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Top Teams 2008

After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. LSU
  9. BYU
  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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Premature Evaluation Part II

This is a continuation of CFR's look at college football's opening weekend slate of games, taking a look at Saturday and Sunday's games.

Saturday September 2nd

Grade II Stakes---California @ Tennessee, USC @ Arkansas

In horse racing, Grade I stakes races are considered to have the best field of horses, followed by Grade II and Grade III and several forms of non graded stakes.  Texas vs. Ohio State or USC vs. Notre Dame would be a Grade I type game, for example.  There are no Grade I games this weekend, but we do have two interesting Pac-10/SEC battles in the Grade II level.  The SEC gets to take advantage of its most potent weapon: September home field advantage in the muggy south.  Should be fun.

Grade III Stakes---Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech, Washington State @ Auburn, Southern Miss @ Florida

ESPN GameDay's headed to Atlanta to start the Notre Dame hype machine.  It's more of a Grade III or non-graded, but given the hype we have it up here.  We have yet another SEC/Pac-10 slam with Auburn taking on the Cougs and then Year II of Urban Meyer begins for Florida against perennial bowl team Southern Miss.

Non Graded Stakes and Claimers---BYU @ Arizona, Utah @ UCLA, Rutgers @ North Carolina, Virginia @ Pittsburgh

A good collection of teams trying to assert themselves and climb into the weekly rankings.  There's some buzz about Arizona and Rutgers this year.  UCLA's getting the first start from uber-recruit Ben Olsen.  North Carolina has a new offensive coordinator hired from Fresno State.  Virginia's trying not to collapse as critics swarm about coach Al Groh and the many coaching departures this offseason.  Pittsburgh is looking for some returns on two years worth of quality recruiting.  The early hype is on true freshman Dorin Dickerson.

Mac and Big Ten A Match Made In Heaven---Akron @ Penn State, Wisconsin @ Bowling Green

There's nothing wrong with these games.  We get to see different styles of play at work between power teams in both conferences.  Also a nod to the Northern Illinois and Ohio State game mentioned below.

Fun, Then Ugly---Northern Illinois @ Ohio State, Hawai'i @ Alabama, Vanderbilt @ Michigan

Three traditional powers, three likely victories.  The hope is that the underdogs can make a game of these early battles before reality sets in.

Rare Bird Early Conference Battle---Stanford @ Oregon

You can thank the Pac-10's new round-robin schedule format for the early conference battle here.  I won't complain.  Oregon actually struggled against Houston in last year's opener before pulling away late.  Stanford's looking to dig itself out of the Pac-10 cellar.  It's a good quarterback battle with Trent Edwards and Dennis Dixon leading these squads.

In State Squabbles---Kentucky @ Louisville, Marshall @ West Virginia

Paranoia, thy name is West Virginia.  Louisville has to do a better job of dispensing with the Wildcats.  The game was too close for comfort last year.

Yawners---Syracuse @ Wake Forest, Utah State @ Wyoming, East Carolina @ Navy, Army @ Arkansas State

Syracuse was terrible last year.  Showing life against the potent Wake Forest rush attack would give some hope to the faithful in upstate New York.  Wyoming is a quality team but nobody's tuning in for this one.  Navy and Arkansas State are bowl teams.

Texas Two-Step---TCU @ Baylor, Houston @ Rice, SMU @ Texas Tech

Saturday Night Lights?  TCU and Baylor are legit bowl candidates.

Who Knew The Road To The Top Was Paved With Cupcakes?---McNeese stae @ USF, Idaho @ Michigan State, Murray State @ Missouri, Louisiana Tech @ Nebraska, Appalachian State @ North Carolina State, UAB @ Oklahoma, Indiana State @ Purdue, Villanova @ UCF, Florida Atlantic @ Clemson, Montana State @ Colorado, Alabama State @ Troy, Eastern Illinois @ Illinois, Montana @ Iowa, Alcorn State @ Louisiana-Monroe, Western Michigan @ Indiana, Richmond @ Duke, William & Mary @ Maryland, Weber State @ Colorado State, San Jose State @ Washington, Northeastern @ Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky @ Georgia, North Texas @ Texas, Illinois State @ Kansas State, Idaho State @ UNLV, Portland State @ New Mexico, Missouri State @ Oklahoma State, Louisiana-Lafayette @ LSU, Eastern Kentucky @ Cincinnati, The Citadel @ Texas A&M, Northwestern State @ Kansas, Tennessee-Martin @ Ohio

I didn't.

