November 30, 2006

Inside the BCS with Wesley Colley of Colley Matrix

I have been chatting with Wesley Colley all season long because I have great respect for the work he does on his college rankings (basketball too). So when I saw that this week he was the lone computer poll to have USC at #1, we had to keep our conversation going...

Vince Mullins: Wesley, you are the only system that has USC as the overall #1 - tell me about what your work likes about the Trojans this year over Ohio State. Also, what are the other polls missing in your opinion?
Wesley Colley: First, some of the other systems have USC VERY close to OSU in their internal ratings, so I'm not really much of an outlier. I suspect some of the systems may join me if USC beats UCLA. What my system likes about the Trojans is that they've won their conference outright, beat SECW champ Arkansas, Big XII-North champ Nebraska, and by far the best indy in Notre Dame - all while, they've played zero creampuffs.
VM: Florida fans are killing me with questions - is there any chance that the Gators can leap above USC and get to the Championship Game with a win over Arkansas and a USC loss to UCLA? What about in your work? The big BCS score gap makes it look difficult to me....
WC: The short answer is yes. UF can absolutely get into my top 2 if USC loses.
VM: Also, I quickly scanned the computer "index" and the biggest variance to the pollsters is Wisconsin (computers average 12, voters agree on 6) would you explain the gap in the pollsters opinion and the bias-free nature of the computers?
WC: Wisconsin lost early and has percolated up the human polls, but hasn't beaten a ranked team. Wisconsin is essentially the OTHER beneficiary to the lack of Badger-Buckeye matchup this season, while Ohio State's SOS suffers because of it.
VM: Are there any other issues you want to highlight with your system or the polls?

WC: It'll be a lot more interesting if the Bruins pull off the miracle.
While some people may just go ahead and sign up for University of Phoenix online because of the commercials you may want to take some time to research various college degree programs available online, so that you aren't investing time and money into online college degrees that won't help you in the long run.

November 29, 2006

Why I hate the coaches poll

Saw a link on Deadspin that gives me further ammo in my almighty crusade against coaches voting for anything in college football.

Seems Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer (right) expressed a bit too much Hokie love in his All-American Ballot - a full SIX Gobblers are four more than any rational human would ever suggest for this year's team. And Brandon Ore and Xavier Adibi are marginal at best.

The liberal among you might suggest that the homerism is OK, he should support his players. If so, then you would expect the rest of his picks to be sane and illustrating some due diligence, right?

Beamer submits for your approval John Talley of Duke at defensive back.


But wait, the insanity is truly in the inconsistency - his vote for TE is Chris Hopkins of Toledo. This vote actually suggests some thought and analysis - perhaps he subscribes to Fantasy College Blitz, as we were promoting him as the top fantasy TE in the nation early in the season before the Rockets hit their funk. Hopkins is now third in receptions nationally.

All in all, I don't know WTF to think about Beamer's ballot except that its extreme-ACC bias and no votes for anyone west of the Mississippi River except for a couple Cal players.

Stop the coaches vote in all shapes and forms!

November 28, 2006

Bowl Game Schedule

courtesy of the four-letter network and CSTV, here is my meta-composite guide to the bowls and the teams that have already committed to bowl games - I am feverishly copying this in my Treo as we read and encourage you to plan your Christmas parties and shopping around every date.

This weekend's action will have a lot of impact on the BCS bowls, especially Florida vs. Arkansas, Rutgers at West Virginia and USC vs. UCLA. Motor City Bowl is in a quandary as the Big Ten 7 Iowa already took a bid to the Alamo - who else could they pick? BCS Selection Show is Sunday at 8 EDT on Fox.

Italics are my rather thought-out projections. I ranked the bowl-eligible teams in each conference by "bowl attractiveness", filled in bids already accepted, then plugged in where appropriate.

  • four Sun Belt teams are eligible, usually only champ goes bowling (likely Troy). But Middle Tennessee State could beat most of the ACC, maybe they squeak ahead of Kentucky or Kansas?
  • Miami Hurricanes not in a bowl now that FSU is going to Emerald?
  • With two BCS bids likely in the Big Ten, not enogh bowl-eligible teams to fill the tie-ins.
Also a three words or less preview. Feel free to mock the sponsors or bowl titles in the comments unless you are pimping your site.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia
Mountain West - At Large
TCU vs. Northern Illinois
San Diego
(any passes?)
Dec. 19, 8 p.m.

Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas
Oregon vs. BYU
Las Vegas
(Ducks beat Sooners?)
Dec. 21, 8 p.m.

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Sun Belt Champ vs. C-USA
(Troy) vs. Rice
New Orleans
(Find a party)
Dec. 22, 8 p.m.

Big East vs. C-USA
East Carolina vs. (S Miss.)
Birmingham, Ala.
(Pirates sunk)
Dec. 23, 1 p.m.

New Mexico
Mountain West vs. WAC
New Mexico vs. San Jose State
Albuquerque, N.M.
(End of Days?)
Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Mountain West vs. C-USA
Utah vs. Tulsa
Fort Worth, Texas
(Two good defenses)
Dec. 23, 8 p.m.

Sheraton Hawaii
Pac-10 vs. WAC
Hawaii vs. Arizona State
(100 pts?)
Dec. 24, 8 p.m.

Motor City
MAC #1 vs. Big Ten #7
Central Michigan vs. (???)
(Not enough Tens!)
Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.

ACC vs. Pac-10
Florida State vs. UCLA

San Francisco
(Mighty have fallen)
Dec. 27, 8 p.m.

PetroSun Independence
Big 12 vs. SEC
Oklahoma St vs. South Carolina
Shreveport, La.
(Spurrier coaching other?)
Dec. 28, 4:30 p.m.

Pacific Life Holiday
Big 12 vs. Pac-10
Missouri vs. California
San Diego
(Classic matchup)
Dec. 28, 8 p.m.

Big East vs. Big 12
Pitt vs. Kansas/MTSU

(Can't watch scraps)
Dec. 28, 8 p.m.

