You’ve got two choices for this week’s narrative as you talk college sports around the old coffeemaker at the office this morning.
Option one: “Wow, 5 top 25 SEC teams were beaten on Saturday… four in upsets! Is that conference over-rated or what?”
Option two: “Wow, four SEC team upset top 25 teams this weekend!!! What an incredibly deep league… let’s just crown their champion now!”
I’ll let you guess which one will be the talking points of most people… This is, as you may know, the phenomenon of “circular logic“, and when you play games on the field but championships in the polls, it’s something will make a difference for some team.
But, as we said, the games were played on the field, and this week saw 6 of the top 11 upset and two other undefeated teams threatened. We started with a come from behind loss by Team Papa John against UCF on Friday Night. If you’re Louisville, playing anytime anywhere means both that you can build your program AND that you’ve got a national audience when you fall apart late in the game.
Previously, undefeated Miami needed a late score to hold off North Carolina. ACC, y’all.
Saturday’s surprises didn’t include UCLA getting its first loss at Stanford… only because many folks still feel that Stanford is one of the top two teams in the PAC12, and would serve as UCLA’s first test. Their next text? Oregon. Have fun, Bruin-bros. The Stanford Game also brought us what may be the reception of the year… it’s certainly the best catch we saw all week: Read More
The bye week is over and the Buckeyes now await a home matchup on Saturday against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The second half of the season is about to begin and we’ll look ahead to what needs to happen for the Buckeyes to make a trip to Pasadena to play for the National Championship. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
The Hawkeyes come into the Shoe on Saturday well rested having sat through their own bye this past weekend. The last time they saw action was a 26-14 loss to Michigan State in Iowa City. Overall they come in at 4-2 and, to be honest, nothing really impresses you or stands out about Kirk Ferentz 2013 Hawkeye team.
The Hawkeyes not being anything special means the Buckeyes lose a shot at a quality win. Quality wins and strength of schedule are what goes into those BCS numbers that will determine if an undefeated Ohio State team gets to play for the crystal ball. I realize this is a foreign concept to a lot of people, but it is a real possibility that the Bucks could wind up 13-0 and on the outside looking in. At this point it actually seems like the likely scenario after the conference championship games are played and the bowls are selected.
For the Buckeyes to be invited to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl National Championship presented by Orange Juice, LED Televisions and God knows what else, they must obviously finish unbeaten. Another thing that Buckeye fans seem to dislike is winning with style points i.e. running up big point totals. And the Buckeyes would definitely be well advised to take advantage of any opportunity whereby that is an option.
Breaking it down, how I see it
Ok, so if the Buckeyes going undefeated and being left out of the championship game is looking more and more like a likely scenario then who are the teams that will be holding them out? I decided I’d break it into some groups… Read More
Every year there seems to be one or two weeks that shape and define that certain college football season. This past Saturday seemed to be the first of one of those weeks. We saw two undefeated top teams go down (Stanford and Oklahoma) and a few other top ten teams barely survive. It was a great week for the Buckeyes to have a bye! Many have speculated how the season would play out if the Bucks ran the table and had company at the undefeated table along with a few 1 loss stragglers. It looks as though the table just got a tad less crowded.
|Pos.||Team (1st Place Votes)||LW|
Dropping Out – Oklahoma, Georgia, Stanford
Others receiving votes – Georgia, Stanford, Miami
Baylor and UCLA make their first appearance in the top 10 this season. Both have big games coming up in their conference, so we’ll see how real they are. Oregon remained 1 with the same amount of 1st place votes, but Bama closed the gap considerably. Much more may be decided this week as we get get a top 10 matchup on Saturday night between Clemson and FSU. UCLA travels to Stanford for another matchup that can shake up the BCS. A&M is home to a surging Auburn team and Louisville is home to an unranked but really tough UCF team. Check back next week for all the movers and shakers in the top 10!!
The second poll of the year is in and Oregon keeps the top spot at tBBC. Oregon came in at number one with the same number of first place votes (6) as last week.
The voters changed their first place votes a tad (after a lot of back lash for OSU receiving 1 first place vote) with Alabama receiving the other 4 first place votes.
Oklahoma makes its first appearance of the year in the top ten, replacing LSU after the Tigers escaped with a victory against MSU.
Pos Team (1st place votes) LW
Dropping Out – LSU
Others receiving votes – LSU, Florida, UCLA
LSU narrowly dropped out of the top 10 and could jump back in if Oklahoma can’t take care of Texas this week. Florida State makes the biggest jump in the polls after a dominating performance against Maryland.
Stop back next week and see who the movers and shakers will be!
Sooo… big victory, at night, outside of Chicago, in a hostile environment, behind an old favorite. Yup, there’s really only one choice for the soundtrack for our look back at college football’s big weekend.
As the season progresses, there will be a number of weekends that provide “clarity” in the national rankings scene… and this past weekend answered a few questions.
