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SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/28/2007 04:45:00 PM

Five Things We Learned This Weekend

Note: Because I covered the Ohio State-Penn State game in detail last night, this column will primarily focus on other topics.

1) That Matt Ryan is a man playing among boys. In the immediate aftermath of Boston College’s stirring rally to beat Virginia Tech 14-10 Thursday night, I received a deluge of e-mails questioning the BC quarterback’s Heisman candidacy. A sample: "How does Matt Ryan's 58 minutes of sucking and two minutes of beating prevent defense constitute him making his 'Heisman statement?'" My response: … Did you see those touchdown throws? Seriously.

Note that I’ve been one of Ryan and the Eagles’ biggest non-believers to date, and believe me, Thursday night’s game did nothing to convince me that BC is one of the two best teams in the country. The Eagles’ offensive line got completely abused by the Hokies’ defensive front. Ryan’s receivers are nothing special. And while the Eagles’ defense mostly shut down Virginia Tech’s offense, so has just about everyone on the Hokies’ schedule. But the BCS and the Heisman are two completely different things. The Heisman is an individual award bestowed for individual greatness, and you’d have to be pretty darn jaded, or perhaps just oblivious, to have missed the greatness in Ryan’s last-minute heroics. First of all, Ryan did not "suck" for 58 minutes. He made some bad throws, sure, but he spent most of the game just trying to avoid being sacked (again) as BC’s linemen whiffed again and again trying to stop Tech DE Chris Ellis (among others). Yes, the Hokies went into soft coverage on BC’s first touchdown drive, but the last one was all Ryan.

Do you have any idea how few quarterbacks in the sport -- college or professional -- could make a play like the one he did on the game-winning throw? To roll out, buy time, buy more time, somehow find a running back streak behind the defense clear on the other side of the field and throw a 24-yard dart across his body? It was one of the most clutch throws I’ve seen (and remember, he did it twice! The first one got nullified by holding), and it certainly made me re-think my work-in-progress Heisman ballot. If anything, I now have more respect for what Ryan has accomplished seeing just how little he has to work with. No, one play does not constitute a Heisman season, but Ryan couldn’t have timed his "signature moment" much better, coming as it did during the same week that two players (Tim Tebow and Andre Woodson) whom I anointed as likely Heisman finalists just last week both suffered ugly defeats. Tebow, whose shoulder injury clearly impacted his performance against Georgia, is still very much in the running, but Woodson’s ugly loss to Mississippi State will probably be too much to overcome. Throw in Mike Hart’s continued injury absence, Darren McFadden’s further fade into oblivion, etc., and it seems like Ryan -- to no one’s bigger surprise than my own -- has risen to the front of the field.

2) That they play some defense in the Pac-10. In a conference that had previously been synonymous with 45-42 late-night shootouts, Pete Carroll built his USC mini-dynasty around a dominant defense, so it’s only fitting that on the weekend when the Trojans’ five-year run atop the conference most likely came to an end, the two front-runners to replace them turned in lights-out defensive performances (including one against USC itself).

If you had told me Saturday morning that the Trojans would hold Oregon’s prolific offense to 339 yards, I would have guessed they pulled the "upset." But Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart did not need to put up huge numbers with their defense making big stop after big stop against Mark Sanchez and the Trojans. While USC had its problems offensively this season, Sanchez looked poised and authoritative most of the day. His 14-yard touchdown pass to David Ausberry to cut the lead to 24-17 was a perfect throw. But when it mattered most, with Sanchez attempting to drive his team for a last-second, game-tying score, Matthew Harper jumped a route to pick off Sanchez and seal the win. It was his second pick, to go with a Will Tukuafu forced fumble. Meanwhile, Oregon shut down USC’s running game all day, most notably on a 4th and 1 deep in Ducks territory early in the game.

And then there was Arizona State. If you weren’t up and watching television a little after 2 a.m. ET Sunday, you missed the sight of a fired-up Dennis Erickson pumping his fists and embracing anyone in his vicinity on the sideline. It seemed even he could hardly believe ASU is 8-0. But unlike predecessor Dirk Koetter’s teams, Erickson’s first squad plays with a mean streak on defense. They shut out Cal after halftime, limiting Bears RB Justin Forsett to 62 yards on 17 carries and intercepting QB Nate Longshore twice for a 31-20 win. Next week, Erickson’s team travels to Eugene to face the 7-1 Ducks in a game that could very well determine the Pac-10’s BCS representative (and the keep the winner’s national-title hopes alive). Will the score be 45-42 or 24-21?


3) That the SEC may be playing its way out of a second BCS berth. It seems inconceivable, right? If any conference should receive one of the four BCS at-large berth, surely the much-heralded SEC would be first in line? Not if the teams wind up knocking each other out of contention.

Take a look at the current, ultra-crazy SEC standings. You’ll see a conference where 11 of the 12 teams could conceivably become bowl eligible (only 2-7 Ole Miss has less than five wins), yet all but three (7-1 LSU, 6-2 Alabama and 6-2 Georgia) already have at least three losses. No team with three regular-season losses has received a BCS at-large berth in the first nine years of the system. Granted, the BCS expanded from eight to 10 teams just last season, and the 12-game regular season only recently became a fixture. The BCS rules say only that a team needs nine wins and a top-14 ranking to qualify for an at-large berth, so making it at 9-3 is certainly a possibility. … but at the current rate of attrition, how many of the teams are actually going to survive to see 9-3?

If we assume that LSU winds up winning the conference (and no, I do not assume that, but we need to do so for this hypothetical), the most viable at-large candidate would be someone that a) wins the rest of its regular season games and b) does not reach the SEC title game. The BCS generally frowns on conference-title game losers (only one, 2003 Oklahoma, has received an at-large berth, and that’s because the Sooners still finished No. 1), as bowl games want teams with momentum so their fans will make the trip. Right now, Tennessee and Georgia are tied for first in the East (with the Vols holding the tiebreaker). A 10-2 Dawgs team that doesn’t reach the title game would certainly be coveted, as would any current three-loss team (Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Auburn) that finishes strong. But I wouldn’t count on the attrition to slow down anytime soon. The final month of the season includes such de facto elimination games as Georgia-Auburn, Tennessee-Kentucky, Florida-South Carolina, Alabama-LSU, Alabama-Auburn … you know what? Let’s just make this simple and say every single game.

4) That UCLA is officially the worst-coached team in America. OK, Karl Dorrell -- I give up. You win. I’ve given you every opportunity to avoid this designation. I threw Al Groh to the wolves instead of you last summer even though Groh’s perennially middle-of-the-pack Cavs had accomplished no less than your perennially middle-of-the-pack Bruins these past few years. I included your team in my preseason rankings because I figured even you couldn’t screw up a team with 20 returning starters and an ultra-loaded defense. But I’ve gotta hand it to you, Karl -- you’ve outdone yourself this time.

Washington State 27, UCLA 7. Just stare at that score for a moment and try to make sense of it. Granted, it’d seem a lot more bizarre if not for two other scores -- Utah 44, UCLA 6 and Notre Dame 20, UCLA 6 -- that preceded it. Mind you, we’re talking about a team that’s talented enough to have beaten Cal, won 40-14 at Oregon State and be currently tied for second in the Pac-10. But talent alone does not a team make.

I can offer no logical explanation for why UCLA continually fails to show up for certain games (a trend that’s been true throughout Dorrell’s tenure). I find it hard to believe the Bruins simply aren’t "motivated." A possible Pac-10 title and BCS berth provide no shortage of motivation. The reality is, the Bruins are the definition of a poorly coached team, whether they’re going into games with ill-devised game plans or repeatedly making the kind of mistakes good coaches weed out. Of all the coaches on the hot seat right now -- Bill Callahan, Dennis Franchione, Houston Nutt, et. al. -- none has consistently done less with more than Dorrell. (And that’s saying something considering the competition.) Here’s guessing that notion will only be reinforced when UCLA, loser to 3-5 Washington State, turns around and beats 8-0 ASU or 7-1 Oregon in a couple of weeks, just to give its fans another temporary glimpse of what could have been en route to the Sun Bowl.



5) That amazing college football isn’t limited to Division I-A. If you haven’t yet seen Trinity University’s game-winning, 15-lateral touchdown play Saturday … clearly your television is on the fritz. Here it is in all it’s glory. (I just hope it doesn’t disappear on YouTube after I post this). When this clip came on television in the Beaver Stadium press box late Saturday night, all of us jaded sportswriters working on deadline immediately stopped what we were doing and watched in collective amazement. SportsCenter led its late-night broadcast with the clip -- before the World Series, before any I-A football highlights -- with anchor Linda Cohn calling it "the talk of our newsroom."

I’ve watched the play four or five times now, and for whatever reason, I find my eyes drawn as much to the background as to the actual, frantic play on the field. Saturday night, I was on hand for a game attended by more than 110,000 people, yet here was a football moment as special as any I’ve seen at the major level being witnessed by what appeared to be maybe a couple hundred stunned and extremely fortunate fans. Surely, the emotions felt by those on that Millsaps field Saturday -- both by the participants and the spectators for both the winners and losers -- were every bit as intense as the ones being experienced at Beaver Stadium, Neyland Stadium or any other mammoth venue that same day.

For me, it was just another little reminder why we love college football like we do. You could watch this sport for 100 years and still, on any given week, see something you’ve never seen before -- whether you find yourself in State College or at Millsaps College.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 5:46 PM   by Kirk
Mr. Mandel - you fell for one of the two classic blunders. The first, never start a land war in Asia. The second, never bet on the Bruins in Pullman.
Posted: 5:49 PM   by jfrost8
I agreed, the lateral play was simply amazing. This is a perfect example to never never give up till the final second, if you watch closely you will see some defenders even if within a few feet of stopping a play, simply gave up!

It never over till the fat lady sing!
Posted: 5:57 PM   by William
Umm, it was actually Trinity University, not Trinity College.
Posted: 6:00 PM   by Jake
i'm sorry, mandel, but two minutes does not a hiesman winner make. ryan is the complete product of east coast/boston media hype machine.
Posted: 6:11 PM   by CowboysFan
Stew,

If the SEC is not going to get two teams in the BCS, what is your current prediction for the teams playing in the BCS games?
Posted: 6:13 PM   by Dave
The SEC may do its best to play its way out of a second BCS bid, but I just don't see it happening. Between the two team per conference limit, no serious contenders among non-BCS conference teams for a spot (Hawaii is likely to lose, 11-1 won't be good enough for Boise State, no one else has even a remote chance), and most of the other BCS conferences offering up at-large candidates with little history of traveling well or quite possibly offering up no at-large candidates at all... the SEC's going to get its second BCS bid. And the Pac 10's a virtual lock to get a second bid as well. The Big 12 is likely, especially if Texas sneaks into the final top 14. But finding a good at-large candidate (from the perspective of the bowls, who care more about selling tickets and TV ratings than getting the best teams possible, with some nods at tradition from the Rose Bowl) from the Big East, ACC, and Big Ten is going to be tough this year. Odds are it'll be Virginia Tech if they're eligible at the end of the season, but I don't think I'd count on them being eligible at the end of the season.
Posted: 6:17 PM   by DanGalindo
That's Trinity University down in San Antonio, Texas. Just because we play D III doesn't mean we aren't a university.
Posted: 6:17 PM   by TMDavin
"Two minutes does not a hiesman winner make."

The guy's lost like four games since he became a starter in 2005, and he played half of them with a broken leg. So there's that as well.
Posted: 6:23 PM   by Jason
So TWO great throws gives Matt Ryan the Heisman???? What about all the other TERRIBLE throws?!?!! I don't understand the logic. I've seen more GREAT throws by Andre Woodson, Tim Tebow and Dennis Dixton than Matt Ryan. If Dixon doesn't win the Heisman then the award has jumped the shark. The award is a popularity contest at best.
I find that I certainly agree with Jake about the East Coast bias pushing for Ryan. He is far, far, far from being the Heisman winner.