NFL Network
Gaylord Hotels Music City
Miami (FL) vs.Georgia
Nashville, Tenn.
(Great for Gaylord)
Dec. 29, 1 p.m.

Brut Sun
Big 12/Big East/Notre Dame vs. Pac-10
Texas Tech/Kansas St vs. Oregon State
El Paso, Texas Dec. 29, 2 p.m.

AutoZone Liberty
SMU vs. Tennessee
Memphis, Tenn.
(Smell Vol letdown)
Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m.

Big 12 vs. Big Ten
Texas Tech vs. Minnesota
Tempe, Ariz. Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.

NFL Network
Champs Sports
ACC vs. Big Ten
Maryland/Clemson vs. Purdue
Orlando, Fla. Dec. 29, 8 p.m.

Meineke Car Care
ACC vs. Big East/Navy
Clemson/Maryland vs. Navy
Charlotte, N.C. Dec. 30, 1 p.m.

Mastercard Alamo
Big Ten vs. Big 12
Iowa vs. Kansas State
San Antonio Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech/BC vs. Auburn
Atlanta Dec. 30, 8 p.m.

MPC Computers
BC/Virginia Tech
Boise, Idaho Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.

Big Ten vs. SEC
Penn State vs. Florida
Tampa, Fla. Jan. 1, 11 a.m.

AT&T Cotton
Big 12 vs. SEC
Texas vs. LSU
(Set your alarm!)
Jan. 1, 11:30 a.m.

Toyota Gator
ACC vs. Big 12/Big East/Notre Dame
Georgia Tech vs. WVU/Louisville
Jacksonville, Fla. Jan. 1, 1 p.m.

Capital One
Big Ten vs. SEC
Wisconsin vs. LSU
Orlando, Fla. Jan. 1, 1 p.m.

Big Ten #2* and Pac-10 #2/At Large
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Pasadena, Calif. Jan. 1, 5 p.m.

Tostitos Fiesta
Big 12 vs. At Large BCS
Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Glendale, Ariz.
Jan. 1, 8 p.m.

FedEx Orange
ACC vs. At Large BCS
Wake Forest vs. Rutgers/WVU
Miami Jan. 2, 8 p.m.

Allstate Sugar
SEC vs At Large BCS
Arkansas vs. Louisville/Rutgers
New Orleans
(like last year?)
Jan. 3, 8 p.m.

MAC vs. Big East
Western Michigan vs. USF/Cincy
(More great defense)
Jan. 6, Noon

Houston vs. Ohio/Nevada
Mobile, Ala.
(almost there)
Jan. 7, 8 p.m.

BCS Championship Game
#1 vs. #2
Ohio State vs USC
Glendale, Ariz. Jan. 8, 8 p.m.


November 27, 2006

The Sham that is Big-Time College Athletics

SI's former editor and now NPR podcaster Frank DeFord takes on Bowl scouts (great gig), the Congress' look at the NCAA tax-exempt status (signal that GOP was on its way out), and athletics and entertainment place in the educational process (let's just be honest about it)...

National Public Radio

November 26, 2006

A survey on coaching situations

North Texas moved first by dumping Head Coach Darrel Dickey just a few months after a heart attack. Honestly, it doesn't get much rougher than that.

Larry Coker was next, then UNC's John Bunting, then John L. Smith, then Iowa State's Dan McCarney... but Sunday axes truly started to swing.
Others on the hot seat:

Mike Shula, Alabama - another loss to Auburn fanned the rumor flames, and no bowl game in the immediate future. I give him even odds.
Rich Brooks, Kentucky - although he finished the season strong and has a bright future with that offense. Brooks should be good for another season.

Coaches for whom I fear:

Mike Bellotti, Oregon - an amazing collapse of a season among a series of excellent campaigns.
JD Brookhart, Akron - horrible follow-up to MAC Championship, but he is doing great work.
Chuck Long, San Diego State - first year was as successful as Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - but no ne in management at either production should worry about early returns given all the resumes.
Walt Harris, Stanford - he didn't suddenly forget everything about offensive football. The injury list was deep and wide - Jack Kevorkian could be the team doctor.

Guys who I can't believe have jobs:

Bobby Bowden, FSU - see earlier article
Tommy West, Memphis - OK, Year One without DeAngelo Williams was supposed to be hard, but firing your DC mid-way through the season triggered a full-on collapse.
Ron Zook, Illinois - although I give him credit for moments of glory this year - he just needs a ton more moments.
Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss - sold his season's soul for QB Brent Schaeffer, and it took six weeks for him to get comfy in the offense. Plus, his temper is reaching legendary proportions. Their regents deserve this for the handling of David Cutcliffe.

Got a rumor or a fake story to propogate? Hit the comments.



Good tongue in cheek look at the candidates for the Hurricanes job - extra points for not mentioning Schiano.

Although Schiano has only said, "I plan to be at Rutgers", not "I am staying at Rutgers". Gotta love the wordplay.

Some honest candidates? I still say that of the jobs at smaller schools, there are great hires at Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe and USF's Jim Leavitt. Not sure either wants to leave their current jobs, but they have shown how they can build up a program from ashes.

USC jumps Michigan in the human polls

Or as I prefer to call it, the AD poll since I have heard from many good sources (Florida colleges mostly) that the coach usually hands it off to the Athleic Director. It is worth 1/3 of the final BCS rankings (Harris and Computer Index the other thirds). BCS puts out its official Week 13 poll around 7pm.

