Saturday, December 02, 2006

THE MELTDOWN. AGAIN.


Well, the only way we could have a real barn-burner of a BCS controversy would be if UCLA beat USC-West. And since there was noooo way for that to happen...


Oops.

Well, Florida would have to beat Arkansas convincingly, playing good offense and containing Darren McFadden. And we all knew that wasn't going to...


Ah. Well. I see.

So now, as opposed to the contrived Florida vs. USC-West argument that was fueled by the Pac-10 media/conference machine, we'll have the debate we should have: Is Florida or Michigan more deserving of a shot at Ohio State in Glendale in January?

I'll give my reasons for Florida tomorrow, hopefully before the results come out.

But it comes down to what the voters think. First, the question will be where the USC-West votes go? If enough tip to Florida (which is unlikely, since the Pac-10 envies the SEC), it would tighten the margin between the Gators and the Wolverines. Some voters would inevitably have to leap-frog Florida over Michigan. That will happen in some cases, the question is in how many.

The wild card is the computers. While experts say the two teams will probably end up even in the computers, the microchips factor strength of schedule on a game-by-game basis. In other words, Florida will likely get a bump by adding a strong Arkansas team to their resume.

Human voters: Look at the wins, not the losses. Look at what a team has achieved, not what it almost achieved. And give the nod to a conference champion, instead of an also-ran.

SPURRIER GETS EXTENSION; STILL GOING TO BAMA

It's official. Steve Spurrier's contract at USC has been extended through 2012 and bumped up $500,000 a year, to $1.75 million.

Spurrier said he hoped the new deal would end speculation he would be anywhere else than South Carolina next season and beyond.
He wanted prospects to know "if you come to South Carolina, you're going to play for coach Spurrier and his coaches."


But a completely reliable, rock-solid source close to Alabama's football program told me that this is really just an elaborate ploy to divert attention from the deal with the Tide, and Spurrier will still be announced as the new coach of Alabama on Monday. A hang-glider has been tracked going from Tuscaloosa to Columbia.


New contract just a clever ruse.

Spurrier's next game with the Gamecocks will reportedly be the Liberty Bowl. The Music City Bowl decided to go with Kentucky, which makes sense.

Friday, December 01, 2006

THE ADVANTAGES OF A TOUGH SCHEDULE

With Florida all but out of the NC picture barring USC-West folding like a cheap deck chair against UCLA and the Gators commencing an unholy thrashing of the Hogs, some are beginning to question the wisdom of what was thought to be one of the HARDEST SCHEDULES IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL. And then wasn't.

I've been thinking about this for some time, and I can't believe that other BCS teams haven't caught on to what the two Ohio State-Texas clashes have proven: If you play a tough game against a high-quality non-conference opponent and win, you will become a critical part of the NC discussion. If you lose, you still have an outside shot at getting in the NC discussion, and have a good chance at BCS bowl unless you go do something stupid like lose to Kansas State. And then lose to Texas A&M.


The dream killer. And at a school that knows weak schedule.

So schedule a tough game or two, would-be NC contenders. Yeah, it's 50-50 that you'll win. But the rewards are huge.

THE CROWN'S THE THING


Well, two of the BCS conference championships have been decided. Congratulations to Ohio State for sewing up the Big Ten with the win over Michigan and to USC-West for taking the Pac-10. Now it's time for the other big dogs to settle their scores, and it comes down (barring a catastrophic implosion by Louisville) to a game each. To wit:

ACC: Wake Forest v. Georgia Tech, 1 p.m., Jacksonville, ABC
This is the tilt for the crown that perhaps no one saw coming. There might have been a few out there bold enough to peg Georgia Tech for the championship game. No one still out there chose Wake Forest, because if they did, they were quickly committed to a mental institution -- perhaps wrongly. In any case, Wake Forest's exotic offense clashes with Georgia Tech's erratic offense. (Gamecock fans have an indirect interest in this game. If Georgia Tech wins, Clemson will go to the Gator Bowl, getting rid of the possibility that the Music City Bowl would be a rematch, which Nashville wouldn't do. Music City becomes a possibility for USC. If Wake Forest wins, Tech goes to the Gator and Clemson falls to Music City, which means the Gamecocks go to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.) Calvin Johnson and a stout defense should give Georgia Tech the edge. PICK: Georgia Tech

