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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.
10/14/2007 12:55:00 AM

Saturday Observations Part III

Julian Arthur
Julian Arthur and Cal missed out on an opportunity to jump to No. 1.
If anyone would like to fill out my AP ballot for me tonight, I would be greatly appreciative. Despite considerable resistance, my head finally exploded at about 10:30 tonight. How could it not? When your job entails analyzing something that no longer bears the slightest degree of logic or reason, eventually the ol' cranium is bound to pull a no mas.

Sorry to break it to you, brain. That earth-shattering loss by No. 1 LSU? That's old news already. You've had a whole two hours to refresh yourself -- it's time to go wrapping yourself around No. 2 Cal's loss to 3-3 Oregon State. Yes, the same Oregon State team that previously lost 34-3 to Cincinnati. ... which was itself was 6-0 before losing Saturday night to 3-3 Louisville ... which itself previously lost to Utah and Syracuse.

Yep -- the above paragraph pretty much says it all about this season of anarchy. Out of all the latest, seemingly inexplicable developments, the one most easily explained is Cal. It's pretty simple, really: They didn't have Nate Longshore.

Not only was the Bears' offense less explosive without its veteran quarterback (DeSean Jackson: four catches for 4 yards), but Longshore's replacement, Kevin Riley, was directly responsible for the ultimate, final straw. One could only cringe in agony for the redshirt feshman when, after doing nearly everything in his power to rally Cal from a 10-point deficit in the last three minutes -- first by throwing a 64-yard touchdown to LaVelle Hawkins, then by driving the Bears from their own 5 all the way to the Oregon State 12 -- he made the crucial mistake of taking off running on a first down with 14 seconds left. Cal had no timeouts remaining, so when Oregon State brought him down well short of the first down, the clock ran out before the Bears could get the kicker onto the field to attempt a game-tying field goal.

I can't think of a much more painful way to lose -- especially with the school's first No. 1 ranking in 56 years there for the taking.

So, with both the No. 1 and 2 teams losing on the same day for the first time since 1996 (as opposed to last week, when only No. 2 USC got knocked off, or the week before, when five of the top 10 lost), Ohio State is expected to jump from No. 3 to No. 1 when the new polls come out Sunday. This despite the fact the Buckeyes' 7-0 start does not include a single win over any of the other 24 teams that will appear in the new rankings. I don't feel particularly comfortable with that prospect and am currently contemplating a different possibility for my new ballot. (See if you can guess what it is.)

Or, like I said ... one of you can fill it out for me. My head still hurts.

• Speaking of unexplainable phenomena .. how on earth did Auburn lose to Mississippi State? The Tigers would probably be in the top five by now had their Sept. 8 USF loss been their sole defeat -- because Tommy Tuberville's defense is simply unreal. Saturday night, the Tigers edged Arkansas 9-7 on a last-second field goal, and afterward, Tuberville told sideline reporter Holly Rowe that the plan was to "keep it simple" because "we knew we could stop them."

That's right, folks. He "knew" they could stop a team with two of the nation's top eight rushers in its backfield, and sure enough, the Tigers held Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to a combined 85 rushing yards. The Razorbacks came in averaging 338 per game. Amazingly, even that almost wasn't good enough, as Casey Dick's touchdown pass gave Arkansas a 7-6 lead with 1:36 remaining. But kicker Wes Byrum – quickly becoming the Tigers' MVP – hit his third field goal of the night from 20 yards with 21 seconds left to win it.

• Louisville's 28-24 win should stop some of the bleeding for first-year coach Steve Kragthorpe. The Cardinals' much-maligned defense didn't necessarily shut down the Bearcats, but they did help generate an all-important plus-four turnover margin. Though Louisville only has one Big East loss (Syracuse), I still don't believe the Cards will wind up a contender in the league; they have to travel to both West Virginia and USF. But I do wonder whether Brian Brohm can reinsert himself into what is a completely wide-open Heisman race. He was spectacular again Saturday night (28-of-38, 350 yards, three TDs, no picks).

• Missouri-Oklahoma was supposed be the game of the day, but I ended up missing most of it due to the LSU and Cal losses. I thought the Tigers would keep it more competitive, but it's also obvious they were missing RB Tony Temple: Mizzou ran for just 57 yards on 30 attempts. With Kansas State running away from Colorado as I write this, it appears Kansas – yes Kansas – will have first place in the Big 12 North to itself. And check this out: The Jayhawks somehow drew a schedule where the three teams they miss are Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Wow.

• Finally, the Stanford joyride only lasted a week. TCU (4-3) went to Palo Alto on Saturday, fell behind by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter, then outscored the Cardinal 21-5 down the stretch to win 38-36. Of course, there was a time earlier this season when the Horned Frogs were considered a potential BCS team. That only seems like it was about eight years ago at this point.
posted by Stewart Mandel | View comments |


Posted: 1:15 AM   by Tortuga
Here's hoping that 2007 will be the final straw before a playoff. I'm hoping we have Kansas vs USF in the title game. Perhaps the financial hit would cause a shakeup. This season is bizarre. We're on the cusp of the first BCS standings being released, and there's no favorite, no sensable #1 team. I'll just say I think these are the best teams in college football right now (in no particular order):
LSU, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Cal, Ohio St., Florida, USF, and Auburn.
Not S. Carolina, not USC, and not Boston College (the biggest fraud of them all). Ohio St. is on the brink...their best win was Washington.

What a year

Week after week I hear the "Team A beats B and B beats C so A is better than C" argument. By now it should be clear that Winning should be the #1 criteria in voting. After watching the Hawaii game it made me realize that WINNERS ARE CHAMPIONS AND CHAMPIONS ARE WINNERS. PERIOD. If you win, you should move up, if you lose you should move down. Winning against ANY team is tough so who is anyone to say which team is "better", thus vote this: Winners Up, Losers Down. Enough Said.
Posted: 1:16 AM   by Klimon Photo
It's gotta be Boston College. I believe they've beaten more quality opponents than Ohio State and USF's lone big win was against WV.
Agree with tortuga. So what if USF or Kansas or any other NOT TRADITIONAL POWERHOUSE gets in. Parity is GOOD for the game. Maybe now we'll get a REAL CHAMPIONSHIP that's decided ON THE FIELD and NOT via "experts" voting.
Posted: 1:28 AM   by Tortuga
And just who are those good teams that BC has beaten? Ohio St. hasn't beaten a soul either. Kansas has just as much merit as those 2. USF has beaten WVA and Auburn. Put them #1 based on merit not reputation.
Posted: 1:28 AM   by Greg
stewart - vote Ohio St. something other than #1 at your own peril. All season long you've been dogging the Buckeyes (remember dropping them because MICHIGAN lost?? Real smart) All season long the media has been hesitant to praise the team that made them look foolish last year (and lets be honest- that's what it is - the media's ego is bruised), but Ohio State is legit. I don't care that they haven't played anyone. They've destroyed, dominated, controlled, and whipped each team they've played. They've given up 46 points TOTAL. Their defense is lights out. Their offense is serviceable (much more so than the 2002 championship team's). They're number 1 right now, whether you're smart enough to admit it or not.
Posted: 1:30 AM   by Mark
Oh the irony. You have voted Ohio State as #3, just this last week maybe, now suddenly you wont vote for them when the other two teams (1) and (2), respectively, both fall a weekend later? Talk about consistency. And you guys get paid for all this?

Week after week I look forward to reading your blogs. But in all reality; 2007 has made a mockery of all who proclaim to be "experts" and cast votes.

The system has failed. Go find another job and simply allow the divisions play-offs until one true champion is annointed. To hell with your predictions, speculations, and all that other mambo jambo you and your peers type.
Posted: 1:30 AM   by Mike
"It's gotta be Boston College. I believe they've beaten more quality opponents than Ohio State and USF's lone big win was against WV."

USF beat Auburn which beat Florida. At least get your facts straight.