Ohio State the unanimous #1 in all the land (votes in parentheses), looks like a cinch for the OSU - USC BCS Championship

Trojans jumped all over Notre Dame last night, so here is the Top 25 courtesy of

Ohio State (63)
Southern California

Boise State


and now for the Harris Poll Top Ten:

1Ohio State (114) 12-028501 W42-39 Michigan
2USC10-126213at UCLA W44-24 Notre Dame
3Michigan11-126002 L39-42 at Ohio State
4Florida11-125314Arkansas W21-14 at Florida State
5Notre Dame10-223475 L24-44 at USC
6Arkansas10-223456at Florida L26-31 LSU
7West Virginia9-220518Rutgers L19-24 South Florida
8LSU10-218899 W31-26 at Arkansas
9Wisconsin11-1188811 W35-3 Buffalo
10Louisville10-1185710Connecticut W48-24 at Pittsburgh

Interesting that the Harris Poll doesn't list Boise State in their Top Ten (they sit at 12) after their undefeated season in the WAC. Remember that non-Big Six conference winners has to be ranked 12 or better in order to qualify for a BCS Bowl. Boise a lock for the Fiesta.

More on the Bowl matchups as they become more clear.

November 25, 2006

What is wrong with Florida State?

  • Three losses or more in each of the last six years (8-4 in 2001, then 9-5, 10-3, 9-3, 8-5, now 6-6).
  • Boosters pony up $100k per year to OC/nespot Jeff Bowden to make him go away.
  • Consistently near the bottom of the nation's third-down conversion rankings (worst in 2003, 86th this year).

Theories are many to the downfall of Seminole Nation, I lean to the idea that this nation just needs a new leader. Bobby Bowden (right, in statue form calling for a rare extra point kick) can still recruit (support below), but on his coach's show he can't remember player names - Bowden has delegated too much and the wins have waned. I fear Jeff Bowden was left on his own with no one to mentor him, and dagummit if Papa Bowden didn't stand up for his kid throughout the whole process regardless.

Getting a college degree is more accessible now than ever.

If someone were abducted by aliens five years ago and came back to hear that the Seminoles were shut out at home by Wake Forest, they would request a return to the anal probing. All had to be wrong with the world, so why stay?

Many people say that the recruiting has fallen off - I ask you to look back at the late February Florida newspapers or look at the surveys of who had the best recruiting classes and it just isn't so. The following is copied from the eponymous Phil Steele College Football Preview 2006, page 294 and 296 (I am adding the players in from memory, feel free to add/correct/scold me.)..
  • 2006 - 9th best class (Myron Rolle)
  • 2005 - 3rd (WR Greg Carr and Fred Rouse)
  • 2004 - 8th (QBs Weatherford and Lee, RB Antone Smith)
  • 2003 - 19th
  • 2002 - 1st (LB Buster Davis, RB Lorenzo Booker)
  • 2001 - 1st
It boils down to not having the leadership and the coaching. So they have the players, they have the facilities, and they have a conference begging for a superpower after gutting the Big East a couple years ago...

Bobby must go, and he will only go of his own volition. For chrissakes, he has his own statue outside Doak Campbell Stadium - icons are not fired. Plus, he and Paterno seem to have some sort of unspoken deal to keep coaching until one dies or opens up a huge lead in the career coaching wins race (Bowden leads 365-362).

Bobby must leave for the Seminoles to return to glory.

And that is coming from a Gator alum.

Grrr beats soooey, 31-26

It was a superbly entertaining game, and the bowl ramifications were many - with more back and forth on the scoreboard than a debate on the Springer show, LSU made one less one-loss team of Arkansas, 31-26.

As my colleague Daniel Freer of Fantasy College Blitz pointed out while we enjoyed the finest meats and hops at the Orlando Ale House, "It is obvious to me that Darren McFadden (above) may not only be the best runner in the nation, he may be the best quarterback on the Hogs."

Casey Dick played down to his name (easy joke I am sure he has never heard before) completing just 3 of 17 passes, and the only pass in the second half that didn't bounce awkwardly off the turf ended up in LSU's hands. RUN DMc threw for 33 yards, five more than Dick - as Johnny Most might have said, "What a veritable disgusting display!"

Random thoughts from the game:
  • USC's strength of schedule takes a smack now that Arkansas loses its second game. Boy do they need that win over Notre Dame today to eclipse Michigan.
  • Likewise, Florida's chances went down of moving ahead of Michigan by beating Arkansas next week. Granted, they have a win over LSU also, so it might be a net-zero to the computers. But remember, the BCS is two-thirds pollsters, so the immediacy of the Arkansas loss may count more.
  • My man-crush on JaMarcus Russel grows stronger - I predict he will be everything that Michael Vick wants to be as a QB. He flicks his wrist and the ball goes forty-yards with a Warren Moon-like spiral.
  • With such an imaginative offensive gameplan by Arkansas OC Gus Mazlahn, WTF not get the ball in McFadden's hands in that final drive? Don't overthink this, Gus.
  • Arkansas bowl games are pretty well locked up - beat Florida, cue Def Leppard to pour some Sugar. Lose their third in the SEC Championship game, Cotton or the Capital One come calling.
  • I admit I expected LSU to lose and become one of the best three-loss teams ever - LSU may end up in a better bowl (Fiesta?) depending on the BCS rankings that come out Sunday Night.

November 24, 2006

A WAC-ky dilemma: Win or take the money?

I learn a lot when hanging out with Daniel Freer - I knew he would be a tremendous asset when I put together Fantasy College Blitz to make the market for
fantasy college football, and he has yet to disappoint. So this week, he and I collaborated on the Start/Sit article for the Top 25 teams, and he sneaks this nugget in...
No one outside of Nevada wants the Wolf Pack to (beat Boise State) today....a Boise loss means $1.5 million less bowl revenue sharing per WAC team without a BCS Bowl invite. - DF
Granted, the only other place I would see this or the potential Boise bowl matchups debated is at the Idaho Statesman, but I thought this was a strong look under the hood of college football's current system and a study in human nature at the very least.

Imagine the behind the scenes discussions in Reno if the WAC commissioner Karl Benson were to cleverly drop the slightest hint that there could be something in it for the Nevada Wolfpack if they were to drop a couple balls. Or put a couple on the carpet? Or call more draw plays on 3rd and 8? I would hope that if this were to ever happen, some Nevada alum/bigwig would put up a $1.5mil "gift" if the Wolfpack were to win.