A good QB, yes; that is all.
Posted: 6:30 PM   by Charles
Hawaii will get a BCS bid if it wins out. They will have beaten a legitimate Top 25 team since Boise St is now ranked. It is true that their one loss is to one of the weakest members of the Pac Ten, and that Wash was probably the best team Boise St will have faced this year, but these details don't matter in the voting. Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing. (Lombardi)
Posted: 6:32 PM   by J. D.
So a deluge of Emails doesn't cause you to doubt your conclusions at all? I'm not advocating mob rule, but when the mob is backed up by statistics that have Ryan only 53rd in passing efficiency, I think you're grossly overestimating the significance of one throw. I suppose the lack of clear, dominating performances is behind Ryan's ascendance, but I'm still of the opinion that his Heisman candidacy is a joke.
Posted: 6:37 PM   by Joe
Stew, The SEC is the best.
Posted: 6:51 PM   by Michael
Stew, No way the SEC deserves a bid from a 3 loss team. When does the SEC go from being such a "tough" conference to a conference where there is no dominant team. As the weeks go on LSU's loss at Kentucky is starting to look like a bad loss. I mean, Miss St. went in there and took care of business.
Posted: 6:53 PM   by dabomb781
The Big East could easily get an at-large bid, if West Virginia and Uconn all win their remaining games, and Uconn beats WVU in the last game of the season. WVU would almost defentaly get an at-large bid, Va Tech might be able to get an at-large bid, Hawaii could win out, and ASU, Oregon, or USC will probably get the last at-large spot. The SEC could easily only have one team in the BCS
Posted: 6:57 PM   by Garrett
Matt Ryan - 127 yards in 56 minutes, 158 yards in four minutes. It seems to me that email definitely nailed it about playing against a prevent defense. It's a lot easier to pass the ball when you're only facing three guys on the line. If this is the mose NFL worthy QB then God help college football. Ryan will get drafted lower than Troy Smith.
I think I learned that the SEC might have been overated. Opps, did I say that out loud? I noticed that you are off the bandwagon this week Mr. Mandel. In another week or two, you may have to admit it.
Posted: 7:10 PM   by Charles
This post has been removed by the author.
Since reading your new book, Stewart, I've had a couple weeks to mull over your comments regarding an NCAA playoff among "Bowl Championship Subdivision" teams, and, ironic as it might seem, my reservations about a playoff derive from concerns about what could happen to the very quality and nature of the college game [vs. the efficiency and precision of the processes by which we determine a 'champion']. While the Trinity Tigers are not in the same subdivision, their astounding 15-lateral touchdown play reminds that so much of the excitement and unpredictability of college football has to do with playing to win [rather than playing not to lose] and playing to impress [poll voters, Heisman voters, etc.]. Would we see the same kind of excitement and innovation if a playoff-bound team were merely concerned with winning a game and getting out of Dodge? The incentive to go for "style points" in a quality win adds so much more to the quality and quantity of football we get to watch in the college ranks precisely because, to reach a BCS bowl that will potentially decide the mythical national championship, teams need to concern themselves not just with winning, but with the quality and style with which they win. The Trinity play was historic, but, with time expiring, it was "do or die" much as the multi-lateral play in that classic Cal-Stanford footage. We should remember that, because of the many subjective elements that factor into college rankings, we spectators are treated to many voluntary encores and extras from teams that are often concerned not just with doing enough to escape defeat, but with doing all they can to win convincingly enough to earn or keep a spot in the ever-so-subjective rankings.
Posted: 7:12 PM   by Charles
Hey guys. I think Stew is just rattling some cages with his 3-loss SEC team getting a BCS bid. It's too early for any speculation.
I also think he is still in shock about the BC comeback. Like most he will eventually put the entire performance in perspective.
Posted: 7:17 PM   by Chris
This entire conversation is kind of ridiculous. Show me one time in the history of college football that the unquestioned leader (who has put up statistics comparable to just about anybody) of the number 2 team in the country has not been mentioned as the Heisman candidate, and I'll eat my hat. As far as the Boston bias - college football isn't nearly the huge deal in Boston as it is in any other part of the country. BC is a distant 4th place team in Boston when it comes to fan interest:

1. Sox
2. Pats
3. Celtics
4. BC football

If Boston fans are making more noise about a team that doesn't even finish on the medal podium than you all are about your first-place team, well then, that says a lot more about you than it does about any "East Coast bias." Have a nice day, folks.
Posted: 7:22 PM   by Patty
Stewart- if you knew anything about sports, you would have realized the poor performance by Matt Ryan and the rest of BC's offense was largely due to the monsoon they were playing in during the first 3 quarters. Once the rain stopped, Ryan found his stride. Obviously a team that throws the ball 50 times a game is going to be at a huge disadvantage playing in weather like that. Let's see what happens the next time BC plays VA Tech in Jacksonville under clear skies on a neutral field, I think you will see an offensive line that dominates and a 2 to 3 touchdown differential. As a side note, lets relax on giving the SEC and the Big East alot of credit. Alabama stands tied with LSU in the SEC standings, yet they were unable to beat Florida State, currenltly the 6th or 7th best team in the ACC. UCONN currently stands alone atop the Big East, yet they were unable to beat a very mediocre Virgina team in much the same way Rutgers was unable to beat a middle of the pack ACC team (Maryland) at home. We'll see what happens, but South Florida is looking more and more like a very mediocre team and thus Auburn's loss to them earlier this year is another black eye for the SEC. There is alot of parity in college football and its very unclear as to what the best conference is, but one thing is for sure, the ACC is wildly under-rated.
Posted: 7:22 PM   by Rich
Regarding your fear that a Youtube video might get removed, if you want to save the movies on Youtube to your computer, you can do it with any number of programs. One of the easiest ways is with Real Player; which despite being kind of a crappy media player, does offer a simple method of showing a box above the upper right hand corner which will prompt you regarding if you want to save the video. You can then save the movie as the FLV format and there are any number of players out there that can play the FLV video format. One program you can use is called VLC Player that will pretty much play any video you want. A quick Google search will find both programs. Both are free.
Posted: 7:26 PM   by njmountie
see ryan fall from grace this weekend as the turtle reeks havic
Posted: 7:28 PM   by Porks
check this out... OU is going to loose twice within the next couple of games... 1 at home and 1 on the road. that'll make Texas go to the Big 12 championship!

hook'em horns!

it was about time Charles.. 200+ yards... thank you!
Posted: 7:31 PM   by Taylor Price
Stew,

Matt Ryan threw a few terrible passes in those 58 minutes, some of which were thrown into ridiculously small windows, with little to no chance of a completion. Ryan's touchdown passes were spectacular, but let's remember this is still college football. Even Tim Couch, and Eric Crouch had highlights in college. Maybe not a fair comparison to Ryan - but those two late passes did not have any kind of zip like a Jay Cutler pass. The first pass was solid, as it could only be caught by the reciever. And the most clutch play was a floated pass, and a ball-hawking safety should have been there to knock it down. Ryan will probably lose to Maryland, a real canidate that should be discussed is Rudy Carpenter. Next week will start the heisman push.
Posted: 7:31 PM   by Taylor Price
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 7:37 PM   by Keith
Since you and i were at the penn state game( I was a whiteout member in the student section) can you explain to me how cool the white out looks from a journalist point of veiw, and is happy valley really imdimiating as people say it is.
Posted: 7:45 PM   by Gonzo
@ taylor prince

You mean Jay Cutler who was the 62nd ranked quarterback in QB rating in 2005?

Why is BC pissing everyone off so much? Virtually every other team who has a shot at the national title was ranked ahead of them when the season began. All your team had to do was win. If BC doesn't then they won't make the NC or even a BCS bowl, but they are not a fraud or the product of east coast hype. In the world of college football, no one does hype like the SEC. There are your real frauds.
Posted: 7:47 PM   by CowboysFan
That would be great if OU loses. Then OSU would have first place in the South. No way is Texas going to make it to the championship. If you can only beat Nebraska by three on your field, then you will definitely not be winning any championships. Look for Texas to get throttled by OSU this Saturday...(and this time you guys won't have Vince to make a comeback).
Posted: 7:53 PM   by Slaw
Fantastic play by Trinity Doesnotwanttobecalledcollege, though I still give the edge to Cal for taking out the Stanford band.

I'm finally sold on evil Ohio State, though I wouldn't pick them over LSU. If they and BC win out, you should start engraving the trophy for OSU now.
Posted: 7:57 PM   by Gary
As much as I hate to admit this, Mandel is probably right about this one. The Big Least, Big Twelve, and PAC Ten will probably all have second teams picked for BCS games before a three or four loss SEC runner-up.
I really expected to see at least two SEC teams dominate up until the SEC championship game this year and to have two SEC teams in the BCS. But after seeing the Gators blow it, and LSU lose to KY, etc., I doubt that any SEC team will finish with less than three losses. (LSU will lose again before the SEC championship game--Roll Tide!!!)
In all honesty, I'm surprised that the SEC is looking an awful lot like the Big Ten this year. Compare the wins/losses and the OOC before you get yourself all riled-up about that statement. It's not something that any of us expected, but facts is facts. Our teams are beating each other up, but the Big Ten is doing the same thing (except for the Buckeyes). After the Tide rolls over the swamp cats, who will be the clear-cut top dog in the SEC? And then LSU better watch out for Ole Miss too (they are not a team to overlook on the road).
Bottom line, I think that we SEC fans (and the players and coaches) all started believing all of the press hype too much this year so that teams haven't been showing up. Starting to look a lot like last year's media darling Buckeyes who believed all the press and waltzed into a butt-whoopin at the big game.
Posted: 8:04 PM   by Jason
How can a qb who is not even in the top 40 in passer efficiency be a heisman candidate. He only has a two to one td to int ratio, and has played the easiest schedule. If you go by a winning team, then both Kansas's and Arizona St's qbs should be getting all the hype since they have better numbers. I live in Boston after moving from Texas and I see the east coast bias alive and well.
Posted: 8:30 PM   by Larry
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 8:32 PM   by Larry
Slaw:

Nice to hear you see some talent on OSU's team, but why the "evil" comment? I've been a Buckeye (and Boilermaker) fan for quite a while now, but never really understood the ill feelings towards OSU...I'm serious. Is it because of cocky fans or something (and more than the normal you'd expect whenever a team is sitting up on the ranks?). I'm genuinely curious. I actually teach at OSU and have had a number of the players in my classes, and almost to a person they've been very nice guys, respectful, etc. In terms of fan behavior, I think every school has its "bad apples" but hopefully there will be fewer of them from OSU as there's a strong campaign going on in the Big 10 (and at OSU) to be the best fans around. At the home games I've seen in the Horseshoe this last year or two, folks seem very friendly as well. Sorry if you've had bad experiences but hopefully they'll improve.

Good luck to all!

Kirk: "Princess Bride!" Finally got it...it was bugging me while I was typing...
Posted: 8:33 PM   by Stevens
Mandel-

I'll give some credit to Oregon. But USC lost that game due to some key penalties, including one that brought back a touchdown and another (personal foul) on the first drive (after the fumble recovery). SC also was poorly coached on offense. Can you believe some of the play calling? A lateral run on 4th and short? I believe that SC does have the talent. There is no question. It is just not being used with the current offensive scheme. I compare it to our Army going on the offensive with powerful tools but choosing to use sling shots instead. SC seemed not to know that the end zone is straight ahead. Whrere was that force that beat down Nebraska and Washington State? The holes were huge and properly used in those games. I know you may only see the end result, but there were some good reasons that game could have gone the other way.
Posted: 8:35 PM   by Realist
What's so amazing about that D3 lateral video? Geez, I hate to be the party pooper here, but I don't see anything but a bunch of lazy quitters in purple, standing around and/or half @$$ing it, allowing that play to happen because they don't have whatever it takes to put the kibosh on the laterals. I love D3 football, but if it's going to make national news, for the sake of everything holy, let it be to celebrate the guys who actually put their heart into the game, that play with everything until the final whistle blows. Ugh.
Posted: 8:39 PM   by Peter
stewart -- you've got the wrong youtube link for the matt ryan TD passes. the one you have shows the second TD pass but not the first one; most of the clip is ESPN reporters talking about the game. here's one that includes much more game highlights including both TD passes:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=T7nBv5ph_p0
Posted: 8:50 PM   by Richard
Those of you criticizing Matt Ryan have obviously not seen him play the past few seasons. Consider a few things--

1) The Thursday night game was actually one of his worst performances as a starter. The only thing Vintage Matt Ryan about thursday was the fact that he recovered from playing so badly to win at the end. BC was outcoached (no help on blocking Ellis all game, ignoring the running game). When a quarterback has his "Heisman Moment" during maybe the worst game of his career, that means something.

2. His supporting cast is one of the worst out of any school in the top ten (if not the worst). Andre Callender is a solid running back but his recievers are terrible. They usually drop at least three to five passes each game. Matt Ryan puts up gaudy numbers by spreading the ball around and playing smart (like another well known New England quarterback).

3. The offensive system hurts his efficiancy. Ryan does not play in a spread offence. He is making most of his throws on mid-range routes that take longer to develop. Completing 60% of his passes in that system is a feat in itself.