Ohio State has only beaten the teams in front of them. IF LSU doesn't have a brain cramp and rough the QB in the 1st OT, it's likely they win the game.
Posted: 1:31 AM   by B-Dunn19
I'm an OSU fan, but were I voting, I would be totally impartial. That said, My top 5 would be as follows
1. USF
2. OSU
3. BC
4. Oklahoma
5. LSU

I'm just not impressed with the way South Carolina has played, and don't think they deserve a top 5 spot. I think I'd also keep USC at #20 where they have not proven they should be moved from.
Posted: 1:32 AM   by Michael Hall
OK Stewart here is your top ten. And by the way I am a Buckeye fan.
1. USF
2. OSU
3. BC
4. LSU
5. CAL
6. Florida
7. Oklahoma
8. Kentucky
9. West Virginia
10. Oregon
Posted: 1:37 AM   by B-Dunn19
If only I were a voter, then my opinion would actually matter. I would love to submit my top 25 to be considered! And I hate to say it, what with all the obsession over fantasy football already, but there may be some sort of fantasy game there, involving guessing the new top 25. This task would be incredibly difficult this season, given the famous buzzword "parity".
Posted: 1:38 AM   by selwyth
I attended the Cal game. The way Cal lost was heartbreaking, but it evens out if you consider that Cal beat Oregon on Colvin's last-play mistake. And I wouldn't trade Riley's mistake for Colvin's mistake. Oregon State finally had a mistake-free game, and ran the ball down Cal's throats. If the Beavers stop killing themselves, look out for them in the Pac-10.
Posted: 1:41 AM   by Tortuga
By the way, to the gloating Buckeye fans: You're next! Be glad the Big 10 is horrific.
Posted: 1:55 AM   by Thomas
Get a grip, some of you. Stewart votes in the AP poll, which is not used the BCS any longer. You'll have to find someone else to blame for your team not making the title game, he has nothing to do with it.

On a related note, I like your writing Stewart, but you're crossing over into serious drama queen territory lately with all this agonizing over your ballot. Or else you just like reminding us what a big deal you are? In either case, enough already.
Posted: 1:55 AM   by Luke
It's time to stop considering what opposition teams have faced to date, but rather how they have performed against those opponents and what weak links exist. Unfortunately, this requires far more time to do than the average fan--and perhaps even the average AP voter--can manage.

Especially since half the stats used to analyze games are horribly flawed.
The top 10 I wound up submitting:

1) South Florida (6)
2) LSU (1)
3) Ohio State (3)
4) Oregon (4)
5) Oklahoma (5)
6) South Carolina (8)
7) Kentucky (17)
8) Boston College (7)
9) West Virginia (10)
10) Arizona State (13)
Posted: 2:15 AM   by B-Dunn19
Stew, I can't believe those rankings! While Boston College hasn't done a lot to merit being ranked #1, they are undefeated playing in the ACC and deserve a top 5 I would think. And I hate to criticize the rankings, because I know how hard it has been the last couple weeks. However, dropping LSU one spot after a loss? That's saying they deserve a shot at the championship game above all the other teams, which is not really right. However, somehow it would be okay to drop LSU just one spot after a loss to a ranked team if they weren't in the top 10. But because they have that target on them at #1, after a loss, they can't really just be dropped one spot!
Posted: 2:18 AM   by Colin
1. OSU
2. Oklahoma
3. Kentucky
4. Cal
5. LSU
6. Florida
7. Arizona State
8. Oregon
9. Hawaii
10. Cincinnati
11. Boston College
12. South Carolina
13. Auburn
14. West Virginia
15. Kansas
16. USF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
17. Florida State
18. Tennessee
19. Michigan
20. Indiana
21. Connecticut
22. USC Trojans...
23. Illinois
24. Virginia Tech
25. Colorado

Why did Washington get more votes in the AP poll last week than UCLA??????????? Who is at the bottom at the Pac-10 and who is at #2??? Is it just punishment for losing to Notre Dame?
Posted: 2:20 AM   by Tommy

I have been a big fan of yours for awhile, but get a grip, those rankings are ridiculous
Posted: 2:32 AM   by Steve
STEWART, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?! In the same week that South Florida beat a Sunbelt team, and Ohio State beat a MAC team, you jump USF 5 spots to #1 while Ohio State is still ranked below an "unbeatable" LSU team that lost to Kentucky?! That's H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E analysis. I don't have any sympathy for you and your so-called "plight" in trying to rank teams. When you screw up this bad, you're just a moron. Maybe you need a nap every Saturday night before you submit these things.

Being a champion at college football is about showing up every week to beat your opponent, not about what analysts think would happen in some hypothetical universe. LSU didn't show up. OSU, USF, and BC did. What are you thinking?!
Posted: 2:41 AM   by Kevin
stewart, i can tell you as a cal fan, you are totally right. i am brokenhearted, very drunk, and devastated. what a season.
Posted: 2:47 AM   by CRX
Stu! How can you have Cal drop out of the top ten when it's the ONLY one loss team who's loss can be explained?

Also right after Cal beat Oregon AT Oregon just two weeks ago?
Posted: 2:52 AM   by Jess

Surprised you punished Cal so harshly while only dropping LSU a spot. I can understand the difficulty, but doesn't that seem unreasonable?
Posted: 2:55 AM   by Troy
Ohio St. has "destroyed, dismantled" etc. a bunch of second tier teams that would probably only be competative on a regular basis in 6A high school football (at best). OSU was overrated last year (OBVIOUSLY... 41-14), and not much has changed. To prove yourself you have to beat somebody of worth! DONT vote them number 1!

PS- can anyone honestly say the SEC isn't the toughest conference in football?
Posted: 2:58 AM   by Troy
and further...Where's Florida in your top 10?? They lost to the now number 2 team by 4 points a week ago, but they arent top 10 material??? this is why we need a playoff.
Posted: 3:06 AM   by rade
Let's look at the NCAA Basketball vs. Football situations. In one we have a tournament which results in a clear winner regardless of a few losses during the regular season, in the other we do not. Is there anyone who can now seriously argue that we should not have a playoff in football after this weekend? Does anyone really think that USF would go undefeated in the SEC or PAC-10? Come on, let's get a playoff involving at least the top 8 and settle it on the field, instead of based on a bunch of media pollsters who will rank an undefeated team from a weak conference ahead of a team like Florida or USC that have had a few close losses. I bet the top 5 we end up with would lose to most of the 10-15 schools. We need a playoff!
Posted: 3:12 AM   by B-Dunn19
Wait, let me get this straight. Following back to back losses, and a bye week, you think Florida should move UP?!?! That is totally irrational! Following your logic, Tulane was only losing to the #2 team by 1 point at halftime, and ended up losing 34-9. Therefore, shouldn't they be in the top 25? See how stupid that sounds when put into perspective? And I can understand if you don't respect Ohio State's opponents, but they're significantly better than high school teams. Washington has a good young program, and will really surprise some teams. They took USC to the wire before losing by just 3 points. Last week, Ohio State shut down an explosive Purdue team ranked #23 in the nation. Not to mention the mighty powerhouse Youngstown State! :)
Posted: 3:12 AM   by Mark
Not all wins are created equal and not all losses are created equal. The reason for a playoff should never have been due to concerns about having three (or more) deserving undefeated teams. The main reason for a playoff has always been that there are typically several excellent one-loss teams campaigning to get into the title game. Also, there's no reason for all the exaggerated hair-pulling over ballots. Most of the top teams have only played 3 or 4 conference games. Who cares where USF is ranked this week? Let's wait until they've gone on the road at Rutgers and Louisville. Let's wait until BC has won on the road at Blackburg and hosted FSU. A few weeks ago, lots of "experts" talked about how meaningless it was to provide rankings after just a few tune-up games. Today we are not much further down the line and still have lots of questions about OSU, USF or BC.

BTW - shame on the media for not providing more context to the average fan or reporting the details of the games.
LSU squeaks by Fla with 5 4th down conversions. Cal lost - playing behind a redshirt freshman (who finished with a freshman mistake) due to injury. USC lost - with JD playing most of the game with a broken finger and Stanford converting 2 4th downs, including a miracle catch on the winning TD. UCLA lost to ND when their QB went out and their replacement made several costly turnovers. West Va was upset in a game where their star QB was injured before halftime. Some of these teams would have still lost even if they were healthy, but it's a shame that many casual fans only know about the upsets with little background on why they happened.
Posted: 3:16 AM   by Mark
. . . I forgot the limited reporting on Ted Ginn's injury after the first play against Fla (when he ran by the entire team to return the kickoff for a TD) and the impact on the OSU offense. I'm sure Fla would have still won 41-14 if Harvin, Tebow or Leak had gone out after one play. I'm sure the Fla defense would have gone after Troy Smith with their ears pinned back if Ginn was still in the game.
Posted: 3:16 AM   by B-Dunn19
The problem with all the people wanting a playoff is this. As soon as you limit the playoffs to a certain number of teams, based on the same rankings that you currently complain about, there will be a whole new list of complaints. People will argue that the NFL playoff system works, but the difference is this. They have all sorts of tiebreakers, and set rules that allow you to know for sure which teams are making the postseason, and which are not. In college football, you would not have that same degree of separation, mostly because you cannot know which are the 8 best teams in the country, or the 16 best teams in the country. People would still be crying that you left out (fill in name of beloved school) and let (fill in name of most-hated rival) into the playoffs! How could you justify that decision? And those teams that you are currently crying about, (i.e. BC, Hawaii, and USF) would also have to be included in the playoffs, probably knocking out one of your favorite teams, and then you'd still be unhappy with the system. So let's see how this season plays out before we start begging for a playoff system.
Posted: 3:19 AM   by Kevin
the alcohol intake between baton rouge and berkeley must be record setting tonight
Posted: 3:31 AM   by Forge
I love the whole "ohio state hasn't played anyone yet" argument. Last time i checked...there was stanford, colorado, app st....just some "cupcake" teams that have knocked off top 5 teams. Ohio state has done nothing but win. i'm not saying OSU is going to the championship game, but until they lose, you have to respect the place they are in. IMHO, they are #2 right now behind USF. USF has played a harder schedule and is still undefeated. BC at number 3. LSU at 4. Oklahoma at 5. Cal at 6. South Carolina at 7. Oregon at 8. UK at 9. Florida at 10.