I am not saying that this is happening at all - Benson has been nothing but an open lobbyist for Boise State in their quest for a BCS Bowl the last two years. As one of two undefeated teams in Division 1, if they win the WAC and finish in the Top 12 of the BCS, then to a BCS Bowl they go.

Remember, no one was happier to see USC lose to Oregon State than Boise State - Broncos pelted the Beavers on national TV in September, the game when Ian Johnson entered our collective consciousness by scoring five touchdowns. That only helps that they have a win over a team theat beat a Top Five team - something that BCS Technician Wesley Colley calls a "second-order" event.

3:30pm in Reno on the Game Plan...Broncos are a 2 1/2 point road dog. Should be one of the games of the day with lots of subtext. If Nevada wins, it makes a three-way tie at the top of the conference with round-robin-reauchamboux-like results since BSU beat Hawaii and the Warriors beat the Wolfpack.

PS - Did you know that Nevada leads the nation with ten wins against the spread?

November 23, 2006

Risk Capital, Week 13

First thing - throw away the idea that in Rivalry Week that "records do not matter". While certainly you can expect teams like Florida State and Texas A&M to get up and play better for their traditional rivals, across the nation this platitude will get worn out quicker than a pair of Air Jordans on a three-year old.

Join now and receive a generous sign up bonus.

Middle Tennessee -9 vs. Troy, MAX BET 5 UNITS
I know, you want to hear about the big games...but I thought this gaming thing was about finding lay-ups to bet? Like investing, it is all about finding inefficiencies and expoliting them and there is no less followed D1 conference than the Sun Belt. The only way anyone from this bastard conference gets to a bowl is to win the conference, and MTSU has a defense that would let it compete in the WAC and maybe the ACC this year. Granted, Troy almost beat FSU and Georgia Tech early in the season, but turnovers have been killing them.

Hawaii -18 vs. Purdue, 3 units
Purdue's defense is worse than Martha Stewart's and they just got off a 14-hour plane ride during the Turkey Day holiday. Game tips off at 11pm EST - see where I am going here? Over 75 is a threat, if you can actually find a book that publishes it - I haven't been able to for a month since Colt Brennan began his obscene attack on the passing record book. As Daniel Freer at Fantasy College Blitz reminded me yesterday, Jerry Glanville coaches the defense and they have played as well as any in the WAC. The main reason for 3 units rather than five? Will the bad Purdue defense translate better in the WAC.

Rutgers -14 over Syracuse, 3 units
Angry team in need of a tune up comes home to play a woeful opponent - sounds like a great setup for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers still is a top 5 defense and the only Orangeman who can hurt it is WR Delone Carter. I think Rutgers covers this with ease.

NC State -3 over East Carolina, ? units
Terry Bowden, between spitting and stuttering on his Orlando Radio Show on ESPN 1080, is 6-3 this year with his lock of the week - this week, this is his pick. He my be unable to have an intelligent conversation outside the realm of football, but he knows his locks.

Triple Option Special: None
Navy is idle, Air Force travels to UNLV and is giving 10.5...too rich for my blood. Plus, Phil Steele says that the UNLV defensive coach was at USAFA for five years prior to his gig in the desert - pass on this one.

Rivalry picks - hard to bet given the pageantry
  • Florida squeaks by FSU (did you know Urban Meyer has yet to win on the road while at UF, plus has yet to cover this year away from the Swamp?)
  • Texas over Texas A&M
  • Arkansas over LSU on Friday (making LSU the best three-loss team ever!)
  • Arizona by 7 over Arizona State
  • Oregon vs. Oregon State - pick'em!
  • Oklahoma by 10 over Oklahoma State
  • BYU by 13 over Utah
  • Miss St over Miss in one of the most boring games of the week.
  • UNC over Duke in THE most boring game of the weekend
Hope you all enjoyed your turkey - stay awake today for the big Arkansas at LSU game!

November 20, 2006

Buckeye vs. Wolverine in the steel cage?

All this talk of rematches in the national title game made me think of all those hokie rematch slogans in pro wrestling. You know, like...

"Last time on RAW, Big Willie watched his girlfriend Catalina get hogtied to the ropes of the ring while he was held down by Captain America - this time, he means war on this weekend's pay-per-view!"

What do you think Fox will bring to the table for a slogan?

So Michigan and Ohio State clearly illustrated themselves to be the top two teams in the land on Saturday, even though both defenses took the day off. USC beat Cal, but the game was closer than the 22-9 final. Florida walked over 5A state runner-up Western Carolina, Arkansas punked the Bulldogs, and Notre Dame made our Army look like a third-world force.

So the BCS Championship Game boils down to this if you do not want to see the rematch, you need USC to get the popular vote by crushing the Irish, and/or you want to see Arkansas punish Florida in the SEC Championship game since the Hogs have the better loss to USC.

ESPN's Brad Edwards says Notre Dame has no chance - I like the sound of that.

November 19, 2006

A Survey of Heisman opinion

is superfluous - Ohio State's Troy Smith locked it up for the New York Downtown Athletic club with his 4-TD performance in the OVER-whelming win over Michigan in the Game of the Year.

Brady Quinn and Steve Slaton need only worry about helping their team from this point forward - and each can now that Rutgers has opened the door.

Here are my top five just for kicks:
  1. Troy Smith - put a #10 jersey on the bronze statue - Troy has nothing to do for the next fifty days or so, perhaps he can make the mini
  2. Colt Brennan - see why here. But Smith's 26/4 ratio is damn hot also.
  3. Steve Slaton - no one breaks more 50-yard runs, except maybe Pat White.
  4. Brady Quinn - statistically better than Smith, but doesn't have the team surrounding him nor that nice round number at the end of the record.
  5. Ian Johnson - I need a sentimental pick from a small school - although he may offer to knit the mini-Smith jersey,
Ray Rice now on the outside looking in - his absence for most of the second half reminds me of Reggie Bush on the sidelines when USC was on their final drive last year against Texas - waht are they thinking? I know he is weaker is pass protection, but you have to work in your most productive player into all offensive sets, don't you?

