Chaos Rankings

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Conference Breakdown

With all the teams breaking down last week, I thought it might be time for a little overview of the conference standings, who still has a shot at a BCS game, and who shot themselves in the collective foot.

ACC: If you told me Week 1 that Miami and FSU would be entering Week 12 and still looking to get bowl eligible, I would have laughed in your face. But such is the case. Miami lost to a Maryland team I claimed weeks ago was better than their record indicated. Perhaps now their record better indicates their abilities. Meanwhile, people are still struggling to find room on the Wake Forest bandwagon, despite a belief that they're probably not as good as their record indicates. Wake is only one quarter (when they imploded in the 4th against Clemson) away from being undefeated. I don't get it either, but it's a great story, so congrats to Jim Grobe. Good luck keeping him in Winston-Salem this time... UNC has reported that Butch Davis is their new coach. Sorry Miami. But hey, good news! You can have Bobby Bowden's former OC at FSU! Please. The last thing the ACC needs is another father-son rivalry. Hey, someone see if Tater Tot wants Al Groh's or Chuck Amato's job. Nice work taking one for the team (and family) Jeff, your resignation probably saved dad's job, for now. Wake and Maryland still control their own destinys, but both have a tough road (VT at home, at BC, respectively) before facing each other in a probable tiebreaker for Coastal supremacy. A BC win eliminates Maryland, and puts the Eagles in good position, but only if Wake loses both remaining games. Wide open race to see who faces GT for a trip to the Orange Bowl. Should be interesting to watch the next 2 weeks.

Big East: The other great story this year is Schiano's Rutgers squad. The only thing standing between them and not just their third bowl game ever, but a BCS game, is West Virginia. Everyone hyped up WVU as a championship game team, then they lost to Lousiville. So everyone hyped up Lousiville as a championship game team, then they lost to Rutgers. So everyone, kinda, didn't do anything. No one seems to think that an undefeated Rutgers teams deserves a shot at a national title. This is total bull (ask Auburn, Utah, Boise State, etc). They knocked off a team everyone thought was good enough to play for all the marbles, and if they beat WVU in Morgantown, I don't think you can deny them. Their defense is top 5 in nearly every category. They've beaten a ton of teams who are destined to go to a bowl game. And they're from a BCS conference, albeit the Big East, though it has proven itself more than a bunch of leftovers and sports a very deep roster of talented and tough teams. If Rutgers wins out, they're in.

Big Te(leve)n: Wisconsin might be the best team no one's considering. They proved themselves once again against perpetual underdog Iowa who had the Badgers on the ropes. They showed they could find creative ways to win against Penn State. I'm kind of sick of hearing about this collasal matchup. The Michigan-Ohio State game is big enough already without all the extra media hype of the last 8 weeks. I'll be rooting for Michigan, as will anyone desiring a rematch for the National Championship. Though the BCS computers favor Michigan, both polls favor OSU, and a close loss after a tough-fought game would probably be enough to keep them in the #2 spot in the BCS. As for the rest of the Big 10, they've been mostly medicore and inconsistent. Paterno proved why he'll be coaching long after Bobby Bowden retires, and thanks to FSU's lousy seasons, he's catching up with his nemesis.

Big XII: Is it just me, or does K-State's win over Texas remind anyone of their upset of Oklahoma in the conference championship game a few years ago. You know, the controversial one that "ended too late" to be considered in the final BCS standings, which resulted in OU facing, and ulitimately losing to LSU, and the AP crowning USC their champion instead, which evetually led them to pull their poll from the BCS formula. Dear Longhorn fans: shut up about losing because Colt McCoy was out. You still put up 42 points, which is usually enough to win. Unless your defense (which quarterbacks have little control to no over) gives up 45. They may not get to teh championship game this year (Nebraska will represent the North), but the Wildcats, gave OU hope if they can beat A&M and Texas can't. Despite their setbacks, Oklahoma is still having a great season. That's what a coach like Bob Stoops can do for you. Texas Tech is toiling away in mediocrity again despite putting up their typical superhuman pasing numbers. Baylor meanwhile looks to be taking steps in the right direction.