Sunday September 3rd

Dr. Hannibal Lecter Special---Memphis @ Ole Miss

Apparently Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron does not shoot fire through his eye balls... but he gets the Hannibal Lecter cage isolation treatment anyway.  His team has Sunday all to itself.  Memo to Memphis: do not step into that cage to feed the man in the mask.



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Reader Comments (19)

Considering how crappy Alabama's offense is and how the defense is only returning a few starters, I'm sure Hawaii will give Alabama a much better run than Vandy will give Michigan and Northern Illinois will give Ohio State.
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRBR
CFR, the pac 10 knows the road to the top is paved with "cupcakes".

Stephen F. Austin @ Arizona
N. Arizona @ ASU
Portland State @ Cal.
E. Washington @ OSU
San Jose St. @ Wash. & Stanford
Rice @ UCLA
Idaho @ OSU

Don't you love it? Are these home and home match-ups?
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1

Alabama's offense can't be worse than last year, if it means anything. They also beat a similar funky offense in last year's bowl game in Texas Tech. That's a winnable game.


Those are terrible games, I agree. Some Pac-10 teams have no started going that way and its pathetic. You know who they learned that from though, right?
June 16, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Yep, it's the name of the game. Not every team is guilty but, most are.
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
I firmly believe Alabama will win the game, but the offense most certainly can be worse. No Brodie Croyle, no Tyrone Prothro and there's controversy surrounding the top 2 receivers (one personal issue, one academic.)

Combine that with the arrest of Juwan Simpson (one of the few returning starting defensive players) and things are looking kind of rocky.

I know they shut Texas Tech down and held them to 10, but they barely managed to score 13. Alabama's TD came courtesy of Texas Tech doing the worst job in the history of mankind of defending a screen pass.
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRBR

Well that's where we as fans can chip in and make noise at the teams doing it. If it persists with the Pac-10 I'm going to not be very kind towards the conference.


I agree to a certain extend because of the personnel issues, but I was never blown away by Croyle as an offensive force. I think new blood will help with John Parker Wilson, and he came from a good passing high school so it's within him to be productive. He won't be saddled with the hype and expectations Croyle had and can cut loose a little more.

One of the SEC's offensive problems isn't so much that the defenses are great but that the offenses are so ultraconservative and wary of turnovers.

It's just a given Wilson's going to throw more INT's than Croyle this year, but I think that may trigger the coaches into also letting him be more dangerous and create opportunities that may not have been there last year.

On defense 9 of the 11 projected starters (according to Steele) are upperclassmen, which can't hurt. I'm hearing a lot of nice things about that safety Dukes, as well. There's definitely pieces to work with on that side as well.
June 16, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
SEC fans can talk about PAC-10 home cupcakes all they want -- the home cup cake list for the SEC is huge.

So since Dawgy was being sarcastic about the PAC-10 home and home schedules, let's look at who the PAC actually plays on the road this year.

12 Road games for the PAC out of 30 OOC games. (40 %) PAC-10 play at:
Notre Dame (twice)
Boise State
Fresno State
San Jose State

The SEC has increased it's Road OOC substantially this year over the recent past. 8 out of 48 OOC (17%) You guys are adding home and homes (for the most part) with PAC-10 teams and that adds excitment and better games in the non-conference part of the schedule.