From around the routers:

USA Today - why no Colt Brennan on their hot sheet?
CFN - a week late, but still useful.
The Heisman Pundit - although the commentors prefer to focus on the BCS Championship.
AOL FanHouse - lots of love for Brady Quinn, and almost too much from his bunkmate...

and of course, the Nissan "Chase for the Heisman" commercial (I got all the mascots figured out except the guy jumping off the rock onto the Trojan. Help?)...

Hey, didn't you used to be Rutgers?

No more Cinderella, and now no more Rutgers in the national title talk. Those in favor of the dissolution of the BCS got knocked out Saturday as the last remaining undefeated not located in Idaho failed in its bid for a perfect season.

#8 Rutgers undefeated no more as Cincinnati thoroughly whipped, imprisoned, then impaled the Knights 30-11. As the Buckeyes closed their season and Troy Smith closed his Heisman campaign with scream, Rutgers went all Braden Looper by blowing their chance and since they were down so early they had to abandon the run, hence Raymell Rice's Heisman campaign with a whisper. It obviously left a bad taste in FB Brian Leonard's mouth...

I had borrowed the idea of a meta-playoff from Matt Sussman a week ago, and one of those games officially will not happen now - much less interest in that December 2 game of Rutgers and West Virginia.

Finally, it is quite interesting how this loss affected the rankings. In the BCS, this Rutgers loss makes the Louisville loss much more hurtful to the Cardinals...Mountaineers back up to #7, Louisville down to #9.

November 18, 2006

Another sermon on the Mount Union

There are few dynasties in sports anymore, due to free agency or the evolution of scouting/recruiting science or NFL-style constructions to force parity upon us.

One college football team stands above it all. The Mount Union Purple Raiders of Alliance, Ohio.

Steve Fox of The Grand Rapids Press spells out the numbers:
  • 15 consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference championships
  • eight of the past 13 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl championships
  • 16 consecutive playoff berths
  • 11 consecutive trips to the semifinal round
  • NCAA-best 210-10-1 record since 1990.
Great Unofficial site for the Purple Raiders here...great breakdown of the 49-0 ass-whooping of the appropriately named Hope College in the first-round of the 32-team DIII playoff (*snicker*). And I will continue to update my humble readers on their progress throughout their run in 2006.

Don't come here looking for any Buckeye-Wolverine breakdown

I am just a simple blogger, with a simple life, hey hell I pay the price.

Consider my humble OCF as the Pepto-Bismol for your wall-to-wall coverage-induced nausea from "The Game".

Honestly, I couldn't possibly add anything to the pantheon of ideas after this game that a major media outlet or beat writer has done already. Enjoy my other looks around the country throughout the weekend.

November 17, 2006

Risk Capital, Week 12

In the interest of time, a quick list of the games I like:

Navy -31 over Temple

Oklahoma -20 over Baylor

Michigan +7 at Ohio State (the Schembechler motivation plus the fact that they have a better defense and are rated higher on the computers.)

I also like the tease of Michigan and Cal - tease both up to +14 to get even money payoff.

Bo Schembechler dead at 77

As if The Game needed more subtext...

For the second time in the past week, Bo collapsed while taping a show to discuss the game, this time, Bo was pronounced dead on the day before the most important matchup of the rivalry he helped create, Michigan at Ohio State.

As the picture above shows, Bo liked to carry a big stick, and he earned it as Michigan's all-time victory leader. I wonder if the Dead Schembechlers feel guilty? Or will they find a way to stay classy given the revelation of the new truth of their name?

Links from around the routers:

Remembering Schembechler - Yahoo Sports (not Terry Bowden thank goodness)
Schembechler dead - Deadspin - includes the gloriously inapropriate comment by WiserTime "They just changed the name of the Dead Schembechlers band to Take the 7 Points"
A Michigan icon - The Sporting News

November 16, 2006

100th Post: Favorite College Rivalries

The Game (Michigan at Ohio State, at 3:30pm on ABC if you haven't heard) casts a shadow so vast that it is almost forgotten that Auburn plays Alabama. This picture sent in by James (courtesy reminds us how dark and macabre things can get in Alabama...

So we have an alignment of stars today - This is my 100th post and what better time to share my favorite college football rivalries. Please feel free to run me ragged with your input, or simply share your own list.

I hear that is what this bloggery is all about.

1) Ohio State and Michigan
"Judgement Day" or "The Game" (stolen from Harvard-Yale, btw)
Michigan leads the overall series 57-39-6.

Not just the best college football rivalry, but ESPN voters and pundits called it the finest rivalry in sports.

Columbus Dispatch Pre-Game Detroit Free Press

My fondest memory: Growing up in Akron, this one meant a lot during the Schembechler-Hayes era. Unfortunately, all my great memories are of Michigan - Tshimonga Biakabutuka rolling for 300 yards, Desmond Howard striking his pose, and John Cooper showing John L. Smith-like inability to finish.

Ohio State fans, help me out with some good memories!

2) Auburn and Alabama
"Iron Bowl" at Alabama Live
Alabama leads the series over Auburn 38-31-1.

I have lived in Florida the last twenty years so I have a preference to the state war here, but I tell you I can see it in the eyes of Tide and Tiger fan alike - this games means more than any of the other games to the state's citizens listed but one. People have been maimed ouside the stadium. The state simply stops operating.

3) Florida and Georgia
"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party"
Georgia holds a 46-37-2 advantage.

Anyone know where the best indoor one is? Errict Rhett getting 40 carries in the rain in 1993 is the highlight of the only game I attended in this series. It never fails to make me laugh and get goosebumps when they play the "Run Lindsay Run!" call from the great Bulldog broadcaster Larry Munson - pure, unadulterated homerism without shame!

4) Cal and Stanford
"The Band is on the field!" "Big Game"
Stanford leads the series record at 54-43-11
(49-40-10 if you do not include rugby games from 1906 to 1914!).