USF, OSU, and BC keep winnnig. LSU lost. you cant punish OSU and BC for the schedule. Plus seriously, is there any difference between OSU and LSU? I mean seriously, OSU Def v LSU Def. Tossup. LSU off v OSU off...after seeing flynn throw the last couple of weeks, i'll give a slight edge to LSU, but no by much. Kicking game advantage OSU. There's no way LSU is so much better than OSU that they deserve to be higher despite the loss. Incredulous.

Stewart, for you to admonish OSU for not playing "anyone of consequence" when top 5 and top 10 teams are losing to these week in week out is ridiculous. if the other teams in the nation aren't beating these teams, why are you punishing OSU for just winning. Y
Posted: 3:37 AM   by Sean
Okay. Playoffs here we go. I have the solution and the outcome of going to a play off. Let's decide it now.

Let's take all D1 teams and create a playoff. A real one. No divisions or conferences and no independants. There are something like 116 or so right? (This is just a strategic plan with little detail associated with it). There are no polls and rankings (maybe we should actually make all polls and rankings illegal and punishable by death) with all teams starting at 0-0. The season would start with a round robin tournament of four or five games. After that the brackets would be set up by regions across the country. The tournament would continue to 12,13, 14 games for the NC game. This would ensure that the team that wins the NC game would be the best team on that day. It would also do several other things...
1) It would do away with the things that make university such an integral part of life in our community. This would ultimately serve to give notice to all the other sports that a university runs that they would have to "make money". Conferences would become non-existent because they would serve no need to a university. 2) Bowls would ultimately fade away with all other things in the past because with the regional games and the semi-finals, etc would untimately be bid out by the NCAA and the NC game would become as big - maybe even bigger than a Super Bowl. 3) Sports talk shows on TV, radio and in print would loose out on all sorts of money and advertisement because the blog-o-sphere associated with college football would no longer have the same passion, discontent, that make it the best game in the country.
4) We would have everyone in D1 on the same page and be equal at the beginning of the year, at least.

So, I think that having the SEC fans howling ever single stinking year at how the SEC is the strongest, best, fastest conference in the country would go away. How unfair the rankings are for them...yes I think we should go for it. It is worth it. I get to hear sports analysts talking about the game, the players, the stats and not about their opinions, the SEC bloggers stop their yapping, and conferences would no longer matter and the NCAA could become what it should become - whatever that is I still don't know. So, yes I think it is worth it...NOT!

The NCAA basketball tournament solves nothing in reality, and neither would a playoff tournament in football. The world series ultimately does not either, no championship system is perfect and none is more perfect. Those systems just have benefits and detractions. The thing that makes any one sport championship great is the conversation it causes. That is why college football is the best and no play off system will make it better and in my humble opinion make it worse in the end.
Posted: 3:38 AM   by rade
In my prior entry, I made no argument about Florida moving up, folks, simply that a "National Champion" determined by a bunch of poll votes for 1 vs. 2 is silly. Further, how many of you would place a wager on Florida vs. USF (I will be happy to take Florida (or Ohio State) giving 10 points to USF). No system is perfect, and of course we will end up with controversy about who the #8 vs. #9 teams are if we cut it off there. But at least that would be less wrong than this mess. I also wish we would increase the weight on the computer rankings in the BCS and reduce the weight on the polls, once again giving teams with good statistics and tough schedules a better chance.
Posted: 3:45 AM   by MJD
"As soon as you limit the playoffs to a certain number of teams, based on the same rankings that you currently complain about, there will be a whole new list of complaints."

Yeah, well, sounds a bit like "bubble teams" for March Madness, yes?

There will always be controversy, yes, but I would submit that controversy over who is No. 16 vs No. 17 is at least somewhat less significant than No. 2 vs No. 3. With 16 teams, at least pretty much all the teams that most everyone agrees should have a shot, will -- the controversy will be on the second-tier teams that might have an outside chance.

Though OSU will almost certainly wind up #1 this week, does anyone actually know which of the following teams (disregarding all previous polls) is playing the best: OSU, USF, BC, OU, South Carolina, Oregon, Cal?

Whatever the faults of a playoff system, at least it would let these (and other arguably deserving teams) actually sort it out between themselves instead of walking the catwalk of the polls.
Posted: 3:59 AM   by jimretina
When is Michigan going to make it back into the poll? USC had a bigger upset, but are still in the top 10? Go blue!
Posted: 4:01 AM   by jimretina
When are the pollsters going to realize that University of Michigan belongs back in the top 10? USC had a bigger upset and are still in the top 10? When the Wolverines beat OSU, and get the BCS bowl bid, the nation will realize how good Michigan is.
Posted: 4:54 AM   by rhymeister
I highly doubt that Auburn's defense is *that* good. So what if Tuberville insisted that he knew they would slow down McFadden and Jones, that's all a defense has to do. Casey Dick isn't going to hurt anyone, esp w/ Monk out. The only reason the Razorbacks fine RB tandem gets their yards is good blocking and incredible speed and vision and strength.

Any defense they play should *FORCE* Dick to beat them with the pass so I think the jury is still out on Auburn's defense esp in lieu of the Miss State loss. ; )
Posted: 5:28 AM   by Rich
Stewart Mandel said:

"The top 10 I wound up submitting:

1) South Florida (6)
2) LSU (1)
3) Ohio State (3)
4) Oregon (4)
5) Oklahoma (5)
6) South Carolina (8)
7) Kentucky (17)
8) Boston College (7)
9) West Virginia (10)
10) Arizona State (13)"

Now I know why I did not bother buying your book.

I seem to recall your comments about not wanting to drop Oregon in that close game against Cal. Yet they too dropped several spots in your poll. Any team can beat anyone if one team shows up and plays a bad game. In the Auburn/USF game Auburn played horrible. In the Auburn/Florida game, Florida played horrible. In the WVU/USF game, WVU didn't have their starting QB! Guess what, LSU played horrible last night against KY. If LSU is a #2 team after losing to a #9 team, then why is WVU not at #3 or #4 since they lost to your #1 team? Anyone who takes the logic that losing to a #9 team means you drop one spot clearly is delusional. Did you drop Michigan one spot last year after they lost to Ohio State?

Has anyone considered that perhaps West Virginia isn't that good to begin with? And if I'm not mistaken, didn't WVU play the entire second half without their first string QB?

Stewart, would you finally just admit that for whatever reason you dislike Ohio State and probably have ever since you were a kid? You don't have to say why, just come out and admit it so all the other OSU fans can understand your logic here...
Posted: 5:37 AM   by SCBOY76
wow--- waht a college football season-- the best Ive ever seen---
Posted: 5:39 AM   by SCBOY76

1--- OHIO ST
2---- BC
3--- S.FL
4-- LSU
5--- OK
6--- S.CAR
Posted: 5:54 AM   by Grocer Greg
What does BEST TEAM mean? Stop whining about your key players being injured if you lost because if you are the BEST TEAM you have enough depth to not miss a beat. There are lots of good teams this season just no great ones. Reading inconsistent media excuses for teams that lose so they can justify their preseason rankings is sad (not you Stewart, you have taken the higher road despite the crybabies on this blog) EVERY conference has good teams that have beaten teams in every conference...the field should be the place to decide who is the best...not polls, not the biased "homer" media types
Posted: 6:40 AM   by dave
I really am getting sick of people ranting on about how their team is better than this or that team for the sole reason that they have "history".

You cannot judge any team based on what it did or didnt do in years past.
What matters is how they are playing currently. Dont get me wrong... many teams have a storied and wonderful history. This counts for a lot in terms of loyal fans and "feel good" seasons.