BIG EAST: Rutgers at West Virginia, 7:45 p.m., ESPN
This is pretty cut and dry: Assuming a Louisville win in their 12 p.m. showdown with the might Connecticut Huskies, a Rutgers win here will give the Scarlet Knights a Big East championship. A Rutgers loss would give Louisville the title. If Louisville were to lose and Rutgers were to lose, then West Virginia would slide into the BCS. On offense, there are three keys to a Rutgers win: 1) Ray Rice; 2) Ray Rice; 3) Ray Rice. But even if the Scarlet Knights roll along on the offensive side of the ball, they have to come up with a way to stop the White-Slaton monster, a ferocious creature that devours second rate defenses. As much as I'm rooting for Rutgers, I think grabbing their first win in Morgantown is unlikely. PICK: West Virginia


We'll use our Jedi mind tricks to stop White-Slaton.

BIG XII: Nebraska v. Oklahoma, 8 p.m., Kansas City, ABC
This is a neo-classic rumble between the Huskers and the Sooners. For Oklahoma, this has been a year that might have been; the right calls against Oregon would likely have them in the NC discussions right now. For Nebraska, this was the year when Bill Callahan's offense finally seems to be working; they're putting up nearly 34 points a game. But the South is still stronger, and Oklahoma comes into this game with a seven-game winning streak and a chip on their shoulder. As long as they don't fixate on the couldashouldawoulda, they should come out on top. PICK: Oklahoma

SEC: Arkansas v. Florida, 6 p.m., Atlanta, CBS
The trendy pick right now is Arkansas. They're big, they're physical and their man-monster players is on the field for the majority of snaps. There's no way to tell where he'll line up on any given snap, but he's usually out there. Tim Tebow comes in only occasionally, usually when Urban Meyer wants him to run up the middle and leave a trail of broken bones, severed limbs and concussions in his wake. Otherwise, you have Chris Leak, who's been pure potential now for four years. Unfortunately, he's never moved beyond pure potential. The secret, of course, is Florida's defense, which has kept them in practically every game this year. The key will be the Hogs' ground game. If they can ring up anything close to their average of more than 236 yards a game, they're headed to an improbable Sugar Bowl berth. If the Gators' D can hold them to closer to the 70 yards Florida's giving up each game, it'll be a Florida win. Arkansas also can't turn over the ball. They're tied for eighth in the league with a minus-3 turnover margin; Leak-Tebow might struggle without a short field. Intangibles, though, favor the team that wins despite appearing to lose every game. PICK: Florida

Thursday, November 30, 2006

URBAN MEYER: IMHO THE BCS IS MESSED UP

Urban Meyer says now he declined a chance to talk to Congress about the BCS. (Congressional hearings on college football's championship: Because figuring out that Iraq thing is just too hard.)

However, C&F has obtained a copy of a text message Meyer sent lawmakers while he was on the road recruiting. It follows:

"thnx 4 the chance to talk to u about the bcs. but i m so about 2 get this teenmonster tebow, so cant b thr. but imho the bcs is messed up. not as much as when i was in utah, but still messed up. it might actually put usc in the title game instead of us, even if both go undefeated. lol. and the big east gets auto berth. rotflol. wish i was j/k, but it's tru. so bcs sux. about to take off and go c tebow. ttfn. um"


USC-West title claims had him lol even then.

BOWL GAME LINKERATION

Bowl game talk is heating up. Let's play Linkeration!

--Man, Miami fans are going to be kicking themselves for getting rid of Larry Coker. He's making history at the U, taking them to their first-ever MPC Computers Bowl.


Another historic accomplishment.

--LSU fans are going bonkers over rumors they're going to the Rose Bowl. For some reason. Anyway, they're buying up tickets like Greg Schiano stock. Despite denials by the Rose Bowl board. Maybe it's something in the water in the SEC West.

--Ohio State students, meanwhile, are not capable of buying tickets to a bowl they are most assuredly going to. ESPN finally jumps on this, though The 614 was talking about it days ago. Still is. Columbus is asking for the return of those UzBuckistan nuts.

