Friday, October 9, 2009

Whose in charge here? Where's my Captain's Wafers?

Its hard to make sense of the early football season. A difficulty which is only exacerbated by the poles. No one knows what anything means. There are several reasons for this

1-Teams overturn on average 25% of their usable roster every year.

2-Every team is going to have one really good game, and one really bad game in a season, there's just no telling when that's going to happen. Take Michigan in 2007. They started the season with an historic loss to 1-AA Appalachian State. If this were an indication of a trend one would expect Michigan to not win a game all year, but they finished the season 9-4 with a win over #9 Florida in the Capital One Bowl. Clearly Michigan wasn't as good as everyone thought, but they also got caught by the wrong team on the wrong day. Look at Oregon this year. They loose big to Boise State, a few weeks later they kick Cal a new mud hole

3-Teams are evolving over the first three or four games of the season. The Georgia Tech team that lost to Miami wasn't the same team who best UNC the next week. Tech made several changes in personnel, particularly on the lines and made a huge shift in defensive philosophy. The same can be said for Boston College. After gaining less than 60 yards of offense against Clemson, the Rough Riders switch quarterbacks from Jessie Tuggle's red-shirt freshman son Justin to the Winkiesque ex-minor league baseball player turned true freshman Dave Shinski. BC is 2-0 with Shinski at the helm.

Given all of this, its simply unwise to make declarative statements about teams who haven't played at least four meaningful games. By meaningful we mean games against teams rated in the top 50 of Jeff Sagarin's rating. In a General Services Administration vein, we like to call these teams "not bad". Take for example Missouri. the Rough Riders cruised to an early 4-0 record playing what we like to call "bad" teams. Not a one of them is ranked in the top 50. Sure enough, as the mighty smolt the mighty murmurs began to circulate that Missouri might be for real. The Huskers put an merciful end to that last night.

With that said we'd like to issue the following list of teams ranked in the top 35 going into this weekend who have not played 4 "not bad" teams. Watch them carefully this weekend.

3 meaningful games - Some one else can take you home, we're looking Mr. Right
#35 Clemson - Georgia Tech, Boston College, and TCU - off this week
#30 Boston College - Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida State - VPI&SU this week
#28 Notre Dame - Michigan, Michigan State, and Washington - off this week
#27 Stanford - Wake Forest, Washington, and UCLA - Arizona this week
#26 South Carolina - NC State, Georgia, Mississippi - Kentucky this week
#23 Wisconsin - Fresno State, Minnesota, Michigan State - Ohio State this week
#22 Arizona - Central Michigan, Iowa, Oregon State - Stanford this week
#19 California - Minnesota, Oregon, USC - off this week
#16 Oklahoma - BYU, Tulsa, Miami - Baylor this week
#12 Auburn - Mississippi St, West Virginia, Tennessee - Arkansas this week
#11 Cincinnati - Rutgers, Oregon State, Fresno State - Off this week
#7 Virginia Poly - Alabama, Nebraska, Miami - Boston College this week
#5 Oregon - Boise State, Utah, Cal - UCLA this week
#4 LSU - Washington, Mississippi St, Georgia - Florida this week
#2 Alabama - Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Kentucky - Mississippi this week
#1 USC - Ohio State, Washington, California - Off this week

Auburn is a great example of this group. We think they are pretty good. We may even be willing to tell people they are the third best team in the SEC, but are we willing to bet on them against Arkansas. Not yet

2 meaningful games - We're impressed with your transcripts, but we're looking for someone with a little more hands on experience

#33 UCLA - Tennessee, Stanford - Oregon this week
#32 Pittsburgh - Navy, NC State - UConn this week
#9 Iowa - Arizona, Penn State - Michigan this week
#8 Ohio State - Oregon, Fresno State - Wisconsin this week
#2 Florida - Tennessee, Kentucky - LSU this week

Look at that, Florida has only played two meaningful games, and those teams are the definition of "not bad". Iowa has also only played two meaningful games and they've looked shaky at times.

1 meaningful game - Whoa! Back up big man, that kind of stuff may work with the ladies...
#34 West Virginia - Auburn - Syracuse this week
#29 Utah - Oregon - Colorado State this week
#18 Penn State - Iowa - Eastern Illinois
#15 South Florida - FSU - off this week
#14 TCU - Clemson - Air Force this week
#10 Texas - Texas Tech - Colorado this week

Can we all settle down on the South Florida talk for a while, and Texas, we're eye-ball'n you boy.

0 meaningful games - Call us when you have some chest hair
#31 Kansas - Iowa State This Week

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