However... Just because your team was good for 100 years, and sucks this year, doesnt mean that you should be entitled to any ranking. A good example is Notre Dame. There are few school with that kind of "feel good" history. However, they are terrible this year. They dont deserve anything but what they win THIS season. (Most agree that they should be forced into a conference instead of recieving "special treatment" and automatic BCS berths)

I get sick of the sense of "entitlement". This has been a topsy turvy year and frankly, I am glad for it. It will make the "traditional powers" step to the plate and not just rest on their laurels. These kids are all super talented... Much more so than I or most of you. But just because a team did something great x years ago, doesnt mean that the new players can just come in and play half assed and be automatically "entitled" to this or that ranking because of their predecesors.

USF is a great story. Rock on for Them. So what if they have only been around for 10 years. They are winning... period. They cant rest on past laurels because they have none. Some of the "traditional powers" need to step up their game. For far too long, teams have been resting too comfortably on someone elses accomplishments.

As for the rankings? Base them on the current year... not how great your team has "traditionally been"

Just because your forefathers did something great, doesnt mean that you have done anything yet... its just like the rich kid who thinks hes "all that" because his daddy or grandfather built a company from scratch... Hey sporto... what have YOU done? I know what your family tree is, and what your father did... but what about YOU!?
OK...here's the deal...yes, this is THE season of upsets...i mean, really, LSU losing to UK? What is it? are folks just really allergic to that Number 1 spot?? lol :) on a more serious note...about Ohio State not deserving number one...um...i don't think that's fair to say...the Buckeyes didn't ask for that schedule...in a year where top ranked teams are getting steamrolled by these "lesser" teams that weren't supposed to have a chance...the Buckeyes took that less than exciting schedule and made the best of it...they did what they were SUPPOSED to do...and that was go out and win games...in a year where Cal can't beat Oregon State, USC can't beat Stanford...and, dare I say it, Michigan can't beat Appalachian State, Ohio State is doing pretty good for itself and since they are the only ranked team that has been able to WIN every game they've played, (no matter how one-sided) they deserve to be #1...period.
Posted: 6:53 AM   by karmakanic
Stewart -

After reading your column for several years, I'm suspicious that you either (a) attended a college that does not have a football program, or (b) did not attend college at all, and are consequently without affiliation. It's the only possible explanation for your bias against every college football program known to man (and Notre Dame's).

Note that in all this time I haven't seen any actual evidence of a bias, but others seem to feel you have one, so it must be true.
Posted: 6:57 AM   by Dan1066
OK, so now who's #1?
In any other year of college football, the regular thinking would be that if #1 AND #2 ranked teams lose, #3 does a George and 'Weezie, and goes moo--oo--ovin on up. But, can we even call -THIS, remotely a regular year??? No way. What started in Ann Arbor at noon on Sept 1st, has gone thro out the college football landscape laying to waste favorites nearly every single weekend and probably isn't done yet.

So, now that every single preseason top 10 team has lost, how do the people that picked THOSE teams, choose who is the newly annointed #1? Old school thinking takes Ohio State up to #1, and I am afraid that is what's going to happen. Oh how I hate Ohio State, but that's only half the problem I have with moving them up, the other half is their paper thin schedule. No quality wins, all just below average at best teams. The two above average "W"s came against Washington 33-14 (just got ripped by ASU 44-20) and Purdue 23-7 (just got ripped by Mich 48-21 with two late garbage TD's). The only argument is that OSU has avoided the upset demon, and credit the sweater vested devil for that. But #1 based on THAT?

Then there is BC next in line...yup, beaten up on Sisters Mary of the Poor and that's about it. Only Uconn has a weaker schedule than BC. BC's biggest wins have come against Wake Forest and Georgia tech, and yes, that's it. That's it folks, another one who hasn't lost to the demon, are they #1???

So next in line is the little darling named USF. Let's look at these guy's. Went on the road to the Mighty SEC, and instead of being in awe of the bigger, stronger, faster Auburn Tigers...they won. Beat em at their own game. Hmm, So next come's Mighty WVU, and no one can stop Slaton, White, Devine and Co. right? Wrong. USF shut em down and sent them home with a loss, thanks - come again. Now come the nations leading rusher, and the I-4 war with UCF, out goes the the rusher with a meager 56 yards (about a buck 30 under his average) to add to his totals, and a 64-12 smashing.

I like USF here as the nations #1 ranked team. Can it happen? Surely, they could not jump The Ohio State University and land on the perch, right? Would you believe that App State would win AT The Big House if I told you that in August?
Posted: 6:57 AM   by jerry
I think your top 10 is excellent, Stewart (and I don't envy you for having to come up with it). There would be something seriously wrong with putting OSU first, as many of the more sane OSU fans have admitted above. Who knows, maybe their defense is so good that they could at least keep the game close against anyone this year. The problem is, how are we going to find out? Not until the national championship game, I'm afraid...which I bet will turn a lot of people against college football. I'm in Big 10 country myself, rooted for the Buckeyes last January, and would love to see the conference doing better...but here's hoping Michigan (I cannot believe I'm supporting Michigan) finally beats OSU this year, so we don't have to see the latter in the national championship. (I don't even think I'll watch the game if they make it.)
Posted: 7:43 AM   by Troy
I can't believe how reasonable the "top 5" analysis was on the in-studio College Football Final show on ESPN. While the guys in Norman were trying they're best (with Oregon and Oklahoma and LSU and OSU) to make their top 5s look... not crazy. Meanwhile, Mark May and Reece Davis have acknowledged that this is a crazy year, and as we learned last year and so far this year, you have to rank based on who you've played and who you've beat. And if you are honest and that's you're criteria, it's hard to justify anyone other than USF at #1. It just is. I promise. I know it's crazy, but it's a crazy year.
Posted: 7:54 AM   by Troy
1. USF (see comments above)
2. OSU (Washington is their best win by far, and USF has beaten 2 teams better than Washington, one on the road)
3. LSU (wins over UF, S Carolina, VaTech)
4. BC
5. Kansas (not much weaker a schedule than the other unbeatens)
6. Oklahoma (starting to rack up quality wins)
7. Arizona State (why the hell not)
8. South Carolina
9. Kentucky
10. Oregon

Anyone who uses a justification for their rankings based on who "looks good" or who "would beat team X on a neutral field" doesn't deserve a ballot. We've learned, from Jan. 8 up until now, that the only defensible way to rank these teams is based on the actual results.
In 1996, Florida got crushed by Nebraska in the title game 62 to 24, but recovered and won the title the following year, something I'm sure all Florida fans have mysteriously forgotten in their bashing of OSU.

In the past 33 games, OSU has lost 3 times: to undefeated national champ Texas, to 1 loss national champ Florida and to one loss orange bowl champ Penn State at night on the road. They have won all the games they are supposed to. LSU, USC, Florida, Oklahoma and Cal all lost in games they were double digit favorites. They didn't loss to rivals or other top ten teams. They lost games they were supposed to win. Does this mean OSU is the best team out there? Probably not, but they have won everygame they were supposed to, something you can't say about other teams. Really, only Oregon and West Virgina have good losses (to other top ten teams).

In march madness, the top team rarely wins. Its the team that wins all the games that is the champion. UConn does not get a pass when it losses to George Mason, it drops out. The football season is a years worth of march madness. Just win baby and then you wouldn't have to complain about the schedule of other teams.
Posted: 8:32 AM   by Charles
Please don't use the words champion and Hawaii in the same sentence while I'm having breakfast. The weak non-conference schedules we see so much of today are bad enough without encouraging more. The thought of everyone doing their best to schedule a Hawaii-type schedule should make anyone nauseous over breakfast.
Posted: 8:43 AM   by ChrTh
How can you move up South Carolina when they almost lost to freakin' North Carolina?
Oh my....the buckeyes are #1 again!!!! We love our buckeyes in columbus, but think #1 may be a bit high for us...i'm thinking more like 6 to 8. Anyway, why we would love another run at a nat'l championship, here is hoping for a future playoff system. No longer should a bone-head play by a Cal QB cost them a shot at the title. When will the college presidents wake up. Go bucks...and just so there is no confusion, my second favorite team is Appl. State!!!! haha..Michigan still stinks!!!!!
Posted: 9:09 AM   by Helzapoppin
Here's hoping the Football Gods throw a little spark into the Trojans, allowing them to run the table on their remaining schedule by wide margins. . . just so I can see Stew's head explode.

No, it's not gonna happen, but a guy can dream.
Posted: 9:17 AM   by Jamey
Sorta funny, but OSU has been playing their 2nd and 3rd teams all year.. they don't run up the score and if they did... you would be shitting your pants in anticipation to watch them in the title game. O and btw its probally a pretty big deal that they " havent gotten upset this year" many predicted that Purdue or Washington would "Expose the Buckeyes"
Posted: 9:19 AM   by phork
#1 Playoffs will not be coming to a TV set near you anytime in the near future.