According to ESPN, a few matches have been set, beyond the Nevada-Miami thrillo in Idaho:

--Cal will play Texas A&M in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (because what says the holidays more than insurance companies gouging you for half your net worth?) ;
--UCLA takes on Florida State in the Emerald Bowl (those horrible nut commercials are coming back...);
--Hawaii and Arizona State will try to put up a combined 150 points in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl;
--Utah and Tulsa will engage in combat at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (no one on the terrorist watch list allowed);
--San Jose State and New Mexico will find out if the Nielsens include negative numbers in the New Mexico Bowl;
--Oregon will play BYU in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl (because Mormons are so at home in Las Vegas); and
--TCU will play Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, which should be about as interesting as its name would suggest.

THE SPURRIER COVERAGE: IT'S A WRAP

I'm issuing a partial mea culpa to anyone who has followed the topsy-turvy trajectory as we followed the Alabama coaching search. I probably should have been a little more balanced, particularly last night as I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on. But spending two weeks around Bammers (again, Bama homers who irrationally believe all good and no bad about the Tide -- not normal Bama fans and normal Bama homers) will to that to you.

Part of it was, I admit, gut that something was going on. Something was, but it wasn't as much of a danger as I thought.

The other part was not so much doubting Spurrier as it was wondering how he would react to a very good offer. Imagine if someone placed $3 million/year on the table in front of you, as well as everything else that you could possibly want. Think you might rethink your commitment?


The shirt Mal Moore showed up in.

But I should have realized that Spurrier wants to accomplish something here, and that he meant what he said.

However, I will not apologize for covering this. I don't think it's counterproductive, as some have said, to keep an eye on this rumor. That's how teams lose coaches. And I wanted to know what was going on. So I figured most South Carolina fans wanted to know what's going on. And as the only free-standing USC blog I've been able to find, I wanted to make sure I was providing that info. (This is not a slam on Gamecock Central or Gamecock Anthem, but neither is a blog and both charge subscriptions to see the really good stuff.)

The richest part of this is that the Bammers on the boards are now accusing Spurrier of "leading them on," like he didn't deny interest in the job three or four times.

To the rational Bama fans: Those that have come on here and appeared on some of the boards speaking like intelligent people instead of trying to follow FedEx planes across the continent have helped me retain my faith in the overall goodness of your team's fan base. Good luck on your coaching search -- we want a good one to beat in Atlanta in a few years -- and please feel welcome on this blog any time. Love to have you keep coming back -- if nothing else, it helps the traffic numbers. But you've really got to do something about those Bammers.

But it's done. Let's move on.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER

According to WLTX, Steve Spurrier has told his players he will remain at USC. (A pun-tacular article.)

Bama radio is reporting the same.

All but the diehard Bammers have conceded.

It's over. The march to history continues.

More later.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

SPURRIER REPORT

This is what I believe is happening concerning Steve Spurrier at this time:

1. Spurrier or his agent -- I think the actual arrangement is unclear -- have agreed to meet with Alabama AD Mal Moore tomorrow, either in Columbia or Tuscaloosa.
2. Spurrier will be offered the job at Alabama, something that has likely already been discussed. It will be a fat contract, one that USC might not be able to match. It will have lots of perks, though I am suspicious of reports that Spurrier would not report to Moore and instead would report directly to UA president.
3. At the same time, USC is trying to renegotiate Spurrier's contract. The Bama meeting could be a ploy by Spurrier or his agent. Or it might not be.
4. It is quite possible -- likely, I believe -- that Spurrier has turned down Bama at least once. This is not enough for Moore, who will press Spurrier hard at this meeting with an exceptionally good offer.
5. All indications are still that Spurrier is not inclined to take the job. He has told top recruits that he's not going anywhere. If these recruits are everything Spurrier thinks they are, he would not tell them something he knows to be a lie, because his credibility with them -- should he try to draw them to Alabama -- would be destroyed.
6. However, there are no guarantees. If I had to estimate, I would say 60-40 Spurrier stays. That's much worse than odds I would have given just four or five hours ago.

Now, here's the backup info.

First of all, the offer has been made, though one of the stations reporting it has shown why such reports can be scurrilous:

Multiple sources have confirmed to CBS 8 that Steve Spurrier has been offered a contract to coach the Univ. of Alabama football team. ... The apparent offer would also give him the chance to hire his son as offensive coordinator. Last week, The 8 Team reported that Spurrier was on a plane to Alabama. [Emphasis mine.]

I'm pretty certain the whole plane thing didn't happen.