Left Coasters may remember when this game was much more relevant. I am sure this rivalry is positioned every day in Silicon Valley as one smart guy tries to one-up the others' patent or something.

5) Florida and Florida State
Gators up 29-19-2

The 35-35 tie. Jacquez Green gets deep on a beautifully thrown ball by Doug Johnson. Chris Rix's best games ever against the Gators. I don't know where to start - commentors?

6)USC and UCLA
Or is Notre Dame a bigger rivalry for the Trojans?

7) Oklahoma and Texas
"Red River Shootout"
Texas leads Texas leads the all-time series 57-39-5

My most memorable part of this matchup was making SO MUCH MONEY betting against Mack Brown in this series - until last year. Remember he had a reputation as a choker?

8) Army and Navy
Navy leads 50-49

Used to be a museum for fans of triple-option football. This year be sure to catch the navy QB sensation Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada. Interestingly, when these true warriors are there to support their team, you would expect some boorish behavior, but it is so much worse when the Eagles fans flock to the old Vet or the new Link.

9) Harvard and Yale
the original "The Game"
Yale leads the series, 64-49-8

Great clip from Wikipedia - Apocryphal tales assert that before the 1908 Game, Harvard coach Percy Haughton strangled a bulldog to death in the locker room to motivate his players. Whether this is true or not, Harvard did win 4-0, the culmination of a 9-0-1 season.

10) Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
"The Bedlam Series" - it is more than just the football.
Oklahoma Sooners 77-16-7 (football only)

In case you forgot, Oklahoma A&M was a powerhouse in the 1940's and 1950's - but since then the Sooners have been one of the more successful programs in the game. My favorite moment - learning the name WR Raushaun Woods and QB Josh Fields (now in the White Sox system) as the Cowboys laid a beatdown on the Sooners in 2001. I attended the 2004 version in Stillwater which the Wikipedia author calls the best matchup of the series - I wish good health to Adrian Peterson, maybe just after this season's game.


I am really shocked as I wrap this up that the Miami Hurricanes aren't on here at all. Not versus Notre Dame, not Florida State. Shocking, but I will stand by it. It is MY list after all.

Thanks to for the factual research.

Fantasy College Blitz on The Game

I thought I would share a taste of our work at Fantasy College Blitz, where we have offered fantasy football educations for the last couple of years.

My fantasy college football breakdown of the "Judgement Day" matchup of the Ohio State and Michigan follows - if you would like to see the whole breakdown of the Top 25 matchups, just sign up for our free newsletter below and I will email you a copy.

#2 Michigan at #1 Ohio State

Michigan owns the best running defense in the country allowing only 329 yards TOTAL (less than 30 ypg). Buckeyes pace the nation in points allowed per game with less than 8 points/gm. Of course, the most impressive stat is the matchup of two top ten defenses according to the FCB Defense Index. Injuries are few and far between - if a game could end with a 5-3 score, this could be it.

There are six RBs from the state of Ohio who have averaged more yds/gm than Antonio Pittman in November, and he is the Buckeyes leading rusher for the year. As you can see on the graph, he keeps finding the end zone despite having the Illinois and Northwestern D shut down his yardage. Our FCB historian Daniel Freer loves Pittman as a lock, I am much more tempered in my enthusiasm - I say one TD and 75 yards as he continues to give up carries to freshman Chris Wells.

So the only place that your Buckeye players have a shot is thru the air, which coupled with the visibility of the Heisman race tells me that Troy Smith (right) should come up big in this game with multiple TDs. Anthony Gonzalez has been much more consistent than Ted Ginn and I expect that to continue - remember that catch Gonzalez made last year to keep the Buckeyes alive? Expect more as the Wolverines will no doubt focus on limiting Ginns big plays.

On the Michigan side, you gotta start RB Mike Hart - a healthy Mike Hart is a beautiful thing to watch, and this year he has 100 yds from scrimmage in every game but last week versus Indiana. I know he had nine rushes for 15 yards in last years tussel versus Tressel, but this is his year. WR sensation Mario Manningham may be getting closer to 100%, but I haven't seen that in the last two weeks. QB Chad Henne truly holds risk as a starter (avg less than 200 ypg, 18-7 td/int in eleven games) against the best defense he has faced this year. Most will remember only his best game of the year, the victory over Notre Dame - that was easily his best performance of the year

And that is the only Wolverine worth playing.

Pick for the game - Ohio State 18-15 with lots of FGs.

Fill in your e-mail address to receive the Fantasy College Blitz newsletter and the rest of the Top 25 breakdown for free!

November 15, 2006

Taxation without compensation to the congregation

Just when I thought this story would never pop up again, NCAA leader Miles Brand responded with a vitriolic 20-page letter to the House Ways and Means Committee defending the organization's tax-exempt status. Some of the more cogent points:
"the NCAA should not be penalized simply because television networks are willing to pay millions or billions of dollars to air games since it does not change the NCAA's primary purpose."

"If the educational purpose of college (sports) could be preserved only by denying the right to telecast the events...the institutions of higher education themselves and even the American taxpayer would ultimately lose"
Gosh, I hate to admit that those make sense to me.

Granted I am not a legal scholar nor an expert on tax-exempt organizations, but I have to think if a National Humane Society existed and they televised dog shows or cat fights and made money from those, that wouldn't detract from their basic tenet to better the life of neglected domestic animals. Well, you might argue abput the catfights...

If you simply want to root against the NCAA, this may not be your fight to get behind...the Rep Bill Thomas of the Cally (GOP) is no longer the chairman, that job now belongs to the always dapper Charles Rangel of New York (Dem). At best, this effort gets gridlocked, at worst this was merely a parting shot for a politician on his way out.

November 14, 2006

Bowden to step down in 2007

Before you get your Seminole loincloths in a wad, I did take creative and deceptive liberty with the headline.

"My biggest regret is that I won't be here the next time coach Bowden gets to hold up the crystal ball,"

I imagine neither will Bobby.

