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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
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  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
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Submission Corner
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Another Unfocused Entry

Why not?

First item up: coaches' tenure and BCS appearances.

Ok, so this is a little late, but Georgia Sports Blog went to the trouble of determining the BCS conference coaches with the most tenure who have yet to make a BCS bowl game appearance.  Take a look.

Arkansas' Houston Nutt is atop the list, having coached since 1998.  Last year was his best chance but that kind of fell by the wayside.  Nipping at his heels is Clemson's Tommy Bowden whose team had a late collapse of its own.  A particular burr in this saddle is Cal's Jeff Tedford, tied for 7th longest wait.  He's been coaching since 2002 and would have gone to a BCS game in 2004, but Mack Brown happened.

GSB's Paul Westerdawg also lists BCS appearances by conference teams.  The Pac-10 leads the list, of course, with seven teams appearing in a BCS game.  As noted above it should be eight but Texas two-stepped Cal out of the way in 2004.  The Big 10 is tied with the Pac-10 but also has one more institution.

The ACC is particularly woeful with just four of its 12 institutions collecting BCS cash.  The snag, of course, is that Miami is counted with the Big East, having last entered a BCS game before the whole ugly ACC seduction of several Big East powers.

Now, for a moment of Heisman talk.  Heisman Pundit's released his "Winter Top 20", a list of the 20 players who will "at least get a whiff of legitimate consideration".

It's good to see West Virginia's Pat White crack the top ten at No. 6.  He doesn't get enough credit for his contribution to the West Virginia offensive machine.  HP's taken some flack for placing John David Booty at No. 1 but it's hard to argue with a winning, good-stat USC quarterback at the moment.  It's a little like center field for the Yankees, what can you do about it?

And now, some entertainment from the FanHouse.

---Top 10 cheerleader videos (???).  The Kelly Ripa one's comical.

---Domestic violence charges won't be filed against Cal's Marshawn Lynch.

---Auburn Tigers: 2004 National Champions? Yeh. Freakin'. Right.  Patrick, this is why it's so easy to take jabs at Auburn on here.

---Hippies get in the way of Cal's new stadium.  The bums lost, Lebowski!  Except, this time they won.  Dammit.

---Troy Smith exacts his revenge on Chris Leak.  Not really.

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Reader Comments (58)

You either trust voters or you don't (I have a long record of not trusting them at all).

If you do trust them, enough to say that the voters were right all along to have Cal ahead of Texas, why do you all of a sudden change your mind when the result changes?

Why couldn't the voters be able to change their minds after a Texas win over a top 25 opponent? Why couldn't, at the end of the season, people look back at the full records and think, "wait a second, I've been thinking Cal is better than Texas all year, but who, exactly have they beaten? Texas has beaten all these ranked teams and Cal has just one win over a ranked opponent. I'm changing my mind." It's a totally reasonable thing for voters to do (and it's what Brown asked them to do after the A&M game).

Here's what's NOT a reasonable thing to do: "I've been voting for Cal ahead of Texas all year. Even though I've looked at the schedules and Texas has had a significantly tougher schedule and ended up with the same record as Cal, I still feel obligated to put Cal ahead of Texas solely because that's where I've ranked them all year."

You say voters need to vote based on who is best. How, exactly does one decide that? Based upon what a magical unicorn tells you? Based upon how dominating a team is against 4-7 teams? Or how about this: by looking at a full schedule, the results of games, and by adding to that analysis the relative strengths of the teams you played. That's called "analysis", but it also could be termed "looking at resumes". And guess what? That's a lot more reasonable than closing your eyes, crossing your arms, bobbing your head and saying "AHA! Cal is better!"

So bringing this full circle: CFR, you say Cal got screwed because coters changed their minds. And your rationale for the premise that Cal is better is that the voters had them ranked higher. So if you value the opinions of the voters enough for the previous weeks when they had Cal ranked high, why, pray tell, do you not value the opinions of the voters after they changed their minds? If in weeks 6-11 of the season the voters were reasonable and wise in their judgment, why, all of a sudden, did they lose such reasonableness and wisdom? If you trust the voters as having an accurate view of "who's better" (and remember, I don't - I'm just playing by your rules) to validate Cal's position, why shouldn't you trust the voters the next week when they change their minds?

Let me answer the question for you: You don't rely on the voters over the course of the season to tell you Cal was better. You relied on your own opinion. You thought Cal was better than Texas that year. The objective numbers might have suggested something different, but that's what you thought anyway. And that's totally fine to have that opinion.