Three sets of undefeated teams squaring off; obviously, readers of this site will be aware of what happened between two of the B1G’s three last undefeated teams. Hell, Vegas knows what happened, and has $300 million reasons to hate Joey Bosa.
The early matchup wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as the marquee in Evanston, at least not after the first few minutes. Facing undefeated (and B1G) Maryland at home, the Florida State Seminoles made quick work of the Terrapins, pitching a 63-0 shutout.
I’m impressed with both FSU and their freshman quarterback, and bumped them up significantly in this week’s Top 10 rankings that you’ll see on Wednesday. Even more frustrating? In the play on the right there, Winston connects with tight end Nick O’Leary, the grandson of Buckeye great Jack Nicklaus. If Winston was a Buckeye lean during his recruitment as is rumored, that connection could have been in Scarlet and Gray.
The final battle of the unbeaten was the nightcap, as Stanford hosted resilient Washington. The Cardinal somehow managed to seemingly get all 27 tight ends on the field at the same time, and were effective in the power game against the undersized Huskies. Sarkisian’s team wasn’t to be overlooked, however- they managed to make a late run at the Cardinal only to have a late catch overturned on review. Based on, from all we know, this view right here. PAC12 refs, man… And here I thought that the SEC was the conference that bent over backwards to ensure that their top teams kept winning…
A celebrity of sorts was at the Husky Cardinal (also a descriptor for St. Louis fans) game, as former Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice was present to watch her alma mater win. The timing couldn’t have been better- she has also been connected to the upcoming “College Football Playoff Committee”, and was dismissed for that role by ESPN’s David Pollack. I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over… it was all we could to to keep Clair from hunting him down. Dr. Rice’s name has also been bounced around as a possible replacement for Dr. Gee as president at The Ohio State University- who knows… Read More
Kirk Herbstreit’s favorite BCS matchup.
The History: The Orange Bowl has been played annually since 1935, making it the second-oldest bowl game, along with the Sugar Bowl and the Sun Bowl, behind the Rose Bowl. Played in Miami, Fla., the Orange Bowl has been sponsored by Discover since 2010 after FedEx sponsored the game for 21 years before that.
Northern Illinois Scouting Report: The Huskies squeaked their way into the BCS party by finishing in the top 16 of the BCS standings after their 44-37 double overtime win against Kent State in the MAC Championship Game. Quarterback Jordan Lynch has thrown for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns this season and rushed for 1,771 yards and 19 touchdowns. To put it mildly, he’s decent.
Florida State Scouting Report: The Seminoles come into the Orange Bowl with two losses on the year–one to NC State and the other to rival Florida. Florida State’s defense is again one of the best in the country and quarterback E.J. Manuel leads the offense as he has thrown for 3,101 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year.
tBBC “Expert Selections:
My Selection: As you can see, all of us here at tBBC are not giving Northern Illinois a chance in this ballgame. A lot of people felt the Huskies didn’t deserve to be in this game so it will be their job to prove all of the naysayers incorrect. However, I just think the Seminoles have too much firepower, especially defensively. This one could get ugly quick and I see FSU winning 38-14.
As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere above you making the phrase “flyover states” a reality, and heading back to the left coast. As such, this week’s review will be a bit shorter than previous ones, but know that I’ve only got one song on my mind as I write it
And now, we know the form of our destructor. Notre Dame has finished the season undefeated, and will play for the National Title, most likely against an SEC team of some semblance. Who knew that the Holy See was so closely connected with Tikal? We said early on that it would be an amazing accomplishment for the Irish to finish the year undefeated- and yet, here we are. Granted, they faced a down Southern Cal, a “choke-prone” Oklahoma, and struggled against Purdue and Pitt, but they stand atop the polls as our nation’s finest team. So, let the “Oh, I’ve totally been a Notre Dame fan forevah” crap begin- they’ve deserved it.
And, in an eerie way, they’re similar to a team that we just honored on Saturday in The ‘Shoe- unranked, under the radar, winning with great defense/limited mistakes/a lot of luck. The expectation is that they’ll get clown stomped in their bowl match up, but who’s to know? Any one, any where, any time… isn’t that what our flawed “single elimination Bowl Championship Series” has taught us?
One of the more controversial aspects of the Irish resurgence has been the Heisman candidacy of linebacker Manti Te’o, seen here getting really excited about seconds of sweet potato pie on Thursday. His statistics are pretty similar to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who may not win B1G first team honors, minus the fact that Notre Dame’s scheme has allowed Te’o to achieve seven interceptions this season.
From all that I’ve read, Te’o is an incredible human being and strong leader for his top ranked team; the Heisman trophy would not be dishonored by his name on it (unlike certain other Trojany folks we might mention). That being said, there’s still a lot of controversy on whether he should be a finalist for the award, and I can see arguments either way.