Jeff Bowden, not Bobby Bowden , has agreed to step down as offensive coordinator at Florida State University, ending a reign of terror and ineptitude at the helm of one of the most talent-rich rosters in college football. Many have called for the head of the patriarch (including yours truly since he doesn't seem to know his own players' names), but most people point to Jeff as the problem since the Seminole defense has been doing just fine under the tutelage of Mickey Andrews.

(origin unknown)

CBS Sportsline suggests that Bobby was so upset at all the criticism he was ready to punch someone - perhaps he saw this petition? This further validates my thought process that Bobby is there for the long-term - I wonder if this was a "suggestion to step down" rather than a firing by the Regents? And Bobby gets to stay and lock down all the great recruits for the new guy. Couldn't work out better for a guy fighting to stay atop the all-time victory list - all he needed to do was sacrifice his son. Et tu, Abraham?

Links from around the routers:

Orlando Sentinel: An open letter of apology to Chris Rix (pre-resignation?)

Talahassee Democrat

Inside the BCS with the Colley Matrix

Chatted again with Wesley Colley of the Colley Matrix, one of the official computer poll providers for the Bowl Championship Series. If only more journalists and maybe even coaches used more rationale and science and less "gut" like Colley, I think everyone would feel better about the BCS.

Remember, the polls are two-thirds of the BCS, computers the other third.

Vince Mullins: Let's get right to The Game...Just about every computer has Michigan #1, including yours, yet pollsters all seem to agree that OSU is the better team. What are the main reasons the Colley Matrix has the Wolverines on top?
Wesley Colley: Look at my top five schedule comparison here. Texas' loss helped. So now Michigan's Notre Dame win eclipses OSU's Texas win. Also, Ohio State rotated into playing 1-9 Illinois, which Michigan has not played. Overall, Michigan's opponents are 58-52, while OSU's are 48-61.
VM: Let's assume that OSU and USC win handily - is that our championship game no matter Rutgers or the SEC?
WC: Quite likely, I'd say, but if Arkansas and Florida win out, then Florida wins in the SEC title game, who knows?
VM: What if the computer is right on Michigan, and they win a close one, coupled with a Cal upset of USC - does your hard drive start to melt?
WC: A win is a win in my system (70-0 is the same as 21-20 is the same as 3-2), so closeness is irrelevant. Really, to "first order" things don't get that crazy, though. You can play around with scenarios here... Plugging in just those games, you end up with Michigan #1, Rutgers #2, Florida, #3, OSU #4, Cal #7 and USC #8.
VM: Let me get on my soapbox - I do not believe that Notre Dame belongs in the discussion for the Championship game based on the perceived weak schedule they faced. The average computer ranking, like you, has them at five. What am I missing with the Irish?
WC:Notre Dame has beaten the ACC Coastal champion, quality Big 10 teams in Purdue and Penn State, a decent Navy squad and no lightweight in UCLA. Those aren't top 10 wins, but they shouldn't be overlooked, either. Bottom line, Irish opponents are a collective 50-48, not too shabby when you have 0-9 UNC and 1-9 Stanford thrown in at the bottom.
VM: Consider me informed on the Irish.

November 13, 2006

A Meta-playoff? A quasi-playoff?

By the way, college football playoffs do begin soon. Expect that I will fully get behind Mount Union again for the D3 title.

That is right, a 32-team playoff in D3. 24 in D2.

Did you know there really isn't a D1-AA anymore? Division One is broken up into a Bowl Subdivision and a Championship Subdivision. Is there any more clear signal that the NCAA doesn't comprehend its own hypocrisy? I understand an Appalachian State vs. North Dakota State bowl game would be attended only by friends and family that are willing to travel, but if you like the bowl money over the playoffs just say so - Mr. Brand would be surprised how good honesty is for that weight you feel on your chest during media interviews.

Suss--, one of my favorite commentors on Deadspin, worked ahead on the remaining schedule in Division 1, er, the Bowl Subdivision, and uncovered a legitimate eight-team playoff schedule over the next couple weeks...

...oh, wait:

(1) Ohio State vs. (2) Michigan (November 18)
(3) USC vs. (5) Notre Dame (Happy Thanksgiving Weekend)
(4) Florida vs. (7) Arkansas (potential SEC Championship)
(6) Rutgers vs. (8) West Virginia (December 2)

As I said later in the Rutgers thread, those calling for the end of the BCS would do well to "prefer the devil you know". All the college football world needs is a Wake Forest to rally thru a 16-team playoff to get the Midwesterners up in arms that the best team didn't win.

Remember, I am the guy who likes the current system - no other sport allows their regular season to count for so much.

My name is Vince Mullins and I approved this message.

On College Football Top 13

  1. Michigan (#1 on computers for second week in a row)
  2. Ohio State (hosting The Game)
  3. Florida (no style points help)
  4. Arkansas (that USC loss seems so long ago - great D)
  5. Rutgers (a/k/a Cinderella, Feel Good Story of 2006)
  6. USC (the dominance of Arkansas seems so long ago)
  7. Notre Dame (they may actually deserve this)
  8. Louisville (10-0 was theirs)
  9. West Virginia (Stay up with us on Dec 2)
  10. Oklahoma (they are playing as well as anyone)
  11. Wake Forest (one botched FG away from undefeated)
  12. Boise State (one botched FG away from bye-bye)
  13. Cal (will beat USC this week)

November 12, 2006

Player of the Year Award Standings

While Darren McFadden and Colt Brennan are doing all they can to showcase their immense talents, four TDs by Ohio State QB Troy Smith goes a long way to setup another Buckeye to win the DAC trophy in 2006.

Especially with The Game on Saturday. At 3:30pm EDT. If you haven't heard, undefeated #1 and #2 square off in Columbus?

Since I expect that Smith will lock up the votes for the statue pictured to the right regardless of the outcome on Saturday, I choose to make my own Player of the Year rankings public.