Besides all of this, is there really no response to the idea of "handle your business, go ahead and talk about how you should've been in a better bowl; but don't take care of business, you lose the right to talk"? Because that's the biggest thing about it. Excuses are for losers. Had Cal won their bowl that year, they could be shouting from the heights. They didn't, so they (and you) should just drop it. No whining.

January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLD
It was fun too see Cal get blasted by Tennessee this year.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commentergabe
"If you do trust them, enough to say that the voters were right all along to have Cal ahead of Texas, why do you all of a sudden change your mind when the result changes?"

Because that almost never happens. One of my problems with the polls (and I'm a poll backer) is their rigidity. It's almost impossible to jump someone ahead of you unless they lose.

Yet magically Texas jumped Cal? That was incredibly rare and suspicious. That's my point.

We can argue until we're blue in the face about who was better but at the end of the day how it went down is what I have issue with. I don't think it was a case of re-evaluation like with Florida/Michigan this year, the stakes weren't THAT high for the voters to have to reconsider like that.

The problem was Mack Brown stepped in and interfered with the normal way the polls behave.

A re-evaluation is completely reasonable, I agree and I'd urge that, but it has to be done all the time. As we've seen with the polls over the years that CLEARLY is not the case. Texas got a special boost that almost never happens, that's the problem. Cal got jobbed in that context, it's indisputable.

It's not whining, it's pointing out that the Pac-10 should have had its eighth BCS team instead of seven if not for a quite rare circumstance.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
As a side issue of sorts, understand where I am with bowls for a moment. I love them, but I think they produce crazy results.

Cal crushed the same Texas A&M team that beat Texas this year. Texas barely survived against crappy Iowa. At the end of the day neither result did much for my rankings because bowl performances are sometimes wacky (see Cal vs. Texas Tech).

When people were mad at me about my end of year rankings, part of the reason was that there wasn't much movement. I wasn't going to move anyone too much based on a bowl performance when I already had a good idea who and what they were after a 12 game regular season.

So with that in mind Cal's loss to Texas Tech isn't really the disaster in my mind that some of you are treating it as, just as Texas' bowl performance this year wasn't going to get disaster treatment in my rankings.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
One more point, since CFR wants to use the "voter switch" thing as a crutch.

Texas was behind Cal in the overall BCS standings because of a handful of ballots in which Cal was ranked #4 and Texas was ranked in the #8-12 range. When Mack Brown got on television and campaigned for his team, it was NOT to tell voters to move Texas ahead of Cal, and in fact, not many (if any) voters flip flopped Cal and Texas on their ballots. What happened was the assclowns who had Texas way, way too lote got their act together and ranked Texas properly - in the top six. That gave Texas the boost it needed to finish ahead of Cal.

This is just revisionist history, CFR, and you're not "just pointing out that the Pac-10 should have had an eighth BCS team." You've gone on and on in these comments effectively saying Cal got screwed because of campaigning. It's factually incorrect, and untenable for all the reasons LD, and others, have laid out.

He's right: give it up.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPB
"Everything else beyond that (resumes, Urban Meyer's politicking, Gary Danielson, etc.) was superfluous because of the rematch factor AND the fact that Michigan wasn't a clearly superior team to Florida."

I have one major problem with that, CFR: Michigan may not have been a clearly superior team to Florida, but I don't think you can really say Florida had showed itself to be a clearly superior team to Michigan. Absent the bowl results, I'm not sure the difference was as stark as you're saying.

Don't take this as a whiny Michigan fan saying they should have been there, because that's not what it is. I just have a problem with the implication that Florida was clearly the better team before the bowls.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurrill
Where's the documentation on this 8-12 thing, Peter?
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR

I agree.

But the trump in it all was the rematch factor. Few desired that.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR

IF that were true, why would it matter to Mack Brown whether he was ranked 4th or 9th in the final ballot since he wasn't going to get past Cal for the BCS?

Of course, he WOULD have known that such a change would help Texas jump Cal in the rankings and send the 'Horns to the BCS. Otherwise why bother? I'm sure Auburn had a few people ranking them too low this year and a million other teams each year that probably happens to but nobody says anything about it except Mack Brown jumped in, in 2004.

Any way you spin it, politicking is what caused the change. And as I've argued it's fairly unprecedented. Teams simply don't get "re-evaluated" at the end otherwise we'd see a lot more strange changes like that and people like me wouldn't be grousing about it because some sort of precedent would have been set.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
You're just wrong, CFR. Texas got past Cal because of the computers and a crappy showing against Southern Miss.