4. The ACC is full of good defenses. Ryan has been putting up these numbers agains some very solid defenses.

Is BC number 2 in terms of talent? Of course not. But they have a QB that just wins games and an opportunistic defense. They have every chance in the world to finish undefeated (without a single blowout, just hard fought wins). If that happens, you all can hate as much as you want, but it won't do any good.
Posted: 9:09 PM   by SasQuatch
Larry,

Now that last post struck a chord. I knew there was "professorial" content in your postings (I'm one, too, and agree about players in my classes when at LSU as a graduate teaching assistant and other places around the country). Now in "semi retirement" teaching undergraduate courses in Econ, Business Ethics, and MBA for a midwest college with no football team . . . what do you teach?

As for the "evil" comment . . hey. As you have admonished me, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff ("and a lot of it there is"). I can tell you (and have, here) that some caricatures of southerners and some comments from tOSU fans have rankled me as much as you were by that comment, and led me to "wade in" as you put it. It gets particularly naseous when a Big Ten or OSU fan pretends to be an SEC fan and blogs in "caricature" (not in "character"). I just agree with you that it is out of place and we need to look past it.

I like your point about conferences trying to emphasize sportsmanship and good fan behavior. I know the SEC is doing it as well. Good for the conferences!

Finally, you know what? If the rankings stay the same throughout the rest of the season (and I would not bet they will) I would agree with Slaw's main point . . start finding a place for that crystal trophy in Columbus!

Best,

Sas
Posted: 9:14 PM   by michel
Ryan played very well for two minutes. But he should not even be in the Heisman discussion because the other 26 minutes he was plain old ordinary. You east coast guys drink to much Doug Flutie
Posted: 9:23 PM   by phork
http://www.bevosports.com/2007/10/28/trinity-u-wins-game-on-15-lateral-final-play/

Fresh link for the Trinity game. Unbelievable. College football is the greatest game on earth.
Posted: 9:27 PM   by Dink
Stew, how can you or anyone else overlook the accomplishments of the seventh rated passer in NCAA Div-1A? Oh, yeah, he is also the quarterback of the currently undefeated and top ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. This is a new year and last year's players, team results and scores mean nothing. Get over your anti-Buckeye agenda and NC game hangover from last year and look at this year for what it is and give equal opportunity to every student athlete. Don't hold their predecessor's success or lack there of against them.

Boeckman deserves as much consideration for the Heisman as anyone, think about it.
Posted: 9:35 PM   by Patrick
It's really disconcerting how many people post on here--particularly SEC fans--who post on here solely to rip on other schools or other players.

If you can't see or enjoy what Matt Ryan is doing right now at Boston College, I'm sorry. You're missing some phenomenal performances by a kid who exemplifies what it means to be a student-athlete. And if you don't think he'll be successful in the NFL, well, I'd be happy to take that bet.
Posted: 9:37 PM   by Dink
One thing more, why is everyone hyped up on Oregon beating USC? I love Oregon and they are a great team to watch but isn't a team playing at home sorta expected to beat a team ranked 7 positions below them? I am surprised like everyone else but only that the winning margin wasn't as big as it should have been.

Lee Corso automatically vaulted Oregon to his number one for winning a home game (by 7 points) against a team ranked 7 positions lower. What the **** is wrong with you fickle sports reporters? First USF vaults everyone then follows up with 2 loses, now Oregon is anointed the top team after beating a lower ranked lackluster USC at home. Writers need to get back to reality (wins and losses) and save the money they're spending on psychics.
Posted: 9:39 PM   by Eric
Though the 15 lateral play that has been popping up in video highlights all over is certianly amazing, I fail to see why that should garner more of your interest than FBC team Toledo putting up 812 yards and 70 points in THE offensive show of the year last night. Did you not get a chance to see that one?
Posted: 9:47 PM   by jake2
phork thanks for that link
Posted: 9:52 PM   by Albert
I saw that Matt Ryan throw. I knew after I saw it that the gods were looking kindly on Beantown and that the Red Sox would win the evening's 2-1 dual. It was thing of beauty and did more for the belief in God than all the Jesuit spirituality that ever came out of Boston College.

As for the SEC, two words: Tennessee-California.

Really people, stop being superior. So you have some football knowledge. Why, then, aren't YOU working for Sports Illustrated. Say your post your comments, say your "thanks," and keep the insults to yourself.
Posted: 9:53 PM   by Daniel
Mandel, thanks for this entry on Matt Ryan. I've been saying it for a while, but he is Brady-like in his ability (maybe better), vision, calm, and desire to win. Put him at the helm of an offense like Florida or Ohio, and he would be breaking records. You're right about the team as a whole, even their good defense isn't great without Raji and Toal. If a championship is about winning, you can not count Boston College out, and I want to see Ryan and BC against the best.
Posted: 9:54 PM   by jake2
Dink, did you miss the very first words of the column, where Mandel says he won't be talking about Ohio State because he already wrote 2 pages on them last night? He compares your QB to Brady, for god's sake. Think before you write.
Stewart,

Isn't it possible the Big 10 could get two BCS teams? Say that OSU is undefeated going into Ann Arbor and then loses. OSU would have one loss and Michigan (assuming they win their two games before that), would be heading to the Rose Bowl. As much as I hate the Buckeyes, they travel well and have performed well in BCS bowls, outside of last year's blowout.
Posted: 9:55 PM   by MattyDP
Let me translate just about every anti-Matt Ryan post that has been made. Guys like Tim Tebow and Mike Hart are better because they play for Florida and Michigan, and Ryan plays for non-prestige Boston College. People, theres a reason why this guy will likely be the first QB taken in the draft. Guys like Tim Tebow and Woodson dont even belong in his league talent wise.
Posted: 10:30 PM   by mountainman
I think Matt Ryan's Heisman candidcacy has less to do the last 3 minutes of the VT game than the fact that no one has stepped up yet to become the leading canidate. This year, there hasn't been one player to step up and claim the spotlight as in years past. Basically, this all comes down to the lazy nature of sportswriters. In order to become a Heisman Trophy winner, you had to 1.) play offense, 2.) put up eye popping numbers, 3.) make sure your team wins. Makes the choice a lot easier when all of those criteria (which y'all wrote in stone years ago for some reason) are met as to justify your choice.

Matt Ryan is a great qb and represents BC well. No doubt he showed a great poise on Thursday night. But to gush over the last three minutes while forgetting about the first 57 is foolish. If VT had recovered the onside kick, we would be talking about the two interceptions.
Posted: 10:32 PM   by cajun
Who the heck has BC played???? Wake Forrest and VT.LSU beat VT by 40 point and has also beaten 4 top 25 teams.3 of which were at one time ranked in the top 10.Oh but wait they still have to play FSU and Miami p..l..e..a..s..e.
Posted: 10:42 PM   by Vassar
The best players make their best plays with the game on the line. Matt Ryan does that.
Posted: 10:43 PM   by sakes
What is this "they looked this way, they looked that way"?

Should NCAA Football hire gymnastic judges who rate every game 1 - 10 or should football be about winning and losing?

BC and Ohio State haven't blown a game yet. Close games? Yes... does that matter in the sport of football? No.

Perhaps some of you would find figure skating or gymnatics more appealing...but face it - in college football, if your team loses it should be penalized despite its skill level.
"As for the SEC, two words: Tennessee-California."

Last I checked, both Alabama and Florida have given similar beat downs to UT. Although UT may sit atop the East for now, they are far from the best team in the league.
I thought the announcer is going into cardiac arrest during the 15-play lateral touch down...too funny.
If one needs proof that the BCS is flawed, look no further than Michigan's ranking. How quickly we forget absolutely embarrassing losses!
Posted: 10:47 PM   by Dead Parrot
This just in from the BCS - they modified the "Notre Dame" clause. The Irish only need to have won a single game, any game during the season, in one of the BCS stadiums.

Since ND now qualifies for a BCS bid, that is one fewer spot available for an SEC team.
"Isn't it possible the Big 10 could get two BCS teams?"

HAHAHAHA. No! Your league has one legit team. Who would you have in a BCS game other than OSU? Michigan with their embarrassing 1-AA loss? Mediocre Wisconsin?
Posted: 11:01 PM   by Brant
Five things I learned this week:

1. That fans who don't like Matt Ryan because of his passer rating probably hated Eric Crouch, too. Passer ratings are not the be-all and end-all people.

2. Conference games are really hard to win, no matter what conference you're in. Ask South Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, and UCLA.

3. Everyone has a conference they hate, and another one they go overboard to love. I'd prefer if people would simply admit to being a fan of their conference, instead of attempting to justify it with "they beat this team that beat this other team that couldn't even beat this team."
I happen to be an ACC fan first, and an SEC fan second, and a Big Ten last. Why? Got by BA at NC State, my Masters' at South Carolina (and my family is from Baton Rouge) and I got treated like crap by Ohio State while I was there working on my PhD. I've got my reasons - what are yours?

4. There's a lot of realy badd spelingg and punchuashun in blogland:
"...the turtle reeks havic"
"...is happy valley really imdimiating as people say it is"
"Wake Forrest"

5. A playoff would be devastating to the talk-about-college-football industry.
Posted: 11:04 PM   by Jake
Yeah, BC probably is a product of east coast bias and Boston hype. Those computers who have them number 1 in the country are TOTALLY buying into that.
Posted: 11:16 PM   by Bama
Any SEC team will gladly play overrated ohio state again. LSU is 4-1 against top 25 teams, and holds a 49 to 7 beat down over virginia tech, where BC beat them 14-10. Ohio State, yeah.... well their schedule is horrible lets just hope they do go undefeated and have to play an SEC team..... And also cal-tennessee proves nothing CONFERENCE wise the SEC is deep.. The pac10 has 4 teams and thats where it stops
Posted: 11:17 PM   by georgejohn
All these posts, and only one about the Pac-10. Typical. Fact is Dennis Dixon is the best QB in the nation - and I am a USC fan.

I would love to see the vaunted Ohio State defense take on the Ducks' spread offense.

George
Posted: 11:20 PM   by Patrick
Ryan will be the first QB taken in the 2008 draft. Personally i hope he doesn't win the Hiesman because I'd like to see him do well in the NFL.
Posted: 11:34 PM   by Robert
Another SC student here. I've gotta say Dixon needs some heisman love. we have a very good defense, and yet he looked pretty damn good. Ryan is good, but his o-line can be shaky and yes, his receivers arent exactly 5-star.

Anyways, regarding at large teams, I don't thin the SEC will get a second team in. All their talk of their conference being soooo much better than everyone else is just not true. They're losing bad games, and since we did a couple weeks ago I feel for them.

O, and regarding our play-calling, I'm surprised how long it is taking for writer's to stop commenting on the qb's(sanchez is better) and focus on sarkisian's terrible, terrible play calling. I could call a better offensive game then him, i love studying schemes and such. Face it, a team that never has receivers run more than 20 yards downfield will have a tough time winning. Sad thing is Vidal and Rojo would be spectacular deep threats. Oh well, heres hoping some nfl team grabs sarkisian and we get a better caller.
Posted: 11:40 PM   by Jake
how can you say the sec is overrated, when week in and week out they beat up on each other? The whole point everyone is making is the sec is so deep, very rarely will you see a team go undefeated in the sec, now say you stick a 3 loss florida team in the big 10 they would be undefeated.
Posted: 11:41 PM   by Slaw
Larry,

The "evil" comment was tongue in cheek. I live in Michigan, so I have to hate Ohio State, though I quietly cheer for them during bowl season (so I'm obviously not a Wolverine). I don't think their student athletes or students are any worse behaved than MSU or UM. However, my reasons for disliking Notre Dame are more legitimate.
Posted: 11:44 PM   by phork
Can we please hold the "So-and-So reminds us of Tom Brady" ? I mean seriously, when one of these guys grabs 3 (Probably a 4th) Superbowl, then let us compare. Maybe comparing Brady while he was in college, but I digress.

So, the SEC has the bulk of their teams sitting at 3 losses or more, and this is supposed to shout "YAH WE RULE, OUR LOSSES DON'T COUNT BECAUSE WE ARE SO DEEP". But what it really says is "NONE OF US ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO BEAT THE REST OF US".
Although I would truely believe that whoever ran the SEC table undefeated would no doubt be the best team in the country, you have to just kind of shake your head a little bit. Kentucky beats LSU, but loses to Ole Miss (A perennial doormat). You have Auburn who beats Florida but loses to S. Florida (which has just been unmasked as a fraud). And the carnage continues. Georgia pounds Florida, gets pounded by Tennessee, who got pounded by Florida. Kind of like a dog chasing its tail?

BTW for all you SEC backers who were hating on S. Florida back when our pal Stewy ranked them #1, their last 2 losses have only made the SEC look that much more silly.

You arguements are "Well our 4th best team beat your 2nd best team", congratulations on failing how to balance an equation.

BTW I think you can forget about tOSU's abortion of last year. And I think we can drop the Michigan debate. Oregon is a great team, no shame there. The A-State game was a wake up call, and they have proven to be a better than advertised team.

