Today was the first Saturday of college football—otherwise known as “the last week of scrimmages for title-contenders.” This is the week when all the big boys play weaker teams and waste all of our time. It makes for really unexciting football. Is anyone surprised, for instance, that Oklahoma State would pull out the “W” against Savannha State? No nail-biters in that one. It is, however, a bit shocking that they ran up the score 84-0! I guess after missing the title game last year with a single loss, Oklahoma State feels like it may need some style points for the final reckoning…but I digress. Congrats to Alabama-Michigan and Clemson-Auburn for scheduling games that actually interest fans.
Coming in to today, I really thought that Alabama and LSU would be the two teams to beat this year. I don’t know about that anymore. LSU played an unranked school from a lower tier conference that had a losing record last season. LSU won going away, but it was ugly. They had a whole lot of stupid penalties. They gave up two touchdowns. They had several opportunities in the red zone in which they could not score a touchdown. I liked seeing the Tigers air the ball out with their new quarterback, but the rest of it was ugly. There’s always the temptation for great teams to play down to inferior competition (no offense to my friends from Denton). Perhaps that’s what happened tonight. In any case, LSU did not look like a championship-caliber team in my view. I hope I’m wrong.
The same cannot be said of Alabama’s performance against Michigan. Bama looked tough. They were also very sharp and disciplined. They were facing the number eight team in the country, and they dominated that game from start to finish. It was impressive, and I think they should be ranked number one after that performance. And I say that as one who is not over what happened in last year’s title game and who wants Alabama to get drilled at the first possible opportunity. So that means something.
USC shouldn’t be number one in anyone’s poll. LSU, Alabama, and a number of other teams would wipe up the floor with USC. So don’t believe the hype.
More next week when hopefully there will be more to talk about.
P.S. In case you missed it, the play of the day comes from Ohio State’s Devin Smith, who had an amazing one-handed reception for a touchdown. See below.
You must not have watched the USC game. They have a 1st round QB, 2 first round WRs, and one of the better RBs in the country. Im not sure how their defense is going to be, but they probably have the best offense in the league. I think you just get bitter every time a non-SEC team is ranked one.
Care to share who “a number of other teams” are? I would love to see that list of everyone you think can “wipe the floor” with USC.
You’re right. I just don’t like USC.
USC shouldn’t be #1, I agree on that. But I doubt that any team will wipe the floor with them.
I think it is way too early for rankings, and I really wish they’d wait 4 or 5 weeks to try and figure out where any team is at. Although Bama looked really tough.
My Top 5 would be:
5) Florida State
I understand why many will still have USC at 1, but I think teams should be rewarded for playing and destroying better competition. Now, I think Michigan was terribly overrated in the first place, but the same voters who put them there ought to reward the team that terrorized them.
Denny, the reason why top teams often play a crew of cupcakes for their out of conference games is because the lazy media and analysts of the sport do not know how to look 3 inches away from WINS and LOSSES to determine who is ranked higher. There is simply little reward given to teams for taking the great risk of playing good teams, while teams that amass win after win over mediocre opponents simply do not get voted down. Meanwhile, Alabama in 2010 lost to 3 ranked teams by a total of 18 points (2 games by 4 points!), when amazingly all 3 of those teams, plus 3 others they managed to beat!!, were gifted bye weeks before facing the Tide.
What do they get for such a grueling schedule and amassing a 3rd place ranking according to the most advanced, holistic, schedule-accounting stats system**? Surely they would be considered for the national title game, or perhaps placed in the Sugar or Rose Bowls as an ad hoc 3rd place game? Nope, they got sent to the Cap One Bowl as a consolation.
It looks like the new playoff system replacing the BCS will be little different, rewarding conference champions but otherwise not caring about who or how you beat teams. Put strength of schedule back into the rankings and you can see exciting football again in September. But of course last time we did that, Auburn whined all our ears off for getting left out. (surprisingly I am not pro Bama, these were just the two quickest examples to come to mind)
** see here: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fplus2010 Everyone should become familiar with Brian Fremau and Bill Connelly’s work on quantifying the crazy game of college football. Bill blogs about NCAA at http://www.footballstudyhall.com/ and elsewhere.
OSU didn’t run up the score, if by running it up you mean scoring as much as possible. They played all reserves for 3 quarters. Most of their starters didn’t finish the 1st quarter. Savannah State is just that bad. OSU could have scored 120 easily.