Not campaigning.

Further, it was proven mathematically that even if you gave Cal back all the ground it lost in the human polls in the final week, Texas still would have emerged ahead of Cal in the BCS because of its significant advantage in the computers. As you know, to overcome a deficiency in the computer ratings, you have to make up a lot of ground in the human voting. Cal - even without the movement in the final week when Cal looked flat against Southern Miss - wasn't going to hold on to that edge. Texas had a far superior schedule and resume, which the computers rewarded. The human voting was the "story," but it made no difference.

Cal got passed because of its crappy strength of schedule.

All of this, of course, before we even discuss the fact that Cal was thoroughly dismantled in the Holiday Bowl, while Texas beat a superior Michigan team. And you want to complain about some injustice toward Cal?

I find this baffling.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPB
This is not my post, but one that I felt was so well written that I save it for when Pac10 homers like yourself decide to change history. I wish I could give credit to the author, but I don't know him:

The Pac 10 commish, the Cal coach, and many others are harping on some of the voting patterns that may have tainted the BCS. Let's talk about it. Let me take item by item some of the problems that have been discussed (and I will make adjustments accordingly).
-- You complain about the 3 Texas based AP voters who switched and put Texas ahead of Cal. I'm gonna switch it back for ya. (typing). There you go!
-- You complain about the Alabama jerk who suddenly realized Texas is not the #9 team, but he suddenly moved us up to #5. Bear in mind, he still had Texas behind you guys, but what the hay? Let's take away those four points from Texas, shall we?
-- You are offended (and you have a case) that some coaches put Texas #2 or #3. You are right. That is wrong. I'm taking it all away. I will take away those points from Texas, and because y'all are so damn confident that you unequivocally outrank Texas, I will reassign all these #2/#3 Texas coach votes to Texas as a #5 vote. (More typing). There we go! And I'm being so nice today, I'm gonna go ahead and leave the pro-Cal #3 vote that mysteriously appeared in the final coaches poll.
-- You are offended that 6 coaches put you #7 or #8. Yes, that's wrong, too. Forget the fact that 8 coaches had Texas #7 or #8, the media is not mentioning that fact at all, but whatever. What I will do for y'all... I will take all 6 Cal #7/#8 votes, and because y'all are so convinced you are the better team, I will magically turn those into #4 votes, ahead of Texas.
So where do we stand after all these very generous changes?
#4 Texas 0.8442
#5 Cal 0.8397
That's right. We eliminated a little more than half of the difference. So much for the razor thin margin. So much for the conspiracy taking away your Rose Bowl bid. Y'all need to get together, figure out another injustice, and let me know, so we can try to plug a way for you guys to win.
OK. Now that I have mathematically shown (and given you all are very smart students at Berkeley, and you know based on what I said above, I'm right), let me give you all the reasons why you need to shut up already and just accept your damn Holiday Bowl bid.
1. The "Conspiracy Effect" Doesn't Add Up
This is what was just proven above. In the end, it makes for a neat Trev Alberts, PTI, New York Times, Seattle Times story, but it didn't really matter.
2. You Outranked Us in Both Human Polls
Al Gore wanted a recount, investigations, because he had LOST the human vote. You guys won it, damn it! Not only do you outrank us #4/#5 in the coach's poll, but you have the added benefit of a wedge (Utah) to outrank us #4/#6 in the AP poll. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?? How can you allege fraud in the human polls, when in the end, they WENT IN YOUR FAVOR?
Forget the fact that both teams have identical records, and a good case to make as both teams lost to undefeated national title contenders. It's understandable that some voters will vote Cal #4/Texas #5, and vice versa. If you refuse to accept that premise, you are being naive. It is not a slam dunk case, that in every voter's mind, that you are better than Texas. You know it and we know it. I will never argue that every voter should have Texas higher than Cal, and you should never argue the opposite. It's a grey area.