Keep up the good work SEC.
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLED
Here is the home cupcake list for the SEC for 2006:

--LA-Monroe (THREE TIMES!)
--Florida International (WTF is FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL???)
--Florida Atlantic TWICE!!! Every football fan of Division 1-A south of the Mason-Dixon line should be ashamed.
--SE. Missouri State
--Buffalo (it's a damn shame to even capitalize the "B" in Buffalo)
--Akansas State (wishing they could compete with San Jose State)
--West Carolina (another Div. 1-AA)
--Western Kentucky --1-AA
--Texas State (where the hell is Texas State? They aren't even big enough to be a directional College....
--Central Michigan
--La-Lafayette -- tell us how tough Lafayette really is... Bahahahaha..
--Northwestern State really guys this is beyond pathetic.
--Jacksonville State. No. And you guys are making fun of PAC-10 teams playing Rice? this is unbelievable.
--Wofford. One game scheduled against Wofford is as bad as 10 games scheduled against Northern Arizona. Really.
--Middle Tennesse State
--Tennesse State -- is that the same school as MTSU?

June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLED
AWESOME horse racing analogy CFR. I hope you stick with that all season. Obviously the bowls are the Breeders Cup, and the NC game is the Classic. Brilliant.
June 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKanu
Re: Florida International

One of my best friends is the only person on earth excited about the Alabama vs. Florida International game.

He grew up an Alabama fan but went to school at FIU (which is in Miami for those of you that don't know. I know I wouldn't know where it is if he hadn't gone there and Alabama weren't playing them.)

As soon as the schedule was announced, he called me to ask if he could have my other ticket for that game. :D
June 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRBR
LED, my only reason for bringing up the pac 10's cupcakes is that for months and months all I've read on this blog and HP's blog is bashing of SEC scheduling.

It actually is not the worse of the BCS conferences and the pac 10 is not significantly better.

In other words, you guys can dish it out but, have a hard time when it's pointed your way.

BTW. an SEC team might play a 1-AA game but, we won't lose it. Can you spell STANFORD?
June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1

Before you bash Texas State and show more ignorance, you might want to check them out.

They've won two 1-AA national championships, lost in the semi-finals last year by (3) pts. Played Texas AM a very good game last year, (31-44) and, the last time they play Cal-Davis they won. I hope Stanford don't schedule them as a "Cupcake"!
June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
Readily admitting a GT bias, I would rate GT/Notre Dame a Grade II, mainly because of the upset potential. Auburn knows all about early-season upsets from Tech. Regardless of his track record, Reggie Ball is an experienced senior and has led some excellent wins. Jon Tenuta is one of the best D-coordinators in D1A, and it's a night game at Grant Field. Here's hoping we put an early hurt on the ND hype machine.
June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Can you say Mississippi State? Lost to Troy St. in 2001 (when Troy was 1-AA) and to Maine in 2004.

So HP's blog has been bashing the SEC scheduling -- well, the SEC deserves to be bashed for its scheduling practices. My big point is that it's not just a few of the bottom tier SEC teams but it is rampant throughout the league.

If I was an SEC fan, I would be quiet as a mouse on the OOC scheduling topic. What makes it fun for me is the SEC fans who feel the need to defense the basically indefensible. I mean, when Dawgy1 is confronted with the cupcake list of the home games this year for the SEC, along with the killer road games for the PAC-10, how can he still come up with a statement like "...and the pac 10 is not significantly better." in regards to scheduling? The scheduling differences are so dramatic for anyone who is familiar with college football that it renders the arguement of any type of equality in schedule practices between the two conferences as moot.

What it does do is force SEC fans to pump up Division 1-AA teams like Texas State and Georgia Southern as football powerhouses and actually strong competition.

I've attended tons of 1-AA football games in my lifetime. I've seen some terrific teams and schools and real solid programs. My point is not to put down the quality of the ball played at the Division 1-AA level. I personally love it. BUT, when a power conference such as the SEC has 10 of it's 12 teams play multiple games in the BCS era against 1-AA at home, and the SEC conference fans come on with an attitude that they are "top to bottom" the strongest conference in the nation -- well, I just have to red card you guys on that one. The elite teams in the SEC play cup cake schedules, with the exception of Tennessee. In the PAC-10 half of the conference has refused to play 1-AA teams in the BCS era.