Tony Barnhart -- hey, you'll take information where you can get it at this point -- believes Alabama is pushing hard on Spurrier. They might offer him loads of money and the potential of bringing Bill Oliver to the Tide as AD. This would be a big deal for Alabama, since they and Oliver reportedly parted on bad terms. However, TB's wording is crucial. The emphasis, of course, is mine:

Steve Spurrier will politely listen to what Alabama has to say-or at least his agent, Jimmy Sexton, will. Alabama will give him several million reasons to leave South Carolina and come to Tuscaloosa. They will even float the idea of Bill “Brother” Oliver coming out of retirement to be defensive coordinator. Spurrier has made no secret of his admiration for Oliver. The next 48 hours will be crucial in this process.

Also, the wording some blogs are reporting from broadcasts is that Spurrier is going to "hear him (Moore) out." Again, this sounds like listening without necessarily being ready to go.

Alabama blogs have also reported that Spurrier has been offered before now. I have no reason to doubt this.

However, the Birmingham News -- which has had a mixed track record on this subject so far -- is saying Spurrier won't take the job. If this is true, it's possible Spurrier is meeting with Bama as a favor to Bill Oliver, whom he likes. But that is merely speculation.

South Carolina officials are working to get Spurrier to sign a new contract. They seem rather confident:

The new deal is expected to be finalized within a week or two, according to a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

And The State finally speaks to a real, live Spurrier. No new denials, though.

Reached by phone Wednesday while recruiting in Florida, Spurrier said he has tried to use the Alabama speculation to the Gamecocks' benefit.
"It's always flattering if somebody thinks that you're a good enough coach to go to one of those kind of programs. That's how we've been using it with our recruits," Spurrier said. "It's a compliment that maybe they think I'm a good enough coach to go to those places. So we're trying to turn it into a positive."
USC received oral commitments Wednesday from a pair of 6-foot-4 wide receivers: Jason Barnes of Charlotte and Joseph Hills of Bradenton, Fla.
Hills said Spurrier recently assured him that he would be back with the Gamecocks.
"He told me all that stuff is false. He's not going anywhere," Hills said. "He basically said that South Carolina felt like home to him, so he's going to stick around for quite some time."
Spurrier would neither confirm nor deny that he had been contacted by Alabama.
"I’m tired of talking about all that. Miami, Alabama, Tennessee," he said. "Let me tell you a good rumor. My high school job is open — Science Hill High School (in Johnson City, Tenn.). And if things go real, real bad for me, I might have to consider that as a last alternative job."

Message boards have broken down and are unreliable, if they were ever reliable to begin with. Bammers (my term for Alabama homers who irrationally believe all good and no bad about the Tide) vehemently say that Spurrier is holding a PC in Tuscaloosa tomorrow. USC homers have been equally vehement in saying Spurrier will stay. There's no way to reconcile these reports, so someone is wrong.

As a final note, there is reason to be concerned that current USC Prez and former UA prez Sorensen could screw this up. He reportedly chased Gene Stallings away from Alabama, quite possibly the dumbest move the Tide has made since ... ever. Matched only by the hiring of Mike Shula, which came after Sorensen moved.

That said, I post this as an open plea to the university: Do whatever it takes. Give Spurrier whatever he wants. Make him co-athletic director with Hyman. Give him a binding agreement in writing that Steve Jr. takes over when he leaves. Throw all the money you have to at him. DO NOT LOSE SPURRIER!!!

Because for many of us, if we lose Spurrier and find out it was your fault, we will never forgive you.

TO TIDE YOU OVER ... NO PUN INTENDED

For anyone who's checking regularly, I will tell you I DO NOT BELIEVE Spurrier has accepted ... BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE WE ARE OUT OF THE WOODS YET ...

I will post more shortly ...

Developing ...

BREAKING HARD ...

Several Alabama TV stations are reporting that Spurrier has agreed to a face-to-face meeting with Alabama AD Mal Moore ... others are reporting a deal is likely ... I am currently scouring the Web for more ...

Gamecock fans: Do not panic; I've got you covered on that one ...

I will post more information if I can find anything ...

Will work every angle I know hard ...

Developing ...

RODRIGUEZ...MAYBE...

