John Roberts College Football

Friday, December 09, 2005

Week Fifteen: Friday

The Heisman

Who deserves the Heisman Trophy this year?

1) Reggie Bush, USC- It's tough, because Bush did not have a great year returning kicks. Still, to average almost nine yards per carry with how many carries he had is phenomenal. He is exciting, and he deserves the Trophy.
2) Vince Young, Texas- I was ready to put Young second heading into last week, but he nearly vaulted to number one with his performance. He is exciting, and he throws and runs the ball very well. He deserves the Heisman, but this was an unfortunate year for him to earn it.
3) Matt Leinart, USC- Heading into last week, I was ready to vote for Leinart as the winner. However, after struggling early last week, and struggling in many of his big games this year early, it's too hard to vote for him. Almost any other year, Leinart would be winning his second Heisman. This year, it is just too tough.
4) Michael Robinson, Penn State- This guy has done everything that has been asked of him. He should have at least have been invited to New York for the presentation. He has developed into a great leader to go along with his great athletic ability.
5) DeAngelo Williams, Memphis- He's probably the best player from a non-BCS conference, and I normally try to find one of those or a defensive player to go into my Top Five. That's why Williams sneaks in. Plus, he is one of the best running backs in the country.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Week Fifteen: Wednesday

As expected, yesterday's article set off a bit of a firestorm. We'll get to those e-mails in a minute. But first, let's take a closer look at all the different versions of a playoff and who would have been invited.

When in doubt, I turned to the BCS Standings for rankings and who should have been there.

Four Team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 4. Ohio State
2. Texas vs. 3. Penn State

Who's ticked off: Oregon, Notre Dame.
Comments: Would Oregon fans be any happier here? Possibly, because, after all, Notre Dame got left out. Still, the same problem exists with Ohio State for the Ducks. For Notre Dame, all I can is don't lose to Michigan State and then you would be in.

Four Team
(only conference champs)

1. USC vs. 4. Notre Dame
2. Texas vs. 3. Penn State

Who's ticked off: Georgia
Comments: Georgia's turned to be ticked off. Notre Dame gets a bid because the Independents have to be able to get in somehow. Under this system, Notre Dame would get the fourth bid, and the Dawgs would be ticked. Ohio State might be a little frustrated too, since they were c0-champs of the Big Ten, but the official champ is Penn State. Sorry Buckeyes.

Eight Team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 8. Miami
4. Ohio State vs. 5. Oregon
3. Penn State vs. 6. Notre Dame
2. Texas vs. 7. Georgia

Who's ticked off: Auburn, Virginia Tech, West Virginia.
Comments: Oregon fans should be ticked off for West Virginia in this case. After all, the Mountaineers have only one loss and they have beaten up on teams for the most part this season. Auburn lost at home to Georgia Tech, but so did Miami. Miami's other loss was to Florida State, while Auburn lost to LSU. LSU is ranked ahead of Florida State. Virginia Tech shouldn't have lost to Florida State or Miami. Lose only one of those, and then they could have been ticked.

Eight team
(choosing the six BCS conference winners, top non-BCS conference winner, one at-large)

1. USC vs. 8. Florida State
4. Ohio State vs. 5. Georgia
3. Penn State vs. 6. West Virginia
2. Texas vs. 7. TCU

Who's ticked off: Oregon, Notre Dame
Comments: This produces an interesting set of results. Oregon is still ticked off that Ohio State got in ahead of them. So is Notre Dame. No other non-BCS conference winner really has a claim to the spot that TCU claims this year, but if we look at Fresno State right after the USC loss, then the TCU-Fresno State argument would have been fierce.

Sixteen team
(based on BCS standings)

1. USC vs. 16. Texas Tech
8. Miami vs. 9. Auburn
5. Oregon vs. 12. LSU
4. Ohio State vs. 13. Alabama
6. Notre Dame vs. 11. West Virginia
3. Penn State vs. 14. TCU
7. Georgia vs. 10. Virginia Tech
2. Texas vs. 15. UCLA

Who's ticked off: Florida, Wisconsin, Louisville, Florida State
Comments: UCLA and Texas Tech switch spots in the rankings to avoid a first round regular season rematch. Florida is ticked because they are just behind UCLA in the BCS standings. Wisconsin is ticked because they are 9-3. Florida State is ticked because two teams from the ACC who they beat both got in ahead of them. Louisville is ticked because they are number sixteen in both human polls and not in the tournament.

