

Dear Michigan,

You came so very close to getting exposed this week. I really hoped that it was going to happen this week, but it will have to wait at least one more. You’re not as good as you think you are, Michigan, and your conference schedule will prove it. I’d write longer, but I’d just repeat myself. We’ll save any actual analysis for the Michigan/Michigan State game this week.



#25 Nevada-44, UNLV-26

Nevada needs to keep climbing in the rankings. They have to stay undefeated. Why? Choose your own ending to this post! If you root for Boise, read sentence 1. If you’re anti-Boise or a Nevada fan, read sentence 2! If you work for the BCS, then read sentence 3.

Sentence 1: Because that way, when Boise clocks them in November, the win will be more impressive!

Sentence 2: Because that way, when they beat Boise, they’ll take the BCS and prove to everyone that there are other good non-AQ teams out there.

Sentence 3: Because that way, when they beat Boise, then lose to Louisiana Tech, while the MWC beats up on itself then we can get an all major conference final featuring Alabama/Ohio State, which is what we wanted back in August.

Hope you enjoyed the choose your own adventure, but there’s only one place to go from here. It’s time for…

Tales from the Bottom 95

First off, congrats to Virginia Tech for beating a ranked opponent, and ensuring that the ACC will, yet again, have no undefeated teams…Also congrats to Washington, who’ve had Southern Cal’s number the past two seasons. Thank you for finally putting a thorn in the Trojans’ paw. Let’s hope they keep losing…In a similar vein, apologies to Jake Locker, who actually looked very impressive in a road game!…BYU’s in a tailspin or Utah State’s actually decent, take your pick…UConn beat Vanderbilt. Not sure if that means anything to anyone…Baylor crushed Kansas, and Turner Gill’s inaugural season as Jayhawks head coach is turning fairly nightmarish…Northwestern beat Minnesota to stay undefeated…Tulane defeated Rutgers. Go Green Wave!…Air Force is halfway to the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, and I doubt they’ll have much trouble toppling Army…Mark Richt is going to be in serious trouble in Georgia after starting 1-4…Texas Tech is looking rough. Must be concentrating too much on their fat little girlfriends…Georgia Tech narrowly clipped Wake Forest. Once again, the ACC is a dogfight…San Jose State lost to 1-AA UC Davis. The bottom’s officially out for the Spartans…Notre Dame beat Boston College in the battle of Catholic colleges…Hawaii beat Louisiana Tech, but I’m glad that the Bulldogs got a trip to Hawaii…
That’s all for this week. See you later!