A consensus is starting to form around Rich Rodriguez for the Alabama job. Orson over at EDSBS says so, and also deflates the Spurrier rumors. We note this because they had Spurrier earlier and longer than we have had him:

Spurrier said he’s not taking the job. Therefore, he’s not taking the job. He’s only left one job abruptly, and is generally a pretty ethical and fair guy. (And when boy tyrant Daniel Snyder is that guy, you’re looking for any excuse to gnaw your arm off, slip the million dollar chains, and skedaddle–which Spurrier did.) It’s a matter of public record, and he’d be caught in a lie, which doesn’t jibe with his past track record.

And now the MSM in West Virginia is jumping on this one and, perhaps in a bid to keep R-Rod, telling him why it would be a really bad idea. I don't entirely agree with the idea that pressure makes the job bad, but I link to this column not just for a diversity of opinion, but also for this juicy tidbit:

Some in WVU's Puskar Center football offices say they don't know what's going on ... but that it sure seems something's going on.

Other intriguing possibilites? EDSBS also gives Kim Jong Il a shot (would that be the real Kim Jong Il or the Clemson Kim Jong Il?), while the M Zone says Bryant is coming back. (HT: RBR)

As for RBR, they have fascinating proof that no coach's career is ever truly dead.

UPDATE: I posted this, but things are changing rapidly ... will update shortly.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BAMA'S NEW COACH IS...

After a number of candidates have turned the Tide down, Alabama's coaching candidate is becoming clear.

First, I should say that my sources are airtight. My aunt's mother's brother's dentist plays golf with the doctor for the cousin of the former fraternity brother of Mal Moore. The deal is done.


Coming to Bama. Will slap his own back.

RICH "BEAR" RODRIGUEZ RUMORS GROWING

Apparently, I'm not the only one tagging Rich Rodriguez as Bama's next cap'n. Run Up the Score is on it, with a 5-7 year deal worth $2 million. Don't know if this is anymore credible than Steve Spurrier going to Bama for half the athletics department's revenue for the next decade. Brian Cook questions the wisdom of leaving the White-Slaton monster, but points out that "10-14 million is 10-14 million." (HT: EDSBS)

Unless you're bought out in the fourth year after failing to win two national titles and three SEC crowns.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

This is brutal. Lots of schools have decided the best move is firing their coach.

The latest to bite the dust is Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo, axed after a 4-8 season. I can't imagine what the reason for the firing is; it can't be a failure to meet expectations, because I doubt there are really any expectations at all.

In any case, it continues a series of professional beheadings that have set in. Head coaches now have the job security of Gorbachev circa 1991.

The cannings include Mike Shula, Dirk Koetter, Don Strock, Dan McCarney, Larry Coker, John L. Smith, John Bunting, Chuck Amato and Darrell Dickey. Which is about the same number of people who have said they don't want the Alabama job.

The only upside? Maybe somebody will give a certain Florida defensive coordinator the shot he deserves.


Can you tell me why I don't have an HC job?

Monday, November 27, 2006

A BELATED DISCLAIMER

Before I get flamed for the below post, I want to make clear that I think Bama fans that believe that Spurrier will come, regardless of all fact (as opposed to those who think he could come, because it's still possible), are a fringe not representative of Tide fans as a whole. Most of them are level-headed people, even if their opinion of Alabama is still a tad high. So don't completely tear me up.


Don't stomp on me. Please.

SHULA FALLOUT

For those of you that have been on a foreign planet for the last 24 hours, it has happend. Mike Shula is out at the University of Alabama.


On his way to cry on daddy's shoulder.

And you know what that means? Statements!!! Because now reporters can ask actual questions, instead of "RTRrocksforever83 said you are definitely coming to Alabama. Your reaction?"

So Spurrier put out a statement:

"I have no intention of leaving South Carolina. It's always flattering when a South Carolina coach is rumored for these big time programs. This one will die down in two or three days, too." [Emphasis, of course, added]

Meanwhile, Ivan Maisel cites a friend of Spurrier who says he's going nowhere.

Listen to Bama fans, and I encourage you to check out the message boards at tidesports.com, and this means nothing. They have Spurrier -- along with everyone else -- coming to Alabama, apparently operating under the theory that if you take enough shots into the dark, you're going to hit something. Even if it is your neighbor's dead cat. Who, at this rate, could be a candidate if they could just get the right voltage ...


It's alive! And it plans to retain Joe Kines!