All in all, this is exactly why teams should NOT be ranked in the pre-season. Some teams have to fight upwards from relative obscurity, only to fall a few ranks short of the Top1-2. Where would ASU be if they had actually startd at 15 instead of out of the poll?

At any rate, can we try to harness the brain power than is so clearly evident in these comments and come up with a better ranking system and a playoff system? Then we can move on to solve world hunger.
Posted: 11:44 PM   by mark
To that list of coaches on the chopping block you absolutely need to add Ty Willingham at Washington. It's getting extremely ugly in Seattle. Husky fans were patient, but frustrated before the AU debacle, but even those reserves of good feeling have run out. Unless UDub wins at least three of the remaining, expect a complete ovehaul...
Posted: 11:47 PM   by Eric
That's ridiculous. Big 10 is beating up on eachother too. Without some inter-conference games, there's no way to know that at all. Yeah, Michigan lost to one of the best I-AA teams in the country in week one, and to an absolutely stellar Oregon. Isn't it possible they had a slow start? I suppose no SEC team has ever been less than dominant the whole season?

Every year, EVERY YEAR, "Conference Strength" is moot until the bowls tell us the truth.
Posted: 11:58 PM   by SasQuatch
It's simple. Eight team playoff, with 6 conference champions (determined as they wish) and 2 at large. Make room for that by limiting OOC play. There will still be grips on seedings, but much less than the vitrolic invectives we have seen since establishment of the BCS and particularly how it has been tweaked in response to "big market" whining.

Do I think it could happen? Yes.

Do I think it will happen? No.

Still, nice dream.

PS: give Ty one more year. A lot of talent there on that Husky team. I see it as good play calling, frosh mistakes, and need for defense (how did they EVER let AU back in that game!?!!?)

geaux tigres
Only way the Big Ten gets two in the BCS is if Michigan wins out, or has one loss that isn't to OSU and then beats OSU. Michigan gets the autobid in that situation, OSU as a one loss team takes another BCS spot. Otherwise, Michigan will have 3 or 4 losses and will be saying hello to Orlando to play one of those 3 or 4 loss SEC squads.
Posted: 12:15 AM   by phork
So when Willingham gets tossed from Washington, is that going to have racial undertones as well? The guy is a poor recruiter, the guy is an even poorer coach. Unfortunately for ND, they are paying the price for hiring him now. Washington will be a wash for years to come now.
Yinka Double Dare,

That is exactly what I was saying. If Michigan and Ohio State have not lost another game going into the Nov 17th game and Michigan wins, then I believe that the Big 10 will get two teams. Michigan goes to the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champion and Ohio State goes as an at large team, considering they travel well and will have only one loss. Outside of the conference champions and the title game, the only thing that matters to BCS bowls is filling the stands, and OSU can offer that.
Posted: 12:40 AM   by bgault
Unfortunately for all of us, there really is no clearcut way to tell who the "best" conference is. Even with a playoff system, we would still have the endless debates about whether a two loss SEC team deserved to be there over the [insert hated conference] champion.

Although I myself have fallen into this trap, even the vaunted "common opponent" or "head to head conference bowl game" doesn't really tell the whole story. Why? Because teams are built differently (I know, I'm stating the obvious here). But, my point is this...when USC or UF starts playing in Ohio or Michigan in November, we'll talk. But all these bowl games are essentially home games for west coast and southern teams because the TV people go to the sunshine on New Year's Day.

That being said, the BCS has actually made the conference chest thumpting WORSE than it's ever been. I remember as a kid rooting for a team, and living and dying with that team. Now we pick apart conference schedules and endlessly debate whether KY is a fraud, or USF is overrated, or why the hell UConn is winning the Big East. I guess part of me just want to root for the team, enjoy the games, and go back to the realization that plenty of teams have gone undefeated over the years, have not played for this mythical National Championship, and at the end of the day didn't feel like they weren't screwed by other fans, the media, or the BCS system.
Posted: 12:51 AM   by Troy
I've seen more anti-SEC comments calling posters all sorts of names and taking pot-shots at 'southern' mentality and such, and it's starting to be nonsensical. SEC's a tough conference, as are other conferences. But some of the posters are starting to be guilty of the offenses they are accusing other SEC posters of. All part of the fun, I guess, but do you really want to go against fans who don't have dedication to their conference and team? Might as well watch Beliprick's team run up the score every Sunday for fun. I'm posting from California, BTW.
Posted: 1:08 AM   by A
ROLL TIDE ROLL!!
ROLL TIDE ROLL!!
If I keep hearing how the SEC sucks because of the UT abortion at Cal at the beginning (the same kind of beat down has also been administered by SEC teams), then yeah, I am not willing to let merely accept App State as a wake-up call. Furthermore, Oregon is very good. But they absolutely destroyed UM. I'll stick to my position that they are the most overrated team in the nation.
Posted: 1:18 AM   by Larry
To BGault: Completely agree with you. I think all this BCS stuff has made us conference crazy when it might be more fun to just really be loyal to our team(s). I don't follow the NFL but wonder does this kind of crazy chest thumping happen there as well, or do folks more or less root for their teams and that's it? In any case, I'd say a change starts with each of us...so I'll say good luck to y'all, but root for my Boilers and Buckeyes, and no, I will NOT be afeared to have my Buckeyes play ANY other team in a bowl...if you knew how much last year's loss is serving as a motivator for this year, you wouldn't WANT to play them in their bowl. But again, good luck to all!

To Sas: Believe it or not, I'm in many of those same areas. You wouldn't, by chance, be in Kansas would you? Wichita State hasn't had a football team for quite some time... :)
Posted: 1:19 AM   by G.L.
First of all, let me say that the SEC is a tough conference, BUT...When teams from other conferences "beat up on each other", the conference is deemed "weak" by SEC fans, but when it happens in the SEC, the same SEC fans praise their conference as being great or the best. How can SEC fans come to that conclusion? Not bashing, just very curious.
Posted: 1:26 AM   by SasQuatch
Larry,

I thought so . . cool. No . . my employer is in Missouri and I now teach online. Long story.

I, with you, agree with bgault.

Live in the Cascade Mountains NE of Seattle and smile at my alma mater team (LSU) and suffer with the team that, as bgault indicates, have lived and died with all my life (WA Huskies).

Peace, my friend.

Sas
Posted: 1:50 AM   by Old Folkie
Two Words - Charlie Weiss!
Posted: 2:22 AM   by RFH
Stewart, you are a joke. There is no way that Ryan belongs in the Heisman conversation. He is merely the unquestionable leader of one of 5 undefeated teams in the country. BC's schedule is horrible. According to Real Time RPI, 7 of the 120 teams in division I have faced stiffer competition. That's 7 whole teams whose SOS is better. Take that eagles! He played horribly for 55 minutes on Thursday night. Had Tebow played with a porous O-Line, in a monsoon and against an excellent defense, he easily would have had 745 yards and 13 TDs. Heisman caliber QBs don't play like that. When staring down the barrel of their team's 3rd loss of the season, they man-up and fumble the snap just daring the opponent to put the game away. As for BC, if they end up in the NC game, the BCS as we know it is dead. That would mean that a 13-0 undefeated BCS team made it over teams that lost to 3-loss Kentucky, 3-loss Cal, and 4-loss Colorado. That can't happen. They're not even in the SEC!!! Now, do I sound as silly as all of the other haters out there?
Posted: 3:32 AM   by gooddog
Late arrival, but I feel obligated to respond.

I am just as surprised as everyone else but give Oregon a little credit Dink. Yes USC was ranked lower and did play Oregon at home however they were ranked third in the nation in defense and are touting handful's...Hand Fulls of NFL bound players. I really don't think lackluster best describes USC's performance saturday, there were some seriously loud bone crunching hits on the field and I got the distinct feeling USC came in thinking and wanting to kick our @ss. Then again I am a Duck fan and may be bias, perhaps you saw something in the game I missed.

Out of curiosity, just what should the margin have been? Never mind, to quote an earlier blogger "let's get back to reality (wins and losses)"

Hope to see you at a bowl game, seriously. Go Duck's

By the way, who is Boechmen?
Posted: 7:50 AM   by phork
Boechmen is the QB for the next National Champion. Interestingly, NOT a Heisman candidate.
Posted: 8:25 AM   by WV_EER_fan
OUTRAGEOUS... WV has a dominating win against a quality opponent, and DROPS a spot in the AP poll. What are these idiots smoking?
Be aware WV that you might keep wining and against quality teams, but before long you'll find yourselves behind the Wolverines, I-AA loss notwithstanding.
Posted: 9:20 AM   by Grant
How is it that when the SEC teams lose to each other it is considered "beating each other up", but when the PAC schools or any other conference do the same thing they are seen as examples of how weak the conference is?
Posted: 9:26 AM   by Grant
I have to agree with Stevens on the USC/Oregon game. USC's playcalling was strange to me and most people who watched the game. Where was the arsenal of weapons on the USC sideline? Stafon Johnson anyone? I remember seeing him ONE time. Fred Davis? His presence surely was not felt (it's possible that they were doubling him or paying extra attention to him though). My point is, the offensive playcalling wasn't there for this game. Too bad too - because I firmly believe that USC very much could have one this game. Coulda' shoulda' woulda' though - right?
Posted: 9:36 AM   by Grant
to Phork -

When is ND going to STOP blaming Willingham for everything? I am sorry to see ND in such terrible shape, but that my friend is not fully the work of Willingham. Look at the current coach for that problem. Blame the right guy for once! Weiss is a crock.
Posted: 9:47 AM   by eric
I am glad to finally see people realize that the SEC is not the Varsity while the rest of the country is the JV. This year is a year of parity in college football. The reason why the SEC has come back to earth this year is simple. Most of the SEC teams are relying on a lot of Freshmen & sophomores.
It really makes me laugh how many people bash the BC Eagles and say they aren't worthy of their #2 ranking because they play in the ACC. People forget that this BC team is very experienced. They have 17 graduate students on the team and a lot of seniors as well. They also have a very talented senior QB who is now being coached by a QB guru named Steve Logan. BC is for real folks. Just accept their ranking. If they lose then they will not play in the National title game. If they win out they should play in it. It is as simple as that.
Posted: 10:00 AM   by john
Why don't make the SEC fans happy and have a separate poll just for them. Whoever is ranked #1 at the end of the season will be declared a God. Would that finally shut them up?
Posted: 10:26 AM   by ktennant
Matt Ryan may be the most overrated Heisman candidate I've ever seen. Quick comparison: Ryan's completion percentage, total yards, touchdowns, and interceptions: 61%, 2433, 19, and 8. Todd Boeckman's: 66.5%, 1799, 21, and 8. Brian Brohm: 68.2%, 3229, 26, and 7. And I didn't even look at Dixon or Tebow. Furthermore, Ryan is not in the top five in either pass efficiency or yards per game. How can he be the best player in the country when he's not even the best quarterback?
Posted: 10:59 AM   by swrobin
WOW what a bunch of haters. You'll be driving to your mundane jobs on Monday morn, while Matt is sitting on millions...and you'll find some other KID to trash. Must be depressing to be such couch potato losers!!! Matt may not win the Heisman, but he and his teammates are more articulate and can out research, AND out write Mr. Mandel in a heartbeat! His facts are always questionable....Did he even graduate??????
Posted: 11:08 AM   by Gavin
This is the level of trash talk that got the Patriots to the level of scoring the Eff You TD in every game this season. I hope Tressel runs up the score on LSU or whoever they face in the title game. When asked why, his response should be precisely the same as Belichick's this year: "We're just playing football."

Only then will the idiot sportswriters and fans realize that the big10 is just as good as every other conference. The buckeyes don't have speed? The D plays every day against receivers that get open against everybody. The O has Ray Small - learn the name and get used to it. Also, you may have noticed Tressel going deep more often than ever before in his tenure at OSU.

Talk all you want about the level of OSU's opponents current and future - speculation and cognitive dissonance are fun. The key, though, is this -- name Ohio State's weakness, and describe why. Hint: It's not speed, at any position.
Posted: 11:32 AM   by Jason
The only way the Big 10 will get the SEC and pretty much the country to shut up about SEC dominance and how weak the Big 10 is for OSU to play LSU in New Orleans and win. I'm not saying that OSU would definitely win, but it seems the only way to get the Big 10 some respect. OSU is playing with a chip on their shoulder after what happened last year. In, 2002, Miami was favored by 14 over the Buckeyes and the Buckeyes won. Buckeyes were favored by 7 last year and got crushed. You never know what can happen.
Posted: 11:40 AM   by diana
Why does an ACC team have to win out to play in the NC, but a SEC team (like LSU) get a free ride with one loss?
I love listening to the 'stat-hog' contingent pushing '(insert QB here) for Heisman' over 'Ryan for Heisman' based upon the fact that "Ryan isn't even as good as _______! Look at the stats!"