And in the end, the grey area was in your favor. You are unhappy, because it wasn't overwhelmingly ENOUGH in your favor. Oh well.
3. There's a reason the computers liked Texas
Cal's cumulative opponents win/loss was 61-61, a perfect breakeven.
Texas' cumulative opponents win/loss was 67-56, 11 games over 0.500
That's right. The best way we can try to demote our schedule to your level, is to pull out the undefeated 12-0 record of our best opponent, Oklahoma. But given that you guys [censored] and [censored] and [censored] how close you came to beating your undefeated opponent, I don't think we can accomodate you there.
We beat 5 teams that had 7 or more victories. You defeated one. One. One team that won 7 or more games.
4. Be fair about each of our losses.
I am more than willing to grant you that you played USC better than we played OU. But don't go saying that you practically beat USC (because you outgained them, and your wideout tripped on his route), while we got blown out by OU. The score of the OU game at halftime was Oklahoma 3, Texas 0. It was Oklahoma 6, Texas 0 up until 8 minutes in the 4th quarter. I realize that given you are Pac 10 fans, you must shiver when you see such a defensive struggle. But this was a very close game.
Again, we did not do as well against our rival as you did against yours. You guys were close. But don't go saying that we were blown out by OU.
5. Be fair about each of our sloppy wins.
Kansas. Boy, the media sure loves that game. We played sloppy in that one no doubt, but you guys know that as time was winding down, the Oregon WR dropped a wideopen, easy pass that puts them well within field goal range. So those are both near misses against sub-0.500 teams.
Arkansas. Well, I was happy with that one, it was an electric environment. It was probably closer than it should have been. Honestly, I do think this is a wash with your Southern Miss game. On the road, close at the end (game was nearly tied 17-16 with a mere 6 minutes left). But in the end, the better team won.
If you try to assert that any of our wins beyond KU and Arkansas were low quality or squeakers in nature, you are wrong (in my opinion). I attended and re-watched each of these games. Kansas and Arkansas made me sweat, but as the games concluded, none of the others were really in question, and they were all by reasonable victory margins. Yes, a comeback was needed against Okla State, but we won that game by 21 points.
6. Quit harping on the Big 10/Pac 10 sanctity crap.
For years, the Rose Bowl has been diligent in preserving tradition by always inviting the champion of the Big 10, to play the champion of the Pac 10.
Three teams: Michigan, Cal, and Texas. Only one of them meets this tradition, and last time I checked, that team is going to the Rose Bowl. Tell me, again, how the tradition is being violated.
7. Quit saying Mack Brown's "whining" did the trick.
While you and Utah were off, and after we defeated a ranked A&M team in a rivalry game, Mack Brown made public statements asking for voters to reconsider their votes. Some have portrayed this as "whining," some may say he was politicking, but whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter. He was certainly making an appeal to voters.
When the polls came out merely 2 days later (again bearing in mind that Texas beat a ranked team, Cal and Utah were off), here's what happened: Cal GAINED 4 points relative to Texas in the human polls. Texas LOST ground after defeating a ranked team by 13pts, while Cal was off. If ANYTHING, the "whining" backfired. It clearly didn't help.
Here's a thought.... maybe Cal lost ground in the human polls in the following week (a full 9 days after Mack's "whining") because of a subpar performance against a mediocre conference USA opponent. Because they were virtually tied with Southern Miss with only 6 minutes remaining in the game. Not because of Mack's "whining." And if you think it is wrong for Cal to be penalized on ballots because they didn't look good against a mediocre opponent -- welcome to college football. Teams have constantly been tweaked because of soft performances. Nebraska, in 1997, lost considerable votes (relative to Michigan) when it needed some luck to squeak by Mizzou. The precedent is ample, and reasonable. In fact, Texas according to many voters was being penalized for its performance against Kansas. What goes around, comes around.