In any case, because Steve Spurrier did not say, "Alabama can drop onto its knees and lick my feet, and I will still turn them down" ... HE'S STILL A CANDIDATE. HE'LL BE IN TUSCALOOSA TOMORROW FOR SURE!!!!!!!1111

Really, it's getting bizarro world over there. Nurse Ratched needs to be called in. Spurrier has apparently been seen at Tuscaloosa golf clubs that aren't open on Mondays. (No word on whether Elvis was in his foursome.) All this, despite being in Florida on recruiting trip. There have also been flights by planes linked to Bama to Texas (obviously to get Mack Brown), Arkansas (Houston Nutt), Kentucky (Bobby Petrino) and reportedly India (Ghandi).


Alabama fans need her iron fist.

Coincidentally, Spurrier's supposedly non-denial denial is a far stronger denial than what West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez said: "No I haven't been contacted by anybody. Again, I've said before I'm very happy at West Virginia and my whole focus right now is trying to win this last ballgame and then get ready for the bowl game."

This has all the elements:
--"I haven't been contacted." But my agent has.
--"Again, I've said before..." A qualifier that means the rest of what you say can be a lie and yet the statement is true, because you've said it before.
--"I'm very happy at West Virginia..." Ah, the dreaded "very happy." Being "very happy" somewhere doesn't mean you're going to stay. I'm very happy at my job -- but if the New York Times called and asked me to write a weekly CFB column, I'm on the next plane to LaGuardia.
--"...my whole focus right now..." Except, of course, for that other part of my focus, which is being held in trust by my agent right now.

In a way, this is kind of sad. A proud program is banging their heads on a rock, trying to come up with a coach, any coach, after they just canned one with a winning record and a 10-2 season under his belt.

But I'm not going to get into talking smack about what's wrong with Alabama's prestige, because that's not the issue here. Getting into that argument ignores why Spurrier will, I'm beginning to believe, stay at South Carolina.

He doesn't want tradition. He doesn't want a clear path to the SEC or national championships. Because here, he can do something for the first time. With the exception of the Redskins -- arguably the biggest mistake of his professional life -- Spurrier has never taken a head coaching job at a program with a tradition of winning championships.

It's not entirely magnamious. In fact, there's a good deal of ego mixed in. At Alabama, he would always be second fiddle. Bear Bryant will always be -- and should always be -- the gold standard. Spurrier would always be in the shadow. And he wouldn't be able to tolerate it.

Here, he can become the hero, like he was at Duke and like he was at Florida. He can once again be the GREATEST COACH IN THE HISTORY OF...

And that, in the end, is what Spurrier wants.

So, I'll still keep an eye on the Alabama search, if nothing else because it's interesting to watch the crumbling royal family destroy each other. And out of the slim chance that Spurrier might leave. But I plan on ramping it down some until I see something else that worries me.

Besides, there are bowl games to be discussed.

THE RANKS: A mess.


For the first time this year, I'm totally bewildered. Below No. 8, this whole thing might as well be written with an Etch-A-Sketch.


Now, if I can just hook it up to the computer...

So I'm going to go with a new approach. This is a weeklong, temporary poll. Next week, after the conference championships, I will raze it to the ground and rebuild it -- relying on this poll but moving dramatically when I feel so inclined. But until then, it is what it is.

To the ranks:

1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: IDLE. Waiting for an opponent to emerge from the scrum below them. But you can bet Tressel’s watching game tape from last year’s Rose Bowl.
2-T (2) Michigan: IDLE. Also waiting, but waiting with the hope that UCLA does the improbably and Arkansas pulls the plug on Florida’s ninth life.
2-T (3) Southern California: def. Notre Dame, 44-24. I’m close. If they beat UCLA, I’ll bang my head on the desk, take a sedative, and put them at No. 2.
4 (3) Florida: def. FSU, 21-14. I still say a win over Arkansas is a win over Arkansas, and denying a qualified SEC champion a play in the title game -- should USC-West lose -- would be a crime.
5 (7) Wisconsin: IDLE. They look better simply by not taking the field.
6 (10) LSU: def. Arkansas, 31-26. You know, a few plays here, a few bounces there, and we might be watching them against Florida in a battle royal in Atlanta. But it wasn’t meant to be.
7 (3) Arkansas: lost to LSU, 31-26. I can’t believe they were looking past LSU. So I think the Bengals are probably just a better team with more losses.
8 (15) Oklahoma: def. Oklahoma State, 27-21. I’m impressed. One loss away from being a topic of conversation and angst for the BCS.
9 (11) Tennessee: def. Kentucky, 17-12. Despite an underwhelming win in Kentucky, they are the beneficiaries of horrendous play below them. Getting punished in other polls for losing, without attention to who and how much.
10 (8) Texas: lost to Texas A&M, 12-7. I still believe everything below about No. 8 is complete mediocrity. So what do you want me to do?
11 (6) Notre Dame: lost to Southern Cal, 44-24. Okay, this team just isn’t great. It’s a good team, but not a great one. Argument settled.
12 (13) Rutgers: def. Syracuse, 38-7. Syracuse is the new Rutgers. You have to beat them.
13 (14) Louisville: def. Pittsburgh, 48-24. Still not impressed by Louisville. When someone can tell me why this team is in the top 10, I’ll put them there. Otherwise, it’s just inertia.
14 (9) West Virginia: lost to South Florida, 24-19. The MIGHTY BIG EAST strikes again. It’s beginning to resemble the ACC. And who thought, a couple of years ago, that that would be an insult.
15 (16) Auburn: IDLE. Again, a team that impresses by not being able to be unimpressive.
16 (19) Boise State: def. Nevada, 38-7. I moved them up some for the undefeated season. I still don’t think they’re a good team, but they get a BCS bowl to prove me wrong.
17 (17) California: IDLE. Their best week in a while.
18 (18) Virginia Tech: def. Virginia, 17-0. It’s a rivalry game, so I don’t punish. But it’s an unimpressive win, so I don’t reward.
19 (12) Georgia Tech: lost to Georgia, 15-12. Georgia is still bad. This was just Reggie being Reggie. But he can’t be Reggie if they want to win the ACC.
20 (20) Wake Forest: def. Maryland, 38-24. They might just beat Georgia Tech with their innovative, quintuple-option formation. I’m not saying they will, I’m saying they might.


Fear the ... whatever caused this.

21 (24) Nebraska: def. Colorado, 37-14. I don’t really want to move them above the ACC teams -- yet. But it won’t take much to convince me.
22 (NR) Texas A&M: def. Texas, 12-7. A squeaker win puts them back on the list.
23 (23) BYU: def. Utah, 33-31. Again, a rivalry game. Otherwise, they’d be gone.
24 (NR) Oregon State: def. Oregon, 30-28. Looks like the USC-West game wasn’t a fluke. It was an overachievement, but not a fluke.
25 (NR) Hawaii: def. Purdue, 42-35. Men of the Square Table: That whole OFF-FENCE thing? Way ahead of you.

DROPPED OFF: Clemson takes a fall after they lose to the Gamecocks, 31-28 (Funny, it never gets old saying that) ... Boston College slips off with the loss to Miami ... Arizona can’t beat the Sun Devils ...

ON THE BUBBLE: Call me a homer, but if South Carolina wins a bowl game over a quality opponent convincingly -- and I’ll hold myself to that -- I might put them at No. 25 if so low-ranked teams lose ...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A GESTURE FROM HICKS TO CITY SLICKERS

According to Georgia Sports Blog, Ugha has decided to be magnamious and honor Reggie Ball for his ... um, contributions to the rivalry.


Don't worry, Reggie. Someone wants to recognize your efforts.

COACHES OUT, COACHES IN?

Ah, it's time for the Coachousel to get started in earnest. To wit:

--Chuck Amato's "future" will be announced Sunday. It doesn't ever look good when your fate is going to be announced. Amato might get another spot in the university athletics bureaucracy, but my speculation is he's out. Is that Mal Moore calling?
--Dirk Koetter is out. Or maybe he's not. Or maybe he is... Inconsistency, inability to beat the conference's big dogs, inability to decide who your quarterback is, etc.
--No reliable word on Spurrier to Alabama. And by reliable, I mean a media organization you've heard of or somebody with some credibility. But Bama fans have gone crazy with the flight trackers, showing planes going to West Virginia and Kentucky. (Which I think would mean Louisville. I can't imagine Alabama would be desperate enough to hire Rich Brooks. Yet.)
--Here, I feel like I should point out that some of the supposed candidates for Alabama's job are done with their seasons. Others are not. Spurrier is one of those. If this has really been "a done deal" since the Alabama-Florida game, this thing would be announced in short order.