I missed the memo where Troy Smith was the best QB last season. Or where Jason White was a barn-burner. Heck, didn't even Eric Crouch have more INTs than TDs through the air?

If the Heisman was about which quarterback put up the best stats, Timmy Chang would have probably graduated with the same number of Heisman trophies as Archie Griffin.

With Ryan, BC is 8-0. Without him, do you even think they would have a winning record? If Ryan had the talent that surrounds Boeckman or Dixon at their respective schools, just what kind of numbers would he actually be putting up?

No. I'm sorry children. I'm sorry that the team that's #2 in the Country and undefeated has 'Boston College' on the front of the jersey and not 'Texas' or 'USC' or 'Florida State.' I'm sorry your system quarterback isn't getting as much hype as Ryan. But all you can do, is tune in each week and say how bad they are, yet pray they lose a game between now and December.
Posted: 12:15 PM   by Tom
I'm surprised at all the venom directed at Matt Ryan and BC. I really don't get it. He is a very likable player. He's tough and smart, and he's obviously a natural leader. The team is made up of similar characters, none of whom was a big-time time recruit coming out of high school. As a BC alum, I am very proud of what the team has accomplished so far, especially in light of BC's ongoing commitment to academics. Please read the following article by Dan Wetzel from a few weeks ago. It sums up why I'm proud to be a BC fan.

Wise guys
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
October 10, 2007
Football grad rates
Editor's note: Percentage is of student-athletes who began college from 1997-2000 who graduated within six years.

1. LSU 51%
2. Cal 52%
3. Ohio State 53%
4. BC 93%
5. S. Florida 61%
6. Oklahoma 44%
7. S. Carolina 68%
8. W. Virginia 65%
9. Oregon 55%
10. USC 57%
Source: NCAA

In an upset bigger than Appalachian State and Stanford combined, the most likely place to find the actual players on a serious national title contender is – get this – in class. (And eventually, caps and gowns.)

Boston College has a whole bunch of numbers going for it right now. There is the record (6-0), the national ranking (No. 4) and the possible position in the Heisman race for quarterback Matt Ryan (No. 1).

Then there is the number that makes the Eagles one of the most unlikely national title contenders in years: 93.

That's the graduation rate for BC football players according to the latest NCAA figures. The Eagles finished third in the country behind Navy (95) and Northwestern (94).

But neither of those teams have an actual shot at winding up in the BCS championship game the way BC does. Assuming a win over Notre Dame on Saturday, a victory at Virginia Tech next week would give the Eagles the inside track on the ACC title and an unbeaten season.

Welcome to the anti-big time college football program, where balance, perspective and, indeed, text books still have a place in a sport where at some schools, graduation is as much accident as accomplishment.

Graduation stats can be spun in a million different ways and every school knows how to rationalize its failures. But at some point the truth is just the truth – the Eagles are one of the few programs that can be proud on and off the field.

It's not like the 93 percent was some aberration. Last year it was 96 and for nearly two decades, through various formulas, it's almost always been above 90. Four times – 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2004 – the Eagles finished No. 1 in the nation. Best of all, there is no trend of hiding athletes in basket-weaving majors, no fifth-year seniors who are still "undecided."

"The statistics show that we take the term 'student-athlete' very seriously at Boston College," athletic director Gene DeFillipo said.

Meanwhile, the rest of the national title contenders seem to prefer the term athlete-student. BC has a 40-percentage point advantage on the three teams ahead of it in the AP poll – LSU (51 percent), Cal (52) and Ohio State (53). Those three aren't even the worst offenders, either.

No matter what many of these big football factories say, no matter how many excuses they make or how well they promote select success stories, the reality is few of them put any real care or concern into the long-term educational welfare of their players.

While individual circumstances vary and some of the blame, undoubtedly, has to fall on the players who don't take advantage of the opportunity, the notion of players as actual students remains mostly a charade.

There are three common ways in which schools operate without concern for the novel idea of actually educating players:

• They recruit kids who couldn't score a 22 on their alphabet.

• They put potentially capable student-athletes on academic courses that keep them minimally eligible but unlikely to graduate.

• They make mistakes in recruiting. Then when a student fails to live up to expectations athletically, the coach, rather than taking responsibility, runs the player off in any number of ways to free up a scholarship.

As all these years and all these diplomas prove, Boston College does little to none of this.

"It's been like that for years," BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "One of the things we have is a really fine academic support system. (And) it's very competitive to get in. We get some good students."

Certainly neither the school nor the athletic department is perfect as the occasional scandal (more than once gambling related) and off-campus flare up prove. But when trouble hits there isn't a cover up, a stonewalling or an "everyone-else-does-it" defense.

They refocus and not just with lip service.

Back in the mid-1990s, successful basketball coach Jim O'Brien got into a battle with the admissions department over whether it should relax standards for a couple of recruits. The school sided with the admissions people and told O'Brien it was their way or the highway, no matter how popular he was.

O'Brien left immediately for Ohio State where he got the Buckeyes to the Final Four, then on major probation, then into a multimillion dollar wrongful firing lawsuit. BC just shrugged and hired a new coach, Al Skinner, who could win within their standards.

That's always been BC's way. The school is bigger than the team, the coach or a single supposedly star recruit. It understand those entities all come and go, but a reputation lasts forever.

Its fans mostly want it that way. There is no billionaire booster leading the program around by the nose, no alumni demands to win at all costs. It certainly doesn't hurt that it operates in a pro sports market where the success of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots relegate BC, even here on Notre Dame week, to the inside pages of the newspapers and an afterthought on talk radio.

Even if Ryan wins the Heisman, he's never going to be as big as Tom Brady or David Ortiz. This can get only so big; perspective can only get so out of whack.

Of course, after winning 9, 9 and 10 games the past three years, the Eagles would like to test that with an unprecedented run at the BCS title. "This group of seniors," Jagodzinski said, "has been one game away from where it wanted to be."

If they get there, who knows the fallout? Will Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany write an open letter complaining that the Eagles are too smart? Will the BCS formula be tweaked to punish teams capable of doing calculus? Will the Boone Pickens of the world suddenly scrap plans for some Taj Mahal football dorm to construct "one of them thar library thingies?"

The current average graduation rate of the last five BCS champions is 54 percent.

In a corner-cutting climate like that, can Boston College actually wind up the best team in the country?

For some of us, they already have.
Posted: 12:20 PM   by Nate
Wolverine2000 / Yinka Double Dare:

There's one other scenario where the Big 10 could get 2 teams into BCS games. Michigan managed to jump up all the way to 12th in this week's BCS standings. If they and OSU both win the next two weeks, Michigan would likely move up even higher, possibly into the top 10, going into the final game. Even if Michigan were to lose that game against OSU, they would almost certainly end up still in the top 14 of the BCS standings at the end of the year. That would make them eligible to be selected by any BCS bowl as an at-large team. Most BCS bowls wouldn't choose a team that barely qualifies, but there is one that definitely would - the Rose Bowl. And I guarantee that in a scenario like this, the Rose Bowl would take Michigan to replace OSU (who would be playing in the title game) in a heartbeat, as that would set up their traditional Big10/Pac10 matchup with the Pac 10 champ. Or even if, say, Arizona State ends up #2 and plays Ohio State in the title game, the Pac 10 would have no shortage of top-14 teams that the Rose Bowl could pick to play Michigan in this scenario.
Even if Ohio State were to lose twice (say, Wisconsin and Michigan), it's very likely they wouldn't end up lower than 14th in the final standings, so they would remain eligible for an at-large berth (with Michigan going to the Rose Bowl as Big 10 champs) and, as Wolverine2000 said, they travel so well that some BCS bowl would choose them if possible. I'm sure, for example, the Fiesta Bowl would love to have them back, and they'll have the next-to-last choice, so there may be no teams left that are more appealing to them than OSU.
So basically, as much as many people will dread it, the Big 10 will almost certainly have 2 teams in the BCS again unless A) Michigan loses one of the next two, or B) Ohio State loses all 3 of its remaining games, or C) Hawaii finishes in the top 12 and UCONN wins the Big East (meaning that by the time the Fiesta Bowl selects their at-large team, they'll have to choose between those two teams since they'll be guaranteed berths and I'm sure the Orange Bowl wouldn't have taken either of them).
Posted: 12:24 PM   by Nate
Tom, you may want to take that down. I'm pretty sure you've violated copyright laws by publishing that article here. Not smart. If the 93% of BC players who graduate have a comparable education to yours, then that is meaningless.
Posted: 12:51 PM   by Silk
Anybody else noticing just how bad the Big 12 Conference is? Which begs the question, how is OU and UT so high in the BCS? I mean, UT has beaten one team with a winning record, Central Florida. And OU barely beat UT. I am not sure what the BCS looks at, besides what kind of past reputation you have.
Posted: 12:56 PM   by Geoff
More evidence of the great SEC hype

Most OOC games played vs BCS teams
1. ACC: 17
2. Big East: 15
3. Big 10: 13
4. Big 12: 11
5. Pac 10: 10
6. SEC: 10

Most OOC wins vs BCS teams
1. ACC: 9
2. Big 10: 9
3. Big East: 7
4. Pac 10: 6
5. Big 12: 5
6. SEC: 5

Most OOC games played on the road
1. Big East: 15 out of 39, or 38%
2. ACC: 16 out of 43, or 37%
3. Big 12: 15 out of 47, or 31%
4. Pac 10: 9 out of 29, or 31%
5. Big 10: 10 out of 39, or 26%
6. SEC: 7 out of 36, or 19%
Posted: 12:59 PM   by clemchin5
What I find interesting is that the announcers talked the whole game about how Matt Ryan ruined his chances for the Heisman with an unworthy game, until it was all over. After those two drives, it was
Posted: 1:01 PM   by clemchin5
What I find interesting is how much the announcers said that Matt Ryan killed his chances of a Heisman, until his final two drives, one of which was only an opportunity AFTER a recovered onside kick. After the game, they all said how he cemented his candidacy for Heisman. It just shows that it's not about a total package (not to discredit Ryan or BC's season) and about a couple of dramatic plays on a big stage. I agree with most that the Heisman ends up being a popularity contest and nothing more.
I hear the same old tired rhetoric from much of the country about how overated the SEC is. Last time I heard it was a Buckeye fan holding up a picture of their mascot eating Gator ( and we know how that turned out for them, lol). I also hear funny numbers about how the SEC went 3-3 in the bowls, etc. The reason that their conference didnt go 3-3 is that they only got their best two or three teams into the bowl picture.The SEC has been the best conference in the country for the last dozen years and has the national titles to speak to it.
Posted: 1:07 PM   by ktennant
I'm thrilled that Matt Ryan is going to graduate and BC graduates so many of their players. Unfortunately, the number of degrees one has earned or will earn doesn't enter into the Heisman ballot (although it would certainly promote academics in an increasingly apathetic, sports-choked society - GPA decides who gets the bronze trophy in a tight race, perhaps?) But the fact is, it IS the stats that factor into the equation. Matt Ryan is a terrific quarterback, but his numbers are very similar to lots of other QBs. What exactly is it that sets him apart from the pack? Two minutes of brilliance in sixty can't be the whole foundation. If BC, say, wins out and plays well because of Ryan in the BCS, then we'll have something.
Posted: 1:51 PM   by 94GatorVA
This is in response to Patty's comment: "Stewart- if you knew anything about sports, you would have realized the poor performance by Matt Ryan and the rest of BC's offense was largely due to the monsoon they were playing in during the first 3 quarters."

(1) I could be wrong, but he has a column and it seems thousands of real sports fans visit it to read and leave comments. Do you have one?

(2) I could also be wrong, but shouldn't a team (whether it's soccer, football, golf) know how to change their play calling/strategy depending on weather and not use it as an excuse as to the reason of poor play?

Go Gators! Go SEC! Go NCAA Football!
Posted: 1:58 PM   by Larry
"So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

My lame attempt to derail another conference strength argument and let us see we've got a lot in common after all, but hey... :)
Posted: 2:14 PM   by Michael
Has anyone considered that we could have 5 undefeated teams at the end of the season.

OSU - Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan
BC - Florida State, Maryland, Clemson, Miami.
ASU - Oregon, UCLA, USC, Arizona
Kansas - Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Missouri, Championship (Oklahoma?)
Hawaii - Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State (go Broncos!), Washington

Can they all win out and if they do who should be ranked 1 and 2.