Sixteen team
(six BCS conference champs, top two non-BCS conference champs, eight wildcards)

1. USC vs. 16. Boise State
8. Miami vs. 9. Auburn
5. Oregon vs. 12. LSU
4. Ohio State vs. 13. Alabama
6. Notre Dame vs. 11. West Virginia
3. Penn State vs. 14. TCU
7. Georgia vs. 10. Virginia Tech
2. Texas vs. 15. Florida State

Who's ticked off: Texas Tech, UCLA, Louisville, Tulsa
Comments: Texas Tech and UCLA both have only two losses and yet are getting taken behind two loss Alabama. Louisville is still ranked in the top sixteen in both major polls. Tulsa thinks that they should be in ahead of Boise State because they were Conference USA champs and Boise won the WAC. Obviously, Tulsa believes Conference USA is tougher than the WAC.

Sixteen team
(all eleven conference champs and five wildcards, divided into four regions and checking so that rematches don't happen until the Final Four, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament)

1. Penn State vs. 4. Tulsa
2. Notre Dame vs. 3. Florida State

1. Ohio State vs. 4. Boise State
2. Miami vs. 3. Auburn

1. Texas vs. 4. Akron
2. Oregon vs. 3. West Virginia

1. USC vs. 4. Arkansas State
2. Georgia vs. 3 TCU

Who's ticked off: LSU, Virginia Tech
Comments: LSU and Virginia Tech went from fighting for the final number one seed to out of the tournament by their losses on Saturday. Amazing. However, Virginia Tech lost to Miami head-to-head, and LSU is ranked behind Miami. It is set up to try to keep teams close to their home region, however, due to the teams that aren't allowed to be in the same region (by rule, from the same state, from the same conference, or if they played each other during the regular season), sometimes teams get shipped out. (See Georgia.) Also, the number four seeds are ranked and so are the number one seeds so that the worst number four seed is playing the best number one seed. None of the other seeds are set up like that.

So which one do you think is most fair? Get your answers to me now. I'll post the results of the voting sometime in the near future.

Rant of the Week

I'm going to put a couple of rants out here this week. Here goes.

Maybe Notre Dame and Ohio St both deserve to be in the BCS. I don't think this is the big issue. I think the issue is the fact that both of these teams lost twice and Oregon only lost once. Since when should any 2 loss team be more deserving than a one loss team. All BCS conferences should be treated equal. If Ohio St. had went 10-1 and Oregon 9-2 with loses to USC and Cal and got in over Ohio St. The Big 10 would be in an uproar.
2nd - Most people don't agree with ND because of the way they have been treated this year. Last year Cal was dinged because they didn't win there last game impressively enough against a good Southem Miss team (also went to a bowl that year). ND barely beats Stanford in there last game and they still were praised as if they won 65-0. A Stanford team that got beat 27-3 a week earlier by Cal. Cal played the best game against USC last year and it didn't help them so why should ND playing a great game against USC benefit them so much more.
East coast people have to realize that nobody has beating USC in 3 years besides Cal. Nobody is going to beat them this year. Don't penalize the pac-10 because we haven't beating them yet.

--Eddie Hall
Eugene, Oregon

At the beginning of the season you could've predicted exactly what Notre Dame's record was going to be. They won all the games they were supposed to win and lost the ones they were supposed to lose. On the other hand, most people picked Oregon to finish around .500, yet they battled to a record of 10-1 with a brand new offense and without the most important player on their team for three games. As far as I know a win is a win and a loss is a loss and margin of victory isn't a factor anymore. I can't believe that Oregon would have had to go undefeated and beat the #1 team in the nation for the last 2 1/2 years just to get into a BCS bowl. Doesn't that seem flawed to you? It all boils down to money mostly and the prestige of Notre Dame....but then why play the games at all if record doesn't matter in the end. This Notre Dame team has been getting undeserved recognition all year. Just look at all the praise Weis has gotten when his team wasn't even as good a Willingham's first season (8-0).
It seems to me their is some sort of, dare I say, bias involved with Pac-10 teams. I don't know what else to call it. The majority of the time at the end of the season, if someone is getting the short end of the stick, it ends up being a team from the Pac-10. Just looking back at the last few years:
-This year Oregon gets left out of a deserved BCS at-large bid. -Last year California gets left out of a deserved BCS at-large bid. (And they barely lost to USC!) -A couple years ago, Oregon gets left out of the national championship being #2 in both polls, and then destroys Colorado.
-A couple years ago, Oregon State gets left out of the national championship, and then destroys an undeserving Notre Dame.
I just can't ignore the trend here. I'm not a statistics expert and some of this may have other angles to explore, but then there always seems to be a reason when it comes to the Pac-10, and very rarely do we ever hear a team such as Ohio State or Notre Dame getting snubbed. I mean is there any situation where a 9-2 Oregon team will EVER be ranked ahead of a 10-1 Ohio State team? Probably not.
As for a fix, you are probably right....their isn't one. I would like to see Notre Dame join the Pac-10 or any conference for that matter, but that is a side issue. I would be much more happy with the top 8 teams making the BCS bowls. Would Oregon be #8 then? I'm guessing no, but at least it would be something new to talk about for the underappreciated football teams on this side of the country.