Pac 10: I'm glad USC has won a couple again so I can stop hearing about what Oregon State "did" to them. Um, hello, all they did was play a Trojans team that had been struggling for weeks, and happen to get lucky despite allowing USC to score the last 21 points of the game. "Did" is reserved for what Arkansas or UGA did to Auburn, or what Rutgers did to Louisville. USC is still in the title hunt however, and the SOS boost from Cal and Notre Dame may be enough to push them past other 1-loss teams, including the loser of the "epic" Michigan-OSU matchup. Cal is trying to play spoiler however and could find themselves in the Rose Bowl with a win over USC this weekend. What's up with the loss to Arizona? Let's all remember that Mike Stoops comes from the same coaching tradition as big brother Bob at OU (both Iowa DBs, coached together at Oklahoma). The Wildcats may not have had the success yet that they've hoped for, but it will come, and this may be a starting point. If nothing else, Arizona knows how to win games in November.

SEC: Hey Tuberville, your Under Armour cameo cracks me up. Didn't I warn you before about getting back to work? Well, congrats, your commerical cost your team a win against a terrible Georgia team (remember, they almost lost to Colorado). You still had an outside shot at an at-large bid, especially if Arkansas lost to Tennessee (they didn't). Oh well. Less whining, more coaching. Massive congrats to Houston Nutt's Razorbacks for bouncing back from their lashing by the Trojans to virtually lock up the SEC West spot (they'd have to lose to Mississippi State and LSU and LSU would have to beat Ole Miss). They'll face the Gators, who are already doing better under Utah-transplant Urban Meyer than they did under Ron Zook. I think it's funny that everyone makes such a big deal about Spurrier going back to the Swamp. As I understand it, only one of his recruits is still in school there, and it's not like Meyer runs the same offense or any of the same assistants are still hanging around. It was a good game though. Not to worry Gamecocks, Spurrier is a damn fine coach, and he'll have the team vying for an SEC title in no time. Has anyone else enjoyed watching Mark Richt's deer-caught-in-headlights look this season? Maybe it's just the Yellow Jacket in me. ;)

Other: Boise State is still undefeated, and will likely remain so, even with Ian Johnson quaestionable. BYU is quietly having a great season. Hawaii too, though somewhat less quietly. Behind the arm of Colt Brennan, they're in second place in the WAC, and gave BSU teh toughest run for their money until San Jose State. But the credit must also go to their O-line and receivers for making the plays work. Just like a great receiver is nothing when the ball doesn't get to him (ask Calvin Johnson), a great QB is nothing without adequate time in the pocket and guys who can catch the ball. Congratulations to Temple for winning a game this year. Now that they're conference-less, I expect them to move to Div. I-AA around the time Big Red and Western Kentucky join the Sun Belt. Also, Golden Domers can all shut up about a National Title. Too many things need to happen for you to get there. You need Rutgers, Arkansas, Florida, and possibly Wisconsin and West Virginia to lose. You also need to beat USC but have them not lose to Cal or UCLA. And on top of all that, you still lost to Michigan, so you either need Michigan to lose by 100 on Saturday, which is going to indirectly hurt you in your SOS. Or you need them to beat the Buckeyes bad enough to push them down 3 or 4 spots in the polls. Even with Texas, Cal, and Auburn getting knocked down last weekend, Notre Dame still needs too much help to get there.

End of year predictions: USC loses to Cal but beats Notre Dame. Unorthodox WVU defense proves too confusing for Rutgers, who loses in Morgantown, but thanks to oustanding defensive stats, maintains higher BCS rank to win Big East representation. Boise State runs the table. Arkansas loses to LSU after looking ahead to SEC title game, but beats Florida in overtime in Atlanta (no one does OT better than the Razorbacks). Wake loses to VT, but beats Maryland to face GT, who bring their A-game after an energizing nail-biter against arch-rival UGA and wins in convincing fashion. Healthy Ohio State proves too much for injury-prone Wolverines, but Michigan keeps the game respectable. Texas squeaks past Texas A&M, but loses to Nebraska in title game. Your ten BCS teams: Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Cal, Rutgers, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Boise State, Notre Dame. I don't know about you, but I would love to see Rutgers against Boise State. And GT vs Nebraska would be an instant classic as rematch of the 1990 national title, too bad GT will go to Orange and Nebraska to the Fiesta. But pitted against each other opens the way for Rutgers/BSU. Oh well. USC gets in as an at-large while Cal goes to the Rose Bowl. Rose loses both Big 10 picks, and selects Notre Dame, who avoids a 3rd game with Tech in 12 months (they play in South Bend next season) by facing Cal. Boise State faces Nebraska. Rutgers plays GT. And Arkansas gets another chance for revenge against USC in the Sugar. Meanwhile, after 6 weeks, Michigan is healthy again and ready to face Ohio State for a national title. Wolverines take home the BCS crown. Buckeyes claim the AP crown behind Heisman winner Troy Smith.


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