#2 This is why college football is better than the pros.

#3 Anyone can beat anyone on any given Sunday (Or Saturday).

I'll tell you, life is good being a college football fan.

I think voting in the polls has gotten a little out of hand. When you are looking at the #3 team in the country, who is undefeated, and running them in your head with a "If they played soandso on a neutral field...". You have to take the record as is. Quite obviously Stewart, you are punishing OSU still from the Florida blowout. Sorry, new year, new teams. (And no I am not an OSU fan). And BTW can we give Michigan a little credit here? 2 early losses, one to a top10 team and they have looked pretty darn good the last few weeks. So as I see it, here would be my ballot if I had to submit one:

1. OSU
2. USF
3. BC
4. Oklahoma
5. Kentucky
6. LSU
7. Oregon
8. California
9. S. Carolina
10. Kansas
11. Arizona St.
12. Hawaii
13. West Virgina
14. Florida
15. Michigan
16. Missouri
17. Auburn
18. Cincinati
19. Tennessee
20. Georgia
21. Texas
22. Penn St.
23. Virgina Tech
24. Illinois
25. USC
Posted: 9:20 AM   by Kenster

My cat has offered to fill out your AP ballot and here is his top 5:

1. Ohio (Bobcats) – I think he got this pick confused with Ohio State
2. LSU (Tigers)
3. Kentucky (Wildcats)
4. Auburn (Tigers)
5. Missouri (Tigers)

Hey, my cat's logic is probably as good as anything else this season!
Posted: 9:20 AM   by Bucksfan
I agree with everyone who says that Ohio State hasn't had a tough schedule, but keep in mind that unlike everyone else who started out in the top ten OSU has done what they're supposed to do - WIN!, and they have beaten teams they are not supposed to lose to. Ohio State is now in a tough stretch run of their schedule, and if they should make it through the next five weeks, they will prove that they are a legit No. 1! By the way to everyone who says that the Big Ten is weak this year, please look at its composite non-conference record - 30-7. With the season as crazy as its been, the Big Ten should be at least 3rd in the power rankings.
Posted: 9:21 AM   by J.W.
The majority of COllege Football would be undefeated right now if they playe Hawaii's (or even Ohio State's) schedule.
Posted: 9:24 AM   by jhawkjjm
Kansas is sitting pretty in the Big XII. A&m has little offense and OSU has no defense, so those are two winnable games on the road. Nebraska is awful and they play them at home. Colorado will be a challenge, but that win over OU was a fluke and they're still a year away. The big matchup in Arrowhead against Missouri may not matter if the Tigers lose again.

And yes they avoid OU, Texas, and Texas Tech this year, but they have them on the schedule the next 2 years. (Big Xii has the same North-South rotations). So they have to do it this year
Posted: 9:26 AM   by Michael
Mandel's rankings are worthless. How do you drop LSU only on place after the loss? Now I know why the BCS doesn't use the AP polls.

Why don't you give Northwestern the #1 ranking. Would use about the same logic you used on this ballot.
Posted: 9:28 AM   by Bennedeto
1 - Ohio State
2 - South Florida
3 - Oregon
4 - Oklahoma
5 - Boston College
6 - South Carolina
7 - Kentucky
8 - West Virginia
9 - LSU
10 - USC
11 - California
12 - Florida
13 - Virginia Tech
14 - Arizona State
15 - Hawaii
16 - Kansas
17 - Auburn
18 - Texas
19 - Georgia
20 - Tennessee
21 - Penn State
22 - Texas Tech
23 - Maryland
24 - Virginia
25 - Michigan
Posted: 9:38 AM   by dk10
Well, after seven weeks of football, I'm glad that Ohio State finally got a brief mention. Sure, Ohio State hasn't really played anyone yet this year, but considering all the schools that have lost to no one's, who really is a truly great team this year? I thought it was LSU, but in college football, a wins a win and a loss is a loss.

As for everyone crying for a playoff-I'm still not seeing how this will solve any problems. Sure, in the NFL, with only 32 teams, it's not a big deal. Half go to the playoffs, and most of them deserve it. But there are more than triple that many teams in college football, and with all these upsets, you most likely still will not end up with who everyone thinks is the two most deserving teams.

Asking a bunch of college kids to play an extra three, four, or even five games a year, most likely during Christmas break and what little regrouping time they have spells out disaster as well. That is asking a lot. Beyond that, a playoff would be taking the soul out of what makes college football so great-upsets meaning life or death, and the quest for that perfect season.
Posted: 9:43 AM   by Josh
Who cares what the rankimhs are anyway? When OSU runs the table in the regular season Mr. Mandel might give them some props. So FL. will never play in the championship game, it won't be allowed. The BCS would lose to my much cash on that scenarion. All this screams for a playoff system and taking votes away from so called "college football experts" who should be held accountable for their votes.
Posted: 10:04 AM   by Michael
USF also beat UNC, VERY HANDILY. Something USC could not do. USF by far has the best resume of any of these teams, and good job Stewart recognizing it.

How is Kansas 6th? Their schedule is tougher than Hawaii's so far?
Posted: 10:14 AM   by Geneo
Stewart Mandel said:

"The top 10 I wound up submitting:

1) South Florida (6)
2) LSU (1)
3) Ohio State (3)
4) Oregon (4)
5) Oklahoma (5)
6) South Carolina (8)
7) Kentucky (17)
8) Boston College (7)
9) West Virginia (10)
10) Arizona State (13)"

Stew – You are officially an idiot!
Posted: 10:20 AM   by rhymeister
karmakanic, try Northwestern but does the poll really matter than much at this stage? Teams are going to get beat, no team is going to go undefeated this year, no one is that dominant which is a good thing. Everyone's team, er almost, has a chance.

Hope this results in more push for an 8-team playoff using some of the bowl games!
Posted: 10:21 AM   by Peter
The way I see it there's only two ways to determine a number one: the best of the undefeated teams or the team with the best wins. In my view the only two teams with a legitimate claim on #1 are USF and LSU. USF has the best wins out of any of the undefeated teams -- the other 5 undefeated teams have beaten a combined ZERO top 25 teams, while USF has knocked off #8 West Va. and #22 Auburn. LSU on the other hand has more good wins than anyone, having beaten Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech. My view is you have to ride the undefeateds, and that's why USF is #1.

1) USF
2) Ohio St.
3) BC
4) LSU
5) Oklahoma
6) South Carolina
7) California
8) Kentucky
9) West Virginia
10) Oregon
11) Virginia Tech
12) Arizona St.
13) Florida
14) Missouri
15) USC
16) Hawaii
17) Kansas
18) Auburn
19) Texas
20) Georgia

My prediction: if the SEC champ has only 1 loss, they'll win the championship. Otherwise, Oklahoma is the best bet.
Posted: 10:26 AM   by Buckeyefan
Put the Buckeyes at 1 or 2 I could care less either way they will get to beat down whoever the media puts at 1
Posted: 10:27 AM   by Hize
So, I'm a coach or fan of a top ten team and have to list the 5 teams I'd most prefer not to face right now, all rankings aside ... the first three are easy ... LSU, Oklahoma and Florida ... the next two are a toss up selecting from USF, Oregon, Ohio State or South Carolina. Apologies to Hawaii, Kansas and the other unbeatens, along with all the recent "Davids", but if beating you gave my team some kind of brownie points, you'd be the some of the first teams I'd seek out.
Posted: 10:30 AM   by Tal
Rankings are like any other form of divination. You start with trying to guess on which teams are the best to begin with, and as the season progresses you start getting better at it from the past results. The problem comes when the results are not what you expect them to be, and that's just what this year in college football has become. All the muscle beach guys who have had run of the polls for years now have finally been kicked by the 95lb. weaklings, and repeatedly. It's no wonder that the polls make no sense to the majority, because they're used to the muscle guys always winning.

At least Mr. Mandel is being honest in his perspectives, especially after he blew up his AP ballot a few weeks ago. The muscle guys are maybe not as good as they seemed to be, their posturing a little suspect, and it gave hope to the small schools (those 95lb weaklings that they love to feed on). Maybe in a year of upsets and surprises we shouldn't be so shocked to see a school like South Florida being ranked No. 1 in the polls. (Not that it'll happen, I'd lay odds that Mr. Mandel's vote will be the ONLY vote for USF in the AP.)
Posted: 10:33 AM   by Ryan
Wake up people! None of this means anything until December. The upsets aren't overwith. Bottom line: If you win all of your games YOU control YOUR destiny. College FB does not play 32 games a year, perfection is not the exception, it is the rule. LSU, Cal, OK may all find themselves in the mix, but now they must wait, hope, and pray for someone to slip, just as they have!
Boston College has beaten a couple of good quality opponents in Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. And keep your eye on Notre Dame. They are in a down year (obviously) but they aren't as bad as people previously thought.