--Ken Rust
Portland, Oregon

Those were the two best e-mails from Oregon fans concerning my articles yesterday. Very well thought out.

Now onto a topic that will interest even more people.

First of all I'm not a ranter or a whiner and I don't liketo argue but I really would like to point out a observation I came up withthis year.It seems that all the college football TV analysts are purposelytrying to look like a - - - - - - s for the sake of winning the ratings war.There is a world of difference between the Pro and College football commentators and/or analysts.Then when you look at the basketballcommentators and analysts its like night and day they present therethoughts and prognostications in a enjoyable and civil manner.

--Michael O'Leary

Well, thanks to everyone for their rants! They are a lot of fun to read!


Everyone says that they want a playoff. So which system would you like to see if a playoff were implemented. There are seven options above. You choose which one you would prefer and send me (at your preference in an e-mail. I will post the results at a later date!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Week Fifteen: Tuesday

My Rankings

These are my final rankings of the regular season. I spent a large majority of last week breaking down teams and determining where they should be ranked. I'll get into more details of why some of the jumps took place in a moment. But first, here is my final 2005 Top 25. The previous rank is in parentheses.

1. USC 12-0 (1)
2. Texas 12-0 (2)
3. Penn State 10-1 (3)
4. Ohio State 9-2 (6)
5. Auburn 9-2 (9)
6. Oregon 10-1 (7)
7. Notre Dame 9-2 (8)
8. Georgia 10-2 (12)
9. LSU 10-2 (5)
10. Miami, FL 9-2 (10)
11. Virginia Tech 10-2 (4)
12. West Virginia 10-1 (13)
13. Alabama 9-2 (14)
14. Florida 8-3 (15)
15. Louisville 9-2 (17)
16. TCU 10-1 (16)
17. UCLA 9-2 (11)
18. Texas Tech 9-2 (18)
19. Florida State 8-4 (--)
20. Boston College 8-3 (21)
21. Wisconsin 9-3 (--)
22. Michigan 7-4 (19)
23. Georgia Tech 7-4 (20)
24. Northwestern 7-4 (--)
25. Clemson 7-4 (22)

Dropped Out: South Carolina 7-4 (23), Iowa 7-4 (24), Fresno State 8-3 (25)

Fresno State dropped out for losing to Louisiana Tech. South Carolina and Iowa dropped out (and Oklahoma got left off) because there are only 25 spots. Florida State had to be ranked (after all, they have beaten two Top Eleven teams and the number 20 team in my rankings), and Wisconsin has a better record than Michigan and beat them on the field. Northwestern (other than a loss to Arizona State) has played very well and won head-to-head against Iowa. Clemson beat South Carolina head-to-head. That was finally how the final two spots were filled, with Oklahoma being on the outside looking in, but just barely. It was very tough to rank just 25 teams when there are at least 28 deserving teams. I didn't even go into the other teams that were considered but quickly dropped from consideration.

The other big jump without playing came from Auburn, who jumped from nine to five. They passed LSU and Virginia Tech, both losers this weekend. Yes, LSU has a head-to-head win over Auburn, but Auburn beat Georgia and Georgia beat LSU. All those teams have the same number of losses, and Auburn played both teams in road games and only lost in overtime. They jumped Notre Dame because I decided that Auburn was a more impressive two loss team than the Irish. They jumped Oregon because...well, I'll get into the Oregon case in a minute.

Thoughts on the Rankings and the BCS Bowls

The situation is this. Notre Dame and Ohio State received automatic at large bids to the BCS this season. Ohio State was the highest ranking team not to get an automatic bid and was ranked in the Top Four. That means they get an automatic bid. Notre Dame was ranked in the Top Six of the BCS, which means (just like it does for all teams not in BCS conferences) that they get an automatic bid.