I would rank Sun Devils first, beating Oregon and Cal and USC.
Probably OSU second. Kansas 3rd then Boston College. And no disrespect to Hawaii 5th. I remember Boise State and Oklahoma last year. I really think ASU and Ohio State will take a loss but I think Kansas and BC can win out. Verdit on Hawaii will have to wait until the last game.

If it happens this will really make an argument for a playoff which I am against.

And to everyone arging that they deserve a shot even if they lose a game. Too bad. Champions find a way to win. Heart wins championships. I remember a certain team losing the Conference Championship and still getting the shot for the NC. I remember experts making excusing even before the game as how it was unfair to dock them because they play an extra game. Well champions win, they didn't and we were deprived of what would have been a fantastic USC-LSU game. Got a blowout and split NC.

Lets remember that if your team has what it takes they will find a way to get the job done.
Posted: 2:38 PM   by Joe
People have said that the PAC 10 is better then the SEC this year. Well they are wrong look at how many wins both have.

SEC- 64

PAC 10 - 42
Posted: 2:57 PM   by GBC12
94GatorVA: Do you think Tiger Woods would have shot a 63 in Blacksburg on Thursday night? Me neither, lets see how Matt Ryan and the rest of the BC offense play in the final 4 regular season games and then the ACC championship, I suspect you will see a very efficient offense in better conditions than what they had on Thursday night. Regardless, there are no excuses, Matt Ryan did what he had to do under intense pressure to win that game. For the record though, no quarterback (or as you mention, golfer) is going to have a stellar performance in moonsoon-like conditions.
Posted: 2:59 PM   by Just me
WAR EAGLE!!! :)
Posted: 3:19 PM   by C.R.P.
From a UCLA fan:

Is it basketball season yet?
Posted: 3:23 PM   by John
that....Mandel is a SEC homer
Posted: 3:31 PM   by Swaps
How can we (OSU) be disrespected when we're #1 and control our own destiny to the NC game? If we win out, then we will see if we deserve it or not. Too much hostility and I expect better from Big 10 fans. Boeckman isn't in the Heisman radar screen...who cares?! Matt Ryan is a pretty good QB, why attack him? Truth is, SEC is much better top to bottom than the Big 10. Why is any Big 10 fan bothered by this? It's all cyclical.

As for the playoff that everyone wants. CFB is the best sport in America, bar none. This is because every single game is life or death. No one would watch USF vs. Rutgers under normal circumstances, but because one loss changes everything, it becomes must see TV. I'd much rather have 12 weeks of exciting winner-take-all football that matters than teams resting players just trying to coast in with a loss or two.
I agree with everything Swaps said. That post hit the nail on the head.
There is a 6th thing we learned - that Wake Forest is ridiculously underrated - only losses this season to # 2 Boston College on the road and Nebraska by 3 without our starting QB - the quietest 6 straight wins in history and no respect for the DEFENDING ACC CHAMPIONS. I guess we'll just have to run the table to crack the top 25...
"that Wake Forest is ridiculously underrated"

I also agree with that.

You know the BCS is flawed when it ranks teams like USC, Florida, Wake Forest, Auburn, Alabama, and Hawaii behind a joker like Michigan.
Posted: 4:25 PM   by bnun
Wow Joe... I think you just compared total number of wins for a 12 team conference to a conference with only 10.

I realize that Ole Miss only has two wins, but to put it as simply as you did... is by no means a great basis for determining conference strength.
Posted: 4:32 PM   by buckeyes33
Swaps,

Amen.

My only addition to your comments would be to scrap the preseason polls. The BCS (as it stands today) relies too heavily on a teams poll ranking. Those teams starting at the top in the beginning of the season, based on no actual on field performance, get a ridiculous advantage (i.e. Michigan) and teams that come out of nowhere (no preseason rank at all, i.e. UCONN, ASU) get hosed because they don't have the requisite number of high poll rankings to get their BCS rating up.

Forget the national polls until October 1st and see where things stand before any polls become "official" The media will still have polls and all of us will still get to talk s*&t, it just won't mean anything to the BCS until Oct 1st and we'll get a much better view of the true landscape as to who are players or pretenders.

one last commment, who cares if the Buckeyes have been "tested" yet or are still undeserving. I'm under the opinion that nothing matters until we win it all, so just keep shutting people up every week until you run outta games to play.

go Bucks!
Posted: 4:39 PM   by Sage
Hey Joe, you do know that the Pac-10 has only 10 teams, whereas the SEC has 1 teams, right? So comparing the number of victories is inaccurate. It's also worth noting that the Pac-10 plays better OOC competition. We don't just line up Div-IAA pansies like your almighty SEC. And we aren't afraid to play on the road either.

In other news, USC should have beaten Oregon. Our D played great but the offense just couldn't get it going. Poor playcalling, too many turnovers, too many penalties. If our team played up to their potential we'd still be undefeated and #1. Maybe next year....
Posted: 4:40 PM   by Mike
Cal - a team that has lost 3 games in a row in the Pac 10 beat SEC East leader Tennessee. But you're right guys, the Pac 10 is really weak and the SEC is god's gift to college football.
Posted: 4:40 PM   by Sage
Err, I meant to say the SEC has 12 teams ;)
Posted: 4:56 PM   by John
Mandel is an east coast homer.
Posted: 5:01 PM   by Buckeyeboy9
Where have all the SEC lovers gone this week? My my how the mighty have fallen! We have to listen to week after week of SEC this SEC that, like they invented the frickin game or something. Keeping it all real people, the SEC and the Big Ten have played 14 bowl games in the last five years. Big Ten 8 SEC 6. Big Ten & the SEC lead all conferences in most first round draft picks over the last 5 years...30 each.
Last year the Big Ten beart the SEC in 2 out of three bowl games. But boy did we ever fail to show up in the one that everybody tuned into. That is what happens when you believe your own press. Its also what happens when you have an offensive-oriented football team take off 51 days and then play the best defensive football team in CF.

Most OOC games played vs BCS teams
1. ACC: 17
2. Big East: 15
3. Big 10: 13
4. Big 12: 11
5. Pac 10: 10
6. SEC: 10

Most OOC wins vs BCS teams
1. ACC: 9
2. Big 10: 9
3. Big East: 7
4. Pac 10: 6
5. Big 12: 5
6. SEC: 5

Most OOC games played on the road
1. Big East: 15 out of 39, or 38%
2. ACC: 16 out of 43, or 37%
3. Big 12: 15 out of 47, or 31%
4. Pac 10: 9 out of 29, or 31%
5. Big 10: 10 out of 39, or 26%
6. SEC: 7 out of 36, or 19%

Just give me the facts and keep your opinions to yourself.

Go Buckeyes!
Posted: 5:34 PM   by MGB
Such animosity folks. I know - I'm an ND fan and we apparently aren't even playing football this year (I wish they would have told me that before I sat through all those games) so I can't throw any stones this year. But really - the Heisman Trophy is not for the best QB, don't they have another trophy for that? Matt Ryan is as deserving as anyone because A) his team is undefeated and ranked #2 in the country and B) that is largely due to his contribution to that team.

I happen to live in Columbus, Ohio, (nice enough town) and I'm no fan of OSU football. I think that's because I'm used to there being more than one game in a season. I can't get used to the way all that energy and focus goes into a single game each year when in fact all the games are supposed to matter. Add to that the fact that anytime you are in a hotbed of fanaticism that isn't your own it can grate on your nerves.

And as far as which conference is better than another - who cares. I mean really - who cares? Why do I care if the SEC is "better" than the Big 10? Or the Big East is underrated and the Pac10 is overrated? I fail to see how that impacts me in the slightest? I do care that my favorite team is in a position to play competitive games and have a shot at a title, if one exists, when they do well. But other than that my conference, your conference - whatever - it just doesn't seem to matter. The fact remains in Divsion 1-A college football you have to win all your games whether you are in the Big 10, SEC or, heaven forbid, still independent (I'll refrain from complaining about the traditional ND bashing because they suck this year - Willingham didn't do us any favors but Weis is calling the shots and it isn't working).
Posted: 5:58 PM   by David
Mr. Mandel - One additional learning from the weekend, Ohio State is for real. If this team played last year's Florida Gators, there would have been a much tighter game and maybe, just maybe, this years Buckeyes beat last years Gators!
Posted: 6:36 PM   by Buckeyeboy9
@David
From my handle you can see where my loyalties lie. I can not agree with you about this year's edition of tOSU Buckeyes and last years Gaytors. We were simply outplayed by a team that was motivated beyond all get out. This years Buckeyes have pocket passing qb who would fare no better against that defense. Our defense this year would do better job no doubt but I still think we were beaten because we were an offensive-orinted football team that had 51 days off pitted against the best defense in college football.
Posted: 7:14 PM   by turnquist
You were right - UTube did pull the amazing lateral pass video almost immediately, but CNN Sports has it at
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/sports/2007/10/29/vo.tx.trinity.15.laterals.d3
Haroldt
How a 6-3 and a 5-3 team (Auburn Tigers and Florida Gators) can be in the Top 20 in the current BCS standing - at this time in the season - goes to show you how lopsided this season has been from week to week, across all conferences. There is no clear cut dominating team out there - just yet. There won't be any undefeated team left standing at the end of the season. If you remember Urban Meyer's vehement calls last season to be in the NC game, just wait until this season ends, there will be a lot of more voices from more teams making their case for the NC game.
Posted: 8:08 PM   by Jeremy
quote- silk- "Anybody else noticing just how bad the Big 12 Conference is? Which begs the question, how is OU and UT so high in the BCS? I mean, UT has beaten one team with a winning record, Central Florida. And OU barely beat UT. I am not sure what the BCS looks at, besides what kind of past reputation you have."

This is exactly why people get irritated.
Posted: 8:22 PM   by Scott
For all of you who are bashing the SEC. Why don't you all check back and see what the SEC record is against other conferences after the bowel games are played? The Big 10 has always been overrated. Let's see... Ohio State has yet to win a game against an SEC school. I would love to see Ohio State play LSU for the National Title. The result would be just like it was last year against Florida.
Posted: 8:23 PM   by Bruin1
Mr. Mandel,

Your analysis of UCLA football is about a centimeter deep. Did you even watch the Wazzoo game or the ND game? Did you know that the Bruins lost their top running back on the second offensive series, their top receiver in the second quarter, and their only backup tailback was injured with turf toe. Moreover, did you know that they were starting an injured back-up quarterback who practiced one day this week due to his injury. Did you know that their top defensive player and defensive leader was out having suffered concussion induced seizures on the sidelines after the Cal game? Finally, that they only had 4 defensive linemen for the whole game?

Come on, be fair, losses are disappointing, but when those types of injuries hit your team, there is little you can do.
Posted: 8:37 PM   by Jeremy
I do not think Kansas can go undefeated. They have Nebraska, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Missouri left on their schedule.
I can see wins over NU and ISU.

Against OSU it could go either way. OSU likes to run, but Kansas is one of the best at stopping it. OSU can pass too, Zac Robinson 22nd in pass efficency, and remember what happened last year when OSU passed over 400 yds at Kansas. This should be an interesting game, I think either Robinson will pass for a lot of yards, or neither team will score many points at all.

Kansas scored only 19 points against Texas A&M and Colorado, and 30 against K-State but those defenses are pretty good. In their non-conference games they scored about 50 points every game, but against puny opponents. I think they have just about proven themselves especially against K-State.

Missouri's offense should torch the Kansas defense with the pass, and if Missouri's defense plays at least ok then Missouri will win, and Missouri should go to the Big 12 championship.

In the south division, OU will most likely go to the championship unless OSU can somehow beat Texas, Kansas, Baylor, and OU. If Mizzou loses 1 more game then Kansas will go. Mizzou's remaining games are K-State, Kansas, Texas A&m and colorado. I think Mizzou has a great chance of winning out on these 4. If OU loses anymore games then it completely screws up this theory. They probably won't though. It's about time for OSU to beat OU; OU has won the last 4, and the last time OSU beat OU, OU was ranked 3 or 4. I think OU will win by about 10 points though. OSU finishing 8-4 is my prediction. A win over Texas, Kansas, and Baylor, and a loss to OU. Or a loss to Texas and a win over OU. Still kind of early to tell. If OSU can beat Texas this weekend, then I would say my theory has a 90% chance.
Posted: 8:50 PM   by Dink
jake2 @ 9:54 pm last night. He did state he wrote about the Ohio State - Penn State Game but what does that have to do with a question to him about why he and his fellow writers are excluding a deserving performer from a prestigious individual award consideration. I don't see anywhere in my comments where I tried to discuss the "Ohio State - Penn State game" that Mr. Mandel was excluding from his column, you my friend are the one who brought up "the game", not I.

