Separating undefeated contenders from pretenders; more Mailbag
Apologies in advance if this week's Mailbag seems a bit chaotic. About 15 seconds before my deadline to file,
"Fraud" is such a strong word, don't you think? In fact, in most instances it's a felony. All these teams are guilty of is possibly not being as good as the pollsters currently say they are. So let's rephrase it to "team likeliest to finish the farthest from its current ranking." And let's go in reverse order.
This has been a popular question since Saturday's debacle. For a very thorough explanation of the entire officiating sequence, I highly recommend listening to
"We are always going to allow that immediate, initial spontaneous burst of emotion," said Redding. "It would be irresponsible of the officials in my judgment to penalize that ... It would be so technical, and so over-officiating to have called anything like that at the very end of this game."
I can't disagree, though it does bring to mind the infamous excessive celebration call last year on
That's a tough question. No coach in recent memory suffered more bizarre, last-second losses than Minnesota's
The guy who comes closest to fitting the bill is
I can't argue with that. If the voters who once thought Boise was the third-best team in the country now deem the Broncos the fourth-best team in the country, that's their prerogative. My question: What did the Broncos do to change their opinion? Nothing but go out and beat a bottom-feeder (New Mexico State) 59-0. No question, Oregon looked darn good against Stanford, but generally a team doesn't pass a team above it unless that team loses or looks bad in victory. I guarantee you, if a brand-name team -- say Oklahoma -- had been No. 3 as of last week, and Oklahoma had beaten New Mexico State 59-0, Oregon would still be No. 4 right now.
Obviously, the Ducks will play a far better schedule over the course of the season than the Broncos. At some point, if they kept winning, they would pass them. I just don't see the justification for it happening already when, as I pointed out on Monday, Boise has to this point played a tougher schedule than Oregon. As this
Yes! Les loves lamp. And he's not sure what we're yelling about.
I've been getting both questions a lot lately, so let's clear them up. First of all, there's no rule that says the Sugar Bowl has to take the SEC title-game loser. In fact, it would probably prefer not to. It didn't have much of a choice the past two years, since Alabama and Florida were both 12-1 teams still ranked in the top five. But if we operate under the assumption that the SEC East champ -- either Florida or South Carolina -- will sustain at least two more losses (including the title game), than the Sugar would be much more likely to take a 10-2 Auburn (or Arkansas, or LSU) team even if it didn't win its division.
As for TCU, I'll just come out and say it: I'm not on the bandwagon. I think the Frogs will lose one of the two games Katie mentioned, at which point a two-loss Pac-10, Big 12 or Big Ten team would get the nod before them. I went with Arizona this week, but who knows, it could be someone entirely different next week. And of course, if Utah goes undefeated, that's another story entirely.
For one, Oregon has better players than Florida. I know that must sound like sacrilege to Gators fans, but there's no
And secondly, Oregon executes its offense as well as any team in the country. It runs its plays at an absurd tempo (2.9 plays per minute), yet rarely if ever lines up wrong, misses blocking assignments or fumbles center-snaps. It's not like the Gators didn't move the ball against Alabama. Florida marched right down the field on its first possession and had drives of 69 and 73 yards in the second half. But the Gators also had four turnovers, missed blocks, dropped passes and more center-snap problems, and Brantley looked utterly uncomfortable running the option.
Man, I totally forgot about that. Probably because I forget sometimes that Texas A&M exists. You're right, Clemson doesn't really fit the bill anymore, but it's just so much catchier. I might have to stick with the original.
OK, then. A&M Syndrome it is.
I think that might have been true the past two seasons as Tressel and Bollman struggled to figure out what exactly to do with the young, erratic Pryor. I don't think it's true this year, last week's Illinois game notwithstanding. The Buckeyes are averaging 463 yards per game. They've scored touchdowns on 68 percent of their red-zone trips. Their identity is pretty clear: They're putting the ball in Pryor's hands. I'm a bit puzzled by the decline in production from running backs
I don't know if you can call it a "system" as much as a "playbook," from which they lean on certain elements from year to year befitting their given personnel. And any offense is going to be better when it has "phenoms." The only time OSU missed a BCS game in the past eight years was in 2004, when it was breaking in a new quarterback (
Well first of all, never put stock in non-BCS bowl results for anything, much less assessing a conference the following season. The Pac-10 went 5-0 in bowls the year before (2008), and yet the league was considered so weak that year that 11-1 USC never got a sniff at the national title game. The conference was better last year and went 2-5. Go figure.
The beauty of the Pac-10 is its teams schedule tough out-of-conference games, so we get a better sense of where its teams stand than we do some others. This year, the Pac-10 has gone 10-4 against BCS-conference foes, giving it more such wins than any other conference. Arizona beat Iowa, Stanford clocked Notre Dame and, perhaps most importantly, UCLA went on the road and drilled Texas. That's a pretty good gauge of the league's depth, seeing as the Bruins will be fortunate to finish in the upper half of the conference. Depth is particularly important in the computer ratings, which currently have the league either No. 1 (CollegeBCS.com) or No. 2 behind the SEC (Sagarin).
Thanks, but it's not so much that I'm hot as there really haven't been a lot of upsets this season. One of these weeks all hell is going to break loose and I'm going to go 4-6. Luck has a way of evening itself out.
Unless you're Les Miles.