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After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
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  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Utah
  15. Kansas
  16. USF
  17. North Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. Boise State
  20. Georgia Tech
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Good Times

So I attended a fun little gathering Tuesday night with some friends.  Nothing fancy, but there was an eclectic crowd, including a few college football types.  Especially important and always exciting, I had a few moments to talk with a friend who has really helped shape my understanding of college football.  I am in awe of this person, and another friend of his who simply have the greatest understanding for the current game, for talent, and many other things, that I have ever come across.

Anyway, we were both in a good mood and mildly buzzed, so one of those all-out slugfests over various topics was left for another day.  But some interesting ground was covered.  My apologies to this friend if some of the discussion was more off the record, but sometimes I like to toss some things against the wall and see what sticks.

Of little surprise, we talked about USC, a team we mutually admire.  We took differing views on a lot of the off-field and internal stuff happening there.  The friend, let's call him X until we can come up with a cool alias, felt that like everything in life, USC's success will run its course.  We were addressing criticism of Pete Carroll, and X felt that Carroll is more or less untouchable right now, especially if he nets a third championship.  When the USC ship starts to run aground (as it will, at some unknown point in time), then we can look back to now and ask, was this incident, or that incident, or not keeping Norm Chow, etc. a factor in what happened?  But that's all for a later time.

I also said Hawai'i might put 30 on the young Trojan defense in that opener (X laughed), and he said don't worry about it, because even if that miraculously happened, USC is likely on its way to 60 that game.

Also on the menu was Georgia's fate this year.  Both X and myself agreed that Boise State should thrash Georgia.  We got to talking about supposed talent inferiorities, but the all-important sophistication and scheme issues came back, and an important factor to Boise's rise---their confidence.  X started salivating at mention of this, saying Boise feels they can crush anyone, and if a team doesn't feel it can win like that, it won't.  People will write before the game that Boise players will be thinking "can we play with them", or something similar, when in reality, based on the games we observed them play last year, their incredible confidence will probably be closer to the reality, and a factor in them going from a modest win to a large one.  All just conjecture, of course.  Boise does have a swagger about them, something I usually get annoyed at, especially from little schools, but they've earned it.

X also took a jab at Georgia QB DJ Shockley, who lost Georgia's title chances a few years ago with some bad plays against Florida when Georgia was still undefeated.  I posited that I don't see Shockley starting for long, making way for a backup like Joe Tereshinksi or someone similar.

Another unavoidable topic was Florida and Urban Meyer.  I get the feeling just talking to X and doing my own analysis, that an USC/UF matchup is an inevitability, perhaps as early as this year.  What a great game that would be.

Lastly, we had a few words about Notre Dame, and the overall college football supremacy issue.  I believe institutional power, derived from years of winning, and tradition, help determine the overall heights a program can reach.  For example, USC can do what it's doing now because USC is a longtime power, has won titles and Heismans, and is in Los Angeles.  Arkansas and Illinois simply can never reach the kind of height USC has, or if they do, sustain something like what USC is doing.  Another program similar to USC is Miami.  X sees USC and Miami as similar, in that they are near major talent, have won a lot recently, are coastal, metropolitan, buzz-type schools, and have major swagger and the prestige of winning titles.  One school left out of X's "down-the-road" greatness was Notre Dame.

The Irish were way down, in fact.  X said something to the effect of, "I could see kids 20 years down the road going, hey Dad, what's so great about playing Notre Dame?  What good are they?"  Color me a bit shocked, but I get his point.  The money line was that "Notre Dame doesn't have tangibles, only intangibles".  Things like the Notre Dame mystique, because their Heismans and titles were so long ago and they don't have a natural recruiting base and difficult admission standards relative to other major football programs.  It's something to chew on.  I don't believe Notre Dam'e long-term predicament is that dire, but who knows.

I stuck up for Alabama as the other institutional power who could run with USC and X shook that one off, offering up Miami as the real competition.  It's interesting because both of us have in our minds an institutional power framework about the relative powers of the various college football programs, but each of us also has the powers slotted a little differently.

Personally, I think the big 3 are Notre Dame, USC and Alabama, followed by the Big-10 schools Ohio State and Michigan and Penn State, as well as Miami, and then a mild dropoff to the Texas/Oklahoma/Florida type programs and then followed by someone like UCLA, Washington, Auburn, and so on.  The great thing about college football is that we've had over 100 years for the schools to really position themselves, and with the modern changes in the game, see how the various old powers have adjusted, or not adjusted to scholarship limits, recruiting restrictions, NCAA checks on player compensation, changing admission standards, changing University priorities and other factors.

I found the conversation interesting and always relish opportunities to have brief discussions about the game we all love.  I only wish the college football season were a little closer, so that we could witness things play out.

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Reader Comments (2)

Relish these times with X, because soon much more of your time will be consumed keeping an eye on... lets call her Y.... or maybe "Four"
May 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDrug Doctor
Please tell me you are joking about Boise & UGA! UGA is going to crush Boise for one simple reason, their better in every facet of the game. UGA produces more NFL players on a yearly basis than the whole state of Idaho has EVER produced. Boise's defense? I didn't know San Jose State was so good! Under your logic of comparing how one team did against another LAST YEAR much less week to week, has that ever really worked for you? As a college football fan who has attended over 300 + games, I can tell you that every week is a different week but their our 2 things you can typically bet on when trying to predict a winner. Who has the most solid lines on both sides of the ball. Most games are won in the trenches, not by QB, receivers and running backs. UGA's lines are not only better, but 2-3 times better which means trouble for Boise. I do beleive it will a good game for the fist half, but by the end of the 3rd. quarter it will be comfortably decided. But good attempt in trying to make it sound like you know something about football. You must be from out west or PAC-10. Home of the dumbest football fans in the country.
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Benson

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