Saturday, September 02, 2006

THE RANKS


Let's run through a few notes about this. First, I reserve the right to radically revise this list in the next few weeks, as it's supposed to be based on achievement, not preseason hype. That said, this is the first week of the season which means: (a) Teams haven't really worked all the bugs out; (b) most of the teams didn't play anyone that would give us an idea of what they're actual talent level is like; and (c) too many games are played on Sunday and Monday to give us too much of a feel for where some teams are in relation to others.

If the team has moved, they will have the previous list's ranking in parentheses beside their current rank. If they didn't move, they don't. I think you're smart enough to figure it out.

1 Notre Dame: My general rule of thumb is that if No. 1 beats a BCS conference team or a respectable mid-major team, they don't slide down the list. A 14-10 defeat of Georgia Tech, ubercoach Chan Gailey and the incredible Reggie Ball will test my faith in that rule. But it's the first game, so ND gets another week at the top.


When I said 'awaken the shadows,' I didn't mean his shadow.

2 Florida: Not bad for the University of Southern Mississippi. Hey, at least they didn't play the University of Louisiana Laughayette.

3 Ohio State: Again, a good defeat of a halfway worthy opponent. The first true test comes next week.
4 West Virginia: Torches Marshall. Waits for Louisville.
5 LSU: Wow. They beat Lousiana Laughayette. Why aren't they moving up?

6 (7) Texas: Biggest concern before Week One? Loss of Vince Young. Biggest concern over Week One? Is this the real McCoy. (Couldn't help it.)
7 (6) Penn State: You have to beat Akron by more than 18. Sorry.
8 Iowa: Another underwhelming Week One win against a lesser opponent. Uh-oh.
9 Louisville: Plays Sunday.
10 Georgia: Um, hold on to touchdowns. Other than that, you're doing fine.

11 Auburn: May be the most underrated on the list.
12 Clemson: No comment, but no reason to drop them.
13 Michigan: Should have put Vanderbilt away earlier. Maybe this is Carr's "huh?" game.
14 Southern California: So far, so good. But we're talking about Arkansas here. And the score was more lopsided than the game.
15 Miami (Fla): Plays Monday.
16 TCU: Plays Sunday.
17 Florida State: Plays Monday.
18 (20) Georgia Tech: Challenging No. 1 deserves a move up.
19 (18) Alabama: Defense held Hawaii to 17, but only put up 25. And this was at home. Worrying.
20 (19) South Carolina: A 15-0 win is good for the defense. But where's the Cock & Fire?
21 (NR) Tennessee: Not bad. We'll see how you do against a team that knows how to tackle.
22 Nebraska: Oooh. Offense. A new concept for the 'Huskers.
23 Virginia Tech: Three-touchdown first quarter looks good. But it was Northeastern.
24 Oregon: At least Stanford is a BCS league foe. Sort of.
25 Texas Tech: Lots of passing yards. Lots of points. Football season begins for Texas Tech.

DROPPING OUT: California. Demolished by Tennessee. Vols might be good. I seriously doubt they're that good.
ON THE BUBBLE: Purdue puts up 60...UCLA wins by 21...Rutgers beats North Carolina...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

FIVE REASONS


1 Steve Spurrier. He's 15-1 in season openers. The one loss? Against South Carolina.
2 This is Mississippi State. Sans Jerrious Norwood. Sly Croom might be a good coach. He's not Houdini.
3 The offense. Steve Spurrier is in year of two of callin' ballplays at USC. He's got Sidney Rice. He's got Blake Mitchell.
4 No cowbells? There have been noises that the SEC won't allow cowbells. If MSU has any hope of winning this year, it will be by distracting teams with superior talent.
5 No Brad Smith. If you watched the Independence Bowl last year, this needs no explanation. If you didn't see the Independence Bowl (and if you weren't a USC or Missouri fan, really, why would you?), there is no way to begin explaining.


1 This is South Carolina. As Spurrier will find out -- and has, to a certain extent -- this is a program that shoots for new heights in underachievement and often reaches them.
2 It's a road opener. USC has done not so hot -- 6-18, in fact -- when beginning the season away from Williams Brice.
3 Rob Morris said so. Please note the sarcasm dripping from this statement.
4 The defense. About as much experience in college football as Michael Brown had in disaster management.


You're doing a heckuva job.

5 Sly Croom's voice. His booming baritone should be enough to cause several USC players to uncontrollably wet themselves at inappropriate moments, leading to inopportune fumbles, blown coverages and sacks.

THE PREDICTION:
USC 42, Mississippi State 17

A MODEST PROPOSAL (2): South Carolina preview

The Cliff Notes versions, since I don't have time for more.