But here's the weird thing about Boston College: They graduate their athletes. Not your typical Top 5 team. Like I said: Weird.
Posted: 10:41 AM   by Ryan
PLEASE: for the all that is great in College FB do NOT count ND as a quality win. At least not this year.
Posted: 10:46 AM   by Buckeyefan
All I know is Ohio State is being judged by what the other teams are doing in the Big 10, and what happened in the desert last year. Well Ohio State is a little diffrent than the other teams in the Big 10 they run the spread offense better than any of them with a quarterback who is not all that good but getting better weekly. They have a defense that will play with any offense in the nation only problem with the defense is they are also young but have a little experience such as a beat down in the desert as motivation. As for the desert I can guarantee you that if they get to the National Championship game this year they will be better prepared for one reason and one reason only Tressel does not want to ever go through what he is going through even this week still for what he did last year
Posted: 10:57 AM   by horsecoder
You know what? This is not the year of the upset. This is the year when all the reporters and coaches who vote in the poll got it WRONG. It just shows the glaring weakness of the whole approach. Is there another methodology? I doubt a playoff is the answer... too lengthy... and "who will play in the playoff" just comes back to the polls. If there is another answer out there, please let it be known.
Mandel, you are a moron. All the Buckeyes have done is continue to roll over teams this year. It's not their fault that Purdue fell out of the rankings after the Bucks crushed them. Why don't they deserve to be number 1 in the country? USC lost to an unranked team, as did Michigan and Cal. OSU has managed to avoid this, in fact they have not had a close game yet this year. If this isn't enough for you, I hope you have a change of heart after they destroy Wisconsin, Illinois (despite them being out of the top 25 after this week), and always potential spoilers Michigan.
Posted: 11:30 AM   by Scott
I just have to question the lack of respect Michigan has gotten this season. Based on the logic used to unrank michigan after week 1, cal should be unranked. after all they lost to a 3-3 unranked team. Florida lost to an inconsistent auburn team and a ranked team. Why are they still ranked? Michigan lost one upset and to a current top 10 team. No different than other currently ranked teams.
Posted: 11:34 AM   by gach10
Ok here you go Stewert

1. Ohio State
2. Boston College
3. South Florida
4. Oklahoma
5. South Carolina
6. West Virginia
7. Oregon
8. LSU
9. Virginia Tech
10. Florida
11. Kentucky
12. Arizona State
13. Cal
14. USC
15. Hawaii
16. Kansas
17. Missouri
18. Texas
19. Georgia
20. Tennessee
21. Michigan
22. Cincinnati
23. Illinois
24. Texas Tech
25. Rutgers
Posted: 11:44 AM   by rurahrah
Stewart - Wait until after Saturday's Rutgers/USF before you make USF #1.
Posted: 11:44 AM   by rurahrah
Oops - make that Thursday's RU/USF game.
Posted: 12:01 PM   by C. David
Good Job Mandel. Your ballot is amazing. They need to frame this and send it to some museum of proof that idiots can hold high paying jobs for reputable news outlets.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?! LSU loses to UK and drops 1 spot, but Ohio State DESTROYS ANYONE IN THEIR PATH, and they stay still, while being jumped by USF?! At least admit that some buckeye fan beat you up in the fourth grade, or something that makes you hate OSU. You're horrible Stewart - you should be ashamed!
Posted: 12:09 PM   by GreenDuck
"I can't think of a much more painful way to lose..." -SM

I can. Fumbling the football into the end zone on the game tie'in touchdown with less than 20 seconds left...

Cal got greedy and they paid for it. Sweeeeeeet justice.
It's stupid how so many of you all are getting all worked up over Stu's rankings. While I think it's dumb that he dropped Cal so much and that Boston College is so low, I don't care. I bet any of those top 10 teams could beat any other depending on who was having a lucky day.
Posted: 12:13 PM   by Ryan
I am OSU alumni and I must admit I find the trash talking buckeye "fans" a bit overconfident. We are playing solid ball, but we need to listen to the coach and play each week for itself. Then and only then will we find ourselves where we want to be. Forget the rankings, who cares if we are #1or #2. As I said earlier, if a team shows up and wins, they control their destiny. Let's not get ahead of ourselves with the biggest part of the season ahead. @ Happy Valley (white out), @ Mich (records out the window), oh and by the way Mich St caoch was a buck, think he knows our schemes? Walk soft, carry a big stick.
Posted: 12:22 PM   by Micah

It seems only people with criticisms like to post on your blog. Well, here is some positive feedback. I think you have a completely fair and reasonable top ten. I think you should only rank teams based on what they have accomplished on the field, not on reputation or upon potential. In this case USF and LSU are the CLEAR #1 and #2 teams. After that, the rest of your top 10 is very reasonable.
After reading the above comments, it seems that the belief of many Ohio State fans (and perhaps even some non-Ohio State fans) is that the Buckeyes are ENTITLED to No. 1 because they've gone out and taken care of business while others in the top 10 haven't. That's fine ... but why is OSU any more entitled than South Florida, who's not only taken care of business but done it against much better competition?

Let's face it, the only reason to feel this sense of entitlement exists is because OSU was higher than USF last week. But in a season like this one, I find that I'm paying less attention to the previous week's rankings while taking more time each week to evaluate all teams' complete bodies of work. And when you do that -- as one of the above posters said -- there are only two teams that have truly "earned" the claim to No. 1 (as of now): USF and LSU. USF earned my No. 1 because, of the six undefeated teams, they are the only one with wins over two top-15 teams. The Tigers have beaten THREE top-20 teams, and their sole defeat was is in TRIPLE OVERTIME, on the road, to ANOTHER top 20 team. Hence why they only fell a spot on my ballot.
Posted: 12:38 PM   by Jayddrew
This is a copy of a comment I posted under Saturday Observations Part II (with minor changes):

If you think a playoff system lessens the other bowl games, well, you realize right now that absolutely ZERO of the bowl games mean squat, except the BCS championship game.
There is no good reason a four- or eight-team tournament can't be done.


LSU edges Florida again in the SEC championship game and is ranked #3. LSU then plays #6 Cal and wins on a late goal line stand. The next week, LSU upsets #2 Oklahoma, scoring a touchdown on the last play. (The previous week, Oklahoma beat Boston College on a late 74yard td run.)
Meanwhile, #1 Ohio State shuts down Heisman winner Colt Brennan and Hawaii, then edges #4 South Florida by a field goal in a defensive classic. (The previous week, USF shut down the highly potent #5 at-large USC team)
Finally, Ohio State's Laurenitis(sp) intercepts a Matt Flynn tipped pass in the endzone with 3 seconds left, preserving a 4-point lead and giving Ohio State the BCS championship over LSU.
(Substitute your favorite team in any of these slots, depending on the rest of this season.)
Imagine the ratings!!!! Any BCS guys reading this???? I guarantee you the ratings would beat the NFL playoff ratings, because any of the top eight could probably win the tournament any given year!
Posted: 12:43 PM   by Colin
For the love of God....

PLEASE Don't put Southern Florida or Kansas in the Top 10.
Posted: 12:52 PM   by Trevor
I think there are only 5 teams left undefeated now. In a year when any team can be any team "easy" or "hard" lets give props to teams who have 0 losses, and 0 upsets. Top 5 should be undefeated teams, and then rank your 1 loss and 2 loss teams after that.
1. OSU - whens the last time tehy lost a regular season game? 2005.
2. USF - Some good wins, but close wins against some bad teams too.
3. BC - Nothing too hard, but stil taking care of business.
4. Kansas - They have blown out 5 "easy" teams, and won at a ranked team KSU. 6-0.
5. Hawaii - The weakest of the undefeated, but at 7-0 and and heisman possible QB, they could be legit.
Posted: 12:52 PM   by Trevor
I think there are only 5 teams left undefeated now. In a year when any team can be any team "easy" or "hard" lets give props to teams who have 0 losses, and 0 upsets. Top 5 should be undefeated teams, and then rank your 1 loss and 2 loss teams after that.
1. OSU - whens the last time tehy lost a regular season game? 2005.
2. USF - Some good wins, but close wins against some bad teams too.
3. BC - Nothing too hard, but stil taking care of business.
4. Kansas - They have blown out 5 "easy" teams, and won at a ranked team KSU. 6-0.
5. Hawaii - The weakest of the undefeated, but at 7-0 and and heisman possible QB, they could be legit.
Posted: 12:53 PM   by SwingGuru
I have no problem with USF being voted number 1 Stewey, but LSU is getting huge props this year, and why? The BCS game must be held in their town or something this year.