If a team or a conference wants to wear the self-proclaimed label of "national elite" then in my opinion the scheduling practices should match the staus to what you proclaim.

June 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLED

The SEC is the strongest conference in college football. That fact is recognized by almost every qualified analyst, of which you and CFR and HP are not! You're just a couple of pac (1)0 homers who are trying to give your pitiful conference some credibility. You can't base it on wins and losses or bowl games so you have to come up with shit like "offensive inovation","conference competitiveness", or "scheduling". You don't need to schedule a cupcake 1-AA team when you get to play Stanford, Wash. St., Wash, etc Most years teams like Texas State and Georgia Southern play much better football and have better athletes.

Since you like to go back in history (2001), Troy St./Miss.St., you had to dig deep for that one didn't you? College Football Data Warehouse ranks scheduling for all time. There are (5) SEC schools in the top 20. There is (1) pac 10 school at #19. So, if the pac 10's recent OOC scheduling is better than the SEC's, that's good cause they got a lot of catching up to do.

CFR, HP, and yourself can't defend the history so, you always qualify your analysis by sticking to the last 3-4 years. Let's face it, if it wasn't for USC, and maybe Cal, the pac (1)0 has been
no better the the WAC, MAC, or Big East.

Suck on this for awhile homer.

June 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
Thanks for bring up Stanford, Wazzu and UDub as representative of the "weak" PAC-10.

I know you obviously don't pay any attention to the West Coast -- so let me fill you in on these "weak" programs that you as a SEC power would like to have on your schedule year in and year out.

Washington finished the year ranked in the Top 25 6 times in the 1980's, 5 times in the 90's and twice so far in the 00's. That includes SEVEN TIMES in the Top 10 and a National Championship (in 1992 I believe).

Washington State? They have appeared in two BCS Bowls and finished in the Top 10 4 TIMES since 1997!

Stanford -- has 12 Conference championships and a National Championship all-time. Stanford has won 10 Bowl games, Appeared in a BCS Bowl after the 1999 season and finished in the top 25 4 times since 1991.

Ol' Miss. Mississippi State, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Find me any type of success among these 6 teams - historically or in recent history that can even begin to rival what these three PAC-10 programs have accomplished.

Once you try that, then let's compare the schedules that Wazzu, Stanford and Washington played year in and year out to your SEC powerhouses.

See, it's the stale SEC fan thinking that says I can just list the names of the schools in the SEC and the names of the schools in the PAC-10 and anyone can realize that So.Car or UGA or whoever is sooo much better than Washington State or Stanford or Washington. It's the standard line --- "The SEC is the strongest conference in College football period." If you truly believe that, then you should enjoy discussing this and making points for the SEC supremacy and debating the issues instead of telling the blogger how they are not "experts" and just PAC-10 homers. Dawgy1, you may well be a college football expert. Show us if you are.

Go ahead. Dawgy1, you listed your crap teams in the PAC-10. And I just proved that all three of those schools are better historically and recently than at least 6 of the schools in the SEC.

Show me where I'm wrong. You don't have to be an "expert" to give that a try.
June 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLED

O.K. without picking out selective items as you have done, I went to College Football Data Warehouse where they've done a all-time ratings index based on scheduling, winning percentage points, national championship points, and the big 4 bowl points.

I'm not exactly sure what the methodology is but, it is surely more objective than you and I.

Washington #23
Arkansas #26
Ole Miss #31
Stanford #32
Vandy #48
Miss. St. #54
Kentucky #57
Wash St. #59
OSU #60
So.Car. #67

According to this, you haven't proved anything except you're wrong! Ofcourse you're probably going to contend that your analysis is fair and unbiased right?

Are you wrong?
June 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawgy1
CFR, just when i thought I had you interested in Navy football...

Navy against East Carolina a yawner?

Since when is watching the Triple Option a yawner? East Carolina also has one of the better pass attacks in the country (granted they can't play defense for shit), which should make for a fairly exciting game.

June 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I love watching the Navy attack.

However, the game should be a dud just the same.
June 21, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR

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