Daily Archives: August 3, 2007

Some preseason poll factoids

…courtesy of USA Today:

  • The last five preseason No. 1 teams have reached the Bowl Championship Series title game. The flip side: Their combined record is 1-4, with Southern California getting the win at the end of the 2004 season.
  • USA TODAY took over administration of the Division I-A football coaches’ poll in 1991. The preseason No. 1s in that span are 10-6 in bowl games.
  • USC is opening No. 1 for the third time, all in the last four seasons. Florida State, with four, has the most preseason No. 1 appearances in the USA TODAY poll but none since 1999. USC started first and finished there in 2004. Florida State did the same in 1993 and ’99. Those are the only instances a preseason No. 1 became national champ.
  • The national champion has come from outside the preseason top 10 three times, all since the BCS began. Oklahoma started 20th in 2000, the lowest ever for an eventual title team. Ohio State was 12th in 2002, and LSU was 15th in 2003.
  • The lowest a preseason No. 1 has finished in the post-bowl rankings is seventh (Florida in 1994 and Nebraska in 2000).

So, in sixteen years, the preseason #1 has never finished lower than seventh in the final standings, and there’s less than a 20% chance that a team outside of the preseason top ten wins the MNC. Nah, that deck’s not stacked at all.

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Filed under College Football

Must be that new math I keep hearing about.

Stewart Mandel blogs about Pac-10 commish Tom Hansen’s threat to take his Rose Bowl ball home if the other kids don’t play nice.

Mandel thinks Hansen’s in a losing position…

So what’s my opinion all this? Well, the traditionalist in me empathizes with Hansen’s protectiveness toward the Rose Bowl and understands why it’s so important to him. But the modern realist in me says — “You’ve got to be kidding, Tom.” Do you really think your members would sign off on a deal that precludes them from playing for the national championship? Their fans would be livid and you’d be run out of town. I love the Rose Bowl, too, but I’m afraid that ship has already sailed.

… and that’s fine.

But there’s one thing in his post I don’t get. In saying that he sees two alternatives in how the Rose Bowl is accomodated, Mandel writes

Either the Rose Bowl factor will prove to be such a significant obstacle that the other BCS conferences will put off reconfiguration until the ABC contract expires. Or, more realistically, the parties will reach some sort of compromise that exempts the Rose Bowl from further dilution. In other words, if the Big Ten or Pac-10 champion is ranked No. 1 or 2, it would still be moved to whatever bowl is hosting the semifinal (which is really no different than today); [Emphasis added.] however, if those teams are No. 3 or 4 (or lower), they’d still play in the Rose Bowl, with the next-rated team moving up to take their spot.

But that’s not right, is it? At present, the Rose Bowl steps aside only for the BCS title game. Under Mandel’s hypothetical, that moves one rung down the ladder, to a lead-in game to the championship. Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems to be a much larger matter than Mandel is making it out to be.

Especially if you’re handing out the checks for the event as ABC and the Rose Bowl do.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

What took you guys so long to get here?

After all the years Spurrier’s been tossing a bone to the school that gave him his first college head coaching job, folks are finally getting pissy about it?

Said Jim Welch, USA TODAY deputy managing editor for sports: “It’s clear that what once might have seemed quaint has begun to lose its charm. We’re hopeful that before next season the coaches association can prevail upon Coach Spurrier to find another way to salute his former team — or that Duke gets better in a hurry.”

Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, whose members vote in the poll, said Thursday that he plans to discuss the vote with Spurrier.

“This has come up over a period of time, and Coach Spurrier has his reason for doing this,” Teaff said. “However, we will discuss this at the appropriate time as we have done with other issues regarding the poll as they come up.”

I’ve long thought that Spurrier trivializing the coaches poll was another reason to do away with it altogether. After all, if he’s not going to take it that seriously, why should we? What’s happened to wake these guys up after all this time?

*******************************************************

UPDATE:  The OBC doesn’t get it, either:

Contacted Friday morning by the AJC, Spurrier said he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“It’s a vote for a school that has been special to me and my family,” said Spurrier, who won an ACC championship at Duke in 1989. “They hired me when I didn’t have job. I’ve been doing it for about 15 years and all of a sudden they want to make a big deal out of it.”