Regards
Posted: 8:58 PM   by Anthony E
First thing, the Trinity U play was unbelievable... it kind of reminds me of when the North Colorado punter was stabbed by the backup. I mean when i heard about that i was like what the heck is going on? How badly do you want to punt for North Colorado University? but i guess this goes to prove that college football is important at every level, and that play at say Tennessee, or USC, would have gotten all over the place to no end. and second give OSU and my heisman pick boeckman some love because beating my Nittany Lions in Happy Valley at night is big.
Posted: 9:19 PM   by gingles
I AM SO SICK OF THIS! The BC/BT GAME SUCKED! If Heismans are picked by a 2 minute performance against a lost and forlorn defense, then, what the hell, give to him.
Posted: 9:19 PM   by MattG10
I learned that the more and more Florida struggled against a SUPERIOR Georgia team on Saturday, the worse Tebow's "Injury" became.

At first, it was a bruised shoulder, but Superman, I mean Tim Tebow said "He was fine." Then as Georgia went up by about two scores in the 3rd quarter, it suddenly became SEVERELY bruised shoulder. Its like I said all year, a QB cant last a whole season when he runs like that... Especially in the SEC.
Posted: 9:23 PM   by gingles
I AM SO SICK OF THIS!!! THE whole GAME SUCKED.

What the hell, if two minutes of good passing against a tired, forlorn, and lost VT defense counts as Heisman material, then just give the damn trophy to him.

And yes, Stew (you're my favorite columnist), he did pretty much suck the first 58 minutes.
Posted: 9:28 PM   by gingles
Where is my comment?
Posted: 10:32 PM   by WingRG
One thing SEC and Big 10 do have in common, no way Tebow does it for the whole season in the Big 10.
Posted: 12:11 AM   by Ivan
Can anyone offer advice? I've read everywhere that only the SEC is worth watching, so I tried. But the SEC players are so fast that all I saw was a blur - it was as if someone smeared grits all over my TV screen. Is there a single slow SEC team that one can watch with the naked eye? If so, please inform. I'm dying to see real football. Is it possible for the entire SEC to play in the BCS championship, Cage-of-Death-style? And can the entire game be slowed down to 1/10 speed so that we mortals can watch? Eternally grateful, a Yankee fan.
SEC fans crack me up...I work with a guy who is a 'Bama fan. He's actually conflicted between rooting for the Tide to beat LSU and sort of hoping LSU wins to keep the SEC's lone national title hopeful alive. He thinks one more loss by the Tigers would prevent a SEC team from playing for the National Championship. What happened to rooting for your favorite team, regardless of the circumstances?! Believe it or not, he told me that a couple of his friends from back home are just as warped.
Posted: 12:22 AM   by G.L.
I'm not saying that the ACC is better than the SEC or Big Ten. Everyone who follows college football knows better, but if everyone is throwing numbers about..Allow me to join the numbers game. We all know that, where there is talent, the NFL will find it.

NFL Draft 2006 and 2007 combined:

ACC-82 total players taken
SEC-78
Big Ten-73

Interesting. Maybe the ACC just has really bad coaches. LOL
Posted: 12:33 AM   by Ivan
This post has been removed by the author.
Posted: 3:55 AM   by SasQuatch
I need to golf with the Dalai Llama . . or even a lama.

"All your (angst) is from a desire for harmony. Seek disharmony, and then you will find peace."

That, from a 12th Century Persian poet.

Given the disharmony, I think we should all be at peace.
Posted: 7:33 AM   by Eric Y-town
Just found out that Ohio State vs. Wisconsin is on the Big Ten Network. Guess I won't be watching that game even though I live in freaking OHIO. Oh well. At least I can get the LSU-Bama game.Maybe there is good reason to hate the Big Ten.
Posted: 9:02 AM   by Nate
G.L., if you're going to throw out numbers, at least make them meaningful. The ACC and SEC have 12 teams, the Big 10 only has 11. So of course you'd expect to see them have more players drafted. If you want to make a meaningful comparison, you'd need to divide the numbers you provided by the number of teams in each conference. The average drafted per conference team would then be:

ACC: 6.83
Big 10: 6.64
SEC: 6.50
Posted: 9:06 AM   by Larry
Eric:

Don't hate the Big 10, just be upset at the freakin' Big 10 network and if you need to, the leadership that made the thing happen. Sorry you can't see it up there in Y-Town, but if it's any consolation, at one of the earlier home games here at OSU this season, the announcer made a pitch during a time out to "catch ALL the games on the Big 10 network"--the place immediately erupted into boos...and I mean the ENTIRE stadium. The pain is shared.
Posted: 9:49 AM   by Eric Y-town
It's cool Larry. I was just reacting to the initial shock of realizing that for the first time in my life I won't be able to turn on the tv on a crisp fall afternoon and watch the Buckeyes play Wisconsin. The cynicism of the modern, money grubbing university is often astounding to me. It's not the fault of the players. Oh well. The wife and I will just go for a walk in beautiful Mill Creek Park and check out MU-MSU later in the day. Enjoy the game.
Posted: 1:35 PM   by BobW
Some Reasons the SEC Shows Up with More Teams in the Polls and Computer Rankings

1. Chris and Geoff both posted the fact of the B10 having 9 wins against OOC BCS teams. True, but here are the 9 wins: 4 against Notre Dame, 2 against Syracuse, and 1 each against Washington, Washington St, and Pitt. They might have had 10, but Northwestern could not handle Duke. All these wins were against teams with W-L records well below .500. No blame for this happenstance, but no glory either. These are not quality wins.

2. The SEC has 6 wins against OOC BCS teams: 5-3 FSU, 5-3 Kans St, 4-3 Louisville, 5-3 Okla St, 6-2 Va Tech, 2-6 North Carolina. These are better quality wins than those of B10. The SEC has 4 more OOC BCS left: Fla:FSU, Georgia:GaTech, Vandy:Wake Forest, SCaro:Clemson, all with winning records. Losses for the SEC against OCS BCS were to Cal, Missouri, USF, and WestVa, all with winning records.

3. No SEC team has lost to a non-BCS team. The B10 has 3 such losses, 2 by Minnesota and 1 by-oh, the horror-Michigan.

4. Everything so far was a pain in the butt to find and work up. And I am not going to do it for the SEC vs each of the other conferences. Naturally I picked the B10 because the SEC would show best against them, and because Geoff is a Buckeye.

5. The only computer guy I pay attention to is Jeff Sagarin with USA Today, used by the NCAA for both football and basketball. He gives weight to schedule strength, margin of victory, and home vs away. He not only ranks teams, like the polls, but ranks all the A and AA teams together. Each team gets a numerical score that can be used to give a point spread between any two of them, which manages to closely approximate the Vegas line. This ability to produce a credible point spread gives his computerized system a lot of believability. Sagarin rates the conferences on their seasonal performance every week and currently has the SEC first and B10 fifth. Last year he had the SEC first, but the year before SEC was sixth of the majors. So, no evident bias and no possibility of media hype. His top 25 has the same SEC teams in it as the major polls.

6. One more thing and I will be done. What is important about data concerning OOC BCS comparisons is how many BCS teams appear in total in a team or conference schedule. SEC, B10, and B12 all play 8 game conference schedules and one OOC BCS team on average each for a total of 9 BCS opponents per season. BEast plays a 7 game conference schedule and on average 2 OOC BCS opponents for a total of 9 also. ACC teams play 8 conference foes and on average 2 OOC BCS for a total of 10. P10 play 9 conference games and average 1 OOC BCS for a total of 10. Props to the ACC and P10 for this. That the SEC, B12, and ACC have playoffs adds another tough game against a BCS opponent to the best two teams they have. And additional props to USC, FSU, and Duke for playing 11 BCS level opponents. And stinking fish to Texas and Arkansas for nada OOC BCS foes. There may be others; I did not look hard.
Posted: 3:34 PM   by 31 to Life
BobW stated: 2. The SEC has 6 wins against OOC BCS teams: 5-3 FSU, 5-3

UUmmmm Bob...FSU has not lost to an SEC team as of today. FSU did DEFEAT Alabama. So that would mean that the SEC has 5 wins.
Posted: 4:34 PM   by BobW
31 to Life--Thank you for the correction. My bad. I just screwed it up in the editing. Here is that post part now corrected.

2. The SEC has 5 wins against OOC BCS teams: 5-3 Kans St, 4-3 Louisville, 5-3 Okla St, 6-2 Va Tech, 2-6 North Carolina. These are better quality wins than those of B10. The SEC has 4 more OOC BCS left: Fla:FSU, Georgia:GaTech, Vandy:Wake Forest, SCaro:Clemson, all with winning records. Losses for the SEC against OOC BCS were to Cal, Missouri, USF, FSU, and WestVa, all with winning records.
Posted: 5:58 PM   by SunDevilJose
Posted: 10:00 AM by john
Why don't make the SEC fans happy and have a separate poll just for them. Whoever is ranked #1 at the end of the season will be declared a God. Would that finally shut them up?

This made me LOL.

Randoms:
>the best anti-"Heisman to Matt Ryan" argument is to simply point to Dennis Dixon. When you look at the work of Dennis at the end of the season, you'll wonder why he wasn't always your automatic choice.

>Boeckman and tOSU compile decent statistics against teams that ultimately will not be impressive when the season is done. It is not impressive to beat "Wisconsin, who was once ranked #5". It IS impressive to beat "team X, who finished #5."

Ohio State fans from last year should be able to tell anyone that it is not where you spent the season, it is where you finish.

>The ooc quality wins for the SEC and the bigTen are both unimpressive. The best of all of them is LSU > VaTech. They play 48 and 44 non conference games respectively (not done yet) and the dropoff after VaTech is pretty steep (Auburn over Kansas St?????)

>Go Vols!
>Go Wolverines!
>GO Huskers! (well, I tried)
Why?
any time these programs win, it helps the Pac10.

I wonder if this Saturdays' game between Oregon and ASU will be *the* game of the CFB season. I don't think so, but it may be.
Posted: 6:08 PM   by SunDevilJose
Hehehehe. This one is funny:

"Why don't you all check back and see what the SEC record is against other conferences after the bowel games are played?"

Bowels are the parts of your body that poop flows through.

Bowls are organizations founded by municipalities for the purpose of increasing tourism.

How many "Bowel" teams will the SEC provide this year?
Posted: 8:13 PM   by G.L.
Nate...Big Ten fan, huh. Well, I wasn't bashing the Big Ten, but thank you for breaking down the numbers. I seriously doubt that fictitious extra Big Ten team would have produced enough draft picks in two years to blow past the ACC. It could have caught the ACC, maybe even passed the ACC, but not blown past the ACC. Well, that's neither here nor there. I know the ACC is not as solid as the SEC or Big Ten. My point is that, although the ACC is at the bottom of everyone's "best conference" list, it still drafted the most players in the last two drafts combined. I question the coaching of the ACC teams, that's all. Thanks again, though.
Posted: 10:56 PM   by nklpkl
An open proposal to end the debate of which conference and team is best: The novel idea, a PLAYOFF.

First, start with an 11 game season, excluding conference championship games (that may go to the wayside, more on that later). Each BCS eligible conference champion gets an automatic bid. Now we have slots for 5 ‘at large’ teams (no limit on how many from a conference) that will be determined by the current BCS formula with two twists:

Strength of schedule is strongly emphasized by the computers
Coaches and Harris polls don’t begin until week 5 or 6

Now we have incorporated a system in which OOC scheduling becomes rather important while minimizing the risk associated with losing a high profile game and being shut out of the NC for that one loss. Another option is to mandate to the traditional ‘Big 6’ BCS conferences that they MUST play one game against another of their brethren conferences per year. Scheduling strong OOC may actually ‘help’ a school even if they lose. This helps the basketball committee in selecting at large for March Madness and can work on a limited basis in football.

Now to address the conference championship games. If we consider the 3 BCS conferences that have those games currently, I believe we will find an equal amount of instances in which both teams would get consideration into our playoff system and instances in which that is not the case; I would say to those teams/conferences with this situation to find a solution to determine one champion without the championship game, or run the risk of knocking your best team over the course of the year from the playoff (which has been the case a number of times over the last dozen years).

If multiple teams from a conference are considered in the at large pool, more likely they are the second (or third) place finishers within the conference. This situation would likely satisfy years in which one conference’s overall strength is head and shoulders above the other conferences (i.e. SEC this year).

I believe the above approach would systematically keep the week to week competitive nature of college football alive (didn’t win your big OOC game this year? Have heart, you can still get in by winning your conference!) and may in fact strengthen it. I also believe that it would stir great debate on forums like this one as to who can get ‘in’ and how, but most importantly we are leaving the majority of those decisions to where they belong: ON THE FIELD OF PLAY!