January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWells
All Mack Brown said was "this team deserves to play in a BCS game." And he spoke the truth. Your accusation of "politicking" would involve something like exaggeration, lies, deceit, etc... things politicians do to spin the facts. I see nothing wrong with saying "this team played well and deserves (whatever)." He wasn't bashing Cal, or the perennially weak PAC-10. The voters decided the rankings fairly, not based on some behind-the-scenes conspiracy.

1)Disappointment in not playing in a BCS bowl.

This is not a valid excuse at all. Are you telling me they didn't want to win their game? That they didn't try? Because if that's the case, they DEFINITELY should not have been in the BCS, or any bowl game.

2)Unfamiliarity with Texas Tech's offense. Cal could watch tape but they simply had never played anything like that before.

This is just as ridiculous... most bowl games are played between teams that have not played each other during the regular season. Tech has/had a somewhat unique offense, but it's all 1-dimensional. (90% passing?)
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSelimSivad
But CFR, the prospect of a rematch means nothing when it comes to one team being better than the other. So with the rematch factor playing a significant role in the results, it's not fully about which team is better.

Again, I'm no whiny Michigan fan. Given the stubbornness of the Michigan coaching staff, bad things would have happened had M played OSU, as they did during the second half against USC. Florida was obviously far more ready to play in their bowl game, and far more willing to adjust as necessary. It worked out this time.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurrill
Well then I stand corrected.

My one question then is this:

Cal was ahead of Texas in the BCS heading into the last weekend, yet even with all the "generous" changes alluded to in that entry, fell behind Texas thanks to the computers.

One single final game by Texas swung the computers THAT much? So much that even with all the cookies thrown at them that the author hypothetically drew up, they were still behind the 'Horns?

That's amazing.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR

The option is impossible to defend if you don't practice against it and don't have the right kind of talent (or depth of talent) to defend it. That's just as one-sided as Texas Tech's attack. Navy's so untalented that the big boys could beat them on all but the worst days, but they make life hell for a lot of middling talent teams. It's simply an unfamiliar look, completely outside the norm of what is seen on a weekly basis in college football

You can study film until you're blue in the face but if you just haven't gone up against something like that you'll generally struggle unless you have the right personnel.

That's why Alabama could handle Texas Tech but Cal couldn't. Alabama had enough good DB's to take care of all of Tech's receivers. Cal didn't. Game over.

HP makes a good example about basketball. Pretend you've got this great offense that can beat man-to-man defenses. You've run this offense for several years now, get the right personnel for it, and have seen enough man defenses and defenders to beat them over the course of time.

Then one day you play a great zone defense team. Let's say you have a few weeks to prep for it, study the film, attempt to simulate it in practice, you'll probably still struggle because you just haven't gone up against it live like that.

That was part of Cal's problem with the Texas Tech offense.

Once they were down a score the psychological angle kicked in and they rolled over until the fourth quarter, meanwhile not having a clue how to stop what they spent weeks practicing against.

The rest of the Big 12 elite teams are untroubled by Texas Tech (for the most part) because they've seen it for several years now. It's not so unfamiliar and they have the talent and recruit the right guys to beat it.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR

I'm not implying Florida was the clearly superior team before the bowls.

I'm saying they were equal enough to Michigan, the distinction fairly unclear between them, that the choice was easy to make to send them to the title game since Michigan had already played Ohio State and lost in a fairly decisive way (Ohio State's late turnovers were pure lazyness, up until that point they were way ahead).

If Michigan had been a clearly superior team to Florida, the argument is different.

If Florida had been a clearly superior team to Michigan, there is no argument to begin with.

But they were about equal and the natural edge goes to Florida because we'd already seen Michigan play Ohio State and they clearly lost. Someone different needed to play Ohio State.
January 31, 2007 | Registered CommenterCFR
It's never a single game that throws the computers, CFR. You know that.

The difference was a full week's worth of games that entered into the equation.

Texas playing A&M (a top 25 opponent) and Cal vs. Southern Miss were but 2 of the 50+ games that affected the computers. North Texas wins a game that week, raising their record - that helps Texas. New Mexico State loses a game that week, it lowers their record - which hurts Cal. If the 11 opponents on Texas's schedule all played well that week and the 11 opponents on Cal's schedule didn't, strength of schedule can swing considerably, thus affecting the results. Also, as someone may have said above, it wasn't just a 2 team comparison for the BCS. Utah was also involved (as well as Auburn, Oklahoma, and USC). For every BCS point that was lost by Cal, it might not have gone in favor of Texas - it might've been lost to Utah or Auburn or anyone. That's true in the computers and the human polls. But say Cal and their opponents have a bad week, and they drop a farther distance in the computers behind Texas, but also Utah jumps ahead of them, or in some computers Auburn or Oklahoma was behind Cal before that week but as a result of Auburn's opponents having a good week and Cal not, even bigger gaps can occur. Everytime one piece moves, everything else moves with it. And it's not just one game, it's the result of 50+ games and the reslotting of all 119 teams over that time that can clearly affect a computer ranking.

Also, that link worked for me. It's a Hornsfans message board post in their "classics" section. You might be able to get there through their front page.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLD
CFR, I don't think the desire for a different matchup is a compelling argument for this, unless you're packaging it for popularity (I think an M/OSU game would not have placated the masses). I think we're just going to disagree here.
January 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBurrill
I am sure Auburn is terrified of playing kst. in manhattan..lol

It was a last minute fill..but that means nothing i guess.

what is wrong with the home/away series withwest virginia? does that not count for anything?

January 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpatrick's crow feast

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