So who should Oregon be mad at? I understand why Oregon is upset. They feel like they got left out, and the fact that most people thought they were going to be left out before the upsets on Saturday made it possible for those two bids to become automatic does not sit well with them. Still, the team the Ducks should be mad at is Ohio State. They are the team that is ranked ahead of them in the rankings. Notre Dame got in because of the same rule that got Utah into the BCS a year ago, a rule that happens to make a lot of sense for all the non-BCS conference teams except for Notre Dame. But still, it is a rule that is at least somewhat fair. The rule that got Ohio State in was fair too, but if enough people had ranked Oregon ahead of Ohio State, then it wouldn't have been an issue. The villian last year was Texas for sneaking ahead of California in the rankings. The team that pulled "a Texas" this year is Ohio State, not Notre Dame.

Still, the Oregon fans are more mad at Notre Dame. I guess that they feel that losing to Michigan State is an unforgivable sin. They lost in overtime at home. Is that really that much worse than beating California in overtime? Well, maybe. Is that really that much worse than beating Fresno State at home by three...the same Fresno team that just lost to Nevada and Louisiana Tech? Well, maybe. Is that really that much worse than beating a 4-7 Washington State by three? I don't know. Is that really that much worse than only beating a 3-8 Arizona team by seven? Again, I don't know. Oregon beat zero ranked teams this year. Notre Dame beat one. I'll give Oregon that either Fresno State or California can be counted as a ranked team. Still, they have only beaten an equal number of ranked teams to Notre Dame. The complaint against Notre Dame has been their schedule, but where are the Ducks big wins. Houston, Fresno State, Arizona State, and California are all going to bowl games. Michigan, BYU, and Navy are all going to bowl games from Notre Dame's schedule. The schedules are virtually equal in my opinion, with a slight edge going to Oregon. Oregon lost by 32 at home to USC. Notre Dame lost by three at home to USC. Big edge to Notre Dame. Oregon has one loss, Notre Dame has two. Edge to Oregon. Notre Dame pounded opponents, Oregon slipped by them. Edge to Notre Dame. Oregon beat Stanford by 24. Notre Dame beat Stanford by 7. Big edge to Oregon. Oregon beat Washington by 24. Notre Dame beat them by 19. Call that a push. The two teams are fairly equal. That's why they are ranked right next to each other in my rankings. I give the ever so slight edge to Oregon, but the Ducks fans don't have too much of a case against the Irish, despite what they seem to think.

I saw a ranking on a USC site a couple of weeks ago featuring ranking the teams based on how bad their losses were and how many they had. In these rankings, Texas Tech was number ten, and Notre Dame was left off altogether. (It only went through number ten.) Apparently, this was claiming that Texas Tech had better losses than Notre Dame. Now, Texas Tech had lost to Oklahoma State and Texas. Notre Dame had lost to Michigan State and USC. Michigan State is better than Oklahoma State, but let's go ahead and call those two equal losses. So Notre Dame's three point loss to USC was worse than Texas Tech's 35 point loss to Texas? What does this mean? Shockingly, since Texas Tech was ranked ahead of Notre Dame, it should mean that this USC fan thinks that Texas is clearly superior to USC. If a 35 point loss is not as bad as a three point loss, I don't understand the philosophy. Plus, if the Big Twelve is so weak, as many Pac-10 observers like to point out, then the ranking is just as crazy. Of course, he did have USC ahead of Texas in his rankings. I realize that anyone can make a list of rankings and put them on an internet message board. Still, many people out there seem to be overly critical of the Irish and not so quick to judge on other teams.

Imagine that this was a playoff system. We all seem to think that things will get cleared up by having a playoff system. OK, so who is number four in a four team playoff this year? Ohio State? Auburn? Notre Dame? Georgia? Oregon? Suppose we have an eight team system with six BCS conference champs getting in automatically. Who gets left out? Oregon? Auburn? Notre Dame? Ohio State? Suppose it was an eight team system where just the top eight teams get in. Who gets left out? Notre Dame? Georgia? LSU? Virginia Tech? Miami? Auburn? Oregon? It is a messy situation, and unlike in basketball, where the 65th or 66th team in the tournament has little shot to win the whole tournament, the eighth or ninth best team would clearly have a shot to win the tourney in football. I am not necessarily an advocate of this system, but I am also not necessarily an advocate of a playoff.

In conclusion, it may appear today that I am defending the Irish. I am not. If the BCS were awarding bowl picks not based on which match-up will draw the most money, Ohio State, Auburn, or Oregon would be the two picks. But Notre Dame is a solid team that is getting beat on by people left and right. Do they deserve a BCS bid? Probably not. Could they beat Ohio State? Yes, they could. Could Oregon or Auburn beat Ohio State? Yes, they could. Is it fair? Probably not.