Thanks for reading.
Posted: 11:17 PM   by nickl
Random thoughts

1. Tired of the team x lost to team y who lost to team z. So team z is better than team x as is everything associated with team z arguements.

2. Another reason why I hate fantasy football. Makes people think you can look at a stat sheet and say "Well, this is the best quarterback, best running back, and best receiver. That was easy." All the while not watching a single game. If passer rating means everything, Unitas was a crappy qb. The system a qb is in will produce a high rating. Ryan is not in a rating friendly system.

3. The best team in the country is rarely in the national championship game. Until the system changes, get used to it.

4. Last year means nothing. Stop bringing it up. It should have nothing to do with how you rate this years teams. I doubt Troy Smith will take any snaps for OSU anytime soon, so drop that point if you think they shouldn't be number 1. Delve deeper into your minds, maybe watch more than the crap highlights you see on Sportscenter, and come up with a though relevent to this year.

5. On Sportscenter, it is ruining sports. Neither here nor there, just thought I would bring it up.

6. The SEC is asking everyone to dump the conventional ranking system of win you go up, lose you have to drop in wanting to put LSU 1. Last time we did that with Oklahoma it is what started this whole SEC is the best mentality.

7. If Stew holds to his word and moves LSU down and Ohio State up at the end of the season (assuming OSU wins out), I fear for his life.

8. If the regular season is the playoffs, as is what we are told, then they need to reward winning over all else. Not how much win by, who you beat, or how good you looked doing it, just winning. No excuses. College basketball always has a "region of death" but if a team in that loses, no one says they should get a mulligan, just the way it works. If you are unlucky enough to be in the best conference, deal with it and win. If you are the best team in the country that isn't asking too much I don't think. Otherwise they need to put judges on the sidelines and we can have another reason to hate the French, they always lowball.

9. Shut up with the SEC is god crap. They might very well be really good this year. But we wont know until after the bowl games when the "better teams" play each other. I quote that because there are too many bowl teams, they aren't all very good but most of the scrubs are gone. This just annoys me because people don't even listen or bring up valid points in debate. They are blinded by their undieing devotion to conference x and will skew everything to that point of view while ignoring all points made otherwise.

10. Stew offended at your blantant Hawaii hate. 21st?

11. Sad realization I had while reading this. Michigan, after losing to App State and getting blown out by Oregon, could end up top 5 at the end of the season if they win out. Brings a tear to my eye.
Posted: 12:04 AM   by MattG10
All these OOC BCS games are so overrated. You cant tell me the Big East is just as good as the SEC just because West Virginia destroyed Mississippi State. I got news for you, most of the teams in the SEC usually destroy Missippi State. All you have to do is look at the level of play in the SEC. It's clearly better than any other conference in the nation. The only conference that comes close is the Pac-10. The SEC has #3 LSU, #10 Georgia, #17 Alabama, #18 Florida, #19 Auburn, #23 South Carolina, #24 Tennessee. The Pac-10 has #4 Oregon, #6 Arizona State, #13 USC. And Kentucky, Cal, and UCLA are all quality teams too.
Posted: 3:07 AM   by Darrell
Gee guys, college football isn't as much fun as it used to be. I'm a Sooner, born and bred, but last Saturday I caught myself pulling for--of all things--the Longhorns. I can remember when I supported OU, and could have cared less how William and Mary fared against Stoneybrook. Now I have to figure out who needs to get beaten by who so that My Sooners get to play for the NC. I kinda miss--no really miss-- the days before the Fiesta Bowl, when the winners of The Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton Bowls fought over different versions of The "Mythical National Championship". Don't you think a simpler life was better?
Posted: 7:54 AM   by JogaOhio
Your power rankings are ridiculious!! Last week it was Ooooo Ohio State has a huge test with Penn State and how great they were. We beat them and YET AGAIN you flip and say, "Oh Penn State wasn't that great"!!! WHAT THE F*&K!!!???? You clearly have a HUGE bias against OSU and it's now VERY obvious. Well we'll see if LSU lives up to your dreams or not because I think it's bull to keep a team#1 who doesn't play!!!! We went to the most hostile enviornment in college football and BEAT THEM very solidly and yet you still act like we beat Akron or Youngstown. You're full of it man and I hope you get your head out of your a$$!
Posted: 8:02 AM   by Mo
Mr. Mandel,

I just don't understand how all the analysts can state before the PSU game that it will be OSU's first real test, then OSU blows them out, and then you state PSU was not a tough opponent. That game would have been tough for any team to walk into and win because of the noise level alone, not to mention the big target on OSU's back. You said you were at that game but I'm curious to know what you did while you were there. Even though the level of competition may not be up to other more well liked teams. But there are some other aspects of the game that can be evidence of a great team. Look at the timing between the QB and WR. Look at the moves from the RB. Watch the player with the ball lower a shoulder and drive through the defender. Both sides of the ball for OSU are refined to a level unexpected from a rebuilding year. Maybe they don't have the strongest schedule in CFB but that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be #1.

One last thought: OSU has won 26 straight regular season wins. I think they deserve a little more credit than people are giving them. Sure they lost most of their starters, but don't you think the ones that remain absorbed some of that winning karma?
Posted: 9:42 AM   by ridley
if everyone worked just two minutes nothing would ever get done. would an owner or a ceo hire someone that finishes the day with two minutes of work. i would want someone to be there for the long haul. i guess sportswriters are the original two minute men. wonder if stewart's significant other will concur. how 'bout it stew can you hold out for two minutes?
Posted: 9:55 AM   by ridley
you know if everyone decided to work for only two minutes a day not much would get done. an owner or ceo wouldn't hire someone that was only good for two minutes, unsound business practice. i guess sports writers are the original two minute men. wonder if stew's significant other would concur? how 'bout it stew, can you hold out for two long minutes?
Posted: 9:59 AM   by Larry
Jogaohio et al.:

I feel the same way you do...that anybody would have had a really difficult time playing in Happy Valley last weekend, but in the end, does it really matter what one person (e.g., Stewart) thinks? He's certainly entitled to his opinion, and probably still reeling from picking #1s and then having them get beaten, which of course then leads to the "I told you so!" emails. In all honesty, as frustrating as it is to hear people still yapping about last year's bowl game, I'd rather that be the case and the team and fans still have that gritty edge than to have the same thing happen as last year--getting too full an opinion of ourselves. At least for me, at this point I'm content to let folks talk about how we're not really that good after all, and we haven't played anybody, etc...let 'em talk, and then we'll see 'em at the end of the year.
Posted: 11:24 AM   by Krista
The SEC IS the TOUGHEST, ROUGHEST, HARDEST place to play in college football. Just look at the conference schedules of teams like LSU, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, etc. Over 65% of their schedules are ranked in the top 20. Name another conference where schedules like that are played by almost every team. EXACTLY- Boston College's and Ohio State's strength of schedule is equal to that of a wet paper bag. The SEC Champ deserves a BCS bid because there is no other conference that comes close to comparing.
Posted: 12:24 PM   by WingRG
Krista,
great argument. Where do i learn this "argument-proof" logic? Your teams, and your conference are all over-rated. The only team deserving of its ranking anywhere in the top 3 is LSU. The rest of your teams are benefiting from voters perception and some teams being grossly over-rated in the beginning of the season. If your second team (Kentucky) lost to MissSt, then they're no better than West Virginia, who beat MissSt. Is West Virginia even a top team in its conference? (not according to the standings) So here's where your "We are G-d's gift to college football" falls apart (and i have plenty where that came from).
Posted: 12:50 PM   by wooglin9
Weak conference or not, something needs to be said in defense of The Ohio State University. All they are doing is winning games, convincingly. If you watched the Penn State game and you aren't impressed with the O-line dominating the #10 defense in the country and only giving up 1 sack to the #1 sacking defense in the country, you weren't paying attention and you don't appreciate football. I find it funny that "The Team up North" is being crucified for losing to Appalachian state (6-2) and Oregon (7-1), while LSU lost to Kentucky (6-3). Kentucky lost to teams that combine for 10 defeats, while they defeated teams that combine for 20 losses. LSU may be the most talented team in the country, but what's to be said about a team with less talent that plays at a higher level? The fact is that LSU has not gotten it done every time. One more question: When was the last time an SEC team played north of the Ohio river in November?
Posted: 1:03 PM   by dirtyjoe51
I personally do not think the SEC is that strong this year. Right now the PAC10 is the strongest conference this year. Mr Mandel has always said that conference strength is cyclical and it is showing this year. The SEC looks at about the same level as the Big10, Big12, and the Big East. One or two strong teams and thats it. Every conference has at least 1 national title contender in their ranks. OSU, LSU, OU, Oregan and WVU (sorry BC) are the current contenders. To sit and say that the 3 loss team you have is because of having such a hard schedule is stupid. Heck, look at the Big East. They actually have 3 strong teams this year with BC, WVU, and UConn. With the SEC, only LSU stands out and has not been very impressive. Sorry SEC, looks like being on top of the world is not going to last more than a year. Suck it up while you can because I have a feeling come bowl time, fits of crying and rage will be rampant in the SouthEast.
"The SEC looks at about the same level as the Big10, Big12, and the Big East."

Right. I have no idea how you say the SEC is comparable to the Big 10. UM lost to a 1-AA team and they are #2. Northwestern lost to Duke and they are middle of the pack. I give OSU props but the Big 10 is weak.
Posted: 2:27 PM   by diana
The SEC is hyped up which is why a lot of peoplethink it's the best. SEC teams get historic preference in the rankings. History has nothing to do with the current rankings. Teams can not have dynasties because at least every four years, and often less, players change.
The SEC isn't so strong across the board that they keep beating up on each other, it's that no team is dominant. LSU has barely won the past few games, heck Tulane was a close call. Florida let LSU win.
People will diss OSU and BC because of conferences, and those bashers belong to the SEC and PAC 10 who think the hype is true.
SEC is just like the rest, so give it up. Yes, you might have more ranked in the top 25, but it is because of the false hype and favortism.
Posted: 2:55 PM   by Matthew
A few points...

1. Running off rankings of SEC teams to justify their being the "roughest, toughest" conference is meaningless. SEC teams are ranked because of the perception that they are the toughest and best conference. Florida is a perfect example. In all reality, at this point in the season they should not be ranked. Their sole "good win" is over Kentucky. I think this season has shown that Tennessee is average at best and all the good teams Florida has played - Auburn, LSU, they've lost.

2. I tend to think LSU is legit; arguably the best team in the country. I would love to see LSU play tOSU in the title game because that way it would settle all "this my conference is the best crap". I tend to think OSU would win ala 2002 style since they'd be tired of hearing how overrated they are, how the big ten is weak, slow and shoulnd't even be allowed to send teams to the NC game...etc (much as FLorida used the perception that OSU was invincible and everyone questioning their right to be in the Title game to be more focused and crush OSU the previous year) There's a reason why the lower ranked team has won 6 of 8 NC games(Ok over FSU, Tx over USC, OSU over Miami, Fl over OSU, Tenn ovr FSU (may be wrong about this one)

3. The one thing that great teams do is WIN GAMES. If LSU goes undefeated and wins the SEC with 1 loss, I'm willing to concede that they have a good argument to play for the title. But if they are left out of the title game for an undefeated team it's not a crime against humanity-- they had their chance to win. They did not.

4. Stewart -- as many other posts have said, you stated last week that penn state was the first real, legitimate test Ohio State faced, now you're saying that because they won so convincingly the Penn State win does'nt really count because penn state isn't really that good ( comparing them to Iowa last year). Two problems with that argument
Penn state has ATHLETES that match up well against Ohio State's athletes ( something Iowa did/does not have last year) and secondly, penn state has shown they're probably the 3rd or 4th best team in the conference. Iowa played OSU as it's first conference game--before there was any idea How they stacked up against b10 competition

5. The idea that the regular season is a playoff is a joke until the quality of teams the BCS conferences play improves. Give credit to USC and LSU for actually being willing to play somebody ( granted NEB turned out to suck this year but over the past few years USC has scheduled tough games). Thats why we have all this argument over which conference is better. Teams schedule non-conference opponents to make money--thats why you see Florida playing FIU or OSU playing Akron....they make money from that extra home game. THE BCS should go back to having a "quality win" component to the formula ( like in 2002). At least that encourages teams to play somebody.

6. Last year was LAST YEAR. Teams are fundamentally different. Players graduate or jump to the NFL; younger players get an extra year of experience, have time to put on more weight, learn the game more.
Posted: 3:29 PM   by Buckeye
Fans normally brag about their conference when they find it difficult to brag about their team.
Posted: 5:55 PM   by everettm1
Stewart......4 Big 12 teams in your top 11. How can the Big 12 not be the best conference???!!!
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