You sports writers have so many motives for pushing teams up to the top. I remember how OSU went up to number 2 or 3 before the Texas game in 2005 because Texas was ranked number one.

This year it must be the BCS venue, because if anyone thinks that LSU is the best of the SEC they are on serious drugs... Florida and Kentucky both outplayed LSU....

LSU other than its offensive line has no offense.... you need a QB to lead a team... like a Tebow in Florida... who is that clown of a QB at LSU?

OSU may be number 10 for all I know, but this is a rebuilding year for the mighty OSU anyway...

But fahgettaboutit if you think LSU is head and shoulders above the rest of the league.... like it was being said so much in the past month....

Here is the top 5:

Florida (flip a coin on 1 and 2)

Wins and losses mean nothing, that is just strength of schedule.

And I'm a Buckeye graduate, and devoted fan.... but agree, the schedule doesn't warrent a number one.
Posted: 12:55 PM   by njmountie
1. USF
2. OSU
3. WVU
4. LSU
5. Kentucky
6. BC
7. South Carolina
8. Oklahoma
9. Arizona State
10. Florida

That said BC will lose at least 1 game if not two... PAC-10 is way over rated... Beavers get destroyed by Cinci... I think they had something like 30 yards of offense??? Last I looked Longshore was not on defense. SEC will end up beating each other into submission. No team will have less than 2 losses. USC looks like a high school team especially after Oklahoma State goes to Lincoln and destroys the 'Huskers. Not to mention other key matchups like Ohio State vs Washington?

Can't wait to see the Big East undefeated AGAIN in the bowls!!!!! Didn't Texas you know the ones who lost barely to Oklahoma barely beat that UCF team??? You know the one USF just destroyed????
Posted: 12:57 PM   by Colin
Here is another freebee observation...

If we are all talking about playoffs that only work with 16 teams, this is probably the only way to handle it properly.

1. Modify the schedules so that the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and PAC 10 only play one another throughout the season. Sorry everyone else, you may be Cinderella darlings right now, but accept the fact you really are minor league. Not really minor league...think of how Rugby League in Europe works with its tiered system. If you want to get into the perrennial programs you have to win out at your level and earn the respect to play with the big boys. ACC, Big East, WAC, Mountain West...that means you. Stop living on the accolades of hype journalism!

2. Hold off on polling of any kind until the Monday after the 4th week. Gives everyone a chance to settle in and prove themselves. It also makes conference standings more important.

3. With a segregated schedule everything really would be much clearer when it came time to choosing the top 16 for a playoffs.

4. Teams in a lower division (ACC, Big East, WAC, etc) could gather for their own playoff extravaganza. The winner would have the chance to be voted in to a rotation of conferences higher up. To balance it, a team like Iowa State that finished with the lowest record in the elite division would drop down to make room. Keeps it competitive year in and year out.

Just check out the way Rugby League runs their club system throughout Europe. It really is the best way to organize 50 or more teams playing in "amateur" sports. Remember, even with all the hype and money surrounding it, college football is still an amateur sport and we would all be good to remember that and try to sort through the chaos. Everyone deserves a shot of being considered elite, but do it on your own merit and stop living on the accolades of journalists' hype.
Posted: 1:09 PM   by ChrTh
While I like USF, I think I would rank BC over USF (and I hate BC). ACC seems better than the Big East this year (as evidenced by Virginia taking out UConn yesterday). Everyone gauges the strength of the ACC based on FSU and Miami, and the entire conference gets penalized when they don't play well.
Posted: 1:21 PM   by BlueSkyJedi
I love your brain man! Please let me know when it gets out of therapy! I'll send a get well card. All that being said my best friend offered a historical view of the whole debacle and I think that GrocerGreg and the whole Parity discussion bears some serious discussion. Here's my buddy's take:

In the old days of the Southwest Conference, Texas would beat SMU, and Arkansas, but lose to A&M and Baylor. A&M would lose to Texas Tech and TCU but beat Arkansas, Texas and Baylor. Baylor would lose to Arkansas and A&M, but turn around and beat SMU and TCU.....etc.....

All the sports writers called this,,,,


Auburn beats Florida but loses to Mississippi State. LSU beats Florida but loses to Kentucky. Florida beats Kentucky but loses to LSU. Kentucky beats LSU but loses to South Carolina. South Carloina beats Kentucky, but loses to Florida...

And this somehow is NOT mediocrity????

All THAT being said, the only way you can really judge a team is their record and the quality of that record . That being said (I am a Sooner fan for the record so) here is I think a reasonable ballot:

1. BC
2. USF
3. OSU
4. Kansas (Let them prove it)
5. UK
6. LSU or Oklahoma
7. Oklahoma or LSU
8. Cal
9. Cincinatti
10. ASU

I think even this ballot could be re arranged and I am sure folks will let me know.

Let the Season be played out. In this crazy year it will change from week to week I don't think people should get too comfortable. I think we all have been WAY too comfortable with our paradigms of who is better etc. etc. ad nauseum.
There is still ALOT of football to be played! By the way..tonight in the chow hall at the Camp to where I am deployed had BOXING on! How shameful is that? Football season is here and they had the nerve to show BOXING. Just goes to show how far our country has fallen! ;-)

Down with the BCS..Bring on a playoff.

from Iraq,
Posted: 1:42 PM   by Netizen
So Stewart doesn't want to rank Ohio State number 1 because it has played "nobodies" and yet his column begins with the amazement that previously undefeated teams lost to what? Nobodies?

Hold your nose and give Ohio State the top spot. In a season when so many fall to nobodies, and how you fault the Buckeyes when they survive against nobodies?
Posted: 1:53 PM   by Gonzo
Brilliant Colin. Let's create a system where the current #2 and #3 teams in the country can't play for the national title. Where Miami, West Virginia, Florida State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech cannot possibly play for the title, but Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Baylor, Mississippi State and Northwestern can. That will clean up all the controversy and give the people what they want!
Posted: 1:56 PM   by marzxyz
OSU's schedule highlights the problem with college football in 2007. Thus far, OSU has played the likes of Youngstown State, Akron, and Kent State. Why isn't OSU playing more Big Ten teams instead of a bevy of weaker Divison 1A teams? OSU is not alone in creating this sham. The result is that Divison 1 college football has become a diluted product in commparison with years past.
Posted: 1:58 PM   by Troy
@ ChrTh

Whatever you think of Big East vs. ACC, remember that USF has also played and beaten probably the second best team in the SEC West, on the road.

And to whoever grouped the Big 10 (and even Big 12) in with the top tier leagues, while putting the ACC and Big East in a lower tier... really?
Posted: 2:00 PM   by Troy
@ netizen

I think the point is that Ohio State has beaten nobodies while USF has beaten somebodies. OSU isn't be judged in a vaccuum here.
Posted: 2:10 PM   by GatorBait
Good for you for making LSU #2, Stewie! Last year proved that a one loss SEC team is better than an undefeated Ohio State team.
Posted: 2:16 PM   by D
First Thing First....

1) SEC Is a strong conference but it is still overrated than most people want to admit.

This is the same poll that SEC fans complain that Big Ten is overrated about (like Michigan) but is the very same poll rating many SEC teams in the Top 25. Just because msot teams are in the Top 25 does not make the conference stronger. If many Big Ten started the same way in the poll, The Big Ten fans would say the same thing that You SEC Fans are complaining.. Polling is relative! Remember last year with Florida and Michigan on the last poll.

So stop knocking the other conference SEC fans. You guys are not all you cracked up to be. (Arkansas still out of the Top 25, Miss St beats Auburn, Florida loses to LSU, SC loses to LSU and SC beats Kentucky). At the end of it all, your teams are no different from the Big Ten. There is no such thing as quality win because that is the same BS arguments you guys used last year... HELLO, voters are relative and political like Urban Meyer!

2) Michigan should be back in the Top 25. Considering they were penalized the most for their loss to a Div 1AA elite. What I do not like from the blogs and Stewart is that LSU drops 1 spot for their loss but Michigan last losses 2 spots after 2 weeks of being the 2nd best team in the nation. Then to further add insult to everything... Why do USC drop only 6-9 spots and LSU drop down 1? Again, this the SEC biases on strength of conference. The reality is no power conference competes with any other conferences except Tier 2 teams. There is one or two teams competing with each other but nothing more. I think LSU drops 5 spots. I know Kentucky is a Top 20 team in the poll. But what happens when Kentucky losses to another team. Drop them accordingly and stop making excuses and rationalize an SEC LOSS to other losses like CAL and win for OSU.