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Filed under The Evil Genius

Prothro, Shula… and Saban

As The Wizard of Odds notes, Tyrone Prothro’s playing days at the University of Alabama are more than likely over. He’s been put on a medical scholarship, which makes him ineligible.

Prothro, if you recall, suffered his injury mid-fourth quarter of a 31-3 domination of Florida. There really was no reason for him to be in the game at that point, other than Mike Shula’s insecurity.

Of course, as Georgia fans (and Brodie Croyle) remember from the ‘Bama game in 2003, Shula is a repeat offender in that department.

If there’s any justice in this, it’s the hope that Prothro’s absence may have cost Shula just enough wins to lead to his firing.  Karma is a bitch, sometimes.

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Filed under SEC Football

Welcome back. Leave the poker chips on the table, son.

This was always a question of when, not if.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment

Aaaand… they’re off.

The 2007 preseason USA Today Coaches Poll is out.

Here’s how it looks:

1.

Southern California (45)

11-2

1,481

4

2.

LSU (4)

11-2

1,372

3

3.

Florida (9)

13-1

1,278

1

4.

Texas

10-3

1,231

13

5.

Michigan (2)

11-2

1,218

9

6.

West Virginia

11-2

1,205

10

7.

Wisconsin

12-1

1,114

5

8.

Oklahoma

11-3

1,026

11

9.

Virginia Tech

10-3

1,005

18

10.

Ohio State

12-1

919

2

11.

Louisville

12-1

836

7

12.

California

10-3

763

14

13.

Georgia

9-4

604

NR

14.

Auburn

11-2

595

8

15.

Tennessee

9-4

583

23

16.

Rutgers

11-2

466

12

17.

UCLA

7-6

454

NR

18.

Penn State

9-4

440

25

19.

Nebraska

9-5

388

NR

20.

Arkansas

10-4

360

16

21.

Florida State

7-6

301

NR

22.

TCU

11-2

233

21

23.

Boise State

13-0

222

6

24.

Hawaii

11-3

214

24

25.

Texas A&M

9-4

209

NR


A few observations:

  • Three, count ‘em, three Big 10 teams in the top 10. Jim Delany is typing a letter as you read this. But he won’t mention the SEC, which has two of the top three.
  • Florida gets more first place votes than LSU? Either we’ve got some basketball coaches who voted, or some of Les Miles’ peers ain’t that impressed.
  • Speaking of the Gators, when’s the last time a team took as big a hit on defense (9 starters gone) and still found itself rated so highly in the next poll? Oh yeah – Ohio State last year. One big difference, though: OSU had its starting QB returning.
  • Six SEC teams in the top 25, to lead all conferences. Four each from the Big Ten and Big 12, three from the Big East and Pac 10.
  • The ACC has as many (two) in the top 25 as the WAC. Sheesh.
  • Georgia plays three schools on the list. So does Southern Cal. Florida plays four. So do LSU, Auburn and Tennessee. (Note to HeismanPundit:  none of the schools playing four are in the Pac-10.)
  • No Notre Dame in the top 25. No Oklahoma State. No Georgia Tech (CFN‘s #10!). No Miami. No Alabama.
  • Potentially overrated top 10 teams: Florida looks high at #3. Aside from the personnel losses, the schedule, while not as brutal as last year’s, is still a major challenge. Also, Wisconsin at #7. Yeah, they’ve got lots of guys coming back. They’ve also got Michigan and Ohio State coming back.
  • Potentially underrated top 10 team: Oklahoma at #8. The schedule lays out nicely, with Texas (as always) being the key. And I’ve gotta believe Stoops will be coaching with a major chip on his shoulder this year.
  • Team making the biggest rise from last season’s final poll: Georgia, going from NR to #13. Boise State drops 17 slots in the polls.
  • What I feel surest about: at year’s end, it won’t be USC and LSU in the top 2 slots.
  • What I feel least certain about: how Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee, tightly bunched at #s 13, 14 and15, finish out.
  • Most overrated: West Virginia. Sure, they will be fun to watch, with Slaton, White and (potentially) Devine. But the defense is by far the worst of any school’s ranked in this top 10 and the offensive line won’t be as good as it’s been the past two years.
  • Most underrated: Louisville. The schedule lays out great. Petrino didn’t exactly leave a bare cupboard, either. These guys have an outside shot at playing in the BCS title game.

And, yes, I still think it’s ridiculously early to be putting this out.

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