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Archive for November, 2008

FIX IT

Once again, voters’ opinions have thrown the national championship race into turmoil. How it’s possible that Oklahoma is ranked ahead of Texas, who beat them, is beyond me. And again, as I wrote last week, no way does USC deserve to be ranked ahead of Texas Tech.

The NCAA has always been a duplicitous beast. It hammers the teams that it supposes have transgressed some of its hallowed rules, but then it lays off the teams and conferences, letting them formulate their own methods for determining their champions. The SEC proved that a championship game is the right way to go, and the Big 12 followed suit. Now it’s time for the Big 10 and the PAC 10 to get on board. The recent trend of voters’ rewarding conferences who do have a championship game is promising, as seen last year when 2-loss LSU played for the BCS title in lieu of 2-loss USC. At least they got that one right.

But this year the polls are on their backs, and the official is counting. Something must be done to fix the system. I’ve already given one idea that could work without instituting a playoff, which the powers-that-be are so adamantly opposed to. But a few things must happen without question: The Big 10 and PAC 10 must crown their champions in a championship game. The Big 10 will have to either add a team or cut a team for that to happen, but if Notre Dame would get off their high horse and join, both the Big 10 and ND would be better off for it. All the PAC 10 really has to do is schedule the game and play it, since they’ve already got an even number of teams, although it would be nice if they’d add a couple more teams to the pot.

The Big 10 and PAC 10 may already have plans to that effect. Surely they see that their lack of a conference championship is costing them consideration at season’s end. Everyone said the SEC would put themselves out of contention when they started up their championship game, but in fact, just the opposite has happened. The SEC is getting more consideration because of the championship game. Several other conferences have followed suit. At this point, to refrain is nothing more than a display of stubbornness.

There are ways to fix the system, NCAA. We all know you hate the idea of a playoff, despite the wishes of the fans of the sport, but there are other ways than the BCS. Use your imagination and come up with one, or just ask me, I’ve got a guaranteed formula for success. I call it the Super Conference.

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USC Leapfrogs Texas Tech?

AP voters, you’ve really screwed up this time. With USC leapfrogging Tech in the most recent polls, the BCS picture–still not reliable due to its dependence on voters’ opinions–is once again screwed up.

Let’s look at the losses these two teams have suffered. Both have one loss; USC’s to Oregon State, a 7-3 team with a conference loss to weakling Stanford, and TT’s to Oklahoma, another one-loss team whose only loss came at the hands of Texas, current one-loss #2 in the BCS. Aside from that, TT plays in a much stronger conference–and don’t give me that crap about how USC’s defense is the best in the nation, if TT was playing in the lackluster PAC-10 their defense would look stellar too.

How is it possible that two teams with one loss each can be ranked so wrong? There’s no way SC deserves to be ranked ahead of TT, other than the love affair current AP voters have with all-things Pete Carroll. Give us a break, AP, vote for body of work instead of who you’d like to see winning. At worst, TT shouldn’t have dropped below fifth.

The Big 12–of which I am not counted as a fan, by the way–should have some combination of teams ranked currently at numbers 2, 3, and 4. Period. How you rank them is up in the air, but there’s no question in my mind that Texas’s, Oklahoma’s and Texas Tech’s one loss each is a much better loss than either Florida (who lost to a pretty good team in Mississippi and should be ranked #5) and USC, who lost to Oregon State and should be ranked no higher than #6.

What’s really frustrating about this is that I don’t even see how there can be any question that it should be this way. So long as you’re looking at things rationally and with no bias, at this stage in the season the top ten is pretty clear cut. At least it is if you’re not an AP voter.

Here’s the current Houndstooth Top 10. There’s not much difference between this poll and the AP poll, except 1-5 and flip flopping Utah and Penn State. But at this point in the season every little spot counts big time, and USC just doesn’t deserve to be a top 5 team:

  1. Alabama
  2. Texas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Utah
  8. Penn State
  9. Boise State
  10. Georgia (I’d have no problem putting Oklahoma State in the ten spot)

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Les Miles Sucks

Hey, one more note on the Houndstooth front, and nothing that should surprise anyone: LSU’s Les Miles is a big, fat boob. I know you LSU fans are tired of hearing it, but it’s about to be said again: Les has won with Nick Saban’s players. He won the national championship with Nick’s players, and now his true colors are coming out; with his own players, he can’t get it done. Not that I’m really eager for LSU to fire Miles, no, as an Alabama fan I’d rather them keep him around as long as possible. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching LSU suck for years to come. If they did hire a new coach though, and the new coach happens to be a fireballer…well; at that point LSU might once again be a contender. If Nick Saban was the LSU coach this year they’d win the national championship going away. Going away.

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11-0

Not much else to say. Roll Tide Roll and keep on Rollin.

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When the season began, Alabama had one of the toughest schedules in the country. 5 teams in the top 20, 4 in the top 10, including the #1 team in the country. But now, in week 11, the strength of schedule has dropped dramatically to #71 out of 120. Why? Well, because Alabama breaks the teams they play. 

Clemson was first up, ranked in the preseason at #9 in the country and predicted to not only win the ACC but to use their “Thunder and Lightning” combo to steamroll Bama. When the smoke cleared, though, the team that got steamrolled was Clemson, and they never recovered. Tommy Bowden was dismissed five games into the season. 

Next up, after a few small-time opponents that gave Alabama some notoriety, came Georgia. Preseason #1 and current #3 team in the nation. Alabama’s first half has been praised by many as the finest half of football ever played. At the end of the half it was 31-0 and Georgia’s vaunted offense was AWOL. Richt didn’t lose his job after that, but it’s been a struggle for him to keep his team together. They went on to lose to Florida by 39 points and then barely beat Auburn, 17-13 this weekend. 

Next up, LSU, preseason #7, beaten already by Florida and Georgia, and after Alabama finished with them, they very nearly got beat by Troy the next week at home.

The common denominator of all these games? Once they played Alabama, they plummeted out of national contention, down in the rankings, and then struggled for the rest of the season. 

The tally is ugly: 2 teams fired their coaches after losing to Alabama. Tennessee lost to Wyoming at home after Bama beat them. LSU almost lost to Troy. 

Alabama’s ending strength of schedule is not so much a reflection of the weakness of their opponents as it is a testimony of their dominance. They’ve not just beaten their opponents, they’ve pummeled them, and left them all but ruined for the remainder of the season.  

All that remains for Alabama is Auburn, and then Florida in the SEC Championship/National Championship semifinal. 

Roll Tide.

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