Again, I repeat. SEC is a strong conference but stop ballooning their strength.. They are not as good as they are...

3) Stop with the Big Ten woes.. They are a strong conference and just like the SEC, they are knocking each other out... So to evaluate that SEC losses are of higher quality is ridiculous. Grow up.. We are judging games based voters's rank.. There are only 5 teams from the SEC that deserve to be in the Top 25 (LSU, FLorida, SC, Kentucky, and Auburn).

4) I do not care if Kansus and South Florida makes it. It just go to prove that all comparison is relative. All that matters are teams are to win during game time. It does not matter who they play because this whole year shows that any team could beat another team. HECK, the Buffalo Bulls won again (Yes, I am a Buffalo Bulls fan)

My Rankings
1) OSU
2) BC
3) South Florida
4) LSU
5) Oklahoma
6) South Carolina
7) California
8) West Virginia
9) Oregon
10) USC
11) Virgina Tech
12) Arizona State
13) Kentucky
14) Florida
15) Hawaii
16) Kansas
17) Auburn
18) Texas
19) Georgia
20) Michigan
21) Penn State
22) Missouri
23) Tennessee
24) Cincinnati
25) Texas Tech
1.South Carolina
3.South Florida
4.Boston College
6.Ohio State
9.Virginia Tech
Posted: 2:32 PM   by Michael
I'm glad to see that other members of the media are not as idiotic as stewie.
Posted: 2:39 PM   by chickie
This is very simple boyz.
If OSU wins out they will be in the Championship game. If they get beat by Penn State or Michigan they won't.
As a Buckeyes fan I'd love to play a very overated LSU, SFU or BC in the championship game.

Boyz, they're all back next year.

Buckeye haters get used to it.
Tressel and his staff can coach it up.
Posted: 2:56 PM   by TD!SunDevils

Oklahoma lost to Colorado-ASU killed Colorado

Cal lost to Oregon St-ASU killed Oregon St

USC lost to Stanford-ASU KILLED Stanford

ASU IS 7-0 What more more do you want???

Posted: 3:06 PM   by Jayddrew
People, can we be adults and stop the insults and name calling? I appreciate Mr. Mandel being willing to put his ballot out there and discuss it. Although it is his opinion, it counts and his reasoning makes great sense, whether you agree or disagree.
If OSU, USF or anyone else takes care of business the rest of the way and is crowned champion, fine. Let's have fun and debate it along the way without the insults. Support your team and conference, "hate" the enemy, go heavy on the wit and sarcasm, but drop the insults, please.
Its too bad for Hawai'i that 1) Michigan State paid over $100,000 to get out of their game at Hawai'i this (we like beating them a lot) 2) Michigan wouldn't agree to play Hawai'i (in Michigan) this year (serves them right that they picked App' State and lost) 3) No one reports on how/why the last three Hawai'i games haven't been blowouts, causing the nation to think Hawai'i is overrated (LA Tech doesn't suck, Colt Brennan has been throwing off a severely sprained ankle, The rain and field conditions in San Jose was as bad as it gets for a pass based offense.) Hopefully Hawai'i runs the table, gets the BCS bowl-bid the undefeated WAC winner deserves and licks somebody from a major conference in January. Mele Kalikimaka to us!
Posted: 3:22 PM   by Clifford
tortuga said: "...I'll just say I think these are the best teams in college football right now (in no particular order):
LSU, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Cal, Ohio St., Florida, USF, and Auburn.
Not S. Carolina, not USC, and not Boston College (the biggest fraud of them all). ..."

What an idiot you are, Turtle. Go back into your shell. By fraud, you mean your team lost to a superior team and are really bitter. Or did BC reject your 1000 SATs?
Posted: 3:35 PM   by Brian

You say you base your list on beating ranked opponents. That makes no sense especially this year, when the rankings mean absolutely nothing. College football is about tradition and the "ranking" tradition is (you win, you move up), (you lose, you move down). Look, I'm sorry that all the teams you liked in the pre-season keep losing. Get over it. OSU has a tough schedule remaining. There's a good chance they'll lose one game. Then all the OSU bashers will get their wish and they'll drop in the polls. In the mean time quit F'ing with tradition.
Posted: 3:41 PM   by Winston
Lets see now.

Arizona State is 7-0. As a previous post noted, we defeated Colorado, Oregon State and Stanford. We also beat San Jose State (which gave Hawaii a heck of a contest this weekend) and Washington (who scared this week's no.1 ranked team for a half). Yet we are not ranked in the top 10?

Part of me is insulted, but we Sun Devil fans should be pleased. Coach Erickson is building something wonderful in the desert, and the boys seem to have responded to his coaching at a much quicker rate than previously expected. I have a feeling that Coach will use this slight will spur them into thwacking Cal, Oregon, UCLA and USC over the next 5 weeks.

Go Devils!
Posted: 3:51 PM   by HardLuck
Posted: 3:56 PM   by Dr. Dave
Hey, come on People, quit calling Stewart (or each other) an idiot! Why can't these blog postings represent a civil discourse on a topic we all obviously love? Why the name-calling? Passion does not necessarily need to equate to poor manners and disrespect. I don't like Oklahoma, for example, but I respect them. Let's allow people to read these blogs without feeling the need to puke at the loss of civility and respect.

Oh, and FIRE CALLAHAN and PEDERSON, I think we can ALL agree on that without needing to use names! Go Huskers, hang in there, Go Jayhawks (my second alma mater), show the world you're for real.
Posted: 4:27 PM   by Paul
I don't understand why there is no one (in a season where it has been proven week in and week out that no one is invulnerable) willing to simply put the teams that haven't lost at the top of the rankings. With people endlessly debating the merits of one-loss teams based on strength of schedule, last year's bowl games, who beat which team that beat someone else by more earlier this year on the road in the rain, etc., without any obvious conclusion as to who really ought to be on top, this whole system has finally become so subjective that it clouds the idea of actually rewarding the teams that do not lose until they actually do lose. I know this is really all about big conferences and TV networks making money. But somehow setting that aside for a moment...I don't know about you (and I'm a 'Bama fan and SEC loyalist), but I wouldn't have a problem with Hawaii being ranked above everyone with one loss and seeing how far they can go. Same with Kansas and Arizona State. If they get blown out in the national championship game or some BCS (shudder) game, so be it! They won up to that point. Maybe if that happened, there would be some standards instituted for strength of schedule. Maybe there would be a playoff. All I know is that the system right now is simply spinning its wheels in the mud, and there doesn't seem to be any hope of that changing. The endless speculation about who could beat who where will never end unless we actually give the teams the chance to beat each other, even if it's on the biggest stage of them all. That being said, and since we're stuck with this ranking system, here are my 1-25:

The Undefeateds:
1) USF
2) Ohio State
3) Arizona State
4) BC
5) Kansas
6) Hawaii

The One-Loss Teams:
7) Kentucky
8) LSU
9) Oregon
10) South Carolina
11) West Virginia
12) Oklahoma
13) VT
14) Missouri
15) Cal
16) Texas Tech
17) Cincinnati
18) Southern Cal
19) Boise State
20) Virginia
21) UConn

The Two-Loss Teams:
22) Florida
23) Auburn
24) Texas
25) Michigan

I know, I'd probably get fired for turning in a poll like that. Still, I think it makes more sense than a lot of the hogwash spouted this season. For all the Florida fans pissed that someone put your boys under Virginia and UConn: No matter how you slice it, your boys have lost twice - they've only lost once. Don't sweat it - I'm sure it won't stay that way all season. But up to this point, the facts are the facts, and too many coaches, writers, and computers seem to forget that.
Posted: 4:30 PM   by livetotry
kinda interesting when all of the "football factories" keep losing and a school with a 93% gradation rate and 17 players who have already graduated and are persuing grad degrees is 7-0. No complaints here in Boston about the quality of our college football.
Posted: 4:44 PM   by Brett
Obviously you did not watch much of if any of the Missouri vs Oklahoma game. Missouri.

"I thought the Tigers would keep it more competitive"

Well Missouri did have the lead in the 4th quarter. And they had an interception go through Pig Brown's hands that would have given them the ball with a one-point lead and 12 minutes left on the clock. So I am wondering if you should wait on commenting on a game until you watch it or at least read a box-score.

Missouri lost but the score does not indicate anything about the game. The Sooners were the better team especially at home, but Missouri put up a good fight and they were "competitive."
Posted: 5:08 PM   by Dan
Why is it that an unexpected result in the SEC proves the strength of the conference, but in every other conference it "exposes" the favorite as a bad team?
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