Breaking down Texas' and LSU's offensive woes; more Mailbag
Two semi-recent BCS champions, LSU and Texas, have seen their offenses go belly-up. For Longhorns fans, this is a new and quite perplexing development. Tigers fans, on the other hand, have been watching the same film for three years. I can't solve their problems for them, but hopefully I can shed some light on how they got here.
Well, let's start with both teams' offensive identities: What are they? For three years, I haven't been able to figure out what exactly LSU's Miles and Crowton are trying to do. At least during their 2007 title season, they had a powerful, go-to running back (
Texas, meanwhile, had a pretty clear identity for the past six years -- the shotgun-spread, with an efficient quarterback (first
More than anything, however, an offense -- even the running game -- can't be successful without a reliable quarterback. LSU hasn't had one since 2007. (You wonder where Miles' program might be today had
All is not lost for either team. Texas' defense still has the potential to be special (come November, the second half against UCLA will ultimately be viewed as an aberration), and, win or lose Saturday against Oklahoma, Brown's teams have a history of going on a post-Dallas tear. LSU, meanwhile, is 4-0 (all against BCS-conference foes) despite its offensive ineptitude, in part because of a nasty defense, and in part because of ...
The pose was p.r. genius. Peterson absolutely deserves to be in the Heisman conversation -- and now he is. The pose turned a great but not uncommon highlight (his punt return) into a signature moment. There's no question Peterson is brash -- he's made no bones about the fact that he's going after the Heisman -- but so are most who play his position. Like you said, the odds are still stacked against him. Peterson only touches the ball a handful of times per game, with little control over how many punts he'll get to return or whether opponents will throw or punt away from him. Like with Woodson, his team will need to be in BCS contention come early December, and he'll need to make some big plays in the Tigers' biggest games.
I'm with you, Dave. If Georgia runs off Richt this year, it will be textbook
But in today's SEC, the goal is national championships, and three other league coaches hired by their schools more recently than Richt -- Florida's
Really? It's come to this? Bashing the Smurf Turf? No one particularly seemed to mind it when the Broncos were mostly a Friday night sideshow, but now that they're in the top three, it's "bush league?" Give me a break. First of all, there's nothing stopping anyone else from painting their field any color they'd like. (Eastern Washington's is now
I will concede that the blue does give Boise at least one advantage. As Fresno State coach
Absolutely -- which is why I found myself on Expedia the other night checking out flights from St. Louis (where I'll be spending Thanksgiving) to Reno that Friday. Nevada is playing at a very high level right now, ranked fourth nationally in total offense (529 yards per game). Last season it went 7-0 in the league prior to facing Boise, but that team lost three games out of conference; this team spanked Cal and won at (admittedly down) BYU. But that game's a long ways away, and there's no question both teams will largely be out of sight, out of mind until then.
The reason UCLA wasn't able to capitalize on most of those other victories was because it was coached by
Like I talked about earlier with LSU and Texas, Neuheisel and offensive coordinator
The Bruins still have too many talent deficiencies, and a very shaky quarterback, to make a run at the Pac-10 title, but they're well positioned to make a run in the coming years due both to their own recruiting efforts and the anticipated toll cross-town rival USC will take due to its NCAA sanctions. The Texas game may seem like an aberration later this season but it will certainly serve as a landmark moment when the program turns the corner, most likely next season.
Please don't view the inclusion of this question as an excuse to start bombing me with complaints about your favorite team's ranking, but this one brings up a particular pet peeve of mine. If you're a pollster and you genuinely believed, going into Saturday, that Alabama was the No. 1 team in the country and Arkansas the 10th best, then the Razorbacks performed as well, if not better, than they should have. If anything, it validated their ranking. Yet any team that loses to anyone automatically drops five or six spots. Where's the context?
Because voters place such a premium on the "0" in your loss column, the Razorbacks fell behind a Wisconsin team that's beaten Arizona State (barely) and three nobodies, an LSU team with one of the nation's worst offenses and a Utah team whose opponents to date are a combined 3-12. For a more sensible way to fill out an AP ballot, see my colleague Andy Staples,
Indeed, the first half of Northwestern's Big Ten schedule -- at Minnesota, vs. Purdue and Michigan State and at Indiana -- sets up where anything less than 7-1 would be considered disappointing. And because the Big Ten's schedule-makers seem to have a permanent soft spot for the Wildcats, they miss both Ohio State and Michigan. But the school makes its own nonconference schedule, so I view NU the same way I would any team that chose to start against Vanderbilt, Illinois State, Rice and Central Michigan -- as a squad that's yet to prove anything.
Persa does look pretty good, though.
Wow, someone besides my editor actually noticed. And when I say someone -- I literally mean one person. Thanks for the e-mail, Andy.
No, no you can't. I didn't even include Texas-UCLA in my picks because it seemed like such a foregone conclusion. Well, at least I can take comfort in knowing Bill and his daughter got their comeuppance. Take that, you know-it-all 10-year old.
(Wait ... have I really resorted to smack-talking 10-year-olds? That can't be a good sign.)