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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My College Football Kickoff

A blog devoted to statistical rankings and ratings can be a little dull the first few weeks of the season and devoid of content before the season starts, but I've decided to throw in my two cents and subjective predictions along with everyone else. Here are some things that stick out to me:

1) USC vs. Florida national championship game.

The only thing that attracts my ire like LA sports teams is Urban Meyer. Nothing against these two programs or their fans, but I always want them to fail. I even committed the damning heresy of urging Vince Young into the end zone in Pasadena a few years ago because that special place in Hell reserved for traitors of college football fandom seemed so much better than the alternative.

But here's how it will go down.

USC beats the OSU at home and they will lose no more than one game this season, so Ohio State is not losing a championship game this year. Oklahoma will lose to Texas Tech or Texas and finish behind the Trojans as well. In the SEC, Florida will score 100 points a game as long as Tebow is healthy and they will beat Georgia in Jacksonville. Florida's strength of schedule will be enough to help them edge out one loss OU and Ohio State as long as they lose no more than one game and they will have the head-to-head win against Georgia.

The team most likely to crash the party, in my opinion, is OU, who should beat a Texas team that will take another step down since 2005 and will play Tech in Norman.

2) For the love of all that is holy, get Notre Dame out of your preseason polls.

Notre Dame will go to a bowl game because their schedule boasts powerhouses North Carolina, post-Paul Johnson Navy, Stanford and Syracuse, but giving them a ranking at this point is a crime against humanity-even Robert Mugabe wouldn't so egregiously fix poll outcomes. Notre Dame didn't just have a bad year in 2007, they had, arguably, the worst offense in DI-A and would need to leap frog about 55 teams from last year to pull their way into the top 25-and the problem last year wasn't talent but know-how (aka coaching). And preseason polls matter, because they determine whether or not teams are even on the map, and Notre Dame, despite their name and their coach's name and even their qb's name, need to earn their spot on the map like everyone else.

3) BYU should downplay its potential for this season

Bronco is a stud and a motivational guru, but BYU will fail in its Quest for Perfection. The offense will be good, but it was better two years ago and will be better next year. The defense will be suitable for the MWC, but vulnerable to talent. They will lose at Washington, at TCU or, most likely, at Utah (against whom they have needed miracles to win the last two years) and all the publicity that they inspired this year will haunt them as they try to make a run with a better team next year. Talk of BCS glory and even Heisman contention is not just ridiculous but counter-productive.

4) Texas Tech will have a typical Tech season

Tech is unpredictable. They can score 60 one week and 10 the next. They always play well against some teams (for example, Texas A&M) and poorly against others. Despite what most people believe, Tech's problem has not been its defense, but its inconsistency on offense and defense. Tech may win its good games by more and maybe even pull out a victory in a bad game, but the record at the end of 2008 will not be much different than the past few seasons.

5) Illinois and Kansas will take steps back towards mediocrity

First, I should put this in perspective. Illinois finished second in the Big 10 and then got exploited in their bowl game. To those from the South, Illinois never left mediocrity. But a Mendenhall-less Illini cannot be carried to much success this season by a quarterback that has achieved the same level of accuracy with a football as I have in my golf game. Kansas had a season to be proud of last year, but the truth is they exploited a soft schedule by playing solid football. They have some talent on offense, but they won't turning too many heads. I hope Jayhawk fans enjoyed the success they experienced in the 2007-2008 academic year because it won't be repeated anytime soon.

6) And the winner of the 2008 Heisman trophy is . . .

"Boy oh boy this must be a good award!"

Much of this season (metaphorically) rests on Tebow's (literal) shoulder. If he stays healthy, with his talent, the weapons around him and Florida's offensive scheme, he will run away with a second Heisman. Georgia's Moreno is another obvious choice--tons of talent on a team with tons of talent, and he would be the front runner in my mind if Tebow stumbled and Georgia worked its way into the national championship game. Bradford and Daniels in the Big 12 will both put up big numbers as will Devine in the land of snuff and rusted cars.

Then there is Michael Crabtree. The guy is not only in a system where he can put up numbers that make you squint and check your prescription, but he is also an incredible talent. If Tech is able to redefine itself this season as a real football team instead of a high scoring gimmick, Crabtree could even overtake a best performance from Timothy in Gainesville.

7) Not Again

If the BCS picture this year shakes down like it did last year, with teams blowing big games against inferior teams, losing quarterbacks at crucial moments, and under-performing squads backing into national championships, I think I'm going to become a Hockey fan. We need two teams that both have legitimate claims to the title and have separated themselves from the pack. But if that's Florida and USC, I think I'm going to be sick.

2 comments:

  1. BYU does need to be careful about their 'quest for perfection' slogan. Look what happened to TCU last year they were talking about BCS and look what happened. When Utah made it they talked about it privately, but were not public about getting to the BCS like BYU is. Just a note since this is a statistically look at BYU they have not won a non-conference road game since 2002 when they beat Utah State a lowly WAC team and BYU who had to have a monster comeback in that game. Then their non conference road win against a BCS team was Cal the year before in 2001. So until BYU can get a road non conference win then maybe they can talk about perfection.

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  2. Good point about the BCS road wins. Cougar fans can only hope that a bad win against UCLA last year will help the team get over that hump this year. As for Utah, they didn't get the respect they deserved--maybe they needed to be a bit more vocal about their ambitions. I got to watch that team live a couple of times and I think they were as good as any team in the country, but they didn't get the BCS match-up they needed to prove it.

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