The fact of the matter is that, in addition to his play on the field, Te’o is benefiting from the National Broadcasting Corporation. By this, I’m not only referring to NBC’s deal to broadcast as many Notre Dame games are are possible, I’m also eluding to the Peacock’s impact on sports coverage as a whole. NBC, as you may know, has television rights to the Olympics, and has chosen to shape their telecasts of those events in a way that tries to reach the broadest audience possible. So, they’re less concerned with the actual results and scores and game achievements and more interested in establishing narratives and storylines for the “casual” fan to connect with and appreciate. As if being the world’s best was somehow not interesting enough.
This isn’t limited to NBC by any means, ESPN’s continual decision to push narrative over fact has significantly impacted their coverage of sports for the negative, as most Buckeye fans can relate to. However, NBC was, along with ABC’s “Wild World Of Sports”, one of the first to mainstream this philosophy- being great is not as intriguing as being great AND having a powerful “story”.
Which brings me back to Te’o: As you may know, he’s overcome some incredible tragedies in his life recently, including the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend just this season. These are horrible events, and it’s remarkable that he’s been able to perform at a championship level in the face of them; I’d probably be up to my ears in a bucket of Cracklin’ Oat Bran in a similar set of circumstances. But the question remains: Does “Solid numbers on a great team with a powerful personal narrative” override “Amazing numbers on a good team that totally relies on you“, particularly when the award has been acculturated to represent the “best” college football player in the nation (who’s most often an offensive skill player)?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Read More
Hope you’re not too hungover from Homecoming… Not that there’d be anything wrong with that. This weeks’ TWTW is being composed with this concert in the background- say goodbye to your Pandora station for the next hour and 45 minutes.
This has been identified as the first “Shakedown Saturday” of the season, and we knew early on that this would be a heck of a week for college football. While #1 Alabama sat idle, the rest of the top 10 was involved in contests amongst themselves… where commentators chose to ignore the fact that this was destined to happen when you put all the teams in one conference in the top ten because they’re in that conference. But I digress..
Let’s start with the state of Florida, which went 1-2 on the weekend, and saw two “they’re back!!!” programs fall by the wayside. The exception to this, of course, are those poor souls in Gainesville, which were gutted and pillaged by the Evil Urban Meyer on his way to the greener pastures in Columbus. A miracle, then, that they managed to host the number four team in the nation and managed to pull together a 14-6 win, in spite of the fact that LSU is one of the greatest teams of all time and forever (note, applies to SEC teams but especially ones from the SEC West). It seems as if the Mad Hatter finally had the injuries that have plagued his team catch up with them… although, like many people, I wasn’t sure that they were ranked properly with a number of “close” calls and a “quality” win over Washington bolstering their resume. Hear me correctly- I think Coach Muschamp is doing solid things at Florida, in spite of the fact that Urban burned down every building and shot all the coaching staff on his way out… I just am not all that impressed with a win over an LSU team that might have more issues than their SECW status would allow anyone to talk about. Ah well.
In Chicago, we were given the chance to witness a game that would have been really interesting in the late 80′s… although, this version had a bit of intrigue as well. A resurgent Notre Dame team chose to play in Soldier Field in front of it’s biggest alumni base and revisit the good times that were the “Catholics -vs- Criminals” matchups that created must see TV when I was in high school and college. Even though it was a neutral site game, you’ve got to know that Miami felt daunted playing a) this far north and b) in front of more fans than they’d seen all season (and that’s just on the Loop driving into the game). The 41-3 Irish win came in spite of the fact that Notre Dame’s quarterback began the game on the bench for a violation of “team rules”. Huh. Perhaps he was found to be responsible for the horrible helmet design that they chose to wear this week. Again, I think that Coach Golden is doing good things in Coral Gables, and haven’t yet figured out how Urban Meyer is at fault for his struggles. But I will persevere on the case… be assured the truth is out there.
In our biggest upset of the week, third ranked Florida State (anointed by this very author as a solid candidate to play for the pretend championship) fell to a North Carolina State team that’s struggled to get out of their own way for the most part of this season, and who lost to ‘Da U just last week. It took a late touchdown to achieve the glorious victory for the Wolfpack, but it certainly was exciting enough that this young person chose to disregard what his parents taught him and rejoice in the moment.
While Notre Dame’s “wardrobe malfunctions” were the highlight of the week, no conversation about crazy outfits is complete without mention of the latest in the “Duck You” line from the good folks in Eugene. This week, in the blowout win against Washington, we saw a return of their “John Deer” look- a throwback of sorts to their green and yellow heritage, with a twist. In addition to the mirrored ball helmet wings that we’ve seen before, they decided to add a yellow and chrome facemask to the the ensemble, giving them sort of a “Bane Of The Northwest” appearance. As always, the Ducks are rolling up huge chunks of yardage and points, but have yet to face a defense with the size and speed up front to disrupt their schemes… and, looking across the PAC12, I don’t see that kind of challenge coming anytime soon. Read More