TONIGHT: at Mississippi State -- WIN
9/9: Georgia -- LOSS
9/16: Wofford -- WIN
9/23: Florida Atlantic -- WIN
9/28: Auburn -- LOSS
10/7: at Kentucky -- WIN
10/21: at Vanderbilt -- WIN
10/28: Tennessee -- WIN
11/4: Arkansas -- WIN
11/11: at Florida -- LOSS
11/18: Middle Tennessee State -- WIN
11/25: at Clemson -- WIN

FINAL RECORD: 9-3

PLACE: 3rd, SEC EAST:

1. Florida, 12-0
2. Georgia, 9-3
3. South Carolina, 9-3
4. Tennessee, 7-5
5. Vanderbilt, 5-7
6. Kentucky, 3-9

SEC WEST:

1. LSU, 11-1
2. Auburn, 10-2
3. Alabama, 8-4
4. Mississippi, 7-5
5. Arkansas, 6-6
6. Mississippi State, 4-8

A MODEST PROPOSAL: The C&F Top 25

1 Notre Dame: Believe the hype. Awaken the shadows. Yada yada yada. Yes, I'm buying in bulk whatever Charlie Weis is selling. It doesn't hurt that he has Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija. The question is: As Samardzija is now a pitcher in the Cubs organization, how long before the inevitable injury? And how many times will I get the "joy" of having to spell Samardzija correctly?

2 Florida: Ugh. Don't believe the Urban myth that Meyer won't tweak his offense enough for Chris Leak to finally have THE season. Leak knows it's put up or shut up time, and as everyone in the SEC knows, he's most dangerous when the game/season/whatever is on the line. Now, if they could just get the Outback bowl refs to call the NC game ...

3 Ohio State: Yeah, yeah, I know. These are supposed to be the national champs. Did somebody forget they face Penn State and go TO Iowa AND Texas? Oh, and there's that little traditional game they play at the end of the year against a conference rival. The name escapes me.
4 West Virginia: Opponents would do well to remember to do what Georgia apparently forgot to do: Learn to contain the option. Even so, West Virginia is in the Big Least, meaning they could lose just one conference game (Louisville) without breaking a sweat. Still, they'll have a hard time convincing anyone they're a serious NC contender unless they blow everyone out of the water.
5 LSU: The talent mill continues to crank them out. But Les Miles faces a few problems: Mainly trips to Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. At least one of these teams is wildly overrated. At least one of these teams will fall to LSU. Maybe two.
6 Penn State: Yeah, JoePa will probably have another post-good season meltdown and end up going 4-7. But I'm not taking the chance.
7 Texas: Before you say this is too low, remember how many games Vince Young won single-handedly. Project over this year. Yeah.
8 Iowa: They get Ohio State at home and don't have to play Penn State. Could this actually be the year the Hawkeyes live up to the hype?
9 Louisville: I'll put them in the Top 10. They'll implode. I will be embarassed. But at least I won't be alone, as the "perpetually overrated one year, underrated the next" team tries to get it right.
10 Georgia: Losing David Shockely. Losing Leonard Pope. But not losing Mark Richt. Whatever college football's most impressive coach does, this is about as far down as his team should slip.
11 Auburn: Upsides and peril. After all, they get LSU, Florida and and Georgia at home. But they have to face LSU, Florida and Georgia. And there are sleeper teams on the schedule.
12 Clemson: No comment. I just hope I'm wrong.
13 Michigan: Lloyd Carr is on the hot seat. The only question is, will anything other than an NC suffice?
14 Southern California: We find out if Pete Carroll is brilliant or just had a couple of good QBs.
15 Miami (Fla): Larry Coker. Another man who might have to win it all to keep his job.
16 TCU: The annual, obligatory fly in the ointment. This was Arizona State's spot until Dick Koetter became Hamlet.
17 Florida State: Bobby Bowden continues his attempt to outlive JoePa.
18 Alabama: Daddy's Boy doesn't have a QB and probably doesn't have his most dangerous WR. So he'll actually have to, you know, coach this year. Better keep daddy on speed dial.
19 South Carolina: Coach 'em up. Spurrier takes USC one step closer to contention.
20 Georgia Tech: Here's hoping that Chan Gailey and Reggie Ball finally live up to expectations. Calvin Johnson should help.
21 California: The USC "dynasty" is over. Long live the USC (Pac-10) dynasty.
22 Nebraska: The West Coast offense returns Nebraska to the Top 25. Not much more.
23 Virginia Tech: So they lost el Vick dos. They still have Frank Beamer.
24 Oregon: Please, please get rid of those horrid jerseys.
25 Texas Tech: I think they've got the forward pass mastered. Now they need to learn about something called defense. Spell it with me: "D-E-F..."