The Winner will receive a wonderfully designed certificate, which they can download from this site before the first bowl game.

My Player of the Year Standings
  1. Troy Smith, Ohio State
  2. Colt Brennan, Hawaii
  3. Raymell Rice, RB, Rutgers
  4. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
  5. Ian Johnson, Boise State
  6. Steve Slaton, West Virginia

November 11, 2006

It's a BC-Mess!

3, 5, 6, 8, playoff proponents appreciate all the upsets, and what a shakeup the BCS will be late Sunday!

As if any better scenario could unfold for Rutgers and Arkansas improbable returns to greatness (as if Rutgers was ever this successful?), four of the top teams in the land lose and part the BCS like Charlton Heston parted the Red Sea.

Let us roll thru the top ten losses with what I imagine (or actually heard) from the local radio guys, and the three others that were way too freaking close for comfort and would have led to mass hysteria.

Thursday - Rutgers beats #3 Louisville

1:30pm EDT
- you probably heard this clip on a sports radio - "Going into halftime, and Georgia is putting a beatdown on the Tigers, and there is another score, Georgia 30-7." BCS #5 War Eagles clipped by the Bulldogs 37-15. Star of the game was the defense led by CB Tra Battle and his three picks, one of which was a pick-six.

4pm PDT - "Star QB Nate Longshore back to pass again, looking for star WR DeSean...oh, fiddlesticks, Antoine Cason, that damned Thorpe Award nominee, just jumped the route and runs it back 40 yards for the score." Somehow, Arizona had all the bounces go their way and ended up with a Wildcat 24-20 win over #8 California.

9:30pm - "Colt McCoy on the sneak, and TOUCHDOWN LONGHORNS, and Manhattan goes silent" At least until McCoy suffered from a neck stinger and didn't return. Kansas State's freshman QB Josh Freeman chose to make the stage his own, with three TD passes and one running as the Kansas State Wildcats sneak by the Longhorns 45-42 on a Jeff Snodgrass 51-yard field goal with 3:19 left. Freeman got lots of love from the ABC crew covering the game, although the blathering was so banal that I couldn't tell you if it was Brent Musberger or Mark Jones on the mike.

You thought that the upsets were nail biters, fans of the Broncos, Sooners and Gators masticated down to the quick.

While at my good friend Doug's wedding, most of the invited pulled the ultimate faux pas of priorities as we gathered around the TV at the bar. The unwashed were rewarded as we watched the THIRD BLOCKED KICK by the Gators to survive a Spurrier-led South Carolina scare 17-16.

Sooners were without their main RB named AP - not just Adrian Peterson, but Allen Patrick also. WR/QB Paul Thompson had a career day throwing for 301 yards in their narrow victory over Texas Tech. (Sooners are rewarding my pre-season faith in them. Granted, I bailed on them after the Oregon loss...)

And readers know of my appreciation for the team of the Blue Turf...San Jose State put one hell of a scare for all the BCS-busting fans out there, but the Boise State Broncos put 11 points on the board in the last 5 minutes to squeak out the victory 23-20.

More on the BCS late Sunday...I gotta think Rutgers is #6 at least? As well as my Top 13.

That Bullet must have been tired...

One of my favorite college football traditions (right behind the "dotting of the I" at Ohio State, the yearly chants of "Nobel Prize" at Cal and the pelting of opponents with tortillas in Lubbock) is the running of a large black quarterhorse named Bullet after every Oklahoma State touchdown.

The Cowboys whooped up on the Baylor Bears 66-24 just one week after being shutout offensively at Texas. Two passing TDs, five running, and two touchdowns on defense made up for the lack of production last week.

Bullet was caught in this exclusive photo back at his stable at the OSU Equine Studies stable...

Reports by OCF reporters immersed in the Stillwater area stated that Bullet ate twice the normal amount of feed, required three times the water, and turned down the opportunity to stud later that night.

November 10, 2006

Louisville gets the gas face

Seemingly lost in all the pro-Rutgers discussion on the web (look no farther than one story below) is any discussion of Louisville's inability to finish a season.

I look to fill that void (I'd be an angry looking bird too).

When the best of success and the promise of a chance at a championship awaits them, the Cardinals tend to fold like origami.

October 15, 2005
24-7 lead going into the around the nation hear the name Steve Slaton as he scores six TDs in an overtime come-from-behind thriller, WVU wins 46-44

September 2005
Cardinals go to Tampa and get throttled by the USF Bulls 45-14. Simply an embarrassing effort after cracking the Top 25 just a week before.

October 14, 2004
On national television again, #17 Cardinals led 38-34 in the Orange Bowl in the fourth (as much as 17 pts in the game), but a suspect D that made Brock Berlin actually look good (308 and 3TD) and #3 Miami (FL) TD with under a minute to go became a 41-38 loss. This was the only blemish on an 11-1 season. I cannot confirm it in a quick search of the net, but I think this is the game when a Louisville safety dropped an easy interception in the final drive that would have won it.

Please, I am not here to piss on the Rutgers' fans Corn Flakes - I am just providing a dispassionate and balanced observation of the sport.

I really hope that most readers get the Gas Face of the best rap videos of all time, if not one of the more clever raps about race relations and MC Hammer mocking rolled into one. If not, thank you YouTube for your amazing disdain for copyright protection...

All hail the State Univerity of New Jersey!

A survey of stories from blogs and media around the globe after Jeremy "Judge" Ito's FG gave the #14 Scarlet Knights a BCS-crushing 28-25 win over #3 Louisville...

The remaining undefeateds? Ohio State, Michigan, and Boise State. What are the statistical chances of three unbeatens? Wait, that has happened before...

Rutgers deserves the respect of the pollsters - one of the best defenses (#2 rank on Fantasy College Blitz methodology) and one of the best running backs in the nation in Raymell Rice (above). The crude signs around the stadium last night are part of the “everyman appeal” of the Rutgers phenomenon. Three more to go, plus one of the last regular season games of the year on December 2 at West Virginia will determine their destiny.